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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 5/1/20

Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.

John Muir  

We hope you were able to join us for last week’s Friday 5 Live. We discussed student success and retention with Dr. Denise Swett. Please join us on May 8 for our next Friday 5 Live.


Updates on COVID-19 and Higher Education

This week institutions continue to announce tentative plans for the fall semester with schools like Virginia Commonwealth University and Harvard stating their goal to be on campus come fall. As federal relief monies are dispersed, institutions question the implications of accepting funds.  And, around the country students are suing higher education institutions or striking to protest perceived lack of student support during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting this week as well as Inside Higher Ed.  WCET continues to provide updates on relevant federal policy changes.


Job Uncertainty for New College Graduates

Graduating students are grappling with a very different hiring environment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. “One reality of the current job market is that many college students will now be competing with the millions of people who lost jobs during the pandemic, many of whom will be willing to take low-paying or unpaid work to get by or enhance their résumés,” reported Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. College career experts are advising students to move forward with job and internship searches but to recognize potential employers are in flux and searches may take longer.


Trying To Predict Enrollment Trends for Fall 2020

Education Dive reports this week on potential fall enrollment trends.  In a survey completed by the American Council of Education (ACE) and AACRAO, one in ten college students has either decided not to re-enroll at their institution for the fall or is unsure of whether they will return.  The survey results did provide hope that the majority of students will remain at their institutions for the fall semester and that COVID-19 will not disrupt college plans extensively as only 2% of students surveyed reported that the pandemic had altered their academic plans.


Students Strike Demanding Better Educational Support

Students at institutions like Vassar College, University of Chicago, and Ohio State University are refusing to participate in class or pay tuition or rent, demanding schools better meet their needs during the pandemic.  Student demands include: tuition reductions, student fee waivers, and freezes in rent for Spring 2020 semester.  At The New School, students are protesting tuition increases for the 2020-2021 academic year.  Students at Vassar College are frustrated that they were not included in a college decision to change the grading policy for Spring 2020.  In addition to strikes, students at institutions like Drexel and the University of Miami have filed class-action lawsuits against their institutions, “arguing that they paid for services that they are no longer receiving through online instruction.”

“We are going on strike because the university is taking a profit-oriented response to the crisis, rather than an approach that puts its vulnerable workers’ needs first.” - Danielle Carr, graduate student at Columbia University


Expanded Pell Opportunities for Incarcerated Students

The U.S. Department of Education announced this week an expansion of its Second Chance Pell experiment with a new cohort of 67 schools creating additional opportunities for incarcerated students.  This doubles the size of the experiment; incarcerated students will be able to use Federal Pell Grants at 130 schools located in 42 states and the District of Columbia. “Nearly two-thirds of the schools invited to participate today are two-year institutions, one-third are minority-serving institutions, and all are either public institutions or private nonprofits” reports Education Dive.

Author: Meg Foster
May 1, 2020
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