Students at some colleges are weighing in on their schools' decisions to cancel in-person commencement ceremonies in favor of virtual graduations, including students at Tufts, who convinced administrators to forgo a virtual event and instead reschedule the in-person ceremony when it is safe to do so. Some universities are planning to go ahead with a virtual graduation but with an actual ceremony to be planned later.
The board of the University of North Carolina System voted to adapt admissions standards for the next three years in response to students not being able to take the SAT and ACT amid the coronavirus emergency. The tests will still be required, but admission will be based on a minimum GPA or score on the SAT or ACT instead of a minimum GPA in addition to a test score.
Community colleges are helping students during the coronavirus outbreak by donating food, providing for rent and leaving certain spaces open for students without reliable access to WiFi. Other schools have donated laptops, started funds for furloughed or laid-off students and made sure their course content was available on all devices.
The economic models in higher education, and the grants that fund them, will undergo a seismic change in response to the coronavirus, writes Goldie Blumenstyk, who spoke to several foundations. Concerns include current and potential low-income students, funding for online teaching technology and training, and students left out after permanent closure of some schools.
Some college administrators face a financial challenge in refunding students' room and board fees after campus closures, especially considering most schools don't have contingency plans for such refunds. Some colleges are offering full or partial refunds while others may offer credit toward future charges, which would give the schools time to compensate for the lost revenue, says Jim Hundrieser of the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
Few low-income and community-college students throughout New York and the City University of New York received scholarship funding through the state's tuition-free program, An analysis by the Center for an Urban Future finds. Community-college students at the State University of New York and CUNY received only 19% of scholarships awarded in 2018, according to the report.
An analysis of 17 flagship universities found that when schools raised tuition, low-income students were less likely to apply, despite generous financial aid policies. Students were probably unaware of institutions' guarantees to meet financial need, researchers said in the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper.
The City University of New York announced new presidents for Queens College, Hostos Community College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Robin Garrell, who has a record of boosting diversity, will lead the graduate center; Frank Wu, a legal scholar in race and civil rights, will head Queens College; and Daisy Coco de Filippis, a CUNY graduate, will lead Hostos.
Although in-person meetings are fundamental to college and university fundraising, development officers and academic administrators must forge ahead with fundraising efforts amid the pandemic, writes David Perlmutter, a dean at Texas Tech University. In this advice column, he offers several suggestions for remote fundraising, such as embracing new and old forms of distance outreach and ensuring your team is in sync.
A recent Cirkled In survey found that financial hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic have some high-school seniors revising their plans for college, with more than two-thirds of respondents stating that their financial situation has changed. While the effects are expected to be felt more strongly by smaller, less well-known universities, Education Alliance president and CEO James Samuels expects the impact to affect all higher education institutions to some degree.
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