Friday 4@4

Introducing: The Friday 4 at 4

Liaison is a company full of former admissions officials and lifelong higher ed enthusiasts. Since each week we come across interesting articles and posts about what’s happening in higher ed, we’ll be offering a glimpse into what we’re reading and what we’re talking about around the office in a new weekly blog post that we’re calling the Friday 4 at 4. Read on for our inaugural edition.

1. Lack of diversity extends beyond applicant pools.

More than half of the 20.5 million students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities this year identify as women. Overall, women are more likely than men to have bachelor’s degrees, but nationally only about a quarter of college presidents are female, according to this Newsweek article.

2. College just got more accessible in NY.

“Today, college is what high school was — it should always be an option even if you can’t afford it,” shared Governor Andrew Cuomo in a statement about his state’s Excelsior Scholarship program. With the rollout of the new model, which starts with full coverage of four-year college tuition this fall for students whose families make less than $100,000, NY becomes the only state to offer free four-year college. Read more in this NBC News article.

3. Political instability, eh?

Here’s an important trend that we’re keeping an eye on: According to a survey by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, NAFSA, the College Board and NACAC, “nearly 40 percent of responding U.S. institutions are reporting a drop in international student applications, particularly from students in the Middle East.” This is particularly concerning when you consider the value that a diverse class offers programs, students and society as a whole (more on that in this week’s Recommended Reading below).  Note that we say U.S. institutions specifically, not North American institutions as a whole — in fact, Inside Higher Ed reports that many Canadian universities are seeing significant growth in international enrollments.

4. Students, their parents and admissions officers — they’re all on the go!

The vast majority of Americans now own a cellphone of some kind and a growing number of Americans use their phones as a primary means of online access at home, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest Mobile Fact Sheet. What’s this got to do with higher education? Everything when you consider that applicants are seeking and interacting with information in a way that’s different than they ever have before.

Recommended Reading

The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies by Scott E. Page
Do they have a copy at your local library? WorldCat will tell you.

Page’s 2008-published work focuses on how progress and innovation depend less on lone geniuses and more on diverse people working together and leveraging their unique perspectives and skill sets for the greater good. Specifically, his emphasis on cross-industry best practices for success inspires our work at Liaison. After all, why think in silos?