TIME Education

University of California System Approves Steep Tuition Hike

CA: UC Berkeley Students Rally Against Tuition Fee Hikes
Students rallied to demonstrate against the university's plan to increase tuition fees over the next five years at the University of California, Berkeley campus on Nov. 18, 2014, in Berkeley, Calif. Alex Milan Tracy—Sipa USA

Students are being asked to pay more as the state reduces its funding

Tuition at University of California schools could rise by as much as 28% by 2019 under a plan approved Thursday.

The 14-7 vote by the system’s regent board pitted top state officials, including Gov. Jerry Brown, against those who run the UC’s 10-campus system, including its president, Janet Napolitano.

Students at UC campuses protested the proposed tuition hike ahead of the decision. Students at the University of California, Berkeley staged an all-night sit-in and students on hand for the vote itself, which took place in San Francisco, shouted their protests inside the meeting room and clashed with police outside.

Tuition at UC campuses has more than tripled since 2001, even without the increase just approved. Students and their families have shouldered more of the financial burden of attending UC schools in recent years, as the state has cut back the share of overall expenses it covers. The economic downturn accelerated this trend in California and at public universities and colleges across the country. Napolitano, who conceived and proposed the tuition hike plan, said increases could be scaled back before they go into effect if the state provides more direct funding for the UC system. Negotiations between Napolitano and state officials over how to fund UC will now begin in earnest.

Brown, who was reelected by a wide margin earlier this month, criticized the tuition hike plan and had asked Napolitano and other UC regents to further study how costs could be cut within the system in lieu of raising tuition. Awarding degrees in three years instead of the standard four and more online courses were among the ideas Brown wanted to see considered.

In-state tuition and fees at the University of California is $12,192, compared to a national average of $8,893 for all public colleges, according to the College Board. The cost of attending four-year colleges in the second-tier California State University system is below the national average. Napolitano has said the UC system needs to increase funding to cover pension and faculty costs, increase enrollment and maintain its world-class reputation. More than half of all UC students pay no tuition because their costs are coverage by public and private grants distributed based on income.

TIME Education

America’s Best College Towns

Syracuse, NY
Syracuse, NY Wainwright Photography

Visit these thriving college towns for a crash course in live music, craft beer, art, and history

“Depending on how you look at it, Santa Cruz is either the best or the worst place to spend your college years,” says Keijiro Ikebe, a Silicon Valley visual designer who graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2002.

“With the town surrounded by shimmering water and lush forests under sunny blue skies, the last thing you want to do is spend a beautiful day taking notes in a lecture hall.”

After all, ivy-covered walls, stately libraries, and cafeteria meals don’t make a great college town. It’s more about the distractions—and Santa Cruz is overflowing with them. There are miles of beaches with some of the best surfing in the country; mountain-bike trails at Wilder Ranch State Park; artisanal coffee bars almost as numerous as craft-beer taps; and your nightly choice of any genre of live music.

This kind of lively atmosphere earned Santa Cruz a place among the top 20 college towns in America, as chosen by Travel + Leisure readers in our latest America’s Favorite Places survey. They evaluated hundreds of towns for live music, pizza, dive bars, hamburgers, and other qualities that add up to a great college town.

Syracuse, NY, takes home top honors, thanks largely to an abundance of choices for such collegiate necessities as beer, good, cheap food, and strong coffee. Lafayette, LA, was a close runner-up, with high marks for its live music, cocktail bars, and singles scene.

Read on to discover which other college towns scored big.

No. 1 Syracuse, NY

Syracuse earned top marks for things that fuel your typical university student. It was voted No. 1 for both pizza and hamburgers (sharing the latter honor with Lafayette, LA), No. 2 for coffee, and No. 4 for both food trucks and craft beer—apparently consumed by an abundance of hip locals, for which this Finger Lakes town rates No. 2 in the country. You’re likely to find aforementioned hipsters at Faegan’s Pub on Tuesday nights, when patrons earn their name on a plaque after completing a “tour” of some of the 44 brews on tap. Syracuse also ranked in the top 20 for its historic sites; start that sort of tour at Hanover Square, surrounded by buildings dating back to the Civil War era.

