Daily Debriefing

by Rebecca Cress | 7/9/09 10:00pm

More college students are taking out student loans than ever before, according to a study published yesterday by Education Sector, an independent think tank. The study pointed to factors like rising tuition costs as the source of the phenomenon, as well as a shift in college and university practice toward awarding less aid to students in greater need. Additionally, the rise in student financial need in recent years has outpaced the rise in the maximum size of subsidized federal loans available to students, according to the report, resulting in the need to take out private loans to fill the gap. Those loans tend to be riskier, the report said, with higher interest rates and a low likelihood that students can delay payments. Nevertheless, half of all college students take out no loans at all, Patricia Steele, a research associate at the College Board, told Inside Higher Ed, adding that the Education Sector report may overstate the gravity of the situation.

The same Dartmouth researchers who pioneered Public Key Infrastructure, which secures and authenticates computer communications, are continuing to advance computing security, according to a July 8 report in Science Codex. A new system developed by Dartmouth researchers called PKI Resource Query Protocol is on its way to becoming the universal method for establishing PKI-enhanced security. Dartmouth's Institute for Security, Technology and Society created PRQP as part of an effort to make PKI more user-friendly, Science Codex reported. "[It's] great to see the institutional support that Dartmouth gives to technological innovation and in bringing this new technology to the higher ed community at large," Sean Smith, a computer science professor and ISTS faculty affiliate who co-founded the College's PKI laboratory, told Science Codex.

Several recent studies at universities across the United States have found correlations between interracial roommate assignments, academic performance and changes in levels of racial prejudice, The New York Times reported Tuesday. An analysis of thousands of freshmen living in residence halls at Ohio State University revealed that African-American freshmen in "interracial living situations" tended to have higher grade point averages at the end of their first academic quarters than those who did not, although roommate race did not affect the averages of white freshmen, according to the study. At the University of California, Los Angeles, researchers found that interracial rooming assignments led to decreased racial prejudice except in the case of mixed rooms with Asian Americans, The Times reported. Similar studies have also been conducted at Duke University, Indiana University and Princeton University, according to The Times.