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Highlights from Higher Ed: College Costs, Gen Z’s Quest for Diversity and MBA Rankings

College costs rose at a historically low rate this year

The annual cost of attending college has risen again, albeit at the lowest rate in decades. “Average public, four-year, in-state tuition rates, as well as average tuition rates at private, nonprofit four-year institutions, saw their lowest percentage increases in 30 years before adjusting for inflation.” On average, tuition and fees for in-state students at public, four-year colleges and universities is now $10,560 — $120 more than last year. Out-of-state students at the same institutions pay $27,020, or $250 more than in 2019/2020. The average overall bill at private, four-year schools climbed by more than $700, to $37,650. The pandemic is a major reason why the average cost of going to college rose relatively modestly. “Scrambling to attract and retain students in the middle of a historic health crisis, many colleges across the country froze or lowered tuition and fees for the current 2020-21 academic year.”

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Gen Z students are more likely to apply to schools and jobs that emphasize diversity

High school and college-aged members of so-called Generation Z “are hesitant to apply to colleges or jobs if they fear racial or gender-based discrimination… More than 60% of 5,000 high school and college students surveyed said they would be more likely to apply to a college if the recruiters and materials reflected diversity.” One-quarter of “Gen Z” teens said a fear of being treated unfairly at a particular school prevented them from applying there; the same number decided not to apply for a job for the same reason. In addition, “88% of Gen Zers think recruiters should ask for preferred gender pronouns, but less than 20% of them had ever heard the question… More than half of Gen Z respondents said that they would be more likely to apply to a college with a recruiter who shared their ethnic or racial identity.” Gen Z is roughly defined as consisting of those born between 1996 and 2015.

Source: University Business

Two influential publishers will release annual MBA rankings, despite pressure not to

U.S. News & World Report and The Economist have announced plans to publish their annual rankings of MBA programs this year, even though the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) has asked them not to in light of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven top business schools — Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Columbia, Chicago Booth and Northwestern Kellogg — have already said they will not cooperate with The Economist. “When the leaders of GMAC and two accreditation agencies — AACSB and EFMD — asked for rankings to be put on hold in April of this year, many schools had already extended their application cycles and were deeply worried about the composition of their incoming classes this fall. They also expressed concern over the employment outcomes of this year’s graduating classes… Critics of a pause argued that it would cover up which schools failed to successfully manage through the health crisis, itself a barometer of the strength of a business school’s senior leadership team.”

Source: Poets & Quants

More women are enrolling in EMBA programs, but they receive less employer funding than men

Female enrollment in executive MBA (EMBA) programs reached an all-time high in 2020, but women still only account for 32% of students in those programs. In 2016, women made up just 29.7% of the EMBA student population. “Across all EMBA programs, female students are slightly more likely to be self-funded than male students and are also less likely to receive funding from their employers. The findings show that 54% of women report having received no funding from their employers as compared to 51.4% of men.” Overall, 73.9% of schools with EMBA programs now offer some form of distance learning, compared with 55.3% in 2019. “While the percentage of schools offering some form of distance learning has been increasing slightly each year since 2016, the big jump from 2019 to 2020 is evidence that EMBA programs responded quickly to the impact of the pandemic,” said Michael Desiderio, executive director of the Executive MBA Council.

Source: Education Dive