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  • Live Updates: Latest News on Coronavirus and Higher Education May 29 2020
    Trump Vetoes Borrower Defense Rebuke May 29, 6:37 p.m. President Trump has vetoed a resolution passed by Congress that would have undone U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ controversial borrower defense rule, making it harder for borrowers to have their student debt forgiven if they were defrauded by their colleges. The move was expected. In February the White House issued a statement opposing the resolution and saying that, if passed, Trump’s advisers would recommend a veto. But in recent days the hopes of the rule’s critics had increased that Trump might let the resolution go into effect by taking no action before a deadline on Saturday. The White House didn’t comment on the veto Friday evening. But confirming the veto, Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin blasted the move.  “President Trump’s veto of my bipartisan bill to help our veterans was a victory for Education Secretary DeVos and the fraud merchants at the for-profit colleges,” Durbin, who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, said in a statement. “My question to the President: in four days did you forget those flag waving Memorial Day speeches as you vetoed a bill the veterans were begging for?” The House had scheduled an override vote on Thursday but postponed it when no veto came. The Republican-controlled Senate must also override the veto, but that’s not considered likely. The veto also was criticized by Ben Miller, vice president of postsecondary education for the progressive Center for American Progress. “In issuing his first domestic policy veto, President Trump and Secretary DeVos are choosing to enrich predatory for-profit colleges over justice for cheated veterans and low-income borrowers,” Miller said in a statement. “The administration’s regulation wields legalese and bureaucracy to trap harmed borrowers in a process they have no hope of successfully completing to get their loans canceled, sending a clear message that colleges’ bad behavior will go unpunished. Congress should see this bipartisan effort through and override President Trump’s veto, especially during a pandemic when so many people are suffering.” -- Kery Murakami College Presidents to Attend White House Meeting May 29, 5:06 p.m. A group of college presidents will be attending a meeting at the White House on Monday, according to one who will be attending and to an education lobbyist. “I’m expecting a wide-ranging discussion,” including reopening campuses, said one college president. President Trump is expected to participate. A White House spokesman declined comment. The lobbyist said many of the invited attendees were involved in a call earlier this month with Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, where presidents discussed several issues, including the need to be able to do more testing and colleges' request for liability protection from coronavirus-related lawsuits. But others who weren’t on the call are expected to attend as well. The meeting would come as President Trump is encouraging states to reopen and Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Senate education committee, also said campuses shouldn’t focus on whether to reopen but on how to do it safely. It would also come three days before the presidents of Purdue and Brown Universities and Lane College are expected to testify at an education committee hearing on reopening campuses. A spokesman for Christina Paxson, Brown's president, who has advocated for reopening, said she will not be attending the White House meeting. Spokespeople for Purdue's Mitch Daniels and Lane's president, Logan Hampton, were not immediately available. -- Kery Murakami NCAA Releases Guidance for Athletes' Return May 29, 3:05 p.m. The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s medical experts released specific recommendations on Friday for member institutions to consider as college athletes return to campus facilities and are permitted to voluntarily begin training on June 1. The guidance was developed by the NCAA’s COVID-19 Advisory Panel and Sport Science Institute, and recommends that colleges evaluate athletes for COVID-19 exposure before they return to campus facilities and “consider asking” athletes and staff to screen themselves for symptoms of the virus at least daily. Athletes and staff members should remain physically distant during strength and conditioning activities and, where distancing is not “feasible,” face coverings should be worn, the guidance says. As it relates to testing athletes and staff members, the guidance did not set out specific recommendations for if and how frequently institutions should test for COVID-19. It deferred largely to the plans of the various states and localities where institutions are located. At multiple points, the guidance re-emphasized the need for reopening plans to be in tandem with state and local requirements. The guidance did warn against the “false sense of security” that negative, one-time tests can provide, because they only evaluate for infection at the time the test is administered. Colleges are encouraged to rely on surveillance of athletes’ specific “bubbles” to monitor infections, by tracking the people they are interacting with during athletic activities for the virus, especially for high-contact sports like football. The NCAA also recommended athletic departments develop hygiene strategies to