All posts by Andy Thomason


George Washington U. Won’t Make Applicants Submit SAT or ACT Scores

George Washington University announced on Monday that it would go test-optional, becoming one of the most prominent colleges to no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. The Washington Post reports the university said it was making the change because it feared the requirement had kept some students from applying.

“Although we have long employed a holistic application-review process, we had concerns that students who could be successful at GW felt discouraged from applying if their scores were not as strong as their high-school performance,” the university’s dean of admissions, Karen Stroud Felton, told the Post.

The Hatchet, George Washington’s student newspaper, reported this year that the university had admitted 45 percent of its applicants for the incoming freshman class, its highest rate in more than 10 years. Meanwhile, The Hatchet noted, the university’s peer institutions have boasted increasing selectivity in their rates of admission.

George Washington joins a list of several institutions that have gone test-optional in recent years, including Wake Forest University, DePaul University, and American University.

George Washington University dropped its testing requirement for most freshman admissions Monday, becoming one of the largest and most prominent schools to declare that its applicants don’t have to take the SAT or ACT. The announcement from the private university in the nation’s capital reflects a growing belief in some college admission circles that standardized tests are a barrier to recruiting disadvantaged students.

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Black Students Are Among the Least-Prepared for College, Report Says

African-American students’ college readiness is lagging compared with that of other underrepresented students, according to a new report released on Monday by ACT and the United Negro College Fund. Sixty-two percent of African-American students who graduated from high school in 2014 and took the ACT met none of the organization’s four benchmarks that measure college readiness, which was twice the rate for all students.

“To help African-American students, we need to improve the quality of educati…


Another College President Forgoes a Pay Raise

The president of Northern Kentucky University, Geoffrey S. Mearns, has declined a pay raise unanimously approved by the college’s Board of Regents. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Mr. Mearns declined the raise because faculty and staff members were not getting performance raises. Mr. Mearns also declined a $25,000 bonus, and directed that it be given to a scholarship fund.

Mr. Mearns is the latest in a line of college leaders — at the University of Texas at Austin, Kentucky State University, and the University of Cincinnati — who have recently turned down more money.

Northern Kentucky University President Geoffrey Mearns has declined to accept a merit pay raise and performance bonus under his employment contract, the university’s Board of Regents said Thursday. Instead of accepting the bonus, Mearns directed the board to allocate the $25,000 annual payment to the NKU Foundation to support the Mearns/Proud Family Scholarship Fund, according to a statement distributed Thursday to NKU students, faculty and staff.

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Former Valdosta State U. Student’s Free-Speech Lawsuit Ends in $900,000 Settlement

A former Valdosta State University student’s long-running First Amendment lawsuit will end with a $900,000 settlement, according to a news release from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Thomas Hayden Barnes was expelled from the Georgia college in 2008 after he protested the building of two parking garages. He sued the college’s president, Ronald M. Zaccari, and in 2013 a federal jury awarded Mr. Barnes $50,000 after finding that the college had violated his due-process rights. …


Financial-Services Company Is Accused of Misleading Students

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has filed a complaint against a financial-services company, Student Financial Aid Services Inc., that it says illegally misled students. The federal bureau announced on Thursday that it had filed a proposed consent order that, if approved by a federal judge, would require the company to pay $5.2 million back to consumers.

The bureau alleges that the company, which provides assistance in filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or Fafsa) a…


That Time Donald Trump Started a ‘University’ (and an Amazing Blog)

Donald Trump, the celebrity billionaire whose bid for the Republican presidential nomination has been a source of mild to major annoyance for, well, most people, is hardly overseeing his first bid to educate the American public. To say so would be to forget Trump University, the virtual, for-profit “college” he started in 2005.

Speaking to the times, the endeavor relied on the sale (at hundreds of dollars a pop) of CDs and DVDs while relieving students of burdensome higher-ed staples such as tes…


U. of California Will Increase Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

The University of California system will raise its minimum wage for direct and contract employees to $15 an hour over the next three years, it announced on Wednesday. The plan, unveiled at a meeting of the Board of Regents, will place the system’s minimum wage well above the state’s minimum wage, which is $9 an hour.

“Through its education, research, and public-service missions, the University of California’s students, faculty, and staff have made us into a world-renowned institution,” said the …


Wright State Leaders Speak Out on Secret Investigation of Administrators

Leaders at Wright State University have now acknowledged that something was amiss when the provost and three other administrators at the Ohio institution were placed on leave more than two months ago, the Dayton Daily News reports. The university’s president, David R. Hopkins, and its Board of Trustees’ chairman, Michael Bridges, released a video on Monday informing students and faculty members that Wright State was conducting “internal investigations and reviews into certain administrative practices.”

The provost, Sundaram Narayanan, was placed on paid leave in early May, along with Ryan Fendley, Mr. Narayanan’s senior adviser; Gwen Mattison, chief general counsel; and Phani Kidambi, a professor who leads the university’s International Gateway program.

The newspaper reported last month that the employees draw a combined annual salary of nearly $900,000.

Staff Writer Wright State University President David Hopkins and Board of Trustees Chairman Michael Bridges released a video Monday addressing a secretive investigation that has left WSU’s second in command and three other administrators on paid leave for months.

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Student-Loan Servicer Is Ordered to Pay Back $16 Million to Borrowers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has ordered a private student-loan servicer to refund nearly $16 million to borrowers after the federal agency found evidence of illegal practices. According to a consent order filed by the bureau, Discover Bank overstated in billing statements the minimum amount borrowers had to pay, engaged in illegal collecting practices, and did not provide necessary tax information to borrowers.

“Discover created student-debt stress for borrowers by inflating their b…


Professor Is Out Following Investigation Into Anti-Gay Facebook Post

A business professor at an Ontario college no longer has his job after administrators investigated reports that he had made an anti-gay remark on Facebook. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports St. Lawrence College announced Tuesday on Twitter that it had investigated claims against Rick Coupland and that he no longer works at the college: