A Summary of Education in the News
COUNCIL FOR ADVANCEMENT AND SUPPORT OF EDUCATION
TOP STORIES IN THE UNITED STATES
- WASHINGTON VOTERS REJECT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
Supporters of affirmative action in college admissions saw their worst fears
come true on Election Day as voters in Washington State decisively approved
Initiative 200, which prohibits public institutions from using racial
preferences to admit students, hire employees, or award contracts.
I-200 received the support of 58 percent of voters, a much higher proportion
than pre-election polls had forecast. Officials at the University of
Washington predicted that I-200 would cause a 15 percent drop in the number
of black and Hispanic freshmen. Meanwhile, opponents of the measure
suggested that they would ask the courts to prevent its execution.
Washington is the second state in the nation to approve a ballot measure
banning racial preferences, and backers of I-200 predict that more states
will follow suit. Ward Connerly, who led the effort to pass the first such
measure -- California's Proposition 209 -- told The Seattle Times that there
are plans to introduce anti-affirmative action legislation in Texas,
Michigan, Oklahoma, and Florida.
In Michigan, a poll taken before the election found that only 27 percent of
the population support the University of Michigan's use of affirmative
action in admissions, 47 percent oppose racial preferences, and 26 percent
(Sources: Detroit Free Press, 10/30/98; Academe Today, 11/4/98; The Seattle
- HIGHER LEARNING AMONG BIGGEST GIFT RECIPIENTS
The Chronicle of Philanthropy released its annual Philanthropy 400 survey
this month, showing that 136 of the top 400 fund raisers are colleges and
universities. Harvard University is the highest-ranked university at No. 6
on the list, having raised $427.6 million last year. Stanford University is
No. 10 on the list with $312.3 million.
The survey found that donations to the nation's most popular charities rose
nearly 13 percent last year, the largest percentage increase since the
survey began in 1981. Contributions to the largest colleges and
universities increased 11 percent last year.
Meanwhile, the 1990s have been good for college and university fund raisers,
reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. Since 1990, colleges and
universities have received 48 gifts or pledges of at least $35 million,
compared to only 17 gifts or pledges of that size range in the 1980s. The
reasons have to do with more than just inflation: The stock market has
risen sharply in this decade, as has the intergenerational transfer of
Today's donors view giving to institutions in a new way, the Chronicle
reports. CASE President Eustace Theodore told the Chronicle that giving to
education, long viewed as an act of charity, is now regarded as an act of
philanthropy and investment.
(Sources: The Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/30/98; The Washington Post,
11/2/98; The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 11/5/98.)
- FIGHTING BINGE DRINKING
A coalition of higher education associations released a set of guidelines
last month suggesting how campuses can reduce binge drinking among students.
The release coincided with the start of National Collegiate Alcohol
Awareness Week, which began Oct. 19. Recommended moves include changing the
drinking culture on campus, providing health education to students, and
limiting alcohol-sponsored advertising at university-sponsored events.
Some institutions, including Duke University and the University of North
Carolina, refused to participate in the awareness week because it was
sponsored by the alcoholic beverage industry. Both Duke and UNC have their
own alcohol awareness and education programs, according to The Herald-Sun.
In conjunction with alcohol awareness week, the National Association of
State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges announced that it has adopted a
resolution recognizing the negative impacts of alcohol abuse by students and
supporting the efforts of fraternities and sororities to develop
Meanwhile, alcohol education efforts continue in other parts of academe. A
program at the University of Iowa, for example, takes a new approach to the
problem of binge drinking. Unlike substance abuse prevention programs that
emphasize students' personal responsibility for their drinking, Iowa's
Stepping Up Project seeks to create an environment in which drinking
excessively is difficult, risky, and frowned upon by peers.
Funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the program asks
the university and the community to create an atmosphere that discourages
binge drinking. Critics of the program, which is also in place at nine
other institutions, say it creates a Big Brother atmosphere and infringes on
Note: For a copy of CASE's issue paper on student alcohol and drug abuse,
released in May 1991, please call the CASE Fastfax service at 800-341-2594.