No. 2 Lafayette, LA

Lafayette made the grade for its plentiful extracurricular activities. The Acadian town ranked No. 1 for both its concerts and live music scene, and came in second for its nightclubs, cocktail bars, and singles scene. Music has deep roots in the heart of Cajun Country; tap into it with some “swamp pop” at the Blue Dog Café, a zydeco dance party at Vermilionville, or a Creole jam at the Blue Moon Saloon. When you’re done dancing, curl up with a good book—Lafayette was voted second best for bookstores like husband-and-wife-run Alexander Books.

No. 3 Charlottesville, VA

The University of Virginia was not only designed and founded by Thomas Jefferson, but it’s also the only beautiful campus named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That stately attractiveness extends to downtown Charlottesville itself, where a brick-paved pedestrian mall is the place to meet for shopping, gallery-browsing, dining, and drinking. You might start the day with a currant donut at the Albemarle Baking Company, then slip into your running shoes for a jog up Observatory Hill. Come evening, slip over to the Whiskey Jar, featuring more than 125 kinds of bourbon, rye, whiskey, and scotch. It’s a decidedly grown-up spot to strike up a conversation with locals, voted No. 1 for intelligence, yet still approachable—among hundreds of towns, Charlottesville came in at No. 24 for friendliness.

No. 4 Fort Collins, CO

The untamed Cache La Poudre River apparently isn’t the only thing to run wild through Fort Collins: the home of Colorado State University was also voted No. 5 for “wild weekends” by T+L readers. Some credit goes to the abundance of destination breweries, both big (Anheuser-Busch, New Belgium) and small (Black Bottle, Equinox). At the Bike Library, check out a free set of wheels and pick up an itinerary for an eight-stop brewery tour. End the day at Social, an underground speakeasy in Old Town serving a toothsome menu of nibbles, including blistered shishito peppers, roasted bone marrow, and charcuterie plates.

No. 5 Duluth, MN

Duluth grew up around the world’s largest freshwater port, Lake Superior, where captains of industry built magnificent mansions (many are now B&Bs), and immigrant dockworkers loaded ships with ore from Minnesota’s nearby Iron Range. Today the waterfront Canal Park is Duluth’s most popular destinations for tourists and locals alike, who grab a seat on the deck atGrandma’s Saloon & Grill to sip one of the dozen or so local microbrews and watch the Aerial Lift Bridge rise to let ships through, just like it has for nearly 110 years. And while the winters are frigid in Duluth, you’re bound to get a warm welcome from this town ranked 22nd for friendly people.

Read the full list HERE.

More from Travel + Leisure:

TIME Education

What California’s College Tuition Hike Says About the Future of Higher Education

CA: UC Berkeley Students Rally Against Tuition Fee Hikes
Students rallied to demonstrate against the university's plan to increase tuition fees over the next five years at the University of California, Berkeley campus on Nov. 18, 2014, in Berkeley, Calif. Alex Milan Tracy—Sipa USA

As state funding dwindles, students at public universities are being asked to pick up more of the tab

When does a public university system become one in name only? That’s the question facing California as officials in charge of the state’s prestigious, but financially-struggling university system clash over how to keep it afloat.

On Nov. 20, the regents that control the University of California system will vote on a proposal to increase tuition at its 10 campuses by as much as 5% a year for the next five years. This year’s tuition and fees for in-state students is $12,192, which could rise to $15,564 by the 2019-20 school year under the proposal. The plan was conceived and put forward by Janet Napolitano, who took over the UC system in 2013.

The fight over the tuition increase pits Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona and federal homeland security chief, against Governor Jerry Brown, a popular figure in the state who was just re-elected with a sizable mandate. Brown has said he opposes increasing tuition, and would restore some state funding cut during the recession only if it stays flat. Brown is a regent and is among a handful of those on the board who have already indicated they will reject Napolitano’s proposal.

“There is a game of chicken,” says Hans Johnson, a higher education expert at the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California. “It’s not clear to me at all how it’s going to turn out.”

Underlying the clash of big personalities is a philosophical debate about the changing funding models for public universities. In 1960, California created a lofty master plan that said higher education should be free or very low-cost for residents. “We’ve moved away from that pretty dramatically,” says Johnson. “It’s almost traumatic for California to think about it.” In recent decades, the state has decreased the share of overall public higher education costs it pays for and the system has become increasingly dependent on student contributions, among other sources, for the difference. In the 2001-02 academic year, in-state tuition and fees for UC campuses was $3,429, about one-third of the cost today. Similar trends have played out in state university systems elsewhere as well.

