Cartoon student.

In this week’s roundup:  

Colleges and universities continue to grapple with masking policies, the job market receives a new cohort of fresh grads and the Biden administration is taking a look at student loans. 

May 20 – 26

  • To mask or not to mask? For colleges and universities trying to incorporate new CDC guidance, that is the question
  • More than 400 colleges and universities are requiring students to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Almost all are in states where a majority voted for President Biden
  • Meanwhile, international students are worried about getting back to the U.S. for the 2021-2022 academic year, and colleges are also concerned
  • As the Class of 2021 enters the job market, a recent survey says nearly half of the Class of 2020 is still looking for work
  • Preliminary data from the National Association of College and University Business Officers suggests tuition discounts at private nonprofit colleges hit record highs in 2020-21. 
  • Investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’ tenure decision at the University of North Carolina was halted because of her lack of “traditional academic-type background,” prompting outrage from students and faculty in support of the Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur Fellow.
  • The pandemic might accelerate the trend of older people returning to education. On that same note, William & Mary had a 75-year-old graduate this year, following a 54-year gap. 
  • In the year after the murder of George Floyd, more colleges are requiring students to take courses on race, ethnicity or anti-racism. 
  • West Texas A&M University President Walter Wendler recorded 3,000 personalized videos encouraging admitted students to attend the regional public university. 
  • Yet another aspect of emerging from the pandemic: colleges and universities are (mostly) reinstating retirement benefits, opportunities for pay raises, etc. 
  • The Biden administration has turned its attention to student loans and is looking to make some changes to income-based repayment and forgiveness programs. 
  • With birth rates continuing to decline, the pandemic may not be the only culprit for enrollment numbers doing the same. 
  • The four public universities in Washington state have decided to move to test-optional permanently. 


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