College students wearing mask on campus.

In this week’s roundup:  

A new study shows the important ways to attract, support and retain international students; FAFSA numbers continue to show concerning trends regarding low-income applicants and President Biden’s nominee for education secretary continues to make progress towards confirmation.

February 11 - 17

  • Record-breaking low temperatures and winter weather across the southern and central U.S. forced campuses to close, challenging efforts to maintain COVID-19 testing and vaccination. 
  • The National College Attainment Network analyzed FAFSA completion numbers and found two major pieces of information: more students are renewing their FAFSA at this time compared to last year but fewer students are filing FAFSAs for the first time. This decline in first-time applicants is disproportionately affecting students from low-income areas. 
  • Valparaiso University announced that they will drop their current mascot -- the Crusader -- because of its negative connotation and association with hate groups and violence. 
  • The American Council on Education released a report on how colleges and universities can better attract, support and retain international students. A comprehensive approach involving the entire campus is one major element. 
  • Despite historic trends to cut state funding for higher ed, this time around many states are increasing higher ed budgets or at least restoring cuts that were made last year. 
  • Faculty at Stanford have issued two proposals for ways to de-emphasize the role of wealth in the university’s admissions process. Stanford’s class of 2013 had 66% of its members come from the top 20% of family income levels.  
  • A new study on the effectiveness of nudging students via text messages has found that this tactic should only be used selectively, along with several other key factors for ensuring positive outcomes. 
  • One class at the University of Washington is fighting the good fight against misinformation during the digital age by calling BS
  • The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reported that they have been contacted by significantly more students and faculty who believe their free speech rights have been violated during the pandemic. 
  • President Biden’s nominee for education secretary, Miguel Cardona, has been backed by the Senate education committee in a 17 to 5 vote
  • A new metastudy of teacher evaluations finds that equity bias definitely exists, although the specifics of it and its effects are hard to pin down, among other findings. 
  • The University of Minnesota System passed a program which allows students who come from families making $50,000 or less to go to college for free. 
  • Resident assistants and other residence life workers want to be considered among frontline workers when it comes to receiving the coronavirus vaccine. 


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