As 2011 comes to a close, college students travel home to count their blessings and celebrate new beginnings. But before the calendar is turned and party hats are donned, it's time to reflect on a memorable year filled with sensational scandals, hopeful uprisings, surprising verdicts and more.
HerCampus.com, the #1 online magazine for college women, presents the top 10 college-related news stories of 2011.
10. New health care reform covers preventative women's health
In August, the Obama administration passed a reform for preventative women's health care that requires health insurance plans to cover the cost of birth control with no copays. This requirement, which includes cervical cancer screenings and an annual "well-woman" physical, is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
This change has been met with some opposition from conservative religious group such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who had hoped to remove birth control from the coverage umbrella.
9. Shooting at Virginia Tech
In 2007, the Virginia Tech community experienced the deadliest college shooting in history, when gunman Seung-hui Cho killed 33 people on campus. In December of 2011, tragedy struck Virginia Tech again when an unidentified gunman shot campus police officer Deriek W. Crouse, 39.
The shooter was later found dead in a nearby parking lot. Authorities believe he killed himself with the gun used in the fatal shooting of Crouse.
8. Student Killed in Stabbing at Bowie State
An argument among roommates at Bowie State University turned fatal in September when Alexis D. Simpson, 19, stabbed Dominique T. Frazier, 18, in the throat. Frazier was found unconscious on the floor of the apartment-style suite she shared with Simpson and two other students. Frazier was pronounced dead at an area hospital 45 minutes later.
Bowie State's small community of approximately 4,000 full-time students and 1,500 part-time students had been in the middle of celebrating Homecoming week when the murder occurred. Frazier was to turn 19 in three days. Simpson was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, second degree-murder and first-degree assault. She was indicted in October.
7. Sigma Phi Epsilon rape survey at UVM
News of a survey that asked fraternity brothers who they would like to rape meant the indefinite closure of the University of Vermont's Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter in December. The national chapter has denied any knowledge of the survey, which was circulated among more than 50 members of the UVM chapter.
The survey reportedly asked , "If you could rape anyone, who would it be?" The Montpelier fraternity has since closed its doors while campus police work to investigate the claims and determine the scope of the survey.
6. American college students arrested in Cairo
Three U.S. college students studying abroad at the American University in Cairo were arrested in November while attending a political protest in Tahrir Square. Derrick Sweeney, 19, a student at Georgetown University, and Indiana State students Luke Gates, 21, and Gregory Porter, 19, were accused of throwing firebombs into the crowd.
Tahrir Square has witnessed a sudden increase in political unrest since Nov. 19 as citizens awaited the parliamentary elections. An Egyptian court ordered the release of the three American students, and they have all returned home.
5. Students arrested for SAT fraud
High school students nationwide stress over the standardized test some believe can make or break their chances at a successful college career. Six students from Great Neck North High School decided to place their fate in the hands of Sam Eshaghoff, 19, a former Great Neck student who attended Emory University.
The six high school students paid Eshaghoff up to $2500 to take the test for them, but were discovered when teachers at Great Neck compared their average academic performance to their unusually high test scores. Eshaghoff was arraigned on charges of scheming to defraud, criminal impersonation and falsifying business records. The students were arrested on Sept. 27 on misdemeanor charges.
In November, thirteen more students were arrested for SAT fraud, nine who were accused of paying someone to take the test and four who were accused of taking the test for others. All have pleaded not guilty.