Go back

This week in higher ed

•Schools across the country are revamping curricula as they try to take advantage of a large pool of homeland security money. At hundreds of schools, Sept. 11 is influencing how many topics are taught–from medicine to firefighting to politics to computer networking. The changes are driven by legislation and policy, interest from students and faculty, demands from employers, a sense of mission–and money. The federal government has pumped cash into this new fight, spending more than $12 billion for homeland security research and development over the past four budget years. •Schools across the country are revamping curricula as they try to take advantage of a large pool of homeland security money. At hundreds of schools, Sept. 11 is influencing how many topics are taught—from medicine to firefighting to politics to computer networking. The changes are driven by legislation and policy, interest from students and faculty, demands from employers, a sense of mission—and money. The federal government has pumped cash into this new fight, spending more than $12 billion for homeland security research and development over the past four budget years. “Homeland security is probably going to be the government's biggest employer in the next decade,” said Steven R. David, who directs the homeland security certificate program at Johns Hopkins University. (The Washington Post, 5/2/05)

•In his new book, “Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education,” William Bowen, the former president of Princeton and current head of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, finds that only 11 percent of the undergrads at 19 selective public and private schools he studied (ranging from Princeton and Williams to the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign) come from the bottom income quartile nationally (about $27,000 a year and under). Only 6 percent are the first in their families to go to college. (U.S. News & World Report, 4/29/05)

•In the last eight years, college grants to wealthy students grew more than twice as quickly as grants to students with families of modest means, according to federal statistics. Indeed, students with grants in the $100,000-plus bracket—the richest tracked by the federal government—receive an average of $6,200 apiece, which is more than any other income group. (The Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/29/05)

•After a five-year lull that saw loan charges slump to their lowest ever, rates are all but guaranteed to climb back up July 1. However, loan managers have proposed a simple way to lock in a low rate now—consolidate. (Des Moines Register, 4/27/05)