A CNN investigation has found many football and basketball players at big time athletics universities may not be literate above a fifth grade level. The network approached public universities with open records requests for SAT and ACT scores of athletes on those teams. Some universities refused to comply. But of those that did, between 7 and 18 percent of football and basketball players were "reading at an elementary school level." The investigation also compared overall football and basketball player SAT and ACT scores to those of other students, finding large gaps at many institutions. Universities offered a variety of reasons for admitting athletes whose test scores would raise questions about their literacy. Some said, for example, that athletes don't take the tests that seriously, aiming only to do well enough to meet National Collegiate Athletic Association minimum requirements.
China is moving to change the test that is generally the sole factor in university admissions, The Economist reported. Government officials have indicated that they want to add some subjective factors -- such as consideration of extracurricular activities -- to admissions decisions. Some educators are concerned that the current system (and possibly the new one) favor wealthier applicants. In the 1970s, half of students at prestigious Tsinghua University were from poor, rural areas. In 2010, that share was down to 17 percent.
The Obama administration has rescheduled a White House meeting with college leaders to discuss how to boost the success of low-income students in higher education.
The summit will now take place on Jan. 16, a White House official said Thursday. Leaders from higher education, philanthropy, business and city and state governments are expected to take part in the daylong event. As part of the event, the administration has been seeking voluntary commitments from colleges on how they plan to increase efforts to help low-income students.
The meeting was supposed to take place last month, but it was postponed at the last minute because of President Obama’s travel to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.
The Common Application, which had severe technological problems in the early fall, but which has seen a more stable system recently, was able to process more applications on December 31 (the day of the year at which it typically receives the largest number of applications) than it did a year ago on the same day. But late on New Year's Day and continuing for a few hours, many of those filing were unable to do so.
Prior to the New Year's Day difficulties, social media featured only scattered complaints about slow response time, or difficulty with certain parts of the process, but most comments were simply from students boasting about being done with applications.
Rob Killion, executive director of the Common Application, said via email that the system processed 154,904 applications on Tuesday (9 percent more than the previous year), and 165,128 recommendation forms (a 42 percent increase). Counting optional writing supplements that were filed, he said that the total amounted to 5.23 submissions per second all day long. Another 122,00 applications were filed New Year's Day. He said that the volume of inquiries at the support desk has been "relatively light." Through Jan. 1, the total number of applications filed is up 12 percent, to more than 2.5 million.
Some of those filing late on New Year's Day did have difficulties. According to a post by Common Application on its Facebook page Thursday morning, the problem is now solved, but social media posts indicate it was fairly traumatic for some applicants who thought they were about to miss deadlines. The Common Application post says: "Between 11:35 p.m. Eastern and 2:35 a.m. Eastern some users had difficulty using the system, particularly during the first of those three hours. However, since 2:35 Eastern (50 minutes ago) you should be able to work without a problem. Have no fear - all member colleges with a January 1 deadline will accept any application submitted promptly today. Sorry to keep you up a little later tonight!"
Chinese parents who can afford to do so continue to make huge investments in their children's education by paying tuition for them to attend colleges and universities in the United States and other Western nations. But Financial Times (registration required) noted that some experts in China are questioning the (financial) value of the degrees earned abroad by Chinese students. There is no longer much of a wage premium for those who return. Further, the growing numbers of Chinese students going abroad means that it's no longer just the best and brightest. And some are questioning whether the Chinese students end up with enough knowledge of either the West or their home. Zong Qinghou, the second wealthiest man in China, who sent his only daughter to study abroad, recently said at a press conference that she "knows neither the current situation for Chinese enterprises nor the situation abroad."
The Los Angeles Times conducted a survey of public and private high schools in Southern California to see which colleges and how many colleges recruited, and found that the schools with high proportions of low-income and minority students received far fewer visits. At one private high school, the research found, there were more visits by colleges this fall (113) than there were high school seniors (106). The colleges included top institutions from all over the country. At a Los Angeles public high school with 280 seniors, only eight recruiters (all local) visited.
In July, there was much chatter about a Craigslist ad from the mother of a student about to enroll at Harvard University. The ad sought a young woman to have sex with her son, a virgin whom she feared was too shy to learn about women without some secret coaching from Mom.
Now there is a new Craigslist ad -- this time from someone who appears to have just been admitted to next year's class. "I am looking for someone to attend Harvard University pretending to be me for four years, starting August 2014. I will pay for your tuition, books, housing, transportation, and living expenses and pay $40,000 a year with a $10,000 bonus after graduation. All you have to do is attend all classes, pass all tests, and finish all assigned work, while pretending you are me. You do not need to worry about being accepted, I have already taken care of that." The ad specifies that applicants must have 4.0 grade-point average in high school, or a 3.5 or higher from a university.
A fake? Who knows. Inside Higher Ed sent an email to the reply address and hasn't heard back. A Harvard University spokesman said via email: "We cannot verify the veracity of an online ad. We regularly take appropriate steps to ensure that only students admitted to Harvard College matriculate." Harvard has been duped in the past.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, and Democratic legislative leaders have reached an agreement that should pave the way for the state's public colleges and universities to charge in-state tuition to students who lack the legal documentation to reside in the United States, The New York Times reported. Christie appeared last year -- when running for re-election -- to back the idea, but he has been ambivalent of late, leaving many to wonder if he could support the bill. Under the compromise, the governor has said he will sign the bill as long as it is amended to deny state financial aid to the undocumented students.