Higher Education Quick Takes
Sarah Lawrence College has had the distinction of being the only competitive college that not only told applicants that they did not need to submit SAT or ACT scores, but stated that it would not accept such scores for review at all. But that is now changing and, effective with the admissions cycle starting this fall, the college is moving to a "test-optional" stance in which applicants have the choice of whether or not to submit. A statement on the college's admissions website explains the new position: "The submission of standardized tests is optional. Along with your transcripts, test scores may provide additional evidence of your academic achievements and potential. However, Sarah Lawrence is committed to a holistic review process, and we know that standardized testing may not accurately reflect the potential and contributions of all students. You will not be at a disadvantage should you choose not to submit your scores."
The Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts on Tuesday sided with Regis College in a dispute over its plans to build a retirement community, The Boston Globe reported. Massachusetts law gives leeway on zoning rules to educational institutions, but the town of Weston has argued that the planned retirement community should be viewed primarily as residential, not educational. Regis, in an argument that now appears likely to prevail when the case returns to a lower court, has argued that because residents would take courses at the college, and college students in gerontology and social work would have internships at the retirement center, that the plans are for an educational use.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney released a list of his education advisory committee Tuesday, including several veterans of George W. Bush's administration (among them former Education Secretary Rod Paige). Romney's higher education co-chairs are Phil Handy, former chairman of the Florida Board of Education, and Bill Hansen, a former deputy education secretary; for vocational education, he is seeking advice from Carol D'Amico, formerly an assistant education secretary and executive vice president of Ivy Tech Community College, and Emily DeRocco, formerly assistant secretary for employment and training at the Labor Department.
Higher education has not featured strongly in the former Massachusetts governor's campaign so far, although Romney has supported an extension of the 3.4 percent interest rate for subsidized student loans.
Alleging false and misleading recruitment materials that overstated earnings expectations and understated the risk of unemployment, an advocacy group is calling for the resignation of a Rutgers University at Camden School of Law administrator. Law School Transparency, a policy organization working to reduce the cost of legal education, said associate dean Camille Andrews sent prospective students information that exaggerated the benefits of attending Rutgers-Camden. In addition to Andrews's resignation, Law School Transparency called for an investigation by the American Bar Association and asked the university to clarify the data in those materials to any prospective students who were contacted.
Dean Rayman Solomon is standing by Andrews. Solomon said the recruitment material was accurate but that he's "open to discussion" about the best way to reach prospective students going forward. The promotion in question targeted potential applicants who took the GMAT, not the LSAT, the typical law school admission test. The goal, Solomon said, was to reach a new audience and introduce the Rutgers-Camden program. Students could then go online to get more information.
"This was one letter saying are you interested, have you thought about it?" Solomon said. "This is not our entire marketing campaign. This is telling people that we have a program."
But were the numbers misleading?
"I don’t know how to respond," Solomon said. "If you have a hundred people, would four of them be misled? Would one be misled? Would 98 be misled? [It was] a piece that was designed to get people to think about something they hadn't thought about. This wasn’t the only information they could get about it."
The transparency group charged that:
- Employment data for recent graduates excluded the 43 graduates (out of 242 total) who were unemployed without making that distinction clear.
- The college claimed that “many” recent graduates had salaries of more than $130,000, while a Law School Transparency analysis suggested that only one to five recent grads were earning in that range.
- Rutgers-Camden exaggerates the likelihood and value of receiving a judicial clerkship. That claim left Solomon "incensed," because he said New Jersey has an exceptional and competitive clerkship program, unlike some other states.
- By contacting students who took the GMAT, Law School Transparency said Rutgers-Camden portrayed itself inaccurately as a "down-economy safe haven that leads to status and riches."
The dean didn't dispute any of Law School Transparency's figures, which came from the college, but disagreed with the analysis.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has announced he will sign legislation headed to his desk that will eliminate legislative scholarships, GateHouse News Service reported. The scholarships -- in which legislators give away scholarships to public universities -- have long been controversial but have survived many previous attempts to kill them. "There is no place for a political scholarship program in Illinois,” the governor said in a statement. “As I have repeatedly advocated, scholarships -- paid for by Illinois taxpayers – should be awarded only to those with merit who are in true financial need. Abolishing this program is the right thing to do."
The former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi was sentenced Monday in a New Jersey county courthouse to 30 days in jail, three years’ probation, 300 hours of community service and a $10,000 fine for his actions leading up to the suicide of his roommate, Tyler Clementi. Ravi, who used a webcam to spy on Clementi kissing another man, while other students looked on, faced up to 10 years in state prison. He was found guilty on charges of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge days after the incident took place; Ravi was not charged in direct connection with Clementi’s death. Ravi is still subject to deportation to his native India, but the judge said he will recommend that the 20-year-old be allowed to stay in the United States. Ravi is slated to begin his jail term May 31; his lawyers say they will appeal the sentence.
An audit by the Los Angeles Community College District has found that nearly $100,000 in checks to the head of the Los Angeles Trade Tech foundation may have been forged, The Los Angeles Times reported. The forgery is of the signature of Trade Tech's president, Roland Chapdelaine. Rhea Chung, the foundation head, is on leave pending an investigation, but has denied all wrongdoing and said that checks she received were appropriate. The auditors said that they could not say who may have forged the president's signature.
Google is allocating part of its New York offices to Cornell University and Technion -- the Israel Institute of Technology to help the universities grow their presence in the city while they wait on construction of their joint campus on Roosevelt Island, the city, universities, and company announced today. The Roosevelt Island campus, the result of a months-long competition primarily between Cornell and Stanford University, is designed to focus on applied sciences and stimulate the city's technology sector. City and university administrators hailed Google's move as an opportunity to bring the universities closer to the types of companies it hopes to develop. Google is initially providing 22,000 square feet of office space free of charge and is giving Cornell the option of expanding to 58,000 square feet over five years.