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Quick Takes: McCain and Obama Back ROTC, Parental Views on Costs, From Phoenix to Nouveau, Arkansas Atty. Gen. Says Colleges Can Admit Undocumented Students, Ike Closes Campuses, 3-Year MBA and JD, Stanford's B-School Plans

September 12, 2008
  • In remarks Thursday night at a forum on national service, both presidential candidates criticized universities -- such as the forum's host, Columbia University -- that do not welcome Reserve Officers Training Corps programs on their campuses. Sen. John McCain said, according to an account in Bloomberg: "We're here in a wonderful institution, but do you know that this school will not allow ROTC on this campus? .... Shouldn't the students here be exposed to the attractiveness of serving in the military, particularly as an officer?" Sen. Barack Obama agreed, saying that "the notion that young people here at Columbia or anywhere, in any university, aren't offered the choice, the option of participating in military service, I think is a mistake." Columbia's university-wide Senate considered -- and rejected -- the idea of inviting ROTC back in 2005, although Columbia students may participate in ROTC at Fordham University or Manhattan College. While the candidates both backed ROTC on campus, Obama opposes the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bars openly gay people from military service and that is the source of much of the opposition to ROTC at Columbia and elsewhere because many colleges bar discrimination based on sexual orientation in their programs.
  • Parents considering how to pay for college for their children are likely to worry about being able to do so, and to fall into one of three groups with regard to their attitudes -- understanding, suspicion or resignation -- according to summaries of a series of focus groups released by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. The NAICU analysis reflects some of the thinking behind the association's plans for enhancements to the University and College Accountability Network (U-CAN), a Web site where hundreds of private colleges have posted information about their costs, financial aid, academic programs and other features. The analysis of the focus groups suggests that private colleges are best off when parents have more information about the actual costs of enrolling and the availability of aid. While that information may be particularly important for those parents in the "suspicion" category, the association's focus group consultants also expressed worries about parents in the "resignation" category, and said that more transparency as well as demonstrations of quality of education provided might turn some of those parents into "positive acceptance" of the way higher education is financed.
  • Former University of Phoenix leaders continue to land elsewhere in for-profit higher education. First Grand Canyon University looked to Phoenix's parent company, for its leadership. Now, Laura Palmer Noone, former president of Phoenix, is becoming CEO of Nouveau University, a new institution in Arizona that recently admitted its first students.
  • Public colleges and universities in Arkansas are allowed to admit immigrant students who do not have the legal right to be in the United States, according to an opinion issued this week by Dustin McDaniel, the state's attorney general. The opinion followed debate in the state over where such students should be admitted and, if so, what they should be charged.
  • Many colleges along near the Gulf coast in Texas closed Thursday or plan to close today and will remain closed through Monday, anticipating the arrival of Hurricane Ike late Friday or Saturday. Among them are Alvin Community College, College of the Mainland, Del Mar College, Galveston College, Houston Community College, Lamar University, Rice University, Texas A&M University at Galveston, Texas Southern University, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and Wharton County Junior College.
  • The competition continues to intensify to squeeze the time for top professional programs. The University of Pennsylvania this week announced a three-year program to award participants with both J.D. and M.B.A. degrees. Students will start in the law school and take a special mix of law and business courses in their first summer, but will still be able to have an off-campus work experience during the summer between the second and third years.
  • Among business schools, a building boom has been the source of much competition in recent years. Stanford University may be upping the ante with the ground-breaking for its new b-school campus, eight buildings around three quadrangles -- all built in sustainable ways, with a total price tag of $350 million. The campus will be named for Philip Knight, Nike's founder, who has donated $105 million.
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