Today in higher education news: applicants aren't doing well on their ACT's, changes may be coming to active military members' tuition assistance, women value higher education more than men, and the Sierra Club releases their annual rankings of the greenest campuses.

  • Either the ACT exam is getting really hard or students just aren't very prepared. It seems the latter. Only "1 in 4 graduates of the class of 2011 who took the exam met four key benchmarks that supposedly show readiness for success in the first year of college," reports The Washington Post. The results, released by the ACT, also show that Massachusetts was the state with the highest composite average scores on the test and that the achievement gap between the high and low scoring students is growing. [The Washington Post]
  • If you're looking for a school with a very extensive recycling program... The fifth annual rankings of the Sierra Club's most planet-minded colleges finds five of the top ten in California. And four of them are public schools like UC Davis, Irvine, Santa Cruz and San Diego (the other is Stanford). The top school, University of Washington, was described this way: "every building completed since 2006 has earned LEED Gold. All appliances bought are Energy Star rated. And the hydropowered campus runs three farms, an extensive recycling program, and the conservation-research hotbed Pack Forest." Sounds enticing. [Businessweek, Sierra Club]
  • The world likes U.S. grad schools.  And international students are doing quite well in getting accepted. A new study by the Council of Graduate Schools finds a 21 percent increase in Chinese applicants and a 23 percent increase in admissions offers at U.S. graduate schools. For international students overall, the study found acceptances at these schools jumped 11 percent from 2010. [The Wall Street Journal]
  • About those possible changes to active military members' tuition assistance: "The Defense Department is said to be considering changes to its tuition assistance for active-duty military members that would make students responsible for up to 25 percent of tuition costs," according to Insider Higher Ed, but the Defense Department reportedly hasn't confirmed whether cuts will happen. A statement from a Department spokesperson read: "We're looking at all options to ensure the benefit is available for everyone rather than lose it completely because of our fiscally prudent environment." [Inside Higher Ed
  • Women are more likely than men to think that their education was 'useful.' Pew Reseach released the results of a new survey finding that "College-educated women are more likely than their male counterparts to say college was 'very useful.'" One part of the study that seems telling, if you glance at the chart below, is just how few graduates of either gender graded the higher education system as "excellent." [Pew Research Center, Chronicle of Higher Education]