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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 4/17/20


Believe you can and you’re halfway there.

Theodore Roosevelt

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1

Updates on COVID-19 and Higher Education

COVID-19 and its impact on higher education continue to be the focus of higher education news sources.  This week, attention turned to the CARES Act, the continued discussion of grading policy changes, and reports that institutions like Boston University are making plans for a Fall 2020 start without students on campus.  WCET has provided additional updates this week on relevant federal policy changes.  The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting this week as well as Inside Higher Ed offering up-to-date reporting.

2

COVID-19 Stimulus Money for Higher Education

Institutions are scrambling to address demands for refunds from students forced off campus by COVID related closures, reports Inside Higher Ed this week.  Many institutions began to provide partial refund plans in the weeks after closing. Students at the University of Minnesota petitioned their Board of Regents for refunds while students in Arizona have filed a class action lawsuit demanding partial repayment of room and board and student fees. Universities are reporting losses in the millions of dollars on student refunds: Clemson estimates it will refund $15 million, and the University of Maine reports it has paid out $12.8 million to students in room and board refunds.

3

Uncertainty Regarding DACA Students’ Eligibility for Stimulus Relief

DACA students are not eligible for federal financial aid, but does that mean they are also ineligible for relief from the CARES Act? This is the question many institutions are grappling with as they look to how they can distribute CARES Act monies.  Policy experts recommend institutions think creatively about how they can provide resources to impacted students like contracting with providers to directly secure childcare or providing technology.

4

Job Training Programs Halted

The Chronicle reports this week on job training programs halted by COVID-19 closures and the impact of those closures on low-income students.  Students in high demand fields like nursing and welding have had to stop in-person training, and those in the final stages of work-based training are unsure of their future employment or the length of time it will now take them to finish their program. Many states are adjusting licensure requirements in programs like nursing by shifting clinical hours online via simulation versus direct patient care. Experts worry long delays in program completion will result in students dropping out - a result that would be damaging to the students and their local economies.

“Students who are enrolled in our career and technical programs and allied health programs are getting prepared to enter high-demand fields that pay family-sustaining wages. The delay in their ability to complete their education is keeping many of them in poverty.” Columbia Basin College’s president, Rebekah S. Woods.

5

Presidential Searches in the Midst of Pandemic

Inside Higher Ed examines how COVID-19 is influencing presidential searches and retirements.  Boards are asking presidents to postpone planned retirement rather than have leadership changes take place during this unsettled time.  Those institutions that are moving ahead with planned searches are shifting interviews to online formats. “Some colleges have informed candidates that they are the top choice for jobs, but they are waiting to present a final offer until the candidates are able to travel to campus.”

Author: Meg Foster
April 17, 2020
Comments 1
  • Aaron W. Hughey
    Aaron W. Hughey

    Interesting. I am working with Career and Workforce Development at Western Kentucky University to develop online alternatives to the face-to-face training we do at regional companies and agencies. It’s been a steep learning curve, and getting buy-in from the organizations is sometimes a tough sell, but we are making progress. Many eventually come to see this not as a replacement for traditional professional development, but as another option. Stay tuned.

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