St. Mary's College of Maryland, a public liberal arts college, is likely to face a budget shortfall of about $3.5 million after commitments from incoming freshmen came in short of what the college expected, The Washington Post reported. Aiming for a class of about 470, the university has received commitments from only about 360 students so far. Administrators said the college is trying to attract more applicants and enroll students off the waitlist, as well as figure out how to cope with the lost tuition revenue. Administrators said they are not yet sure why the college saw a decrease in commitments after receiving a 14 percent increase in applications, but are looking into it.
A growing number of wealthy Chinese families are trying a new strategy to earn admission for their children to elite American colleges: enrolling them first in private high schools in New York City. The New York Times reported that there were 638 Chinese students with visas at high schools in New York City in 2012, compared to 114 five years earlier.
Cheating concerns have led the Educational Testing Service to call off the SAT in South Korea this month, The Wall Street Journalreported. The move followed reports that questions from the May SAT were circulating in some test-prep centers. Some Korean students planning to apply to colleges in the United States are trying to find other countries where they can take the exam.
An all-time high of 69 percent of Hispanics graduating from high school in 2012 enrolled in college that fall, according to analysis by the Pew Research Center. This is a greater proportion than that of white graduates from the same class, of whom 67 percent enrolled in college.
According to Pew, Hispanic college-going has seen a long-term increase, especially since the recession hit, whereas enrollment by white high school graduates has gradually declined since 2008.
In addition, the high school dropout rate among Hispanic 16 to 24-year-olds has been cut in half since 2000, when it was 28 percent, compared to 14 percent currently. The white high school dropout rate has also declined, albeit only two percentage points and from a lower base (7 percent to 5 percent).
Recent High School Dropouts (numbers in thousands)
Ratio of High School Completers to Dropouts
(Both tables from Pew Research Center)
Although they surpass white students in the percentage of high school graduates enrolling in college, Pew added, Hispanic graduates still lag behind in some aspects; for instance, Hispanic high school graduates have a 56 percent likelihood of enrolling in a four-year college, as compared to 72 percent for white graduates. They are also less likely than whites to be full-time students or earn a bachelor's degree.
Pew offers two possible explanations for the increased Hispanic enrollment: the worsening job market (unemployment among Hispanics 16-24 has increased seven percentage points post-recession, compared to five points among whites) and the emphasis Hispanic families are likely to place on a college education (according to two separate 2009 Pew surveys, 88 percent of Hispanics 16 and over agreed that a college degree is necessary for success, compared to 74 percent of Americans overall who said that).
Generation Xers (people who are now in their late 30s) are embracing the idea of lifelong learning, according to a new study by the University of Michigan. The study found that 1 in 10 GenXers are currently enrolled in classes to continue their educations. And 48 percent of the 80 million GenXers take continuing education courses, in-service training or workshops required for professional licenses and certifications.
Smith College has been receiving criticism over reports (not confirmed by the college) that a transgender applicant was rejected (although some of those reports suggest that the prospective student's application was returned for more information and not rejected). The college has for many years stated that students who are admitted to Smith may complete their educations, even if they are transgender and start identifying as such while enrolled, despite having presented themselves differently at the time of admission. But until recently, the college's statement on sexual identity said this about admission: "Is Smith still a women's college? Absolutely. As a women's college, Smith only considers female applicants for undergraduate admission." Now, however, the college's statement reads this way: "How does Smith decide who is a woman? It doesn’t. With regard to admission, Smith relies upon the information provided by each student applicant. In other contexts, different definitions and requirements may apply. For example, the definition of a woman for NCAA competition may differ from the definition of a woman for purposes of admission to Smith or other single-sex colleges."
Debra Shaver, dean of admission, said via e-mail that the new statement didn't mean the policy had changed. "We clarified how we consider transgender applicants; we're being more transparent. This is the same practice we've used for more than a decade," she said.
Throughout the economic downturn, some pundits and politicians have suggested that there is limited value to a college degree. An analysis in The New York Times, based on the latest unemployment data, suggests otherwise. The Times noted that in April, when the national unemployment rate was 7.5 percent, the rate for college graduates was 3.9 percent. Further, the number of college-educated graduates with jobs is now up 9.1 percent since the recession started. The number of those with a high school diploma, but no college degree, who have jobs is down 9 percent.