The Louisiana Illuminator reporter Piper Hutchinson takes a weekly look at news from universities and colleges around the state.
Biden admin to hold risky college leaders personally liable
The U.S. Department of Education issued guidance on how it will hold leaders of risky private colleges responsible for the cost of unpaid debts to the department.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is canceling the loans of more than a million borrowers cheated by for-profit colleges. But too often, the owners and executives of these colleges escape liability,” said James Kvaal, under secretary of education said in a press release.
The guidance clarifies when the department may require leaders to assume personal liability as a condition of allowing their schools to participate in federal financial aid programs.
The department will consider a variety of factors who determining whether to pursue personal liability, which will be done on a case-by-case basis, including but not limited to:
- civil or criminal lawsuits, settlements, or disciplinary or legal actions by the Department or other state or federal agencies involving federal student aid or claims of dishonesty, fraud, misrepresentation, consumer harm or financial malfeasance;
- significant compliance issues, such as findings stemming from program reviews or audits, unpaid liabilities from either of those processes, or findings of a lack of administrative capability; and
- an executive compensation or a bonus structure that could significantly affect the financial health of the institution.
Southern receives endowment money
The Southern University System has received $250,000 from liquor company Diageo North America to create an endowment fund to provide financial aid to deserving students.
The gift is part of Diageo’s commitment to create endowments at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Southern joins 28 other HBCUs to receive permanent endowments from the company.
“The Diageo Endowed Scholarship Fund will aid in our mutual commitment to providing our students with valuable resources and in helping to shape a more equitable society,” Southern President Dennis Shields said in a press release.
Funds for Nicholls incubator
Chevron donated $50,000 to develop the Bayou Region Incubator and the Student Entrepreneur and Innovation Center, which will provide incubation space for student entrepreneurs.
“Our goal is to catapult small businesses in our Bayou Region,” said Lisa Kliebert, the incubator’s executive director. “The incubator is a place where entrepreneurs can work independently, but not alone.”
Nicholls has already received $3.5 million in federal money to establish the incubator. The university has purchased a facility near campus and plans to host 25 to 30 startups after it’s renovated.
Smartphone security research
An LSU computer science professor received $470,000 from the National Science Foundation to study the security of biometric data used to authenticate a user’s identity.
Chen Weng’s research will focus on two issues in authentication: reducing user effort in authentication and making biometric data not reusable, so as to keep it safe from identity theft attempts.
“The current 3D scanning and printing technologies can forge your fingers, hands and face,” Weng said in a press release. “The biometric data required [for authentication] is all static and never changed. This means that if the biometric data is leaked, an adversary can reuse it to access your device and online accounts.”