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Higher Ed Round-up...... September 29, 1997

Scholars question posting research on the Web
Posting of research on the Internet has caused a deep divide in the academic community nationwide. While some institutions and scholars are strongly in favor of this practice, others fear that publishing on the Web will decrease students' chances of having their work published in journals.

In an effort to provide free, unlimited access to its students' work, Virginia Tech is requiring its graduate students to post their master's theses and doctoral dissertations online. Virginia Tech officials also see Web publishing as a way to avoid working within the small and very costly scholarly journal publishing system. Unfortunately, many journal publishers want to be the first to disseminate new research and so refuse to consider work that has been posted online.

An editorial in the August 2 edition of the Charlotte News and Observer supported North Carolina State University's recent moves to post research on the Internet. According to the paper, "An innovative program at N.C. State University hopes to make more of the fruits of academic research available via the Internet. Rather than stashing doctoral dissertations in the relatively hard-to-access stacks of university libraries, N.C. State is joining a handful of research universities making them available in cyberspace. ... Putting them online will spread the wealth of good information contained inside." (Sources: The Charlotte Observer; 7/28/97; The News & Observer, 8/3/97)

Students safer on campus
A report from the National Center for Education Statistics - "Campus Crime and Security at Postsecondary Education Institutions" - contains good news about campus safety: although campus arrests for weapons possession, drugs, and liquor law violations rose between 1992 and 1994, these increases may be attributable to stricter law enforcement on campus, rather than increased criminal behavior, the report finds.

Violent crime on college campuses has decreased to 65 reported violent crimes per 100,000 students in 1994, compared with 71 per 100,000 in 1993 and 68 per 100,000 in 1992. In addition, the report found that young adults on campus are much safer than those on the outside. The reported murder rate on campus in 1994 was 0.1 per 100,000 individuals compared with 22 per 100,000 people for all adults aged 18 to 24. For more information, contact the National Center for Education Statistics. (Source: American Demographics, 7/9/97)

China levies fee on scholars studying abroad
In an effort to ensure that Chinese citizens who study overseas return home after their training, the Chinese government will require all government-sponsored scholars to post a $6,000 bond before leaving the country. They will get the money back upon returning to China.

Currently, all government-sponsored scholars must sign a form saying that they will pay back all tuition assistance if they do not return to China promptly after finishing their studies. The $6,000 bond is an effort to expand on this concept.

More than 3,000 Chinese scholars receive government funds to study outside the country each year, many do not return. Official figures are not available, but there are estimates that about 95 percent remain in the country where they studied. (Source: Academe Today, 8/14/97)

More affluent students attending public institutions
A recent study shows that affluent parents are increasingly sending their children to public colleges and universities - and warns that this trend could result in less opportunity for students from lower-income families to attend those institutions. In 1994, 38 percent of families earning more than $200,000 sent their children to public institutions, compared with 31 percent in 1980.

The study's authors attribute the jump partly to the fact that institutions have become more dependent on tuition dollars in the face of decreasing state funds. University of Southern California Dean Morton Schapiro said this situation has forced institutions to become "less than forthright" about need-based admissions policies. Co-author Michael McPherson, president of Macalester College, added that state legislatures are putting pressure on institutions to demonstrate the high quality of their students, prompting public colleges and universities to increase merit-based aid instead of need-based awards.

The authors also cite the rising cost of private higher education as a contributing factor.

According to the study, the average cost to attend one year at a private institution is $11,600 compared with about $3,000 at a public college and university. This, coupled with the growing perception that publics offer the same quality education as privates, is leading to a more "consumerist" approach to college is emerging.

McPherson and Schapiro, two seasoned economists who have conducted extensive research on higher education and finance, will present their findings in a new book called The Student Aid Game, to be published in November. (Source: Academe Today, 8/14/97)

Deans increasingly engage in fund raising
The Chronicle of Higher Education has picked up on a trend that educators have explored at CASE conferences for many years: Deans are increasingly engaging in fund-raising activities. Although both public and private institutions "compartmentalize" their fund-raising offices by assigning development officers to specific schools and programs, much of the responsibility for courting donors falls to deans. Jerry May, vice president for development at The Ohio State University, says deans should be involved in fund raising for several reasons: They are closest to the funding need and best prepared to talk about it; and they can give a potential donor personal attention and perhaps develop a "bond" and deans' involvement can encourage professors to engage in fund-raising activities.

Moreover, many deans understand the importance of private funding and are already seasoned solicitors. (Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/18/97)

Reprinted, with permission, from CASE Flash Points.