Boom in Enrollment in Skilled Training Programs
This week NPR reported on the increased enrollment in programs to prepare for careers in skilled trades like construction, HVAC and automotive. In some areas, enrollment has increased by 40% which is significant given the overall steep decline nationally in college attendance. Nationally, students are rethinking the value of a four-year college degree. In skilled training programs, students are finding opportunities for future job security, competitive high-paying salaries, and training that requires little to any student debt. NPR highlighted programs at Texas State Technical College and Northern Virginia Community College in its reporting.
Merger of Six Pennsylvania Colleges Gets Ok
Pennsylvania's accrediting body, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, announced last week that the state higher education system can merge six of its fourteen institutions into two new universities. The mergers will take place July 1. Bloomsburg, Mansfield, and Lock Haven Universities will become Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania though they will maintain their campuses, individual names, mascots, and logos. California, Clarion, and Edinboro will become Pennsylvania Western University, PennWest for short. “The campuses in both groups will report to a single leadership team and operate with one staff and budget.” Commonwealth University anticipates having a balanced budget for the 2022-2023 school year.
“If somebody has overdosed, you recognize the signs—shallow breathing, small pupils, blue tinge to skin. You can do CPR, you can do mouth to mouth, and call EMS.”
Dr. Lewis Nelson, Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Rutgers
This week University Business examined the impact of fentanyl use on college campuses. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which is highly addictive. It can be taken directly or is often found laced in a variety of drugs like heroin, Ecstasy and knock off prescription pills. Students have died from accidental fentanyl ingestion at Stanford and the University of Colorado this year, and the CDC predicts there will be 80,000-100,000 fentanyl-related deaths in 2022. Experts advise that colleges and universities work to destigmatize fentanyl overdose and educate students how to recognize and respond to the signs of overdose. In addition, institutions can ensure that students have access to fentanyl test strips.
64,000: The number of deaths in the United States in 2021 linked to fentanyl, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Wednesday afternoon, the California State University system, the largest in the United States, announced that it will no longer ask applicants to furnish SAT or ACT scores for admission. Trustees voted unanimously to abolish the requirement. While more than 1,800 colleges are not mandating SAT or ACT scores for the fall 2022 admissions cycle, the Cal State decision is permanent. Cal State includes 23 colleges and over 480,000 students. Higher Ed Dive noted that other systems like the University of North Carolina are choosing to return to policies that require standardized test scores for the fall 2023 class.
A task force created by Naspa: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education has found that “many student-facing administrators are considering leaving higher education, thanks to a fraught political climate, limited resources, and a rapidly expanding set of responsibilities that are causing exhaustion and burnout.” In survey data of student affairs practitioners, eighty-four percent cited stress as a leading cause of why people were leaving the profession. Eighty-eight percent pointed to low-salaries as another factor. To attract and retain student-facing administrators, institutions need to offer more-flexible work policies, create clear paths to advancement, and provide more-attractive compensation.
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