disinfect shared spaces and equipment, such as workout machines, water bottles, towels and medical equipment used by athletes. Plans to bring athletes back to campus should also align with colleges' broader reopening strategies, and should consider that "NCAA student-athletes are first and foremost students," the guidance says. But the precautions for athletes should be given more consideration due to the greater amount of contact they have with one another versus the general campus community. ​ A statement at the beginning of the guidance addressed those questioning the NCAA’s decision to allow athletic activities to resume next week. “While some stakeholders have embraced the idea of planning for the reopening of collegiate sports, others have questioned whether it would be better to simply wait until there is no longer a threat from COVID-19,” the guidance said. “A resocialization plan that attempts to properly balance the public health considerations through the identification and implementation of appropriate safeguards provides an alternative to shutting down society and sport indefinitely.” --Greta Anderson Senate Dems Want Ed Dept. to Remedy Loan Servicer's Error May 29, 2:13 p.m. Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, owned by Nelnet, reportedly provided incorrect payment information for nearly five million federal student loan borrowers to credit reporting agencies, according to Politico, a mistake that likely lowered borrowers' credit scores. Great Lakes has apologized to borrowers (see statement, below). A group of six Senate Democrats, led by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, has written to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to call on the department to "fully remedy this issue," hold Great Lakes accountable and provide Congress with a detailed accounting of how this "inexcusable blunder" occurred. The $2.2 trillion federal CARES Act stimulus granted temporary relief to federal student loan borrowers during the pandemic by suspending their payments and interest accrual through Sept. 30. The Democratic senators said a CARES Act implementation guidance said any suspended federal student loan payment should be treated as a regularly scheduled one made by a borrower. Instead, the senators said Great Lakes erroneously reported the CARES Act suspension of 4.8 million borrowers' monthly payments as deferments. "It is difficult to know how far reaching the consequences of this error will be for millions of borrowers who might attempt to purchase a home, start a new job or take out a loan to stay financially afloat during this economic crisis," Warren and her colleagues wrote. "Any error that results in an inaccurate score must be immediately remedied, and those responsible for such mistakes must be held accountable." A spokesman for Great Lakes sent the following statement via email: We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this situation and have been committed to resolving the issue quickly. The CARES Act offers interest-free administrative forbearance on federally-held loans through Sept. 30, 2020. On May 6, Great Lakes reported repayment borrowers to the credit reporting agencies in a manner it believed would not have a negative impact on borrower credit scores. On May 11, Great Lakes began receiving questions from borrowers regarding their credit scores provided through third-party credit services. Immediately, Great Lakes began researching these borrower accounts and determined there was an inconsistency between Great Lakes reporting and that of other student loan servicers. Instead of reporting borrowers as current with monthly payments of $0, Great Lakes reported borrowers as current with deferred monthly payments of $0. That same day, Great Lakes acknowledged the inconsistent coding and let our borrowers know we would adjust the inconsistency in reporting with the credit reporting agencies immediately. We also encouraged borrowers to contact the credit reporting agencies directly for information about their credit, as we believe the scores at the agencies were not impacted. An updated credit file was provided to the credit reporting agencies on May 15, and all four reporting agencies have processed the file. Our priority is providing an exceptional customer experience. When we fall short of our goal, our focus is to communicate openly and resolve the issue as soon as possible. -- Paul Fain Senator Murray Opposes Liability Protection for Colleges May 28, 5:45 p.m. Weighing in for the first time on the push by colleges to be protected from coronavirus-related lawsuits should they reopen for in-person instruction, Senator Patty Murray said she opposes granting a “liability shield” because it would essentially say, “it’s okay if students or employees get sick.” The comments by the top Democrat on the Senate's education committee in a statement to Inside Higher Ed contrast with those of the committee’s Republican chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander, who backs liability protection. They also come as associations representing colleges and universities earlier in the day called for Congress to provide the protection. The issue is expected to be debated next Thursday when the presidents of Purdue and Brown Universities and Lane College are scheduled to testify before the U.S. Senate's health and education committee on safely reopening campuses this fall. “Students and parents across the country are depending on colleges and universities to prioritize