A Summary of Education in the News
COUNCIL FOR ADVANCEMENT AND SUPPORT OF EDUCATION
TOP STORIES IN THE UNITED STATES
- ENDOWMENTS PERFORMING WELL
Despite recent fluctuations in world financial markets, college and
university endowments yielded an average return of 18.2 percent in fiscal
1998, the fourth year with an average return above 10 percent and the sixth
year of double digit returns since 1990, reports Academe Today. The figures
were released last month by the National Association of College and
University Business Officers.
Because of the dramatic rise in endowment values in this decade, many
college officials say the recent turmoil in world financial markets will not
change their long term investment strategies, reports Community College
Meanwhile, Harvard University announced that it will increase the amount of
endowment earnings that it puts toward its annual operating budget from $400
million this year to $500 million next year. The increase will put
Harvard's annual spending rate at 4.5 percent in fiscal 2000, up from 3.7
percent in the last fiscal year, reports The Washington Post. Harvard
officials point out that because the strong stock market has boosted
earnings, the proportion of dollars spent relative to total endowment
dollars has decreased in recent years.
Other fund-raising news:
(Sources: The New York Times, 11/18/98; The Chronicle of Higher Education,
11/20/98; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/27/98; Community College Week,
11/30/98; Academe Today; 12/3/98; The Washington Post, 12/3/98.)
- Endowed chairs are becoming increasingly common as colleges and
universities search for ways to attract top professors, reports the
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Endowing a professorship offers donors several
benefits that other gifts do not, including the ability to benefit a
particular field of study and the luxury of having one's name publicized
every time the professor is mentioned in the news, according to the report.
- Historically black colleges and universities are closely watching Hampton
University's fund-raising campaign, which has a goal of $200 million -- the
largest ever by an HBCU. Not even the wealthiest HBCUs have the financial
capabilities or the access to wealthy alumni of most predominantly white
institutions, making it especially important for them to take advantage of
the healthy economy and giving-friendly environment, reports The Chronicle
of Higher Education.
- A recent New York Times report took a behind-the-scenes look at the
efforts and factors behind Middlebury College's $200 million capital
campaign. The article, printed in a special "Giving" section of the Times,
chronicled the steps taken by Middlebury President John M. McCardell, Jr.
and his fund-raising staff to meet their financial goal by 2001.
- RACIAL TENSIONS
The New York Times last month reported on recent racial tensions at two New
Hampshire institutions. At Dartmouth College, white students at a "ghetto
party" dressed as gangsta rap artists, and at the University of New
Hampshire, black students protested against the underrepresentation of
minorities in the faculty.
Administrators at both institutions are examining how they might better
foster racial diversity and respect for differences, according to the Times.
The ghetto party at Dartmouth was sponsored by a fraternity and a sorority,
both of which apologized for the event. After the party, hundreds of
Dartmouth students demonstrated and held meetings at which they discussed
respect for others.
At the University of New Hampshire, where only 3.4 percent of students and
4.5 percent of tenured and tenure-track faculty are minorities, students
protested with a sit-in at President Joan Leitzel's office. Leitzel
promised to double the number of black faculty and quadruple the number of
black students by 2006.
(Source: The New York Times, 11/30/98.)
- TEACHING ASSISTANTS STRIKE
The war of words that preceded the Dec. 1 strike by University of California
teaching assistants quickly escalated in the ensuing days as UC officials
and striking assistants sharply disputed the number of people on the picket
lines. The Student Association of Graduate Employees, which represents
9,000 teaching assistants, readers, and tutors in the UC system, organized
the protest in an effort to gain union representation.
UC officials claimed that there were no more than two dozen picketers on any
single campus, and that final exams, which had begun on many UC campuses
around the time of the strike, were going smoothly. Association members,
however, claimed that thousands of people had marched during the first few
days of the strike, disrupting most undergraduate classes.
On Dec. 6, strikers agreed to a 45-day cessation, during which union leaders
and campus officials will try to resolve their differences.
(Sources: Los Angeles Times, 11/30/98 and 12/7/98; Academe Today, 12/2/98,
12/4/98, and 12/8/98.)
