Dec 182014
 

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WH Best & Worst College Cities & Towns in America BadgeHigh school seniors face a tall laundry list when prepping for college: From taking standardized tests and gathering letters of recommendation to submitting college applications and applying for financial aid, the final months before the big decision can be hectic. And to help students winnow their school choices, a visit to their prospective campuses can offer a taste of the college experience.

When touring universities and colleges, it’s important to examine not only an institution’s intellectual environment but also the city or town the student will call home for several years. Academic success depends on more than just the quality of a program. Also important is an area that is safe, affordable and conducive to personal development through a diversity of cultural and professional experiences.

For in-state students planning to live on campus at a public four-year institution, tuition and fees alone will eat about 39 percent of their total budget, according to the College Board. Factor in room and board, books and supplies, transportation and other expenses. That leaves students — or their parents — with a very thin wallet at the end of the semester, which is all the more reason to make affordability a top priority.

With college application deadlines approaching and campus visits in the offing, WalletHub ranked 280 U.S. cities and towns to find the ones that promise the best or worst combination of academic, social and economic atmospheres. We did so by analyzing 23 key metrics such as the quality of higher education, crime rates and the cost of living. Our findings, as well as expert commentary and a detailed methodology, can be found below.

Overall Rankings

Overall Rank

City

“Wallet Wellness” Rank

“Youth-Oriented Environment” Rank

“Opportunities” Rank

1 Oxford, OH 23 16 1
2 State College, PA 40 2 99
3 Chapel Hill, NC 81 13 10
4 Corvallis, OR 50 23 4
5 College Station, TX 30 42 10
6 Laramie, WY 13 46 22
7 San Luis Obispo, CA 167 11 12
8 Stillwater, OK 15 44 50
9 Bozeman, MT 66 8 71
10 East Lansing, MI 31 15 100
11 Ames, IA 63 48 25
12 Manhattan, KS 27 40 62
13 Austin, TX 105 60 2
14 Mankato, MN 37 43 37
15 Bloomington, IN 25 24 115
16 Iowa City, IA 110 17 35
17 Fayetteville, AR 10 55 86
18 Boulder, CO 185 6 15
19 Charlottesville, VA 158 10 3
20 Gainesville, FL 71 22 64
21 Columbia, MO 56 67 16
22 Auburn, AL 67 68 13
23 Pittsburgh, PA 108 20 29
24 Ithaca, NY 215 1 26
25 Cedar Falls, IA 12 63 56
26 West Lafayette, IN 19 21 162
27 Eau Claire, WI 87 39 45
28 Bowling Green, OH 8 36 113
29 Tempe, AZ 86 29 79
30 Ann Arbor, MI 157 4 47
31 Blacksburg, VA 47 78 41
32 Columbus, OH 33 110 52
33 San Marcos, TX 131 25 48
34 Athens-Clarke, GA 38 52 93
35 Missoula, MT 55 32 120
36 Norman, OK 22 102 64
37 Waco, TX 32 143 13
38 Bowling Green, KY 3 99 117
39 Fort Collins, CO 153 53 9
40 Grand Forks, ND 6 69 87
41 Denton, TX 62 97 34
42 Kent, OH 78 64 67
43 Mount Pleasant, MI 5 3 275
44 Lawrence, KS 64 75 46
45 Tampa, FL 76 57 98
46 Lincoln, NE 36 136 31
47 Cincinnati, OH 26 54 202
48 Newark, DE 251 5 17
49 Murfreesboro, TN 11 135 62
50 Harrisonburg, VA 68 51 132
51 Salt Lake City, UT 91 70 72
52 Morgantown, WV 93 12 220
53 Berkeley, CA 198 31 23
54 Madison, WI 155 45 27
55 Fargo, ND 34 111 105
56 Knoxville, TN 29 91 146
57 Buffalo, NY 48 81 124
58 Charleston, SC 159 26 61
59 Kalamazoo, MI 16 28 269
60 Reno, NV 14 105 171
61 Carbondale, IL 35 14 272
62 Santa Cruz, CA 173 37 53
63 Atlanta, GA 119 33 139
64 Orlando, FL 53 77 112
65 Pasadena, CA 192 59 5
66 Baton Rouge, LA 45 100 145
67 Burlington, VT 252 7 20
68 Lafayette, LA 74 127 51
69 Tallahassee, FL 72 89 126
70 Lynchburg, VA 17 113 155
71 Provo, UT 2 122 111
72 Albany, NY 121 18 205
73 Durham, NC 109 123 33
74 Cambridge, MA 240 9 36
75 Davis, CA 217 41 30
76 Lexington, KY 41 141 89
77 Muncie, IN 21 112 175
78 Champaign, IL 126 27 174
79 Chico, CA 118 19 226
80 Lubbock, TX 44 132 108
81 Seattle, WA 191 71 6
82 Raleigh, NC 96 103 108
83 Logan, UT 1 118 140
84 Eugene, OR 94 50 214
85 Syracuse, NY 80 85 142
86 Grand Rapids, MI 102 101 94
87 Flagstaff, AZ 165 38 101
88 Wilmington, NC 142 65 102
89 Nashville, TN 97 166 32
90 Rochester, NY 107 83 149
91 Greenville, NC 24 139 192
92 Dayton, OH 77 94 188
93 Boise, ID 83 104 157
94 Minneapolis, MN 179 72 39
95 Hattiesburg, MS 4 106 274
96 Boca Raton, FL 196 49 66
97 Valdosta, GA 20 61 270
98 Richmond, VA 146 47 167
99 Omaha, NE 28 144 213
100 Columbia, SC 117 56 238
101 Birmingham, AL 18 146 229
102 New Orleans, LA 152 93 78
103 Saint Louis, MO 104 84 212
104 Conway, AR 114 149 42
105 Normal, IL 187 131 24
106 Portland, OR 189 73 75
107 San Francisco, CA 243 82 8
108 Savannah, GA 73 107 237
109 Denver, CO 169 108 69
110 College Park, MD 229 79 38
111 Evanston, IL 248 74 18
112 Springfield, MO 9 145 263
113 El Paso, TX 69 218 85
114 Johnson City, TN 54 148 136
