admissions

Are Common Application Problems Fixed?

The Common Application, which has been posting increasingly optimistic updates about its attempts to fix the many bugs that surfaced in its new application system this fall, went even further on Friday. On the daily update on its Facebook page, the Common Application said that while some users experience slow response while updates were being made, "as we post this, everything is working normally." Judging from comments posted on that update, not everyone agrees. Some posts indicated that applicants and their high schools were no longer having problems. Others noted continued problems and poor response or no response from the help desk. Several said that they were going to alternatives -- such as snail mail -- for teacher recommendations. Many colleges have delayed early decision deadlines (November 1 at many institutions) but online comments suggests continued stress for applicants aiming for early decision.

The Universal College Application, a competitor to the Common Application (and with a fraction of participating colleges) announced on Friday that Washington University in St. Louis was a new participant. Washington University is the fifth college to join in the last month, amid growing frustrations with the Common Application. The others are: Hampshire and Trinity (Conn.) Colleges, and Princeton and Tufts Universities.

 

 

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Layoffs Follow Enrollment Drop at Martin U.

Martin University on Friday announced 16 faculty and staff layoffs, The Indianapolis Star reported. The layoffs follow an enrollment drop. The university expected to have 700 students enroll this fall, but ended up with only 522.

Common App Publishes New Update, Apology

The Common Application -- facing intense criticism over technical glitches that have made it impossible for many people to apply to college -- on Friday issued a new update on its problems, and an apology. The statement pledged to do better at both fixing the problems and updating people on the status of the situation. "All of us who work with and for The Common Application -- from the Board of Directors to the staff to our technology partners at Hobsons -- understand the significance of this moment, both for the college application process and for the reputation of the association itself. To those of you who have offered words of support and encouragement, we thank you," the statement says. "To those of you who have lost faith in our ability to adequately meet the needs of you and your students, we understand."

Several colleges have delayed early decision or other deadlines in light of the difficulties students have had filing with the Common Application.

 

 

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Unexpected exchange before Supreme Court on alumni child preferences

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State lawyer defending ban on affirmative action suggests U. of Michigan end preference for alumni children -- and Justice Sotomayor objects.

Supreme Court justices appear skeptical of overturning Michigan ban on affirmative action

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Several justices question the logic of overturning Michigan's ban on the consideration of race in admissions.

Tracking High School-to-College Rates

Newly-released data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center tracks how 2.3 million high school graduates fared in transitioning to college over a three-year period. The report from the nonprofit Clearinghouse sets benchmarks for the college-going rates of public high school graduates, with specific categories for low-income, high-minority and urban high schools.

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Who Is Sabotaging College Applications at Elite Private School?

The Horace Mann School, an elite private high school in New York City, informed parents that an anonymous person has written to colleges with the goal of damaging the admissions chances of one of the school's students, New York Magazine reported. The school has contacted the admissions offices that received the material to try to undo the damage. A letter sent by Canh Oxelson, director of college counseling, to parents said: "In 20 years of college admissions, I have never witnessed anything so disrespectful.... For a student to have worked so hard for so many years, only to see those efforts jeopardized by an act of sabotage, is absolutely unconscionable."

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Will 'U.S. News' Ignore the ABA?

Some law school deans thought recent communication from U.S. News & World report indicated that the magazine's rankings were about to ignore the recommendations of the American Bar Association. It turns out that U.S. News is preserving that option, but hasn't decided what to do. At issue is one of the recommendations of a special ABA panel that last month proposed numerous changes in legal education. One of the focuses of the ABA panel was the widespread criticism that law school is too expensive and that, at many law schools, spending that forces up tuition rates may not be improving the student experience. The panel specifically cited the impact of U.S. News including spending (expenditures per student) in its methodology. "This encourages law schools to increase expenditures for purpose of affecting ranking, without reference to impact on value delivered or educational outcomes, and thus promotes continued increase in the price of law school education." The panel urged U.S. News to stop including the measure in its methodology.

As a result, some law deans were disturbed to get this year's information request from U.S. News, with the same expenditure questions as in years past. One unnamed dean wrote on the blog Brian Leiter's Law School Reports: "While the decision to rank schools according to how much they spend has always been corrosive, perverse, and misleading, it is particularly disturbing to see U.S. News continue to do so in light of the above and in light of the urgent need for law schools to hold down costs and limit expenditures in order to minimize student debt."

Robert Morse, who directs the rankings at U.S. News, via e-mail confirmed that the questions were being asked but he said it was inaccurate to say that the information will be used in the next rankings. But he said that the rankings operation "has not made a determination at this time if there will be any change in the upcoming best law schools  ranking methodology."

 

Survey finds lack of transparency in agent relationships

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Survey finds that just 13 percent of international applicants who used education agents knew whether they earned commissions from colleges.

 

Education Groups Oppose 'Pay It Forward'

The "Pay It Forward" concept -- in which students would not pay tuition to attend public colleges, but would pay a share of their salaries after graduation -- has attracted considerable attention in recent months. But a coalition of education groups issued a statement Friday opposing the idea. The group's analysis says that such plans would increase the cost of higher education, do nothing about the "state disinvestment" in higher education and create the wrong incentives for public colleges. For example, the groups say that public colleges would have an incentive to build up programs likely to attract students who will earn the most money after graduation, which may not be the most important programs for a state or its higher education system. "We are heartened that state lawmakers are taking the student debt crisis seriously and are seeking solutions. However, these solutions need to actively attack, not obscure, the root cause of rising student costs and debt -- declining state investment in high quality public higher education. Pay It Forward moves us in the wrong direction," the statement concludes.

The groups that signed were: American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Association of University Professors, AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers, Colorado Student Power Alliance, Education Trust, Jobs With Justice, National Education Association, Student Labor Action Project (and University of Oregon Student Labor Action Project) and the Institute for College Access and Success.

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