This Week in College News: Texas Meningitis Law & Finding Freshman Roommates on Facebook
By Sam Coren
It's Friday again and time for another edition of This Week in College News, a round up of the latest events and news stories happening in the world of America's colleges. This week? It's been a roller coaster for Wall Street and many industry sectors and their investors are reeling in the aftermath, including those involved in higher education. A recent update to Texas's law requiring college students to be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis has school's confused on how to execute the policy. Also, more students are taking to social networks in order to find their first college roommate.
Ready to dig deeper? Read on:
The Dow's massive dips this week had many curious about its affect on college operating budgets and the ability to distribute financial aid to students. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that despite a turbulent stock market this week, institutions that have large endowments are ready to weather the change. According to Richard A. Fass, the Vice President Planning at Pomona College, "financial aid is and remains our first priority. We have not made any changes to it, and we'd be unlikely to do so in the future."
However, for colleges that rely heavily on tuition over endowments for their operating costs, the schools may take a hit if the economic conditions don't improve. According to Roger Goodman, a partner at Yuba Group, a financial advisory and consulting firm that serves universities: "If we're worried about another recession and families' ability to pay, this could be just as much of a problem for tuition-dependent colleges, especially since a lot of them are already struggling with high discount rates."
A new Texas Law mandating all college students enrolled in public and private colleges to be vaccinated for bacterial meningitis has updated a previous one which only required students who lived on-campus to be vaccinated. While the new law comes to the relief of parents, students, and public health officials, the colleges are confused on how to execute this new policy. At Texas A&M, Scott McDonald, the assistant vice president for academic services indicated that the school hasn't yet determined how they will handle students who attend class if they have not been vaccinated or submitted the necessary paperwork to opt out.
Additionally the schools are concerned with how the new law will affect students currently enrolled who have not received the vaccination. "The administrative record-keeping and follow-up by people that is going to be required for those students who don’t comply — and there will be students who don’t comply — is very expensive,” according to Wanda Mercer, the associate vice chancellor for student affairs for the UT System.
In a recent piece on the Washington Post, reporter Jenna Johnson revealed that more students are finding their first college roommates online. Adam Gang, an incoming freshman at American University, explains," realistically, even the most personal roommate-matching service can’t match Facebook. You’re an accepted friend request away from knowing someone.” American University gives new students a questionnaire and then returns a list of possible matches. Students will then take the list and research their potential roommates on Facebook.
Photo: Anna Briggs