In this week's roundup:
students who are parents receive additional support in California, legal action is taken against the Biden Administration and the traditional grading system may not accurately measure learning.
September 29-October 5
- Unpaid internships are being scrutinized by institutions and lawmakers for placing a barrier over students’ financial needs. Joshua Kahn, associate director of research and public policy at the National Association of Colleges and Employers, admits “it’s very difficult to take an unpaid internship, unpaid work experience, when you’re from a lower-income background. That’s why we’re pushing for more paid internships, less reliance on unpaid internships, and in the hopes that it helps diversify the workforce and these industries.”
- Institutions in southwestern and central Florida are evaluating reopening plans after Hurricane Ian left behind damage and flooding. While some institutions had minimal damage, others were left with more damage on their campuses.
- Six Republican-led states took legal action against the Biden Administration’s student loan debt relief plan. Leaders in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and others accuse the President of overstepping his authority through debt relief.
- The University of Georgia System reported an increase in the number of degrees awarded to students. The 74,000 degrees, awards and certificates given between 2021 and 2022 mark a 2.1% increase from the previous year.
- California governor Gavin Newsom signed new legislation to improve access to higher education for underserved student populations. One of these populations, students who are parents, will receive priority course registration and access to additional resources.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that institutions that withhold transcripts from students as a way to force institutional loan repayment is “abusive” and a violation of federal law. Transcripts can play an important role in students getting jobs after graduation.
- New research from Community College Review found that more adults and low-income students enroll in community colleges when bachelor’s degrees are offered. There has been a push to allow more community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees to serve underrepresented communities.
- Support and criticism are growing for the practice of “ungrading,” where institutions stop assigning conventional A-F letter grades for first-year students to allow them to adapt to college. “Grades are not a representation of student learning, as hard as it is for us to break the mindset that if the student got an A it means they learned,” said Jody Greene, special adviser to the provost for educational equity and academic success at the University of California Santa Cruz.
- Student loan forgiveness applications are expected to be available in early October, although a data has not been announced. Forty million borrowers are expected to have some of their debt relieved, while 20 million are expected to have all debt cancelled.
- A new survey from the Trevor Project found that institutions with mental health services specifically for LGBTQ+ students have reduced the risk of suicide. Shane Mendez Windmeyer, executive director for Campus Pride, emphasized the importance of these resources. “Campuses that do take responsibility, do have support services for LGBTQ students, the students there are not at as high risk of suicidality and other forms of depression,” they said. “They’ll be able to get better grades; they’ll be able to succeed academically if they get that support.”