In an effort to hedge their admissions numbers with respect the dual threats of over- and under-enrollment, schools have begun placing larger numbers of students on wait lists. The Wall Street Journal reports that many colleges have expanded their wait-list benches by 50% or more. To provide an idea of how deep these benches can go, the article cites the example of Carnegie Mellon, which wait-listed 5,000 applicants while aiming for its target of 1,550 enrollees.

An study by the Guardian documented a 40% increase in three years in cheating at two dozen of the UK’s top universities. The causes and validity of the underlying data are hard to confirm, though some speculate that the rise in readily-available essay mills (which outsource term papers and other work) is a contributing factor. We recently reported on absurd transactions with essay mills in our own silly investigation.

Meanwhile, the ultra-elite Cambridge and Oxford universities are reportedly considering “going private” so they can escape government limitations on their tuition fees. A spokesman said Cambridge’s current tuition of over £9,000 ($12,000+) represents only half of the school’s costs per student, indicating a need to increase fees. But then how will the students pay the essay mills?

Don’t talk “Dora” without your degree! Parents and child care providers are suing Washington, D.C. to challenge its recent requirement that day care teachers hold postsecondary degrees. “You don’t need to know how to integrate a function or write in iambic pentameter in order to take care of a newborn or toddler,” says one attorney involved.

What’s a degree worth? Three university presidents offer fundamental metrics for determining the value of an education: life expectancy, social mobility, and freedom. We’ll leave it to the college marketing experts to figure out how to work the life expectancy topic into their admissions brochures.

All over but the shouting? The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education has received about 80 complaints from students associated with the soon-to-be defunct Mount Ida College. The University of Massachusetts-Amherst plans to absorb the school and admit all students who are in good standing. The Boston Globe reports that the board has authority to approve closure plans, which raises the question of what could possibly happen to the failing school if plans are not approved.

Also in New England, Connecticut State University and Colleges President Mark Ojakian has responded defiantly to calls for resignation. Ojakian recently announced a plan to merge the state’s 12 community colleges, consolidating programs while still preserving the individual campuses. Various faculty and trustees, plus consumer advocate Ralph Nader, have criticized the plan. Ojakian said the schools face a $31 million deficit next year.

Meanwhile, the RAND corporation has completed a study of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education and presented five options to address the struggles of its 14 public universities. Importantly, the universities are the main employer in most of their communities. The schools suffer from both decreasing demand and significant competition. As PennLive notes, Pennsylvania’s total of 365 public higher ed institutions creates considerable redundancy.

A new program at Western Kentucky University aims to introduce students with autism to careers in broadcasting.

In Marquette, Michigan, a new class of Electrical Line Technicians has graduated from a partnership program provided by Northern Michigan University and local skills development organizations. The graduates are now prepared to service lines and equipment on some of the nation’s 170 million wooden poles. “There’s no shortage of work out there,” said one instructor.