Higher Education | KERA News

Higher Education

As More Classes Move Online, Some Texas College Students Wonder If It's Worth The Money

23 hours ago
Allie Goulding / The Texas Tribune

Sarah Ramos has spent her summer anxiously awaiting a fall return to Texas A&M’s campus at College Station. She is hoping for some normalcy after she and her classmates were abruptly forced off campus last semester and into Zoom-based classes for the remainder of the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A sign in the University of Texas at Austin's Student Services Building shows information on how to prevent the spread of airborne illnesses.
Eddie Gaspar / The Texas Tribune

Determined to see students return to college in the fall, some of Texas' biggest universities are requiring face masks as a safeguard against the coronavirus. But enforcing those policies could prove difficult for institutions with tens of thousands of students and sprawling campuses.

Carpenters John Mackie, of Canton, Mass., left, and Doug Hathaway, of Holliston, Mass., right, apply trim to a newly installed plastic barrier in an office area, at Boston University.
Associated Press

Growing numbers of U.S. colleges are pledging to reopen this fall, with dramatic changes to campus life to keep the coronavirus at bay. Big lectures will be a thing of the past. Dorms will will be nowhere near capacity. Students will face mandatory virus testing. And at some smaller schools, students may be barred from leaving campus.

Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media

Colleges in Greater Houston, including Lone Star College, Rice University and the University of Houston, are planning a return to campus in the fall, after the the pandemic quickly shuttered campus at higher education institutions this spring and sent students home to learn remotely.

Skidmore senior Luz De Leon studied abroad in Madrid in the spring of 2019. She's expected to graduate in May.
Courtesy

Senior Luz De Leon usually never leaves her Skidmore College campus for spring break, Thanksgiving or other holidays. A flight from Albany to Houston can be pricey.

University administrators at a Board of Regents meeting in Austin on April 2, 2019.
Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

The University of Texas System approved an across-the-board tuition hike of 2.6% for its eight academic campuses, amounting to a $290-a-year increase for in-state, undergraduate students at its flagship university in 2020 and 2021.

When Rhonda Gonzales was in college in the early '90s, the term "first-generation" wasn't part of her vocabulary. Sure, she was the first in her family to go to college and she did have a sense of discomfort on campus — not quite fitting in. But it wasn't something she advertised, or even identified with, and no one else on campus seemed to care much, either.

University of Michigan
Shutterstock

Students in high school may not realize it, but they're having to make lots of decisions that will likely determine their future. Journalist Paul Tough joined Krys Boyd on Think to talk about how the choices students make during the college admissions process can impact the rest of their life.

Courtesy of Richardson Independent School District

Some students in the Richardson Independent School District are getting a head start on paying for college. The district has announced a college savings plan in three of its schools with large numbers of students who are economically disadvantaged.

Shutterstock

Four out of 10 students who go to college end up with college debt but don’t graduate. David Kirp, a University of California, Berkeley professor and the author of "The College Dropout Scandal," recently joined Krys Boyd, host of Think, to talk about this problem.

When Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 3 into law earlier this summer, in addition to increasing school funding and approving teacher raises, he also approved a requirement for all Texas high school seniors to fill out an application for federal or state financial aid for college.

Laura Skelding / The Texas Tribune

Seeking to make college more affordable, the University of Texas will use some of its oil money to dramatically expand the financial aid it offers to low- and middle-income undergraduates on its flagship Austin campus.

As colleges and universities across the country report an explosion of mental health problems, a new book argues that college life may be more stressful than ever. Dr. Anthony Rostain, co-author of The Stressed Years of Their Lives, notes that today's college students are experiencing an "inordinate amount of anxiety" — much of it centered on "surviving college and doing well."

Texas is one of just three states that did not sign onto a letter sent Friday to Secretary Betsy DeVos asking the U.S. Department of Education to automatically forgive student loans for eligible disabled veterans. 

Oscar Cantua was one of 5100 graduates at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s 2019 Spring Commencement. He received an undergraduate degree in physics. It stemmed from an early interest in black holes. But his path to graduation was a rocky one. Oscar, his mother and his older sister left Mexico when he was only five.

