10 Great Places to Put Papal Pilgrims in Philadelphia

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So, now we know the plan. And despite assurances from Mayor Nutter and officials involved with overseeing the World Meeting of Families in September, any true Philadelphian has already concluded: It’s gonna be a shitshow in this town for the Pope’s visit. With incoming cars and buses restricted from something the Mayor’s calling a freaking “traffic box” — and Interstates 76 and 676 and Route 1 closed in the area — once public transportation goes on lockdown, if you’re not already on the Parkway, you’re probably not going to get there. Hell, suburbs are declaring states of emergency.

What’s worse, there are only 35,000 hotel rooms in the region. Where will we put our other 1,965,000 guests? Rentals will help, sure. And there’s been discussion of opening the city’s parks to camping, but why stop at parks? The news that a church group from New Jersey plans to bunk down at the Philadelphia Zoo for Pope Francis’s visit (and pay just $120 for their bus ride plus lodging on the floors of the bird and — brrr — insect houses) got us thinking: Where else might we put papal pilgrims up within walking distance of the festivities? And guess what? Turns out we’ve got tons of lovely space that’s just going to waste. Here’s how the city can squeeze in — by our best guess — another quarter-million guests.  Read more »

The Top Party School in Pennsylvania Is … Who?!?

Yesterday the Princeton Review released its new 2015 list of the “Top Party Schools” in the nation, and certain parties Are. Not. Happy. In particular, there’s Bucknell University, a tiny (3,600 undergrads) school in will-o’-the-wisp Lewisburg, PA, (population 6,000), nestled along the Susquehanna River. On this year’s list, Bucknell sits in the number four slot, behind only the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (number one), the University of Iowa (number two) and the University of Wisconsin (number three, duh), all of which have, oh, hey, say, 10 times as many students as Bucknell. Read more »

Pennsylvania Has a Ton of Student Debt

The personal-finance website WalletHub has compiled a list of the best and worst states in terms of student debt, which is now the largest component of Americans’ household debt except for mortgages — a grand total of $1.9 trillion at the moment. Data used to calculate the best and worst include average student debt, the unemployment rate for residents ages 25 to 34, student debt as a percentage of household income, and the percent of residents with past-due loan balances, among other factors.

Pennsylvania, which tied with North Carolina at number 32 on a list running from best (Utah) to worst (Mississippi), doesn’t look so bad at first blush. Read more »

Cheyney University Is Down to One Math Major

cheyney-940x540The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that enrollment at Cheyney University, the only HBCU institution among the 14 state-owned universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, is in both financial and enrollment dire straits. The Delaware County school, half of whose students come from Philadelphia, is on its third line of credit from the SSHE, for $6.5 million, and the federal government is examining whether Cheyney misused or misdirected federal student aid. The school, the nation’s oldest African-American institution of higher learning, has had nine different presidents in the past 14 years. But most alarming? Read more »

Penn Dropping Essay Portion of SAT Test

Editor’s note: The original headline has been changed to reflect that Penn won’t require the essay portion of the SAT Writing test.

Remember way back in — oh, has it been 10 years already? — 2005, when the College Board created an uproar by adding a new essay-writing component to its longstanding Verbal and Math SAT tests? A spokeswoman for the Board at the time said the move was made in response to demand from colleges and businesses, who hoped that “writing will become more of a priority across the United States.”

Now the University of Pennsylvania is creating its own little uproar by announcing that as of next year, it will no longer require applicants to submit scores from the essay sections of either the SAT or the ACT. Dean of Admissions Eric Furda told the Chronicle of Higher Education that the decision was one that had been “carefully considered”: Read more »

One Philly College Makes Forbes’ Top 10 List

Photo credit: Fritz Ward via Flickr.

Photo credit: Fritz Ward via Flickr.

Well, Forbes has published its 2015 list of the Top Colleges in the U.S., and it’s bound to cause some consternation among status-conscious grads hereabouts, given what New York Times columnist Frank Bruni has called these rankings’ “quasi-biblical power.” Alas, the only local school to crack the Top 10 was Swarthmore, weighing in at number seven. (True, Princeton stands in fourth place, but we can never quite decide whether it’s “local” or not.)

For the curious, here are the Top 10 in order: 1) Pomona College; 2) Williams College; 3) Stanford; 4) Princeton; 5) Yale; 6) Harvard; 7) Swarthmore; 8) Brown; 9) Amherst; and 10) MIT. In case you’re wondering, these are Forbes’s all-around rankings, based, it says, in this “new age of return-on-investment education,” on “outcomes.” Factors taken into account include low student debt, student satisfaction, and four-year graduation rate.

Other local schools in the top 100: Read more »

Haverford College’s “Unlikely Pipeline” to Major League Baseball

Tommy Bergjan, No. 15, pitches for Haverford. He is the only current baseball player to come out of Haverford, which has also given Major League Baseball many of its executives, scouts, and employees in other roles, per the New York Times. Photo| David Sinclair

Tommy Bergjans pitching for Haverford. He is the only current pro baseball player in the major league system to have come out of Haverford, which has also given Major League Baseball many of its executives, scouts, and employees in other roles, per the New York Times. Photo| David Sinclair

When you think baseball, you think … Haverford College, right? That tiny little Quaker liberal arts bastion out on the Main Line?

Well, it turns out you should, according to the New York Times. It has a story about the school serving as an “unlikely pipeline” to the Major Leagues despite the fact it’s an NCAA Division 3 school and can’t grant athletic scholarships.

What it does have is alums peppered throughout the baseball world, including the Dodgers’ senior vice president for baseball management, the COO of Major League Baseball, the assistant general manager of the Rangers, and “two of the most influential sports agents in history,” according to the Times. The paper estimates that in total, 15 to 20 Haverford grads have prominent jobs as “front-office executives, agents and talent evaluators.” Read more »

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