115 Killeen, TX 7 209 194
116 San Antonio, TX 89 214 80
117 Cedar Rapids, IA 103 159 122
118 Somerville, MA 255 30 148
119 Waltham, MA 265 86 7
120 Irvine, CA 231 76 40
121 Urbana, IL 92 98 257
122 Terre Haute, IN 112 90 239
123 Worcester, MA 160 125 102
124 Greensboro, NC 51 173 147
125 Tyler, TX 125 187 74
126 Dallas, TX 122 203 57
127 San Diego, CA 216 66 121
128 Los Angeles, CA 168 150 42
129 Cleveland, OH 124 161 124
130 Houston, TX 135 199 59
131 Saint Paul, MN 188 95 126
132 Boston, MA 235 58 90
133 Santa Clara, CA 273 88 19
134 Bellingham, WA 175 35 245
135 Tuscaloosa, AL 166 115 141
136 Norfolk, VA 123 134 198
137 Duluth, MN 145 109 180
138 Tulsa, OK 75 239 107
139 Washington, DC 220 80 104
140 Oklahoma City, OK 57 256 77
141 Charlotte, NC 98 195 170
142 Huntsville, AL 100 165 209
143 Winston-Salem, NC 43 276 68
144 Providence, RI 204 62 199
145 Long Beach, CA 184 114 153
146 Miami, FL 119 121 254
147 Irving, TX 99 252 42
148 Las Cruces, NM 70 163 204
149 Orange, CA 233 117 57
150 Louisville, KY 85 221 165
151 Las Vegas, NV 130 140 215
152 Tucson, AZ 111 119 266
153 Augusta, GA 65 196 234
154 Corpus Christi, TX 95 266 90
155 New Haven, CT 200 129 134
156 Fort Worth, TX 151 259 21
157 Alexandria, VA 225 92 163
158 Plano, TX 172 208 54
159 Fullerton, CA 234 116 123
160 Des Moines, IA 101 213 173
161 Milwaukee, WI 134 176 201
162 Chicago, IL 203 127 136
163 Torrance, CA 239 130 88
164 Huntington Beach, CA 244 124 81
165 Glendale, CA 174 152 153
166 Akron, OH 106 178 252
167 St. Cloud, MN 176 133 197
168 Chattanooga, TN 61 198 261
169 Lansing, MI 79 137 265
170 Bakersfield, CA 143 240 76
171 Oakland, CA 201 164 114
172 Sacramento, CA 212 96 225
173 Chandler, AZ 171 186 134
174 Arlington, TX 138 233 118
175 New York, NY 230 151 69
176 Amarillo, TX 113 273 55
177 Overland Park, KS 195 193 90
178 Indianapolis, IN 60 244 249
179 DeKalb, IL 182 138 205
180 Spokane, WA 136 156 247
181 Colorado Springs, CO 133 170 250
182 Riverside, CA 190 192 119
183 Albuquerque, NM 88 232 242
184 New Brunswick, NJ 278 87 161
185 Honolulu, HI 256 34 246
186 Roseville, CA 260 147 81
187 Arlington, VA 223 142 133
188 Virginia Beach, VA 202 160 150
189 Clarksville, TN 129 200 158
190 Fort Wayne, IN 59 225 264
191 Kansas City, MO 150 210 175
192 Baltimore, MD 197 158 172
193 Fort Lauderdale, FL 207 126 211
194 Wichita, KS 58 257 260
195 Abilene, TX 183 174 169
196 Fresno, CA 132 206 216
197 Greeley, CO 52 189 267
198 Memphis, TN 39 263 270
199 Sioux Falls, SD 149 228 144
200 Shreveport, LA 116 243 186
201 Mobile, AL 46 238 277
202 Salem, OR 148 154 241
203 Montgomery, AL 84 251 254
204 Toledo, OH 49 194 276
205 Pomona, CA 221 191 116
206 Jackson, MS 42 227 280
207 Corona, CA 246 183 106
208 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 258 190 84
209 Orem, UT 164 177 210
210 Peoria, AZ 154 241 151
211 Gilbert, AZ 181 237 128
212 Thousand Oaks, CA 276 185 142
213 Santa Clarita, CA 237 205 96
214 Grand Prairie, TX 140 274 83
215 Phoenix, AZ 137 250 202
216 Mesa, AZ 147 246 188
217 Brownsville, TX 90 270 205
218 Fayetteville, NC 139 217 208
219 Newport News, VA 163 216 223
220 Saint Petersburg, FL 128 271 159
221 Newton, MA 280 181 28
222 Philadelphia, PA 257 153 166
223 Scottsdale, AZ 266 120 196
224 Detroit, MI 127 268 218
225 Pembroke Pines, FL 241 219 96
226 Naperville, IL 269 168 110
227 San Jose, CA 277 182 60
228 Fremont, CA 274 197 48
229 Henderson, NV 218 229 129
230 Tacoma, WA 193 175 254
231 Little Rock, AR 115 242 273
232 Glendale, AZ 144 223 248
233 Jersey City, NJ 222 211 167
234 Hampton, VA 213 207 195
235 Hartford, CT 194 180 258
236 Anaheim, CA 254 167 199
237 Santa Rosa, CA 263 157 179
238 Garden Grove, CA 250 162 216
239 Lowell, MA 226 172 222
240 Lakewood, CO 211 235 160
241 West Covina, CA 261 179 184
242 Garland, TX 178 269 131
243 Vancouver, WA 228 169 235
244 Hayward, CA 272 155 184
245 Stockton, CA 186 245 218
246 Jacksonville, FL 161 255 224
247 Escondido, CA 245 201 187
248 Modesto, CA 180 224 221
249 San Bernardino, CA 162 249 243
250 Norwalk, CA 208 204 243
251 Oceanside, CA 267 184 182
252 Santa Ana, CA 224 202 227
253 Aurora, CO 205 254 175
254 Oxnard, CA 249 230 152
255 Elk Grove, CA 264 215 156
256 Palmdale, CA 242 220 178
257 Chula Vista, CA 270 188 193
258 Fontana, CA 219 248 190
259 Chesapeake, VA 209 262 190
260 Daly City, CA 279 171 182
261 Hollywood, FL 232 222 233
262 Aurora, IL 268 234 138
263 Laredo, TX 210 279 73
264 Ontario, CA 214 231 253
265 Spring Valley, NV 156 277 236
266 Paradise, NV 141 280 232
267 Anchorage, AK 274 212 164
268 Moreno Valley, CA 236 260 181
269 Columbus, GA 82 253 279
270 Lancaster, CA 247 236 231
271 Port Saint Lucie, FL 253 275 95
272 Hialeah, FL 170 272 251
273 Coral Springs, FL 227 247 240
274 Newark, NJ 206 226 278
275 Joliet, IL 271 258 129
276 Springfield, MA 177 265 228
277 Miramar, FL 238 267 230
278 North Las Vegas, NV 199 278 262
279 Bridgeport, CT 262 261 259
280 Yonkers, NY 259 264 268

Best & Worst College Cities and Towns in America report Artwork

Rankings by City Size

Rank

Large City

Medium-size City

Small City

1 Austin, TX Boulder, CO Oxford, OH
2 Pittsburgh, PA Columbia, MO State College, PA
3 Columbus, OH Gainesville, FL Chapel Hill, NC
4 Tampa, FL Fort Collins, CO Ithaca, NY
5 Atlanta, GA Waco, TX Ames, IA
6 Lexington, KY Tempe, AZ Bloomington, IN
7 Raleigh, NC Denton, TX East Lansing, MI
8 Seattle, WA Athens-Clarke, GA Stillwater, OK
9 Nashville, TN Ann Arbor, MI West Lafayette, IN
10 Minneapolis, MN Norman, OK Manhattan, KS
11 Omaha, NE Murfreesboro, TN College Station, TX
12 Saint Louis, MO Madison, WI Blacksburg, VA
13 Portland, OR Salt Lake City, UT Mankato, MN
14 New Orleans, LA Cincinnati, OH Laramie, WY
15 San Francisco, CA Charleston, SC Newark, DE
16 Denver, CO Lincoln, NE Charlottesville, VA
17 El Paso, TX Buffalo, NY Corvallis, OR
18 San Antonio, TX Fargo, ND Iowa City, IA
19 San Diego, CA Knoxville, TN San Marcos, TX
20 Tucson, AZ Reno, NV Bozeman, MT
21 Boston, MA Berkeley, CA Morgantown, WV
22 Los Angeles, CA Orlando, FL Fayetteville, AR
23 Charlotte, NC Pasadena, CA San Luis Obispo, CA
24 Cleveland, OH Baton Rouge, LA Auburn, AL
25 Houston, TX Tallahassee, FL Carbondale, IL
26 Long Beach, CA Durham, NC Bowling Green, OH
27 Tulsa, OK Lafayette, LA Mount Pleasant, MI
28 Dallas, TX Syracuse, NY Kent, OH
29 Louisville, KY Lubbock, TX Cedar Falls, IA
30 Washington, DC Eugene, OR Burlington, VT
31 Oklahoma City, OK Wilmington, NC Harrisonburg, VA
32 Milwaukee, WI Grand Rapids, MI Kalamazoo, MI
33 Las Vegas, NV Provo, UT Eau Claire, WI
34 Chicago, IL Rochester, NY Bowling Green, KY
35 Miami, FL Boise, ID College Park, MD
36 Indianapolis, IN Cambridge, MA Davis, CA
37 Oakland, CA Richmond, VA Santa Cruz, CA
38 Corpus Christi, TX Dayton, OH Muncie, IN
39 Sacramento, CA Columbia, SC Albany, NY
40 Riverside, CA Savannah, GA Lawrence, KS
41 Bakersfield, CA Birmingham, AL Champaign, IL
42 Albuquerque, NM Springfield, MO Grand Forks, ND
43 Fort Worth, TX Greensboro, NC Lynchburg, VA
44 Colorado Springs, CO Killeen, TX Greenville, NC
45 Memphis, TN Worcester, MA Boca Raton, FL
46 Arlington, TX Saint Paul, MN Logan, UT
47 Fresno, CA Norfolk, VA Missoula, MT
48 Baltimore, MD Cedar Rapids, IA Hattiesburg, MS
49 Wichita, KS Irvine, CA Urbana, IL
50 New York, NY Las Cruces, NM Flagstaff, AZ
51 Honolulu, HI Santa Clara, CA Evanston, IL
52 Kansas City, MO Orange, CA Valdosta, GA
53 Virginia Beach, VA Huntsville, AL Waltham, MA
54 Mesa, AZ Providence, RI Normal, IL
55 Philadelphia, PA Augusta, GA Somerville, MA
56 Phoenix, AZ Winston-Salem, NC Chico, CA
57 San Jose, CA Fullerton, CA Conway, AR
58 Anaheim, CA Irving, TX Tuscaloosa, AL
59 Detroit, MI Torrance, CA Tyler, TX
60 Santa Ana, CA Lansing, MI DeKalb, IL
61 Jacksonville, FL Glendale, CA Bellingham, WA
62 Aurora, CO Des Moines, IA Johnson City, TN
63 New Haven, CT Newton, MA
64 Akron, OH New Brunswick, NJ
65 Huntington Beach, CA Terre Haute, IN
66 Chattanooga, TN Duluth, MN
67 Plano, TX St. Cloud, MN
68 Alexandria, VA Orem, UT
69 Spokane, WA Greeley, CO
70 Clarksville, TN
71 Chandler, AZ
72 Overland Park, KS
73 Roseville, CA
74 Abilene, TX
75 Arlington, VA
76 Pomona, CA
77 Salem, OR
78 Amarillo, TX
79 Toledo, OH
80 Fort Lauderdale, FL
81 Fort Wayne, IN
82 Shreveport, LA
83 Montgomery, AL
84 Mobile, AL
85 Sioux Falls, SD
86 Rancho Cucamonga, CA
87 Corona, CA
88 Fayetteville, NC
89 Jackson, MS
90 Thousand Oaks, CA
91 Newport News, VA
92 Santa Clarita, CA
93 Peoria, AZ
94 Saint Petersburg, FL
95 Grand Prairie, TX
96 Glendale, AZ
97 Henderson, NV
98 Hampton, VA
99 Gilbert, AZ
100 Pembroke Pines, FL
101 Little Rock, AR
102 Tacoma, WA
103 Garden Grove, CA
104 Santa Rosa, CA
105 Lakewood, CO
106 Hartford, CT
107 Brownsville, TX
108 Stockton, CA
109 Naperville, IL
110 West Covina, CA
111 Lowell, MA
112 Modesto, CA
113 Jersey City, NJ
114 Scottsdale, AZ
115 Fremont, CA
116 San Bernardino, CA
117 Vancouver, WA
118 Hayward, CA
119 Oceanside, CA
120 Garland, TX
121 Escondido, CA
122 Oxnard, CA
123 Norwalk, CA
124 Palmdale, CA
125 Elk Grove, CA
126 Chula Vista, CA
127 Fontana, CA
128 Spring Valley, NV
129 Columbus, GA
130 Ontario, CA
131 Daly City, CA
132 Chesapeake, VA
133 Hollywood, FL
134 Anchorage, AK
135 Springfield, MA
136 Paradise, NV
137 Moreno Valley, CA
138 Laredo, TX
139 Aurora, IL
140 Lancaster, CA
141 Coral Springs, FL
142 Newark, NJ
143 Joliet, IL
144 Hialeah, FL
145 Port Saint Lucie, FL
146 Miramar, FL
147 North Las Vegas, NV
148 Bridgeport, CT
149 Yonkers, NY

 

Ask the Experts

Higher education institutions contribute significantly to the cities and towns that house them and vice versa. They drive one another socially, culturally, economically and intellectually, making university areas great environments not only for students but also for families, the elderly and other nonstudent groups. We asked a panel of experts to share their insight and advice on the various roles of college towns. Click on the experts’ profiles to read their bios and responses to the following key questions:

  1. How should the city/town factor into decisions about where to go to university?
  2. What are the benefits of living in a college city/town for nonstudents?
  3. Are college cities/towns a good option for retirees? What about families?
  4. How can parents prepare their children for managing finances (student loans, credit cards, etc.) in college?
  5. What are the advantages and disadvantages of going to college in-state versus out-of-state?
  6. How can local authorities make their cities/towns more appealing to both new students and potential residents?

