Colleges Column

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More than eight out of ten Americans believe that all qualified students should have the opportunity to attend college, according to the findings of a nationwide survey of public attitudes toward higher education.

Respondents to the survey, conducted this past summer by Group Attitudes Corporation of New York, also favored continued federal aid to needy students and support for university research in medicine and the physical sciences.

Aid to higher education ranked fourth (behind health care and medical and energy research) among programs respondents thought "should not be cut at all."

The average student receiving financial aid at a two-year or four-year public college or university could not attend college without the help of federal student aid, according to a survey of 2.2 million students conducted for three public-college associations. The preliminary findings show that--even with federal aid, student savings, and money from other sources--the average independent student receiving aid was still $1,488 short of the amount needed to cover educational and living costs. The typical "dependent" student was short by $443. About one-third of the students on financial aid at public colleges are self-supporting, the study found.

High-school graduates leaving home for the first time to attend college often face unnecessary adjustment problems caused by parents, according to Harold A. Korn, a psychologist at the University of Michigan.

"On the one hand, [parents] worry about the student having too much freedom. So they exact unrealistic promises for high grades and calls or letters home.

"Or, they may confer more independence than the student is ready for, such as by offering too little guidance on financial matters, or by making over his bedroom for another purpose without consulting him."

For parents of high-school seniors and others who are anticipating an exodus from home in the near future, Mr. Korn recommends laying the groundwork early. "Students could begin learning to handle larger sums of money budgeting for clothes and other personal expenses," he suggests. "And it is certainly a time to reinforce good studying habits and other forms of self discipline."

Brown University has established fellowships supporting students who devote a significant amount of time to volunteer public service. The cash awards--ranging from $1,000 to $2,000--will be presented to 13 students this year.

"In the absence of a national [service] program, universities ought to do whatever they can to recognize students who have found opportunities to serve, and we ought to help others who might wish to serve," according to the university's president, Howard R. Swearer.

Funded by a $1 million gift from the Starr Foundation of New York, the program gives freshmen winners special consideration in Brown's admissions process and provides scholarship assistance to students who wish to spend a year or more in national service.

Forty-one present and former presidents, vice presidents, and board chairmen of American colleges and universities have sent a letter to President Reagan to "express our concern over the growing threat of nuclear war."

The signers of the letter--including officials of Ivy League schools, the Universities of California, Missouri, and Maryland, the State University of New York, and other leading private institutions--said they were not endorsing a specific remedy. But they said they believed that a solution "is possible and that a major investment in planning, negotiating, and cooperating to establish civilized, effective, and morally acceptable alternatives to nuclear war as an arbiter of international disputes is urgently needed."

How big a business is big-time college sports?

According to a financial analysis of college athletics conducted for the National Collegiate Athletics Association, institutions that are ncaa members spent more than $770 million on their athletic programs in 1980-81, an increase of 75 percent since a similar study was conducted four years earlier.

At the same time, ncaa members took in an estimated $718 million in revenues, a 92 percent increase in four years.

Those findings suggest why institutions have so eagerly awaited the ruling of a federal judge in a suit brought by the Universities of Georgia and Oklahoma over the right to control contracts for televised games.

The ncaa has fought hard to retain the regulatory authority over TV rights that it has held since 1952; the association argues that without a system that centralizes control, televised football would be narrowed to a few major teams.

But U.S. District Judge Juan Burciaga ruled last month that the ncaa's control over arrangements constitutes a violation of federal antitrust laws. The athletic group will probably appeal the decision. But meanwhile, college officials are not certain how the case will affect television plans for the current season.

In the ncaa study, some 60 percent of Division I football teams reported an average profit of $616,000, according to Mitchell A. Raiborn, the Bradley University researcher who conducted the study, but 44 percent of the institutions reported profits of $300,000 or less.

At a time when many young faculty members and the brightest graduates are leaving campuses for lucrative positions in nonacademic professions, higher-education leaders are concerned that colleges and universities will be robbed of an outstanding new generation of scholars to replace faculty members who will retire by 1990.

A handbook published by the Academy of Educational Development outlines efforts by 115 colleges and universities to retain and attract young faculty. Institutions, according to the document, are developing new programs that offer incentives to older faculty to retire early; enable mid-career faculty members to test life outside academe in short-term assignments in business and industry; and allow young teachers to move into new academic activities.

In addition, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, a longstanding supporter of bright young scholars, will spend some $24 million on graduate fellowships over a 10 year period.

Starting in the 1983-84 academic year, from 100 to 125 Mellon Fellowships will be awarded annually.--Sheppard Ranbom

Vol. 02, Issue 05

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