EDU news curated by Kiosk: Navigating the plunge of enrollment … and other higher ed news

Grasping for a foothold on the enrollment cliff

From Inside Higher Ed: “Higher ed experts gathered in D.C. … to take stock of a three-year enrollment plunge. … Doug Shapiro, executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, kicked off the day with a summary of his organization’s bleak enrollment and attainment findings since the pandemic began in 2020. … While there’s been some recovery among four-year colleges and universities, Shapiro said the vast majority has been concentrated at selective and financially stable institutions. Most small private colleges and regional publics, he said, are still hemorrhaging students—and he’s not sure many of them are going to be able to stop the bleeding.”


The shuttering of a rural university reveals a surprising source of its financing

From The Hechinger Report: “When Iowa Wesleyan University announced in March that it would close, its biggest creditor was a federal government agency that had loaned it $26 million … It was the Department of Agriculture. … The USDA has been loaning tens of millions of dollars to rural colleges and universities, some of which couldn’t get financing from conventional lenders or whose budgets are so precarious that the Education Department has placed them under additional financial scrutiny. This support, through a program set up to promote rural economic development and from the federal agency that works the most with rural places, underscores how important local universities and colleges are to those communities — and the vulnerability of a growing number of them.”


Why is enrollment such a challenge for colleges like Cardinal Stritch? A higher ed data expert explains

From WUWM: “Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee’s north shore suburbs is closing after an 86-year run. The news of Stritch’s closure came as a shock to students and alumni. But for those following college enrollment trends, it’s not as much of a surprise. Nate Johnson studies higher education data as principal consultant at Postsecondary Analytics … ‘A lot of smaller institutions, especially private ones that don’t have a lot of support either from state governments or big endowments are struggling to keep up as underlying demographic trends trend downward,’ Johnson says. ‘We’re becoming an older country. Often it’s those smaller institutions that really struggle to balance the books at this point.’”


I’m a student. You have no idea how much we’re using ChatGPT.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: “There’s a remarkable disconnect between how professors and administrators think students use generative AI on written work and how we actually use it. Many assume that if an essay is written with the help of ChatGPT, there will be some sort of evidence — it will have a distinctive ‘voice,’ it won’t make very complex arguments, or it will be written in a way that AI-detection programs will pick up on. Those are dangerous misconceptions. In reality, it’s very easy to use AI to do the lion’s share of the thinking while still submitting work that looks like your own. Once that becomes clear, it follows that massive structural change will be needed if our colleges are going to keep training students to think critically.”


This simple 30-minute belonging exercise could boost student retention

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Incoming college students who completed a 30-minute online exercise intended to bolster their sense of belonging were more likely to complete their first year of college while enrolled full time, according to a groundbreaking paper published in Science … The study involved 26,911 students at 22 diverse four-year institutions across the country, and it has the potential to help students at a variety of colleges, at little cost. Students in identity groups — based on race or ethnicity and first-generation college status — that have historically struggled more to complete the first year of college at any given institution benefitted the most from the exercise.”


New data map bridges higher education and labour market

From University World News: “Harvard University has launched a data map highlighting mismatches and matches across the United States between higher education graduates and job opportunities, to help encourage career-relevant higher education investment. The College-to-Jobs Initiative was developed with the support of market data company Lightcast and financial service Capital One. It looked at pre-COVID-19 data for 2014-2019 and noted that the graduate number growth rate between 2014 and 2019 was 14.7% compared to a 4% worker growth rate in a wide range of sectors split into 24 categories.”


The latest group to get special attention from college admissions offices: men

From The Hechinger Report: “Women now make up about 58 percent of U.S. college undergraduates, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, and each year far more women are enrolling in higher education than men. The trend is especially acute for Black men, with about 138,000 fewer Black men enrolled in college last year than in 2017. The situation has become so worrying that some colleges have started to treat men as a group that needs additional support, seeking ways to both attract male students and keep them enrolled from one year to the next.”


Share of hispanic college students has nearly doubled since 2005

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Nearly one in five college students ages 18-24 identifies as being of Hispanic or Latino origin, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau — up from one in 10 students in 2005. The rise in the share of Hispanic and Latino/a students correlates with a rapidly growing number of Hispanic-serving institutions, a federal designation that can be accompanied by money for a college or university if at least 25 percent of its student body identifies as Hispanic or Latino/a. The number of HSIs has tripled since the 1990s, from 189 institutions in 1994 to 569 in 2019, according to an analysis by The Chronicle. However, federal dollars specifically allocated for HSIs have not nearly kept pace with the growing crop of qualifying institutions.”


Think carefully before deciding to delay the path to or through college

From Forbes: “Taking a break between high school and college, or in the middle of your studies, is tempting. After all, the learning process can be hard, and exhausting. But the times we are in call for caution when it comes to any delays in education. … The key is to keep moving. More than 40 million people have started college and stopped out, and many states are working hard to get them re-enrolled. Research shows that students who delay their enrollment in post-high school learning by a year or more have dramatically higher dropout rates and lower bachelor’s degree completion rates.”


In UK education News…

Starmer to ditch Labour’s ‘free’ university tuition pledge

From Times Higher Education: “Labour is set to abandon its commitment to abolish university tuition fees and fund English higher education through direct public spending, leader Sir Keir Starmer has said. … But the Labour leader added that the existing system, under which fees of £9,250 a year are levied, was ‘unfair’ because it ‘doesn’t work for students and doesn’t work for universities’. The party would ‘set out a fairer solution’ in the coming weeks, he said.”


Covid era graduates struggle with communication, say Deloitte and PwC

From The Guardian: “Two of the UK’s big four accounting firms are giving extra training to younger recruits after finding that those who spent large parts of their education remote working during Covid lockdowns struggled with communication and teamwork tasks. Deloitte and PwC said they were offering newer recruits training on skills that may have been neglected during the pandemic such as giving face-to-face presentations and participating in in-person meetings.”



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