EDU news curated by Kiosk: Mental health remains leading challenge …and other higher ed news

New survey data confirms mental health remains leading challenge on college campuses

From PR Newswire: “The survey, which compiles insights from student affairs leaders representing more than 150,000 college students, confirms national reports that student mental health continues to decline. Furthermore, the survey also underscores campus leader concerns that institutions are not sufficiently prepared to offer students the necessary level of mental health support and resources. … Eight in ten institution leaders (84%) believe their campus should ramp up investments in mental health solutions, with many appreciating the critical importance to expand access and availability of mental health support.”


As students’ mental health concerns grow, one university’s professors say they should get a raise

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: “University of Illinois at Chicago faculty say they deserve to be paid more, partly because students’ mental-health needs in recent years have become so severe and time-consuming to address, while administrators have failed to adequately respond. The faculty of the more than 34,000-student campus went on strike Tuesday after more than nine months of negotiations. They’re demanding that the university raise their pay by 21 percent over the next three years and raise the minimum salary for faculty from $50,000 to $61,000. They’re also calling for the administration to provide all students with mental-health assessments and increase their on-campus access to therapy.”


Destressing 101

From Inside Higher Ed: “In Amy Morgan’s vision, a group of undergraduates sit in a classroom, drawing, painting and making collages at their desks. The images they produce might run the gamut from abstract doodles to colorful narrative scenes. But this isn’t an art class; the students will be illustrating their moods as part of a new one-credit course at the University of Maryland, College Park, that Morgan developed to teach students basic emotional regulation skills. Cheekily titled U SAD? Coping with Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, the course is designed to give students the tools to manage negative emotions—and to help their friends and classmates do the same.”


Amid campus mental health crisis, students work to support each other

From EdSurge: “The Bandana Project started at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The program teaches students how to help friends who are in distress until they have the opportunity to seek professional guidance. The initiative also aims to alleviate the shame that can surround mental health care by encouraging students to don a bright symbol of support in public. ‘Once you take the training, you get a green bandana, and you put it on a book bag or purse to show that you’re comfortable with someone asking you for help if they’re going through a mental health crisis,’ Parks explains. ‘There is a stigma about that topic, and I think it’s getting better, but sometimes it’s nerve-wracking if you’ve never been to the counseling center.’”


In other news…

Bachelor’s degree dreams of community college students get stymied by red tape -and it’s getting worse

From The Hechinger Report: “Four out of five students who begin at a community college say they plan to transfer and eventually earn a bachelor’s degree or higher … But in one of the most persistent failings of the higher education system, only about one in six of them actually succeed … The already low proportion of students who transfer from community colleges to bachelor’s degree-granting universities fell by about 10 percent over the last two years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The decline is even bigger for Black students (down 14 percent) and men (down 12 percent).”


What happened after the great online pivot of 2020?

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The share of students who were enrolled only in distance-education classes dropped to 30.4 percent in 2021 from 45.6 percent in 2020, according to a Chronicle analysis of U.S. Department of Education data for close to 3,900 public and private four-year and two-year institutions. But it’s still higher than pre-pandemic numbers: In 2017, the share of students who were enrolled only in distance-learning classes was 15.7 percent. The share of students who were enrolled only in distance education grew 12.8 percentage points between 2019 and 2021, with tribal colleges and associate-granting institutions among those seeing higher-than-average online-only enrollments.”


Income share agreements get a rebrand—and new life

From Work Shift: “ISAs, once the purview of bootcamps and other for-profits, are starting to take off among state governments and nonprofits under the new name of outcomes-based loans. … Last year, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced an unprecedented state initiative for higher education. He called it a Pay It Forward Fund, a pot of money that gives interest-free loans to students in certain training programs that they then pay back at a rate tied to their post-graduate income. If they make less than a certain amount—$44,940 for those with a three-person household—the student borrowers are off the hook for the loan.”


Education department plans to publish list of low-performing programs

From Inside Higher Ed: “The administration is planning to publish a list of programs that are considered to have a low financial value to students and taxpayers. But first the department must decide how to determine which programs have low financial value—a question that’s been the subject of much research but no clear consensus. The department’s request for information, which was released this week and closes Feb. 10, seeks input on the measures and metrics that should be used to build the list, what data should be collected to assess a program’s nonfinancial value, the structure of the list and how to share the list once it’s created.”


With student pool shrinking, some predict a grim year of college closings

From The Hechinger Report: “When college leaders decide they have no other choice but to close, there are right ways and wrong ways to handle it, Burns said. At a minimum, Burns said colleges should give students three months’ notice of the closure, though a full semester of advance notice would be better. The college should have plans to retain student records and refund tuition. And it should establish partnerships with neighboring colleges for their students to transfer and earn a degree in their chosen field of study. Even when these measures are taken, only about half of students whose colleges close go on to earn a degree, research from SHEEO and the National Student Clearinghouse has found.”


In international news…

Ban on women students to impact severely on higher education

From University World News: “Many private universities are likely to shut up shop as the overall number of students declines after the ban. Shocking the nation, the Taliban – in a widely condemned overnight move on 20 December – issued a decree banning women and girls from attending public and private universities in the country. … However, a Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen insisted in December that the ban was not permanent. Women’s admission to universities ‘has been postponed until a conducive environment is created for their education’, he said. Girls have been excluded from secondary schools since the Taliban came to power in August 2021.”


Leading universities cut undergraduate recruitment by a quarter

From Times Higher Education: “New undergraduate recruitment fell by up to a quarter at some of the UK’s most prestigious universities this autumn, data show. The ‘unprecedented’ drop in the number of undergraduates accepted into Russell Group institutions was the largest on record, according to experts, and came after three years of rapid expansion among research-intensive universities … At the University of Exeter, the number of accepted applicants dropped by 26 per cent, to 6,060, in 2022 – the institution’s smallest recruitment round for six years. Similarly large declines in enrolment were recorded at Durham University (down 24 per cent), the University of Edinburgh (21 per cent) and the University of Bristol (20 per cent).”





Weekly Education Email Newsletter

Our weekly email delivers all the latest news from the world of higher education direct to your inbox.