Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 26, 2010

A new study has found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, binge drinking the night before a major test may not affect performance. Scholars at Boston University and Brown University tested 193 university students, ages 21 to 24, from the Boston area. Volunteer participants received either regular beer or nonalcoholic beer. The morning after, participants were given the practice versions of the Graduate Record Examination, as well as a mock quiz on an academic lecture they attended the previous afternoon. The study found that participants scored no differently on the GREs, or on the quizzes, whether they had consumed alcoholic or nonalcoholic beer.

March 26, 2010

After months of delay, Congress, in one intense day that included more partisan spats and parliamentary maneuvering, passed budget legislation that included a $40 billion-plus investment in colleges and their students. The Senate approved a measure that would both make a series of "fixes" to the health care legislation that President Obama signed into law Wednesday and revamp the federal student loan programs.

March 26, 2010

There may be much debate over what SAT scores really signify, but new research suggests that they yield women a lot of money if they are willing to donate their eggs. The Boston Globe reported on a new study that found -- analyzing the ads in student newspapers -- that an increase of 100 points in a woman's score resulted in an average increase of $2,350 in offers to buy her eggs.

March 26, 2010

The growth of diagnoses of learning disabilities is raising issues about fairness and some discomfort among faculty members, but these questions get too little attention, according to a report issued Thursday by the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. The report is a mix of national data along with a focus on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And the report notes that while the growing diagnoses may in part relate to earlier detection, there has also been a growth in a testing industry that caters to wealthy families who want a diagnosis so their children can gain extra time on key tests. James Kessler, director of disability services at Chapel Hill, said that the report served a valuable purpose in bringing attention to these issues. But he said that, in addition to faculty members who worry about whether some students are taking advantage of a diagnosis, there are many professors who understand learning disabilities and see the enhanced services as helping students. "We have faculty who call us and say 'I have this young woman who in discussion gets the course, but on a test she doesn't. Can I send her over and see what's up?' "

March 25, 2010

The University of Cincinnati largely shut down in the wake of the Kent State University killings in 1970, and when many students left the area, they missed out on their graduation ceremony. Now, the Associated Press reported, the university is welcoming back to campus those who missed the graduation and offering a special ceremony for them prior to this year's graduation.

March 25, 2010

The legislation that Congress passed last winter to stimulate the economy ratcheted up federal spending on research and development in the 2009 fiscal year, the National Science Foundation said in a report Wednesday. The NSF said that total federal R&D spending rose by 12.2 percent in 2009, to $157 billion from $140 billion in 2008. Virtually all of the increase came in non-defense spending, with most of the gain coming in health-related research and in general science research.

March 25, 2010

The Kansas House of Representatives voted Wednesday to allow anyone in the state with a license to carry a concealed weapon to bring the weapon on campuses, KCTV News reported. The measure, which now moves to the Senate, has been opposed by higher education leaders, who say it would make campuses more dangerous and that they should be allowed to continue to ban concealed weapons.

March 25, 2010

The University of South Carolina could soon lose its only black board member, and with black legislators unhappy about the prospect, they are warning black football recruits to reconsider enrolling, The Associated Press reported. "We are asking young athletes to be aware ... there are folks in this state who say it's fine to play ball but not be on the governing board," the chair of the Legislative Black Caucus told the AP. Steve Spurrier, the football coach, declined to talk about the controversy.

March 25, 2010

Shaw University has received a $31 million loan to help stabilize its finances, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. While the loan is welcome news for supporters of the historically black college, the institution is facing questions from alumni about whether board members are giving enough money or are making good on past pledges.

March 25, 2010

Some faculty members at Canada's University of Regina are objecting to a scholarship program -- being embraced by most colleges in the country -- for the children of dead soldiers, CBC News reported. Faculty critics say that they don't object to helping these students, but singling them out -- when there are others whose parents have died or who face hardships -- glorifies war.

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