President Obama on Friday showered attention on community colleges and his plan for free community college. As graduation speaker at Lake Area Technical Institute, in South Dakota, he said he picked the institution to highlight its success in graduation rates and job placement rates, and related those statistics to the care of the faculty, quoting students about the support and guidance they receive. And President Obama plugged his proposal for free community college, arguing that Congress could easily endorse the concept and pay for it.
"If folks in Congress decided to make this a priority, we could do the next best thing and make community college free for an entire generation of young Americans, as long as they’re willing to work, keep their grades up, be responsible, graduate on time," President Obama said. "And we could pay for it by closing just one loophole for millionaires and billionaires. Just one. Just one tax loophole enjoyed almost entirely by very few at the top, we could offer a quality education to millions of middle-class Americans. It’s in everybody’s interest." The full text of the president's remarks may be found here.
Also on Friday, the White House released an email from the actor Tom Hanks, a community college graduate and already a supporter of the president's plan, describing how Chabot College changed his life, crediting specific faculty members and endorsing the free community college plan.
"I produced the HBO miniseries John Adams with an outline format I learned from a pipe-smoking historian, James Coovelis, whose lectures were riveting," wrote Hanks. "Mary Lou Fitzgerald's Studies in Shakespeare taught me how the five-act structures of Richard III, The Tempest and Othello focused their themes. In Herb Kennedy's Drama in Performance, I read plays like The Hot L Baltimore and Desire Under the Elms, then saw their productions. I got to see the plays he taught, through student rush tickets at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and the Berkeley Repertory Theater. Those plays filled my head with expanded dreams…. Here's my bottom line, and it's simple: More kids (and adults, for that matter) should have this chance."
Two gifts of $15 million each were announced last week to TheDream.US Foundation, which supports financial aid for students who lack the legal documentation to live permanently in the United States, The New York Daily News reported. The $30 million is believed to be the largest infusion of funds ever to help such students. The foundation works closely with the City University of New York, whose students have received half of the scholarships from the foundation. Financial aid is particularly important to undocumented students, as they are ineligible for federal aid. The donors are Donald Graham, former CEO of The Washington Post, and Bill Ackman, a hedge fund manager.
NACAC releases annual survey results, which show that most colleges let in most applicants -- and that increases in applications may not translate into more students. Interest in transfer applications is up.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling has released its annual list of colleges that are still accepting applications for admission this fall -- and there are more than 220 colleges on the list. While this total is lower than in some previous years, NACAC cautions that the list is simply a service it offers to members, only some of which participate in any given year, so the ups and downs on the list should not be viewed as trend indicators. The list may be found here.
Robert Breuder, president of the College of DuPage, started a medical leave today, days before the college's board was expected to put him on administrative leave, The Chicago Tribune reported. Breuder has been the subject of intense scrutiny by many over accusations of inappropriate spending, and faculty leaders have been calling for his ouster.
Drexel University accidentally sent 495 applicants it had rejected a congratulatory email meant for those it accepted, the Associated Press reported. The emails were intended to remind admitted applicants of the deadlines for accepting the offer. The emails arrived a few weeks after the rejected applicants were turned down, but some assumed that the university had let them in, after all. The university is apologizing for the mistake.
An Inside Higher Edarticle in January looked at how some law schools are admitting applicants with much lower Law School Admission Test scores than would have been admitted in the past. A new article from Bloomberg looks at the top of the LSAT range. It finds that as of March 2015, the number of law school applicants who have scores of 165 or higher (on a 120 to 180 scale) is about half of what it was in 2010.
Texas State University is the latest institution to accidentally mail acceptance materials to those whom the institution was not actually accepting. The Austin American-Statesman reported that 450 people whose applications were not completed received welcoming materials about orientation and housing.
In 2001, Texas became the first state to pass a law granting in-state tuition rates to undocumented students. This week, lawmakers are considering a bill to repeal the law, The Houston Chronicle reported. While the fate of the effort is unclear, it has strong backing from the state's Tea Party movement. According to Michael Olivas, a University of Houston law professor who tracks state policy about undocumented students, there are currently 20 states that either by statute or board policy allow these students to pay in-state rates. To date, only Wisconsin has both adopted and repealed such a policy.