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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 5/14/2021




May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and at Innovative Educators, we hope to use this month as an opportunity to examine anti-racist practices and inclusivity in our communities.  We are asking questions like:  How can I use this month for discovery, learning and listening? How will I take this work back to my institutions and organizations?  While we’re reminded of the importance of not compartmentalizing the AAPI experience to one month each year, each week this May, we are sharing resources that we find particularly helpful to our own learning. Please find this week’s resources below:

Telling All Americans’ Stories

Holla Back: Bystander Intervention Training

The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee



Declining Birth Rate and Its Impact on College Enrollment
The U.S. birth rate fell 4 percent in 2020; this is bad news for colleges and universities already anticipating a steep enrollment decline in 2025.  2020 had the lowest number of births since 1979 and was the sixth consecutive year of declining birth rates, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.  Colleges and universities faced low enrollment in the 1970s and 1980s and addressed those declines by increasing the number of women they enrolled. “We need to be thinking about fundamentally and foundationally transforming who we reach through access, but also how well we support student success so that we retain the students that we do recruit” shared Nathan D. Grawe, a professor of economics at Carleton College and author of Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education. Experts see these enrollment projections as an opportunity to fundamentally change access and equity in higher education in the United States.


“It’s really important to me that people conceptualize disability rights as a civil-rights movement. The ultimate goal is not accessibility. It’s dignity. It’s self-determination. It’s autonomy. Accessibility is an incredibly small part of that.” - Josie Steuer Ingall, sophomore at Yale



This week the Chronicle of Higher Education examines the experience of pandemic learning for students with disabilities.  Changes made to the learning experience this year like remote learning and recorded lectures have provided accommodations in ways that students and advocates have long lobbied for.  As many colleges plan a return to “normal” for the fall semester, students, professors, and disability activists are questioning how institutions will ensure that changes such as technology usage, lecture capturing, and learning from a distance will continue to support all students.


100%: The number of college students, enrolled on or after March 13, 2020, who are eligible to receive COVID emergency grants. Previously, these resources were only available to students eligible for federal financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education announced the change to the rule this week.



There has been an increasing movement to do away with the testing components of the admissions process in the hopes of creating a more diverse pool of students.  Research published last month in the American Educational Research Journal finds that test-optional policies are not significantly increasing the share of low-income students or students of color at colleges that have instituted such policies. The researcher “found that test-optional admissions increased the share of Black, Latino and Native American students by only 1 percentage point at about 100 colleges and universities that adopted the policy between 2005-06 and 2015-16.” As many institutions have opted not to require tests during the pandemic, experts are curious to see if students took advantage of temporary test-optional policies and whether that impacted the diversity of this year’s freshmen class.


These upcoming webinars may also be of interest to you:

The Elimination Of Athletics Due To COVID: How To Use Non-Revenue Sports To Drive Enrollment, June 1

The Top 10 Reasons Students Drop Out & How We Can Keep Them Enrolled, June 3

10 Lessons From The Pandemic: Reimagining The Future Of Student Success, June 9


This week University Business reported on how institutions are being guided to use the latest COVID relief monies.  The American Rescue Plan “ provides $10 billion to community colleges, more than $2.6 billion to historically Black colleges and universities, approximately $190 million to tribally controlled colleges and universities, and more than $6 billion to Hispanic- and other minority-serving institutions.” The U.S. Department of Education has three key areas these resources can be used for: Supporting students with exceptional needs, retaining and re-engaging students including providing academic and mental health support, and preventing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Author: Meg Foster
May 14, 2021
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