College students.

In this week’s roundup:  

Despite cancelled spring break at many institutions, students have packed up their things and headed to the beach, going test-optional has caused admissions professionals to take a deeper dive into other parts of applications and colleges and universities continue to plan for an in-person fall semester. 


March 10 – 17

  • Hello spring breakers! While many institutions cancelled their spring breaks this year to limit student travel and the possibility of COVID-19 transmission, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
  • For those who aren’t hitting the beach in Florida, “wellness days,” which are being used in lieu of spring break, are reportedly not cutting the mustard when it comes to relieving stress. 
  • Announcements continue to be made regarding in-person instruction and increased on-campus housing for fall 2021. Increased vaccination rates help with the timing of these announcements. Of course, all of these come with a big asterisk of “public health permitting.” 
  • Some higher ed experts want to double that asterisk and add, “in an equitable way,” as they worry the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on people of color and low- income students will show up in the classroom as well. 
  • After going test-optional, many Ivy League and other selective schools have seen a major bump in applications, causing admissions officials to take a harder look at other metrics. 
  • The Chronicle of Higher Ed gathered data on the effects of COVID-19 on higher education. Some data points include $120 billion in new expenses and losses, a 3.6% decrease in undergraduate enrollment and 40,000 international students who had deferred their fall 2020 enrollment. 
  • New data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows that enrollment numbers for spring 2021 fell by 2.9% across all colleges & universities.  
  • Although COVID-19 numbers nationally are starting to look better, Duke University mandated a “stay-in-place” order to all students after a spike in cases related to frat party shenanigans. 
  • A Gallup study shows nearly half of U.S. college students fear their anticipated graduation date may be pushed back as a result of the pandemic and economic uncertainty. 
  • For 2020 grads, whose hope of a graduation ceremony dwindles, life in the past year has been nothing short of a whirlwind of lost job prospects, moving back in with family and an odd transition to post-college life. 
  • Some colleges are looking to add athletic programs to help boost revenue. 
  • International students report feeling like zombies with the time zone differences from their institution and country of origin. Add in daylight saving, a practice much of the world has abandoned or never participated in, and things get even more challenging.
  • In addition, international students are already preparing their visas where possible to attend classes in person in fall 2021, although travel restrictions could make this effort all the more difficult. 
  • Legal experts and advocacy groups alike suspect that the Biden administration will take a different stance than the Trump administration on allowing transgender athletes to compete. 


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