Quick Takes: Big Price Tag for Sports, Mich. Voters to Decide on Affirmative Action, Harvard Improves Aid Plan, Parental Contact, Shortfall for Houston CC, Review of Health Professions Programs, Court Win for U. of North Dakota, April Fool's Selections

March 31, 2006
  • Public colleges and universities with big-time athletics programs spent at least $1 billion on them last year, according to an analysis published Thursday in The Indianapolis Star. The newspaper based its analysis on information that the colleges report to the National Collegiate Athletic Association -- information that The Star obtained through freedom-of-information requests. The Star also created a database allowing for searches of the information it obtained.
  • The Michigan Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the way for voters to decide on a referendum that would bar the use of affirmative action by state agencies, including public colleges, The Detroit Free Press reported.
  • Harvard University announced Thursday that it was raising the income level for its program to pay full costs for the lowest income students from $40,000 to $60,000. The announcement followed a move by the University of Pennsylvania, announced last week, to provide full aid packages for families with incomes up to $50,000.
  • Almost three-fourths of the members of the College Parents of America communicate with their children two or three times a week, while about one-third have daily contact, according to a survey released by the association. While the group's members are probably not a representative sample of college parents, they reflect a growing population of parents who are deeply involved with their children even after they go off to college.
  • The Houston Community College District is scrambling to deal with a shortfall of $67 million in a series of building projects that college officials told voters would be covered by a 2003 bond vote, The Houston Chronicle reported. The shortfall is being made up through a variety of measures, including a new technology fee that students will pay.
  • It is difficult to gauge the effectiveness of the federal government's Health Professions Education Programs because the programs have different performance goals and good data do not exist on their results, the Government Accountability Office said in a report Thursday. The programs, which medical school officials strongly support, have in recent years been targeted by federal budget cutters who question their value.
  • The North Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the dismissal of a suit by a former graduate student whose Ph.D. was revoked amid plagiarism allegations, the Associated Press reported. The Supreme Court agreed with a lower court that the former student needed to appeal within the university before suing.
  • April Fool's Day always brings some fun items in the student press. Among this year's selections are the takeover of the student government at George Washington University by a radical Islamic party (in the GW Hatchet) and a new emphasis on "tight bods" as Swarthmore College seeks to admit more "hotties" (in The Phoenix).
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