Quick Takes: Visa Reforms Sought, Advance for Workforce Bill, Berkeley Admissions, Tuition Settlement in Missouri

May 19, 2005
  • A coalition of 40 academic and scientific groups released recommendations Wednesday on how to improve the process for issuing visas to foreign students and scholars. The statement, which was coordinated by the Association of American Universities and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, noted that there have been improvements in the visa system in the year since the groups last released recommendations. But the group said that more needs to be done and recommended such changes as allowing for the renewal of visas while in the United States, ending "inflexible requirements" and negotiating visa reciprocity agreements with selected countries.
  • The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday approved its version of a bill (S. 1021) that would renew the Workforce Investment Act, the law that governs federal job training programs. Like a competing measure ( H.R. 27) passed by the House of Representatives in March, the Senate bill would formally create a new $250 million program for community colleges: the Community-Based Job Training Grants program, which President Bush first mentioned in his 2004 State of the Union address and for which the administration has proposed $250 million in spending in the 2006 fiscal year.
  • Academic criteria, not race and ethnicity, determine who gets into the University of California at Berkeley, according to a report released Tuesday. The report examined the records of thousands of applicants in the wake of complaints that the university was violating system policy of not considering race and ethnicity in admissions decisions. According to the report, the only situation where race had a demonstrable impact was in cases where scores in a complicated admissions formula were tied. In these cases, black applicants had a slight advantage, the report said, adding that the statistical edge would have been eliminated if six fewer black students had been admitted.
  • A state judge in Missouri has approved a settlement of a class action suit that charges that the University of Missouri did not have the right to charge tuition to in-state undergraduates from January 1995 to August 2001. Under the settlement, the university will place $10 million in a scholarship fund that will be made available to those state residents who were aged 17-21 and attended the university during that period, and to their spouses and children. Three former students brought the case, charging that various statutes allowing the university to charge tuition were not in effect during that period.
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