Nicola Alexander

Associate Professor of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development, University of Minnesota

Nicola Alexander

How should the city/town factor into decisions about where to go to University?

I think that would certainly play a role in the decision because the typical undergraduate would be committing to spend at least 4 years of his/her life in that community. While universities can dominate the culture of a neighborhood or a town, it is still important for student to feel comfortable in the broader community.

What are the benefits of living in a college city/town for nonstudents?

Beyond the economic impact of university/college activities, there are often the cultural benefits of art exhibits, workshops, museums, etc.

Are college cities/towns a good option for retirees? What about families?

The response to the question regarding non-students applies here as well.

How can parents prepare their children for managing finances in college (student loans, credit cards, etc)?

Put them on a budget early (with appropriate consequences). Further, many colleges and universities (as well as community centers) are increasingly offering classes in financial literacy. There is a poster on the University of Minnesota campus that encourages students to live like a student now so that they don’t have to later.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of going to college in state vs. out of state?

In-state tuition is one of the biggest financial advantages of going to college in state. There are certain states that offer reciprocity which allow students that advantage even if they leave their home state. Another advantage of staying in state is the cost and convenience of returning home for school breaks. Going out of state can widen one’s horizons and may provide more long-term opportunities, but the short-term financial advantages seem limited unless you are going to an elite institution.

How can local authorities make their cities/towns more appealing to both new students and potential residents?

Provide good transportation. Most students cannot afford their own car so the ability to take the bus or train to go grocery shopping or simply to see the sites would be a welcome addition to any college town. Transportation is a key feature for potential residents as well and can go a long way in helping the environment, cutting down on traffic jams, and increasing the livability of the community. Supporting the arts and parks (and public places in general) so that there are activities that students and other residents can enjoy while staying in the community

Julie Poorman

Director of the Office of Student Financial Aid, Student Employment Office, and the Financial Services Call Center, East Carolina University

Julie Poorman
How should the city/town factor into decisions about where to go to University?
Students need to determine if they are comfortable with an urban or suburban environment. Only they can determine their comfort level with traffic, noise, large population balanced against the opportunity to go to museums, art galleries, plays and other cultural events. Large urban centers (like my former home, Boston) are considerably more expensive to live in than smaller cities (like Greenville, NC my current home) but have the advantage of good public transportation so no need for a car, etc. Students need to weigh the pros and cons against their own needs/wishes.

What are the benefits of living in a college city/town for nonstudents? Colleges and universities tend to be an economic engine for the towns in which they reside as well as centers for the arts. Each college town I have lived and worked in was a center of economic activity for the county. There is generally a ready population that earns a middle class income which leads to shops and restaurants that cater to the middle class – bakeries and gyms and clothing, book and furniture stores. There also tends to be more medical/dental care providers and pharmacies because you have a population who has health insurance and can afford to seek treatment when/as needed.

Are college cities/towns a good option for retirees? What about families?

Yes and yes.

How can parents prepare their children for managing finances in college (student loans, credit cards, etc)?

I would certainly hope that parents would encourage their children to get jobs by their junior year in high school. Teach them how to save and defer gratification for bigger items. Teach them to balance a check book (and keep a check register for tracking their debit card purchases just like you would if you wrote a check) and not trusting an on-line balance alone.

Have a conversation about costs, a frank conversation about what parents can afford to provide, what parents expect the student to provide (see that job thing again at a minimum over the summer of junior and senior years – saving for books if nothing else). Help parents and students understand that borrowing a student loan is an investment in the students’ future. If the student is not doing well in college or hates their major – then a student loan becomes a less valuable investment because it is unlikely to payoff in employment opportunities later.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of going to college in state vs. out of state?

Again, the family needs to have a frank ‘kitchen table’ conversation about what they can afford. If the student wants a teaching degree – there is a minimum of one college in every state where the family can pay in-state tuition and earn that teaching degree. Only really specialized majors – nuclear engineering, veterinary medicine, architecture – for example, are not offered in every state.

Elton Crim

Clinical Professor of Higher Education, University of Wisconsin Madison

Elton Crim

How should the city/town factor into decisions about where to go to University?

I think the city or town is very important in the decision making process in determining where to go for college. But not necessarily in the ways that one might initially think. Issues that might be important include the diversity of the indigenous (I.e. folks who grew up in the city or town) population, the diversity of the dietary offerings, the diversity of the social outlets and social offerings available for students, faculty and staff, the quality, sensitivity and diversity of its police and law enforcement agencies both on and off campus and the general availability and affordability of quality student friendly living spaces.

Students need spaces to let off steam in positive fulfilling ways, places to participate in extracurricular sports activities, music and theater venues, restaurants that are diverse and affordable and they may need public transportation systems that function well.

Lastly, a diverse upbeat and economically forward town and gown may offer employment opportunities and internships that can help make college affordable and perhaps even doable from a financial perspective while offering training and experience for future members of the cities/towns work force. It may take a student from four to six years to complete a college degree and that is a long time to be somewhere that’s not comfortable.

What are the benefits of living in a college city/town for nonstudents?

Colleges and Universities provide outstanding opportunities for nonstudents interested in social and intellectual engagement. Theater, dance, musical performers are all often a part of the social milieu offered by the college. If the college or university also has high quality sports teams, then there are available football, men’s and women’s basketball, ice hockey, soccer, swimming, volleyball and in the south you often have baseball teams as well.

In addition to the entertainment offerings, there are world class guest speakers, famous lecturers, continuing and distance educational opportunities, art classes etc.; such that one can develop new skills and hobbies or revisit old ones that may have been set aside.

Finally, college cities/towns often have lower levels of poverty and crime and educated and engaged citizens who are interested in maintaining a high quality of life. In many college cities and towns, people understand the importance and relationship of education for all citizens at all levels and its connection to the quality of life for everyone.

Are college cities/towns a good option for retirees? What about families?

For the reasons mention in the answer above, college cities/towns are great options for retirees. Some issues not mentioned above that would be important for retirees are the quality of the available health care networks. College cities and towns may often be affiliated or have their own medical, and or dental schools, and training hospitals which can provide high quality yet more affordable health care. The primary values of these types of facilities are not to maximize dollars but may be to provide outstanding service while providing learning opportunities for students and research opportunities for their medical and research faculty. Here you may also find cutting edge research on ailments, and illnesses that retirees may experience at some point in their elder years. These same health supports are important for families as well.

How can parents prepare their children for managing finances in college (student loans, credit cards, etc)?

Well, finance discussions often get into values and many of us have a hard time discussing finances with anyone. In addition we often want to make sure that our children have everything they need and in today’s society that often gets translated in having everything they want. I think it is a good idea to start conversations early with the children. Forcing them to learn to save for the things they really want ( i.e. that latest IPod or video game system).

Then, I think it is important to share financial matters with them. How much living costs, mortgage, rent, food etc as well as other important expenses, cell phone costs etc.

