Students walking on college campus

In this week's roundup:

 college leaders react to school shootings, employers help with student loan debt, and more institutions have returned to mask mandates. 

May 26- June 1

  • College leaders across the country are speaking out against the school shooting that took place at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Some expressed concerns about the safety of schools while others called for gun control. 
  • Financial student loan servicer Nelnet has laid off 150 of their employees as a result of the 2-year pause in student loan payments. During the 2-year pause, the Omaha-based company received low call volume and employees were gradually laid off. 
  • The latest plans from the Biden Administration include forgiving $10,000 of student debt per borrower. A final decision was expected to be made by mid-May, but White House spokesperson Vedant Patel said “no decisions have been made yet.” 
  • Mask mandates have been reinstated at UCLA, the University of Hawaii system, and the Pennsylvania State University main campus. At several upcoming commencement ceremonies, masks will be required when indoors except for commencement speakers while speaking. 
  • Massachusetts lawmakers will vote on a bill that would require public institutions to have abortion medication readily available. One of the sponsors of the bills, Lindsay N. Sabadosa, said that this legislation would make abortion more accessible for students. 
  • More employers may be able to help their employees pay off student loan debt. The tax break granted via the CARES Act during the pandemic made the perk more appealing for companies. Inova Health Systems will contribute $150 per month to repay employees’ debt. 
  • A new report from College Campaign demonstrates gaps in graduation rates for Asian American students. Michele Siqueiros, president of the organization, notes the diversity within the Asian American community and how it is harmful to view them as a “model minority.” 
  • Michigan’s free college program may soon see an expansion as the age requirement is lowered from 25 to 21. The Michigan Reconnect program pays for in-district tuition for those who do not have a college degree. 
  • University of California-Davis students are engaged in a debate about the university’s mascot. The current mascot, Gunrock the Mustang, is being challenged by a student advocating for Aggie the Cow and noting the university should be proud of their top-ranked agriculture program. 
  • The family of a Stanford student who died by suicide earlier this year is advocating a new mental health program. The voluntary program seeks to help students facing academic problems, physical injury or other challenges that could impact mental health. 


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