Higher Ed Faces a Long and Uneven Recovery, Ratings Agencies Warn — from chronicle.com by Scott Carlson

Excerpt:

Two financial outlooks for higher ed appeared on Tuesday, and their most compelling parts were the longer-term prospects for the nation’s colleges and universities — because the near-term picture should be clear to nearly everyone by now. It’s not good.

In their predictions, both Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings note the various ways that institutions are in pain right now: The pandemic has undercut tuition revenue, as colleges have seen sliding enrollment or have had to discount tuition heavily to bring in students. The proceeds of auxiliary services — such as student housing and dining — “remain the hardest-hit revenue stream,” Moody’s says, given that such income can account for 5 to 30 percent of a college’s operating revenue.

 

The Digital Divide for Tribal College Students — COVID, CARES Act, and Critical Next Steps — from diverseeducation.com

Excerpt:

In this episode staff writer Sara Weissman shares a story that focuses on the digital divide for Native Americans by bringing in voices of tribal college leaders and their students during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Many don’t know but Native American colleges and universities have long struggled with the worst internet connectivity in the nation while ironically paying the highest rates for service. Hear first-hand how students from Diné College and other institutions are currently affected. Carrie Billie (Big Water Clan), President & CEO of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) and Dr. Cynthia Lindquist (Star Horse Woman), President of Cankdeska Cikana Community College in North Dakota, break down the data and lay out critical next steps necessary to address the digital divide.

Many don’t know but Native American colleges and universities have long struggled with the worst internet connectivity in the nation while ironically paying the highest rates for service.

From DSC:
When will there be justice!? Let’s join in and make amends and provide the funding, concrete assistance, products, and services to Native American colleges, universities, and communities. Some potential ideas:

  • For the short term, could there be Loon balloons deployed immediately to provide free and stronger access to the Internet?

Could Project Loon assist Native American colleges, universities, and communities?

  • Could our Federal Government make amends and do the right thing here? (e-rate program, put Internet access in, make policy changes, offer more grants, other?)
  • Could Silicon Valley assist with hardware and software? For example:
    • Can Apple, HP, Microsoft, and others donate hardware and software?
    • Can Zoom, Adobe, Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, and others donate whatever these communities need to provide videoconferencing licenses?
  • Could telecom providers provide free internet access?
  • Could MOOCs offer more free courses?
  • Could furniture makers such as Steelcase, Herman Miller, and others donate furniture and help establish connected learning spaces?
  • How might faculty members and staff within higher education contribute?
  • How could churches, synagogues, and such get involved?
  • Could the rest of us locate and donate to charities that aim to provide concrete assistance to Native American schools, colleges, universities, and communities?

We need to do the right thing here. This is another area* where our nation can do much better.

* Here’s another example/area where we can do much better and make amends/changes.

 


Addendum on 12/7/20:

 

From DSC:
Our oldest daughter told me about this great/cool WIN-WIN situation here! I thought it was so cool, that I wanted to pass it along. What a great way to help communities, students, folks who want to read/write/produce art and more!


 

Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery: Chicago's only black woman-owned bookstore and gallery space

Powered by Bookshop: Supporting local, independent bookstores.

Chicago’s only black woman-owned bookstore and gallery space, Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery is committed to nurturing the connection between literature, art, and the pursuit of knowledge; while also using the power of words to better our community.

 

Wall Street Journal article entitled, Is this the end of college as we know it?

Americans aren’t turning their backs on education; they are reconsidering how to obtain it.

Is This the End of College as We Know It? — from wsj.com by Douglas Belkin
For millions of Americans, getting a four-year degree no longer makes sense. Here’s what could replace it.

Excerpt:

For traditional college students, the American postsecondary education system frequently means frontloading a lifetime’s worth of formal education and going into debt to do it. That is no longer working for millions of people, and the failure is clearing the way for alternatives: Faster, cheaper, specialized credentials closely aligned with the labor market and updated incrementally over a longer period, education experts say. These new credentials aren’t limited to traditional colleges and universities. Private industry has already begun to play a larger role in shaping what is taught and who is paying for it.

For more than a century, a four-year college degree was a blue-chip credential and a steppingstone to the American dream. For many millennials and now Gen Z, it has become an albatross around their necks.

What has embittered so many millennials is that they played by the rules and still got stuck. Ben Puckett, a 30-year-old pastor in Michigan, earned a B.S. in physical therapy before a Master’s degree in divinity. He is $95,000 in debt. 

“I went to college because I was told by parents, friends, teachers and counselors that it was the only way to ensure a good future,” Mr. Puckett says. “At 18 years old, how was I supposed to defy what my school, parents, society, friends were saying about going to college?”

 

Financial aid officials share how they’re advising college students now — from educationdive.com by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
We asked administrators how they are guiding students and families through a process made more complex by COVID-19.

Excerpt:

This uncertainty among students and families has compounded an already complex process. Education Dive contacted several financial aid experts and asked them one question: What changes in the financial aid process should colleges account for during the pandemic, and how should they communicate those changes to students, families and the public?

 

Coronavirus weaves uncertainty in pre-K — from educationdive.com
Early childhood programs were particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, from the immediacy of school closures to future state funding.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In a school year disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, early childhood was particularly impacted. Forced to close their doors, preschool centers struggled to adapt and survive. And state budget cuts due to the recession exacerbated by the pandemic may also impact these programs for years to come.

Now, as many children prepare to start school for the first time, they’ll be doing so without the physical school.

To help you get up to speed on the issues, we’ve gathered our recent coverage on coronavirus’ impact on early childhood ed in one place.

 

Supreme Court: Public money can be used for religious education — from educationdive.com by Linda Jacobson

  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Tuesday in favor of a Montana mother who wanted to use the state’s tax credit-funded scholarship to send her children to a Christian school, giving school choice advocates, …, a major victory.

From DSC:
I’ve always wondered why the funding couldn’t follow the K12 student — no matter where they go. We’ve been getting hit twice if and when we send one of our kids to a Christian-based school. We always pay our taxes, but then we have to turn around and also pay for Christian-based education. Perhaps this will give our youngest daughter a chance to attend a Christian-based high school in 2021. Otherwise, I’m not sure how we are going to afford it. 

 

From DSC:
On the positive side…

What I appreciate about ‘s article is that it’s asking us to think about future scenarios in regards to higher education. Then, it’s proposing some potential action steps to take now to address those potential scenarios if they come to fruition. It isn’t looking at the hood when we’re traveling 180 mph. Rather, it’s looking out into the horizon to see what’s coming down the pike. 

6 Steps to Prepare for an Online Fall Semester — from chronicle.com b

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Plan for a multiyear impact. If colleges are forced to maintain online-only instruction in the fall and to defer reopening their campuses to in-person instruction to January 2021, the impact will be felt for years. College leaders should start thinking now about how to manage and potentially adjust spring-2021 (and beyond) course offerings, course sequencing, and degree requirements to avoid saddling students with graduation delays and the accompanying direct and indirect financial costs. In addition, colleges should anticipate a smaller-than-normal entering first-year class in fall 2020 (and thus a larger-than-normal enrollment a year later) and devise strategies to help mitigate the resulting stresses on admission rates and classroom and dorm capacity for first-year students entering in fall 2021 and beyond.

If instruction remains online-only in the fall, colleges won’t be able to afford that sort of inefficiency. College departments should start now to identify opportunities for collaborations that would draw on the collective wisdom and labor of faculty members from multiple institutions who are teaching similar courses. This would lessen the burden of migrating teaching materials and techniques to an online format.

From DSC:
I’ve often wondered about the place of consortiums within higher ed…i.e., pooling resources. Will the impacts of the Coronavirus change this area of higher ed? Not sure. Perhaps.

On the negative side…

I take issue with some of John’s perspectives, which are so common amongst the writers and academics out there. For example:

Conversely, an entire generation of current college students is now learning that it can be pretty boring to be one of several hundred people simultaneously watching a Zoom lecture.

You know what? I did that very same thingover and over again — at Northwestern University (NU), but in a face-to-face format. And quite frankly, it’s a better view on videoconferencing. It’s far more close up, more intimate online. I agree it’s a different experience. But our auditoriums were large and having 100-200+ students in a classroom was common. There was no interaction amongst the students. There were no breakout groups. The faculty members didn’t know most of our names and I highly doubt that the well-paid researchers at Northwestern — who were never taught how to teach in the first place nor did they or NU regard the practice of teaching and learning highly anyway — gave a rat’s ass about body language. Reading the confusion in the auditorium? Really? I highly doubt it. And those TA’s that we paid good money for? Most likely, they were never taught how to teach either. The well-paid researchers often offloaded much of the teaching responsibilities onto the teacher assistants’ backs. 

Bottom line:
Face-to-face learning is getting waaaay more credit than it sometimes deserves — though sometimes it IS warranted. And online-based learning — especially when it’s done right — isn’t getting nearly enough credit. 


Addendum: Another example of practicing futures thinking in higher ed:

 

ACE receives ED funds to explore blockchain’s potential — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpt:

“This work is about exploring the potential of blockchain technology to give learners greater control over their educational records,” said Ted Mitchell, president of ACE, in a statement. “It’s about enabling more seamless transitions between and across K-12, higher education and the workforce. This initiative will explore how this nascent technology can break down barriers for opportunity seekers to fully unlock their learning and achievement.”

 

Tips for decoding college financial aid offers — from nytimes.com by Ann Carrnes

Excerpts:

Schools often use different jargon for the same types of aid or loans. Student advocates offer suggestions on how to figure out what you’ll pay.

After the college acceptance letter comes the financial aid offer. But beware: The offers are not always easy to decipher, and different colleges often use different jargon for the same types of aid or loans.

Among the colleges that offered a common type of federal loan, for instance, researchers found more than 100 terms for the loan, including two dozen that didn’t even mention the word “loan.”

To compare aid offers, student advocates recommend that you…(see the details in the article)

 

2019 Top 10 IT Issues — from educause.edu

2019 Reveals Focus on “Student Genome”
In 2019, after a decade of preparing, higher education stands on a threshold. A new era of technology is ushering in myriad opportunities to apply data that supports and advances our higher ed mission. This threshold is similar to the one science stood on in the late 20th century: the prospect of employing technology to put genetic information to use meaningfully and ethically. Much in the same way, higher education must first “sequence” the data before we can apply it with any reliability or precision.

Our focus in 2019, then, is to organize, standardize, and safeguard data before applying it to our most pressing priority: student success.

The issues cluster into three themes:

  • Empowered Students: In their drive to improve student outcomes, institutions are increasingly focused on individual students, on their life circumstances, and on their entire academic journey. Leaders are relying on analytics and technology to make progress. Related issues: 2 and 4
  • Trusted Data: This is the work of the Student Genome Project, where the “sequencing” is taking place. Institutions are collecting, securing, integrating, and standardizing data and preparing the institution to use data meaningfully and ethically. Related issues: 1, 3, 5, 6 and 8
  • 21st Century Business Strategies: This is the leadership journey, in which institutions address today’s funding challenges and prepare for tomorrow’s more competitive ecosystem. Technology is now embedded into teaching and learning, research, and business operations and so must be embedded into the institutional strategy and business model. Related issues: 7, 9 and 10

 

 

 

 

Education startup OnlineDegree.com makes the first year of college tuition-free — from forbes.com by Richard Vedder

Excerpt:

If you were told that an educational institution existed that would enable you to earn a year of college credit at zero financial cost and with minimal hassle –from a for-profit private entrepreneurial venture — you would no doubt be suspicious. I receive several pitches a week from individuals trying to promote all sorts of innovations, so I was especially dubious of this proposition – until I talked to Grant Aldrich, the fellow who helped initiate this project, and after reflecting a bit on modern internet-based businesses.

Hundreds of millions daily use at zero cost an immensely popular social media platform, Facebook. It provides much joy to user’s lives. Moreover, Facebook, Inc. has, of this writing, a market capitalization of $539.6 billion and its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is at age 34, one of the richest people in the world. I suspect Grant Aldrich thinks that the Facebook model can be replicated successfully in higher education. Aldrich’s website (https://onlinedegree.com) will provide users with free, high-quality online college-level courses, financed through advertising, sponsorships, etc., much like Facebook and Google do.

The venture is brand new and modest in scope and is just now ready to launch its project.

 

He is bringing market-based capitalism to higher education without the crutch of government-subsidized student loans.

 

Yet Aldrich claims that he is not out to destroy traditional higher education, but rather to revitalize and support it. Students ultimately would go from his online courses into traditional schools, saving at least 25% of the cost through credit transfer, making traditional education significantly more affordable and viable.

 

 


The information below is from Grant Aldrich, Founder of OnlineDegree.com (emphasis via DSC)


Rather than bypassing traditional universities like the MissionU’s or Coursera’s, we have a disruptive solution to innovate within higher ed to combat student debt and bring students back to a collegiate path.

Here’s the quick summary: At OnlineDegree.com, anyone could receive credit, up to their freshman year of college, completely tuition-free. All from home, on their own schedule, no pressure, and no applications.

We offer students free college-level courses and work with accredited universities across the country to award college credit for the courses students take.  With many options to complete their entire freshman year equivalence, there are potential pathways to receive up to 44 units of recommended semester credit at over 1,400 colleges throughout the US…and growing.

By understanding the predicament that working adults have, it’s obvious that the current educational system hasn’t made it simple or easy enough for them to go back to school.  They’re busy, can’t afford it, and have a lot of anxiety taking the first step.  We’re changing that.

Further information is below.



Who Are We?

OnlineDegree.com is a team of startup veterans, leading academics and PhDs (from NYU, West Virginia University, Georgetown, etc). We’ve been working for over 2 years to make higher education more affordable and accessible for everyone. It’s been an incredible adventure to combat entrenched roadblocks and norms. More about us here:

How it Works
Students take as many college-level courses as they’d like on gen ed topics like Psychology, Robotics, Computer Programming, Marketing, History and many more…free. We’ve then worked with participating accredited universities across the country like Southern New Hampshire University, Excelsior College and others, so students can receive college credit for the courses they’ve taken. In addition, there are pathways to receive credit at over 1,400 schools in total throughout the US.

Our courses are:

  • Online and Available 24/7 – No class schedules, no fixed times, and completely self-paced.
  • Easy to Get Started- No applications, No entrance exams, and most importantly, No tuition.
  • Interesting and Top Notch- Our professors are experts in their respective fields with PhDs and advanced degrees. The courses are incredibly interesting.
  • Recommended for over 44 units of semester credit by the NCCRS

Why Is This So Disruptive?
Working adults now have a “bridge” to start their path back to school in 1 minute instead of 1 year in some cases…regardless of their finances or busy schedules. They can test drive different courses and subjects on their own schedule, be better prepared for college-level coursework at a university, and potentially receive college credits toward their degree. Given the common unfortunate student perception that applying directly to a community college or 4-year is intimidating, inflexible and/or costly, we’re more like “wading” into the pool rather than expecting everyone to jump in.

How Have We Made It Free?
We will always be 100% free to students…we’re not going to compromise on that. We’re exploring a marketplace for tutoring, Patreon, Kickstarter, university sponsorships/advertising, private grants, and many other avenues. We are bold enough to look outside of the traditional tuition paradigm to ensure we don’t exclude anyone from participating. There are all kinds of ways to keep the lights on without charging students or sacrificing educational quality.

Why Now?
Despite overwhelming demand to go back to school in the face of eroding manufacturing jobs, robot automation, and a quickly modernizing economy, millions of working adults are still not going back to school at a traditional university. The key is to understand the predicaments of the working adult: accessibility and affordability. Other marketplace offers that circumvent higher education have become increasingly popular. We’re solving this by removing all of the barriers to enable that first critical step in starting back towards a traditional university.

 


Also see:

 


 

 

 

Google and Udacity offer scholarships for 75,000 aspiring developers — from thenextweb.com

Excerpt:

Google has announced its plans to extend its partnership with Udacity to offer 75,000 Android scholarships for aspiring developers and data scientists seeking to pursue careers in the digital field.

The initiative builds on the company’s two-year long collaboration with Udacity, which granted 1,000 and 10,000 scholarships for passionate newbie coders in 2015 and 2016, respectively. German media giant Bertelsmann will also be contributing to this effort.

 

 

Also see:

 

 

University of Michigan offering free tuition for families making less than $65K — from mlive.com by Martin Slagter

Excerpt:

ANN ARBOR, MI – The University of Michigan is offering free tuition to in-state families earning up to $65,000, the university announced at its Thursday, June 15, Board of Regents meeting.

UM President Mark Schlissel surprised the audience inside the Michigan Union by announcing the creation of the Go Blue Guarantee to kick off the meeting Thursday, prior to the Regents’ vote on the budget for the upcoming year.

 

 

The first state to offer free community college to nearly every adult – from npr.org by Emily Siner

Excerpt:

The opportunity to go to college for free is more available than ever before. States and cities, in the last year especially, have funded programs for students to go to two-year, and in some cases, four-year, schools.

Tennessee has taken the idea one step further. Community college is already free for graduating high school students. Now Tennessee is first state in the country to offer community college — free of charge — to almost any adult.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has long preached the importance of getting adults back to school. He says it’s the only way that more than half of Tennesseans will get a college degree or certificate.

And the program is simple: If you don’t have a degree, and you want one, your tuition is free.

 

From DSC:
I’m listing universities and colleges as some of the selected keywords/categories here as well, as such institutions will certainly be significantly impacted if this becomes a trend.

Increasingly, people need to reinvent themselves in order to remain marketable and employed — and to do so as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. That’s what I want to be involved in/with. But the direction that I would like to personally pursue is the development of a next generation learning platform/paradigm/system that helps people reinvent themselves, quickly and cost-effectively.* A system that offers constant, up-to-date, curated micro-learning streams of content on a lifelong basis. Team-based efforts will leverage this platform within K-12, higher ed, as well as in corporate learning & development space. Such a system will be accessed on the road, at home, in the office, in group study spaces/learning hubs, as well as in the classrooms across the land.

 

*If you or someone you know is working on a state-of-the-art, next generation learning platform, please email me at danielchristian55@gmail.com and let me know. I would greatly appreciate being involved in the development of this kind of learning platform — working on what the various pieces/tools should be and how the various features should work and interoperate. I can plug into other areas as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian