administrators

Author discusses new book about transgender college students

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Author discusses new book about a part of the student population pushing for more support -- and facing a backlash in some states.

Falwell to Work With Trump in 'Official Capacity'

Jerry Falwell Jr., Liberty University's president, said he would work with President Trump in an "official capacity" but that he could not yet announce what that role would be. Falwell, an early and prominent Trump supporter, made the comment in an interview with the Christian Broadcast News while he was attending the president's inauguration.

During the brief interview, he also said the U.S. Department of Education had micromanaged colleges, intruded too much into the accreditation process and made the federal student loan process too complicated.

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Colleges shouldn't abandon early-admissions programs (essay)

Every year without fail, a well-respected educator comes out against early-admission programs, calling them “barriers to keep most low-income students out.” This year’s quote is from a recent piece in Inside Higher Ed by Harold O. Levy, a former chancellor of the New York City Public Schools and the executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

I have great respect for Levy and for the significant work done by the Cooke Foundation to advance students of great potential from economically disadvantaged families. But early-admission programs are not discriminatory by definition at the bulk of the nation’s nonprofit, four-year colleges and universities. And in fact, they do not have to act against the inclusion of disadvantaged students at the nation’s most prestigious institutions. Here’s why.

It is true that many low-income students are not aware of early-decision programs because they are the first generation in their family to go to college and attend high schools where counselors are responsible for 1,000 or more students each. But colleges and universities can and do promote early decision and early action in all of their search communications, on their websites and in their brochures. And those of us who are committed to enrolling low-income students go out of our way to connect with them and to make them aware of early programs while saving places for them in the regular pool. Pell-eligible students represent 35 percent of the enrollment at my institution, Drew University, and we have an early-decision program -- so it can be done. Further, those students graduate at the essentially same rate as the other two-thirds of the student body, so they are being served well.

Many highly selective colleges are now test optional in admission, so the fact that low-income students may not have test scores in time for early deadlines is a nonissue at those institutions. And the notion that low-income students can’t commit to enrolling through an early-decision program because they need financial aid is an equally empty hypothesis.

First of all, the early Free Application for Federal Student Aid allows colleges to award actual aid upon early-decision admission. Second, as every early-decision institution will tell you, if the aid is not sufficient in the family’s mind, the student will be released from the early-decision commitment.

I always tell students and their parents that they should apply in a binding early-decision program only if parents know how much they are willing and able to contribute toward college expenses, and if they are not interested in comparing offers from other institutions. If they receive enough to make attendance possible, and the college is the student’s first choice, then the process has successfully concluded. If, however, they want to shop for the best deal, then early decision is not for them. But we can’t just say that early decision is bad for all low-income students.

In many ways, early decision is the best time to apply for financial aid, because colleges do not exhaust their grant resources during the early round. And as I said, if the aid is not sufficient, colleges will release students from the early commitment. This is a no-lose proposition for the student.

Levy presents compelling evidence of the disparity of incomes represented in early-decision programs:

The Cooke Foundation study found that only 16 percent of high-achieving students from families with annual incomes below $50,000 applied for college admission on an early-decision basis in the 2013-14 academic year. But 29 percent of high-achieving students from families with incomes above $250,000 applied on an early-decision basis. Is it any wonder that so many more upper-income students gain admission?

To be fair, that needs to be put into context. According to a 2014 report from the Pew Research Center, 51 percent of all low-income students were enrolled in college compared to 81 percent of all high-income students (defining low income as the bottom 20 percent of all family incomes and high income as the top 20 percent). In other words, many more high-income students enroll in college in the first place, so it is not surprising that many more high-income students also enroll through early decision.

This underscores the real issue for American higher education. We need to spend less time advocating for the elimination of a program, like early admission, that attracts higher-income students (who, by the way, help to bring in the revenue to support lower-income students) and more time -- as the Cooke Foundation and many colleges do so well -- developing better ways to recruit and support low-income students through to graduation. The future competitiveness of our country depends on it.

Robert Massa is senior vice president for enrollment and institutional planning at Drew University. He previously served as vice president for enrollment and college relations at Dickinson College and as dean of enrollment at Johns Hopkins University.

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Tens of thousands of college students and professors march in Washington

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Tens of thousands of students and academics join Women’s March on Washington.

Power Five leagues adopt new rules lessening time demands

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NCAA's Power Five conferences unanimously adopt new rules lessening time demands on college athletes, though some programs would like to see exemptions made for recruiting activities.

UVA President Will Step Down Next Year

Teresa A. Sullivan (right) announced Friday that she plans to step down as president of the University of Virginia when her current contract ends in the summer of 2018. While president, Sullivan has pushed plans to expand the faculty and selected academic programs, and led efforts to improve the undergraduate experience and academic advising. She also led efforts to complete a $3 billion fund-raising campaign. And Sullivan worked to fight sexual assault when the university was the subject of a now notorious Rolling Stone article about an alleged fraternity rape, and she pushed to continue those efforts and to mend campus relations when the article turned out to be false. In the last week, she announced plans to increase undergraduate enrollment to admit more Virginians and to provide new financial aid funds to those not eligible for most other aid.

Sullivan may be best known for her successful effort to hold on to her job in 2012 when board members ousted her but backed down two weeks later amid an outpouring of support on campus for Sullivan and anger at the board members who wanted to remove her.

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Lincoln U Changes Definition of Financial Exigency

Lincoln University in Missouri made headlines last year for shuttering its history department against the advice of a faculty committee. Now Lincoln has changed its financial exigency policy in ways that would make it much easier to lay off tenured faculty members. Financial exigency -- defined by the American Association of University Professors as a dire, institutionwide crisis -- is one of the few ways AAUP policy says that professors in good standing may lose their jobs. Most institutions have adopted that policy, and those that don’t risk possible censure by the AAUP.

Lincoln has changed its rules to specify that financial exigency may be declared not only at the university level, but also “for specific colleges, schools, departments or programs.” Faculty members with the shortest term of service now also “will generally,” not definitively, be terminated before those with longer periods of service.

A spokesperson for Lincoln did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hans-Joerg Tiede, associate secretary for tenure, academic freedom and governance at AAUP, called the university's new policy a “significant departure from our standards” and reiterated that the association defines financial exigency as “a severe financial crisis that fundamentally compromises the academic integrity of the institution as a whole and that cannot be alleviated by less drastic means.”

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Shooting at U of Washington as tensions grow over Milo Yiannopoulos speeches

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Violence at University of Washington appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos followed protests that prevented a speech at UC Davis -- as tensions grow over Breitbart writer known for insults against feminists, minority groups and others.

College Republicans react to Trump inauguration

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College Republicans split over Trump, but many are now coming around and pledging to support the new president.

15 Players Suspended After Basketball Brawl

The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Friday announced the suspension of 15 men's basketball players at LeMoyne-Owen College and Lane College after a brawl broke out at a game between the two teams. The brawl quickly escalated and included one player appearing to use a chair to attack another. The conference is also banning some fans who became involved from attending any more athletic events.

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