Mountain View College, part of the Dallas County Community College District, in southwest Dallas.
Cedar Valley College via Facebook

As a senior in high school, Jose Alvarez said he didn’t think he’d be able to attend college. He didn’t understand the application process and didn’t think he could afford it.

Then he learned about Commit's Dallas County Promise, which helps students attend college by covering their tuition.

Robert F. Smith’s speech at Sunday’s Morehouse College graduation ceremony started like most. The billionaire entrepreneur and Austin resident extolled the virtues of hard work and the benefits of a college education, then the speech took a turn. 

“This is my class, 2019,” Smith said. "And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”

Students walk on the campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (the National Autonomous University) in Mexico City.
Shutterstock

Recent Mexican immigrants in Texas are more likely to have a college degree than in previous years. That’s according to a new report by the D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute and Southern Methodist University's Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center.

Chuck Burton / Associated Press

On Tuesday, April 30, a gunman killed two students and injured four others at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Salma Paredes, a senior at Arlington Collegiate High School, enjoys graphic design, watching documentaries and hanging out with friends — when she has the time. She’s typically busy taking college courses and planning her future. She will graduate from high school this spring with 60 college credits, the equivalent of an associate’s degree, or half of a bachelor’s degree.

Aniya Cox is sure she wants to be a dermatologist. What she's been less sure about is what she needs to do to get there — she's just 16, a sophomore at Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C.

She can remember, at various points of the past two years, desperately trying to navigate all that's required to graduate high school and get into college.

"I was all over the place, I was frustrated," Cox said. "I didn't know what I needed to do."

Cox said even the process of asking her teachers for advice — and finding time to meet with them — was confusing.

Former UT Austin Tennis Coach Pleads Guilty In Admissions Bribery Scam

Apr 25, 2019

BOSTON — The former men's tennis coach at the University of Texas at Austin pleaded guilty Wednesday to accepting a $100,000 bribe in the widespread college admissions bribery scheme and will cooperate with authorities.

A "Higher Ed" podcast listener recently wrote in with an intriguing question for Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger: as a university president, does Ed "see himself as more of a leader or manager? How does he differentiate the two concepts and does he place more emphasis on one area or another?" In this episode, KUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Ed about what it means to lead and manage on and off campus.

A new musical explores life in high school in a way that's eerily familiar. It's called Ranked, and it's set in a dystopian world where your class rank — determined by grades and test scores — governs everything from where you sit to what your future holds.

Right now, students across the country are in the process of choosing where to go to college. For many, that decision is closely tied to a school's financial aid offer. But with no current standardization of these offers, letters look vastly different from one college to the next. They're often filled with confusing terms and jargon, and not all colleges define and calculate these terms the same way.

A packed High Fives sports bar in Dallas
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Texas Tech forced an overtime nail-biter in Monday night's NCAA men's basketball championship. Yet the Red Raiders couldn't quite claw past the Virginia Cavaliers, who won their first title, 85 to 77. We watched from the Dallas sports bar High Fives, packed with Tech grads.

A heavily wooded area of a property off of CR 4515 near Athens that the owners got designated as an ecolab research area.
Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson

As a former mayor, five-term state senator and champion of limited government, state Sen. Robert Nichols was familiar with the Texas property tax code.

But in 2016, in a visit with a local appraiser, the Jacksonville Republican was surprised to learn there was something strange happening on properties across central Texas.

The former UT Austin men's tennis coach will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for receiving money to recruit an unqualified student to the university's tennis team in 2015, the Department of Justice said.

Michael Center was put on administrative leave the day he was indicted on two charges of mail fraud for accepting $60,000 personally in the scheme and was later fired. He also received $40,000 on behalf of the university's tennis program, authorities say.

Allegations of cheating and bribery in connection with college admissions have brought renewed scrutiny to just how that process works. In this episode of the KUT podcast "Higher Ed," KUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger to get his response to the story and his take on maintaining integrity in the process.

John Raoux / Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Baylor lost a star player, then the rest of its 17-point lead. But the Lady Bears, led by the ever-poised Chloe Jackson, kept their composure.

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