Sterling College, a Christian liberal arts institution in Kansas, has announced an unusual gift. Someone left a boulder with a sword's handle sticking out of it outside a campus building. There was no note, but the boulder is engraved with "SC Warriors" on one side. (The college's athletic teams are known as the Warriors.) A statement from Scott Rich, vice president and chief financial officer, said, "The gift is professionally done, and it is clear that a lot of time and effort have gone into the project. We would like to know more information about the gift to properly thank those who donated it."
Higher Education Quick Takes
Organizers have failed in their attempt to gather enough petition signatures to force a vote in California on whether to repeal the state's Dream Act, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The drive needed about 500,000 signatures and was about 57,000 short. California's Dream Act allows -- in certain circumstances -- students who lack the legal documentation to live in the United States to receive state financial aid.
The French government has backed away from a proposed tightening of student visa rules that would have made it difficult for foreign students to stay in France after graduation, The Washington Post reported. The proposal had been strongly criticized by university leaders, who said that the restrictions would have been inconsistent with the country's values, and would have hurt the institutions' standing around the world.
Law students who switch law schools do well academically at their new institutions, despite generally having lower academic credentials than those who enrolled as first-year law students. That's a major finding of this year's Law School Survey of Student Engagement. The survey also finds that these students may not be fully integrated into their new institutions.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced that he has dropped the idea of having the state borrow money from university reserve funds, the Associated Press reported. The idea he floated would have used the borrowed money to avoid deep cuts in state appropriations. But many legislators questioned whether this approach was sound fiscal policy and worried that the state universities might never get their money back.
Twenty-one men from Haiti have sued Fairfield University over the sex abuse they suffered when they were children cared for at a charity in Haiti, The Hartford Courant reported. Fairfield is a target because, the suits allege, the university supported the charity (founded by an alumnus since accused of being a pedophile) and should have known about the abuse. A lawyer for the university said that the suit is incorrect in blaming Fairfield. The university did not have any supervisory authority over the charity, which was not affiliated with Fairfield, the lawyer said.
While most colleges predict an increase in net tuition revenue for the 2012 fiscal year, a small group are pessimistic about their chances to grow revenue greater than financial aid, according to a survey released Wednesday by Moody's Investors Service. According to the study, 18 percent of private and 17 percent of public universities expect a decrease in net tuition revenue next year. Those numbers are similar to expectations last year, though only 13 percent of privates and 8 percent of publics actually experienced a decline. Lower-rated private colleges (Baa and below), which tend to have smaller enrollments, a more regional draw, smaller endowments, and competition from lower-cost public options, were the most likely to say they would see a decrease in net tuition revenue next year. No institution rated Moody's highest (Aaa) expected a decline in net tuition revenue.
Since the outlook is weak for other revenue sources, such as state funding, private gifts, and research grants, Moody's analysts say colleges need to pay particular attention to growing tuition revenue if they want to maintain in strong financial position.
Despite the unemployment rate of recent graduates topping the national average, a bachelor’s degree “is still worth it,” according to a new study from Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce. Those who studied architecture are the worst off – 13.9 percent are unemployed, the study found. Only one other field – the arts – had unemployment rates in the double digits, with 11.1 percent of recent graduates (aged 22-26) lacking jobs. The humanities and liberal arts came in third with 9.4 percent, followed by social science (8.9 percent), recreation (8.3 percent), and computers and mathematics (8.2 percent). Those who fared best studied health or education, fields where 5.4 percent of recent graduates are unemployed. But rates vary significantly in some fields, too; in humanities and liberal arts, for example, they reach as low as 7.9 percent for “French, German, Latin and other common foreign languages,” but creep as high as 10.8 percent for philosophy and religious studies.
The study, based on 2009-10 data from the Census Bureau, also reported median wages by field. Engineering majors came out on top in that regard, making about $55,000 per year, while majors in the arts, psychology and social work rounded out the bottom with about $30,000 annually. Newly minted bachelor’s degree-holders can be happy about one thing, at least: their prospects will likely improve in the foreseeable future, as the economy continues to recover and they either get more degrees or (if they find a job) more experience. And while their “unacceptable” 8.9 percent unemployment rate outpaces the national rate by a third of a percentage point, they’re more than twice as likely to be employed than the “catastrophic” 22.9 percent of recent high school graduates didn’t go to college but can’t find jobs – not to mention the “almost unthinkable” 31.5 percent rate among high school dropouts.