Entries in Colleges (4)


Politicos Giving 2012 Commencement Speeches

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It's getting close to that time of year again, when students all around the country will turn in their bookbags for briefcases as they leave college behind and enter the working world. Some lucky schools around the country will welcome major politicos to campus (or, in New York University's case, Yankee Stadium) for their graduation ceremonies. In the spirit of commencement season, ABC News has compiled some of the biggest names in politics slated to deliver commencement addresses this year.

  • President Obama will be speaking at Barnard College in New York City on May 14. He will also speak at Joplin High School in Joplin, Mo., on May 21 and at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., on May 23.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama will speak at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on May 11 and at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C., on May 12. She will also be speaking at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore., on June 17, where her brother, Craig Robinson, coaches basketball.
  • Vice President Joe Biden delivers the commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., on May 26. He will speak at Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Fla., on June 4 and Tallwood High School in Virginia Beach, Va., on June 14.
  • Former Gov. Mitt Romney will speak at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., on May 12.
  • Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will speak at Southern Methodist University in Dallas on May 12, where the George W. Bush library is being built.
  • Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair delivers the commencement remarks at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, on May 20.
  • Former first lady Laura Bush will be speaking at Highpoint University at High Point, N.C., on May 5.
  • New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will speak at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on May 13.
  • Former Secretary of State Colin Powell will speak at Northeastern University's commencement in Boston on May 4.
  • Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will speak at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Va., on May 6 and at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., on May 12.
  • U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., will join Michelle Obama at Virginia Tech on May 11, who will also deliver a commencement address to the university's graduates.
  • U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., will deliver the commencement address at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Conn. on May 20.
  • EPA administrator Lisa Jackson will speak at Tulane University in New Orleans on May 19 and the University of Washington in Tacoma on June 9.
  • Newark Mayor Cory Booker will give commencement addresses at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., on May 13 and Stanford University, his alma mater, in Palo Alto, Calif. on June 16-17.
  • Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor will be speaking at New York University's commencement in New York City on May 16.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GAO Report Exposes Rule-Breaking at for-Profit Colleges

Photodisc/Jack Hollingsworth/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new report from the Government Accountability Office found several instances of rule-breaking at several for-profit colleges in the United States. Investigators who went undercover to pose as students found they could get away with blatant flouting of academic standards, such as plagiarism. Some even found they could get away with inserting photos of celebrities and politicians in lieu of written answers to essay questions.

When the investigators presented “fictitious evidence of high-school graduation -- either a home-school diploma or a diploma from a closed high school,” they were allowed to enroll in online courses at 15 commercial colleges, which were not identified in the report.

Once enrolled, the undercover students investigating the colleges engaged in “substandard academic performance,” including plagiarism, failure to attend class, failure to submit assignments and submission of incorrect assignments.

The investigation was conducted over the course of one year, from October 2010 to October 2011. Each investigator enrolled for one term. The report focused on the areas of enrollment criteria, cost, financial aid, course structure, substandard student performance, withdrawal and exit counseling.

Overall, eight of the 15 schools followed standard procedures regarding penalties for academic dishonesty, exit counseling and course grading. There were mixed results for the remaining seven schools.

At one college, “Our undercover student consistently submitted plagiarized material, such as articles clearly copied from online sources or text copied verbatim from a class textbook,” according to the report.

The first time it happened, the instructor told the student to paraphrase but gave full credit. The student continued to turn in plagiarized assignments and ultimately received a failing grade, but no action related to academic misconduct was taken.

There were also situations in which the schools and instructors followed standard policies.

At one college, a professor repeatedly tried to contact a student who logged into class but did not submit assignments or participate in discussions. When the student refused help, the professor locked the student out of the class.

The undercover investigation was done at the request of Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Harkin’s office was closed Wednesday, but he released a statement Tuesday regarding the report, as was reported by the New York Times.

“The fact that many of the schools accepted incomplete and plagiarized work -- sometimes for full credit -- leads me to question whether for-profit college students are truly receiving the quality education they are promised to prepare them for a good job,” Harkin  said.

“Coupled with sky-high tuition costs, alarming dropout rates, poor job placement services and the many other troubling practices that we’ve uncovered in the HELP Committee’s investigation,” Harkin said, “it is obvious that Congress must step in to hold this heavily federally subsidized industry more accountable.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Single-Sex Dorms Curb Binge Drinking and Hookups, College President Says

James Woodson/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A college president has a new/old idea for curbing binge drinking and hooking up on campus -- going back to single-sex dorms, even though it bucks current trends in campus housing.

John Garvey, president of Catholic University in Washington, D.C., wrote in The Wall Street Journal this week that next year, all freshmen would be assigned to single-sex dorms, and the following year, sophomores would be too.

