College News Roundup


University to Pay Full Tuition for Low-Income Students

Stanford University has announced that it will no longer require families earning under $45,000 per year to contribute to their children's tuition.

The new policy, which will apply to both incoming and existing undergraduates, is scheduled to begin in fall 2006. Stanford estimates that the plan will cost $3 million in its first year.

The March 15 announcement came just a day before a new Web site, Economic Diversity of Colleges (, was launched, arguing that wealthy colleges tend to attract fewer low-income students than those of lesser means.

Stanford has a long-standing need-blind admissions policy, and 24 percent of its current students come from families making less than $40,000 a year, as compared with 16 percent at Columbia and 13 percent at Harvard. Still, Richard Shaw, Stanford's dean of undergraduate admission and financial aid, echoed concerns about the scarcity of low-income students at elite schools as he announced the policy.

"Stanford has historically had a strong financial aid program for low-income students," Shaw said in a Stanford University press release. "But many families may not know that or may be discouraged by the stated tuition. So we want to be more forceful with this new program in encouraging talented low-income students to consider Stanford."



Academic Committee Votes Down Pluses and Minuses

On March 14, Brown University's College Curricular Council voted 7-6 not to submit a proposal to the Faculty Executive Committee that would incorporate pluses and minuses into the college's grading system.

Proponents of the change said it would add definition to the increasing number of A's on Brown transcripts.

"I see all these A's, and I haven't a clue what they mean," said Dean of the College Paul Armstrong who drafted a proposal to add the pluses and minuses in late 2005.

But, according to a poll conducted by the Brown Daily Herald, 70 percent of students opposed the change, and all four student representatives on the council voted against forwarding it to the FEC. Individual professors, however, could still propose a faculty vote on changing the grading system.

Jonathan Waage, senior adviser to Armstrong and an opponent of the policy, argued that Brown's educational philosophy encourages students "to set as a marker their education not what appears on their transcripts, but what they accomplish."

"I think that the grading system we have now, with fair ambiguity as to what an A means and what a B means and so on, actually benefits that general philosophy of education," he said.



Commencement Returns to Washington Square Park

NYU has announced that it will move its commencement ceremony back to Washington Square Park, restoring a decades-long tradition and allaying concerns voiced by many of its seniors.

The ceremony was originally scheduled to take place in Shea Stadium due to park renovations planned for April. But two weeks ago, New York City Parks and Recreation Department Commissioner Adrian Benepe informed the university that the project had been postponed until June.

Soon thereafter, Lynne Brown, NYU's vice president of university relations and public affairs, was able to move the ceremony back to the park after consultation with the senior class, the university senate, and the operators of Shea stadium. NYU's commencement has taken place there since 1976.

"It's great news to be able to get back to the park, and the reaction we're getting has been overwhelmingly positive," Brown told the Washington Square News.

Brown said she was particularly pleased not to break tradition, as this year marks NYU's 175th anniversary.

Student Senators Council Chair Anny Chen, College of Arts and Science '06, said she had spoken with seniors who vowed not to attend commencement if it was held in Shea Stadium.

"I think getting back to the park is a great thing," Chen said in the WSN.


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