Top stories in higher ed for Tuesday
Lumina Foundation is committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025.
October 20, 2020
COVID-19 Pandemic Cuts Enrollment at Some Washington State Colleges, Forces Others to Reimagine Higher Ed
Katherine Long, The Seattle Times
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Washington’s colleges and universities were braced for a big drop in enrollment this fall, expecting college students to opt out of remotely taught classes and defer their educations for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

The good news: Most students showed up after all. The not-so-good news: Colleges are reporting that students from low-income families were more likely to hold back.

Demand Soars for Contact Tracing Courses
Ellie Ashford, Community College Daily
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Community colleges throughout the country are creating contact tracing courses to meet the urgent demand for trained people able to track COVID-19 infections and thus slow the spread of the disease.

The United States needs at least 100,000 more contact tracers "to meaningfully control transmission of the virus as states continue to lift social distancing restrictions,” according to the American Medical Association. Before the pandemic, the nation had just 2,200 contact tracers.

The Pandemic and Racial Turmoil Are Changing Curricula. Here’s How.
Alexander C. Kafka, The Chronicle of Higher Education
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Colleges are wrestling with the financial havoc and technological logistics of a hellish year. But 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic and increased racial strife are also prompting revisions in college curricula.

The nation is traumatized, and the content of academic programs, not just how they are delivered, must reflect that reality, say college leaders, students, faculty members, and higher-education experts. 

How Colleges Can Make Prior Learning Assessment More Equitable
Hallie Busta, Education Dive
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A new report shows that adult students who receive college credits for prior learning are more likely to complete academic programs than their peers without prior learning assessment (PLA) credits. 

The study also highlights some disparities in PLA use and completion. Among its recommendations for improvement: targeting PLA marketing and advising to key demographics and reducing the cost of getting PLA credit.

Living Up to the Virtual Student Experience
The EvoLLLution
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Moving to the remote environment has shaken up many institutions’ infrastructures. Student expectations have changed. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Now, faculty leaders have the chance to revamp their university both structurally and culturally by shifting focus to what really matters—the students. 

In this interview, Carolyn Callaghan of Western Carolina University discusses how institutions can deliver these on-demand student supports, the importance of seamlessness, and how the virtual environment has changed the student experience.

Student Lawsuits Asking for COVID-19 Refunds Pile Up Against Universities
Kristina Davis, The San Diego Union-Tribune
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Class-action lawsuits calling for partial reimbursement of tuition and fees are continuing to amass nationwide—from Ivy League institutions to state university systems to small private colleges—with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.

The lawsuits don’t begrudge the universities for abruptly closing campuses to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But they are asking courts to weigh who should bear the financial burden of any fallout.

How Do We Prepare People for the Future of Work?
Mike Young, Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation
What the ‘Future of Work’ Means to These Philadelphians
Christian Hetrick and Ezequiel Minaya, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Opinion: My Vision for Pima Community College
Ethan Orr, Arizona Daily Star
What Happens Before College Matters
Madeline St. Amour, Inside Higher Ed
Should Student Loan Relief Continue Into 2021?
Phillip Monar, The San Diego Union-Tribune
Florida Promotes Short-Term Workforce Programs
Ellie Ashford, Community College Daily
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