students’ health and safety. Many colleges are working hard to do the right thing -- but they need clear, enforceable standards and guidance from the federal government,” Murray said. “Instead of just saying it’s okay if students or employees get sick, which is what a liability shield would do, we need to prioritize ensuring that -- when the time comes -- colleges can reopen safely and in accordance with the advice of public health experts. And as our coronavirus response continues, I’ll continue to ensure that colleges and universities have the resources they need to serve their students,” she said. Murray also has been critical of demands by the Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to protect businesses from potential lawsuits, tweeting, “Congress should be focused on doing everything it can to strengthen protections for workers & ensure they're as safe as possible from the virus. Instead, Senate GOP are pushing for new corporate protections that will jeopardize workers’ health & safety.” -- Kery Murakami Poll on Worries of Virginia's College Students May 28, 3:52 p.m. New polling results from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia reveal challenges felt by the state's college students. Over all, 80 percent of students surveyed were worried about their academics, 76 percent faced challenges to their mental health and 45 percent said they were worried about employment. About one-third of students surveyed reported having technology issues after the quick pivot to virtual learning. Nineteen percent are facing health concerns, and 11 percent are dealing with childcare worries. Nearly one-fifth said they were worried about their financial aid status. Eight percent said they were food insecure, with a similar amount reporting housing insecurity. In open-ended response questions, students expressed feelings of loss over milestones never to be completed, anxiety over the welfare of others and general stress and fear. The commission surveyed 1,018 students at Virginia public and private institutions, including public two-year institutions. The survey was conducted April 20 to May 4. -- Lilah Burke Governors' Association Recommends Steps for States to Help Reopen Campuses May 28, 11:20 a.m. The nation’s governors should create a public health framework for colleges and universities to follow in order to reopen campuses, their national association said. In a memo Wednesday, the National Governors Association recommended a number of steps including following the lead of Connecticut Democratic governor Ned Lamont’s reopening advisory group, which laid out a framework recommending steps for colleges to take, including doing testing and contact tracing. “Reopening higher education institutions will be a critically important and high-profile step for governors who are working to get their state economies back on track. This process will involve complex legal questions for which governors should provide clear guidance,” the association’s memo said. -- Kery Murakami​​ Colleges Ask Congress for Protection From Lawsuits May 28, 11:00 a.m. Nearly 80 education groups, including associations representing colleges and universities, wrote Congress asking for “temporary” protections from COVID-19-related lawsuits should they reopen campuses. As first reported by Inside Higher Ed, colleges pushed for protection from pandemic-related lawsuits in a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and before the Senate Judiciary Committee two weeks ago. The effort is part of a broader push by groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and supported by Republican congressional leaders, to block lawsuits should students, customers or workers contract the coronavirus. In the letter to congressional leaders, the president of the American Council on Education, Ted Mitchell, wrote that “as colleges and universities assess how quickly and completely campuses can resume full operations, they are facing enormous uncertainty about COVID-19-related standards of care and corresponding fears of huge transactional costs associated with defending against COVID-19 spread lawsuits, even when they have done everything within their power to keep students, employees, and visitors safe.” A shield is needed, Mitchell wrote, “to blunt the chilling effect this will have on otherwise reasonable decision-making leading to our nation’s campuses resuming operations in a safe and sensible manner.” He wrote the protections should be given for colleges “following applicable public health standards, and they should preserve recourse for those harmed by truly bad actors who engage in egregious misconduct.” Republican leaders in the Senate, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the majority whip, John Cornyn, are working on a proposal to provide the protection for a range of entities. McConnell has said liability protection has to be part of any future coronavirus relief package. It’s unclear when Senate Republicans might release their liability protection proposal, but McConnell said Tuesday he expects Congress to take up another coronavirus package in about a month. -- Kery Murakami Mitch Daniels Among Presidents to Testify Before Senate on Reopening May 27, 6:02 p.m. The presidents of Purdue and Brown Universities and Lane College will testify before the U.S. Senate's health and education committee next Thursday on “how students can safely go to their college or university this fall,” the committee announced. In addition to Purdue’s Mitch Daniels, Brown’s Christina Paxson and Lane’s Logan Hampton, Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, will testify. All three of the presidents have advocated physically reopening their campuses this fall; the agenda at this point includes no college leaders who have said their institutions to continue to operate mostly virtually this fall. Senator Lamar Alexander, the committee’s Republican chairman and former president of the University of Tennessee, expressed confidence to reporters last week that colleges and universities around the country will have sufficient testing capacity and are taking the needed steps to be able to safely reopen their physical campuses this fall. -- Kery Murakami Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge DeVos to Help Students Left Jobless May 27, 5:10 p.m. A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is urging the Education Department to change the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form so students can have reductions in their income considered when they seek aid. “We are concerned that the current financial situation of students who recently filed, or are in the process of filing, their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may not be accurately reflected,” the senators wrote in a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. “Students and families who have recently become unemployed or suffered a significant drop in income may fail to qualify for the support they need to afford college.” The letters were signed by two Democrats, Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, and two Republicans, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia. The senators asked DeVos to issue a guidance document stressing that college financial aid administrators are able to exercise their professional judgment and to adjust the income of recently unemployed students to zero. The senators also suggested a number of other steps, including adding a question on the FAFSA form where students can note that their income had been reduced because of the pandemic. Angela Morabito, an Education Department spokeswoman, said the department is reviewing the letter. "Secretary DeVos continues to use every available avenue to help keep students learning during this national emergency," she said. -- Kery Murakami Colleges Applaud Proposal to Expand National Science Foundation May 27, 2:50 p.m. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities praised the introduction of a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Congress that would dramatically expand the National Science Foundation and pump $100 billion into the agency over five years to increase research in areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and advanced manufacturing. Under the Endless Frontiers Act, the NSF would be renamed the National Science and Technology Foundation. The new agency would have two deputy directors -- one to oversee the NSF’s current operations and another to lead a new technology directorate to advance technology in 10 areas as the U.S. faces greater competition from China and other countries. “America cannot afford to continue our decades-long underinvestment and expect to lead the world in advanced scientific and technological research,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York. “To ensure our advantage, our bill treats scientific research as a national security priority and provides substantial new investments into funding critical research and development to build the industries of the future in regions across the country.” The bill and an accompanying version in the House were co-sponsored by Representative Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, and Republicans Senator Todd Young, from Indiana, and Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin. Peter McPherson, APLU's president, said in a statement, “Federal investment in R&D has languished in recent decades. As a share of the economy, it’s a third of what it was at its peak. China and other countries, meanwhile, have vastly expanded their investments in research and development. The current pandemic has underscored the critical need to redouble public investment in research and development. We must ensure more of these innovations and advancements take place in the U.S. rather than elsewhere around the globe.” -- Kery Murakami Purdue Board Approves Fall Reopening Plans May 26, 5:46 p.m. Purdue University’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved the adoption of a fall academic calendar featuring in-person instruction from Aug. 24 to Nov. 24, without customary university holidays or fall breaks and with the remainder of the semester to be completed remotely. At the same time, the board approved plans for offering remote coursework options to students who cannot or will not come to the Indiana campus this fall. Purdue’s president, Mitch Daniels, has been especially visible in articulating a case for universities to reopen, despite concerns voiced by some Purdue faculty members about the safety of in-person teaching. Purdue’s board on Tuesday approved a plans “to de-densify learning spaces on campuses,” by reducing classroom occupancy by approximately 50 percent and limiting occupancy for large classrooms to no more than 150 students. “The space between instructor and student will be a minimum of 10 feet, and mobile plexiglass barriers will be available for additional protection,” the university said in a news release. Purdue's board similarly approved plans to “de-densify” on-campus living spaces, “ensuring that each residential space meets the following requirements: square footage per person will meet or exceed 113 square feet, allowing for a radius of six feet per person, or while sleeping, a separation of at least 10 feet head-to-head.” Other plans approved by the board include plans to implement “more frequent and intensive practices for disinfecting campus facilities” and “adopt a definitional framework for identifying those most vulnerable in the campus community and, thus, at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and to implement a process for making individual accommodations for those for whom it is medically appropriate.” Finally, the board approved a new university regulation requiring the wearing of face masks while indoors and in any close-quarters setting. It also ratified the Protect Purdue Pledge -- a series of individual commitments for monitoring for COVID-19 and maintaining social distancing -- and directed enforcement of the pledge as a university regulation. -- Elizabeth Redden Appalachian State to Cut Three Athletics Teams May 26, 3:50 p.m. Appalachian State University will eliminate its men's soccer, tennis and indoor track and field programs, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. The move will leave Appalachian State with 17 intercollegiate athletics teams, one more than the minimum required to participate in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Another public university located in North Carolina, East Carolina University, last week announced it was cutting athletics teams amid the pandemic and financial crises. ECU eliminated men's swimming and diving, women's swimming and diving, men's tennis, and women's tennis. -- Paul Fain FAFSA Renewals Down, Especially for Lower-Income Students May 26, 3 p.m. The number of students filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid is still down from this time last year. Completions of the application started to decline in mid-March, when parts of the country began to shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the National College Attainment Network, which is tracking FAFSA applications. Application renewals have improved since April but are still lagging behind counts from last year. Through May 15, there have been nearly 4 percent fewer FAFSA renewals than through the same time last year. Students from low-income backgrounds are not filing or renewing in disproportionate amounts compared to higher-income students. Applications from students who are eligible for federal Pell Grants whose families have incomes of $25,000 or less are also down by more than 7 percent compared to last year. While renewals increased for students from households making more than $25,000, applications from those making less were still down. Over all, there were nearly 6 percent fewer renewals from all Pell-eligible students from March 15 to May 15 this year compared to last. Renewals from students whose households earn $50,000 or more are up slightly -- by about 4,100 renewals -- compared to last year. -- Madeline St. Amour University of Michigan's President on Reopening, Football May 26, 9:07 a.m. In an interview The Wall Street Journal published over the weekend, University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel said whatever decision the university makes about in-person instruction in the fall will apply through the rest of the academic year. “What’s going to be different in January?” Schlissel told the newspaper. The winter semester coincides with the flu season, said Schlissel. And because about half of Michigan's students are from out of state, both semesters likely will feature an influx of students traveling from COVID-19 hot spots. Schlissel also told the Journal that the university won't have a football season this fall unless all students are able to be back on campus for classes. “If there is no on-campus instruction then there won’t be intercollegiate athletics, at least for Michigan,” Schlissel said. “[I have] some degree of doubt as to whether there will be college athletics [anywhere], at least in the fall.” An immunologist by training, Schlissel told Inside Higher Ed back in early March that the university was updating its strategy on the COVID-19 pandemic on a daily basis. “There’s a huge amount of uncertainty and a lot of concern,” he said. “We’re looking at it every single day and asking ourselves, ‘What is the right thing to do?’” -- Paul Fain College Presidents Say Fall Opening Likely May 25, 2020, 1:26 p.m. More than half of college presidents (53 percent) said it was “very likely” their institutions would resume in-person courses this fall, and another 31 percent said it was “somewhat likely,” according to a survey of 310 presidents conducted by the American Council on Education. Presidents at public two-year colleges were less likely (38 percent) than presidents of four-year public (53 percent) and four-year private (58 percent) colleges to say it was “very likely” their colleges would resume in-person courses this fall. Of the 230 presidents in the survey whose institutions offer on-campus housing, 51 percent said it was “very likely” their campuses would resume in-person housing operations at some point in the fall semester, and 40 percent said it was “somewhat likely.” The survey asked presidents about whether they plan to take certain specific actions in resuming in-person operations. Their answers can be seen in the two charts below.     !function(e,i,n,s){var t="InfogramEmbeds",d=e.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];if(window[t]&&window[t].initialized)window[t].process&&window[t].process();else if(!e.getElementById(n)){var o=e.createElement("script");o.async=1,o.id=n,o.src="https://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js",d.parentNode.insertBefore(o,d)}}(document,0,"infogram-async");       !function(e,i,n,s){var t="InfogramEmbeds",d=e.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];if(window[t]&&window[t].initialized)window[t].process&&window[t].process();else if(!e.getElementById(n)){var o=e.createElement("script");o.async=1,o.id=n,o.src="https://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js",d.parentNode.insertBefore(o,d)}}(document,0,"infogram-async");   College presidents also are broadly forecasting revenue and enrollment declines. Among college presidents projecting enrollment declines for this fall, 45 percent expect a decline of 10 percent or less compared to fall 2019, 50 percent expect an 11 to 20 percent decline and 6 percent expect a 21 to 30 percent decline. -- Elizabeth Redden Older Coronavirus Live Updates Editorial Tags: CoronavirusAd Keyword: coronavirus_live_updates, adxoff, CoronavirusIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: Latest Coronavirus NewsTrending order: 2Display Promo Box: Live Updates: liveupdates1
    Colleges award tenure May 29 2020
    Centre College Willie Costley, Spanish Patten Mahler, economics Kelly O’Quin, biology Bruce Rodenborn, physics Iulia Sprinceana, Spanish Kaelyn Wiles, sociology Drury University Justin Leinaweaver, political science and international affairs Ioana Popescu, biology Jennie Silva Brown, psychology Ted Vaggalis, philosophy Lawrence University Deanna Donohoue, chemistry Jose Encarnacion, music Dylan Fitz, economics Jonathan Lhost, economics Lavanya Murali, anthropology Melissa Range, English St. Norbert College Debbie Kupinsky, art Carrie Larson, history Michelle Schoenleber, psychology Erica Southworth, education Abby Trollinger, history Editorial Tags: Tenure listIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Centre CollegeDrury UniversitySt. Norbert CollegeDisplay Promo Box: Live Updates: liveupdates0
    May 29 roundup: Lawsuit protections, no layoffs and Pet Friday May 29 2020
    I'm very happy to bring you yet another Pet Friday. To start things off, we have a little diversity. Deborah Dougherty, a professor of world languages and culture at Alma College in Michigan, sent a photo of these perfect Nigerian dwarf goats. Lilly, Daisy and Rosie host regular happy hours for friends and colleagues during the pandemic. (Once this is over, I am racing to the nearest goat yoga event I can find.) And to top it all off, one of my favorite animals ever: the Maine Coon. Jd Davis, the associate director of Continuing Education at Heartland Community College, in Illinois, said her Maine Coon mix, Leo, is the supervisor of his home office. "He watches me send emails, 'helps' me sort paperwork, makes sure his tail is visible in every Zoom call … you get the picture." What a great start. On to the news. Nearly 80 educations groups, including some that represent colleges and universities, are calling on Congress to provide temporary protections from lawsuits related to COVID-19 if they choose to reopen campuses. Republican Senate leaders are working on a proposal to provide such protection. The National Governors Association has released recommended steps that governors should put in place for colleges to follow in order to reopen campuses, highlighting the work done by the advisory group formed by Democratic Connecticut governor Ned Lamont. A new poll from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia shows that students are worried after having to make a quick switch to remote learning due to the coronavirus. More than 80 percent worry about their academics, 76 percent are dealing with mental health issues and nearly half are worried about employment due to the recession triggered by the virus. Here’s a quick roundup of our latest stories, in case you’ve fallen a bit behind (we don’t blame you): The University of Kentucky announced it won't lay off any staff in its 2021 budget. Emma Whitford reports on how it will do that. Greta Anderson has the story on the latest Gallup survey, which found that a majority of college alumni wouldn't have trusted their institutions to fully investigate discrimination complaints while they were students. Black alumni were especially skeptical of their alma maters. The president of Purdue University, Mitch Daniels, is one of the prominent higher ed leaders slated to testify next week to the U.S. Senate on reopening campuses, Kery Murakami reports. News From Elsewhere Times Higher Education reports that some are concerned about the treatment of some Chinese academics who have strayed from the official narrative on COVID-19. Credit ratings for student housing projects are not looking good right now, GlobeSt.com reports. Meharry Medical College, a historically black college, is partnering with the National Institutes of Health to test its antiviral drug to eradicate COVID-19, NBC News reports. Percolating Thoughts This is a time when everyone has an opinion. As journalists, we try not to have opinions, but we've gathered some interesting ones from others. Senator Lamar Alexander, the chair of the U.S. Senate education committee, argues that the question should be how to reopen campuses safely in the fall, not whether to do so. PennLive wrote about the different approaches that two Pennsylvania institutions are taking in the fall. A Vassar College graduate wrote about how her Zoom graduation ceremony felt for The New York Times. Have any percolating thoughts or notice any from others? Feel free to send them our way or comment below. We’ll continue bringing you the news you need in this crazy time. Keep sending us your questions and story ideas. We’ll get through this together. Editorial Tags: CoronavirusFinancial impactsDiscriminationImage Source: ISTOCK.COM/FPMIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: Live Updates: liveupdates0
    Charter school group to start new higher ed program on Marlboro College campus May 29 2020
    Founding a new institution during a global pandemic might not seem like the right move, but Seth Andrew thinks this is the perfect time for change. Andrew, the founder of social venture incubator Democracy Builders, announced Thursday that the nonprofit is purchasing the 500-acre campus of Marlboro College in Vermont to start a college program to begin in September. After suffering declining enrollments and revenues, Marlboro last year chose to close its campus and merge with Emerson College in Boston. The campus will be used for Andrew's next venture, Degrees of Freedom, which aims to create a hybrid late high school, early college experience for students who are low income and the first in their families to attend college. "It’s an opportunity to provide a new model for higher education that doesn’t exist for most kids," Andrew said. "In this very unpredictable time, we think there will be even more demand." Democracy Builders has experience in K-12 education with its charter school network, Democracy Prep, which serves mostly lower-income and urban students.​​ "Our team at Degrees of Freedom is a seasoned group of education veterans who want to reimagine what higher ed looks like," Andrew said. "This is really a new way of thinking about college and the transition from high school." A run-in with one of the charter school's alums inspired Andrew to look beyond high school to serve students. He bumped into a former Democracy Prep student on the New York City subway and asked where he worked. When the student said he worked at Amazon, Andrew assumed he was working on the technology side. But the student said he was delivering for the company. He had a bachelor's degree, Andrew said, but he had transferred between several community colleges and a private institution, racking up debt, and the quality of his education hadn't helped him succeed. Andrew wants to steer students away from that outcome with a new model tailored to needy students. How Will It Work? Democracy Builders recruited a design team of people who were first-generation college students to ensure the program was built not just for those students, but also with input from former students. Jamie McCoy, an alum of Democracy Prep and a teacher at one of the schools, is a member of the design team. She is writing a book about her own experiences as a first-generation student and thinks this program could help keep students from falling through the cracks after graduating high school. "Something here is being missed where we’re coming out the other end with a credential but not the freedom," she said. "We manage to get kids through, but something’s being missed." Several aspects of the program will help address issues that prevent students from succeeding, she said. One is its cultural responsiveness, she said. The academic year will be broken down into trimesters. Students will come to the Marlboro campus for two weeks each trimester for a total of six weeks per year. During those weeks, they'll be oriented to the trimester's courses and meet with faculty and staff members, as well as their peers. Students will be placed in cohorts, which will rotate through the on-campus portion of the program. The campus can serve about 300 students, so Andrew estimates they can cycle through about 1,000 to 1,500 students per year with the low-residency rotation model. Then they'll return home. "This population has a really strong tie to home," McCoy said. "I felt really weird being away." Many first-generation college students also have responsibilities beyond coursework. Some are caring for siblings or parents, and others need to work to help support the household, she said. While at home, students also will begin apprenticeships related to their majors. The college will subsidize that program to entice employers and ensure students are paid. They'll work at those during the day and then participate in synchronous online learning at night. The program intends to use technology, like virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence to make the online work as engaging as possible, according to Andrew. Gaining experience in a field is the only way students can really figure out what they want to do, McCoy said. It makes them more mindful of their interests so they don't waste time pursuing majors or courses that will lead to a job they wouldn't enjoy. The other important piece is the cost, she said. For many low-income students, the program would be free. Andrew expects students who are eligible for federal Pell Grants won't incur any debt from the program. The total cost to attend will be $9,000 per year, and the maximum Pell Grant for each trimester should cover those costs, he said. The on-ramps for students will also be different. While students from everywhere will