U California Santa Barbara Students Address Diversity, Safety
The Associated Students Office of the President recently held a town hall meeting to address diversity, representation and marginalization in the campus community. The "Raise Your Voice!" event provided an open forum for students to address university administration about university-wide policies regarding issues of sexual violence, and retention and recruitment aimed at promoting diversity.
Winona State U Student Initiates Campus Diversity Center
Spearheaded by graduating senior Jake Hite, the KEAP (Knowledge, Empowerment, Advocacy and Pluralism) Diversity Center for students, faculty and staff will help address issues surrounding diverse populations in the campus community.
3 Canadian Universities Partner for Global Education Initiative
(Canada): McGill University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto have partnered with the MasterCard Foundation to educate African students. Over the next 10 years, the foundation will provide the universities with $25 million each to pay for students’ tuition and living expenses, and create internship opportunities in Africa.
U Michigan Diversity Resolution Passes Assembly
The Senate Assembly voted to approve a resolution that would increase efforts to promote inclusivity. The goals of the four-part resolution include reassessment of the strategies used to increase diversity, adoption of active, intentional, creative and ongoing efforts to improve diversity, assurance that diversity efforts are woven into the university’s fabric, and publicly asserting the goal of improving diversity on all three university campuses.
Obama’s Proposed Budget Aims to Increase College Affordability
President Obama’s proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year includes several measures to increase student financial aid and college affordability. The budget calls for market-based student loan rates that would stay fixed for the loan's lifetime. The plan also includes a “Pay as You Go” measure, allowing students to pay no more than 10 percent of their discretionary income. Moreover, any outstanding debt after 20 years of payment would be forgiven.
Aspen Prize Honors Two Community Colleges
The Aspen Institute has awarded this year’s Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence to Santa Barbara City College and Walla Walla Community College. The Aspen Prize was designed to recognize community colleges with strong records of preparing students for jobs or transfer to four-year colleges, as well as attracting and graduating low-income and minority students.
Robert Morris U Launches a Textbook Reserve to Help Students
The university debuted a textbook reserve program in the fall of 2012 after a student-led survey revealed that 14 percent of students surveyed knew at least one student who dropped out of school because they could not afford to purchase textbooks. The university spent approximately $10,500 to purchase 170 textbooks for the most in-demand courses on campus and place them on reserve in the library for student use. More than 850 students have made use of the reserve program, saving an estimated $300 each semester.
Supreme Court Takes New Case on Affirmative Action
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a second case involving affirmative action in higher education. In October, the justices heard arguments in a case dealing with the University of Texas’ race-conscious admissions program. This one, from Michigan, tests whether voters, by referendum, can bar affirmative action programs in higher education.
National Hispanic U Partnership to Expand Access to Higher Ed
(U.S.): The university and StraighterLine have announced an agreement that will enable students to transfer American Council on Education courses for credit at the university. The transfer agreement is part of the university’s mission to support greater access to higher education.
Colorado Approves In-State Tuition for Immigrant Students
The governor of Colorado is expected to sign into law a bill, passed by the state’s House of Representatives, that would allow students who entered the United States illegally to pay in-state tuition at Colorado’s public colleges. Currently, these students must pay the higher rate for nonresidents.
College Presidents Urge Colleagues to Push for Immigration Reform
The presidents of Cornell University, Arizona State University, and Miami Dade College have sent a letter to more than 1,200 of their colleagues, urging them to join an effort to reform immigration laws that limit colleges’ ability to educate and to innovate. Particularly in the STEM fields, American colleges “train many of the brightest minds of the world,” they write, “only to have those students sent abroad to compete against us because our immigration laws do not provide a viable path for them to stay.” In their letter, the three leaders call attention to the plight of foreign-born students who “arrived in our country as children but are prevented from attending college because of their undocumented status.” By denying such young people access to higher education, they write, “we deny our country the talent we very much need.”
Emory U Releases Report to Help Build Inclusive Community
A Campus Life committee has released the “Campus Life Compact for Building an Inclusive Community at Emory," a student-driven report that outlines a framework and a strategic plan that is designed to guide campus dialogue around issues of social justice.. The report consists of a comprehensive list of recommendations that focus on the need to improve inclusion and address issues of diversity within the campus community.
Indiana Passes Bill to Promote Transfer of CC Credits
The Indiana Senate has passed a bill that will make it easier for students to transfer to four-year universities or colleges and keep all the credits they’ve earned through an associate’s degree. The bill requires that the state’s four-year schools accept an associate’s degree from another state school as two years worth of classes – as long as student majors will be in related fields.
Northwestern U Council Proposes Diversity Requirement
Following six months of collaboration between administrators, students and faculty members, the Diversity Council has formulated a proposal for a university-wide diversity requirement for undergraduate students. The Social Inequalities and Diversities requirement, recommended for implementation in fall 2015, would include an academic curricular component and a discussion-based activity completed outside the classroom.