Finally explaining the requirements for credit and good and bad uses of credit, how interest rates work etc.; making sure that they understand that you have to pay to borrow money usually not just the amount borrowed but the interest payment on the loan. Young people often grow up with wanting minds and in our culture the constant wanting of things is encouraged by our market based system, but college student could benefit from learning to delay gratification of the wanting mind. Universities all have financial aid experts whose job it is to consult with students and families on the best financial aid options. I have seen students be admitted, enroll and then decide to leave due to expenses without ever talking to financial aid officials. Here though, I think it is a good idea for parents and students to understand that there is a difference between options often offered at for profit versus nonprofit institutions. For profit institutions have a profit motive and may raise tuition while shifting financial aid options from grants to loans. There are a plethora of student loan options these days and not all of them make sense for the student.

Families want to make sure the institution they are sending their child to, is properly accredited and that the learning experiences will be of sufficient caliber to provide the student with the opportunity to compete for a job in the field of their choice. This is important because if the learning experiences are insufficient then the student may have a credential but be noncompetitive in the market while also having to pay back huge amounts of student debt. An example might be a student that wants to be a nurse. In addition to the proper curriculum, are student pre-nursing opportunities in an actual hospital available to students in that institution? Are both the college and the program accredited properly? If they are, than this student will have an opportunity to compete in the job market place. If they are not, then the student will not be qualified for a job and may have acquired huge debt in the process. Finally, student loans in many states have bad penalties for defaulting. Students may be barred from employment in federal or state agencies.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of going to college in state vs. out of state?

Cost!!! Going to school in state almost always is going to be a lower cost proposition than going out of state, both from a tuition perspective but also from a total cost of attendance perspective.

The caveat here might be any states that have reciprocal agreements with each other. In these cases, the states have negotiated similar rates so that they can have some cross state exchange of intellectual capital (students). Minnesota and Wisconsin for example have a reciprocity with each other that allows students from Wisconsin to attend the University of Minnesota or state schools in Minnesota while their students can attend here. Students still have to qualify and be accepted but tuition rates are set more like instate rates for each.

A second caveat is students with high merit. Universities often compete for the best students on an academic merit basis and most have various honors programs and scholarships. If your student qualifies for one of these types of scholarships then going out of state may be of great benefit as costs may be covered by the scholarship. Another advantage is just having the ability to grow up and mature. Today more than ever, parents and children are tethered together in ways that are sometimes unhealthy from a developmental perspective. Young people need to grow up, learn how to problem solve and become adults. With the communication options available today, this developmental challenge may be more difficult than ever. Distance has the possibility of enhancing the necessity of the student figuring out how to problem solve on their own. Of course, the first year is usually the most difficult but if students can get through the first year away from home, they are much more likely to graduate.

How can local authorities make their cities/towns more appealing to both new students and potential residents?

Well I think this is an important question. I think local authorities first of all need to recognize the blessings that colleges and universities bring to a community. Unfortunately, I’ve seen local officials not really think very deeply about the positive economic impact that colleges bring. Colleges and universities bring in billions of outside dollars collectively for research and development, teaching and learning. These are positive high impact opportunities for economic growth but budget battles and over investment in the prison industrial complex and the loss of support by people outside of college towns have eroded support in some states for their institutions in an era when the investments in education are more important than ever.

Other things that authorities should think about are ensuring that housing is affordable for students and families. In our city there has been an explosion of new apartment units but most of them are competing for the high end luxury market and while it is true that increasingly colleges are catering to the children of the elite, for families marginally in the middle class, or for working class families finding affordable housing options while attending school or for starting out as a young couple after finishing your degree, may be next to impossible. This type of dynamic is likely to contribute to brain drain where you best and brightest have to leave the state to find employment and affordable housing while paying back school loans and trying to start their adult lives.

Lastly if we have learned anything in the last few months it is that we have a lot more work to do to make sure that everyone in our city/town is treated fairly and equitably. The universities ability to bring the best and brightest from diverse backgrounds and for the city to retain them depends on everyone having a fair and positive living experience. Police forces have benefited from federal grant programs in the war on drugs and are now becoming over militarized and perhaps too aggressive in some communities. Officials need to make sure that officers are not burned out and that they have been trained not to stereotype, not to harass for no reason and not to harm or treat citizens and students in biased ways. These types of training can’t be one and done; they have to have continuous and ongoing programs. Lastly people, students, faculty and staff need options going out and entertainment in venues in the city. I’ve seen huge disparities in available options for folks of color and also disparities of treatment in the city when problems arise.

Methodology

In order to find the college cities and towns in America that are most conducive to intellectual and personal development as well as a healthy billfold, WalletHub examined 280 cities of varying sizes across three equally weighted dimensions, namely “Wallet Wellness,” “Youth-Oriented Environment” and “Opportunities.” We then identified 23 metrics that are relevant to those dimensions. The data set and corresponding weight for each metric are listed below.

In selecting the cities and towns for our study, we limited our selection to those with a college enrollment size of at least 10,000 students.

For this particular study, we categorized the cities based on the following population sizes:

  • Large Cities: More than 300,000 people
  • Midsize Cities: 100,000 to 300,000 people
  • Small Cities: Less than 100,000 people

Please also note that “city” refers to city proper and excludes surrounding metro areas.

Wallet Wellness – Total Weight: 5

  • Housing Costs (Rent of a Two-Bedroom Apartment): Full Weight
  • Adjusted Cost Of Living for Young People: Double Weight
  • Percentage of Rental Units: Full Weight
  • Average Monthly Fitness Club Fee: Half Weight
  • Average Pizza & Burgers Cost: Half Weight
  • Cost of Higher Education (Tuition Fee Average Weighted by the Number of Students): Full Weight

Youth-Oriented Environment – Total Weight: 5

  • Number of Students per Capita: Double Weight
  • Percentage of 18-to-35-Year-Olds: Full Weight
  • Percentage of Single Persons: Half Weight
  • Student Gender Balance: Half Weight
  • Number of Nightlife Options per Capita: Double Weight
  • Number of Cafés per Capita: Full Weight
  • Number of Shopping Centers per Capita: Full Weight
  • Number of Sports Clubs per Capita: Full Weight
  • City Accessibility (Percentage of Workers Who Bike, Walk, or Take Public Transportation): Half Weight
  • Crime Rate: Double Weight

Opportunities – Total Weight: 5

  • Earning Potential for People with a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher (Median Earnings – Adjusted by Cost of Living): Full Weight
  • Percentage of Part-Time Jobs: Full Weight
  • Unemployment Rate: Full Weight
  • Entrepreneurial Activity (Net Change in Number of Businesses per Capita on a 3-year Average): Full Weight
  • Brain Drain (Annual Change in Share of Population with a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher): Full Weight
  • Job Growth Rate (2008 – 2013): Full Weight
  • Quality of Higher Education: Double Weight

 

Sources: Data used to create these rankings were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Numbeo, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Council for Community and Economic Research, U.S. News & World Report and Yelp.

