In this week’s roundup:  

Miguel Cardona has been approved to be the U.S. Secretary of Education, more schools are having to use “professional judgement” for financial aid appeals and Common App data shows some interesting trends in this year’s admissions pool. 

It would feel wrong not to acknowledge the anniversary of pandemic living. Anyone else have fuzzy memories of Tiger King, empty aisles at the grocery store and the sudden need to learn how to bake bread? Wow, are we glad that spring is around the corner and hope is on the horizon. 

February 25 - March 3

  • The U.S. Senate approved Miguel Cardona’s nomination as Secretary of Education with a final vote of 64 to 33. 
  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill which would give around $40 billion in direct aid to higher education institutions. Next stop: the Senate. 
  • Colleges and universities are becoming increasingly hopeful and communicative about a “more normal” fall 2021 semester. 
  • The California State System was among the first to announce their move to fully remote learning last year and to announce an in-person fall this year (pending public safety information). This decisiveness has worked out for the system, with enrollment increasing overall. 
  • With students’ requests on the rise for financial aid appeals, the Biden administration is encouraging colleges and universities to use “professional judgement” to modify students’ FAFSA information, possibly allowing them to receive more aid. 
  • The group that sued Harvard for discriminating against Asian Americans is now appealing to the Supreme Court in an attempt to block higher education institutions from using race in college admissions. They are also suing Yale for its use of race in admissions. 
  • Variants of COVID-19 are raising the need for multiple considerations, including how the variants interact with vaccines and how to adapt safety measures, if at all. 
  • Common Application submittals show that 44% of people who applied to colleges and universities using that application portal had submitted SAT or ACT scores. This marks a substantial fall from the 77% who had submitted them one year prior. 
  • Other Common App data shows that applicants – notably first-generation students, international students and those from underrepresented racial groups – are showing more interest in selective private institutions. 
  • In an effort to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19, many colleges and universities are utilizing technology, such as body temperature scanners. The catch? Many don’t have the evidence to prove the utility of such items. 
  • Bob Jones University is getting rid of their masking requirement for students seated in classrooms, pointing to low case counts for COVID-19 as a determining factor for the decision. 
  • Nearly a year into the pandemic, students and employers report mixed feelings about online recruiting methods. 


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