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U.K. Adopts "Top-Up" Tuition Fees
British Universities prepare to compete in a more "American" system

  In This Issue

(Photo by Tom Roster, Black Star, for CrossTalk)

President Clinton Bristow, Jr. of Mississippi's Alcorn State University believes his school will benefit greatly from the state's desegregation settlement if appeals ever end and the money is allocated.
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U.K. Adopts "Top-Up" Tuition Fees
British Universities prepare to compete in a more "American" system

"Plain Living"
Berea College makes a commitment to the welfare of its students and its community

Making a Difference
"College Match" helps low-income students to compete on an equal footing

"More Better Faster"
Oregon's newly appointed Board of Higher Education grapples with a legacy of disinvestment

A Mixed Blessing?
Critics object to Mississippi's settlement of a 1975 anti-segregation lawsuit involving the state's "historically black universities"

News From The Center

Other Voices
College Presidents, or CEOs?
Presidential pay is escalating at a time when institutions are cutting budgets.

Academic Freedom and National Security
Do anti-terrorism measures go too far?

By Jon Marcus
Cambridge, England

There's a hush over the courtyards of the ancient colleges along the River Cam. Even the tourists speak in whispers. It's examination week for the brainy young scholars who populate this famous university town. But it's something else, too: It's the calm before the storm.

Like every other university in England and Wales, Cambridge is about to undergo a vast change in the way it does business. It's the outcome of a political struggle so contentious it nearly brought down a government, resulting in a plan so laden down with compromises that almost no one seems to like it-including the universities that originally lobbied for it. And while the government insists that all of this will encourage more low-income students to go on to higher education, its many critics expect precisely the opposite outcome.

Opposition to the Blair government's tuition plan was intense "because people have always had higher education for free," said MP Ian Gibson.
(Photo by David Levenson, Black Star, for CrossTalk)
What accounts for all this drama? Imagine the American system of costly and complex university financing and heavy student debt imposed from scratch on a country where, until six years ago, tuition was completely free. (continue)


"Plain Living"
Berea College makes a commitment to the welfare of its students and its community

By Robert A. Jones
Berea, Kentucky

The leafy campus of Berea College, at the edge of Appalachia, has long been regarded as a place apart. It was founded, after all, by utopian visionaries who encouraged racial mixing in pre-Civil War Kentucky and, even today, Berea presents itself as the exception-to-the-rule in higher education, the debunker of academic myths, the reverser of trends.

Just how different is Berea? Plenty different.

Take, for example, the ominous trend in private college tuition, where the bill for a college education has been rising faster than house prices in California. At Berea, tuition is free for its 1,500 students, a generosity made possible by the college's stunning $800 million endowment.

Sreirath Khieu, a Cambodian student known on campus as "Chan," makes early American brooms in her "labor position" at Berea College.
(Photo by Stewart Bowman for CrossTalk)

Or consider the fact that private colleges increasingly have become enclaves of the well-to-do. Some top private institutions now report median family incomes for entering freshmen in the range of $150,000. A study by the Higher Education Research Institute found that, even at selective state universities, 40 percent of this year's freshmen come from families making more than $100,000 per year. (continue)


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