Higher Education Quick Takes
Parents are encouraging the growth of programs in China that enroll prodigies in universities many years before traditional college age, China Daily reported. Zhang Xinyang currently holds the record for youngest college student. He was 10 when he enrolled and is now, at 16, pursuing a doctorate in mathematics at Beihang University. About 1,400 high school students applied this year for just over 100 slots in a program for gifted youths at Xi'an Jiaotong University. The number of applicants has been increasing by 200 to 300 annually in recent years. The University of Science and Technology of China receives about 3,000 applications for the School of the Gifted Young each year, admitting only about 50 a year.
A plane crash Thursday night killed Kurt Budke, the women's basketball coach at Oklahoma State University, and the assistant women’s basketball coach, Miranda Serna. The crash took place in Arkansas, where they were on a recruiting trip.
The Universities of Cambridge and Toronto have just announced fund-raising records for universities in Europe and Canada, respectively.
Cambridge announced that its fund-raising campaign in honor of the university's 800th anniversary has raised £1.17 (or about $2 billion), more than any European university has ever raised.
Less than two months ago, the University of British Columbia announced a $1.5 billion fund-raising campaign, at the time the largest such effort in Canada. Now the University of Toronto has that record, having launched a $2 billion campaign. Toronto has raised $966 million in the quiet phase of the fund-raising effort.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office on Thursday issued a report finding that the Education Department lacks sufficient data on distance education programs to adequately perform oversight functions on the use of federal aid. While the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics is starting to collect more data, the GAO found that oversight units in the department do not yet have a plan for using that data.
Syracuse University has placed an assistant men's basketball coach, Bernie Fine, on leave amid reports that the local police are now investigating allegations that he sexually abused a ball boy for the team in the 1980s, USA Today reported. The university said that it investigated the allegations six years ago, but that Fine denied the charges and that a number of people whom the complainant said would verify his allegations failed to do so. Syracuse officials told The Post-Standard that they were suspending Fine because of a new allegation and because of the police investigation. Jim Boeheim, head coach of the basketball team, issued a statement backing Fine. "This matter was fully investigated by the university in 2005 and it was determined that the allegations were unfounded. I have known Bernie Fine for more than 40 years. I have never seen or witnessed anything to suggest that he would been involved in any of the activities alleged. Had I seen or suspected anything, I would have taken action. Bernie has my full support," Boeheim said.
A report released Thursday by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity found that the rising cost of attending college is primarily attributable to an increase in the cost of non-tuition expenses such as textbooks and housing rather than growing net tuition costs. While the cost of attending a four-year college has risen about $3,000 per student since the 1999-2000 school year, the report found, only about $1,000 of that is attributable to increased net tuition. Financial aid has managed to keep the increase in per-student net prices at about $1,000 while sticker prices rose about $3,000.
The report also found that four-year colleges have increased per-student revenues over the past 10 years. "At the four-year level, the significant increase in tuition revenue undermines the common argument that colleges are pursuing a high-tuition/high-aid model (where any increase in tuition is used to offer more scholarships and aid)," the report states.
Hiring of new college graduates is expected to increase by 4 percent, according to a national survey of employers by Michigan State University's Collegiate Employment Research Institute. Those majoring in engineering, computer science, accounting, agriculture sciences and agriculture business, and some science fields are expected to see the greatest number of opportunities.
The University of Missouri is considering a policy under which students at the system's campuses would be required to obtain written permission from professors before taping their classes, the Associated Press reported. The possible rules follow incidents in the spring in which a conservative blogger posted selected excerpts of two faculty members' lectures in a labor program -- and said that those excerpts showed that the instructors were condoning or encouraging violence as a union tactic. (The instructors said that their comments were taken out of context.) Steve Graham, senior associate vice president for academic affairs for the Missouri system, said the proposed policy "protects the sanctity of the classroom for our students so they can freely discuss their thoughts and opinions."
Student leaders in Colombia have called off a month-long boycott of classes, the Associated Press reported. The students agreed to end their protest after the government agreed to withdraw an education reform plan. The government said that the plan was designed to provide public universities with more autonomy, but the students said it was designed to privatize public higher education.