Marking the fourth week HBCUs have been targeted by violent threats, Hampton University, a HBCU located in Hampton, Virginia, closed briefly on February 23 in response to a bomb threat. The American Council on Education and sixty-three other higher education organizations are calling on Congress to take action. Last week they released a letter calling the threats “acts of terror fueled by racist motivations.” The requests to Congress include expedited hearings to focus on the persistent issues underlying the crimes and methods for preventing future threats as well as the passing of a concurrent resolution affirming support for HBCUs and condemning the violence.
Inside Higher Ed this week examines an initiative at twenty-five institutions to retain students who have stopped out. In partnership with InsideTrack, these schools utilized academic coaches to reach out to 27,000 students who stopped out during the pandemic. “About 73 percent of those students were students of color, first-generation students, low-income students or older adult learners.” The coaches were able to re-enroll 3,000 students for the summer and fall 2021 semesters. Initial data from InsideTrack indicates these re-enrollment campaigns have a 275 percent return on investment. On average, coaching students costs $603 for each student re-enrolled, but collectively, the increased enrollment at the institutions after students complete one semester generates an estimated $5.9 million in tuition revenue. The Hechinger Report examines more broadly the concerning rates of students dropping out of colleges. The bottom line: efforts to retain or re-enroll stopped out students require institution-wide coordination and dedicated staff.
This week many news outlets, such as the Washington Post, are tackling the challenges faced by college students who are parents. Approximately 3.8 million students are raising children while in college. Since the start of the pandemic, enrollment of male college students has dropped nearly twice as much as female students, and over 1 million male students are also parents. Researchers are trying to piece together why male parents are more likely to drop out of college. Adrian Huerta, an assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California, cites the societal pressure to be the provider as well as the stigma associated with asking for help or using resources as barriers to male student degree completion.
Sixty-one percent of student fathers drop out of college without degrees, compared to 48 percent of student mothers. Among single, Black and Latino fathers, the dropout rate is about 70 percent. - Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College
The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee surveyed its employees last year about how the pandemic was affecting them and found alarming results: 73 percent reported having one symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the pandemic and nearly 40 percent reported having three or more symptoms. In response, the university has supported envisioning work and campus community differently. Cross-departmental campus-response teams formed during the pandemic have improved institutional communication and encouraged collaboration. Adam Jussel, Dean of Students, sees this as a model for future work in higher education. The University team behind this initiative have published toolkits for faculty members and supervisors to incorporate support and resources into their classrooms and departments, and offered workshops for employees and student leaders to learn about trauma-informed practices.
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February 25, 2022