For complete article: http://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-college-cities-and-towns-in-america/8974/

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Dec 182014
 

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By Nathan Summers
December 18, 2014

He has gone deep a few times and has also pinned his opponents deep with frequency this season, but just as important as either of those, Worth Gregory has sunken his roots deeper into the East Carolina football framework for the future.

One game remains in his sophomore season, and the Alabama transfer has solidified his place as the team’s mainstay punter. His first active campaign with the 8-4 Pirates included a career high boot of 63 yards and also 16 punts inside opponent 20-yard lines.

But to this point, Gregory is far from satisfied with his ECU debut and is still hoping for his best game of the campaign at the Jan. 3 Birmingham Bowl against Florida.

“I feel like I left a lot of yards out there on the field this year, and I want to be able to end on a good note against Florida,” said the former Crimson Tide player who boomed 11 punts of 50-plus yards in 12 games this year. “Hopefully I won’t have to punt much because our offense should be killing it this game, but I definitely have a platform for some goals that I want to accomplish. I just needed to get a year underneath me, and I can only go forward right now and I have some goals that I still want to make this season.”

Gregory has embodied the unselfish mentality preached by ECU head coach Ruffin McNeill, often sacrificing long yards for strategic fourth down kicks.

With two years left, the punter knows the value of having entrenched himself as the starter.

“I always loved the hunt, being the guy behind, and it’s almost better to be the hunter than the hunted, but now I’ve got to change my role toward that and work harder and push myself to achieve better things,” Gregory said.

The season-long wear and tear for kickers and punters is much different than it is at higher-impact positions, but it’s still there after a dozen games.

Because of it, Gregory said he and senior placekicker Warren Harvey are embracing the extended layoff before the Birmingham Bowl.

“It’s good for me and Warren lately because we had a long season, a lot of kicking and a lot of punting going on, especially for me during camp because we only had two punters, so it’s good that we have these shorter practices where we don’t have to punt every single day,” said Gregory, who logged 43 punts in his first active season. “It puts more emphasis on the drill work with me, where I’m not hitting as many footballs but I’m taking a lot more leg swings.”

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Dec 182014
 

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By Ginger Livingston
December 18, 2014

Pitt County’s state legislator said he does not think Medicaid expansion is needed right now but is open to a discussion when the General Assembly convenes next month.

Rep. Brian Brown, R-Pitt, discussed his plans for the coming legislative session during a Wednesday holiday celebration for his constituents.

Brown introduced his supporters to State Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, state Speaker of the House designee, during the event.

“I think it’s important during the holiday season to have constituents to come out so we can say thank you or they can share their concerns,” Brown said. “It also is a great opportunity to bring the new speaker to town and show the commitment this leadership team has for eastern North Carolina.”

Moore was selected for the speaker’s post during a meeting of House Republicans last month. With Republicans in a solid majority, the decision should be finalized when the General Assembly convenes on Jan. 14.

“I think an awful lot of Brian Brown. He’s a leader in the House and when he told me he was having an event tonight I wanted to be here for him,” Moore said. “I know a lot of folks here in Greenville, and I don’t miss a chance to come down when I can.”

Moore said he expects to appoint Brown to a committee chairmanship.

“He is too talented and too smart not to be a committee chairman,” Moore said. He expects a similar spot for Rep. Susan Martin, R-Wilson, who also represents Pitt County. Moore declined to share details.

Along with job creation and regulatory reform, legislation to assist East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Medical Center will be important issues, Moore said.

“It’s very important we have delivery of services in rural health care and ECU has that mission of training physicians,” Moore said.

Vidant also is the source of premiere medical care in eastern North Carolina, he said.

Moore said he is uncomfortable with the idea of expanding Medicaid despite former speaker and U.S. Senator-elect Thom Tillis’ support during the campaign season.

Moore said he does not believe Medicaid spending has stabilized enough to add people. There also is a philosophical component to consider.

“I don’t know if we want to be in the business of expanding entitlement programs,” Moore said. He said he prefers creating jobs so people can obtain insurance through an employer or on their own.

Brown shared Moore’s concerns that the state’s Medicaid spending is not stable and unexpected shortfalls will drain money from other programs.

Brown said he will continue work on set-off debt collection legislation which will give ECU the ability to collect payment for care provided by the medical school.

“It’s really integral for them, for their ability to stay liquid, stay solvent,” he said. “We did a lot of work on it last session but there are still things we need to do.

“I would say we got about 85 percent restored last session, now we have to restore the remainder,” Brown said.

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Dec 182014
 

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December 15, 2014

Dan Kane

The key player in the years-long probe of academic fraud at the University of North Carolina of Chapel Hill isn’t an administrator or professor. He doesn’t work for the government, an accrediting agency, or the NCAA.

Instead, he’s an unassuming reporter at The News & Observer, a Raleigh newspaper, who slowly uncovered a shocking case of fake classes wrapped up in an athletics scandal at one of the nation’s premier public colleges. Dan Kane’s work over the past four years has put higher education on notice about the institutional perils of college sports.

Mr. Kane, 53, was the quiet force behind a much-publicized report, released in October, that found that more than 3,000 students participated in an 18-year-long scheme of fake classes that was intended to keep struggling athletes eligible at UNC-Chapel Hill. The report also implicated professors, advisers, coaches, even a former faculty chair.

“As a university president, if you don’t look at this report and ask, ‘Can I be certain that we have the right checks and balances in place?’ you’ve missed the boat,” one college president said in response to the investigation, which was led by Kenneth L. Wainstein, a former federal prosecutor.

But the Wainstein report would not have been commissioned without Mr. Kane, who wrote story after story establishing an athletic connection to the fake classes, even as the university—and a former governor it tapped to investigate the scandal in 2012—strenuously denied the link. But as national publications began picking up the leads Mr. Kane established, the university initiated the review by Mr. Wainstein.

So profound was Mr. Kane’s influence in exposing the saga that he became a character himself. Legions of UNC-Chapel Hill sports fans took aim at him, sending threatening emails and tweets. The News & Observer called the police twice when the threats got serious.

“It was pretty jarring to get these emails and tweets and see some of these things on the message boards that were so full of hate and no desire to really look at the facts here,” Mr. Kane said in an interview. “It’s almost like that’s how they contribute to the team.”

The sway athletics holds—not over fans’ emotions, but the actions of university leaders and the mission of the college itself—is the first lesson of the episode. “It just seems to epitomize what’s going on with college athletics” at big programs across the country, Mr. Kane said. “It’s become so powerful that it’s kind of the tail wagging the dog.”

UNC-Chapel Hill might be able to end no-show classes, he said, but whether it can achieve the academic-athletic balance it once boasted remains to be seen.

For his part, Mr. Kane will keep reporting. “Things come my way, and if I feel like the public needs to know about them,” he said, “I’m gonna pursue them.”