Ask for item number 755. The cost is $5.
(Sources: NASULGC Newsline, Oct. 98; Los Angeles Times, 10/19/98; Academe
Today, 10/20/98; The Herald-Sun, 10/20/98; Philanthropy News Digest,
- HIGHER EDUCATION'S CHANGING FACE
Depending on which study you look at, statistics on the involvement of
minorities in higher education can paint a rosy or a bleak picture,
according to an essay recently printed in The Washington Post. On the
negative side, U.S. Census figures show that people of color between the
ages of 18 and 24 lag behind whites in attending college. In addition, the
National Collegiate Athletic Association's statistics reveal that African
Americans, Latinos, and American Indians take longer than whites to graduate
On the other hand, U.S. Department of Education figures show unparalleled
growth in the number of minority students earning associate degrees,
bachelor's degrees, and even master's, doctoral, and professional degrees.
The number of African Americans earning a higher education degree grew by
6.1 percent per year between 1991 and 1996. The number of Hispanic
Americans earning a degree grew 8.3 percent annually during that time, and
the number of American Indians earning a degree rose 7.4 percent per year.
The essay, written by Black Issues in Higher Education contributing editor
Karin Chenoweth and printed in the Post's fall 1998 education supplement,
says the reasons for the disparity are that traditional statistics do not
adequately reflect the educational experience of minority students, many of
whom enter college several years after high school graduation or are forced
to drop out of college for financial, health, or emotional reasons.
(Source: The Washington Post Education Review section, 10/25/98.)
- GUIDELINES FOR SAFE STUDY ABROAD
Three international education associations recently released the first
national guidelines for promoting health and safety among American students
studying abroad. The guidelines ask program sponsors, students, and parents
to share responsibility for reducing the risk of overseas study programs.
Several high-profile incidents over the last two years involving harm to
American students in other countries have called attention to the need for
The associations that developed the guidelines are NAFSA: Association of
International Educators, The Council on International Educational Exchange
(CIEE), and the Association of International Education Administrators
(AIEA). More than 20 other sponsors of study-abroad programs endorsed the
For more information on the guidelines, visit NAFSA's Web site.
(Source: Academe Today, 10/27/98.)
- NEW YORK STATE TO EVALUATE INSTITUTIONS
The New York State Department of Education is in the process of assessing
the state's public and private colleges and universities. A report
evaluating the performance of the institutions is expected as early as 2001.
It could be similar to the rankings issued by U.S. News & World Report and
the Princeton Review. The department also announced in September that it
plans to name a higher education advisory council to use as a sounding board
on higher education policy and on the evaluation process. The council will
include about 20 college presidents, the chancellors of the state's two
public university systems, and other education leaders.
(Source: The New York Times, 9/27/98.)
- GOOD TIME FOR LAW SCHOOL
The number of applications to the nation's law schools has dropped 27
percent since 1991, while the number of available slots has remained the
same, meaning that getting in to law school is easier. The Association of
American Law Schools says students are deciding that law school isn't worth
the time and money. The healthy economy is allowing students to find good
jobs right out of college, and students are graduating with more loan debt
than ever before, making them reluctant to take out additional loans for law
(Source: Detroit Free Press, 11/3/98.)
AROUND THE WORLD
- ISRAEL: STUDENTS DEMAND TUITION CUTS
Students at public undergraduate institutions across Israel staged a class
boycott late last month to protest high tuition and demand more financial
aid. The National Student Association, which organized the boycott, called
on the government to reduce tuition, which is currently around $2,200 a
year, by 20 percent.
(Source: Academe Today, 10/26/98.)
- CANADA LAMENTS BRAIN DRAIN
According to Maclean's, Canada's national news magazine, the flow of
Canadian professionals heading to the United States is moving faster than
ever. According to a study released by the C.D. Howe Institute, 35,000
Canadian professionals migrated to the United States between 1989 and 1996.
