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Higher Ed in the News

Year in review: Disappearing dollars, increased access

December 30, 2009

The nation's colleges and universities this year faced their worst financial challenges in decades.

Endowments took their biggest hit ever — down an average 19 percent this year. State support for higher education dwindled. Federal coffers were squeezed, too.

Access has long been a hallmark of federal policy, but President Obama also unveiled a number of proposals that put more emphasis on ensuring that students are successful once they get to college, too.

Among highlights in higher education news over the past decade:

  • The April 2007 shooting rampage at Virginia Tech spurred colleges and universities nationwide to beef up emergency-alert programs and to revisit concerns about the balance between safety and student privacy.
  • A 2003 Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action at the University of Michigan helped usher in a more holistic selection process on campuses nationwide.
  • An outcry against rising costs led to investigations and some reform in the textbook and student loan industries, and many of the nation's wealthiest institutions now offer more grants to avoid graduating students with mountains of debt.
  • Congress passed a new GI Bill, and many colleges and universities started to develop plans to help veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan make the transition from combat to college.

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Read the full story from USA Today.