Higher-Education Segregation Lawsuit in Alabama Nears Settlement
A 25-year old lawsuit against the state of Alabama involving segregation in the states higher education system could end in a month, according to the plaintiffs attorney. A federal judge has approved 12 different settlements that total $296 million, all of which will be used to improve select universities in Alabama. Alabama State University and Alabama A&M, both historically black institutions, will receive large amounts of state funding over the next five years. The settlements will also require the State of Alabama to increase its support of need-based financial aid by at least $10 million in the first year. Predominantly white institutions will have to implement Strategic Diversity Plans that focus on increasing black enrollment and the number of black faculty.
UCLA Answers Communitys Questions on Minority Enrollment
UCLAs interim chancellor has been reaching out to local schools and community members to answer their concerns about UCLAs record-low black enrollment2 percent of this years freshmen class. Two months ago, UCLA announced it was shifting to a more "holistic" admissions process that it hopes will increase minority numbers without violating Californias Proposition 209, which bans the consideration of race in admissions. Many local residents are still skeptical, however, that those admissions changes will produce increased black enrollment, and UCLA officials are worried about raising expectations that its new policies will provide a quick solution.
Allegations of Asian-American Discrimination in College Admissions
Asian-American students are starting to produce evidence that they are held to a higher standard in the college admissions process. A Chinese-American student recently filed a complaint with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights against Princeton, alleging that the university discriminates against Asian-Americans. According to the student, lower-performing white students were admitted to Princeton the year that his application was rejected. One study has found that admitted Asian-Americans have median SAT scores 50 points higher than admitted white students.
Accreditors Demand More Accountability for Student Learning
Higher education accreditation bodies are demanding more information from colleges about student learning. Instead of basing accreditation solely on financial solvency and educational resources, accreditors are requiring colleges to provide them with examples of student performance. This increased accountability follows the recommendations of Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings Higher Education Commission, which criticized accreditors for failing to take into account student learning in their assessments. While most of the measurement still comes from teacher evaluations, some colleges have started to use a standardized test of critical thinking, the Collegiate Learning Assessment.