Briefly

    Sallie Mae denies investigation reports

    Sallie Mae, the nation’s leader in education debt servicing, which manages more than $98 billion in student loans, has denied media reports that it is under investigation by the California Attorney General’s office.

    Earlier in October, the Financial Times reported that investigators were looking at loans the company made to schools that did not have accreditation and determining whether the lender misled students about its private loan programs.

    In a statement, the company admitted that it was “responding to questions and information requests” from the state’s top law enforcer, though it said no formal investigation was in progress.

    Aknowledging that it had provided $350 million in loans to students enrolled in “career training schools” in the state, the press release denied the reported allegations and stated that the company had “no marketing or other incentive arrangements with these closed schools” and had “adequately reserved for potential losses in its career training portfolio.”

    Officially known as the SML Corporation, the company was established in 1973 as a government-sponsored enterprise and in 1997 began a process to become private. It recently announced that it is under investigation by federal securities officials for past statements of earnings.

    John Muir College to drop record-size pumpkin

    As part of the college’s annual Halloween celebrations, John Muir College students will drop a 420-pound pumpkin off the top floor of Tioga Hall at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 29.

    Named GPA, the pumpkin represents the biggest one used in the annual celebration, which began 29 years ago.

    Filled with an assortment of candy, the pumpkin will land on a plastic sheet marked off in a bingo grid, which students will use beforehand to make predictions about the impact location.

    Testicular implant safe, researchers say

    A new saline-filled testicular implant is safe and can help improve quality of life for men, a study conducted by a team of UC San Francisco researchers has found.

    The implant is designed for patients with absent testes or testis loss and is currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to be used as an investigational device. A previous version of the implant, made with silicone gel in the mid-1990s, was discontinued because of safety concerns.

    The results of the new study, published in the October issue of the Journal of Urology, suggest that a testicular implant “can provide an improved sense of well-being for patients,” UC San Francisco associate professor of urology Paul Turek stated.

    Though some participants reported “operative discomfort,” 98 percent of complications from the implant were considered minor, according to Turek.

    A.C.E. criticizes new intellectual property rules

    A group of higher-education lobby groups, including the American Council on Education, criticized portions of the newly signed corporate tax reform legislation that sets restrictions on tax deductions for patent and intellectual property donations.

    Designed to curb fraud and abuses in deductions for charitable contributions of patents, copyrights, trademarks and similar intellectual property, the groups fear that the new law “could cause a serious decline in the number of patent and intellectual property gifts to colleges and universities.”

    Expressing disappointment with the new regulations, A.C.E. Vice President and General Counsel Sheldon E. Steinbach said that they will “undoubtedly lead to significant declines” in the number of gifts made to higher education institutions.

    Report notes major changes in college choice

    Though universities have streamlined their application processes in the past 50 years and have developed more “sophisticated” administrative practices, more parents and high school students feel “tremendous pressure” to make the right college choices, according to a new report by the Lumina Foundation for Education.

    The document analyzes changes in higher education public policy and institutional recruitment practices over the past half century.

    Access to post-secondary education has improved dramatically — especially for women, low-income students and racial minorities — the foundation reported, though recent increases in tuition at public and private institutions have forced families to search out the “best deal” for a college education.

    The foundation’s report warned that increased competition among colleges and universities has weakened the ability of national organizations like the College Board “to broker cooperative policies and practices that could help students and institutions.”

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