Students make their way across Georgia Tech's campus. The school announced last week the start date for its incoming president and officials shared information about his salary and other benefits.
Photo: AJC file photo
Photo: AJC file photo

AJC On Campus: The Fitbit fiasco, White House honors and grants galore

The new state budget year, which officials call the fiscal year, began last week and while there aren’t many new policies that will impact the higher education landscape in Georgia, there were several things that took place last week that involved money. Some schools got major grants and investments for research. At the same time, oddly, some students were pressed to pay for something they didn’t request.

Here’s a look at the money matters in this week’s AJC On Campus.

Fitbit snafu

Photo: File

An effort to give free or discounted Fitbits to University System of Georgia employees went awry last week when some were given to students and they were told they had to pay for the devices. AJC education columnist Maureen Downey wrote about the drama and the effort to fix the mess.

Cabrera’s salary & start date

Georgia Tech's incoming president, Angel Cabrera, answers a question from a reporter during an introductory news conference on campus on June 14, 2019.

It’s really official now. Georgia Tech’s incoming president, Ángel Cabrera, has a start date and a salary. His compensation package, $975,000, will be the second-highest of any public college or university president in Georgia. Mark Becker, Georgia State’s president, will still be the top earner, at about $1.1 million. Here’s a breakdown of Cabrera’s pay package.

Moody’s: Many colleges struggling financially

Moody’s Investors Service recently released its annual report that examines the financial health of America’s private and public colleges and universities. The findings are troubling. Median revenue growth from public institutions dropped to 2.4% in fiscal year 2018 from 2.9% the previous fiscal year. Median debt levels increased by 5%, but the leverage is manageable, Moody’s analysts found. For private institutions, median revenue growth was up 2.4%, but they’re spending more. The average expense growth was 2.9% for the third consecutive year. 

This week in big time donations, Part 1

Morehouse School of Medicine President Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice presents a gift to Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms during an event on July 2, 2019, announcing UnitedHealth Group is investing $8.25 million over five years into data science education at the Atlanta University Center.

UnitedHealth Group leaders last week visited the Atlanta University Center to announce the company is investing $8.25 million over the next five years for an effort to improve data science education at the historically black colleges and universities there. Click here to read more about it.

This week in big time donations, Part 2

Georgia State University last week announced associate professor Baozhong Wang received a five-year, $3.25 million National Institutes of Health grant for his ongoing flu research. 

This week in big time donations, Part 3

The National Science Foundation has awarded Reinhardt University a grant of nearly $1 million to train students interested in becoming high school teachers. We’re reported extensively in recent years about teacher shortages, particularly in science and math, where the grant will be focused.  

Georgians receive White House award

Twelve scientists and engineers working at various Georgia colleges, universities and agencies have been named Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the White House announced last week. Started in 1996, it’s the highest honor bestowed by the federal government to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology. The award winners are: Dhruv Batra, Mark Davenport, Anne Marie France, Emily Haas, Christopher Jett, Paula Lemons, Matthew Maenner, Matthew McDowell, Lucy McNamara, Subbian Panayampalli, Oduyebo Titilope and Binnian Wei.

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