Friday, September 25, 2015

September 2015 News Digest

To increase our access to higher education news, I've put together summaries of articles from The Chronicle of Higher Education and The New York Times from September. The links to the full articles are included in the summary.

In higher education this month:

Obama Takes Steps to Make FAFSA Easier
The Obama administration is taking steps to allow students to fill out the FAFSA application as early as October. Students will be allowed to use tax data from two years prior.

This change will allow students to know how much aid they will receive much earlier. It will also make filling out the form and the verification process more simple.

Michelle Obama speaks at a FAFSA workshop 

1 in 4 Women Experience Sex Assault on Campus
new study finds that 1 in 4 women experience sexual assault on college campuses. This study is one of the largest studies of its kind, with responses from 150,000 students at 27 universities.

Almost three-fourths of students said they did not report the assault because they did not think the assault was serious enough to report, they felt ashamed, or they did not think they would be taken seriously.

This is the first large-scale study to include transgender students, who had higher rates of sexual assault than women. Men also experienced significant rates of sexual assault, though much lower than transgender students or women.

Missouri Bars Undocumented Students from Scholarships
A new state law in Missouri will bar undocumented students from receiving the A+ scholarship, which pays for two years of tuition at a community college. This law will cause undocumented students to pay the highest possible tuition rate.

Governor Nixon unsuccessfully vetoed the bill arguing that it would punish students who did nothing wrong.

Individual schools will now be the only hope to alleviate some of the rising costs incurred on undocumented students.
Jay Nixon, Gov. of Missouri, speaks at an education conference in July 2015

More than a Degree
Credentials and badges are becoming more necessary as employers are looking for ways to measure skills. Employers want to see what transferable skills students have as their degree alone is often not enough.

Many job postings are now asking for additional certificates beyond a degree.

Humanities Ph.D. Programs Declines
There has been a recent decline in humanities Ph.D. programs while enrollment for other graduate programs have increased. Many schools like UC Berkeley have begun reducing the number of graduate students in humanities. UC Berkeley says this allows them to compete with other programs because students are able to receive larger fellowships and feel better supported.

Not all agree with this rationale. Some, including the Dean of Virginia Tech, believe we should be accepting more graduate students. She believes doctoral students are necessary to teach undergraduates, conduct research, and pass on faculty knowledge.

A Piece of UT Austin History:
The mascot of UT Austin, Bevo, was not always a longhorn. Bevo's predecessor was a dog named Pig.  He had the run of the campus, attending classes with students, going to out of town football games, and sleeping on the steps of the UT Co-Op.

Pig died in 1923 when he was hit by a Model T on the corner of 24th and Guadalupe. The student body held a funeral procession for the beloved dog.

Funeral Procession for Pig
In Memoriam 
Summaries written by Kelsey Thompson and Stephanie Nandlal

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