Colleges Column

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Thomas College in Waterville, Me., will provide 10 full-tuition scholarships to students who come highly recommended by their high-school teachers and successfully complete a rigorous screening process, the college announced last month.

The Maine High School Teachers Scholarship Program will cost the college $200,000 over four years, beginning in 1984.

Selection of students is to be based on academic merit and not financial need. Students will be nominated by a teacher and then screened for their performance on the Scholastic Aptitude Test and achievement tests in mathematics and one other subject. The students will also be screened by a special panel of teachers and college faculty for evidence of leadership ability and social responsibility.

Announcing the awards, Gov. Joseph E. Brennan said that "one of the key elements in the success of this proposal is the participation of Maine high-school teachers. Without nominations forwarded by teachers, the process cannot begin."

The American Council on Education's action committee for higher education--a coalition of 26 national groups that serves as an information clearinghouse on U.S. student-aid programs--has released a 14-page document describing college and university initiatives to aid the jobless.

"Campuses are teaming up with labor unions and others to retrain jobless workers and help find them employment through career counseling, job banks, resume-writing workshops, and other services," according to the ace report.

Among the programs for the unemployed begun by colleges and universities:

The State University of New York at Buffalo and the United Steelworkers of America launched a program in July to offer noncredit courses in business, math, job-search skills, small-business operations, and personal computers to workers who lost jobs when a Bethlehem Steel plant in Lackawanna, N.Y., shut down. Lackawanna High School offered the use of its facilities at no charge.

The University of Michigan has offered free "career-change" counseling to 2,700 workers laid off from a Ford Motor Company plant in Washtenaw County, Mich. The two-week programs have been sponsored by the uaw-Ford Employee Development and Training Program.

Upon completion of the counseling program, workers are eligible to look for jobs through a computerized placement service run by an Ann Arbor job-search group.

Some colleges and universities are also offering free- or deferred-tuition plans to help jobless workers learn new skills.

For example, state colleges in Massachusetts allow jobless workers to take courses without paying tuition. The state board of regents first approved the tuition-waiver plan for the spring 1983 semester.

Although more than half of Florida's high-school graduating class last spring anticipated attending college immediately after high school, only 7.4 percent would have been able to do so, if newly established admissions requirements for public colleges had been in effect, according to preliminary results of a survey conducted by the Florida State Department of Education and the Board of Regents of the State University System.

The new college-admission standards will require that, by 1987, all entering freshmen take four years of English; three years each of mathematics, science, and social studies; and two years of a foreign language. (Students are now required to have three years of English and two years of mathematics and the sciences.)

The board of regents anticipates a dramatic increase in college-preparatory enrollments as a result of higher statewide standards, according to Barbara W. Newell, chancellor of the state's university system.

In 1982-83, 30 percent of black students, 39 percent of Hispanic students, and 45 percent of white students were enrolled in college-preparatory courses.

Of the seniors surveyed, only about 40 percent of both white and Hispanic students and 21 percent of black students had taken three or more years of mathematics.

Although 52 percent of the black students surveyed expected to go on to college immediately after high school, only 3 percent met the new admissions criteria for the state's colleges and universities, according to the survey.

Some 19.2 percent of black respondents indicated that they would enter the military; 6 percent of other students indicated they would do so, the study found.

The survey was administered in March 1983 to a random sample of students at all of Florida's public high schools. The respondent pool closely resembled the racial and ethnic distribution of seniors in the state, officials said.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah and chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, introduced legislation last month that would make it easier for universities to acquire new scientific research facilities and equipment.

The Scientific Research Act of 1983 simplifies section 103 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 by making interest on universities' and colleges' debts for scientific instrumentation tax-exempt.

A companion bill, HR 2118, was introduced in the House by Representative Hank Brown, Republican of Colorado, last March.

"Universities and colleges have only limited funds in university budgets, endowments, and government grants and contracts to acquire new equipment. Because of the irregularity and unreliability of these funds, higher-educational institutions have had little, if any, improvement. Thus, several universities have turned to debt-financing as a means of upgrading their research abilities," said Senator Hatch, noting that U.S. institutions of higher learning lag behind European and Japanese universities technologically by 10 years.--sr

Vol. 03, Issue 09

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