Simmons College, in Massachusetts, has become the third women's college to announce that it will admit transgender applicants, The Boston Globe reported. Many women's colleges, formally or informally, have not taken action against students who enroll as women and who later determine that they identify as male. Simmons is now formally stating that such student are welcome. In addition, Simmons will now admit those who are born biologically male but who identify as women.
Murray State University is deferring new applications from prospective students in the Ebola-stricken countries Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the Murray Ledger & Timesreported. The university will not allow students from these countries to enter in January and will instead defer their admission until the fall.
A total of 20,343 students enrolled in medical colleges this fall, an increase of 1.4 percent and a record number, the Association of American Medical Colleges announced. Number of under-represented minorities were also up, with the Latino increase (1.8 percent) exceeding the rate of increase over all, while the black increase (1.1 percent) lagged.
Enrollments in osteophathic medical schools increased at a slightly higher rate. The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine reported that new enrollments in its 30 member schools grew by 5.2 percent this fall, to 6,786.
The College Board is holding back SAT scores from October tests given in China and Korea, amid investigation into allegations of cheating on the SAT in those countries, The Washington Post reported. Testing companies have struggled with test security in Asia.
Lynn U.'s tablet revolution marches on. Its next initiative: affordable online degree programs delivered exclusively through iPads -- at tuition rates that are a fraction of what the university regularly charges.
Bloomberg Philanthropies and other nonprofit groups will today announce a new effort to help talented low-income high school students get into and succeed in college, The New York Times reported. The effort will involve hiring 130 full-time college counselors and 4,000 college students who will be part-time counselors. With video chat and other tools, the counselors will attempt to provide the kind of guidance offered at high schools that serve wealthy students.
Three colleges in New York State have reached an agreement with the state's attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, to drop application questions on criminal records that Schneiderman and others said went too far, The New York Times reported. At St. John's University, the question read: “Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a felony?” A statement from the attorney general said: “An arrest or police stop that did not result in a conviction, or a criminal record that was sealed or expunged, should not — indeed must not — be a standard question on a college application." The other colleges that agreed to drop similar questions are Dowling College and Five Towns College. The agreement with colleges says that they may consider a criminal record in evaluating an applicant if the record "indicates that the individual poses a threat to public safety or property, or if the convictions are relevant to some aspect of the academic program or student responsibilities.”
At some other campuses, asking questions about criminal records has been criticized by some student groups, although some colleges have also been criticized for not asking enough about applicants' criminal records. The Common Application poses the question in a way that would seem consistent with Schneiderman's criticisms. The Common Application question is: “Have you ever been adjudicated guilty or convicted of a misdemeanor, felony, or other crime? Note that you are not required to answer 'yes' to this question, or provide an explanation, if the criminal adjudication or conviction has been expunged, sealed, annulled, pardoned, destroyed, erased, impounded, or otherwise ordered by a court to be kept confidential."
In an interview in The New Yorker, President Obama expressed support for affirmative action in higher education, and questioned how precisely a Supreme Court deadline for phasing out the consideration of race should be viewed. The article looks broadly at President Obama's influence on the federal court system, and touches on affirmative action toward the end of the piece. In a landmark Supreme Court decision upholding the right of public colleges to, under certain circumstances, consider race in admissions, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor suggested that they should no longer be needed in 25 years. Justice O'Connor, since retired from the court, wrote the decision in 2003. Asked about that deadline, Obama told the magazine that Justice O’Connor would “be the first one to acknowledge that 25 years was sort of a ballpark figure in her mind.”
Generally, Obama signaled continued support for affirmative action. “If the University of Michigan or California decides that there is a value in making sure that folks with different experiences in a classroom will enhance the educational experience of the students, and they do it in a careful way,” the universities should be allowed to consider race and ethnicity, he said.
At the same time, however, he said that the best long-term solution to unequal opportunities in American society is improvement of the K-12 education system. “I understand, certainly sitting in this office, that probably the single most important thing I could do for poor black kids is to make sure that they’re getting a good K-through-12 education. And, if they’re coming out of high school well prepared, then they’ll be able to compete for university slots and jobs. And that has more to do with budgets and early-childhood education and stuff that needs to be legislated," Obama said.
Israel's universities will shift admissions policies so that one-third of students may be admitted without considering of their scores on a national psychometric exam, The Jerusalem Post reported. Instead, those students will be admitted solely based on achievement in high school. Education Minister Shai Piron explained the change this way. “Some view the psychometric exam as a tool suffering from cultural bias. The financial investment in preparation and the structure of parts of the exam may discriminate between students, and turn into a wall that prevents many students to enter the gates of academia.”