Quick Takes: Applications May Lose Significance, Challenge to Use of Race, California Undergrads, Family-Friendly Orientation, Obese Girls Less Likely to Enroll, Okla. State Wins on Eminent Domain, Orange Coast Sells Island, How Bush Helped U. of Alberta

July 24, 2007
  • Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, which evaluates the credit-worthiness of many colleges and universities, is seeing so many institutions report application increases that the company is reconsidering whether application increases are a significant measure any more. Part of the Standard & Poor's approach has been to measure "institutional demand" for an institution, looking at number of applications, selectivity measures, and enrollment figures. But in a report issued Monday, Standard & Poor's said that with the increasing use of the Common Application and online applications, more students are applying to more colleges, so an institution reporting a significant application increase may not mean much. The ratings service is going to consider other ways to measure institutional demand. Among the possibilities: student satisfaction surveys and polls of admitted applicants.
  • A group that opposes affirmative action has filed a complaint with the U.S. Education Department, asking it to investigate the use of race in admissions at the University of Texas at Austin, the Associated Press reported. Most students at Austin are admitted automatically by being in the top 10 percent of their high school classes, but some students are admitted through a process that considers a range of factors, including race and ethnicity. The complaint argues that Texas has an obligation to rely on race-neutral means, such as the automatic admission for those at the top of high school classes, if such measures can achieve diversity. Texas officials said that they would cooperate with any investigation but believed their admissions process was legal.
  • The University of California last week released statistics on undergraduates throughout the system. Among the findings: 23 percent were born outside the United States, and another 37 percent were born in the United States but have at least one parent who was not; 35 percent are not native speakers of English; 42 percent report that they are easily distracted in a way that hurts their academic success; in terms of time spent in various activities, they report spending an average of 13.1 hours per week on homework, 11.1 hours per week using the Internet for non-academic purposes, and 5.7 hours per week watching television.
  • Some colleges are expanding orientation to add programs for younger siblings, The Boston Globe reported. The idea is to free parents up -- and to get a head start at recruiting the younger brothers and sisters to apply a few years later.
  • High school girls who are obese are half as likely to go on to college as non-obese girls, according to new research in the journal Sociology of Education.
  • A state judge ruled Monday that Oklahoma State University has eminent domain rights to obtain the one remaining home blocking construction of a $316 million athletic village, The Tulsa World reported. The judge said that the project was within the eminent domain rights that the state granted the university and rejected claims that the university was not negotiating in good faith with the owners of the house.
  • Orange Coast College has found a buyer for a 36-acre island in British Columbia that was donated to the community college in southern California, the Los Angeles Times reported. While the sale price is $2.4 million, the decision to sell has been controversial. College officials said the island was too far away to be useful, but some students and professors said a great resource was being lost.
  • President Bush has unintentionally helped the University of Alberta in its quest to recruit 500 top researchers. The Edmonton Journal published a profile of the campaign and noted that Richard McCreery, a leading electrochemist who worked for 32 years at Ohio State University, started contemplating a change after President Bush was re-elected. He told the paper that he was "pretty disgusted" and started looking at Canadian universities, finding Alberta attractive because of a major investment in science positions and facilities. Most of those recruited are earlier in their careers.
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