In this week's roundup:
Colleges are preparing for the omicron variant, resuming student loan payments pose a challenge, and unauthorized immigrant students face obstacles post-graduation.
- As the omicron variant of the coronavirus becomes more prevalent, the American College Health Association emphasized vaccines, contact tracing and testing in its latest recommendations for COVID-19 policy for the upcoming Spring 2022 semester. Currently, ACHA’s leaders are holding off recommending that colleges require booster shots.
- The pause on student loan payment due to the COVID-19 pandemic will soon come to an end and 43 million borrowers will have to start making payments again on February 1, 2022. This vast number may be cause for concern as student loan systems attempt to process so many payments at once.
- A new survey shows that 42% of young adults who left college point to financial reasons as the main cause for their decision. This reason was closely followed by personal commitments/family at 32%, and another 30% claiming that college was simply not the right fit for them.
- Unauthorized immigrant students are having trouble finding work or enrolling in graduate programs post-graduation. While some were able to find work, lack of access to occupational licenses made it difficult for graduates to find jobs in their chosen fields.
- NCAA Division I athletes maintain a high graduation rate at 90%. Both male and female students had a higher graduation success rate than the general student population.
- Despite some increase in diversity, a majority of college boards are still white and male. Racial minorities hold about a third of seats of public boards and about 17% of private boards.
- A group of alumni, faculty, staff and students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have formed a coalition with a mission of defending the university’s independence of political influence.
- Bismarck State College in North Dakota is using federal coronavirus relief money to construct a new building on campus dedicated to the college’s polytechnical mission. This new facility is the first to be paid for with coronavirus relief money totalling $38 million. The institution is expected to break ground in early 2022.
- Indiana University will rename a street that was previously named after a college president who supported eugenics. Jordan Street will be renamed as Eagleson Avenue, in recognition of two members of the same family who were the first Black American to earn a master’s degree and the first Black woman to graduate from the university.
- Only 2% of students who chose to forgo attending college immediately after graduating from high school in 2020 enrolled a year later, down from 2.9% in 2019. For those who enrolled immediately, the gap between high-poverty high schools and low-poverty high schools widened.