Students wearing masks

In this week's roundup:

the University of Michigan has fired its president, $1.85 billion in student loans has been canceled and more institutions distribute K95 masks.

January 13-19

  • Student loan servicer Navient will cancel the debt of 66,000 borrowers in a $1.85 billion settlement. The settlement is a result of an accusation of forcing borrowers to repay forbearances. 
  • The University of Michigan has fired President Mark Schlissel for an alleged sexual affair with a subordinate. The vote by the board of regents to oust Schlissel was unanimous following an investigation that began in December. 
  • Five community colleges in San Antonio, TX, are promising free tuition in addition to access to free or low-cost resources for low-income students. Alamo Promise at the Alamo Colleges District also has low-cost healthcare, food pantry and childcare services. 
  • Data from the National Center for Education Statistics finds that high school students are more likely to attend college if they think their parents can afford secondary education. 80% of high school graduates who thought their parents could afford college attended, compared to only 58% of high school graduates who attended college thinking their parents could not afford it. 
  • The former president of Kentucky State University is suing the university for being forced to resign. Kentucky State countered the lawsuit against M. Christopher Brown II, alleging a breach of contract. 
  • The University of Pittsburgh will be offering an undergraduate public health program beginning in Fall 2022. The new program comes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased interest and demand in public health. Over 800 incoming students have applied for the program. 
  • The Nevada Board of Regents voted in favor of vaccine mandates for college students in Nevada. A letter from Chancellor Melody Rose mentioned a significant number of students remaining unvaccinated and the changing nature of the virus, placing the board of regents at a critical inflection point. 
  • Vanderbilt University and Northern Michigan University have begun distributing K95 masks to students, faculty and staff. Vanderbilt is providing 3 masks per person through students’ dorms and in faculty and staff’s offices. Northern Michigan is distributing 2 masks per person and is ordering more. 
  • A new bill would keep presidential applicants at Florida community colleges and public universities confidential. The closed search practice would help to protect the identities of applicants from their current employers. The bill claims that not protecting the identities of applicants would have a negative impact on the number and quality of applicants.
  • Instructors across the country are asking for greater flexibility with how they teach as COVID-19 cases rise and the omicron variant continues to spread. A step back from initial calls for fully-remote classes at the beginning of the spring semester, this more modest approach calls for university-blessed guidance on the ability to move instruction online, as needed. 


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