Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, has signed legislation giving in-state tuition rates to students who graduated from high schools in the state but who lack the legal documentation to reside in the United States, The Miami Herald reported. Some conservatives in the state view the actions of the governor as a reversal of past pledges. But the governor acted as some Republicans urged him to sign the bill. Further, other parts of the legislation will make it more difficulty for most public universities to raise tuition rates (on all Florida students) and the governor plans to cite that part of the bill in his re-election bid.
With the traditional-age college population flattening if not shrinking in many parts of the U.S., colleges and universities are under greater pressure than ever before to develop new and different approaches to attracting students. "Strategies for Recruiting Students" is a collection of Inside Higher Ed articles and essays -- in print-on-demand format -- about some of the approaches institutions are taking, and some of the challenges they are facing. Download the booklet here.
More than half (53 percent) of grandparents are saving for their grandchildren's college costs, or plan to start saving, according to research released Thursday by Fidelity. And 90 percent reported that, if asked, they would be likely to make a financial contribution to their grandchildren's college costs. A majority of grandparents are also talking to both their children and grandchildren about college savings. The national survey was conducted of adults who are at least 45 years old and who have at least one grandchild younger than 18.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been known in philosophy circles for being one of the few well-regarded Ph.D. programs that did not require applicants to submit GRE scores. But MIT has started to require the GRE. Via email, Alex Byrne, head of philosophy at MIT, explained the decision: "This decision had nothing whatever to do with the utility or otherwise of the GRE as a predictor of success in philosophy graduate programs. Many applicants to our program sent in their GREs anyway -- both good and bad scores. These scores were not ignored, at least by some faculty members. Probably some applicants had the mistaken belief that we did require GREs, and probably some applicants had the mistaken belief that GREs were not taken into account at all. In the interests of transparency and fairness we decided to join our competitors and require the GRE, ensuring that we have the same data points for every applicant. There will be absolutely no change in the weight attached to GRE scores, which is marginal at best."
Officials at the philosophy departments of Cornell and Johns Hopkins Universities confirmed that they would continue to keep the GRE optional for Ph.D. applicants in philosophy.
Bard College announced Thursday that it will keep an option it introduced last year under which applicants can win admission by submitting four 2,500-word research papers. Those whose papers are judged by the college's faculty members to have produced B+ work or better will be offered admission, without any SAT scores, review of high school transcripts, or teacher recommendations. Bard leaders have said that they want to encourage the evaluation of applicants beyond traditional measures such as test scores and grades. For the class admitted this spring, 41 applicants (out of 7,000) tried the essay approach. Of the 41, 17 were admitted. But Bard introduced the program in September. The new essay topics will be ready in June, giving the next class more time to consider and act on the option.
Minority enrollments in law schools showed only modest gains in the last decade, rising from 20.6 percent in 2003 to 25.8 percent in 2012, according to an analysis in The National Law Journal. The figures for black students were particularly stagnated, increasing only from 6.9 percent to 7.5 percent during that time period.
CollegeNET, a business that provides a number of admissions-related services to colleges, has announced an antitrust lawsuit against the Common Application. "Common Application has orchestrated a sea change in the student application process, turning a once vibrant, diverse and highly competitive market into a straitjacketed ward of uniformity," the suit says. "[D]iversity and competition have been virtually eliminated among ‘elite’ colleges, approximately 85 percent of whom are members of the Common Application." The press release announcing the suit also charges that the association imposes rules on members that have the impact of increasing application costs to students, and pressuring colleges to use the Common Application exclusively rather than using multiple admissions services.
The Common Application has faced considerable criticism in the last year over the numerous bugs and glitches in a new software system. While much of the criticism has focused on technology, pricing structure has also been an issue. And an outside consultant's report for Common Application questioned whether the incentives the Common Application gives member colleges to use the application exclusively advance or detract from the organization's mission. When the application problems were blocking applicants from submitting applications last fall, institutions that were exclusive Common Application users faced more difficulty coming up with alternatives for applicants.
A spokesman for the Common Application said via email that "we have just learned about this lawsuit, and will reserve any comment on the matter. The Common Application is a nonprofit, voluntary membership organization that has been dedicated to promoting equity, access and integrity in the college application process for nearly 40 years."
For those parents stressed out about visiting colleges that their children might attend, Magellan Jets is promoting a special service: 10 hours of private jet rental, dropoffs and pick-ups at airports, and a "seamless itinerary" to visit colleges on your child's list. The cost is $43,500. MarketWatch noted an obvious question for those who sign up for the service: "How will your college student get home for Thanksgiving? A packed economy flight, or another private jet?"