be welcome, Degrees of Freedom plans to partner with charter schools to give students the opportunity to take some courses while in high school. Students at high schools that partner with the program will be able to start courses in 11th grade and finish one or two courses during their last two years of high school, Andrew said. Those students will have more "wiggle room" to explore electives or take a trimester off to focus solely on an apprenticeship. Students from partner high schools who don't start the program in the 11th grade and students from high schools that aren't partners also will be able to enroll in Degrees of Freedom. They just won't have earned credits before college. The model could resolve the chasm between high school and college, said Nick Mathern, vice president of K-12 partnerships for Achieving the Dream, a nonprofit that supports student success at community colleges. The possibility for students to start a program in high school, get accustomed to thinking of themselves as college students and then transition seamlessly is ideal, he said. "As a leader and practitioner in the early-college field, I am really excited about this model," Mathern said. The largest challenge for the program could be the online learning piece, he said. Using some face-to-face instruction and hands-on apprenticeships will ameliorate engagement issues, but many low-income and first-generation students simply don't have the tech infrastructure or physical space for private online learning at home. Using advanced technology like virtual reality also will require the program to provide equipment to students and ensure their internet access is reliable enough to handle it, he said. Degrees of Freedom also is not yet a community college. The leaders are still working toward getting accreditation through the New England Commission of Higher Education. If they can't get probationary accreditation in time for their September opening, Andrew plans to apply through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, a national accreditor. As a last resort, the program could partner with another institution for incubating accreditation, he said. Mathern was happy to hear the program's creators have two backup plans for accreditation, but he emphasized that the process is not easy to overcome. "The odds will be, if not against them, at least daunting," he said. "That said, this is a really relevant model." ‘Modular and Inclusive’ While the students will earn an associate degree in the program, Andrew is less concerned about being defined as a two-year institution or an early college program. "We are less committed to the traditional notions of an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a high school degree in four years," Andrew said. "We think the metrics of success should be students' long-term success. Time should be the variable, not the constant." In the future, he hopes to serve students across the country with multiple physical campuses. Those locations would likely follow in a similar vein to the Marlboro deal, where the program will purchase a campus that was unable to survive on its own and preserve some of its traditions but bring it into the modern era, Andrew said. Marlboro College itself isn't going away, though. The Board of Trustees is in the final stages of contracting with Emerson College to create a liberal arts program staffed with Marlboro faculty and attended by Marlboro students, said Dick Saudek, the chair of the Marlboro board. A committee tasked with recommending a buyer for the campus to the board chose Degrees of Freedom, Saudek said, not necessarily because it was the highest bid but because it was the most compelling option. "We are hopeful that they will succeed at this. Any time you do what they do, it’s a heavy lift. We recognize that," he said. "But we are also intrigued with the idea that the campus will be used for this purpose instead of, say, developed for housing or a tourist attraction." The Degrees of Freedom program also ensures that the Marlboro campus, its trail network and facilities will be maintained and enjoyed in the future. Andrew admits the coronavirus pandemic has complicated his plans for the program. But Degrees of Freedom also has some advantages. It can start with smaller cohorts so students can live in single rooms in residence halls. Those who attend from the northeast region can arrive by Amtrak and then immediately go to the college in the small Vermont town, where they can be quarantined. COVID-19 has also made obvious that higher education needs options like this, Andrew said. Students need human contact. What is being used for online teaching right now isn't adequate, he said. Students can take a relatively small risk on this program rather than waiting at home for campuses to reopen. He said it makes more sense than paying tens of thousands of dollars for a residential degree that will likely be online or vastly different. "While we’ve been thinking about and building these plans for far longer than COVID existed, the global pandemic has only highlighted that our model is exactly what higher education needs now," Andrew said. "In this moment of extreme uncertainty, we are much more affordable, flexible, modular and inclusive than a traditional college degree." Editorial Tags: Digital LearningNew academic programsVermontImage Source: Courtesy of Marlboro CollegeImage Caption: Marlboro College's campusIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: Live Updates: liveupdates0