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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/30/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/30/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live last week when our student panelists shared their fall semester experiences.  We look forward to November 6 when Dr. Tom Tobin will talk with us about the future of online learning as we kick off National Distance Learning Week.  We are now podcasting Friday 5 Lives so you can more easily share this resource with colleagues!

 

1

The State of Higher Education This Week
COVID continues to dominate the higher education headlines this week.  The University of Wisconsin and the University of Nebraska will not play football this weekend as 12 members of the Wisconsin team have COVID.  The SUNY system announced this week that all of its students will have to test negative for COVID before returning home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Bethune-Cookman shifted to online learning for the remainder of the semester this week; in the same week the school announced it was canceling all sports for the 2020-2021 year.  Administrators are encouraging residential students to maintain social distancing this Halloween weekend to prevent spread of COVID as infection rates rise across the country.

 

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The New York Times this week reports on continued cuts to budgets in higher education: one estimate totals the cost to colleges caused by the pandemic at $120 billion.  The pandemic accelerated a financial crisis that was fueled by years of cuts to state support, declining enrollments and student concerns with tuition increases.  Institutions have responded to shrinking budgets by “abolishing athletic programs, deferring campus construction and laying off administrative staff and cafeteria workers.”

 

“We have been in aggressive recession management for 12 years — probably more than 12 years.” Daniel Greenstein, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education

  

3

Faculty and advisers this fall semester are reporting higher numbers of students participating in online office hours.  At Florida Atlantic University, students are attending virtual advising appointments in higher than anticipated numbers.  Pre-pandemic, 16% of appointments were missed by students, but that rate has dropped to 8% since the institution shifted to online appointments.  Students value the flexibility of timing as many faculty and advising offices are offering evening office hours.  Expanding online opportunities for students to engage with faculty and support staff will likely be a trend that continues post pandemic.

 

4

Several colleges have lowered tuition costs for the fall 2021 semester reports Education Dive this week. Private colleges are the most likely to decrease tuition prices because they can do so without losing much revenue. Seattle Pacific University reduced tuition by 25% and Gordon College did so by 33%.  The goal for many institutions cutting tuition is to incentivize student enrollment for new students and encourage current students to remain at colleges that may be predominantly online for fall 2020.  If institutions remain online for spring, industry experts say tuition cuts may continue.

 

Follow our Friday 5 Live podcast available now on your favorite podcasting app!


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Inside Higher Ed reports this week on survey results indicating that students with disabilities are, “more likely to experience financial hardships, mental health challenges and food and housing insecurity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.” In a survey conducted by the Student Experience in the Research University, or SERU, Consortium, students with disabilities reported feeling less supported by their institutions than students without disabilities.  Students who self-reported disabilities indicated they were two times as likely to have lost their off-campus employment than students without disabilities.  As institutions grapple with supporting students during COVID, such data can help direct response and support programming for at-risk students.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
October 30, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/23/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/23/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live when our student panelists from August updated us on their fall semester experiences.  We look forward to November 6 when Dr. Tom Tobin will talk with us about the future of online learning as we kick off National Distance Learning Week.  We are now podcasting Friday 5 Lives so you can more easily share this resource with colleagues! 

 

1

Student Profile

Student Name and College: Ersa, Pace University

Major: Political Science & Economics Double Major - Class of 2022

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

What has been your biggest challenge this semester thus far?

For me, the largest challenge this semester has been staying motivated throughout the semester. It can be so difficult to keep myself motivated and make sure I get up everyday and join my zoom classes, especially when my “office space” is 2 feet away from my bed. It can sometimes feel very difficult to separate my work space from my “relaxing” space, which is why I try my best to go to different spaces around campus to study or do my classes! It helps get me motivated to get ready in the mornings, and gives me the opportunity to even see some new faces around campus!

Share one thing you wish your faculty knew about your experience this fall.

Professors need to know that students are not working from home, students are wherever they can be to do the best that they can do during a global pandemic, international recession, and time of uncertainty. I just wish professors were more mindful of the language that they use regarding online schooling and the outside work that students have. Just because we are not physically in the classroom does not mean that students do not have just as much or even more work to do, including watching children, cooking dinner, or other responsibilities that might not be present during more traditional semesters. Avoid using language such as “since we don’t have anything better to do” or “because I know we are all bored at home” especially in relation to assigning more “busy work” or work not on the syllabus.

What has been the resource you’ve found the most helpful this semester?

With a lot of resources at Pace only being offered online this semester, I have found that the most helpful resource has been my personal support system of peers. Being online can be an extremely  lonely experience, and I have found that having a close circle of people that are always available, even if it's just for a quick laugh on the days that my laptop doesn’t really want to work, can make all the difference. I could never imagine transitioning to virtual learning without my friends by my side — both virtually and in person. This access to a group of individuals with shared experiences, successes and frustrations helps keep me motivated, caffeinated, and always on my toes. Oh, and of course the local ice cream shop helps too!

