CPAs and Advisors with Your Growth in Mind

Will the Overtime Rule Delay Impact College Salaries?

Despite the November 22 injunction delaying the Department of Labor’s final overtime rule , numerous college employees are still getting raises. Issued earlier this year, the final rule increases the salary threshold for overtime pay and offered a teaching exemption for non-faculty employees and postdoctoral fellows that primarily conduct research. The injunction shelved the rule’s December 1 effective date, but some higher institutions have already implemented their payroll changes and want to avoid damaging employee relations. Other colleges and universities still plan to postpone salary changes due to the injunction. More on the final overtime rule injunction and its impact on colleges can be accessed on Inside Higher Ed.

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SACS Commission Puts Ten Colleges on Probation

At its meeting this month, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed ten colleges and universities on probation. The affected institutions were cited mostly for financial reasons and governing board issues. Most notable on the list was the University of Louisville, which was warned that it would be out of compliance for replacing its Board of Trustees without due process. The full list of colleges can be seen on Inside Higher Ed.

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Wisconsin School Opens “Computerless” Lab

Adjusting to students’ growing dependence on personal computers and smart devices, a private liberal arts school in Wisconsin has incorporated a bring-your-own-device policy into its renovated computer lab. St. Norbert George’s new policy requires students to bring their personal laptops to campus. Students are even allowed to use financial aid to pay for their computers. Policies like St. Norbert’s and the increased use of personal devices have created a shift in colleges’ information technology services can create unexpected windfalls and provide opportunities for resources to be allocated. More on St. Norbert’s computerless lab is available on Inside Higher Ed.

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Competency-Based Programs Need Full Commitment

Nearly 600 colleges and universities are currently developing competency-based education programs for cost savings. This business model allows students to earn a degree at their own pace, but a new report claims competency-based programs need significant enrollment growth and a long-term commitment from institutions to become sustainable. The report discovered that three early adopters of the programs expect to break even in their fifth year of operation. Additionally, respondents said institutions must consider the possible impact competency-based programs could have on academic quality and faculty members. More on competency-based programs is available on Inside Higher Ed.

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PLUS Loans in Financial Aid Packages

College admission counselors have raised concerns that some institutions are combining Federal PLUS Loans with other financial aid in students’ award packages. At last month’s National Association for College Admission Counseling (“NACAC”) meeting, financial aid professionals argued that including PLUS loans with award packages could make a family’s overall cost appear smaller. It may also mislead students into thinking they’re eligible for the loans, which are not guaranteed. A motion to exclude PLUS loans from an institution’s original financial aid letter was accepted last week, and will be presented to the NACAC’s Board of Directors in November. More on Federal PLUS Loans is available on Inside Higher Ed.

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Universities Impacted by Gambling SEO Scheme

Over 70 websites around the globe have been linked to a search engine optimization (“SEO”) gambling scheme. The scheme, discovered by researchers at eTraffic, mostly impacted university sites that were linked in course descriptions to keywords such as “real slot machines.” eTraffic said the SEO scheme was to help push gambling sites up Google’s search rankings and generate more money for online gambling businesses. It’s unknown how the links appeared, but hacking due to the vulnerabilities of blogging plugins is possible. More on the SEO gambling scheme is available on The Verge.

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