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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 1/22/21

We hope you could join us for our Friday 5 Live this week as we discussed mental health strategies for students, faculty and staff with Dr. Jena Morrison.  We are grateful for her insights! Next week Dr. Sylvia Dorsey-Robinson will talk with us about how we can support our students of color during pandemic learning.  We hope you will join us!



This week marks the beginning of the Biden administration.  Higher education was included in President Biden’s first policy changes.  On his first day in office, President Biden extended a pause on federal student loan repayment and codified the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The executive order that barred diversity training by federal grantees and contractors was repealed.  The Biden administration also appears to have put an end to the 1776 Project: a faux-historical publication criticized by academics as a whitewash of U.S. history.



This week the PBS News Hour examines the mental health challenges facing college students in the United States as a result of COVID.  According to the CDC, one in four Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 reported having seriously considered suicide in the last 30 days. “80 percent of students around the country say that COVID has negatively impacted their mental health, their spiritual health, and their career aspirations,” shares Varun Soni, the vice provost for campus wellness and crisis intervention at the University of Southern California. Mental health professionals at colleges urge students to utilize school counseling resources and to actively focus on creating their new normal.


12 percent: The number of people who had last enrolled in a community college between 1993 and 2013 who returned to any type of degree-granting higher education institution in the next five years.



The Hechinger Report examines the reasons behind the decline in enrollment at community colleges amidst the pandemic. Traditionally, community colleges provided opportunities for adults to learn new skills during a poor job market.  But, students are citing not wanting to learn virtually, concern about infection, the need to earn income, and the need for greater guidance from staff and faculty regarding school as barriers to enrollment. Experts recommend guided pathways, increased communication, and intentional personal connections between students and staff or faculty.


“The pandemic has reinforced a message that community colleges should have been heeding already: that adult learners need programs with a clearer pathway to good jobs, with more non-degree courses and other short-term options to build marketable skills.”  Carol D’Amico, executive vice president for learning and policy at Strada



Canada and the United Kingdom are the most popular study abroad destinations for students according to a recent survey by Students cited preferring to study in Canada because of “less strict policies than the US, as the graduates in Canada are allowed to apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit, an open work permit which allows employment of fresh university graduates.” International student enrollment has steeply declined in the U.S. Experts hope that anticipated changes the Biden administration will make in policies impacting international students may increase college and university enrollment from students outside the U.S.


Follow our Friday 5 Live podcast available now on your favorite podcasting app!


The College Board announced on Tuesday that it is making significant changes to its test offerings.  It will discontinue the SAT Subject Tests and the optional essay section of the SAT.  The Chronicle of Higher Education summed up the ending of these tests nicely: “Most admissions officers and college counselors will miss them as much as thirsty consumers miss Crystal Pepsi. Not. At. All.” While many high school counselors and admissions counselors count this announcement as a win for college access, others predict that Advanced Placement exams will fill the space created by the end of the SAT Subject Tests.
Author: Meg Foster
January 22, 2021
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