The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has amended rules for the state's need-based scholarships for attending public institutions, so that home-schooled students can be eligible, The Washington Post reported. The standard requirement has been a 2.5 grade point average in high school, effectively excluded home-schooled students. Under the new rules, home-schooled students are eligible with at least a 900 on the SAT or 19 on the ACT.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The battles over Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law requiring gender equity in education programs receiving federal funds, frequently focus on numbers. This week the College Sports Council, which argues that Title IX is encouraging colleges to eliminate men's teams, issued a new report to advance its cause. As reported by the Associated Press, the report analyzed 19 sports in which men and women both compete and found that women have more opportunities to earn college scholarships. As the article noted, that method of comparison manages to leave out one arguably significant sport in analyzing gender and athletic opportunities: football.
Assumption College, in Massachusetts, has announced that it is dropping the requirement that applicants submit SAT or ACT scores. College officials said that they acted only after conducting a study of four years of admissions data that found that high school grades were a better predictor of college success than test scores.
Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives on Wednesday formally introduced legislation to restructure the federal student aid programs and signaled their intention to move with lightning speed to pass it. The Committee on Education and Labor announced that it would take up the $87 billion legislation next Tuesday, and given the strong Democratic majority on the panel, as well as in Congress, passage is assured. The legislation got a strong endorsement Wednesday from the Obama administration, whose student loan proposal the House legislation closely mirrors. On a telephone news conference with Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, Education Secretary Arne Duncan offered his "clear support" for the House bill despite some differences with President Obama's original plan, and said it was fully consistent with the administration's plan's "fundamental principles." While the House bill would not make the Pell Grant Program an entitlement, which would be too expensive, Duncan said the measure's plan to use mandatory funds to ensure that the size of the maximum grant keeps pace with inflation plus 1 percent was a "good compromise." Duncan and Miller also both went out of their way -- in discussing the money the House bill would make available to fund President Obama's proposed $12 billion community college initiative -- to emphasize how the legislation would turn up the pressure on colleges to ensure that they are not just admitting students, but getting them to degrees. Discussing community college graduation rates, Miller said that the "statistics are currently not acceptable to the administration or the Congress," and said the legislation was designed to ensure that "community colleges change and adapt to the needs of our society and our families. That test will be on the community colleges."
Colleges, universities and schools are expecting an average decline in gift value of 3.9 percent when the books are closed on the 2008-9 academic year, according to a survey of senior fund raisers being released today by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Looking to 2009-10, those surveyed project a modest increase of 2.5 percent. Over the last 20 years, the average annual rate of growth for giving to education has been 7.1 percent. “The steep decline confirms that we are in uncharted economic territory that may be having an equally uncharted impact on private philanthropy to education,” said John Lippincott, president of CASE.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association requires members colleges to make sure athletes have health insurance before competing. But an analysis in The New York Times noted that the NCAA doesn't specify the quality or extent of insurance coverage, leaving many athletes surprised and angry that they must handle large bills, without assistance, for athletic injuries. The NCAA has coverage that may be used in catastrophic cases, but many injuries exceed levels of student coverage but are short of catastrophic, the Times found. In addition, the article noted that many students are covered by their parents' plans, but that these policies typically exclude injuries from varsity athletics.
Underground animal rights activists issued a statement Wednesday claiming credit for having vandalized the home of researcher at the University of California at Irvine, by spray-painting "KILLER" across his garage door and pouring red paint on three of his cars. The statement said the researcher was being punished for working with animals and that the action was taken so "all his neighbors could see what a cruel, sick person they live near." A spokeswoman for Irvine confirmed the attack, which she said took place Friday, although she said only two cars were covered with red paint. The spokeswoman said that the research maintains a lab at Irvine but teaches elsewhere. She said he does work with animals: rodents.
A federal judge has issued an injunction barring the Los Angeles Community College District from using parts of its sexual harassment policy, which are being challenged in court as too vague, too broad, and too easy to use to squelch free speech. The judge's ruling came in a suit by Jonathan Lopez, a student charges that his public speaking professor at Los Angeles City College called him a "fascist bastard" for a speech during which the student read a dictionary definition of marriage and two Bible passages. The suit says that the harassment policy helped lead to his ideas being mocked and rejected by his instructor. The district argued in court that no injunction was needed because the student has since received a good grade and the professor was punished, but the court rejected those arguments. Camille A. Goulet, general counsel for the district, issued a statement in which she said that the district hasn't decided whether to appeal. She added that the district "recognizes and respects the difficult balance that often arises in meeting its commitment to providing an environment of academic freedom, as well as an environment that is welcoming and fulfills the mandate to prevent unlawful harassment."
The U.S. Education Department has told Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell that he needs to apply again for education stimulus funds because he left out of the application four "state related" institutions, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The institutions -- Lincoln, Pennsylvania State, and Temple Universities and the University of Pittsburgh -- asked the department to intervene when Rendell left them out of state plans for the stimulus. Rendell maintains that because state appropriations make up a smaller share of the budgets at these institutions than at the state-owned colleges, he should be able to focus funds where they can have the greatest impact. There is a long history of the "state related" universities guarding their relative independence from state oversight compared to the other public colleges. While the Education Department backed the universities on the stimulus application, Rendell aides said that the decision does not require the governor to actually distribute funds in any particular way, so it is unclear how much of a victory the universities won.
Washington University in St. Louis has told a Senate committee that Timothy K. Kuklo, a physician who is on leave from the university, failed to report for a year his ties to Medtronic even as he was conducting company-sponsored research, The New York Times reported. Kuklo is at the center of a controversy over research that has since been discredited amid allegations he falsified parts of a study. Kuklo has declined to comment on the situation, or the Washington University finding.