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El Paso's Border Students
INS searches have slowed northbound commute across the Rio Grande to a crawl

  In This Issue
Special Report

In a special report (pages 1A-12A), National CrossTalk looks at the early impact of the higher education budget cuts that have affected almost every state. As state support declines, public colleges and universities are responding by raising tuition, often by ten percent or more, leveling new mandatory fees and, in some cases, reducing student financial assistance.
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El Paso's Border Students
INS searches have slowed northbound commute across the Rio Grande to a crawl

"Early Colleges"
Innovative institutions attempt to reshape the transition from high school to college

Winning Formula
Emory University's student-athletes emphasize academics over athletics

Community College Baccalaureates
Some critics decry the trend as "mission creep"

Winner of the
Virgina B. Smith
Innovative Leadership Award


Other Voices
Assessing the Impact of September 11
Is academic freedom in danger?

"Flailing Grades
What do we learn from high school exit exams?


Letter to The Editors
Injustice at Bennington

By Kathy Witkowsky
El Paso, Texas

Seven a.m. on a clear November morning along the Texas-Mexico border, and the sun is lighting up the rugged Franklin Mountains that wedge into the city of El Paso. As usual, 18-year-old Laura Montes is stuck in northbound traffic on the Bridge of the Americas.

Montes points to a woman applying lipstick in the rearview mirror of a Chevy Malibu one lane over. "Can you see that girl? You see that a lot."

These days, Montes has a lot of opportunity to watch people. Judging from the bright orange Fronterizo (border) license plates on the cars surrounding Montes, it's a good bet that most of the people she is observing are Mexican residents commuting from their homes in Juarez across the Rio Grande. They may be on their way to work, to shop, to visit family, or, like Montes, to attend school in El Paso, where she is a freshman at the University of Texas-one of about 1,750 Mexican students enrolled there.

Most are middle-class Mexicans seeking the best education they can afford; more than three-quarters qualify for the university's Financial Assistance Program for Mexican Students, or so-called PASE program. Since 1987, the program has allowed Mexicans to pay in-state tuition, and it is one of the reasons UTEP is so popular among Mexican students. They make up ten percent of the university's enrollment, and 14 percent of all Mexican college students studying in the U.S.

Seven other Texas colleges on or near the Mexican border offer the same tuition waiver, but UTEP's is by far the largest program of its type, and its acronym is no accident: Pase, pronounced PA-say, is a Spanish word meaning "pass"-as if to say, "come in."


"Early Colleges"
Innovative institutions attempt to reshape the transition from high school to college

By Ron Feemster
New York City

Edgar Guzman moved here from Ecuador less than two years ago. A 15-year-old high school student with limited English skills at the time, he is doing college work at LaGuardia Community College in Queens today. Guzman did not skip a grade or test out of any high school classes. He became a part-time college student when International High School, on the LaGuardia campus, began its transformation into an "early college," a high school-college hybrid that aims to graduate students with an Associate of Arts degree as well as a high school diploma.

In the next few years, scores of new "early colleges" are expected to open around the country. All are attempting to foster a smoother and quicker passage to higher education. Many, modeled on the new programs at LaGuardia, aim to catapult students directly into college who entered high school at risk of dropping out.


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