 

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Colleges, major businesses and industry groups are challenging new rules announced two weeks ago that would “narrow the eligibility requirements for H-1B skilled worker visas” while increasing the wages employers would have to pay H-1B visa holders. Lawsuits have been filed in both the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by multiple universities.  Ken Cuccinelli, with the Department for Homeland Security, said he expects these new rules will cut petitions for H-1B visas by one-third.  There is great concern that these restrictions “will cause hospitals, universities, and employers of all shapes to lose their enormous investments in this skilled-workforce.”

 

$120 billion:  Amount of new federal support higher education leaders are requesting of top congressional leaders

  

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This week Education Dive examines the growing importance of online program managers (OPMs) to colleges and universities who are looking to expand online offerings and capture new enrollments. Schools signed 51 new contracts with OPMs in the last six months. Most OPM contracts involve revenue-sharing.  However, federal legislators are questioning whether these contracts are lawful.  Critics of OPMs attest they are increasing the price of education. Industry experts maintain that OPMs offer an attractive option for colleges needing to move online quickly.

 

4

Institutions like the University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, and Georgetown University have announced pass/fail grade options for the fall semester. The Ohio State University is allowing pass/fail grades for general education courses this semester. Nationwide students are demanding institutions provide grading policies that mirror those established in the spring semester.  Students maintain that they face the same challenges this semester during pandemic learning: lack of technology, access to reliable Wi-Fi, and the demands of caring for younger siblings or children who are learning from home.

 

Follow our Friday 5 Live podcast available now on your favorite podcasting app!


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EdSurge examines the undergraduate experience this fall semester amid increasing concerns about enrollment dips as well as students who are simply not participating in online learning experiences.  Trillia Hargrove, a student at City College of San Francisco, expressed the concerns she has for her classmates: “I worry that people are going to increasingly give up, not because of their own abilities or lack of motivation even. It’s the fact that they have all of these responsibilities [like watching kids who are at home with remote school] that are taking priority over their education.” Students report being exhausted from the experience of online learning while also being unsure of the future.  These trends are concerning for college administrators and faculty.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
October 23, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/16/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/16/20

Please join us on Friday, October 23 for our next Friday 5 Live.  Our student panelists from August will share updates on their fall semester experiences.  We look forward to hearing their insights and recommendations for college staff and faculty.  We are now podcasting Friday 5 Lives so you can more easily share this resource with colleagues! 

 

1

Student Profile

We are introducing a new segment to our Friday 5 Newsletter highlighting a student experience during this strange academic year.  We value hearing and learning from our students! 

Student Name and College: Devon, West Virginia University

Major: Sport Management (major), marketing (minor), public relations (minor)

Hometown: Richmond, VA

What has been your biggest challenge this semester thus far?

Trying to navigate five classes that are completely online and completely asynchronous while also balancing marching band and being an RA in freshman dorms.

What has been the resource you’ve found the most helpful this semester?

The most helpful resource I have had this semester is getting to listen and interact with guest speakers every week that have a career in sports. These meetings are offered through the WVU Sport Management Club meetings weekly. These meetings allow students to build connections and hear about specific jobs and careers they may be interested in.

What has been the best part of your semester so far?

Being able to still have marching band (in a smaller capacity) and get to play my instrument and see my band friends.

 

2

Both the Chronicle and Education Dive report this week on the declining enrollment trend this fall.  New survey data indicates that first-time student enrollment is down 16% from 2019; even more concerning is that community colleges report a 23% reduction in first-time students this fall.  Education Dive addresses experts’ recommendations on how to increase enrollment for the spring semester.  Community colleges should focus efforts on marketing their course flexibility while four-year colleges should be welcoming to transfer students.  A new initiative at Lebanon Valley College ensures that general education courses taken at another accredited institution will count towards a degree.

 

15%:  Washington State projected budget cuts.  “Early indications from states are that coming cuts to higher education will be worse than those of the 2009 recession.”

(The Chronicle of Higher Education 10/6/2020)

  

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Libraries are struggling to assist students to access textbooks, reports Inside Higher Ed this week.  “Libraries that have built up print reserves of textbooks aren’t able to circulate those materials as they did before the pandemic, either because materials are being quarantined or because students can’t access their libraries at all.” As a result, students who cannot afford textbooks are often going without. While publishers made content freely available in the spring, those opportunities expired this semester.  Institutions are responding to student textbook needs by ramping up OER efforts as well as looking at inclusive access programs where students are automatically billed for access to textbooks as part of their student fees.

 

4

On Friday, the U. S. Department of Education rescinded the guidelines for how colleges “should record and report certain campus crimes” to the federal government.  After 15 years of referencing a 260 plus page document, administrators are now directed to a simpler, truncated appendix found in the Federal Student Aid Handbook.  Colleges will now make their own “reasonable interpretation” of the Clery Act’s terms.  Experts are concerned that this vagueness will complicate compliance.

