In this week’s roundup:
We’ll get you caught up on all the higher education news that happened over the holiday break, plus the latest as colleges prepare for the latest semester.
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.
December 31 – January 6 (and earlier)
- In late December, President-elect Joe Biden announced the nomination of Dr. Miguel A. Cardona, Connecticut’s commissioner of education and a longtime public school educator, as U.S. education secretary. The implications for higher education are not immediately clear.
- The $900 billion coronavirus-relief package passed on December 23 provided another $23 billion in relief aid to colleges and universities, far short of expectations. The bill included some long-awaited policy reforms, including expanding Pell Grants and streamlining the FAFSA process.
- Faced with financial pressure as a result of COVID-19, America’s colleges and universities issued a record amount of debt this year.
- More than 140 doctoral programs across dozens of institutions, including Ph.D. programs in seven of eight Ivy League schools, are suspending admissions for fall 2021.
- As vaccines are rolling out across America, most colleges and universities await clearer federal guidance on whether to require that employees and students receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Rising COVID-19 infection and death rates are prompting many colleges and universities to make last-minute changes to their spring calendars, including further delaying the start of the semester or having the first month of instruction fully online.
- The American College Health Association has recommended that colleges and universities test their students and employees for COVID-19 twice a week.
- According to a new survey, about 85% of college students say the pandemic has negatively impacted their academic performance.
- One of the world’s richest women, MacKenzie Scott surprised HBCUs, tribal colleges and community colleges with multimillion-dollar gifts.
- At California’s Pitzer College, students and incarcerated men at the California Rehabilitation Center can now earn bachelor’s degrees side by side.
- A lawsuit from three students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute regarding tuition refunds has been reviewed by a federal judge and is moving forward.