Notes in the Margins: Blacks, a tough prof and the role of public higher ed

President to Ease Student-Loan Burden for Low-Income Graduates An expansion of the income-based college-loan repayment program is expected on Wednesday, lowering monthly payments and allowing some loan consolidation. (The New York Times)

Student loan debt: ‘Occupy’ movement’s weakest talking point The Occupy Wall Street movement is complex and raises many legitimate issues. Student loan debt is not one of them. (The Christian Science Monitor)

Communities beg students for thoughtful Halloween Trash and vandalism are concerns this time of year. Halloween seems to heighten and exacerbate these issues and cause additional stress and anxiety for local families as they brace for the worst. (USA Today)

Declining numbers of blacks seen in math, science With black unemployment reaching historic levels, banks laying off tens of thousands and law school graduates waiting tables, why aren’t more African-Americans looking toward science, technology, engineering and math — the still-hiring careers known as STEM? (Associated Press via Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Did Utah Valley University fire business prof for being too tough? Business scholar Steven Maranville’s lawyers allege Utah Valley University administrators justified his dismissal based on student complaints that his “capstone” course in business strategies was too rigorous and his Socratic style intimidated them. (The Salt Lake Tribune via University Business)

What Should Be the Role of America’s Public Colleges and Universities? Should public colleges and universities strive to offer the same complement of courses of instruction as elite private research universities, or should they, drawing on the land grant model, focus on STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) that are widely acknowledged as the best avenues for upward mobility for students from working and middle class backgrounds? (National Review Online via University Business)