EDU news curated by Kiosk: Majors slashed due to budgets… and other higher ed news

Despite National Pushback, West Virginia Will Cut Faculty, Programs

From Inside Higher Education: “Despite pleas from students, faculty members and academic organizations to change course, and despite student protesters disrupting its Friday meeting, the West Virginia University Board of Governors voted Friday to slash 143 faculty positions and 28 academic programs from its flagship Morgantown campus. WVU will lose all of its foreign language degree programs and its math graduate degree programs, among other offerings…WVU’s enrollment has declined 10 percent since 2015, far worse than the national average. In April, WVU leaders, projecting a further 5,000-student plunge over the next decade, said they needed to slash $75 million from the budget. The provost’s office said it was gathering data over the summer.”


Citing ‘Unprecedented’ Financial Challenges, Miami U. Tells Low-Enrollment Majors to Change

From The Chronicle: “Eighteen low-enrollment undergraduate majors at Miami University in Ohio, many of which are in the humanities, have been directed to reinvent themselves, potentially by merging with other programs. It’s not professors’ fault that the university can no longer afford to support its current lineup of academic programs, the office of the provost wrote in a document that was shared with affected department chairs earlier this semester. Rather, the ‘unprecedented fiscal, societal, and political challenges’ that Miami faces are part of a ‘larger troubling higher education landscape.’”


Citing Significant Budget Deficits, Several Colleges Impose Cuts

From Inside Higher Education: “The affected institutions include Christian Brothers, Delta State, Lane Community College, St. Norbert and Shepherd…St. Norbert College: The independent college in Wisconsin announced the layoffs of 41 employees, citing budgetary constraints caused by a decline in enrollment, from 1,950 in 2019 to about 1,750 now, according to WLUK. ‘You can be fundamentally solid both educationally and financially, but as demographics produce fewer 18- to 22-year-olds, you have to sometimes adjust the size of your organization, and that’s what we’ve done,’ the television station quoted Laurie Joyner, the college’s president, as saying.”


Biden Administration Prepares for Student Debt Relief Negotiations

From Inside Higher Education: “A committee of 14 people representing student loan borrowers, higher education institutions and other stakeholder groups will kick off discussions about student loan forgiveness Oct. 10…The Biden administration announced Friday who will serve on the advisory negotiated rule-making committee that will discuss how to change federal regulations to offer debt relief and offered a glimpse at what those discussions might look like…Friday’s announcement marks the next step in a lengthy and complicated process that the Education Department has to go through to issue new rules or regulations.”


Everything you need to know as student loan payments resume

From Washington Post: “President Biden’s new income-driven repayment plan — Saving on a Valuable Education plan, commonly known as SAVE — ties monthly payments to earnings and family size. A typical borrower could save $1,000 a year on payments, according to the White House, because the plan reduces the amount of income used to calculate monthly bills…During the payment pause, several servicers, including Navient and Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance, bowed out of their federal contracts and transferred accounts to other companies. That means the servicer you had at the beginning of the pandemic may not be the same one handling your loans now.”


The Flaw Behind Coding Bootcamps’ attempt to disrupt higher education

From Forbes: “Customer acquisition costs became a sticking point…The result of the speed of the programs was that they churned through students faster, which meant that coding bootcamps frequently needed to fill new seats…And then universities began to enter the space. Rarely were the colleges able to stand up their own entities; universities arguably struggled to hire the right types of faculty members with industry expertise as opposed to academic chops and the up-front marketing expenses could be challenging. So they instead partnered with start-up companies like Trilogy to white-label coding bootcamp programs out of their continuing education and extension schools and take advantage of their brands to lower student acquisition costs.”


COVID ‘Heightened Deep Inequities,’ Report Shows

From Inside Higher Education: “A new report from the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice at Temple University explores how students’ college experiences during the pandemic varied by race and ethnicity. The findings show that basic needs insecurities were highest among Indigenous, Native American and Black students at over 70 percent. The rate among white students was 54 percent. According to the report, Pacific Islander and Indigenous students made up the largest proportion of students who experienced challenges accessing the internet or a computer, with four out of every five students self-reporting such difficulties.”


Americans Without College Degrees Die Younger. Here’s What the Latest Research Tells Us

From The Chronicle: “Adult life expectancy — the number of years left after age 25 — for people who have earned a four-year degree rose by about five years, to 59 years (age 84) just before the pandemic from 54 years (age 79) in 1992. There was a one-year drop in 2021 during Covid. For those without a four-year degree, adult life expectancy peaked at nearly 54 years in 2010… Researchers cited education as a major dividing line between people who are living longer and people who are not, arguing that those with a four-year degree are more ‘immune’ to some of the fastest-growing causes of death.”


2U/edX Lays Off More Employees as Stock Continues to Decline

From Class Central: “Last year, 2U laid off a significant number of employees as it shifted to a ‘platform strategy’ built around edX, which it acquired for $800 million in mid-2021…Last week, he announced that additional layoffs are necessary to realign the company’s operations with its new business model. Despite the positive spin, there is evidence that the platform strategy is not working well…As part of this strategy, 2U would become a ‘platform company’ by unifying all its operations under the edX brand, which 2U valued at $250 million. 2U has cut costs but has seen a decline in degree enrollments with the adoption of the new marketing framework, resulting in a drop of ~10,000 enrollments.”


Admissions Offices Deploy AI

From Inside Higher Education: “Fifty percent of higher education admissions offices are currently using AI in their review process, according to a new survey from Intelligent, an online education magazine aimed at prospective college applicants. Another 7 percent said they would begin using it by the end of the calendar year, and 80 percent said they plan to incorporate it sometime in 2024.”


Harvard University inaugurates its first black president

University World News: “In a historic first, Harvard University inaugurated new president Claudine Gay the first black person and second woman to lead the university, writes Mitchell McCluskey for CNN. Gay is the 30th president since Harvard University’s founding in 1640. Gay received her PhD in government from Harvard in 1998 and joined the Harvard faculty in 2006. She received the Toppan Prize for best dissertation in political science, according to the Harvard Gazette.”


University dropout rates reach new high, figures suggest

From University World News: “The number of students not completing a university course in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is up to its highest recorded level, figures suggest, writes Julia Bryson for BBC News. The Student Loans Company said there had been a 28% rise over five years in students who signed up for a loan before dropping out of a course. The number went from 32,491 in 2018-19 to 41,630 in 2022-23 – a rise of 9,139. By comparison, the number of students enrolling on degrees in the United Kingdom rose by almost 11% between 2018-19 and 2021-22.”

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