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.

Corning CC Creates Center for Diversity and Inclusion

The college has created the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, a space that will be used to conduct diversity workshops, show films, and provide meeting space for student groups focused on diversity.

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.

Millersville U Creates Campus Cupboard

(U.S.): The university and Campus Ministerium have developed a campus food bank to address concerns for hunger and nutrition among students.

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.

U New Mexico Plans International Program to Increase Diversity

The university has announced plans to offer study abroad programs for international students from Tec de Monterrey (Mexico) in an effort to increase diversity on campus.

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.

Indian School of Business Announces Diversity Scholarships

(India): The need-based Diversity Scholarships will be awarded to students from a broad spectrum of sectors. The scholarships are part of the school’s total scholarship outlay of about $1.8 million.

Champlain College Summer Program Focuses on Underserved Students

The college has hosted 25 high school students for Imagine College, a pilot outreach program created to fulfill the college’s 2020 Diversity and Inclusion goals. The six-day summer immersion program was designed to help students make college a part of their reality and give them tools to navigate the college process. Students will explore various areas of study, career options and the college admissions process.

Burlington County College Offers Tuition Free Energy Program

The college has received a $306,265 grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the state Energy Sector Partnership to offer unemployed residents a tuition-free green energy technology training program. The program includes hands-on training, instructional materials, certification testing and job-placement assistance.

Brazil to Reserve Public University Seats for Low-Income Students

(Brazil): Brazil’s Senate has passed a law that would require 50 percent of all places at free public universities to be set aside for students who studied in state-run secondary schools. Of that 50 percent, half of the available openings would be given to students whose family income is less than $460 per person.

European Universities Commit to Promoting Gender Diversity

(Europe): In response to reports that Europe is losing a considerable amount of its female research capacity in academia, the 21 member universities of the League of European Research Universities have recently committed to promoting gender diversity among academic staff. The universities will follow a report from the league, "Women, Research and Universities: Excellence Without Gender Bias," which sets out actions to overcome discrimination against women that prevents them from playing a full part in Europe’s research effort.

Institutions Freezing, Reducing Tuition to Recruit Students

(U.S.): As higher education enrollment drops, private and public colleges and universities are increasingly freezing or reducing tuition in an attempt to retain or recruit more students, reveals a recent article in The Hechinger Report. Burlington College (Vermont), Ancilla College (Indiana), Tabor College (Kansas), Urbana University (Ohio), Franklin Pierce University (New Hampshire) and Pacific Union College (California) are among the institutions that have frozen tuition this fall. Success stories include Oklahoma City University, which has 30 more freshmen enrolled this fall than last, and the University of the South: Sewanee, which saw a 17 percent rise in applications after cutting tuition by 10 percent and promising to keep the cost unchanged for entering freshmen for four years.

Newsweek Magazine Releases 'Most Affordable Colleges' List

(U.S.): Among the categories in the recently released "2012 Best Colleges For You" list are the "25 Most Affordable" and "25 Least Affordable" institutions in the nation. Debt, total cost, financial aid and future earnings were all factors in compiling the lists. In addition to culling information from the National Center for Education Statistics, the Institute for College Access & Success, PayScale, CollegeView and the College Board, the magazine partnered with College Prowler, which provided data on student contentment, politics, campus culture and peer opinion.

Study Finds Racially Diverse Law Students Beneficial to Society

(U.S.): According to recent findings of a 10-year multidisciplinary University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill research study, a racially diverse law student body fosters richer interactions and positive educational outcomes that benefit students, institutions and society. The researchers examined linkages of race (and other factors) with educational diversity, tracking law students from their enrollment in law school through graduation. The study used national data from more than 6,500 incoming law students attending a random representative sample of 50 American Bar Association-approved U.S. law schools.

Temple U to Launch Financial Aid Fundraising Campaign

(U.S.) The university has announced plans to launch a $100 million fundraising campaign to boost financial aid and help reduce the cost of education. The university also announced that it would not raise tuition for the 2012-2013 academic year; a first since 1995.

UC Berkeley Helps Train Laid-Off Workers for New Careers

(U.S.): The university has launched a five-month technical education program offered through nearby Laney College that aims to enhance workers’ skills, restore their confidence and enhance their job prospects as they look to re-enter the workforce. Participants continue to receive unemployment benefits during the training program. The pilot program was developed with funding from Alameda County’s Workforce Investment Board

Berea College Recognized for Lowest Tuition, Fees in U.S.

The U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center, a resource that helps parents and prospective students learn about and compare college costs, has declared Berea College (KY) as the nation’s least expensive private college. The average tuition and fees at Berea College amount to $910 per academic year. The national average for the cost of tuition and fees is $21,949.

New Aspen Institute Data Addresses Low-Income Student Success

The Aspen Institute has published a data set tracking the performance of 120 community colleges it picked as finalists for the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. These finalists demonstrate strong performance and improvement in first-year retention rates; three-year graduation and transfer rates; and credentials awarded per 100 "full-time equivalent" students including underrepresented minority and low income students. The institute hopes the data can be used to learn what works best toward minority and low-income student success.

New Yale U Green Vehicles Offer Easier Access for Disabled

(U.S.): The university has debuted two new special services vans designed for community members with physical disabilities to get around campus more easily. One of the vehicles runs on domestically-processed compressed natural gas, designed to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.