Illinois to spend additional $108.5 million in emergency funds on digital divide, higher ed

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that he will spend $108.5 million in additional federal relief funds on additional efforts to close the state’s digital divide in K-12 and on bolstering universities and community colleges. The money comes from a discretionary fund for governors that was part of the first federal coronavirus relief bill. The governor had not said how he would spend his portion until now. “Despite the challenges of COVID-19, I remain committed to a fundamental principle about education: Every student, no matter where they live or the color of their skin or what their income level is, deserves a high-quality education from cradle to career,” said Pritzker in a release.

Four-year college students benefit from taking some community college courses

Earning a few community college credits can benefit four-year college students’ academic, STEM and employment outcomes without increasing their student loan debt, according to a new report from the Community College Research Center (CCRC). Four-year college students who took one to 10 credits at a two-year college had a 4.5 percentage point higher bachelor’s degree completion rate than four-year college students who earned no community college credits, the report says. They also earned $1.40 more per hour.

Government Rescinds International Student Policy

The Department of Homeland Security rescinded a July 6 policy directive that would have required international students to take at least some in-person coursework in order to remain in the U.S. The government agreed to rescind the guidance in response to a lawsuit filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The rescission of the July 6 directive, and an associated FAQ released July 7, means that the government reverts to guidance issued in March that allows international students to remain in the U.S. while taking a fully online course load.

50-State Comparison: Postsecondary Education Funding

This 50-State Comparison answers this question by searching state statutes, state rules and regulations, enacted state budget bills and state postsecondary education agency policies that address postsecondary education budgeting and funding. First, this resource inventories where publicly available state policies exist and provides citations that underpin postsecondary education budgeting and funding in the state. Next, this comparison examines whether the budget request process is centralized across institutions or groups of institutions within the state.

The Urgent Need for Online Instruction and the Future of Campus Tech

Bob King has a message for higher ed: Get ready for a blended, hybrid, technology-enabled and student-centric future. King is the executive vice president of partner strategy at Collegis Education, a leading provider of technology-embedded managed services for higher education. “Technology will be a game changer in higher ed,” he says. “ Student expectations have already been set by the leading edge companies in Silicon Valley like Apple, Google and Netflix. The reality is most institutions need to catch up to deliver the experience students are seeking and expect.” The gauntlet of challenges facing higher ed includes, of course, the global pandemic that sent educators scrambling to figure out how to teach classes from home offices, kitchen tables, basements and closets.

ZIP Codes and Equity Gaps

People from neighborhoods that are majority Black or Hispanic are less likely to attend college, and when they do, they borrow more and default on student loans more, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. These findings, among others, are part of the series “Introduction to Heterogeneity Series III: Credit Market Outcomes,” which explores racial differences in outcomes for education, housing and health care. “These are critical social issues that long predate COVID-19, but it’s clear that the implications of each have been made starker by the coronavirus,” said Andrew Haughwout, senior vice president at the New York Fed, during a presentation on the reports.

What Happens Next for DACA?

Advocates for immigrant college students cheered the Supreme Court’s recent 5-to-4 decision blocking the Trump administration from immediately ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides protection against deportation and gives work authorization to about 650,000 immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children with their parents and without legal authorization. DACA remains vulnerable, however. President Trump and officials in his administration have said they plan to end the program, and the Supreme Court ruling left the door open for them to do so should they follow certain steps.

A look at how colleges could benefit from $3B in coronavirus aid for states

At a time when colleges and universities are reeling from the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, a $3 billion pot of new federal money to help governors stabilize their education programs could help cushion the blow. But whether higher education institutions will see any of that money—much less decide what they will spend it on—will vary greatly by state. Education Dive’s analysis of state applications for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund shows widely different plans for the funds, which come with few strings attached. For example, New Jersey plans to use all of its allotment, nearly $69 million, for higher ed. Delaware, its neighbor to the south, doesn’t expect to spend any of its $7.9 million share on colleges.