Purdue U Institutes Two Year Tuition Freeze
In an effort to make education more affordable and accessible, the university has announced that it will institute a two-year freeze on tuition and most fees at the West Lafayette campus. “In this period of national economic stagnation, it’s time for us to hit the pause button on tuition increases. Our students and their families deserve a high-value education that they can afford,” said President Mitch Daniels.
French Universities Sign Gender Equality Charter
(France): French government ministers and organizations representing 300 higher education institutions signed the Charter for Equality of Women and Men. Gender parity in university governance, teaching and training on gender equality for students and university personnel, and promoting research into gender are among the ratified measures.
Indian Institutes of Management Push Gender Diversity on Campus
(India): The Indian Institutes of Management at Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Calcutta have begun an initiative to increase gender diversity on campus. The number of women accepted into the admission process has increased from 15.9 percent to nearly 25 percent since 2012. Incentives for female candidates have also been created including awarding them points in the admission process.
U Louisiana System Offers Degree Completion Program
(U.S.): The University of Louisiana System has created a new two-year online bachelor's degree program for adults who previously earned 60 credit hours before leaving college. The program is an initiative to provide access to 600,000 Louisiana residents who have college credits but no degree.
NY Times Transgender Coverage On the Rise in College Health Plans
A growing number of colleges have begun offering student health insurance plans with coverage for gender reassignment surgery and related hormone therapy, reports a recent New York Times article. According to the article, because the issue directly affects a small number of students, “universities recognize that their insurance plan sends a signal to the much larger number of students for whom the rights of transgender people have taken a place alongside gay rights as a cause that matters.”
President Obama Unveils Changes to Higher Ed Policy
“Colleges must do their part to keep their costs down, and it’s our job to make sure they do,” President Obama said in his annual State of the Union Address. “Tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act, so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid.” He also said his administration would release "a new 'College Scorecard' that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criterion—where you can get the most bang for your educational buck."
U Maryland Debuts New Diversity Campaign
The university has launched Rise Above, a new diversity campaign to encourage the campus community to rise above prejudices, intolerance and discrimination. The campaign will award grants of up to $750 for campus initiatives that promote on-campus diversity and cultural acceptance through communication. The campaign’s mission will be publicized through buttons, tabling and fliers. The cost for the campaign is estimated at $10,000 over the 2013-2014 school year, and officials have set aside $20,000 for grants.
23 Florida Colleges Accept $10,000 Degree Challenge
Twenty-three Florida public colleges and universities have accepted Governor Rick Scott’s “$10,000 Degree Challenge,” as part of a higher education affordability agenda. Participating schools will offer at least one degree at a total cost of $10,000.
U Montana Hires Native Americans, Increases Faculty Diversity
(U.S.): As part of its effort to increase faculty diversity, the university recently hired four Native American professors to tenure-track positions. More than a dozen American Indians representing several tribes now hold academic positions. While not all are on track for tenure, those tracking the university’s push for diversity are pleased with the progress.
Delta College Student Food Pantry Earns Equity in Education Award
The Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ Equity in Education Committee has granted the 2012 Equity in Education Award to the college for its food pantry. The food pantry was recognized for its efforts to eliminate hunger as a barrier to student success.
Long Beach City College to Improve Graduation Rates for Latinos
The college, in partnership with Cal State Long Beach and the Long Beach Unified School, has launched a new program designed to improve success for Latinos in higher education. The Latino Student Success Institute will host nine learning sessions for community organizations that are interested in participating. Participants will receive a certificate in Latino cultural competency from the college's Center for Training and Professional Development.
Princeton U to Examine College Access for Lower-Income Students
A new university committee will examine strategies to help low-income students overcome barriers to college readiness and access. The Trustee Ad Hoc Committee on College Access will consider a range of factors, beyond just financial means, that may impede low-income students from pursuing an education at selective universities and colleges.
Private College Presidents Urge a Commitment to Need-Based Aid
A group of private-college presidents have unveiled a pledge publicly opposing the rising use of merit-based financial aid and the decline in need-based aid at the Council of Independent Colleges’ annual Presidents Institute. The statement emerges amid concerns among some administrators that the increased competition among colleges for enrollment has led to more resources going into "merit based" aid for top students, many of whom don't require financial aid to afford college, and to a decline in "need-based" aid for promising lower-income students.
U Nebraska, Nebraska State Colleges Agree to Tuition Freeze
The University of Nebraska and the Nebraska State College systems have agreed to implement a two-year tuition freeze for students. As a result, Governor Dave Heineman will propose to the legislature that state funding for the University of Nebraska system increase from $498 million to $541 million and that the state appropriation for the Nebraska State College System increase from $45.5 million to $49.6 million.
