Higher Education | KERA News

Higher Education

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.

Six Democratic senators, including two presidential candidates, sent a letter to the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday demanding that the agency prove it is policing the companies, known as servicers, that the government pays to manage its trillion-dollar, federal student loan portfolio.

Despite objections from students and faculty, the University of Texas System Board of Regents on Tuesday unanimously approved Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson as the University of Texas El Paso's new president.

Before the vote, Board Chairman Kevin Eltife said he was confident Wilson would "do an outstanding job." 

If you're naming top colleges, you might not think of the City University of New York right away. It's not selective — it serves what one former official called "the top 100 percent." It also has a pretty low graduation rate.

But if you look deeper, at metrics like diversity and sheer number of lives changed, then CUNY can make a strong case.

The University Texas campus in Austin
Associated Press

Eight universities embroiled in a massive college admission cheating scheme, including the University of Texas in Austin, are now being investigated by the U.S. Education Department.

For the second time in as many years, the nation is in the midst of a frenzy over who gets to sleep in the extra-long twin beds at a tiny fraction of highly selective colleges and universities. Last year, it was a lawsuit over Harvard University's admissions process, particularly its treatment of Asian-Americans.

UT Faculty, Students Feel The Impact Of Airbnb Blacklist

Mar 27, 2019
The iPhone Airbnb app. March 26, 2019.
Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

When Amanda Bosky, a graduate student in sociology, goes to an academic conference, she often uses Airbnb to save money. Now the University of Texas at Austin student is worried that she can't anymore.

The University of Texas at Austin is among eight schools now being investigated in connection with a nationwide admissions bribery scandal.

From Texas Standard:

The longtime president of the University of Texas at El Paso, Diana Natalicio, is stepping down after more than 30 years on the job. But some are concerned about the UT System Board of Regents' choice as the sole finalist to replace Natalicio as UTEP president, Heather Wilson.

Today, ethnic studies is an accepted part of academia. Many if not most college students have taken a course or two. But 50 years ago, studying the history and culture of any people who were not white and Western was considered radical. Then came the longest student strike in U.S. history, at San Francisco State College, which changed everything.

The groundwork was laid for the strike a couple of years before, when black students organized to press for a black studies department and the admission of more black students.

The enslaved man's name was Renty. His image adorns the cover of a Harvard publication that the university sells for $40.

Tamara Lanier says "Papa Renty" is the patriarch of her family. And in a lawsuit filed Wednesday, she says Harvard is using those photos without permission — and in so doing, profiting from photos taken by a racist professor determined to prove the inferiority of black people.

"I find that I am bored with anything I understand," Karen Uhlenbeck once said - and that sense of curiosity is part of why she won the prestigious Abel Prize, from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Uhlenbeck, an influential mathematician who was for decades a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and who has sought to encourage women to study mathematics, has become the first woman to win the Abel Prize — often called the Nobel Prize of math.

Ben Margot / Associated Press

Recent federal indictments of dozens of parents, coaches and an admissions consultant put in the spotlight the lengths some will go to to place students in prestigious schools.

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