While this represents only 11 percent of Canadian university graduates, the
rate has increased by 50 percent in the 1990s over the previous decade.
Educating students who wound up migrating south cost Canada more than $400
million in 1993-94 alone. As a result, some professions are seriously
depleted: 40 percent of nurses and 19 percent of managers who graduated
from Canadian institutions between 1989 and 1996 left for the United States.
The main factors contributing to the brain drain are thought to be Canada's
unemployment rate (twice that of the United States), higher taxes, the
currency disparity (the Canadian dollar is valued at 65 cents U.S.), and
free trade that has increased cross-border opportunities.
(Source: Maclean's editorial, 10/26/98.)
- BRITAIN: HOW TO GET A TOP DEGREE
A new book published by Lancaster University dispels the myth that students
who graduate with first-class degrees get straight A's in grade school,
spend all their time studying, attend every lecture, and basically have no
fun. On the contrary, some of the 19 graduates profiled in "How I Got My
First Class Degree" did poorly in school, while others juggled multiple time
commitments outside of their studies including caring for their children.
Several of them were mature students, having worked for a few years before
college. All of them agreed that to get a top-level degree, you have to
work hard, be interested in the subject matter, and do the work.
(Source: The Independent, 10/22/98.)
REPORTS ON EDUCATION
- STUDENT LOAN DEFAULT RATE FALLS AGAIN
The student loan default rate fell for the sixth straight year in 1996 to
9.4 percent, the Education Department recently reported. The statistics
showed a decreasing default rate for all types of institutions, unlike in
1995 when defaults rose for private four-year institutions but fell for
other types of colleges and universities.
The default rate reached a peak of 22.4 percent in 1990, but an improved
economy, better collection methods, and better management of the student
loan program helped cause the rate to drop. An Education Department
official told The Washington Post that the default rate improvement can be
attributed to Congress, which passed legislation making it easier for the
department to garnish the wages and tax the refunds of delinquent borrowers,
setting up a national database of students who have defaulted on their
loans, and allowing the department to drop high-risk schools from the
student loan program.
Education Secretary Richard Riley said the default rate should fall even
lower in coming years, thanks to an increase in the maximum Pell Grant, an
expansion of work-study opportunities for students, Hope Scholarships, tax
deductions for interest paid on student loans, and a recent lowering of the
interest rate for students who refinance their loans.
(Source: The Washington Post, 10/27/98.)
- VOUCHER STUDENTS PERFORM BETTER IN STUDY
Low-income students who transferred from public elementary schools to
private schools with the help of vouchers performed slightly better in math
and reading tests than their peers who remained in public schools, according
to a well-publicized study released late last month. The results of the
study, conducted by Harvard University and Mathematica Policy Research,
appeared in both The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Researchers tracked the performance of about 700 students attending private
schools with financial assistance from the School Choice Scholarships
Foundation. These students' test scores increased by an average of two
percent in comparison with their peers who remained in public schools.
Opponents of vouchers say the same gains could be achieved by reducing class
sizes in public schools.
(Sources: The New York Times, 10/28/98; The Washington Post, 10/28/98;
Philanthropy News Digest, 11/4/98.)
- BOOM IN NEW ATHLETIC FACILITIES
Universities with first-rate athletic programs are engaged in a frenzy of
building and upgrading their sports facilities, reports The Washington Post.
Their aim is to attract top-level recruits and potential major donors to
A Post survey of 25 major collegiate athletic programs found that they had
spent or committed a total of $1.2 billion to build or renovate sports
facilities since 1996. Four universities in Texas account for nearly $300
million. Ohio State University, which recently opened a new indoor arena
and is renovating its football stadium, is spending $260 million.
Many university officials say that new and upgraded facilities are necessary
to recruit star athletes in football and men's basketball, which can be
major revenue-producers that help pay for other sports, including the
growing number of women's athletic programs.
(Source: The Washington Post, 11/3/98.)