—Andy Thomason

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Dec 182014
 

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December 17, 2014

NEW BERN — The N.C. Coastal Resources Commission’s science panel made a few final adjustments Monday to the draft five-year update to its sea level rise report before agreeing it was ready for peer review.

The draft – which contains projections of 2-6 inches of sea level rise in the next 30 years, varying by location along the North Carolina coast – will now be sent to the CRC by Wednesday, Dec. 31. From there it will be sent to state agencies for internal review and to scientists and others outside of state agencies for external review. The CRC has also selected Dr. Bob Dean of the University of Florida and Dr. James Huston, formerly of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to act as a Technical Peer Review Group for the report.

The draft will go out for review on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015, with the technical review due on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. The science panel will have a chance to respond to the reviews, with their response due to the CRC by Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. The finalized report is due before the General Assembly by Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

The General Assembly directed the CRC to have the panel perform the five-year update to its 2010 sea level rise report. The direction was made in response to concerns and criticism of the report that came from the public – including local government representatives – during public meetings.

Critics of the 2010 report have said the data wasn’t reflective of entire state coast and that including a rate of 39 inches of projected sea level rise by 2100 for creating state policies would hurt the coastal economy. In response, the CRC charged the panel with doing a five-year update and narrowing the scope of the update down from the year 2100 to the next 30 years.

Dr. Margery Overton, the science panel chairman, said during the meeting at the Craven County Cooperative Extension Office she thinks the panel is generally in agreement with the current draft of the report update.

“I think overall the (update) process has worked very well,” she said. “We’re well positioned to deliver this to the CRC as requested on Dec. 31.”

According to summary in the pre-release draft, the panel’s study update shows sea level is rising across the coast of North Carolina. The rate of rise varies, depending on the location; the two main factors affecting the rate of sea level rise are the vertical movement of the Earth’s surface and the effects of ocean dynamics.

The draft says there’s evidence from geological data and tide gauges there’s more subsidence north of Cape Hatteras than south of it. This contributes to higher measured rates of sea level rise along the northeastern coast in the state.

To explain the geological effects on sea level rise, the report uses a map created by Dr. Stan Riggs of the Department of Geology at East Carolina University of four geological regions of the coast to show where there is uplift (the ground rising) or subsidence (the ground sinking). Carteret County makes up the majority of Region 2, the Cape Lookout Transition Area, which Dr. Riggs’ work shows is experiencing 0.62 millimeters per year of subsidence.

The draft also says oceanographic research points to a link between speed and position of the Gulf Stream and local sea level. This effect has been reported primarily north of Cape Hatteras and contributes to higher measured rates of sea level rise to the northeast.

The draft also says at existing rates of sea level rise, in a 30-year time frame, sea level rise across the North Carolina coast would range from approximately 2 inches at Wilmington and Southport (locations of two of the three tidal gauges that provided data for the panel’s study) to approximately 6 inches at Duck (the location of the third gauge).

The current draft’s summary also references projected potential sea level rise in several greenhouse gas emission scenarios; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 climate change report was the source of these scenarios.

However, Dr. Riggs said he thinks those points should be taken out of the summary because the scenarios are confusing. Dr. Pete Peterson of the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, seemed to agree with Dr. Riggs; he said there isn’t enough scientific understanding of the melting of arctic ice to determine how much influence it has on sea level rise.

Dr. Riggs also said he thinks the report should have an early statement about the risk of storm surge and how sea level rise may increase the risk.

“I think there should be a stronger statement on the issue of storms and how sea level rise will add to the stormy mess,” he said.

Dr. Peterson also said they should make sure the report states the 30-year rolling timeframe for the update is long enough to take into account any natural cycles that may influence tide gauge data. He also said the update should point out the influence of dredging activities on some gauges.

Spencer Rogers, N.C. Sea Grant coastal construction and erosion specialist, said after reviewing the data that the dredging activity in certain areas, like Beaufort Inlet, didn’t appear to influence the tide gauges due to the distance and other factors. However, other gauges, such as the Wilmington gauge, were close enough to be influenced by dredging.

There were five audience members at the Monday meeting, three of whom spoke about the draft update during public comments. Michael Schachter of the Sierra Club said he hadn’t yet read the draft update, but when he heard about it he became concerned about sea level rise. Mr. Sachter said he used to teach mathematics at Coastal Carolina Community College in Jacksonville and had reservations about the 30-year timeframe for the projections.

“Over a short period of time, even an exponential change can appear linear,” he said.

For several commentators, the panel’s continued inclusion of the IPCC report as a source of information was an issue. David Burton, science adviser and board member of NC-20, a nonprofit organization of local government representatives from the 20 coastal counties in North Carolina, said he thinks the current draft is much better than the 2010 report, but he thinks the report needs “more balance,” meaning more language acknowledging the disputed nature of sea level rise.

Mr. Burton reiterated a point he made in his comments at the Nov. 19 panel meeting, saying he thinks the panel shouldn’t use data from the IPCC report. He said he had been one of the IPCC report’s expert reviewers and that the report’s sea level rise acceleration scenarios aren’t credible.

Dr. Jim Early, a retired engineer, said it’s clear to him there are some good writers involved with the update.

“It’s good to see a movement toward real data,” he said. “However, if you’re going to get into theory rather than data, you need a broader perspective.”

Dr. Early, along with John Droz Jr., a retired physicist from Morehead City who has been outspoken on the draft update, and Dr. Stan Young, assistant director for bioinformatics of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences and adjunct professor of statistics at N.C. State University, submitted a list of 31 proposed changes to the draft. These proposals ranged from language changes – like replacing the word “sustainability” with “human well-being” – to requests to omit the IPCC report from the report and include references from sources like the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, which dissents from the IPCC’s views.

Mr. Droz, while present at the meeting, didn’t comment. However, in an email to CRC Chairman Frank Gorham, also copied to the News-Times, Mr. Droz said the draft discussed at the meeting “did a reasonably good job of making a technical matter understandable to the public.” However, he said the draft makes the assumption that the IPCC is “the gold standard” for sea level rise information.

“The solution to this self-created conundrum is for the panel to identify the IPCC as one of several sources of useful information that should be considered,” Mr. Droz said.

Because the draft is currently in its pre-release form, it’s not available online yet. However Tancred Miller, N.C. Division of Coastal Management policy analyst, said anyone who wants an electronic copy of the current draft may ask for one from the DCM.

The DCM may be reached at 808-2808. A list of DCM staff and phone extensions is available online at the website http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/cm/staff-listing.

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Dec 182014
 

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By Thomasi McDonald
December 18, 2014

RALEIGH — New tests on old evidence led police to charge a former N.C. State University student with murdering his girlfriend in 1996.

Lacoy McQueen was a 20-year-old Shaw University student missing for nearly a year before her remains were found by construction workers near Kittrell, north of Raleigh.

