In this week’s roundup:
Multiple colleges and universities moved classes to remote instruction following attempts at an in-person format, new Title IX rules took effect on August 14 and the Justice Department concluded a two-year investigation finding Yale University guilty of discrimination in admissions policies.
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 August 12 - 19
- On Monday, August 17, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced the cancellation of in-person classes after one week of having students on campus. This comes after UNC reported 135 new cases of COVID-19 in the last week. The university is also making an effort to de-densify campus.
- Subsequently, on Tuesday, University of Notre Dame cancelled in-person classes for at least two weeks after seeing a surge in positive cases one week after classes started. Michigan State University asked students who were planning to move into on-campus housing to stay home, acknowledging that it is “unlikely we can prevent widespread transmission of COVID-19 between students if our undergraduates return to campus.”
- One major point of contention for colleges and universities is their lack of control over Greek life. Cited as superspreaders, these social organizations’ gatherings threaten institutions’ ability to have in-person instruction.
- Testing protocols are coming into stronger focus. Researchers from Yale University, Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that testing every two days with low-sensitivity, high-specificity tests may be required to control outbreaks, along with isolation tactics. The University of Illinois is aligning their plans with this research, as they plan to test students, staff and faculty two times per week for access to campus facilities. In an invited commentary, Vassar College’s President noted, however, that one size does not fit all, and less frequent testing may be required.
- New Title IX rules went into effect on August 14 for colleges and universities across the country.
- Officials from the National Association for College Admission Counseling released a report urging colleges to reconsider their standardized testing policies, even when the pandemic has passed.
- Despite initial hope and boosts in summer enrollment, community colleges are seeing decreases in fall enrollment ranging from 5% to 30%.
- The Justice Department concluded a two-year investigation of Yale University’s admissions practices, finding that the institution illegally discriminated against white and Asian American undergraduate applicants. Yale “categorically denies this allegation.”
- In the latest development in the controversy over the distribution of CARES Act funding, The U.S. Department of Education is appealing a ruling that allows California’s community colleges to distribute federal coronavirus aid to international and unauthorized students.
- Following hundreds of lawsuits from students demanding refunds for room and board services not used this past spring, the Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust led a coalition of nonprofits and think tanks to develop a new “tuition payer bill of rights.” The first proposed entitlement is the right “to be refunded for services not rendered.”