- STUDENTS ATTRACTED BY LURE OF CREDIT
About two-thirds of the nation's college students carry at least one credit
card, up from almost none 20 years ago, reports The Charlotte Observer.
About 40 percent of students with credit cards carry a balance, although
estimates of the average balance vary. One study put the average college
student's credit balance at $514. A survey by student loan provider Nellie
Mae reported an average undergraduate credit card debt of $1,879.
Some institutions, citing the growing concern over students' use of credit
cards, prohibit credit card solicitations on campus. They argue that credit
card debt can damage a student's financial and academic standing, especially
if a student who has overused his or her card must work long hours to pay
off the balance. In response, credit card companies are making efforts to
educate students about credit.
(Source: The Charlotte Observer, 10/20/98.)
- ATTENDING COLLEGE WHILE IN HIGH SCHOOL
Students who attend college before graduating from high school are not
always precocious kids with supernatural intelligence, reports the Los
Angeles Times. In fact, most of them are simply intelligent students who
are looking to jump-start their college education. California students who
want to begin taking college classes early frequently have to receive
permission from their high school.
(Source: Los Angeles Times, 10/19/98.)
- MORE PROFS USING THE WEB
More professors than ever are using e-mail and the World Wide Web in their
courses, according to an annual study of technology in higher education.
The 1998 Campus Computing Project survey polled technology officials at two-
and four-year institutions across the country. Respondents estimated that
44 percent of the courses on their campuses use e-mail. That figure was
32.8 percent last year and just 8 percent four years ago.
The survey also found that 23 percent of college courses post class
materials on the Web, compared to less than 5 percent four years ago. About
16 percent of courses use computers for in-class simulations or exercises,
and 15 percent use CD-ROMs.
Institutions themselves are increasingly relying on technology, the survey
found. About 55 percent of the institutions surveyed post at least some of
their application materials on the Web, compared to 47 percent in 1997.
Approximately 18 percent of the campuses allow students to read their
transcripts online, almost double the number from last year.
(Source: The New York Times, 11/4/98.)
- CAMPAIGN WEB SITES
Incumbents are far less likely to post campaign Web sites than their major
challengers, according to a study of Internet use in elections by the
Democracy Online Project at The George Washington University's Graduate
School of Political Management. The study, which surveyed major party
Congressional and gubernatorial campaigns a few weeks before Election Day,
found that candidates in tight races are more likely to post Web sites than
those in lopsided contests.
Other findings: 28 percent of incumbents had sites, compared to 64 percent
of challengers; 69 of 73 gubernatorial candidates (94 percent) had sites,
and of the four who didn't, three were running unopposed or had a safe lead
in the race; 56 of 68 Senate candidates had sites, with 10 of the remaining
12 running for safe seats. In addition, 39 percent of all House candidates
had sites, while 60 percent of those in tight races used the Web. In 81
percent of the closest races, both candidates had sites.
For more information, call The George Washington University Office of
University Relations at 202/994-6000.
(Source: The George Washington University press release, 10/29/98.)
ABOUT FLASH POINTS
CASE is proud to be in its third year producing Flash Points, the education
issues bulletin. Flash Points is normally published twice a month and is
available FREE to CASE members, associates, and affiliates, and journalists.
- UNIVERSITY RESEARCH -- A recent report highlights the scientific advances
produced by university-based research. Released by The Science Coalition
(http://www.sciencecoalition.org), an organization dedicated to sustaining
the government's commitment to research, the report features advances
spanning 18 scientific fields from more than 50 universities. The advances
include a military T-shirt equipped to monitor wounded soldiers' vital signs
on the battlefield, a cancer-fighting drug, and technology to help farmers
maximize the productivity of their crops. (Source: The Science Coalition
press release, 9/24/98.)
CASE values your comments, suggestions, and questions. Please direct your
queries to Steven Weiss, telephone 202- 478-5680, or Sarah Hardesty Bray, vice president, communications, telephone 202-478-5683.
- END -
SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Nov. 10, 1998
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu