Blog & News
“But tomorrow may rain, so I’ll follow the sun.”
– The Beatles
We had a fantastic discussion with Laura Clark of the Virginia Community College System during last week’s Friday 5 Live. She shared her thoughts on the future of higher education. Please join us for our next Friday 5 Live on June 5.
The Chronicle interviewed Dr. Fauci last week regarding his thoughts and advice about college reopening in the fall. The gist: it’s too early to know if colleges could test widely for COVID-19 and each college’s reopening plans will be unique to location and population. Institutions continue to announce plans for the fall. Colorado College has revised its block system to accommodate a wide variety of learning options. As educators and administrators attempt to predict the future, The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting this week as well as Inside Higher Ed. WCET provides updates on relevant federal policy changes.
In statements and a court filing over Memorial Day weekend, the Department of Education stated that it “does not intend to enforce guidelines” saying that emergency student grants from the CARES Act are only available for those students eligible for regular student aid. Financial aid administrators and associations representing colleges report that these new statements do not provide clarity regarding whether CARES Act funds can be distributed to undocumented students or other populations ineligible for federal financial aid.
"If you would have told me in October that we’d be talking about doing a flipped classroom I would have said, ‘Never in a hundred years.’ But here we are.” - Chad Davis, superintendent of East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa, Arizona
Education Dive looks this week at initiatives to take CTE courses online, like automotive technology and cosmetology. This spring semester, many institutions pivoted quickly by having students complete online reading requirements and preparation for written industry certification tests. For the fall semester, programs are developing flipped classroom approaches where small groups of students will use class time to practice their skills and fulfill hands-on requirements. Students will continue the academic portion of their courses online.
|11: The number of Instructional Designers the University of Waterloo is looking to hire|
As institutions wrap up the spring semester, faculty and instructional designers are turning their sights towards the fall and preparing for another semester taught fully or partially online. The result is increasing discussion about how to best support faculty in developing and delivering online courses. Inside Higher Ed this week highlights the work of several organizations including the Online Learning Consortium, which offers support and training resources regarding online course delivery.
May 29, 2020
“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
– E.E. Cummings
We were fortunate to host Laura Clark on our Friday 5 Live today. Laura shared with us her insights on moving forward towards the fall semester and how we can support our learners and one another. We so appreciate Laura’s positive energy! Please join us for our next Friday 5 Live on June 5.
Colleges and universities are creatively addressing how to confer degrees to students at a distance, and families are joining in the celebrations. An image of a student graduating from Xavier University on a stage built by her father in their driveway was shared widely across media platforms this week. It seems especially important these days to find ways to celebrate such accomplishments! We send our congratulations to the Class of 2020! The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting this week as well as Inside Higher Ed. WCET provides updates on relevant federal policy changes.
While many four-year institutions announced plans this week for a face-to-face fall semester, community colleges are largely doing the opposite. Community college leaders cited challenges with scaling public health safety interventions like temperature checks or COVID testing. Many community colleges also have solely commuter populations, and thus, do not have the same residential considerations of their four-year counterparts. Ivy Tech in Indiana does plan to provide flexible fall programming including hybrid and in-person class offerings.
"As we got to looking at the fall semester, it was really a science and math problem.” - Joe May, president of the Dallas County Community College District
The Hechinger Report this week examines programs that are reaching out to students to try to halt the “summer melt” phenomenon. Between 10 and 20% of admitted graduating seniors in a given year will not show up on college campuses come the fall. Programs like Beyond 12 and Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative are using texting and coaching to ensure more high school graduates attend college in the fall.
|One-third of students said they would transfer to another institution if their college only had online options (according to Niche survey results)|
As campuses grapple with planning for the fall semester, Niche surveyed 10,000 high school seniors and current college students to find out what scenario they would most like to see for the fall semester. The survey results: students want to learn on campus...if it can be done safely. Many institutions announced plans this week for a fall semester that ends at Thanksgiving or moves to remote learning. The University of South Carolina is one institution moving in this direction for the fall. As far as tuition for the fall: 79% of students said they thought tuition should be less for online or hybrid classes. In related news, Education Dive reports on students suing for tuition refunds from spring semester.
May 22, 2020
“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my ship.”
– Louisa May Alcott
We had a fantastic discussion with Dr. Denise Swett during last week’s Friday 5 Live. She shared her thoughts on planning for the fall semester. We’re always grateful for her positive energy. Please join us for our next Friday 5 Live on May 22 when we will focus on mental health concerns for students, faculty and staff.
Two months into the shift to remote learning and work-from-home orders, this week higher education news sources focus on the continued financial fall out from COVID-19. The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting this week as well as Inside Higher Ed. WCET continues to provide updates on relevant federal policy changes.
Multiple media sources are reporting this week that 5% fewer students have renewed their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the upcoming academic year versus this time last yearThe decrease represents more than 350,000 students, most of whom are from low-income families. A drop in renewal rates suggests that more students than usual are uncertain about their ability to return to college in the fall.
Timothy P. White, chancellor of the California State University system, announced on Wednesday that its institutions will conduct the majority of classes online this fall. The system enrolls nearly 500,000 students at 23 campuses. Across the system’s institutions, on-campus housing will be reduced. A limited number of hands-on learning experiences, such as a capstone engineering project or using specialized equipment, will still be available with intensive precautions.
"People who flourish are not less afraid, worried, or upset about what’s going on around them. They have just worked at holding these emotions and thoughts in a healthy manner."
Kelly Crace, associate vice president for health and wellness at the College of William & Mary
The Chronicle reports this week on how institutions are supporting students’ mental health at a distance, especially when programs like telecounseling are not available. In a recent survey, 80% percent of college students reported that the COVID-19 crisis has negatively affected their mental health. Campus leaders are concerned for their students, and a third of college presidents indicated in an American Council of Education survey that they intended to invest more resources in mental health services for students. In the interim, institutions are building on resiliency programs to support students learning at a distance.
|$20 million: The number of dollars one home football game at the University of Alabama’s flagship campus can bring to the Tuscaloosa area|
May 15, 2020
“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.
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.
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.
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.|
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
May 8, 2020
“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.
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.
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.
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 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
May 1, 2020
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
– Maya Angelou
Our Next Friday 5 Live - Helping Students Finish The Semester Successfully
We’re trying something new with Friday 5 Live! We hosted our second live event today discussing student success and retention with Dr. Denise Swett. Please join us on May 8 for our next Friday 5 Live. More information in next week’s newsletter.
This week, attention turned to what institutions are planning for the fall semester with some announcing hybrid fall classes or shortened fall terms. Other institutions are reporting the extensive financial fall out of COVID-19; three colleges in the Vermont system will close and the University of Arizona announced furloughs. 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.
Education Dive and Politico report this week on the CARES Act and frustration with the time it is taking to get relief monies into the hands of students. The American Council on Education is concerned students will be taxed on grants received from the CARES Act. The Department of Education released a second round of federal relief on Tuesday which institutions can use to“reimburse themselves for refunds of room and board costs or money they've spent on technology and internet access for students.”
As institutions continue to grapple with the fall 2020 semester start, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports this week on two institutions’ approaches to the reopening. California State University at Fullerton announced Monday that the university will plan a fall online semester start and, “should governmental and health authorities allow, gradually move back to on-campus operations.” Purdue University’s president made a very different announcement on Tuesday sharing that Purdue would bring students back to campus in August. Both institutions’ responses attempt to address the many variables impacting campus openings: continuations of stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, COVID-19 flare ups and associated changes in risk levels, and the ability to test for the disease.
Achieving the Dream hosted a town hall Monday addressing critical issues and concerns facing community colleges. Achieving the Dream staff members shared best practices as leaders, faculty and staff from community colleges across the country listened in. Recommendations included investing in online mental health professionals, tutors and career advisors while also providing connections between students and community support resources. Panelists recognized the concerns of impending state budget cuts and encouraged attendees to think creatively about the fall semester start sharing strategies like shortened terms.
April 24, 2020