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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 5/8/20

Where flowers bloom so does hope.

Lady Bird Johnson  

We wrapped up our third Friday 5 Live today with Dr. Denis Swett.  Denise discussed planning for the fall and how we can support students both in summer term and as we shift to fall semester.  We appreciate Denise’s great insights and advice! We hope you will join us for our next Friday 5 Live on May 22 when we will focus on mental health concerns for students, faculty and staff.


Updates on COVID-19 and Higher Education

As we pass the traditional college acceptance deadline of May 1, enrollment trends for the fall semester continue to be the focus of much analysis.  Inside Higher Ed reported that 600 institutions are still enrolling for the fall semester while The Chronicle shared survey data indicating that ⅔ of high school senior responders had no interest in completing a college semester online.   The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting this week as well as Inside Higher Ed.   WCET continues to provide updates on relevant federal policy changes.


New Title IX Regulations Released

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education issued Title IX regulations that govern how colleges will handle incidents of sexual misconduct on campus. Unlike past administrations’ guidance on Title IX, the newly issued regulations carry the weight of the law.  More than two years in the making, the new regulations take effect August 14.  Advocates of sexual assault survivors lobbied against the changes to Title IX which they see as “undoing important protections by reducing institutional responsibility in investigating certain incidents, narrowing the definition of sexual assault and forcing officials to hold live hearings that require cross-examination.”  Arguing that institutions were overburdened with handling the pandemic, lawmakers and advocacy groups urged DeVos to delay the rule changes.


Less Federal Relief Money Going to Community Colleges

Inside Higher Ed reports this week that community colleges are getting a smaller portion of the CARES Act.  Community colleges, which enroll the most undergraduates of any sector, are receiving on average $179 per student versus the $270 four year colleges and universities are receiving on average per student.

 Two-thirds (⅔): the number of college students who will want discounts on tuition and fees if virtual classes are mandatory this fall.


What Might the Fall Look Like on College Campuses?

Reporting this week on NPR examines how the fall semester might work on college campuses. Some colleges are considering bringing only freshmen back to campus and having upperclassmen either delay their start, or be online and remote. While institutions may choose, like California State University, Fullerton, to remain online for the fall, other institutions, like Boston University are considering a delayed start. As institutions measure classrooms for social distance spacing, consider installing handle-less doors, and look to purchase masks and cleaners, there are many questions that remain regarding how institutions will safely open for the fall semester.

“Defeating this merger is a win for students, faculty and preserving competition in the textbook marketplace” - Nicole Allen, director of open education for SPARC


Cengage and McGraw-Hill Cancel Merger

Multiple news sources reported this week that Cengage and McGraw-Hill have called off their proposed merger.  The merger faced regulatory challenges both in and outside the United States.  Consumer advocacy groups celebrated the decision having expressed concern that the merger would create higher prices and less choice for students.  Both companies laid off hundreds of workers in anticipation of the merger which raises questions about how each company’s operations will be affected now that the plan to create one educational publishing company has ended.

Author: Meg Foster
May 8, 2020
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