Quick Takes: Admissions Hype '08, New Symbols for UNCF, Aid Effort for U. of California, LSU Chancellor Out, Mars Hill Settlement

January 17, 2008
  • Many of the most elite universities, most of them private, which year after year set records in numbers of applications, are announcing record numbers of applications again this year. Already this week records have been announced by Harvard University (up 18 percent), Princeton University (up 6 percent), and the University of Virginia (up 4 percent). Those are three universities that recently dropped early-decision programs -- and some of the early analysis is focused on that shift in policy. But many other competitive universities, which did not change early-decision policies, are also reporting increases: Cornell, Duke and Northwestern Universities. While the universities reporting increases tend to talk about their great qualities or improved recruitment, other factors explaining the increases at many institutions include the rise in the number of 18 year olds, the growing popularity of the Common Application, and hype that encourages top students to apply to more colleges. A note of caution: Some of those articles about application surges can be quite deceptive, as when major increases were seen in the number of students applying to 12 or more colleges (last year's much hyped trend) that actually applied to about 2 percent of the students.
  • The United Negro College Fund has one of the most successful slogans in the history of American promotional slogans: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." So it's no surprise that the UNCF -- in announcing a new branding campaign today -- isn't changing the slogan. Officials told The New York Times that they would, however, emphasize the group's acronym over its full name, as a way to honor the group's heritage without too much use of the word "Negro," which has long ceased to be the way historically black colleges or African-American people describe themselves. In addition, the group's black-and-white torch symbol will have other colors added, reflecting UNCF's work on behalf of people of a range of ethnic and racial groups.
  • A report to the University of California Board of Regents Wednesday called for the creation of a $2 billion endowment for financial aid, the Los Angeles Times reported. The reception from regents was mixed.
  • Sean O'Keefe resigned Wednesday as chancellor of Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, after only three years in office, saying that it was important for the person in his position to have the full confidence of the LSU system administration and board, The Times-Picayune reported. In recent weeks, O'Keefe has been in an increasingly public fight to hold on to his job, with some business leaders backing him amid reports that John Lombardi, the new system president (and an Inside Higher Ed columnist) had received a critical review of O'Keefe's performance.
  • The Mars Hill Graduate School of Seattle was ordered by a judge to pay $300,000 to a woman who was a founding faculty member of the institution and who charged it with harassment and discrimination, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. The school was also ordered to send a letter apologizing for "a great deal of misunderstanding" related to her departure. The graduate school denied wrongdoing and said it was making the payment as part of a settlement so the institution could focus on other matters.
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