On Thursday, President Bush and a bevy of government officials -- including the secretaries of state, education and defense -- announced a wide ranging plan to enhance the foreign language skills of American students.
Several college leaders applauded attention to an area that many view as underdeveloped in the United States. At the same time, others said that they needed more details about the plan -- few of which were released -- and some have expressed concern over the large Pentagon role in it.
Over the past decade and a half, the number and proportion of college students opting not to reveal their race when asked have shot up, to 5.9 percent of all students in 2001 from 3.2 percent a decade earlier. The increases have raised two major questions: Who are these students, and why are they declining to identify themselves? The answers have implications for college officials and policy makers on a wide range of issues, including affirmative action and student life.