The recession accelerated public schools’ reliance on private money. At UC, the system receives some $460 million less per year in state funds than it did in the 2007-08 school year.

“As a political matter, state officials have made the judgment they don’t want to pay for higher education for our citizens,” says David Plank, an economist at Policy Analysis for California Education, a non-partisan research center. “What were once public universities are now private universities that receive some subsidy from the states.”

Napolitano says that if UC is to remain a world-class educational and research institution, it needs more money, no matter the source. And she says students and families will need to fill the gap left by the state. The proposed tuition increase would affect only around half of the student body. Thanks to income-based federal and state grants, about 55% of UC students pay no tuition.

Gavin Newsom, California’s lieutenant governor, has said he and Brown were blind-sided by the tuition increase proposal. The governor’s office has said Napolitano’s plan could void a plan Brown has endorsed to increase state funding 4 percent per year if tuition stays flat. Napolitano has said she never made a deal and if was one was struck before she took charge, she hasn’t found any record of it. “It was unilateral. It wasn’t anything we agreed to,” says Steve Montiel, a spokesman for Napolitano.

On the eve of today’s meeting of the regents planning board, the speaker of the California state assembly reportedly proposed directing $50 million in additional state general funds to UC to stave off increased costs for students. The proposal followed student protests at at least two UC campuses this week.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: November 18

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. The worst ceasefire: Russia and Ukraine are both preparing for war as their uneasy peace slips away.

By Jamie Dettmer in the Daily Beast

2. With the rise of legal cannabis, the small-holders running the industry may soon be run off by the “Marlboro of Marijuana”

By Schumpeter in the Economist

3. From taking India to Mars on the cheap to pulling potable water from thin air: Meet the top global innovators of 2014.

By the writers and editors of Foreign Policy

4. Some charter schools promote aggressive policies of strict discipline, and that strategy may be backfiring.

By Sarah Carr in the Hechinger Report

5. As local police forces become intelligence agencies, we need sensible policies to balance privacy and public safety.

By Jim Newton in the Los Angeles Times

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME global health

Global Youth Population Swells to Record 1.8 Billion

INDIA-EDUCATION-STUDY
Indian students prepare for competitive exams in an open space of the City Central Library in Hyderabad on February 7, 2014. NOAH SEELAM—AFP/Getty Images

The challenges are most acute for less developed countries, where 89% of the world's young people reside.

A swell in the global population of young people has the potential to transform economies for better or worse, depending on the decisions of today’s policy makers, according to a new United Nations report.

In a report released Tuesday, the UN Population Fund estimates that the global population of young people between the ages of 10 and 24 has hit 1.8 billion, a historic high.

“Never again is there likely to be such potential for economic and social progress,” the report states. But the authors warn that this demographic surge could also have the potential to destabilize nations unless young people can secure access to health services, education and jobs.

The challenges are most acute for less developed countries, where nearly 9 out of 10 of the world’s young people reside. India alone has a youth population of 356 million. The report’s authors called on governments and donors to invest in this population’s education, employment and health, particularly sexual and reproductive health.

“International support can unlock the potential of the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, change agents and leaders,” write the report’s authors.

TIME Education

NYC Schools Abandon $95 Million Controversial Computer Program

Boys with Laptop Computers
Lisa Pines—Getty Images

The Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS), whose creation was overseen by former schools chancellor Joel Klein, will end in 2015

The New York City Department of Education is ending a $95 million computer program that tracks students and their academic performance.

The Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS) will end in 2015, the New York Daily News reports. The program was designed to help parents, teachers and administrators easily access student data, but in recent years it has been criticized for being slow, expensive and underused.

Former schools chancellor Joel Klein oversaw the creation and implementation of ARIS in 2007, and his company, Amplify, was later contracted to run it; one of those contracts was for around $10 million in 2012. ARIS was originally built by IBM, though Klein recused himself from the decision to award the first contract because of family stock holdings in the company, Amplify said.

Amplify said in statement that there have long been plans to transition to a new system. “Six years ago we were called in to fix this project when it was well underway,” Amplify said. ‘We did so on time and on budget. Since then, we’ve been working over the past two years to wind down maintenance level work because of potential plans to transition to a new state system with similar — and in some cases — overlapping functions.”