- COLLEGE FRESHMEN UNDER WARRANTY
In response to the growing numbers of college freshmen enrolled in remedial
courses, higher education officials in Virginia are proposing that the
state's school systems issue a "warranty" on their high school graduates and
pay the cost of remedial courses that the students take as college freshmen.
One-fourth of the freshmen at Virginia's public colleges who graduated from
one of the state's public high schools take a remedial class during their
freshman year, reports The Washington Post. The total cost for these
courses is $40 million a year, nearly two-thirds of which is payed by state
taxpayers. Proponents of the plan say they hope that shifting those costs
to local school districts will encourage schools to better prepare students
Many local school officials say higher numbers of students are taking
remedial courses because more students are attending college than ever
before. They argue that colleges should be more selective in admitting
Meanwhile, a new report by the Institute for Higher Education Policy reveals
that the cost of remediation is in fact modest. The report cites national
estimates placing the cost of rermedial work at $1 billion out of a total
public higher education budget of $115 billion, reports The New York Times.
The report also concludes that while high schools are often blamed for the
poor preparation of their graduates, many remedial students are not recent
high school graduates.
(Source: The Washington Post, 11/23/98; Academe Today, 12/2/98; The New
York Times, 12/2/98.)
- INCREASING NUMBERS OF ADJUNCT PROFESSORS
Adjunct and part-time professors now constitute nearly half of all
professors at U.S. colleges and universities, and American higher education
is suffering as a result, according to a recent essay in The New Republic.
John Hickman, a Washington, D.C.-based writer, asserts that part-time
faculty "have no time for their own intellectual development," causing them
to "fall behind in their fields" and thereby impacting what they teach.
Part-timers also receive less institutional support than their full-time
colleagues in areas such as e-mail accounts, secretarial and computer
services, and peer review, Hickman writes. In addition, part-time faculty
are usually overworked, he says.
Hickman acknowledges that adjuncts are prolific publishers and can make good
teachers because they worry less than full-time faculty about curriculum
planning and research. Also, he says, studies show that students rate
adjunct professors as highly as they rate full-time professors.
(Source: The New Republic, 12/7/98.)
- ALTERNATIVE ADMISSIONS STIR CONTROVERSY
Admission to certain Florida public colleges and universities is growing
increasingly difficult and causing a growing number of students, educators,
and lawmakers to question the state's long-standing policy of admitting
students who do not meet the state's minimum standards for admission.
One in eight Florida freshmen last year was an alternative admission, and
two-thirds of that group were minorities. Defenders of alternative
admissions say the policy has made student bodies more diverse. But with
highly qualified students having a harder time than ever getting accepted to
institutions such as the University of Florida, some officials are proposing
a change. University System Chancellor Adam Herbert recently considered
limiting alternative admissions, citing criticism by some state lawmakers
that current numbers are too high.
(Source: St. Petersburg Times, 12/6/98.)
AROUND THE WORLD
- FEWER CANADIAN DONORS GIVING MORE DOLLARS
A smaller number of Canadians donated more dollars to charitable causes in
1997 than the year before, according to Statistics Canada. Nearly 5.3
million taxpayers filed charitable deductions on their 1997 personal
income-tax returns, a drop of 3.1 percent from the previous year. But those
donors gave $4.3 billion, an increase of 6.0 percent over 1996.
Quebecers, who showed the steepest decline in number of donors among all 10
provinces and two territories, gave 3.3 percent fewer dollars. Nearly 30
percent of Manitobans reported charitable donations -- the largest
proportion of any province. Newfoundland reported the highest median
donation ($270) despite having the lowest median income ($27,900).
Thirty-seven percent of Canadian taxpayers over age 65 reported charitable
donations in 1997 totaling $1.4 billion, compared to 18.8 percent of those
aged 25 to 34, who gave $310 million.
(Source: The Daily, Statistics Canada Website, 12/03/98.)
- BRITAIN: NEW HIGHER EDUCATION GROUP POSSIBLE
The organization that represents CEOs at British universities is considering
a reorganization that would open its membership to college principals,
thereby creating a single body of higher education leaders. The Committee
of Vice-Chancellors and Principals (CVCP) currently includes the CEOs of
Britain's universities, including the former polytechnics. The CVCP does
not include the CEOs of colleges, which are linked to local universities and
do not award their own degrees. The reorganization could also result in the
creation of a federal structure that would represent the interests of all
higher education institutions in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern
(Source: The Times Higher Education Supplement, 11/20/98.)
- AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES IN CHINA
Recent tension between the U.S. and Chinese governments hasn't stopped
American universities from pursuing joint ventures in China, reports The New
York Times. Despite the stirring of emotions over China's continuing
crackdown on democracy advocates, several American institutions, including
the University of Buffalo, Temple University, and Yale University, support
academic programs or affiliates in China. American education officials say
they are fulfilling China's need to train a generation of students who have
been raised in isolation from the rest of the world. Chinese officials,
worried about overdependence on the West, are reserved about the joint
ventures but acknowledge their value in helping students learn about life
(Source: The New York Times, 12/2/98.)
- INDONESIAN STUDENTS CONTINUE PROTESTS
The plight of Indonesian students continues to receive major media coverage
in the United States. Newsweek ran a story late last month chronicling
student protests against the post-Suharto regime. Student demands for
government reform in Indonesia reached a climax last month as protesters
beat up soldiers, eliciting live gunfire in return. An estimated 50,000
students marched on Parliament, calling for the Army commander's death.
(Source: Newsweek, 11/23/98.)
REPORTS ON EDUCATION
- TUITION INCREASING FASTER THAN GRANTS
Increases in federal Pell Grants have not kept pace with increases in
tuition, meaning that Pell Grants pay for a much smaller proportion of
college costs today than they did 20 years ago, according to a recent study.
In 1976-77, the maximum Pell Grant of $1,400 covered 72 percent of the
average cost of a four-year public education and 35 percent of tuition,
room, and board at a four-year private institution. In 1996-97, the maximum
Pell Grant of $2,470 covered 34 percent of costs at a public institution and
13 percent of costs at a private institution.
The study, prepared by the Education Resources Institute and the Institute
for Higher Education Policy, also found that growing numbers of students are
turning to distance learning and to two-year institutions, because they
cannot afford a traditional four-year education, reports The Washington
(Sources: Academe Today, 11/18/98; The Washington Post, 11/18/98.)
- VOUCHER STUDY YIELDS MIXED RESULTS
A study of students in Cleveland has found that those using vouchers to
attend established private schools slightly outperformed their peers at
public schools in language skills and science, but the two groups performed
about equally well in reading, math, and social studies. The report also
found that students attending private schools that were created specifically
to serve the voucher program performed worse in all subjects than their
peers in both public schools and other private schools.
Researchers from Indiana University studied the 3-year-old Cleveland voucher
program, which provides vouchers worth from $2,250 to $4,000 to low-income
students. Other school choice researchers criticized the report, saying the
results could be a function of the characteristics of the students or the
quality of the schools they attend.
(Source: Education Week, 12/2/98.)
- SCRUTINIZING SAT PREP COURSES
A recent study of the effectiveness of college admission test-preparation
courses has spawned a debate between the College Board, which conducted the
study, and two large test-preparation companies: Kaplan Educational Centers
and the Princeton Review. Kaplan and the Princeton Review say that
independent studies show marked improvements by students who take their
courses. Kaplan says its students increase their scores by an average of
120 points between the PSAT and the SAT. The Princeton Review claims to
improve scores by an average of 140 points.
The study, however, found that students who enrolled in preparation courses
raised their scores by an average of only 19 to 38 points more than those
who did not take a preparation course.
Meanwhile, debate continues over whether the SAT itself is fair to various
types of students, such as women, ethnic minorities, and low-income
students. The San Antonio Express-News reports that the debate continues to
rage over whether the SAT and the ACT are accurate predictors of college
preparedness and success. Test-makers such as the College Board claim that
the exams are as objective as they can be considering the varied backgrounds
(Sources: The New York Times, 11/24/98; Academe Today, 11/25/98; The
Washington Post, 11/25/98; San Antonio Express-News, 11/29/98.)
- EDUCATION VERSUS PRISONS
New York State has increased spending on prisons in the last decade by
nearly as much as it has cut spending on higher education, according to a
study conducted by the Justice Policy Institute and the Correctional
Association of New York. Since 1988, spending for city and state
universities fell by $615 billion, while funding for the Department of
Correctional Services rose by $761 billion. The state spent $1.48 billion
on universities and $1.76 billion on corrections in its 1998 budget.
