One-Stop College Shopping (Sort of)

It is about to become easier for parents and potential students to compare 540 or so private colleges around the country — fifteen of them in North Carolina. On September 26, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) will launch a colorful, breezy, and information-packed web site about these schools called the U-Can Consumer Information Initiative.

This is the first step in a growing effort by colleges and universities to become more accountable to students and the public. As college tuition mounts, many Americans are forced to reconsider whether a college degree is worth its price, and whether intercollegiate athletics and campus parties are overwhelming the educational aspects of the college experience.

The concern came to a head a year ago with a report by the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, a national committee appointed by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. It called for more transparency, perhaps in the form of a national database with easily compared information.

When is a Student from Ohio Really a North Carolinian?

In one of the strangest state budget provisions in years, if a student from Ohio (or any other state or even a foreign country) is awarded a full scholarship to attend one of the campuses of the UNC system, then that student can be officially counted as being a North Carolina resident. What is going on? Why say that a kid with a New Jersey driver’s license is a North Carolinian?

The answer is that this bit of definitional legerdemain is designed to evade the long-standing cap on out-of-state residents who may enroll in the state university system. Under state law, UNC campuses cannot enroll more than 18 percent of their students from non-residents. Since the taxpayers of the state put up most of the money to operate the UNC system, the argument goes, most of the places for students ought to be reserved for students whose parents pay taxes into the state treasury.

House moves to repeal tuition waiver

RALEIGH – A provision in the state House’s version of the state budget would eliminate the controversial tuition waiver program for graduates at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

Created during the 2003 budget negotiations, the tuition waiver gives NCSSM graduates free tuition if they choose to attend any school in the University of North Carolina system. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Guilford County Democrat, pushed the tuition waiver policy through the General Assembly in 2003, saying at the time that the tuition waiver was one of the best provisions in the budget because it would keep more of North Carolina’s brightest students in the state.

Racial preferences’ fate in North Carolina hinges on Michigan case

All eyes are on Michigan now, thanks to a case before the Supreme Court involving the University of Michigan Law Schools’ use of racial preferences in admissions decisions. It is a case being watched with extreme interest by N.C. higher-education officials , public and private.

Racial references to blame for black graduation rates at N.C. State, not low aid

A collection of black student interest groups at North Carolina State University has graded the university on the subjects of enrollment and graduation of black students and recruitment of black faculty. The African-American Student Advisory Council, not surprisingly, gave the university mostly failing grades. In essence, the groups gave N.C. State low marks because the university doesn’t discriminate enough in the way they want it to.

Lawmakers Consider Study of Alternatives to SAT

State education leaders may study replacing the use of the SAT and ACT in college admissions with the state’s end-of-course tests.

Dropping Scores to Admit More Minorities Means “Strange Bedfellows”

Large public university systems in California, Texas and Florida may have increased minority enrollment in the face of an end to affirmative action. But the change may not be the result of increased minority test performance. In fact, many schools are dropping the SAT and ACT academic achievement exams as admissions requirements altogether, according to a recent USA Today report, automatically admitting students who are top-ranked in their high schools.

Study Rates N.C. Public Universities Second-Least Rigorous in Country

A study by South Carolina Representative Harry C. Stille has rated North Carolina’s public four-year universities the second worst in the nation in academic rigor. Stille’s home state was the only state with poorer academic rigor, according to the study.