Only 3 percent of parents and 16 percent of teachers used in the 2012-2013 school year. The department plans to have a new, more cost effective system in place by next September.

“The Education Department has decided to end our contract with Amplify as a result of the extremely high cost of the ARIS system, its limited functionality, and the lack of demand from parents and staff,” spokesperson Devora Kaye said. “The shockingly low usage of ARIS shows that the vast majority of families and Education Department staff don’t find it a valuable tool.”

[NY Daily News]

TIME Education

Columbia University Charging Student Group $1,500 After Anti-Rape Protest

Protest Against Sexual Assault in New York
Student protesters stand in front of the Library of Columbia University, New York, Oct. 29, 2014. Selcuk Acar—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The university said the expenses were clean-up costs

A Columbia University student group said it is being charged $1,500 by the school after a demonstration against sexual assault last month.

Hundreds of Columbia students stacked 28 mattresses at Columbia president Lee Bollinger’s doorstep in a protest organized by the university student group No Red Tape on Oct. 29. The mattresses represented 28 complainants in Columbia’s Title IX case, reported New York Magazine.

The mattress is used as a symbol of the burden that victims must carry when universities and institutions do not adequately address reports of rape. In May, Columbia senior Emma Sulkowicz began a performance art piece and senior thesis project, which requires her to carry a mattress with her for as long as her assailant is still on campus.

The Columbia group Student Worker Solidarity, which booked space on campus for the event on No Red Tape’s behalf, would be charged at least $1,500 for clean-up for the event. Students told the Huffington Post that they were told the charge is for removal of the 28 mattresses.

Columbia said SWS’s clean-up charges for the mattresses dumped in front of the president’s home totaled $471, and the student group has not received an official bill. “These are entirely typical matters in apportioning direct costs for facilitating student events,” Columbia spokesman Robert Hornsby said in a statement to HuffPo.

[Huffington Post]

TIME society

The Untapped Potential in Science Fiction

science fiction landscape
Getty Images

If we can assign more texts to students that ask them to let go of the everyday shorthand for finding themselves in a story, they often open themselves up to deeper and more surprising ways to relate to each other

If we can end the elitism and teach more science fiction to teenagers and young adults, we can change the world. This assertion, while bold, may not be hyperbolic. When asked why she starting writing science fiction, the late legendary writer and MacArthur Grant winner Octavia Butler once told Charlie Rose, “Because there are no closed doors, no walls.”

Sci-fi has a reputation for being a clubhouse for white-boy nerds, but for Butler, an African American woman from Southern California who endured a series of degrading low-wage jobs while developing her voice as a writer, reading and writing science fiction actually enabled her to transcend racism and sexism. Science fiction—by letting her imagine and create new worlds on the page—was a conduit to feelings of citizenship. You can’t be an outsider hero without the hero. From Lauren Olamina, Butler’s hyper-empathic heroine in Parable of the Sower, to George Orwell’s Winston Smith, sci-fi’s outsider heroes interrogate systems of power. Their means may differ, but the end is rarely just the nihilistic destruction of those with power. They almost always aim to bring themselves and others into a better system, often of their own making. They are outlaws with a purpose, rebels with a cause.

For an outsider genre, science fiction is pretty mainstream in the classroom these days. Common Core standards acknowledge it, along with its cousins speculative fiction and fantasy literature, as acceptable content in Language Arts curricula. Many of the current generation of professors in English Departments grew up watching Star Trek and The X-Files, including University of Maryland English professor Lee Konstantinou, who feels that science fiction novels and films help students to process big-picture questions, especially “risk, political conflict, and social and technological systems.” Konstantinou is a contributor to Hieroglyph: Stories & Visions for a Better Future, a recent anthology co-edited by Ed Finn, founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University, that goes to the heart of why I think teaching science fiction to more students can change the world: because science fiction productively embodies difference and illustrates emerging technologies, giving students enough of each so that they may interrogate these elements in both the fictional and the real worlds. Finn teaches sci-fi texts as disparate as E.M. Forster’s 1909 short story “The Machine Stops”—which anticipates much of the networked 21st century in its formulation of mechanical interconnectedness—and Neal Stephenson’s 1995 novel The Diamond Age—which projects Forster’s Victorian moment forward into the age of nanotechnology. The refrain he hears from students in courses ranging from seminars in digital culture to composition: “I didn’t know I was allowed to do this, to be creative in this way.”

