Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 3:00am

Moravian College has announced that it will give future applicants the option of not submitting SAT or ACT scores. Those who pursue this option will be required to have a personal interview. After three years, the college will evaluate whether the shift to a test-optional policy is working. Bernard Story, vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions, said that the college's research "has found that while it is true that standardized test scores can help predict academic success, a student's performance in the classroom is the most important factor.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Illinois on Tuesday said it would appeal a federal judge's ruling last month that, if upheld, could make it harder for public universities to cite a federal student privacy law to deny requests for information by reporters or others. In the announcement, which seeks a stay of the judge's March ruling, Illinois officials said that the decision "threatens the privacy of student records and millions of dollars in federal education funds the University receives annually." It does so, the university argued, by putting it "in the predicament" of having to violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act if it is to comply with the Chicago Tribune's request under a state open-records law for records about politically connected applicants.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 3:00am

The American Civil Liberties Union and some students are charging the University of California at Davis with spying on protesters by developing plans to monitor and attend various rallies, The Sacramento Bee reported. The ACLU and students used open records requests to obtain documents about various university strategies to monitor student plans and to attend rallies. University officials said that their actions were legal and were designed to protect public safety, not to squelch debate or protest.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Hofstra University's Leslie Feldman discusses television’s long history of weaving philosophical and political ideas into the plots of popular dramas. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 3:00am

The membership of the Common Application is about to grow by 48 colleges, to a total of 460. While the Common Application was founded 35 years ago, half of its membership has joined in the last decade. And while the program was once associated with small liberal arts colleges, it has expanded in recent years. This year's additions include two flagship public universities -- the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Kentucky -- on top of 10 other flagships added in the past few years. Public institutions now make up 12 percent of the colleges in the program -- a record high. Another notable addition this year is Howard University, the fifth historically black college to participate.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 3:00am

A new state audit has identified numerous financial problems at Chicago State University, disappointing officials who hoped that a new administration there would put an end to such issues, the Chicago Tribune reported. Among the problems identified were a period of several months last year when the university did not send bills to students, and paying vendors more than they were entitled to under contracts. The university did not dispute the findings.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 3:00am

A federal appeals court on Monday overturned a lower court's 2009 ruling ordering the University of Louisville to reinstate a nursing student who was expelled after she wrote on a blog about her dealings with patients. The lower court judge had concluded that the university had breached its contract with the student, Nina Yoder, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the lower court had erred in that ruling because Yoder had not even alleged breach of contract before the court. The appeals panel sent the case back to the lower court to reconsider.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 3:00am

Maryland's General Assembly has passed, and Governor Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, is today expected to sign legislation to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at the state's public colleges and universities, The Baltimore Sun reported. Maryland will become the eleventh state to do so.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, California Western School of Law's James Cooper explores immigration as seen from the Mexican side of the border. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 3:00am

University of Oxford officials found themselves in the uncomfortable position of publicly debating with Britain's prime minister over his assertion that the elite institution had enrolled only one black Brit in 2009, BBC News reported. Prime Minister David Cameron made his comment during a public session in answer to a question about the impact of greatly increased fees that British institutions have begun charging as part of a new approach to university financing. Cameron said: "I saw figures the other day that showed that only one black person went to Oxford last year.... I think that is disgraceful. We have got to do better than that."

University officials disputed the statement, the BBC reported, saying that only one British undergraduate from that year's class had self-identified as "black-Caribbean," but that another 26 had identified themselves as either "black-African" or "black-other," among others who characterized themselves as mixed race with some black heritage. In total, in 2009 22% of Oxford University students were from ethnic minorities, the institution said.

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