In this week's roundup:
Institutions are cutting ties with Russia, transgender athletes face another obstacle, and the pause on student loan repayment could be extended once again.
- Public colleges in Arizona, including Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University, are cutting their ties with Russia by selling their Russian assets. Although the amount is relatively small, the symbolic gesture is meant to show disapproval over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- Tuition-free college initiatives in different states have been gaining momentum. In President Biden’s State of the Union address on March 1, he called on Congress to invest in community colleges, which First Lady Jill Biden describes as “America’s best kept secret.”
- The Biden Administration may extend the pause on student loan repayments before the current deadline ends on May 2, 2022. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said that a decision regarding the extension of the pause will be issued before May 2.
- After the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of an enrollment cap for the University of California Berkeley, the university will offer online enrollment in the fall or deferred enrollment for next spring. Enrollment cuts will be mitigated for the most part, with reductions of a few hundred instead of more than two thousand students.
- Study abroad officials have begun to pull students out of programs in Russia. The future of Russian and Eastern European study abroad programs remains a question mark, dependent on the status of the war and COVID-19.
- Iowa is the latest state to ban transgender girls and women from participating in school and college athletic teams that align with their gender identity. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona voiced his support for the transgender community, saying, "We're going to lift up their voices and make sure that they recognize that our schools are for them and that they have the same opportunity any other students have. So not only in funding, but in policy and how we use the bully pulpit."
- Amazon is providing access to free college education and ESL classes to over 700,000 of its employees. The upskilling initiative is funded by Amazon’s pledge of $1.2 billion for education through 2025.
- According to a survey from College Pulse, students nationwide feel closer to their professors compared to their connections with college administrators, and feel that professors got them through the pandemic. Similarly, 43% of students feel understood or somewhat understood by upper-level administrators.
- A Florida bill may soon allow public colleges to keep candidates for a presidency secret until finalists are announced. The law would take effect as many large, public colleges begin their search for presidential candidates.
- Georgia public colleges and universities will no longer face penalties for discussions on race or violating Senate Bill 377. SB 377 aims to control the teaching of “certain concepts” such as critical race theory or the examination of racism on society.