U Iowa Adds Transgender Choice to Undergraduate Applications
(U.S.): The university has announced the addition of an optional question on sexual orientation, and a transgender choice under gender, as part of an effort to extend a welcoming signal to all students and to gather information about the institution's success at attracting and retaining LGBTQ students.
Westminster College Receives Grant to Renew Diversity Program
The college’s McNair Scholars Program has been renewed for another five years upon receiving a $1.15 million U.S. Department of Education grant. The program aims to increase diversity in higher education by helping students from underrepresented groups attain a college education.
U Mississippi Food Bank Caters to Students in Need
The university has opened an on-campus food bank to provide access to meals for students in need, focusing on the overall health and well being of the campus community. The student-led initiative was made possible through financial donations and food drives.
Valdosta State U Recognized for Adult Learning Success
The university has been recognized by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning for its efforts to improve access and college completion for adults. The university has established the office of Adult and Military Programs to improve degree completion for adult learners with particular attention to members of the military and veterans.
Appeals Court Overturns Michigan Ban on Affirmative Action
In an 8-7 decision, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has overturned Michigan's voter-approved ban on affirmative action in college admissions and public hiring. The court struck down the amendment to the state's constitution, known as Proposal 2, on the grounds that it creates unfair barriers to minority participation in the political process.
New California State U Chancellor Requests 10 Percent Pay Cut
The university system’s incoming chancellor, Timothy P. White, requested a 10 percent pay cut, saying in a letter to trustees, that he hopes the move will send a signal that "public higher education matters to all of us, and that we each must play a part in the rebuilding."
Northern Alberta IT Launches Trades to Degrees Initiative
The institute has introduced the Trades to Degrees initiative that allows certified tradespeople to be admitted directly into the third year of the Bachelor of Business Administration program. The program provides an opportunity for tradespersons to expand their careers, acknowledging the value of work experience and post-secondary education leading to certification as a tradesperson.
Oak Hills Christian College to Offer Loan-Repayment Assistance
The college has announced plans to begin offering loan-repayment assistance next fall for incoming freshman. Through the Loan Repayment Assistant Program, graduates will be eligible to receive up to $34,000 per year to pay back student loans, and benefits will be prorated based on a graduate’s salary. The college is one of two U.S. colleges to sign up with the Loan Repayment Assistance Program Association.
Brazil Passes Affirmative-Action Law
(Brazil): The Brazilian Supreme Court has passed an affirmative-action law that requires its public universities to reserve half of their admission spots for low-income students and compels its institutions to diversify according to the racial makeup within each region. Officials expect the number of black students to increase significantly.
Southern Oregon U Opens Food Pantry for Students In Need
(U.S.): The university has opened an on-campus food bank to provide easier access to meals for students in need. The pantry offers fresh, organic produce grown from the community garden on campus as well as nonperishable items. The university's Commuter Resource Center donated $1,000 to get the pantry off the ground.
Franklin & Marshall College Launches Student Loan Relief Program
To help families confront the challenges of college affordability and rising student loan debt, the college has launched a two-year pilot program in financial aid packaging. For qualifying, entering middle-income students, the Student Loan Relief program will cap federal loans at $10,000. The college will replace previously packaged loan amounts above the cap with college grants that do not have to be repaid.
U California System to Assess Campus Experience
The 10 campuses of the University of California system will survey all faculty, staff, students and trainees about their experiences with campus climate relating to respect, diversity and inclusion. Survey results will provide a view of each location as well as an overview of the system, and will help focus campuses on what is going well and where improvement is needed. The project is funded by the UC President’s Initiative Fund.
California Passes Free Digital Textbook Library Legislation
Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation that will give undergraduates free access to online textbooks for 50 of the most common courses at California public colleges. The newly established California Open Education Resources Council, which has nine members drawn from the University of California, California State University, and community college systems, will create and oversee the book approval process, then solicit bids to produce the textbooks in time for the 2013-2014 school year. The council can also choose to use existing open source textbooks.
Indiana U On-Time Completion Award to Offer Tuition Relief
Beginning next year, the university has announced plans to freeze tuition for students after their sophomore year if they are on track to graduate in four years. Under the program, qualified students will receive an on-time completion award equal to any increase in tuition and fees that they would otherwise incur during their final two years.
U Calgary Receives Endowment to Support Métis Students
The Métis Education Foundation has established a $750,000 endowment that will provide $60,000 in new scholarship opportunities annually to Métis students studying at the university. The endowment will create new entrance awards, continuing student undergraduate scholarships and graduate awards.
Quebec’s New Premier Revokes Tuition Increase
Through a cabinet decree, Quebec’s premier, Pauline Marois, revoked a tuition increase at the province’s universities, lowering tuition to the previous level of $2,168. A summit meeting will also be held before January to discuss how to finance public higher education.