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Today in academia: Berkeley's middle class bid, Ivy League admit numbers, Penn State's big donation, Riverside's protest rules, and Virginia Tech's parental notification policy.

  • UC Berkeley makes an offer it hopes middle class families won't refuse.  Remember that MBA financial aid arms race? It's looks like its happening at undergrad institutions too. UC Berkeley will "extend financial aid to thousands of students from households earning $80,000 to $140,000 a year," The Los Angeles Times reports. The plan looks like it targets middle class families well off enough not to qualify for most financial aid packages but not wealthy enough to disregard the relatively-high sticker price of $32,600. And The New York Times says the school is doing so with a plan to snag applicants away from Ivy League destinations: "While several elite private universities — including the Ivy League triumvirate of Harvard, Princeton and Yale — offer similar programs for families with incomes up to $200,000, experts said that Berkeley was the first public university to do so." Harvard, a counter-offer? [The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times]
  • Speaking of the Ivies...  Harvard, Dartmouth, and Brown just released their early admission decisions numbers. So, if you applied early to those schools but are just reading about the numbers here, we're sorry. They did have an awful lot of applicants to sift through though. Harvard admitted 18 percent of its applicants, Dartmouth accepted roughly 25 percent and Brown accepted 19 percent. Brown's Daily Herald spoke to one of the lucky ones, who told the paper his "his mother had the computer open and a video camera to record his reaction." And now he has that moment permanently recorded in his college newspaper. [The Crimson, The Daily Herald, The Dartmouth]
  • Penn State gets its largest donation since the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The Associated Press says that the school received $10 million from an anonymous donor in order to "to recruit and retain top students and faculty." It appears, according to statistics released earlier this month, that the school wasn't having trouble retaining students even though there's been concerns about it. Its application numbers reportedly rose 4 percent from last year. [Associated Press]
  • Looks like U.C Riverside thinks better of its protest rules.  As Inside Higher Ed noted when it first wrote about the  idea of "protest guidelines" timed after the U.C. Davis pepper-spray incident, maybe the presumably well-intentioned administrators behind the guidelines should have named the document something like "assembly rules." Because it seems inevitable that students wouldn't be too receptive to the idea of guidelines (i.e. notification two weeks in advance etc.) that limit "spontaneous" protest. Yesterday, the school's chancellor "removed the document altogether from the university’s policies and procedures web page." [Inside Higher Ed, more Inside Higher Ed]
  • At what point do colleges notify parents about a suicidal student? Virginia Tech just settled with the family of one student who killed himself in 2007, and part of the settlement was a requirement for "school officials to notify parents or guardians when a student is suicidal," The Washington Post reported. Most schools don't work that way, we're informed, but the issue is a sensitive one--also tying in with the increase in reported psychological problems on campuses nationwide. The balance, it appears, is whether a parent should be notified about a troubled student, even if he or she is technically an adult. The Post, citing experts, says the trend is moving toward "colleges becoming more assertive in contacting parents of potentially suicidal students." [The Washington Post]

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