Across the nation
Freshmen overrun housing at Cornell
ITHACA, N.Y. - Parents of freshmen will be pleased to know that their children now call the study lounge home - literally.
Approximately 70 students are starting the academic year living in temporary housing on both north and west Campuses.
According to Patrick Savolskis, Campus Life Housing Office manager, a primary reason for the lack of housing for the new students, is the increased number of enrollees in this year's freshman class from prior years.
According to statistics released by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 46.7 percent of admitted students entered Cornell as freshman last year, whereas this year the rate jumped to 49.1 percent.
Therefore, the yield for incoming students jumped 2.4 percentage points.
Cornell officials were able to confirm the impending shortage when housing applications, which are officially due May 1, were still coming into the housing office as late as July this year, much later than in previous years. Dorm rooms were not available for many of the students who sent in late applications, again because of the increased yield.
"We did everything we could to identify spaces [for the unplaced freshmen] and made hundreds of phone calls to students who did not sign their housing contracts [to find out if they would still be living on campus]," Savolskis said.
Students were notified by mail this summer that they would be placed in temporary housing upon arrival at Cornell.
According to housing office statistics, approximately 14 of the temporarily housed freshmen are living in triples. Other students are living in study lounges in the university halls that have been converted into temporary doubles. Two study lounges that were once rooms have also been refurbished as freshmen doubles. The remaining students currently live in temporary bedrooms set up in one hall's floor lounges.
Pil Ryu lives in a former study lounge with four other male freshmen.
"We knew it would be temporary housing but we thought at least we would have everything a regular dorm room has." He continued, "our computers do not have access to the network and we have nowhere to put our stuff except under our beds."
The order of priority for the students in the other temporary housing has not yet been determined.
"We will have a better idea of when the students will be moved [into permanent housing] at the end of this week," Savolskis said. "We have to wait until the dust settles."
According to Savolskis, the housing office is waiting until later this week so that they can get an idea of how many dorm spaces are available. Many freshmen in temporary housing displayed positive outlooks on the situation.
Rita Chuang, who is living in a temporary triple said, "It's nice because we have more people to talk to - it's not as lonely as the singles and my roommates are really nice."
Philemon Chu, who has been temporarily placed in a triple, commented that he "wouldn't mind staying here permanently. I don't have an outlet or a desk lamp, but the living space is adequate."
"The room is kind of small, but my roommate and I only come here to sleep at night, so its okay," said Pavel Pergamenstochik, who is living in a converted study lounge.
Interest rate hike won't hurt students
AUSTIN, Texas - College students don't need to fear the Federal Reserve's Tuesday interest rate hike, because it will not affect this year's student loans or fixed-rate credit cards, industry representatives said.
In an attempt to slow current economic expansion and pacify inflationary pressures the Fed raised the federal fund interest rate, from 5 to 5.25 percent. It is the second rate raise this summer.
Students Tuesday said they are concerned the Fed's decision to increase rates may affect their ability to take out student financial loans or apply for and use credit cards.
Ann Fairchilds, a student loan manager for the Office of Student Financial Services, said student loans will not be affected by the Fed's increase in interest rates.
Fairchilds said interest rates on academic loans are only adjusted annually July 1.
"We don't need to be alarmist," Fairchilds said. "[There] isn't a direct relationship between the Fed's interest rates and student loans."
Jeff Greco, a customer service associate at Bank One, said the Fed's decision won't affect students because most credit cards have fixed rates.
"If you have a credit card with a fixed interest rate, it won't affect students who currently hold that credit card," Sleet said. "But maybe they will increase interest rates for new customers."
The only card users Greco said might be affected would be those whose rates depend on actions of the Federal Reserve.
"If you have a credit card that depends on a variable interest rate, usually linked to some other market that fluctuates, they might be affected by the actions of the Fed," Sleet said.
Greco said credit card companies aggressively target students because they know their parents often pay their balances for them.
He added that freedom from financial responsibility causes card companies to bank on the fact that many high-risk students will miss monthly payment deadlines and suffer high interest rates.
"They prey on students and they make a lot of money off of students," Greco said.
"I think out of your whole clientele of credit card users, the ones that have the late payment fees ... are under the age of 21," he said.
West Virginia drops off top party school list
MORGANTOWN, W.V. - Put your beers down and take out your textbooks. The results of the Princeton Review survey has come in and West Virginia University is nowhere to be found on the party school list.
After being ranked the No. 1 party school in the country two years ago, WVU dropped last year to number eleven, then completely vanished from the list this year.
"The Princeton Review The Best 331 Colleges" is a college profile book that is published annually. It surveyed 59,000 students at 331 colleges about their schools. The 331 schools represent the top 10 percent of the colleges in the United States.
It has been an ongoing effort for the university to dismantle the party school image.
Several programs, such as WVUp All Night and Festival of Ideas, have been started up in the past few years to give students the option of avoiding the party scene.
President David Hardesty, who has worked to change the focus of the school's party atmosphere to one of academic quality, was pleased with the results.
"On a whole it's positive. It stood in the way of people recognizing us as a great academic school," Hardesty said. "It gave us an image that was not true. People didn't take the school seriously academically."
With the job market and graduate school admission policies getting more and more competitive each year, a graduate from a party school is often overlooked. Several recruits in the last couple of years have been told to stay away from WVU because of its party image.
"As long as we were thought of as a party school we were not taken seriously in the job market," Hardesty said. "My goal is to have our degrees mean something in the marketplace. People were turned off by the party school image."
Houston dorm residents cautious after assault
HOUSTON - News of a sexual assault in one of University of Houston's residence halls has left some students with a shaken sense of safety.
"I was under the impression that UH was a really safe campus before coming here," said freshman creative writing major Jessica Beck. "Then I saw all of the warnings plastered on the wall, and since I've been here I haven't walked somewhere alone. Otherwise, I think I would have."
The warnings are UH Police Department handbills seeking information on an unidentified male who forced his way into the room of a female hall resident in the early morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 14.
According to police reports, the resident awoke to the sound of knocking at 3 a.m. Unable to see anyone standing in the hallway using the peephole, the resident opened her door to get a better look, and the attacker struck her in the face.
He then forced himself into her room, striking her repeatedly, and sexually assaulted her while pressing a "hard object" to her throat and threatening her life. The attacker is still at large.
Christina Guillory, vice president of the Residence Halls Association, said residents are being cautious.
"The people who are aware of it are taking precautions. Everybody is taking it seriously," she said. "We were really surprised."
Oklahoma Turkish students help with relief efforts
NORMAN, Okla. - With tear-glazed eyes, Tufan Kukul describes his most recent conversation with family in Turkey. His second cousin, a young baby, was found among the ruins at the beginning of the week.
The infant was found only moments too late. His body was still warm.
With the baby's death, Kukul counted his ninth family member dead.
Kukul, an industrial engineering graduate student, and Sibel Karakelle are trying to help their own families in Turkey by creating the University of Oklahoma Student Effort for Turkey. The organization is an effort to collect financial donations and needed items for relief there.
Kukul and Karakelle, a music education graduate student, are starting their work here after attending a meeting last week in Dallas. There, they visited with a larger Turkish organization exchanging relief ideas.
The University of Oklahoma Student Effort for Turkey has set up an account at Arvest Security National Bank in Norman. Senior Vice President Charles Hollingsworth said the bank is pleased to be associated with this group and will make a contribution to the fund.
"We are going to lead the way in and hope other businesses of Norman will give in contribution," Hollingsworth said.
Students on Tuesday night gathered to finish making collection boxes. Karakelle said they have received donated boxes and made copies for free. Students involved also will wear T-shirts, which too, were donated.
When Kukul first heard the news of the earthquake, he was torn between a decision to go to Turkey or stay in Oklahoma, he said.
He said he would be more helpful here by organizing the relief effort.
"I don't know what else I can do there," he said.
Linda Larchick of International Student Services has been working with Kukul and Karakelle in their efforts. Larchick said they have worked hard and been responsible by holding off last week and waiting until they could be organized.
"They want to make a difference here on campus," Larchick said.
Other student organizations have also responded to the need of earthquake victims.
Steven Berkowitz, president of the Hillel Jewish Student Organization, said relief efforts have to be a team effort.
"If someone wants to drop off supplies at our building we will make sure it gets through to the proper people," Berkowitz said.
Karakelle's last images of Turkey were from when she visited last December. She said she knows the images are much different now.
When she goes back she hopes to see again the images she remembers-big buildings, children playing. That is why she wants to help. She hopes when she returns some rebuilding will have occurred. She said it would give her peace to know OU's contributions may have helped her homeland.
But she's not helping for the recognition.
"Nobody has to know," she said. "It is an honor."