'Bermuda Triangle' of Higher Ed; Waffling on Energy Drinks

And, in today's academia round-up: cheating the SAT's gets expensive

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Today in academia: cheating the SAT's can get expensive, a few schools would very much like to have a New York campus, and one University loses the nerve to ban energy drinks.

  • The 'Bermuda Triangle' of higher education: courses that have little to do with graduating.  What we were most struck by in The New York Times take on today's newly released, data-rich college graduation report was one huge pitfall that ensnares potential graduates: meaningless required courses that take up a lot of time and have nothing to do with a major. Hence, what the non-profit College Completion America calls the "Bermuda Triangle" of higher ed. This is how prevalent the courses have become: "Half of all students studying for an associate degree, and one in five of those seeking a bachelor’s degree...are required to take remedial, or 'developmental' courses, and many of them never move on to credit-bearing courses, much less graduation." [The New York Times]
  •  Stanford still wants a New York campus; Purdue didn't get enough funding to make it happen. Both Stanford and Purdue have promised that their campus vision will make NYC more Silicon Valley-like. However, the Indiana university's president wrote in a statement relayed by The Journal that the city's funding plan was "not sufficient to offset the university’s projected expenses" for an applied-science campus program and the school withdrew the bid. Stanford's President John Hennessy still seems very excited about the idea however and hopes that there can be an agreement between the school and the city before the end of the year. [The Wall Street Journal, Stanford University via Justin Pope]
  • Hiring someone to take the SAT for you costs between $1,500 and $2,500.  Which is why it's unsurprising that an alleged SAT cheating ring centers around a "a prestigious Long Island high school," as the Associated Press reported. Those are the types of students who could afford to shell out that type of money. Presently, an Emory college student was arrested for allegedly helping at least six students cheat the exam by using a fake ID to cheat the system by taking their tests for them and charging for it. He's pleading not guilty, but the Nassau County District Attorney thinks otherwise: school administrators had already flagged students with "'large discrepancies between their academic performance records and their SAT scores,' the prosecutor said." [Associated Press]
  • University of New Hampshire no longer sure where it stands on the dangers of Red Bull.  The University tried to make a statement on Monday by banning the energy drink and others like it, but now it appears to have lost its nerve. "President Mark Huddleston said conflicting reports about the caffeine and sugar content of some of the drinks, as well as negative student reaction, prompted him to call for a delay," reported the Associated Press. Its seems much more likely that the second factor (negative student reaction) played a bigger role than "conflicting reports" about the contents of Red Bull. Everyone knows that whatever is in the drink can't be healthy for you. [Associated Press via Inside Higher Ed]
  • UC Berkeley Republicans inflammatory bake sale: the live blog! If you missed recent outrage of the school's college Republican plan to sell race-based, cost-tiered pastry items (i.e. $2.00 for an item if you're white, $.75 if you're black) as an affirmative action protest today, here's the gist. Meanwhile, a student-run newspaper is dutifully live-blogging the goings on of an event, which drew "roughly 300" protesters to the plaza that held the sale. [The Daily Californian]
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