Study: Growing Disparity in Top State Colleges

The nation’s top public universities are doling out so much money to students from relatively privileged backgrounds that the campuses are becoming less diverse than even elite private schools, according to a report covered by the Washington Post.

From 2003 to 2007, public research universities increased the amount of aid to students whose parents make at least $115,000 a year by 28 percent, to $361.4 million, said the Education Trust, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Those schools routinely award as much in financial aid to students whose parents make more than $80,000 a year as to those whose parents make less than $54,000 a year, according to the report, “Opportunity Adrift.”

The report suggests that the universities have neglected their mission to educate their states’ diverse populations in favor of recruiting high-achieving students from relatively wealthy families who can help the schools climb in national rankings….

Thirty years ago, a federal Pell Grant covered most of the cost of attending a four-year college; today it covers about a third, making it more difficult for low-income students to attend their states’ flagship schools. The typical low-income student is stuck with a bill totaling about 70 percent of the family’s annual income, the report says.


Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

What’s up all?

My family is in the thick of the holiday season, which means back-to-back birthday parties for kids with November and December birthdays plus holiday parties. I am already burned out and we are not even in Thanksgiving! Ayayay!

Anyways, some girlfriends and I are treating ourselves to the 10 a.m. showing of A New Moon today. I know, it is utterly shameless that moms in their 30s are cramming in a theater with teenagers — if they are up that early — to see this movie. LOL! Oh, by the way, there was also a lot on the news front this week, too.

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, a co-founder at, wrote an essay on the real reasons women are not happy — as gleefully reported by media outlets.

In case you aren’t bidding for Leggo waffles online, Kellogg’s has reported that there is a Leggo waffle shortage in the country that will last until the middle of 2010, according to MSN Money. One of its bakeries was flooded.

A Canadian couple won a legal battle to exclude their three children from completing homework assignments, according to the Guardian in the UK. The couple, Sherri and Tom Milley of Calgary, Alberta, filed their lawsuit after years of struggling to make their children complete homework assignments, especially since there is no evidence it actually improves school performance. Do you agree or disagree with the Milleys’s actions?

We had a helpful thread on the best parenting advice we have received. What would you add to the list?

The Washington Post had a fascinating feature on how Arizona is the “wild west” of charter schools. Stanford researchers have found that while some charter schools are fantastic, others woefully lag behind traditional public schools.

Probably nothing garnered more discussion this week than our suggestions for People’s Sexiest Man Alive. Johnny Depp won the honor, but this Twilight fan was disappointed it wasn’t Robert Pattinson. (Hey, he is 23. That is still legal!) We also had a popular thread on our favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Thank you, “Thank God for Air America,” for putting that up!

If your child received a scholarship to attend a state school and was also accepted to an Ivy League school, which one would you choose? In light of escalating costs at all schools, we had a long discussion on this. Was your college worth the costs?

In case you missed it, our Erika is having a BOY and not the girl an earlier ultrasound showed. Felicades mujer!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


State Colleges Gasping for Air

In light of devastating budget cuts, state college students this fall are facing teacher shortages, cancelled classes, crammed classrooms and higher tuition.

My sister is enrolled in the California State University system and she was saying that some classes she needs to graduate are not being offered this fall. Apparently, this is not an issue limited to California. The Washington Post just ran a story on how Maryland and Virginia state colleges are facing a budget crisis of their own.

The University of Virginia is shutting down its public computer labs. Maryland’s community colleges are turning away students by the thousands. Classes are larger at George Mason and Virginia Tech. The University of Maryland Baltimore County is cutting positions. And Virginia’s state universities are coping with furloughs for the first time in recent memory.

State funding for higher education is eroding in Virginia and Maryland, reflecting a national retrenchment for public colleges and universities.

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) announced a nearly 15 percent reduction in state aid this week, to be partly offset by federal stimulus dollars. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) reduced higher education funding by $30 million last month. They were the latest in a string of cuts in the two states that have diminished overall support to higher education by 10 percent in Maryland and 20 to 30 percent in Virginia, all in little more than a year.

Jillian Ferron, a 19-year-old GMU sophomore, said classes seem “a touch bigger” this year and course choices seem fewer.

Are your children attending state school? What has their experience been this fall?