Colleges Column

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"The American Freshman: Twenty-Five Year Trends" compares the characteristics of first-year students at colleges and universities nationwide between 1966 and 1991.

The report contains information on student academic preparation, demographic trends, high-school activities and experiences, educational and career plans, college majors, attitudes, values, and finances.

Among the report's highlights:

  • More students in 1990 than in 1983 had completed the number of English, mathematics, and foreign-language courses recommended by the National Commission on Excellence in Education. But fewer students in 1990 had completed the N.C.E.E. requirements in the physical or biological sciences.
  • Although the percentage of students interested in business careers more than doubled between 1966 and 1986--from 11.6 percent to 24.1 percent--interest in business dropped to 18.4 percent in 1990. The choice of business as a major followed a similar trend.
  • In 1967, 82.9 percent of the students said they sought to "develop a meaningful philosophy of life," compared with 39.4 percent in 1987, the low point. Between 1970 and 1987, the percentage of students who stud they wanted to be "very well-off financially" rose from 39.1 percent to 75.6 percent.

Copies of the report are available for $25 each from the Higher Education Research Institute, Graduate School of Education, 320 Moore Hall, U.C.L.A., Los Angeles, Calif. 900241521.


A federal judge has ordered the state of Alabama to change the way it funds higher education as a way of ending discrimination in the state's postsecondary education system.

U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy said last month that he found "vestiges of discrimination in Alabama's higher-education institutions, at least a number of them and to some extent all of them."

Judge Murphy stud the state must change its policy of reducing state funding based on the average tuition at a state school because it unfairly affects two predominantly black schools, Alabama A&M and Alabama State.

Judge Murphy gave the state until the 1992-93 academic term to revise the funding formula. The judge also directed several predominantly white schools to make a better effort to attract black students, professors, and administrators, and said Alabama State should make a stronger effort in attracting whites in those positions.

Robert Hunter, a lawyer for the state, said the state will "try to work within the order and avoid an appeal."--M.P .

Vol. 11, Issue 19, Page 9

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