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Highlights from Higher Ed: Scholarship, HBCU Initiative, Tuition Discounts and Online Learning Success

Exposing great scholarship at community colleges

The Community College Practice-Research-Policy Exchange wants to draw the attention of more scholars to open-access colleges. “We have so much good work going on inside colleges that often goes undiscovered if we don’t find that practitioner voice and give it that life and lift,” says Karen Stout, President of Achieving the Dream. The Exchange solicits ideas from the faculty and administrators who run Community Colleges day to day, shares their insights with higher ed researchers and then delivers their analyses back to educators. The Exchange is managed by the University of Maryland Global Campus Program in Community College Policy and Administration and the North Carolina State University Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research.

Source: EdSurge

New initiative hopes coaching can bring students back to historically black colleges and universities 

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) recently launched a new initiative to bring 4,000 students back to historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) across the country to earn their degrees, aided by one-on-one coaching. “We’re really thinking long term about how do we…ensure that our students feel comfortable and safe and continue their quest to get that first college credential,” said Ed Smith-Lewis, Executive Director of UNCF’s Institute for Capacity Building. Public HBCUs are similarly doing outreach to students, especially those who left during the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, HBCUs historically suffered from low graduation rates relative to predominantly white universities. A U.S. News & World Report analysis found that, among 41 HBCUs surveyed, the average four-year graduation rate was about 22 percent for first-time, full-time students who started in fall 2013.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Private college tuition discounts hit a new record

According to preliminary data from the National Association of College and University Business Officers, tuition discounts at private nonprofit colleges are expected to hit a new record in the 2020-21 academic year. Nearly 90% of first-year students and around 83% of all undergraduates received some form of institutional grant aid, covering a slightly higher share of their tuition and fees than the year before. Across all institutions surveyed, the average published tuition and fees rose less than 1% in 2020-21.

Source: Higher Ed Dive 

Online learning more successful than expected

The Digital Learning Pulse Survey, a four-part series intended to help better illustrate the needs of colleges during COVID-19, showed that online learning was more successful than many in higher ed initially believed. A majority of students are more optimistic today than pre-pandemic about online learning (57 percent) and digital materials (52 percent). Nearly half of students (48 percent) are more optimistic about hybrid courses. Fernando Bleichmar, executive vice president and general manager for U.S. Higher Education at Cengage, explains that “students continue to face pressures and are questioning the value of higher education, but they clearly see the benefits and flexibility that digital learning can offer. Now colleges and universities need to find an affordable way to meet students where they are on their journey.”

Source: eCampus News

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