In this week’s roundup:

Concern about student mental health and how to help, new Clery Act guidelines and the impact of an executive order on diversity efforts at several campuses.

Stay tuned for our weekly roundup on what trends we’re seeing across institutions, how individual colleges and universities are responding to them and what national policy changes are affecting higher ed.

Week of October 7 - 14

  • A survey of college presidents by the American Council on Education found that student mental health is their number one worry, followed by long-term financial viability, faculty and staff mental health and spring enrollment numbers. The survey also reported that enrollment fell at more than half of colleges this fall.

  • The DOE has replaced Clery Act guidelines with a new appendix to the Federal Student Aid Handbook. The new guidelines offer more flexibility in tracking crimes on public grounds within a mile of campus.
  • As colleges struggle to meet enrollment targets, institutions are finally making it easier for students to transfer credits.
  • As state budgets are squeezed by the pandemic, so are some state-run free-tuition programs
  • Colleges and universities are supporting students in isolation and quarantine with care packages, mental health support and “concierge” services. 
  • COVID-19 has changed the role of resident advisers, who now find themselves enforcing mask wearing and navigating college health systems. 
  • Concern continues to grow over colleges’ most vulnerable students, as the pandemic further strains low-income students.  
  • Princeton University will replace a residential college that once honored Woodrow Wilson with one named for a Black alumna, Ariel Investment’s co-CEO Mellody Hobson. 
  • At least three colleges have paused diversity efforts over the White House’s September executive order which forbids federal grantees from teaching certain ideologies, such as that the country is inherently racist or sexist. The U.S. Department of Labor released guidance on the order, clarifying that unconscious or implicit bias training is prohibited if “it teaches or implies that an individual, by virtue of his or her race, sex and/or national origin, is racist, sexist, oppressive, or biased whether consciously or unconsciously.” 
  • Washburn & McGoldrick, a fundraising firm, conducted a survey of college advancement leaders, finding that 40% reported believing that they will reach their fundraising goals for the financial year.
  • Contact tracing has been a challenge in the United States since the start of the pandemic, and the fact that college students sometimes use their home address rather than their campus address makes tracing campus-associated cases even harder.

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