Will Coronavirus Crisis Trigger an Enrollment Crisis?

The biggest story in international education over the last decade was, in a word, China. As the number of students from China studying in the U.S. grew rapidly, fueled by a big increase in tuition-paying undergraduates, colleges and universities grew reliant on them to balance their budgets. Now the global public health crisis precipitated by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, COVID-19, in China and the imposition of travel restrictions barring entry to the U.S. of most foreign nationals who have traveled to China within the last 14 days threatens student flows and other forms of collaboration. Just how severe the impact will be will depends on many unknown variables, among them: how long the outbreak will last, whether or to what degree it can be relatively contained, when local and international travel restrictions may be lifted, whether Chinese colleges and schools reopen in time to finish their terms more or less on schedule, and how damaging the virus ultimately ends up being to the Chinese — and indeed the global — economy.

White Supremacist Activity on Campus Hits Record High

Distribution of white supremacist fliers, leaflets and stickers on college campuses reached an all-time high last year, according to new data released by the Anti-Defamation League this week. The U.S.-based international organization, which fights anti-Semitism and hate directed at other specific groups of people, reported that white supremacist propaganda distribution more than doubled in the United States in 2019 and totaled 2,713 reported cases nationwide, compared to 1,214 reported cases in 2018. One-quarter of the incidents, about 630, were reported on college and university campuses. A total of 433 campuses in 43 states and the District of Columbia were targeted in 2019.

The 19th-century Nordic elites realized that if their countries were to prosper they had to create truly successful “folk schools” for the least educated among them. They were going to have to make lifelong learning a part of the natural fabric of society. They took on an approach called bildung. It means the complete moral, emotional, intellectual and civic transformation of the person. It was based on the idea that if people were going to be able to handle and contribute to an emerging industrial society, they would need more complex inner lives.

A study in 2018 by the New America think tank and uAspire, a nonprofit group that promotes college affordability, examined thousands of award letters and found that not only was the financial aid insufficient for most students, they often used confusing terms. Among the colleges that offered a common type of federal loan, for instance, researchers found more than 100 terms for the loan, including two dozen that didn’t even mention the word “loan.” To compare aid offers, student advocates recommend that you first determine the total cost of attending each college, including “direct” costs like tuition, fees, on-campus housing and meal plans, and “indirect” costs like books, supplies, transportation and other expenses. If your aid letter doesn’t include a breakdown of these costs, call the financial aid office, visit the college’s website or try tools on the Education Department’s College Navigator.

Recognizing Fluctuations in Food Security Among College Students

Graduating a higher percentage of students may depend on how colleges address fundamental student needs — such as secure housing; reliable access to nutritious food; and affordable, flexible transportation that can swiftly ferry students between school, work and home. This seems like a tall order — and it is. However, recent research on food security from Trellis suggests that this basic need may not be intractable; instead, this latest study shows that food security fluctuates, with ebbs and flows throughout the school year. Understanding the dynamics behind these shifts can guide interventions that stabilize students’ basic needs and allow them to achieve their educational potential.

Certificates and Associate Degrees Can Outearn Bachelor’s

A new report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce finds that nationally, colleges are awarding as many certificates and associate degrees combined as they are awarding bachelor’s degrees. Colleges award about two million bachelor’s degrees annually and about one million associate degrees and one million certificates. The study also found that field of study is very important in determining earnings for certificate holders and associate degree holders. A worker with an associate degree may outearn one with a bachelor’s, and a worker with a certificate may outearn one with an associate degree, depending on field of study. Workers with lower-tier degrees who studied engineering, construction or health fields have a good possibility of outearning their peers with bachelor’s degrees who studied the liberal arts or humanities.

Universities that Boost the Poorest Students to Wealth are Becoming Harder to Afford

According to a 2017 study by Harvard University researchers, Stony Brook — one of 64 campuses in the State University of New York system — sends more than 51 percent of its low-income students into the highest 20 percent of income levels. That and other factors combined to rank Stony Brook third nationally on the researchers’ “social mobility” index. Only California State University at Los Angeles and Pace University ranked higher. These universities have taken steps to reverse a troubling trend: High-income children with below-average academic skills are more likely to be wealthy when they reach adulthood than a low-income child with strong academic skills, according to a report published this year by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Or, as the report’s authors put it, to achieve success in America, “it’s often better to be rich than smart.”

Landscape of State Performance Funding Policies

A new policy brief finds that 29 states currently tie some share of state funding for public colleges to student outcomes, such as graduation rates. Many of these state funding formulas also reward colleges for serving low-income students and students from underrepresented minority groups. The project, which has been in the works for two years, is an attempt to develop the first comprehensive data set on how performance funding has evolved. Several policy briefs will follow this initial release, which highlights the evolution of formulas in Missouri, New York and Tennessee.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s Proposal Calls for Scholarships that would Provide Free Education for Many State College Students

Gov. Tom Wolf is proposing a new $204 million scholarship program for students at the 14 state-owned universities that would ensure a debt-free education for at least 25,000 students. As part of his $36 billion budget that he presented Tuesday, Wolf is proposing redirecting $204 million from the Race Horse Development Fund to the new Nellie Bly Tuition Program for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The scholarships would make up what existing aid doesn’t cover for students at any of the 14 PASSHE schools. The scholarships would essentially mean that some students could go to any of the PASSHE schools, which include Kutztown and East Stroudsburg, for free. Scholarships will be prioritized by need.

Increasing Community College Graduation Rates with a Proven Model

The nation’s community colleges play a central role in producing a more educated workforce and promoting social mobility. They serve about 40 percent of all college students and, not surprisingly, they serve a disproportionate number of low-income and underrepresented students. But most students who enter these colleges do not graduate — only about a third of entering students earn a degree or certificate within six years. Among the many programs that have attempted to increase graduation rates, one program stands out. Developed by the City University of New York (CUNY), the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) is a comprehensive program that provides students with up to three years of financial and academic support and other support services. (MDRC)

Bachelor’s Degrees Boost Annual Salaries By $32,000 In Idaho

According to a new study from the Fordham Institute, Idahoans with a bachelor’s degree earn about $32,000 more per year on average than those with only a high school diploma. The gap widens around Boise, where workers with only a high school diploma earn almost $38,000 less per year. The study also compares Idaho’s salaries per educational attainment with neighboring states and underscores the Gem State’s stagnate college go-on rates amid a $133 million push to help more young adults earn a college degree or certificate.

More Trustees Fear for the Future

Trustees have grown significantly more concerned about the future of higher education in the last year, according to new polling released today that points to financial sustainability and the prices students pay as top sources of anxiety. And trustees aren’t just worried about the sector as a whole. A majority are also concerned about the future financial sustainability of their own institutions or systems. The data also seem to indicate college and university trustees will need to raise their level of performance, according to experts at the membership organization that released the survey, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. They lamented stark differences in the number of hours board members report working on corporate boards versus college and university boards.

Opportunities for STEAM Education Through ESSA and Perkins V

This one-page Policy Outline provides a brief overview of ways in which states and districts can use ESSA and Perkins V funds to support STEAM education.

Report Predicts Widespread use of Aggressive College Recruiting Tactics

Nearly one-quarter of more than 150 college enrollment leaders surveyed by consulting firm EAB say they will consider going after students who have already committed to another institution after a key admissions counseling group loosened its guidelines for recruiting students. Slightly more than one-third of respondents say they plan to recruit students who currently attend other four-year institutions. The findings suggest colleges will have to work harder to keep both incoming freshmen and enrolled students engaged so other institutions don’t poach them.