Just 11% of colleges earned a green-light rating -- meaning they do not have written policies that restrict students' free speech -- according to an annual report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Most of the 471 schools evaluated earned a yellow-light rating, while 25% were given a red-light rating for having policies that "clearly and substantially" restrict student expression, the report showed.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little has asked the state's colleges and universities to cut 1% from this budget year's spending, and 2% from next year's. While many schools are meeting these goals through payroll cuts and hiring freezes, the University of Idaho is working to meet it with voluntary staff furloughs, and the College of Western Idaho plans to renegotiate its leases and reduce the budget for maintenance and operations.
The Senate passed a bipartisan bill to restore permanent funding of $255 million a year to more than 100 historically black colleges and universities as well as other minority-serving institutions, and to make changes to simplify the FASFA form. "This permanent funding solution, which would stave off unnecessary cuts for our institutions, will allow HBCUs to continue fostering innovation and inspiring future leaders in the STEM disciplines -- and that helps our nation," said Michael Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund.
West Virginia's public community colleges saw a 10% increase in the number of freshmen this fall, the first semester under the state's free tuition program, data shows. The colleges had 3,020 first-time freshmen, the most since its all-time high of 3,290 in 2016.
Steve Robinson, president of Owens Community College in Ohio, launched the #EndCCStigma initiative this year, which includes social media updates and a podcast to spread the word of what community colleges offer. "The only way we are going to change this is to combat it directly and call it out as a stigma," Robinson said.
Tufts University is severing ties with the Sackler family, owners of OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma. The Sackler family, whose donations to the university stretch back to the 1980s, has several buildings named in its honor and several family members have served on the board over the years.
Student borrowing among first-time undergraduates from high-income families rose from 16.6% in 1995-96 to 29.9% in 2015-16, according to an American Enterprise Institute study. The data also showed that more students in every income bracket borrowed in 2015-16 than did so in 1995-96, with the share of student borrowers in 2015-16 standing at close to 30% across all income groups.
Columbia University announced its new Scholarship for Displaced Students, which it says is the first refugee and displaced persons scholarship program of its kind in the world. Up to 30 graduate or undergraduate students will receive full scholarships to study at the university, with $6 million a year committed to the program.
Only 4.3% of incoming medical students were from rural areas in 2017, according to a study published in Health Affairs. "If the number of rural students entering medical school were to become proportional to the share of rural residents in the US population, the number would have to quadruple," writes Scott Shipman of Association of American Medical Colleges.
Harvard University, as part of an agreement to settle a class action lawsuit brought by the National Association of the Deaf, will be required to caption all online resources, including websites, university-produced videos, open online courses and audio on school channels. "As Harvard learned through this lawsuit, universities and colleges are on notice that all aspects of their campus including their websites must be accessible to everyone," NAD CEO Howard Rosenblum said.
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