Northwestern University is today announcing a new effort to help prepare more students in the Chicago public schools to enroll at Northwestern or other competitive colleges, The Chicago Tribune reported. Fifty high school freshmen a year -- from the city's regular high schools -- will be selected for a special academy in which they will receive year-round tutoring, college counseling and test prep. All costs will be paid by Northwestern. Currently about 75 of Northwestern's 2,000 freshmen come from the Chicago schools. That's up from 28 five years ago, but university officials want to see significant growth in that figure.
At least a quarter of the gap in college participation rates between lower and middle class students and upper class students in Australia, Britain and the United States cannot be explained by academic achievement, according to new research released by the Sutton Trust, a British think tank. The study looked at the academic preparation and enrollment patterns in different countries, with an emphasis on trying to be sure that the better success levels of wealthier students in enrolling in higher education can't be attributed only to their better preparation. And the study said that it can't be. The study was conducted by John Jerrim of the Institute of Education at the University of London.
He found that in the United States, children of professionals are 3.3 times more likely to go to leading public universities than are working class children, and that about 40 percent of the difference cannot be explained by differences in academic achievement. At top private universities, he said, the gap is even larger, and 52 percent of the difference cannot be explained by academic achievement.
Is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie flip-flopping on a bill that would allow undocumented students in New Jersey to receive in-state tuition? The New York Times reported that Governor Christie pledged support for the idea during his recent, successful re-election campaign in which he portrayed himself as a Republican who could do well with groups (such as Latino voters) that have not been supporting the GOP lately. But with a bill to offer these students in-state rates about to reach him, Governor Christie has talked about it being "unsignable" because it would cover immigrant students at New Jersey boarding schools. It is not clear that there are many such students, but some advocates for immigrant students are accusing the governor of quickly abandoning the stance he took when running for re-election.
The University of Colorado at Boulder is starting a major marketing campaign so that more people know about the university's academic excellence, and to fight the campus reputation as a party school, The Boulder Daily Camera reported. Officials did focus groups in which they asked people for celebrities that they associated in some way with the university, and answers such as Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan reinforced the concern about the impact of the party school reputation. The new campaign is called "Be Boulder," and focuses on accomplishments and qualities of Boulder students, faculty members and alumni.
First Lady Michelle Obama -- who has focused many of her public efforts on fitness, nutrition and military families -- will today start a new effort related to higher education, The New York Times reported. Obama will be focused on encouraging more low-income students to pursue higher education, and will draw on her own background as a child from a working-class family who earned degrees from Princeton and Harvard Universities.
A new analysis by ACT has found that only 36 percent of those who take the ACT and indicate a planned choice of college major are selecting a subject that is a good fit with their stated academic interests. Generally, those students scoring higher on the ACT were found to be more likely to have major choices that were a good fit.
Many medical schools are trying to grow, but Vanderbilt University has announced it is shrinking its medical school admissions and Ph.D. admissions at its medical center by 10 percent, The Tennessean reported. Jeffrey Balser, chief of the university's medical center, said that "our priority must be quality, not quantity."
A new poll by National Journal and the College Board has found that non-white adults in the United States are more likely than white adults to view a four-year college degree as a "ticket to success." The percentage of adults, by racial and ethnic group, who believe this is:
White: 47 percent
Black: 55 percent
Hispanic: 70 percent
Asian: 61 percent
Across racial and ethnic lines, women are more likely than are men to believe that statement (56 percent vs. 47 percent). And while 64 percent of Democrats agree with the statement, only 40 percent of Republicans do.