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BU Hikes Up Tuition, Rooming Charges

By Douglas E. Heimburger and Zareena Hussain
Associate News Editors

Boston University's Board of Trustees approved last month a $1,400 increase in tuition for the 1997-98 academic year.

Along with the tuition increase will be a $520 increase in room and board charges. The combined increases mark a 7 percent increase in BU's total cost, bringing it to $29,540 a year.

"This is an unusual increase. We have some unusual factors,"said Dennis D. Berkey, BU'sprovost. New facilities for the School of Public Health and the cost of hiring new faculty members were among the factors cited for the tuition increase.

A $104 million building just completed is also a factor in the increase. "This is the year in which we have to fully begin making the mortgage payment," Berkey said.

BUwill increase its financial aid budget by $9 million next year to compensate for the increase in tuition.

[Daily Free Press, Jan. 13]

Duke proposes new rankings

Two faculty committees at Duke University are considering whether to adopt a new grading system designed to discourage students from taking easy classes and to curb grade inflation.

Under the system, designed by a Duke statistician, students would be ranked on an achievement index that rewards students for taking "difficult" classes - those with a distribution of grades from Ato F. The algorithm also boosts the achievement indexof students who are in classes with others who have been successful in difficult courses.

Students would then be ranked based on their achievement index, and new GPAs would then be determined.

Members of the Duke student government spoke out against the policy, saying that the algorithm could not be checked for accuracy.

If the faculty committees approve the plan as expected, Duke transcripts will show the traditional GPAand the new one for several years. Duke may then choose to switch completely to the revised system.

[The Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 14]

Yale creates no-growth policy

Yale University, currently in the throes of an effort to trim the size of its faculty by 5 percent, implemented a no-growth policy that prevents the university from hiring additional professors.

Departments, which previously had been able to hire freely, are now allowed only to bring professors on board when a vacancy exists.

Many department chairs express their dismay at the new system. "You can scrape by for a couple of years, but you just can't run a really good program if you're just packaging things together," said David Cameron, the chair of Yale's political science department.

Yale administrators are currently attempting to eliminate a $4 million budget deficit. "We're at a point of maximum resource constraints,"said Charles Long, Yale's deputy provost.

The no-growth policy is expected to continue. "Will there ever come a time when we say, Let's think about growth in the faculty again?' Possibly, but it won't come under my provostship,"said Alison Richard, Yale's provost.

[Yale Daily News, Feb. 7]

BU considers building new dorms

Boston University is hoping to build a new dormitory on part of the site of the Commonwealth Armory in Boston.

The dormitory, which would cost over $50 million, will hold 750 beds and would be located on a 10.2 acre site at 925 Commonwealth Ave. Eventually, BUplans to build housing for up to 4,200 additional students in the area.

A task force is being formed this month to begin the 1218 month process of securing government approval and financing for the project.

The project is regarded as one of the highest priorities for the school. BU is currently housing 300 students in Howard Johnson hotels and Loretto Hall, an Emmanuel College dormitory.

"There is pressure on us still to provide more university housing," said BU's executive vice president, Joseph P. Mercurio. "The number of students wanting university housing is the highest in history."

[Daily Free Press, Jan. 27]

No pets in class at U of Minnesota

A new policy at the University of Minnesota requires students to obtain a permit to bring pets into the College of Veterinary Medicine building.

In addition, the animals must be kept in a special room and students must pay a daily boarding fee of $3.

"Some people like dogs in the classroom, others don't," said Carl R. Jessen, an associate dean of the veterinary college.

A "pet policy committee" was created after the college received complaints about unruly pets. The committee issues permits for animals that are vaccinated and free of parasites.

Owners must also keep the pets on leashes or in cages and clean up after them. Meanwhile, animal-loving students are angry, and the student council has asked that the policy be changed.

"It's highly ironic that at the College of Veterinary Medicine, there is a policy that doesn't help veterinary students take care of their own animals," said Sean Ohms Winnie, a veterinary student.

[The Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 10]