EduShare - Higher Ed Blog & News


Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 1/28/22

    • 1

      Supreme Court to Hear Race-Conscious Admissions Challenges

      On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear arguments on whether colleges can use applicants' race in admissions decisions. The court will consolidate two cases, against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, brought by Students for Fair Admissions, an anti-affirmative action group led by legal strategist Edward Blum. The consolidated case will cover both a private nonprofit and public institution.  The high court has upheld race-conscious admissions several times, recently in a 4-3 decision affirming limited use of race in admissions at the University of Texas in 2016. Experts speculate that changes in the justices in the last six years could mean the high court is more likely to rule against race-conscious admissions. The Biden administration objected to the Supreme Court’s announcement and “urged justices not to take the ‘extraordinary step’ of reevaluating its past decisions.”

    • 3

      The National Association for College Admission Counseling and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators released a report this week calling for an overhaul of the processes that admit students to college and award financial aid.  The jointly authored report maintains that the current system focused on tests, essays, grades and recommendation letters promotes selectivity rather than “value of finding a place for everyone who wants to go to college.” In order for institutions to promote racial equity, and specifically equity for Black students, institutions must adjust their enrollment processes. Recommendations include simplifying complex financial aid application processes and moving away from using class ranking and standardized test scores in the application review process.

  • 4

    Enrollment declines across higher education have many states and colleges focusing on re-enrolling older adult populations to offset enrollment declines among the younger adults. Data suggests that millions of adults have some college credit but no degree suggesting this is a population that would be an easy group to re-enroll “to increase college enrollment and graduation.” However, recent research indicates this is not the case. A recent article in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis shares key insights into why adult students are not completing degrees, particularly at community colleges. Adults may not be academically ready to succeed in postsecondary education. In addition wages seem to play a critical piece in student completion. Students who have earned 30 or more credits experience increased wage growth after leaving school, and students who left without a credential were in academic programs which completion of a degree would not significantly impact future salary earnings.

  • 5

    “A sharp and persistent decline in the number of Americans going to college could alter American society for the worse” states the Hechinger Report’s analysis of recent research by economists on the long-term impacts of declining higher education enrollment. High school graduates who do not complete any post-secondary education are: more likely to live in poverty, less likely to be employed, more prone to depression, live shorter lives, need more government assistance, and vote and volunteer less often. The growing gap in post-secondary education could also impact “gains made in reducing class-based and racial inequality.” Internationally, economic rivals to the United States are aggressively investing in higher education. Meanwhile, in the last twenty years, the United States has seen its population ages 25 to 34 with degrees decline significantly. The result is the U.S. is now ranked twelfth among 38 member nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development behind Canada, Korea, Russia, and others.

Author: Meg Foster
January 28, 2022
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