Washington University in St. Louis has been widely criticized based on its relative lack of diversity compared to other colleges with highly competitive admissions and significant funds for financial aid. Many have suggested that the university's practice of offering generous scholarships to applicants with high SAT scores and grades, but not much real financial need, was responsible. The university announced on Friday that in part due to changes in admissions and aid strategy, the institution is seeking real gains in diversity of the freshman class, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Black students are expected to make up 9 percent of the freshman class, up from 5 percent a year ago. Latino freshman will make up 8 percent of the class, up from 6 percent. The percentage of low-income students is projected to be 11 percent, up from 8 percent.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Academic publishers and a team of Russian and American academics announced Saturday a major effort to translate up to 100 books of literature from Russian into English, The New York Times reported. Some works may be classics in need of new translations, but many will be modern literature that has yet to be translated. The books will be published by Columbia University Press.
Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education is preparing to offer Cheyney University, a financially troubled historically black institution, a $6.5 million line of credit, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The university's finances have been in doubt for a number of reasons, including a 36 percent enrollment drop in recent years. The line of credit is believed to be sufficient to help the university manage through early 2016. The university system and Cheyney officials are also working on enrollment and financial plans to give the university more stability.
Albright College, in Pennsylvania, announced last week that it is suspending operations of its campus in Mesa, Ariz. Albright cited lower than projected enrollments. Mesa recruited five private colleges to start operating a higher education center there, on the theory that they could attract students to programs that were already doing well at home campus locations. But enrollments have lagged. Westminster College, in Missouri, last year announced that it was pulling out of Mesa.
Atlantic Union College, which suspended operations in 2011 due to a financial problems and a loss of accreditation, is planning to again admit students into some programs, The Worcester Telegram reported. The Seventh-day Adventist college in Massachusetts has received help from its church to deal with debt and is seeking accreditation again.
The University of the West of England is promoting its research on uses for urine by setting up a special area at a music festival where attendees may urinate and see their waste products used as a biofuel to generate electricity to light up the urinal. University researchers hope to take advantage of the typical shortage of bathrooms at outdoor music festivals to generate excitement about the project. Those who visit the special facility will also see materials about uses for urine that can promote sustainability and help those in refugee camps and elsewhere. University researchers refer to the product as “urine-tricity” or “pee power.”
Two neighboring performing arts colleges -- the Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory -- are exploring a merger, The Boston Globe reported. Berklee, with an endowment of $321 million and more than 4,000 students, is the larger of the institutions. But Boston Conservatory -- with a $15 million endowment and enrollment of 730 -- has some academic strengths not in the broader curriculum of Berklee.
A new poll by Gallup finds that Americans give fairly similar grades, and positive ones, to two-year and four-year colleges. Asked to base their judgments on their own knowledge, 70 percent of Americans said that the quality of four-year institutions was good or excellent. The figure was only slightly lower, 66 percent, for community colleges. But the figure was much lower -- 36 percent -- for online-only programs. Gallup conducts surveys for Inside Higher Ed, but this poll was conducted independently of Inside Higher Ed.
A new report from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics shows that the proportion of adults with a work credential typically increases with educational attainment, excluding those adults with a doctoral degree. The figures range from 6 percent for adults with a high school diploma having a work credential to 68 percent for people with a professional degree.
Over half of credentialed adults -- 53 percent -- have less than a bachelor's degree.
Work credentials are often used as an alternative or supplement to education credentials like diplomas and degrees. The credentials include occupational licenses and certifications. The most common work credentials are obtained in health care, education and the trades, according to the report.