"Our students will be better off," said Garvey, citing research that suggested students in coed dorms binge-drink twice as often as those in single-sex housing, and are more likely to have had multiple sex partners.

Garvey said he's not surprised about the sex but was taken aback about the drinking. "I would have thought that young women would have a civilizing influence on young men," Garvey wrote.

Some students believe Garvey needs to get real. "If students want to drink, they're going to drink," said Madison Taylor, 19, of Santa Barbara, Calif., who just finished her freshman year at the University of Chicago.

Taylor, a chemistry major who lived in a dorm that had coed floors and bathrooms, said the bathroom setup "seemed a little weird" before she arrived at college. "It turned out fine. A lot of my best friends are boys. By the time people go to college, they're mature enough to live with the opposite sex and not have it be a big deal."

Not everyone's so sure. Sally Rubenstone, a college adviser for, said single-sex dorms are a good idea for freshmen. "It provides a safe haven in the first year. When you remove all the noise of that sexual energy, you're just giving them that chance to say, 'Whew,' and close the door -- at least for 10 minutes until their boyfriend shows up."

Garvey's back-to-the-future plan goes against a movement toward coed campus housing, which started in the late 1960s, and has become the norm.

About 90 percent of U.S. college students in on-campus housing now live in coed dorms, according to a study in the Journal of American College Health. The study, which influenced Garvey's decision to move to single-sex housing, looked at five universities across the country, controlling for students' religious affiliation, sex and race, and found that in both big and small colleges, students in coed dorms drank and hooked up more.

Few colleges have resisted the move to coed housing, although the University of Notre Dame, which is Catholic, and Brigham Young University, which is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have stuck with single-sex housing.

There is now a move led by such schools as Oberlin College in Ohio to allow "gender neutral housing" in which a male and female student could share a room. James Baumann, a spokesman for the Association of College and University Housing Officers International, said that practice is "growing," although it's not yet commonplace. Coed dorms predominate, said Baumann, but many colleges will reserve a dorm or a portion of one for single-sex housing -- generally for women. "They know there's a demand for that," he said.

Some students do see Garvey's point. Jill Bridges, 21, from Michigan, who graduated this year from the University of Michigan, lived first in a coed dorm and then in a women's dorm. "I definitely preferred the all-female dorm. They had a stronger sense of community there. It was like sisterhood," she said. "Girls are nicer to each other when there aren't any guys around to compete over."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senate Dems Say Regulations on For-Profit Colleges Don't Go Far Enough

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In a hearing on Tuesday, Senate Democrats criticized new proposed regulations on for-profit colleges for not going far enough to protect college students from taking on crippling debt.

“The answer is that for-profit colleges have distinguished themselves by asking a higher percentage of their students to borrow, more than any other sector of higher education,” Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said.  “The difference between the subprime and the mortgage interest and this is if you got a bad house, you got a bad deal, you could walk away from it.  You can't walk away from these loans.”

At the age of 27, Eric Schmitt, a father of two from Hampton, Iowa, enrolled in Kaplan University, a for-profit college owned by the Washington Post Co., and drew thousands of dollars in loans to obtain an associate’s and bachelor’s degree.  Kaplan University told Schmitt he would be able to find a job paying $30,000 upon completion of his degree, but Schmitt never found work in his chosen field as a paralegal.

Since his graduation, Schmitt has only found temporary work, such as a janitor job which pays $10.50 an hour.  He now owes $45,000 from his education at Kaplan University.

“I feel that returning to school to get my degree has put me further away from my goals than before I started my education,” Schmitt said.  “The lifetime promise of a college degree has become a lifetime burden that I only can hope I bear alone.  The debt and the magnitude of my mistake is with me like a constant weight.  I have lied awake at night dreading what I might to do to save my family from this burden.”

Martha Kanter, undersecretary of the Department of Education, defended the proposed regulations, saying it protects students by establishing criteria for for-profit colleges to meet in order to receive federal aid. These conditions include ensuring loan payments do not exceed 12 percent of a former student’s earnings, and 35 percent of their former students are repaying their loans.

For-profit schools account for 10 percent of all higher-education students but account for 47 percent of loan defaults.  Compared to community colleges and four-year private and public institutions, a much higher proportion of students at for-profit colleges borrow money to pay for their tuition.  Ninety-six percent of students at for-profit colleges obtain loans to pay for their education compared to 13 percent at community colleges, 48 percent at four-year public and 57 percent at four year-private institutions.

No Republican senator attended the hearing, and there was not a representative for the for-profit schools on the panel, a problem lamented by Sen. Al Franken.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio