Community colleges could see a surge in popularity amid Covid-19

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Historically, community college enrollment spikes during economic downturns.

This year, a public health crisis may draw even more students who don’t want to travel or live in a dorm.

The coronavirus crisis has already changed the way this year’s crop of high school seniors are thinking about higher education.

And community colleges across the country are preparing accordingly.

“Under the circumstances, families may turn to us as the gateway of opportunity, and we’ve been ready,” said Michael Baston, the president of Rockland Community College in Rockland County, New York.

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Exam anxiety : How remote test-proctoring is creeping students out

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As schools go remote, so do tests and so does surveillance

The stranger on the Zoom call appeared to be sitting in a tent. He wore a black headset and a blue lanyard around his neck. Behind him was white plastic peppered with pictures of a padlock.

“Hi,” the stranger intoned. “My name is Sharath and I will be your proctor today. Please confirm your name is Jackson and that you’re about to take your 11:30PM exam.”

“Correct,” said Jackson Hayes, from his cinder-block dorm room at the University of Arizona.

When he’d signed up for an online class in Russian cinema history, he’d had no idea it meant being surveilled over video chat by someone on the other side of the world. Hayes learned about it via an item on the class syllabus, released shortly before the semester began, that read “Examity Directions.” The syllabus instructed Hayes and his classmates to sign up for Examity, an online test-proctoring service.

To create his account, Hayes was required to upload a picture of his photo ID to Examity’s website and provide his full name, email, and phone number — pretty banal stuff. But it got weirder. At the end, he typed his name again; Examity would store a biometric template of his keystrokes.

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Universities are expecting 230,000 fewer students – that’s serious financial pain

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Without government support, universities will struggle to provide the education people will need to rebuild their lives after Covid-19

Our universities are a vital and unique part of our society with an importance that far outweighs their considerable economic value. Yet research into the impact of Covid-19, conducted by London Economics for the University and College Union, shows that universities face a black hole of at least £2.5bn in fee and grant income for 2020-21 as students both in the UK and around the world defer or abandon their plans to study here.

The new analysis suggests that over 230,000 fewer students will enter higher education in 2020 as a result of the crisis, over half of which are international students. That fall in student numbers would translate into a drop in income of around £1.51bn from non-EU students, £350 million from EU students and £612 million from UK students opting to stay away.

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Another thing the virus could kill : More than 1,000 Colleges and Universities

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CHANGED FOREVER?

COVID-19 has disrupted our world in big and small ways. We have shut down as a nation to save lives. We watch the news and hear of deaths in the hundreds and thousands and wonder if we are at the peak yet. Simple acts, such as going to the grocery store or walking the dog, have become significant sources of anxiety. Food insecurity has intensified as increasing lines at food banks demonstrate. We have new respect for service workers. We cheer our new heroes, the first responders, doctors, and nurses who are our frontline soldiers in this war.

And we celebrate our teachers, but we have ignored university professors, who have also had to refocus the way they teach, do research and spread knowledge.

Higher education as a sector is getting hammered. Our national focus is rightly on the current frontline health providers. But we need to realize that despite some federal funding, many universities and colleges may never recover from COVID-19.

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Financial hits pile up for colleges as some fight to survive

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Colleges across the nation are scrambling to close deep budget holes and some have been pushed to the brink of collapse after the coronavirus outbreak triggered financial losses that could total more than $100 million at some institutions.

Scores of colleges say they’re taking heavy hits as they refund money to students for housing, dining and parking after campuses closed last month. Many schools are losing millions more in ticket sales after athletic seasons were cut short, and some say huge shares of their reserves have been wiped out amid wild swings in the stock market.

Yet college leaders say that’s only the start of their troubles: Even if campuses reopen this fall, many worry large numbers of students won’t return. There’s widespread fear that an economic downturn will leave many Americans unable to afford tuition, and universities are forecasting steep drop-offs among international students who may think twice about studying abroad so soon after a pandemic.

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University holds graduation using robot ‘avatars’ for students: ‘They took it a step further’

A college in Japan has found a high-tech way to ensure its students can still walk across the stage at graduation — sort of.

The students at the Business BreakThrough University (BBT), like many graduates around the world, risked having their ceremony canceled due to the current global health crisis.

However, BBT found a solution. The college, which held its graduation on March 28, arranged to have several students receive their diplomas as digital “avatars” of themselves — complete with screens for faces and caps and gowns on robot “bodies.”

Basically, the students were able to navigate the ceremony from the comfort and safety of their homes while their avatars wheeled up to the school’s president, who handed them certificates.

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Coronavirus Silver Lining: Easier To Get Into Many Top Colleges

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If there is a glimmer of brightness in the current plague besetting the planet, it may be that high school seniors in the United States are suddenly more likely than ever to get the proverbial “fat envelopes” or acceptance letters from their dream schools, as colleges send out final letters of admission in the coming weeks.

“We were already in a very new and uncertain world of higher education enrollments, caused by the demographic shift and the high cost of higher education,” says Bill Conley, vice president of enrollment for Bucknell University, a selective liberal arts college with an enrollment of 3,600 in rural Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. “So this [pandemic] comes along and throws it very much into the food blender, you know—when it was on just a little bit of mince, it is now on full grind.”

As a result, Bucknell and many other schools, unable to court prospective enrollees with festive campus “admitted students days” or even routine campus tours, will be increasing the number of students they send acceptance emails to in an effort to ensure that they yield enough to fill their incoming classes.

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This Colorado college will start offering a cannabis major in the fall

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(CNN) Students on Colorado State University’s Pueblo campus will have the option to study cannabis beginning this fall.

 State officials on Friday approved a bachelor’s of science degree program in Cannabis Biology and Chemistry, according to the Colorado Department of Higher Education, which said it was one of the first such programs in the country.

“The new major is a pro-active response to a rapidly changing national scene regarding the cannabis plant,” a proposal for the program by CSU-Pueblo officials says, citing shifting attitudes toward cannabis and its legalization for recreational use in numerous states, including Colorado.

The program will be part of CSU-Pueblo’s department of chemistry and consist mainly of chemistry and biology coursework with some classes in math and physics, the proposal says.

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How An Unlimited Supply Of Borrowed Cash Is Destroying Higher Education

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Both of us grew up poor. College was our way out of poverty. Now, we see too many young people locked into poverty by a college education.

“You have to go to college” was an article of faith when we were growing up in poor families. Now we wonder if our ticket out of poverty still has the same value. Far too many of this generation are leaving college with substantial debt and few meaningful job opportunities.

Put a little differently, what is the value of a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies or sociology or any other fields that are not science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or business? Ask some of the young people working at your local coffee shop or favorite restaurant. They will probably tell you, “not much.”

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Colleges are turning students’ phones into surveillance machines, tracking the locations of hundreds of thousands

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Syracuse University is among the dozens of schools in the United States that use tracking systems to monitor students’ academic performance, analyze their conduct or assess their mental health.

When Syracuse University freshmen walk into professor Jeff Rubin’s Introduction to Information Technologies class, seven small Bluetooth beacons hidden around the Grant Auditorium lecture hall connect with an app on their smartphones and boost their “attendance points.”

And when they skip class? The SpotterEDU app sees that, too, logging their absence into a campus database that tracks them over time and can sink their grade. It also alerts Rubin, who later contacts students to ask where they’ve been. His 340-person lecture has never been so full.

“They want those points,” he said. “They know I’m watching and acting on it. So, behaviorally, they change.”

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Fewer students are going to college. Here’s why that matters

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This fall, there were nearly 250,000 fewer students enrolled in college than a year ago, according to new numbers out Monday from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which tracks college enrollment by student.

“That’s a lot of students that we’re losing,” says Doug Shapiro, who leads the research center at the Clearinghouse.

And this year isn’t the first time this has happened. Over the past eight years, college enrollment nationwide has fallen about 11%. Every sector — public state schools, community colleges, for-profits and private liberal arts schools — has felt the decline, though it has been especially painful for small private colleges, where, in some cases, institutions have been forced to close.

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Welcome to the third age of online education

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 The strangest things can trigger intense memories. For Marcel Proust, the taste of a madeleine cookie famously unleashed his entire childhood. In The Game, a reflection on life and hockey, my boyhood hero Ken Dryden, the great Montreal Canadiens goalie, recounts waking up in his parents’ home in Islington (a Toronto neighborhood) thinking he’s hearing the sounds of skates biting the ice and pucks thumping off the boards on the backyard rink his father built for him and his brother. And for Britain’s Prince Andrew, an allegation that he’d been intimate with a 17-year-old girl evoked an evening at a nondescript chain restaurant in a nondescript town in Surrey on the very date in question more than 18 years earlier.

Last month in an interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis, Prince Andrew contended he couldn’t have been with Virginia Giuffre on March 10, 2001 because he “weirdly distinctly” remembers taking his daughter to the Pizza Express in Woking that evening. If you’ve ever been to a Pizza Express – let alone one in a London commuter town like Woking – I guarantee you’ll have trouble remembering you were ever there. None of this was lost on the British public, which began posting video of the unremarkable restaurant and flooding Google and Trip Advisor with new reviews like: “Pizza Express Woking is like no other Pizza Express! It’s a memory which will never disappear… The pizza is so good from this specific branch, it gives you the ability to not only remember what year you visited, but the exact day and month! Truly incredible.” And “if you’re in need of an alibi, this is the restaurant for you.”

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