Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of Colorado at Boulder has dropped its SAT requirement for international applicants, The Boulder Daily Camera reported. Officials said that many international applicants reported difficulty finding test centers for the SAT (or for the ACT). However, Boulder has simultaneously moved to increase the minimum score required (from 61 to 75, on a scale of 120) for applicants to achieve on the Test of English as a Foreign Language.
A senior White House education adviser took questions from college presidents Tuesday at the annual meeting of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, providing a few more details on the administration's plan to make college affordable. After a panel discussion of affordability issues, which featured college presidents sharing their methods for helping students with tuition and loan repayment, Zakiya Smith tried to alleviate some of the private colleges' concerns. The administration will focus only on net price, not list price, she said, adding that officials would seek input and advice from colleges and associations.
"We know this is a shared responsibility," Smith said. "Hearing about those things gave us hope, gave us promise." Several presidents emphasized that the Race to the Top-like fund for college affordability or other maintenance of effort clauses should require that state-level financial aid, which can help students attending private colleges, be maintained as well.
One editorial board member has resigned and another may follow, after the publication in the Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology questioning the link between HIV and AIDS, Nature reported. The paper's lead author is Peter Duesberg of the University of California at Berkeley, who has for years questioned that link -- much to the consternation of most AIDS scientists who believe it has been well established.
James Ammons, president of Florida A&M University, on Tuesday announced that he is temporarily banning all student clubs from recruiting, admitting or initiating any new members, the Associated Press reported. The announcement is the latest response to the hazing-related death of a member of the university's marching band. Ammons also announced that he is calling off a planned summer band camp.
Legislators in Florida and Georgia are having contentious debates this week about undocumented students and public higher education. In Georgia, lawmakers are debating legislation that would bar from public higher education all students who lack legal documentation to reside in the United States, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. At a hearing Tuesday, many spoke out against the bill, and lawmakers suggested that they would consider some flexibility for colleges. Last year, the state higher education system toughened its rules on such students, saying that they could not enroll in any college that is turning away qualified applicants. The issue has attracted considerable attention despite the relatively small numbers of students involved. Of the state system's 318,000 students, about 300 are undocumented, down from 500 before rules were tightened.
In Florida on Tuesday, legislation to help such students (by granting them in-state tuition rates) died in a tie vote in committee, the Associated Press reported.
The Symbiosis University, in Pune, India, has postponed a seminar and the screening of a film on Kashmir amid protests by nationalist Indian students that the programs were "anti-national," BBC News reported. A university spokesman said that the program had been intended as an "apolitical and academic event."
Parents can have an impact on the drinking habits of freshmen who are otherwise at high risk of abusing alcohol, according to a study from researchers at Pennsylvania State University. The study compared the impact of parental and peer interventions. The researchers found that non-drinkers who receiving information from their parents before enrolling were significantly less likely than others to become heavy drinkers. The impact of parental and peer interventions was the same in terms of helping a heavy drinker become a less heavy drinker.
An education analyst and former assistant Education Secretary who became famous for an about-face on No Child Left Behind warned college presidents Monday that changes similar to the 2001 higher education law were coming to higher education. Diane Ravitch, a professor of education at New York University, spoke to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, criticized many trends in higher education policy and President Obama's new plan to increase college affordability. An increasing reliance on productivity and outcomes data will result in a generation of students who cannot learn or think for themselves, she warned. "The more we attempt to quantify what cannot be quantified, the more we narrow the purposes of higher education," Ravitch said, calling on college presidents to stand up for academic freedom and resist the "accountability juggernaut." Her remarks were met with a standing ovation — but only from part of the audience, and some did not clap at all.