Higher Ed

This week in higher ed: Feb. 13, 2013

University News Editor
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Report calls for widespread financial aid reforms

The Institute for College Access and Success advocated large-scale new investments in federal assistance to college students in a report on reforming U.S. financial aid policies the group released Tuesday.

The report is part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery project, which aims to increase U.S. students’ college completion rate.

The report’s recommendations include doubling the maximum size of Pell Grants for low-income students, making the financial aid application process easier to understand and increasing funding to universities that accommodate low-income students.

Fifteen other organizations participated in the Gates Foundation’s financial aid reform project, which gave $3.6 million in grants to groups interested in revamping higher education policies. Yesterday’s report is the first in the project to support significant new investments in financial aid, InsideHigherEd.com reported.


Supreme Court urged to consider another affirmative action case

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has requested the U.S. Supreme Court hear an appeal in a case involving the use of race in college admission decisions. The Court already has a race-admission case — Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin — on its current docket, and if it takes up the Michigan case, it could defer the latter until next term, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported Feb. 6.

The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, passed in 2006 by the state’s voters, amended the Michigan constitution to ban public universities from giving preference to students based on race, gender, ethnicity or national origin, including in the admission process.

Last November, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 8-7 that the law violated the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause by disadvantaging students of racial minorities . But the law’s supporters say it is necessary to protect equal treatment of all racial groups, and Schuette argued that Michigan voters have the right to ban race-based admission practices in their state.


Columbia ranked most expensive private university in 2013

Columbia topped the list of the 10 most expensive private colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 rankings. The list, released yesterday, reported that Columbia undergraduates face a bill of $47,246 for tuition and fees for the current academic year, excluding room and board.

Vassar College, Trinity College, Wesleyan University and Bucknell University rounded out the list of the five most expensive private schools. The only other Ivy League institution to make the top 10 was Dartmouth, which came in ninth with a tuition-and-fees total of $45,042.