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Highlights from Higher Ed: A Change in Admissions Standards for Two Schools and Do Those That Drop Out of College Return?

A change in admissions standards for two schools

After being test optional for students with a GPA higher than 3.0 for nearly a decade, Roanoke College has decided to go completely test optional as of October 2019. The Virginia school made the change after studying previously accepted students with a GPA higher than 3.0 and finding “there was no difference in applicants based on whether they wanted to submit their SAT or ACT scores.” Western Illinois University has also decided to alter its admissions standards. It will now automatically admit students with a GPA of 3.3 or higher, although standardized testing will still be required for students who do not meet these new GPA standards. 

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Career paths for admission professionals

According to a survey by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the career trajectory within the admission and enrollment management field can be somewhat nebulous considering that admission professionals often must possess a wide array of experience as well as numerous skill sets. When NACAC surveyed admissions professional members at four-year schools, they found that there is no singular defined career path for admission professionals to follow. Also that “women and minority racial/ethnic groups are under-represented in key segments of the admissions profession.” Admissions professionals can benefit by utilizing external resources aside from on the job training to develop professionally and advance in their careers. 

Source: NACAC.Org

A rise in foreign STEM students

Over the past three decades, the number of foreign students earning a degree in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines has risen steadily, according to Congressional Research Service. Although foreign students account for only about 5% of enrollment in colleges and universities in the United States they are responsible for contributing $39 billion to the U.S. economy. This could be in part because foreign students are almost never eligible for financial aid, making them extremely attractive to U.S. schools.  Some administrators have expressed concern regarding the future of foreign students studying in the United States, in the belief that “stricter visa policies, anti-immigrant rhetoric and, to an extent, more expensive tuition will deter foreign students.”

Source: Education Dive

Do those who drop out of college return?

According to a report by the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), tens of millions of Americans — a number equal to approximately 14% of the nation’s population — attended college but dropped out before earning a degree. Although it is possible for students to re-enroll, it is fairly uncommon. It is even more uncommon for students to earn a degree after dropping out and then returning from a hiatus. In 2014, there were approximately 29 million people in the country who had previously attended college and left without earning a degree — more than the total number of all students who were enrolled in college that same year. The NSC tracked those students who had dropped out by 2014 and found that only 3.8 million, or 13%, subsequently re-enrolled in a college or university within the following five years. Of those, only half are still in school today or have earned a degree. Since college dropouts are “much closer to high school graduates on the socioeconomic ladder than to those with a bachelor’s degree” they are less likely to pay back their student loans. Online college classes may be the answer for students who have dropped out of college and still want to earn a degree because the flexibility of classes allows them to balance work and family obligations.

Source: Forbes