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American Business Schools Go International
Mindful of the increasingly global nature of trade, business, and communications, U.S. business schools are developing a more international focus, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. Schools are sending faculty on overseas trips, offering foreign language courses, and developing relationships with business schools in other countries.

At McGill University, for example, students in the International Master's Program in Practicing Management spend a few weeks at business schools in Canada, England, France, India, and Japan. Duke University's business school offers exchange programs with 20 other business schools around the world. In another joint venture, South Korea's Yonsei University sends Korean business managers to the University of Washington to foster a better understanding of how each country conducts business.

Critics, however, question whether overseas study tours have any real educational value, because short study tours may provide a superficial look at foreign businesses, and may resemble sightseeing trips more than genuine educational opportunities. In addition, only a handful of schools, including the Thunderbird School of International Management, Monterey Institute of International Studies and the University of South Carolina's College of Business Administration, require that students be able to speak a foreign language. (Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/12/97)

Online Applications More Popular Than Ever
As high school graduates become increasingly proficient on the Internet and admissions officers continue searching for ways to simplify the application process, colleges are turning to online applications in increasing numbers.

U.S. News & World Report says about 10 percent of applications are computer-generated at most institutions. Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts reports that half of the applications it received for the current freshman class were filed online.

The rise can be attributed in part to student familiarity with - and preference for - electronic communications. U.S. News reports that a recent survey revealed that more than half of prospective college students said they prefer to file electronically, either online or by disk. Another survey found that more than two-thirds of students have the capacity to go online.

As a result, the small handful of campuses offering online applications is growing larger. In North Carolina, N.C. Central University, UNC Chapel Hill and N.C. State all posted electronic versions of their application forms on the World Wide Web this year. Similarly, commercial services such as Apply!, CollegeLink and College Board Online that assist students with electronic applications are gaining in popularity.

But most colleges are not taking full advantage of electronic applications, according to Academe Today. In many cases, information submitted on the Web must be retyped into traditional databases, or a technical expert must process the information into a usable format. Many colleges are now considering ways to link their networks and databases to the Internet so as to avoid revamping their systems, which is costly and could potentially violate confidentiality rules.

Some institutions, including Oregon State University, are relying on expensive software that translates data from the Web into a format that can be used on the office's computer system. Others, such as the University of Maryland, are developing "upload programs" that automatically integrate data from Web-based application forms into campus computer systems. In addition, companies that specialize in online college applications are helping institutions integrate their online applications into their existing systems. (Sources: U.S. News & World Report, 9/8/97; The Herald-Sun, 8/24/97; Academe Today, 9/12/97)

Higher Ed Dilemma: Rising Popularity vs. Rising Costs
Just as welfare, health care and business in America have had to change in order to adapt to modern times, so too does education, reports Karen Arenson in the August 31 edition of The New York Times. While the nation grapples with the challenge of allocating limited resources in these other areas, the same problem is now being applied toward higher education. And, as with previous debates of this kind, the decisions will be made not only by industry officials and lawmakers, but also by Americans themselves. Arenson says the debate boils down to whether today's college education is worth the price, and whether anyone who wants a college education deserves one, even if they cannot afford it.

Arenson reports that states are beginning to freeze higher education spending at a time when college enrollment is expected to rise by 2 million, reaching 16.4 million by 2006. Arthur Levine, president of Columbia Teachers College, told The Times that education's days as a growth industry are over, and that increases in higher education funding will be hard to come by. This marks a dramatic departure from the past 50 years, when higher education grew from a $2.4 billion industry to a $180 billion industry. But on the state level, higher education spending declined from 14 percent of state budgets in 1990 to 12.5 percent in 1994.

As college costs have risen, a growing number of Americans have begun to view higher education as a right for everyone rather than a privilege for a few. In a recent CBS News poll, 86 percent of respondents said they believed that everyone has a right to receive a college education, whether or not they can afford it. Americans disagree, however, on who should pay the bill. Forty-eight percent of respondents in the CBS poll said the federal government is responsible for insuring that everyone receives a college education, and 47 percent said the government need not bear this responsibility. (Source: The New York Times, 8/31/97)

Reprinted, with permission, from CASE Flash Points.