 

Follow our Friday 5 Live podcast available now on your favorite podcasting app!


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The Chronicle examines how institutions are addressing students’ anxiety during COVID.  When students are required to isolate or quarantine many institutions are creating unique ways for students to still feel connected and engaged to the campus community.  At Syracuse, isolated students receive daily calls from a campus nurse while quarantined students have a case manager in the dean of students office.  The university also offers online personal training and virtual support groups for both students and their parents.  Georgia Tech’s student organization Smile puts goody bags on the doors of quarantined students with coloring sheets, poems and other small day-brighteners so students feel cared for.  Student mental health continues to be a concern for institutions who acknowledge that this is all new territory they’re navigating.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
October 16, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/9/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/9/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live today as we examined how to support our students’ mental health needs this fall semester.  We are grateful for Dr. Aaron Hughey’s insights and recommendations.  We are now podcasting Friday 5 Live so you can more easily share this resource with colleagues! Please join us October 23 as we host a panel of students from across the United States who will update us on their fall experiences.

 

1

Student Profile

We are introducing a new segment to our Friday 5 Newsletter highlighting a student experience during this strange academic year.  We value hearing and learning from our students! 

Student Name and College: Alexis, Crafton Hills College

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Rialto, CA

Share one thing you wish your faculty knew about your experience this fall:

I work full time and I go to school full time. Although I’m determined to get my degree by any means necessary, I am concerned about those students who might come to the Zoom meeting the first day and then I will never see them again or they are still enrolled in the class and they never post on the discussion board.  Faculty need to make it known to their students that they care about them and that they are willing to help them succeed.

What has been the resource you’ve found the most helpful this semester?

Having the resources of talking to my counselor to make sure I'm on the right track.

What has been the best part of your semester so far?

That I’m able to do my work at my own pace.

 

2

Inside Higher Ed this week looks at the enrollment data for the fall semester reported by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Overall undergraduate enrollment is down 2.5%, but at community colleges that decline is 7.5%. Doug Shapiro, executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, said that “the results are extremely concerning for community colleges and the many low-income students they serve.”Inside Higher Ed reports this week on furloughs being announced at institutions across the United States.  Last month, “employment in state government education dropped by 49,000 jobs and employment in private education fell by 69,000 jobs.”  These cuts are a second round of pandemic-related budget reductions.  Many institutions trimmed auxiliary spending in the spring semester so now must cut personnel.  “Personnel is the largest line item, and personnel is going to be the area where most institutions are going to have to look for additional savings as they balance their budgets,” shared Jim Hundrieser, the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

 

337,000: The estimated number of fewer workers employed by America’s private and state-controlled institutions of higher education in August compared to February

  

3

iverse Issues in Higher Education shares this week a new initiative coming from Google.  Three community colleges are working with Google on its new federally accredited apprenticeship program.  There has been much discussion this fall about how Google’s credentialing programs will change and influence higher education.  The goal of the Google IT Apprenticeship Program is to train students, particularly non-traditionally aged students, for new jobs.  The online course will provide students digital, professional and technical skills leading to Google IT certification.

 

4

Inside Higher Education examines tribal colleges’ responses to learning during the pandemic.  Access to technology is one of the largest hurdles for tribal colleges, many of which are in rural areas. Institutions have moved quickly to address technology needs, faculty training in online pedagogy, and online student support. Tribal college leaders are hopeful that their new embrace of online learning will strengthen their institutions.

 

Follow our Friday 5 Live podcast available now on your favorite podcasting app!


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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has changed its guidance for colleges and universities to recommend more screening to cut down on COVID’s spread. “Testing people upon reentry, and regularly after that, ‘might prevent or reduce’ transmission of the virus in light of the ‘frequent movement’ of instructors, staff and students between the campus and surrounding area” Education Dive reports this week.  A recent study found that frequent testing coupled with social distancing measures can assist schools to control COVID outbreaks on campus.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
October 9, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/2/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/2/20

We hope you will be able to join us for our Friday 5 Live on October 9 as we examine how to support our students’ mental health needs this fall semester.  Dr. Aaron Hughey, from Western Kentucky University, will share with us recommendations for how we can anticipate student mental health needs and provide support for students in person and at a distance.  We are now podcasting Friday 5 Lives so you can more easily share this resource with colleagues!  Please join us on October 9!

 

1

The State of Higher Education This Week

The CDC released data this week indicating that COVID cases in people aged 18-22 increased 55% between August and September, the time in which students were moving back to college campuses.  Appalachian State University announced the death of a sophomore from complications due to COVID.  At Florida State University, police shut down a party of 1,000 plus students. Institutions are announcing measures to address budget shortfalls.  The University of Delaware will furlough all 3,500 staff and use $100 million from its endowment to resolve some of the financial gap.

 

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Inside Higher Ed this week looks at the enrollment data for the fall semester reported by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Overall undergraduate enrollment is down 2.5%, but at community colleges that decline is 7.5%. Doug Shapiro, executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, said that “the results are extremely concerning for community colleges and the many low-income students they serve.”

 

130,000: The number of COVID-19 cases American institutions of higher education have logged since the pandemic began

  

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Earlier this month, President Trump issued an executive order which bars federal grant recipients from using training that "inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating." According to legal experts and college administrators like the president of the University of Michigan, such a directive could seriously erode efforts designed to combat racism and sexism on college campuses while violating free speech rights. Given the language of the order, colleges and universities may have trouble determining if they are in compliance.

 

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The Trump administration is proposing tighter restrictions on international student visas reports Education Dive.  International students account for around 6% of enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities.  The new proposed regulations limit visa durations to four years and provide more specific parameters around permissible extension requests. Higher ed experts say the rule change could deter international students from coming to the U.S. as many degrees, particularly those at the graduate level, take more than four years to complete.  U.S. universities worry this new restriction will drive international enrollment to countries like Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

 

Follow our Friday 5 Live podcast available now on your favorite podcasting app!


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Utah State University announced a new program this week aimed at increasing enrollment among students who lack the test scores or grades for traditional admission. “The Earned Admission program will guarantee first-year applicants a spot at the university if they pass three self-paced courses in English, math and study skills.”  The goal is to give students an alternative means for admission while providing them an academic boost prior to enrolling.  Students complete the courses through StraigherLine at a cost of $125 per month.  StraigherLine is supporting similar guaranteed admissions pathways at the Community College of Denver and Indiana Tech.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
October 1, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 9/25/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 9/25/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live when we discussed working and teaching from home while we also support children of all ages learning at home in all manner of ways.  We were fortunate to have Andrea, Sarah and Kristen join us to reflect on their experiences and also share valuable insights they’ve gained!  Please join us on October 9 as we examine how to support our students’ mental health needs this fall semester.

 

1

The State of Higher Education This Week

COVID cases continue to increase on college campuses around the country this week.  On Monday, the University of Colorado at Boulder announced it was shifting all classes online for two weeks following an outbreak on campus.  Northeastern University suspended 11 students for not following campus health guidelines; the university announced that it will apply a portion of their fall tuition to the spring semester versus taking the entire tuition this semester.  At the University of Michigan, faculty has voted “no confidence” in the university’s President Mark S. Schlissel in part as a response to the institution’s handling of the fall return experience.  James Madison University will have students return to campus after sending them home abruptly the week after classes began.

 

2

Education Dive reports this week on institutions’ efforts to address student mental health needs.  “In a recent survey of more than 45,000 students attending public research universities, roughly one-third screened positive for major depressive disorder and 39% screened positive for generalized anxiety disorder.” In a separate survey, 60% of students indicated that it was harder to find mental health care due to COVID.  The College of Charleston is offering virtual mental health services through a relationship with the Medical University of South Carolina.  InsideTrack is offering coaching services to support students in crisis at ten different institutions.

 

57%: The percentage of college students who responded they had seen a party since arriving on their campus according to a recent survey by College Reaction

  

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Colleges are concerned about the status of their Latinx students as Education Dive reports this week.  Latinx students are more likely than their White peers to have lost jobs; more likely to have had insufficient access to food and housing, and less likely to have the technology that makes remote learning possible. The pandemic is causing some Latinx students to postpone college this fall.  Institutions are continuing response efforts.  El Paso Community College is responding by giving students additional opportunities to apply for federal financial aid.  At Long Beach College, officials have taken laptop distribution out to the community in an effort to get Chromebooks into the hands of their students.

 

4

Resident Assistants at institutions from the University of Michigan to Louisiana State University to Cornell are pushing for additional resources given their additional responsibilities in supervising students during pandemic.  At the University of Virginia, Resident Assistants complained that the two hour Zoom call on COVID preparation was not adequate.  Institutions like the University of North Carolina-Wilmington are seeing Resident Assistants quit over concerns about their safety as well as the mental toll caring for residents during pandemic is taking.

 

Check out our upcoming webinars on critical topics like supporting students’ mental health and planning engaging online classes.


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Prior to the pandemic, sixteen states had initiated free college programs with other states offering extensive scholarships.  State budgets have been decimated by the pandemic.  In August, “Oregon lawmakers stripped $3.6 million from its promise program, which allows high school graduates or adults who complete their GED to attend community college tuition-free.” New York may be cutting resources to its Excelsior Scholarship.  Other states like Washington and New Mexico are working to continue to fund free college initiatives.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
September 25, 2020