Highlights from Higher Ed: How Some Schools Are Combating Summer Melt and What Required Math Prerequisites Can Mean for Students

New quantitative reasoning requirement proposed for CSU admissions

The California State University (CSU) system has proposed implementing a new quantitative reasoning requirement to qualify for admission. The proposed requirement, which involves taking “one more year of quantitative reasoning to be considered for CSU admission,” could take effect starting with the freshman class of 2026. A concern of many is that this proposed requirement “would disproportionately decrease eligibility for Cal State for African American, Latinx and low-income students, who have historically struggled to meet the system’s current standards.” Within the state of California, black students’ “30% admissions eligibility rate is already the lowest among the state’s demographic groups, [and] could drop to as low as 22%” with the proposed additional requirement. CSU officials’ reasoning around this proposal reflects findings from the system’s recent institutional data, which indicated that students who did have four courses in quantitative reasoning had an increased chance of returning for their second year of college compared with students who only had three.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

For some students, college dreams melt away in the summer months

For soon-to-be college freshman, the summer before their first year can be a daunting time. Many wonder how they will pay for upcoming classes or if college is the right fit for them at all. Research indicates that low-income students who are the first to attend college in their families have about a 40% chance of succumbing to “summer melt,” or not attending classes at all in the fall. To combat this phenomenon, studies suggest “programs that rely on human interaction” in the form of one-on-one sessions or “near-peer” counseling may help guide students and prepare for their fall classes. The CARA College Bridge Program, in which college students mentored high school students, resulted in a 12% increase “in postsecondary enrollment at high schools where coaches have been providing college prep support for two years.”

Source: The Hechinger Report

Why are fewer foreign students heading to the US?

After nearly a decade of constant growth, new international student enrollment has declined for the second year in a row. Many universities blame tighter U.S. student visa policies but there may be other factors deterring international students. For example, the fact that private colleges in the U.S. “have significantly higher tuition rates than institutions in other countries” may be causing high-value international students to look elsewhere for an education. 

Source: Education Dive

College board’s adversity score replacement

The College Board recently withdrew its proposal to create an adversity score, which was “meant to put SAT results in the context of students’ life challenges.” Instead, a new scoring system to assess applicants will incorporate Landscape, a tool that uses multiple metrics to understand a student’s background instead of just one number. Landscape collects data about students’ neighborhoods — such as geographic location, median household family income and crime rates — as well as information about class size, the number of advanced placement classes taken, etc. The original adversity score would only “rate students on a scale of 1 to 100, based on information about students’ neighborhoods and their socioeconomic backgrounds.” College Board CEO David Coleman says, “Landscape provides admissions officers with more consistent background information so they can fairly consider every student, no matter where they live and learn.”

Source: Diverse Education

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