Notes in the Margins: Cuts, gap years and a prof's kidney

Wages rise for all, but a gap widens Massachusetts’ recent economic gains have mostly benefited better-educated workers, insulating them during the economic downturn. Those with less schooling were left to grapple with slower-growing salaries and higher rates of unemployment. (Boston Globe)

Universities Are Challenged as Demographics Shift – Although the changing demographics of college campuses may be grabbing the headlines, the more compelling issue is how the growing number of minority students presents serious social and academic challenges for financially strapped universities, even as the schools are under pressure to boost graduation rates. (The New York Times)

Is a ‘Gap Year’ Right for Your Family? Gap years aren’t for everyone. While some students emerge better equipped for college, others lose direction, waste the time or become so detached that they eventually drop out of college. And the cost of a gap year can be daunting, with programs ranging as high as $35,000. (Speakeasy – Wall Street Journal)

Higher Education Faces Deep Cuts Where New Governors Pledge No New Taxes More than a dozen Republicans who were swept into governors’ offices in November are promising to hold the line on taxes and rein in state spending. Half of those states—Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin—face shortfalls nearly equal or even surpass the entire amount the state spends on higher education. Those enormous budget gaps, and the likely battles over where to slice spending without tax increases, put public colleges in those states at the greatest risk of steep cuts in financial support during the legislative sessions that will begin this month in many states. (

Class Decides Whether To Donate Professor’s Kidney Most college students write papers and read academic journals as class assignments. But how often does 5 percent of a final grade depend on deciding the fate of the professor’s internal organs? Professor Michael Taber of St. Mary’s College of Maryland asked the students in his Altruism and Egoism class to decide whether he should donate a kidney. (NPR)