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A nation of dummies? NYU study says college students aren’t learning

According to a recent study by New York University, approximately half of college freshman and sophomores show little academic gains- researchers concluded these non-learning students were more focused on their social activities.

The report also pointed out that college professors tend to focus on their own research rather than teaching incoming students and undergrads typically studied 50 percent less than college graduates a few decades ago.

The book that included the study, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses’ author, Richard Arum of NYU says “These are really kind of shocking, disturbing numbers.”

A chart indicates that college students spend 51 percent of their week socializing. That is followed by sleeping, 24 percent; working, volunteering, student clubs and attending class, nine percent. The report concluded that students allocated the least amount of their time studying, seven percent or 23 hours.

More than 3,000 students participated in the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test that measures critical thinking, analytic reasoning as well as writing skills.

Once students completed four years of college only 36 percent of those tested showed improvement.

Arum said the students who participated in this study had a 3.2 grade-point average. However he pointed out that “students are able to navigate through the system quite well with little effort.”

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on A nation of dummies? NYU study says college students aren’t learning – San Diego County Political Buzz |

Want to go to college? Not in California

California’s budget crisis will now be handled by adults according to newly-minted and former California Governor Jerry Brown. Nothing is off the table Brown said- except those who have collective bargaining contracts. That grown-up budget conversation came at the expense of the state’s coveted higher-education programs.

The billion-dollar cuts shocked college administrators and prompted warnings to high school seniors it will get a whole lot tougher to attend a University California like (UCLA) or any California State college.

Brown’s new budget proposals include $12.5 billion in overall spending cuts, including $1 billion for the California University campuses.

“These cuts will be painful, requiring sacrifice from every sector of the state, but we have no choice,” Brown said. “For 10 years, we’ve had budget gimmicks and tricks that pushed us deep into debt. We must now return California to fiscal responsibility and get our state on the road to economic recovery and job growth.”

Charles Reed, the chancellor of the Long Beach-based CSU, said the proposed budget amounts to an 18 percent decrease in state funding for universities. This proposal, if passed by the state Legislature would take college spending back to the levels of 1999-2000. California universities currently educate roughly 70,000 more students than it did a decade ago.

“The magnitude of the budget reduction in one year will have serious impacts on the state’s economy, limit access for students seeking entrance into our universities and restrict classes and services for our current students,’” Reed explained.

Reed said universities have already raised tuition and employed furloughs, but it’s not enough.

“We will work with the administration and the Legislature to minimize, as much as possible, impact to students,” he said. “However, the reality is that we will not be able to admit as many students as we had been planning for this fall.”

Questions will surely mount as the state Legislature passed a DREAM Act law of their own. Arguments against the bill came from those who said citizens would have to compete for university slots with illegal aliens. However, proposed cuts will surely lead to more competition because colleges will be forced to reduce incoming students.

University of California President Mark Yudof called the proposed budget “a sad day for California.”

He continued to explain that “the budget proposed by Gov. Brown, the collective tuition payments made by University of California students for the first time in history would exceed what the state contributes to the system’s general fund. The crossing of this threshold transcends mere symbolism and should be profoundly disturbing to all Californians.”

Yudof explained the chancellors of UCLA and other UC campuses will have six weeks to develop plans to meet the proposed budget reduction. “With the governor’s budget, as proposed, we will be digging deep into bone,” he said. “The physics of the situation cannot be denied, as the core budget shrinks, so must the university.”

For the meantime Brown left K-12 education alone and said they have already sacrificed pay in the last few years under Schwarzenegger. Brown claims he will seek a June special election to increase California’s income and sales taxes, including the state’s vehicle license fees.

Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Van Nuys, said the panel will start reviewing Brown’s proposed budget on this week.

“Brown’s call for change doesn’t hold anything back,” he says. “His vision acknowledges that we are long past a debate about cuts and taxes. California government must be restructured in order to be more responsive and cost-effective.”

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Want to go to college? Not in California – San Diego County Political Buzz |

McDonalds gives customers fliers on Latino college scholarships, DREAM Act?

A San Diego McDonald’s® has been handing out college scholarship information fliers published in English/Spanish for Latino customers informing them of the scholarship opportunities for Hispanics the Golden Arches offer each year.

The RMHC/HACER division of McDonald’s® is a scholarship program directed towards Hispanic students. The website indicates that more than 14,000 Latinos have been awarded scholarships, assisting in Hispanic students’ quest to obtain a college degree.

This well-know program offers money to be used for college and is geared specifically towards those with a Latino background. This program also debunks a myth that Hispanic students have no resources for college if they come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The scholarship program has been helping Latinos achieve a college education since 1985, and the king of the Happy Meals has awarded more than $20 million in scholarships to Hispanic students.

The college scholarships start at $1,000 and four students are awarded $100,000 each year to earn their college degree. The company says students are chosen based on their academic achievement, financial need and community involvement.

According to McDonalds, the applicant must be a legal U.S. resident, a high school senior, have one Latino parent and be eligible to enroll a higher education college or a vocational/technical school.

The program was enacted by a former educator and McDonald’s® franchisee Richard Castro from Texas. Castro was aware of a number of Hispanic students who dropped out of high school across the country and wanted to turn the students around. It was this fact and his commitment to give back, that created the McDonalds’ scholarship program which serves as encouragement for young Latinos to complete high school and continue their higher education.

According to McDonald’s® website prospective students must fulfill these eligibility requirements

* Be a graduating high school senior.
* Be a legal U.S. resident.
* Be less than 21 years of age.
* Carry a minimum 2.7 GPA.
* Be eligible to enroll and attend an institution of higher education or a vocational/technical school.
* Disclose other scholarship programs for which he/she has applied.
* Plan to enroll at an accredited post-secondary education institution during the academic year following their graduation.
* Complete and submit a scholarship application either by mail or online, and send required supporting materials and documentation to ISTS no later than January 28, 2011.
* Have at least one parent of Hispanic/Latino heritage.
* Be willing to provide additional verification of all information in scholarship application, upon request.

Moving forward it is unclear if the DREAM Act legislation would interfere with the Golden Arches scholarship program.

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© Copyright 2010 Kimberly Dvorak all rights reserved

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