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Nineteen colleges and universities will share $1.6 million in grants awarded by the Ford Foundation last month to enhance ethnic and cultural diversity on their campuses.

The winners, selected by a national panel of educators, will receive between $25,000 and $100,000 each for such programs as the integration of Native American history and culture into the curriculum (Bemidji State University in Minnesota), the creation or revision of 10 courses that will constitute a new core requirement in social justice (Haverford College in Pennsylvania), and the study of "Ethnic Los Angeles" (University of California at Los Angeles).

According to the foundation, the grants are intended to refocus attention on women and minorities at a time when college campuses and students are increasingly under scrutiny for intolerance of racial, religious, and sexual minorities.


Money magazine says Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, located in New York City's East Village, is the nation's top higher-education # value. The school, which is committed to providing a tuition-free education, charges a $300 annual fee, but spends $15,000 a year on each of its 1,000 students, according to Money.)

The ratings come from the magazine's fall college issue. Money used a computer formula that took into consideration tuition (the out-of-state rate for public schools), student-faculty ratios, the amount of money devoted to student instruction, the number of Ph.D. students, graduation rates, Scholastic Aptitude Test scores and class rank of incoming freshmen, the number of books in the libraries, and other factors.

Rounding out the top 10 are: California Institute of Technology, Rice University, The New College of the University ; of South Florida, the State University of New York-Geneseo, the State University of New York at Binghamton, Trenton State College, the State University of New York at Albany, the University of Virginia, and the University of Florida.

Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, plans to phase out its timed English-composition exam for advanced placement and instead use student-submitted writing portfolios to determine whether a student needs to enroll in the school's two mandatory, first-year composition classes.

The portfolios, to be judged by at least two professors, will provide for a better evaluation of writing skills than the timed test, according to a university official.

Students are encouraged to work on the four writing samples--a personal letter on themselves, a narrative or descriptive essay, an explanatory essay, and an analysis of a written text--prior to enrollment.--mp

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