Headlines @ U.Va.
THE RICH-POOR GAP WIDENS FOR COLLEGES AND STUDENTS
As in the country as a whole, class distinctions have always existed in higher education.
The Harvards, Michigans and Grinnells have long snagged the big gifts, posted large endowment gains, hired star professors and attracted top-notch students, mostly from well-off families and elite suburban high schools. The Clarkes, Keukas and Mansfields have labored for attention and money, kept a tight rein on expenses and worried about filling beds each fall with students, many of them from working-class and low-income families with plenty of financial need. There have been exceptions, of course. Miniature American dreams, you could call them. Inner-city kids have ended up at Ivy League universities and sizable donations have put striving colleges into the ranks of the elite.
But with each year of the past decade, those success stories have been dwarfed by the already-large endowments ballooning at wealthy colleges and by significant tuition increases, coupled with cuts in state appropriations, that have discouraged the college plans of many students on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. ... The moves last month by Penn, Stanford and MIT to provide additional financial aid to needy students followed announcements of similar policies in recent years by U.Va., the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Princeton, among others. While the plans’ particulars differ, the goals are the same: to enroll a greater number of needy students. (Chronicle of Higher Education, April 3)
RED LIGHT CAMERAS HAVEN’T CUT CRASHES — DID COLLECT REVENUE
When cameras were installed at five county intersections in 2000, police claimed the devices would deter red-light running and reduce accidents. Almost six years later, the county has issued almost 38,000 tickets, collected $2.85 million in fines and let out a new contract to keep the cameras running, but officials can’t prove any public safety benefits. … A January 2005 study by the Virginia Transportation Research Council — sponsored jointly by VDOT and U.Va. — concluded the cameras had only “the potential” to improve traffic safety. After reviewing statistics from the seven jurisdictions in Virginia that have active red light cameras though, they could not produce any numbers that showed a significant drop in accidents. (Annapolis MD Capital, April 3)
HARVEST GRANTS AWARDED
The Harvest Foundation has awarded more than $1 million worth of grants approved by its board of directors. ... Other grants included $252,900 to the Rectors/Visitors of U.Va.’s Guide Program. … The goal of the grant to the U.Va. Guide Program, according to Allyson Rothrock, interim executive director of The Harvest Foundation, is to help prepare students for post-secondary education. The guide program will select graduating seniors from U.Va. and place them, one in each local public high school, during the 2006 school year. They will help guidance staff prepare students for their time after high school. This can include one-on-one meetings and discussion of college preparation, financial aid forms and waivers for SAT testing costs, school selection and preparing resumes. The U.Va. alumni or guides also can help younger students pick high school classes that will help prepare them for college, Rothrock said. Keith Roots, director of corporate and foundation relations for the College of Arts & Sciences at U.Va., said the program is useful in a state where the average guidance counselor to student ratio is 353 to 1. The U.Va. guides receive three months of training on counseling and other issues, he said. (Martinsville Bulletin, April 2)