EDU news curated by Kiosk: Food insecurity for students… and other higher ed news

‘I can’t afford groceries’: Why one-third of US college students don’t have enough to eat

From The Guardian: “Students face an uphill battle when trying to access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Snap), the federally funded hunger relief program … Since the 1980s, people who attend school on a more than part-time basis have been largely excluded from Snap, out of concern that students from well-to-do backgrounds would draw public resources instead of assistance from their families. So instead of qualifying for Snap based on asset and income requirements – as the majority of Americans do – college students also need to work at least 20 hours a week, a requirement that anti-hunger advocates say is onerous and unreasonable for someone who is attending classes and doing school work every day.”


Campus food pantries expand to support students’ basic needs

From EdSource: “The University of California Special Committee on Basic Needs released a report in 2022 indicating 43% of undergraduate students reported being food insecure, up from 39% in 2020. Food insecurity is defined as an inability to access or afford a sufficient amount of food to meet one’s basic needs. Aid is available for individuals, including students, meeting low-income eligibility requirements through CalFresh, a supplemental food program offered by the state’s Department of Social Services. However, students and others can still be food insecure even if they do not necessarily qualify for government assistance, and the need for aid is expected to grow with the recent end of additional pandemic-related CalFresh benefits.”


Once again, SNAP is a political football: And Americans suffer for it

From The Hill: “More than half of all students, and nearly 40 percent of all faculty at New Mexico’s higher education institutions don’t have enough food to eat. The findings, from a new state-funded study, reveal troubling statistics representative of a worsening problem across America. New Mexico is taking steps to address it — and other states should pay attention. … The study is timely, as government programs designed to help those who go hungry every day are currently being politically targeted for elimination. The nation’s food insecure are now pawns in a debt-ceiling showdown between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, where elected leaders are placing their own political agendas above the needs of starving U.S. citizens.”


In other news…

Leveling off at the bottom

From Inside Higher Ed: “Over all, enrollments declined by 0.5 percent across all higher ed sectors since spring 2022, according to the report. That’s a much smaller drop than the 3.1 percent decline from spring 2021 to spring ’22. But a drop is a drop, and when compounded by two years of steep declines during the COVID-19 pandemic, hopes for a full or even partial recovery seem out of reach for most institutions. ‘The spring data confirms that enrollments are stabilizing. But it’s important to note that we’re stabilizing nationally at a level far below pre-pandemic levels,’ Doug Shapiro, director of the NSCRC, told reporters …”


State support for higher ed continues to rise. Yet public colleges still face headwinds.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: “While enrollment is down at the nation’s public colleges, state funding for higher ed is up — and students have been footing less of the bill for their education over the last four years. State and local support for higher ed increased nearly 5 percent in the 2022 fiscal year, according to the latest State Higher Education Finance report, published on Thursday by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. States allocated more money for higher education both in the form of financial aid, which increased 2 percent, and general public operations, which increased 7 percent. (The report adjusted those proportions for inflation.)”


Higher ed received billions in Covid-relief Money. Where did it go?

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: “At a time when colleges and students were navigating both a public-health emergency and the pandemic’s financial fallout, the federal funding provided a much-needed buffer. … Public and private nonprofit colleges received $72.5 billion of that money … The guidelines around distributions in 2021 allowed colleges to use institutional-relief funds to fill in the budgetary holes left by shortfalls in room-and-board revenue, cancelled events, or spotty bookstore sales. They spent an average of 61 percent of institutional-relief funds, or nearly $13 billion, on replacing lost revenue.”


The college-going gap between Black and white Americans was always bad. It’s getting worse

From The Hechinger Report: “Black college and university enrollment has been dropping steadily. Already down by 22 percent between 2010 and 2020, or by more than 650,000 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, it has fallen by another 7 percent since then, more recent figures from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show. Even though the number of white students has also declined since 2010, the difference between the proportions of white students and Black students graduating with degrees has gotten bigger, data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show.”


Professors plan summer AI upskilling, with or without support

From Inside Higher Ed: “Some academics and institutions are offering AI faculty workshops … In these summer faculty AI workshops, some plan to take their first tentative steps in redesigning assignments to recognize the AI-infused landscape. Others expect to evolve their in-progress teaching-with-AI practices. At some colleges, full-time staff will deliver the workshops or pay participants for professional development time. But some offerings are grassroots efforts delivered by faculty volunteers attended by participants on their own time. Even so, many worry that the efforts will fall short of meeting demand.”


The U. of Idaho moved fast to acquire the U. of Phoenix. Now what?

The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Under the deal, which still faces review by accreditors, the University of Phoenix will be converted to a nonprofit institution that Idaho officials referred to as ‘New U.’ … The $550-million purchase price breaks down this way: The University of Phoenix will contribute $200 million to the new college, and the new institution will finance the remaining $350 million with bonds. Brian Foisy, the University of Idaho’s vice president for finance, told the State Board of Education that the university’s credit rating might drop from A1 to A2 as a result of the purchase, although he added ‘that’s only one notch,’ and the lowered rating ‘is still well within investment grade.’”


In UK education news…

A quarter of all UK study-related visas issued to dependants

From Times Higher Education: “The number of student dependants granted UK visas hit another record in the last year, while student numbers contributed to immigration that is at new record levels. The government announced new restrictions on dependants just days ago, hoping to get ahead of the release of the latest data on rising net migration, which causes political difficulties for a Conservative government that has pledged to reduce it. Home Office statistics reveal that 478,000 sponsored study visas were granted to main applicants in the year to March, 22 per cent more than the year before and the most on record.”


Will Americans come to a Welsh city for higher education?

From Inside Higher Education: “Wrexham’s university is hoping the Welsh city’s newfound fame after its football team was bought by Hollywood actors could help to boost its student recruitment in the U.S. With American tourists flocking to visit the Racecourse Ground—home of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s Wrexham AFC—neighboring Wrexham Glyndwr University has embarked on a mission to try to convince them to stay and study in the city. … Wrexham Glyndwr’s head of international, Katy Davenport—herself originally from the U.S.—said the impact of the show had been transformational for the area and she now hoped to capitalize.”



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