No matter how popular it gets, science fiction has maintained its ability to stir debate. Over the last few years, a consensus has been building around the idea that what happens between the covers of science fiction books and what happens in real life may be more connected than we think. Scientists, writers, and policymakers are coming together to grapple productively with this possibility. Cultural critics like Judith Shulevitz see in science fiction a possible solution to the much-discussed crisis in the humanities (or at least as a good reason not to charge English majors higher tuition than engineering students). As much potential as science fiction has to connect the humanities with STEM fields, its unique blend of fantasy and research offers an even more radical opening for inclusion, best articulated by Butler: “You get to write yourself in, whether you were part of the mainstream society or not.” Stories often function as a space where author and reader find self-actualization. While creating a different world through writing or inhabiting one through reading is a powerfully visceral form of belonging for anyone, and science fiction has a unique ability to provide outsiders and outcasts with a language to talk about their lives and to one another. Whether or not anyone looks or talks like you at school, on TV, or in the movies doesn’t matter when you’re dealing with time travel, extra-terrestrials, or alternative universes. If we can assign more texts to students that ask them to let go of the everyday shorthand for finding themselves in a story, they often open themselves up to deeper and more surprising ways to relate to each other.

This approach resonates with Alondra Nelson, Dean of Social Science at Columbia University and author of the forthcoming book The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome. For Nelson, asking students to read themselves into the stories of science fiction creates the opportunity for dialogue that “allows for generative re-imaginations of what students are doing outside the classroom.” As an example, she points to Butler’s 1979 novel Kindred, in which the protagonist—who many say is a stand-in for Butler herself—is pulled backward in time against her will from 1976 California to the 19th century slave plantation of her ancestors. “Part of the time travel in Kindred is that she got to be better at telling when it was coming,” says Nelson, who sees in this plot point a ready metaphor for racial politics in the 21st century. Progress gets disrupted by what she calls “moments of capture,” when “we are snatched back into the reality of…these moments of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown that are reminders that take us back to Emmett Till.” Nelson observes that science fiction, regardless of what department the class is in, fosters among students a compelling kind of intellectual re-mixing—what she calls for her own work “South Central LA meets genetics”—that empowers them to connect their studies in in English, sociology, engineering, law, and elsewhere with activism.

At the same time that Nelson and other professors report that science fiction has outgrown the English Department, policymakers in the arts and beyond are noticing its potential for networked thought across institutions. Bill O’Brien, Senior Advisor for Program Innovation for the National Endowment for the Arts, finds in science fiction (and other fantasy genres, like animation) an echo of American playwright Eugene O’Neill, one of his favorite writers, in the ways both “pull back the veil on the mysteries that drive the human condition.” Science fiction, he points out, “adds another layer of imagining where those mysteries and drives are taking us.” What O’Brien is getting at is that investing resources—including imagination—into the intersections of art, science, technology, and health will help us understand creativity as a resource that can be “exercised and optimized in fresh ways.” The right to imagine a new world is perhaps the boldest act of citizenship.

Rather than a one-way bridge from literature to STEM that will save the humanities, O’Brien’s comments suggest that critics, policymakers, and educators should see in science fiction the prospect of a highway between them with multiple lanes of dialogue and inspiration that could save much more than that. The key here isn’t just that science fiction allows marginalized people to write themselves into the story, it’s that science fiction novels, stories, films, and series increasingly invite marginalized people to read themselves into the story, to imagine themselves as participants and agents in changing the systems of culture, technology, and politics that govern their lives. To change the world, students have to believe that change is possible in the first place. Science fiction gives them a tangible vision of that change, for better and for worse, and invites them to use their imaginations to read themselves into the story.

Jane Greenway Carr is an ACLS Public Fellow and Contributing Editor at New America. She holds a PhD from NYU, where she has been a lecturer and done research at the intersections between U.S. literary and cultural history and social and political activism. This piece was originally published in New America’s digital magazine, The Weekly Wonk. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox each Thursday here, and follow @New America on Twitter.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Education

College Application Essays Don’t Matter as Much as You Think

There's good news and bad news when it comes to college essays

Correction appended, November 14.

Parents: sit down before you read this. Kids: deep breaths. You know that beautifully crafted, deeply felt, highly unusual college application essay you’ve been polishing? It might not make a difference for your college admission chances.

