higher education

To millions of parents and students, they're magical words: free college.

But is the idea pure fantasy?

More than a dozen states now offer grants, often called scholarships, promising to help qualifying students pay for some or all of their college education. In fact, that word, "promise," shows up again and again in these programs' official names: Nevada Promise, Oklahoma's Promise, Oregon Promise, Tennessee Promise ... you get the idea.

Popular culture tells us that college "kids" are recent high school graduates, living on campus, taking art history, drinking too much on weekends, and (hopefully) graduating four years later.

The U.S. Education Department is going back to the drawing board on some basic rules of higher education, including one concept that has been in place for 125 years.

The goal? Unleash innovation to better serve students.

May 1 is an exciting day for many high school seniors. It's decision day, when students commit to college — and send in those deposits — to hold their spot on campus.
Across the country, schools celebrate the achievement in different ways. Some hold assemblies where students get up and announce their decisions. In other places, students wear their college gear — a T-shirt or ball cap or sweatshirt.

Like most other American high school students, Garret Morgan had it drummed into him constantly: Go to college. Get a bachelor's degree.

"All through my life it was, 'if you don't go to college you're going to end up on the streets,' " Morgan said. "Everybody's so gung-ho about going to college."

So he tried it for a while. Then he quit and started training as an ironworker, which is what he is doing on a weekday morning in a nondescript high-ceilinged building with a concrete floor in an industrial park near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

There are now well over 1,000 colleges and universities that don't require SAT or ACT scores in deciding whom to admit, a number that's growing every year. And a new study finds that scores on those tests are of little value in predicting students' performance in college, and raises the question: Should those tests be required at all?

Updated at 10:20 p.m. ET

The Justice Department is reportedly investigating possible antitrust violations by a number of elite colleges related to the sharing of information between them to enforce the terms of their early-admissions programs.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the historic teacher walkout which has brought thousands of educators and supporters to call for more school funding and Tulsa oilman George Kaiser says more tax hikes are needed after pay raises for education and state workers last week.

Hello! Welcome to our weekly roundup of all the education news you may have missed.

An online charter school is closing midyear

Four former fraternity members were sentenced to jail time Monday in the 2013 hazing death of Chun Deng, a freshman at Baruch College in Manhattan.

Deng went to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania to finish pledging Pi Delta Psi, an Asian-American cultural fraternity. During the process, he was blindfolded, forced to wear a backpack weighted down with sand and then repeatedly tackled. He was knocked unconscious and later died at a hospital.

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