Kenneth P. Ruscio, president of Washington and Lee University, has ordered a review of the way the university reports admissions statistics, The Washington Post reported. The review follows an earlier report in the Post that the university has counted as applicants many who never finished their applications. The university's decision to count those partial applications decreased the university's admit rate, suggesting that it is more selective than it would be otherwise. “I believe that we are acting in accordance with the applicable guidelines and in a manner consistent with how other colleges and universities approach this process,” said a statement from Ruscio. “Nevertheless, if there are questions about our policy, we will address them forthrightly and transparently. Our credibility is fundamental to everything that we do.”
The review will focus on which applicants are counted in certain categories. The questions that have been raised are about that decision, not the accuracy of the data overall.
The State University of New York has toughened admissions requirements for the teacher preparation programs on 17 of its campuses. To enter an undergraduate major or a graduate program, a Graduate Record Examination or equivalent test will now be required, as only some campuses have done in the past. There will also for the first time be a uniform 3.0 grade-point-average requirement (such requirements also varied by campus). The 3.0 would apply to the first two years of college work for undergraduate programs that accept students as juniors, to high school grades for programs that accept freshmen, and to undergraduate work for graduate programs.
Many admissions officers at the annual meeting of the National Association for College Admission Counseling were complaining about technical glitches on the Common Application's new back-end system, which was launched in August. Some applicants have complained of difficulties in inputting their materials, while some colleges have had difficulties pulling applicant information from the system. Sessions featuring Common Application officials had lots of angry admissions officials in attendance. Many other enrollment officials, who didn't go to the sessions, saw the glitches as typical for major system overhauls -- and not that disruptive (assuming they are fixed soon).
Rob Killion, executive director of the Common Application, said that the system is already setting records in the number of applications being processed. He acknowledged that some bugs remain but said that he anticipated them being fixed "in a week or so." Here is the Common Application's status list of bugs.
Adrian College has announced that it will repay all or part of the student loans of new graduates who fail to get jobs that pay at least $37,000. Under the plan, the college will make all of loan repayments due for of those who don't have a job that pays at least $20,000, and then a portion of the repayments for those with salaries of $20,000 to $37,000. The idea behind the program, called Adrian Plus, is to reassure students and families that they can attend a private liberal arts college without fear of debt they can't manage upon graduation. Adrian officials stressed that, based on past patterns, the vast majority of students won't need to partipate in the program.
Noodle, the education company founded by John Katzman (who founded Princeton Review and the company now known as 2U), will today announce a new effort to make it easier for colleges to deal with all the requests they receive for data from rankings providers -- and to assure more common data. The Common Data Library will be open to any reputable ranker (a yet-to-be-determined panel of college officials will decide who qualifies) with which colleges want to share data. In theory, a college could avoid putting together separate data sets to share with the growing number of entities requesting the data. Katzman said that the approach not only would save colleges time and money (they won't be charged for the service), but would promote accuracy. He noted that -- because different rankings ask questions in slightly different ways -- single institutions can be listed as having differing tuition rates or other data points.
Among the more notable pieces of recent education research was a study finding that most of the high-ability, low-income students in the country never apply to a single competitive college, even though they would likely be admitted and be offered aid. The research found that active outreach, explaining to such students what their options are, and providing application fee waivers, can encourage more of them to apply. Today, state officials in Delaware, together with the College Board and representatives of Ivy League universities, Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are announcing a plan to reach all such students in Delaware and to provide the kind of counseling that the research says could make a difference. Other Delaware high school students -- who may not be at as high levels of academic ability -- will also receive outreach, with college options that might work for them.
Those hoping to see the medical profession diversify may need to consider the way debt appears to affect different kinds of medical students, says an article published Monday in the journal PLOS One. The study -- by researchers at Columbia University -- asked medical students nationwide to estimate how much debt they would have upon graduating. The answers varied by racial and ethnic group, with 77 percent of black students estimating that they would owe more than $150,000. For other groups, the share was smaller: 65 percent of white students, 57 percent of Latino students, and 50 percent of Asian students expect to graduate with those debt levels.