Stanford sociologist Mitchell Stevens spent 18 months embedded with admissions officers at an unnamed top-tier liberal arts college and found that, even in cases where students were within the admissible range in terms of scores and grades, officers rarely looked to the personal essays as a deciding factor. He wrote about his experience for The New Republic, and here’s the most interesting part:

Yet even in these middling cases, personal essays rarely got even cursory attention from admissions officers. There were simply too many files to consider in too small a time frame, and too many other evaluative factors that mattered much more. How likely was an applicant to accept our offer of admission? Had we already accepted anyone from his or her remote zip code? Had the applicant received any special endorsement from a college alumnus or a faculty member? Did someone in the office owe a favor to the applicant’s guidance counselor? Those are the questions that get debated before a verdict is reached. But during the hundreds of deliberations I sat in on over two admission cycles, I literally never heard a decision made on the basis of a personal essay alone.

The good news? Three former admissions officers I spoke to told me that, contrary to Steven’s observations, officers read every essay that comes across their desks. “We definitely read the essays,” says Joie Jager-Hyman, president of College Prep 360 and former admissions officer at Dartmouth College. “You don’t do that job unless you enjoy reading the essays. They’re kind of fun.” Elizabeth Heaton, senior director of educational counseling at admissions-consulting firm College Coach, and former admissions officer at the University of Pennsylvania, says she took notes on every single piece of writing a student submitted, whether she advocated for them or not.

The bad news? No matter how gorgeous your prose is, you can’t get into college based on the strength of your essay alone. “No-one ever gets into college because you write a great essay,” Heaton says. “You can not get in because you write a really bad one.”

And even Joan Didion herself wouldn’t get into college on her writing skills if she had lackluster grades or scores. The officers told me they did sometimes look to the essays to explain weaknesses in the application (like if there was a year of bad grades that coincided with an illness,) but they said that kind information was usually best kept in the “additional information” section of the application.

Some officers recalled moments when they were so moved by an essay that they advocated for the student to be admitted despite other weaknesses on the application, but none had ever recalled a time where that strategy had worked. “There were a couple of incidents were I really wanted to admit a student and recommended that they move forward because their writing and personal qualities were so interesting, but I was not successful,” says Shoshana Krieger, a counselor for Expert Admissions who formerly worked in the admissions office at the University of Chicago and at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. “There are certain cases where if a student is simply too far off academically, it’s then just not going to make a difference.”

“I never saw a phenomenal essay suddenly make up for everything” Heaton agreed. “These days, there’s just so little wiggle room to be able to make that call.” She also noted that it looks suspicious when a kid with mediocre grades and scores submits a spectacular essay, and raises doubts that the student might not have written it herself.

Later in his piece, Steven notes that the college essay may be more of a psychological outlet than a practical asset in the college application process, since it’s one of the only things that’s still in the applicant’s control during the fall of their senior year (most of their transcript and scores are already behind them.) Joie Jager-Hyman said she agreed with that assessment. “There’s so much anxiety right now in the air,” she said. “It’s the thing they feel like they have power over.” She also noted that focus on the essay could help kids become better writers in the long-run, even if it might not necessarily make or break their college admissions chances, and “that’s not totally a bad thing.”

So even if all the revising and nitpicking on the college essay may not help your kid get into college, it will almost certainly make him or her a better writer. So don’t put away that red pen yet.

Correction: The original version of this post misstated the location of Trinity University in Texas. It is in San Antonio.

TIME Education

West Virginia University Student Nolan Burch Dies

West Virginia Mountaineers Campus
General view of the Woodburn Hall on the campus of the West Virginia University Mountaineers circa 2011 in Morgantown, West Virginia. West Virginia/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

Greek organizations at many U.S. colleges have come under scrutiny in the wake of several deaths and injuries of pledges in the past year

The West Virginia University freshman who was found unconscious and not breathing inside a fraternity house — leading to a suspension of all Greek activities on campus — has died, university officials said Friday afternoon. Nolan Michael Burch, 18, of Williamsville, New York, had been in critical condition in intensive care at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, police and a hospital spokesman said.

“Words cannot describe the heartache we, as a West Virginia University family, feel at the loss of one of our own — Nolan Michael Burch — who passed away today,” WVU President E. Gordon Gee said in a…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

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