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News in higher ed

•A Florida state audit found that students at Florida state universities are taking too many classes that dont count for graduation and are costing taxpayers at least $62 million a year. The auditors say state lawmakers should either crack down on these students or offer rewards to those who graduate in four years. (The Miami Herald, 7/9/04)

•Community colleges are booming as the most popular choice for higher education in Texas. Since 1993, enrollment at public two-year institutions in the state has outnumbered that of four-year universities. (Houston Chronicle, 7/9/04)
•A Florida state audit found that students at Florida state universities are taking too many classes that don't count for graduation and are costing taxpayers at least $62 million a year. The auditors say state lawmakers should either crack down on these students or offer rewards to those who graduate in four years. (The Miami Herald, 7/9/04)

•Community colleges are booming as the most popular choice for higher education in Texas. Since 1993, enrollment at public two-year institutions in the state has outnumbered that of four-year universities. (Houston Chronicle, 7/9/04)

•Despite Harry Potter and the best efforts of Oprah Winfrey, the reading of books is on the decline in America. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the number of non-reading adults increased by more than 17 million between 1992 and 2002. (MSNBC, 7/8/04)

•Colleges are so intent on getting the best and brightest high school students that some are lavishing perks on guidance counselors, raising questions about the difference between promoting a university and currying favor with those who speak directly to the students and parents trying to evaluate it. (The New York Times, 7/7/04)

•Since 2002, high school students in Massachusetts have had to pass a standardized test to graduate. But in June, the state board of higher education promised that the top 25 percent of test-takers will qualify for four years of free tuition at any state college or university. (The Christian Science Monitor, 7/7/04)

•Federal lawmakers are still debating renewal of the Higher Education Act, which would increase loan limits, change loan interest rates and some loan programs, while opening more programs to for-profit institutions to receive federal aid. The bill expires Sept. 30. (MNDaily.com, 7/6/04)

•A debate is brewing in Indiana and nationally over whether university employees should face tougher policies to detect criminals, sex offenders and those who lie on their applications. A national faculty organization has objected to blanket criminal checks, while political pressure is mounting on colleges to do more to ensure student safety. (Indianapolis Star, 7/6/04)

•According to studies by college lender Nellie Mae, the average student loan debt of those graduating from four-year institutions is nearly $19,000, and the average credit-card debt is more than $3,200. (Associated Press, 7/2/04)

•More than 40,000 Tennessee students have been awarded either lottery-funded scholarships or grants for 2004-05. But the jury is still out on whether the final number of scholarship recipients will meet the state's projected 65,200. So far, 31,843 are set to receive the HOPE Scholarship. (The Tennessean, 7/1/04)

• Appalachian State University held a recruitment program for middle-school students last year complete with campus tours and talks by professors. But unlike any other recruitment program that the school had held, all the activities were conducted in Spanish. Though Hispanics account for just 1.7 percent of the 183,000 students at North Carolina's public universities, they are the fastest-growing segment of the student body. (Winston-Salem Journal, 6/29/04)