Trends are similar nationwide. States spent 30 percent more on prison
budgets and 18 percent less on higher education in 1995 than in 1987,
reports The Washington Post.
(Source: The Washington Post, 12/1/98.)
- STATES RAISE HIGHER EDUCATION SPENDING
States will spend $3.4 billion more on higher education in fiscal 1999 than
they spent in fiscal 1998, an increase of 6.7 percent, according to an
annual survey by the Center for Higher Education at Illinois State
University. This year's expenditures are 13.3 percent, or $6.2 billion,
more than the levels two years ago. Total state spending on college and
university operations and student aid reached a record $52.8 billion for
Higher education spending in California has increased a remarkable 26.2
percent over the past two years. Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi,
and Virginia are also among the states with the biggest spending increases.
Only three states -- Alaska, Hawaii, and South Carolina -- appropriated less
for higher education this year than two years ago.
(Source: Academe Today, 11/23/98.)
- ALUMNI WEB SITES
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a growing number of colleges
and universities are setting up Web sites specifically for alumni, complete
with chat rooms, bulletin boards, résumé databases, and other services. The
sites give institutions a new way to communicate with alumni and raise money
from them. Companies specializing in Web site development can set up and
maintain a site for a college or university. Alumni usage varies by
university, but it usually takes about six months to register 10 percent of
an institution's alumni, a company official told The Chronicle of Higher
Education. Some college officials have reservations about the potential for
fund raising on alumni Web sites because of the impersonal nature of online
(Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, 12/4/98.)
- ELECTRONIC BOOKS
With the amount of information available on the World Wide Web growing at
light speed, textbooks appear to be next in line to enter the digital age.
Several colleges and universities already offer courses with textbooks that
are only available online. Some institutions, such as Virginia Commonwealth
University, make texts available directly on the Web. Others, including
Kent State University, will soon issue students hand-held electronic devices
that are loaded with course texts. The devices are said to resemble
latter-day Etch-a-Sketches, and the technology behind them is quickly
advancing. Two types of electronic books already on the market sell for
between $300 and $500. A third model will be available next year for $1,000
(Source: The New York Times, 12/1/98.)
- MAJOR EFFECTS OF TITLE IX
Title IX, the 25-year-old federal law that required universities to provide
equal athletics resources for men and women, continues to change the
athletics landscape at U.S. institutions, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The average number of women's teams at colleges and universities rose from
5.61 in 1978 to 7.71 this year. Education officials expect that number to
keep rising in view of the dramatic increase in the number of girls playing
high school sports. Meanwhile, officials expect the number of sports
offered to men to decrease as women's sports consume a growing share of
(Source: Los Angeles Times, 11/30/98.)
- THE CIA IS HIRING
After a decade of losing more than a quarter of its work force because of
budget cuts, the Central Intelligence Agency is now hiring again. The
agency is in the middle of its largest recruiting campaign since the end of
the Cold War, and its favorite targets include graduating college students.
CIA recruiters are appearing at college job fairs and looking for students
who have skills such as imagery analysis, engineering, computer science, or
language proficiency in Farsi, Arabic, Korean, Chinese, or Japanese. The
recruitment program is intended to rival the best such efforts in private
(Source: The Washington Post, 11/27/98.)
- BACK TO NEWSPAPERS
Penn State President Graham Spanier believes reading a newspaper is
essential for the informed and educated citizen. So he has made a pile of
newspapers free to students every day. Special racks holding The New York
Times, the Centre Daily Times, the Daily Collegian, and USA Today stand at
various locations throughout campus. Since the newspaper program began last
year, the proportion of students who say they regularly read a paper has
jumped from 15 percent to 73 percent. The program does not raise what
students pay for their education, since the cost of the newspapers is
included in existing fees.
(Source: Chicago Tribune, 12/1/98.)
ABOUT FLASH POINTS
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issues bulletin. Flash Points is normally published twice a month and is
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CASE values your comments, suggestions, and questions. Please direct your
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- END -
SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Dec. 11, 1998
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