A Wake County grand jury this week handed down a true bill of indictment charging Edwin Christopher Lawing, 40, of 551 Old Charlotte Road in Concord, with the first-degree murder of McQueen. Lawing was arrested Wednesday morning in the Charlotte area by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, said Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue.

Police say Lawing was in a relationship with McQueen, who was also from the Charlotte area, and detectives early on considered him a suspect. Investigators twice searched Lawing’s dorm room at Watauga Hall before McQueen’s remains were discovered.

“Police believe the crime occurred in the suspect’s dorm room at N.C. State,” Sughrue said.

Friends told police that McQueen and Lawing had argued the day she disappeared, May 16, 1996, police said at the time. She was supposed to meet him at the NCSU Bell Tower. Police said someone last saw her there around 5 p.m. getting into a car with two men.

Her friends reported her missing the next day.

She remained missing until March 3, 1997, when construction workers discovered her remains off U.S. 1 near Kittrell.

On March 19, detectives charged Lawing with McQueen’s murder. On May 2, 1997, the charge was dismissed.

Earlier this year, the department’s homicide detectives met with Wake County prosecutors to discuss the case and reconsider prosecuting Lawing.

The investigators awaited the results of tests using methods that were unavailable in the late 1990s, Sughrue said.

“There were multiple tests performed,” he said without providing details.

Based in part on the test results, a grand jury on Monday found enough probable cause to hand down an indictment charging Lawing with murder.

Lawing was transported to the Wake County jail, where he is being held without benefit of bail, a jail spokesman said Wednesday night.

Despite the arrest, police say they are continuing to investigate the case. They ask anyone with information about the crime to call Raleigh Crime Stoppers at 919-834-4357 or visit www.raleighcrimestoppers.org for text and email reporting options.

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Dec 182014
 

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By Nick Anderson
December 16

Sam Stephenson was steeling himself for another round of college applications after his first choice, Johns Hopkins University, turned him down. Then the 17-year-old from Culpeper County in Virginia received an e-mail from Hopkins on Sunday afternoon that suggested he might still have reason to hope.

“Embrace the YES!” it said in the subject line.

Sam was confused, said his mother, Cathy Stephenson. Could it be that the blunt electronic denial statement he had read two days earlier was wrong? The e-mail from the Hopkins admissions office at 3:01 p.m. Sunday continued:

“Dear Samuel, Welcome to the Class of 2019! We can’t wait for you to get to campus. Until then, as one of the newest members of the family, we hope you’ll show your Blue Jay pride.”

It urged him to start using #JHU2019 on Twitter, to stop by an online store to buy Hopkins gear and to meet others in the newly admitted class through a limited-access Facebook group.

It was all wrong.

Like 293 others who had been turned down or deferred in their bid for early admission to the prestigious private university in Baltimore, Sam had received a welcome-to-Hopkins e-mail by mistake. The university, tipped off to the error by another rejected student, sent an apology Sunday evening to those affected by the head-spinning goof. Sam got the word at 5:28 p.m.: There was no reversal of his denial.

“The decision posted on the decision site reflects the accurate result of your Early Decision application,” the follow-up said. “We regret this technical mistake and any confusion it may have caused.”

Hopkins, which admitted 15 percent of applicants for its latest freshman class, is hardly the first college to suffer an embarrassing misfire in an admissions e-mail. In February, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sent applicants an e-mail about financial aid that included a happy footnote: “You are on this list because you are admitted to MIT!” That information, for thousands of students, was wrong. Admission decisions at that point were still pending for those who applied in the regular cycle.

Other similar missteps have been reported in recent years. Fordham University gave false news of acceptance to 2,500 applicants last December; Vassar College incorrectly informed 76 students that they had gotten into the school in January 2012; and one of the most glaring mistakes came in 2009, when the University of California at San Diego admissions office sent acceptance e-mails to all 46,000 students who had applied, including the 28,000 who had been rejected.

David Phillips, vice provost for admissions and financial aid at Hopkins, said Tuesday that the e-mail mistake last week was a result of “human error.” Someone who works for a contractor that helps Hopkins with electronic communications pulled the wrong list of e-mail addresses, he said.

“We apologize to the students affected and to their families,” Phillips said. “Admissions decision days are stressful enough. We very much regret having added to the disappointment felt by a group of very capable and hardworking students, especially ones who were so committed to the idea of attending Johns Hopkins that they applied early decision.”

Of 1,865 students who sought early entry to Hopkins, 539 were accepted Friday. The rest were denied or deferred until regular admission decisions are made in the spring.

Of the 294 applicants who received the erroneous welcome message, nine had received deferrals and 285 had been denied.

Cathy Stephenson said Tuesday that she was irate at Hopkins. First, she said, the mistake was inexcusable. “You don’t crush somebody’s feelings twice,” she said.

She said university admissions officers should have called the affected students to apologize. “All we want is a personal phone call,” Stephenson said. “When I make a mistake, I do the right thing.”

Phillips said Hopkins did not make such calls because it did not want to exacerbate the problem by drawing further attention to a painful moment for the affected students. “We understand their anger and frustration,” he said.

Sam, a senior at Eastern View High School and an Eagle Scout, was at a swim meet Tuesday night, his mother said, and unavailable for comment. He is gearing up for the regular application cycle.

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Dec 182014
 

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December 17

University of Virginia administrators said Wednesday that the findings of an outside review of sexual assaults on campus will be made public when the investigation is completed.

A statement issued Wednesday by board of visitors rector Keith Martin said that the Washington law firm of O’Melveny & Myers will serve as an independent counsel to review the university’s sexual assault policies and procedures. Martin said that when the investigation is completed, the findings of the independent counsel will be publicly available.

“As a public university, we serve the citizens of the commonwealth, and I am committed to sharing the independent counsel’s findings as a public record,” Martin said. “We stand ready to take decisive action based on what we learn, and to share that with our University community.”

University president Teresa A. Sullivan asked the Charlottesville police department and Virginia attorney general Mark Herring (D) to separately investigate allegations of a brutal sexual assault on campus detailed in a Rolling Stone magazine account.

The pop culture magazine published an explosive story alleging a brutal sexual assault at the U-Va. Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house on Sept. 28, 2012. In the magazine’s account, a student named Jackie said she was ambushed after a date party and was gang-raped by seven fraternity brothers.

Phi Kappa Psi announced this month that the fraternity did not host a date function that weekend and that no member of the house resembled the man Jackie described to Rolling Stone as her main attacker. The Rolling Stone story has further been called into question as Jackie’s friends have identified inconsistencies in the article.

In addition, information Jackie provided to friends about the date from the fraternity who allegedly attacked her that night led to a man who told The Post he has never met Jackie in person and to a second man who said he was a high school classmate of Jackie’s and who now attends college in a different state.

Martin said that the independent review will help the university move forward in the wake of the sexual assault allegations detailed in Rolling Stone.

“We need to have an objective, outside assessment of our policies and practices, and how we can strengthen student safety on Grounds,” Martin said. “The safety of our students is our first and foremost priority.”

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