A Little More Information on Legacy Applicants

The Varsity Blues admissions scandal that was discovered last year shook higher education and state legislatures. California was particularly hard hit, with the University of Southern California having the distinction of having more students involved than any other university. But Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles, were also affected. And state legislators wanted to get involved. Several bills were introduced to regulate admissions. One bill was approved and signed into law. “The recent college admissions scandal highlights the need for fair and transparent admissions processes, and concern for what is referred to as ‘back door’ admissions for legacy and donor-related applicants who collectively do not reflect the diversity of the state,” the law says. “Research has shown that legacy and donor admissions give an unfair advantage to wealthier students who benefit from having parents or other individuals in their lives who went to college. It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to bring more fairness and transparency to college admissions in the state, especially at institutions of higher education that enroll students who receive state-funded financial aid.”

Single rooms, meals to go, required COVID-19 testing: Illinois colleges plan students’ return to campus

Ending in-person classes before Thanksgiving break and living alone in dorms will likely be the new normal at many colleges and universities in Illinois this fall. Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave permission for them—as well as K-12 schools and community colleges—to reopen this fall if they follow state guidelines that include mandatory face masks, social distancing and monitoring students’ symptoms. Beyond those basic guidelines, individual schools are developing their own reopening plans, with precautions ranging from removing doors in office buildings to testing every student living on campus.

Pandemic Hurts Student Mental Health

Sixty percent of college students say the pandemic has made it harder to access mental health care, even as financial stresses and prevalence of depression increased among them, according to a new survey on the impact of COVID-19 on student well-being. The survey by the Healthy Minds Network for Research on Adolescent and Young Adult Mental Health and the American College Health Association garnered results from 18,764 students on 14 campuses. Researchers say much of what they found is more confirmatory than surprising, but having the hard data will help colleges make decisions about providing mental health and well-being services to students.

Colleges need to look beyond rich White students and serve all of America

The coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic turmoil have not just left our colleges and universities in crisis. They have laid bare how America’s higher education system perpetuates race and class injustices. Along with The Merit Myth co-authors Peter Schmidt and Jeff Strohl, Dr. Anthony P. Carnevale argues in a Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed that the crisis, as well as impending demographic changes, presents an opportunity for colleges to become more focused on the greater good. Colleges have long supported in principle the goal of rectifying disparities in access to higher education. But they have resisted it in practice. They argue that they have no choice but to keep doing things the same way if they are to compete in an unforgiving market. That argument no longer carries water, if it ever did.

How Higher Ed Can Stop Affirmative Action for Rich White People

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting economic crash, has laid bare the race and class injustice in American society. Higher education perpetuated society’s inequalities and divisions by sorting the children of white and wealthy families into well-financed, prestigious institutions, while steering the children of the rest—should they go to college at all—into nonselective institutions too poor to ensure that most of their students graduate. Under pressure from political and market forces, and severe financial strain, the nonselective sector adopted a host of bad habits, such as heavy dependence on tuition, that have compromised some colleges’ ability to survive this crisis. In other words, we set ourselves up for this.

What You Make Depends on Where You Live: College Earnings Across States and Metropolitan Areas

Deciding whether to invest time and money in higher education is among the most important decisions that a young adult can make. The evidence is clear that workers who went to college earn higher incomes, on average, than those without a post-secondary degree. But considering the variations in different geographic areas, do workers in some parts of the country do about as well with two-year degrees as those with bachelor’s degrees? This first-of-its-kind study looks beyond the national averages, comparing mean earnings for full-time workers with different levels of education in all 50 states and D.C., in over 100 metro areas, and in rural America using individual-level data for the years 2015 through 2017 from the American Community Survey (ACS).

Racial and Ethnic Representation in Postsecondary Education

The U.S. population is becoming more educated, but large gaps in postsecondary attainment based on race or ethnicity remain, particularly at more selective colleges. As a growing number of jobs require a college degree, it is imperative to increase college access among all racial and ethnic groups. In this report, we examined whether different racial and ethnic groups have equal access to higher education by looking at representativeness across postsecondary institutions. We constructed a new measure that compares each college’s racial and ethnic demographics with the demographics of the college’s market, evaluating whether each racial or ethnic group is over- or underrepresented at individual colleges and college sectors, relative to that college’s or sector’s pool of potential students. We confirm the presence and persistence of large national gaps in representation and find that Black and Hispanic students are underrepresented at more selective schools in ways that cannot be explained by differences in community demographics.