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Highlights from Higher Ed: Barriers to Completing Degrees, Doubts about Higher Ed and a New Rule Proposal for International Students

Study identifies three reasons why adults don’t return to college to finish degrees

“Among adults ages 25 to 44 who do not have a college degree, interest in enrolling in post-secondary education has increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic: 42% of those surveyed indicated the pandemic has made them more likely to enroll, versus 21% who say it’s made them less likely to do so.” Yet there are three reasons why many of those potential applicants are unlikely to go back to school: They lack confidence that it will pay off; they face “critical barriers to enrollment” and they are unfamiliar with alternatives to traditional degrees, such as certificate programs and upskilling programs. “Last August, 77% of respondents said additional education would be worth the cost. But in the latest poll that figure had declined to 59% of the 1,007 respondents. Last year, 89% of respondents believed additional education would help them get a job, but now only 64% feel that way.”

Source: Forbes

A significant minority of instructors and administrators express doubts about higher ed

A survey of approximately 900 college instructors and administrators conducted in August revealed that most felt comfortable with the idea of teaching at least some courses online. “However, around a third of instructors and a fourth of administrators said they are ‘pessimistic’ about the future of higher education, though they were more optimistic about their roles in the field and their institutions’ outlooks… The extent to which colleges can manage campus health and safety with the instructional modes they selected for the fall term will be a major factor in their spring plans, industry experts say. But the shift to online instruction may have longer-term impacts. A report from Moody’s Investors Service last month predicted that the pandemic would speed up colleges’ plans to expand online.”

Source: Education Dive

Proposed rule would limit international students’ stays in U.S. to four years

The Trump administration has proposed a new rule “that would set fixed terms of up to four years for student visas and establish procedures for international students to apply to extend their stay and continue studying in the United States. Applications for extensions of stay could be approved ‘if the additional time needed is due to a compelling academic reason, documented medical illness or medical condition or circumstance that was beyond the student’s control.’” Under current rules, international students can stay in the country as long as they stay in school and abide by the other conditions of their visas. “The fixed four-year term is notably shorter than the length of a typical Ph.D. program — and shorter than the time many students take to finish a baccalaureate program — meaning that if the proposed rule were to take effect as written, many students would need to apply for an extension of stay midprogram… Advocates for international students say the proposed rule creates unnecessary new burdens for international students and makes the U.S. a less welcoming destination at a time when international student enrollment has already been declining.”

Source: Inside Higher Ed

College students anticipate work-from-home careers

The majority of 2,000 recently surveyed college students said they “don’t believe the business world will ever fully return to the 40-hour office work week.” Ninety percent expect companies to allow employees to work remotely at least some of the time, while approximately two-thirds anticipate employers will also offer more flexible schedules. Roughly 40% expect that casual dress will be the norm in the workplace. “More than half of the undergraduates surveyed said a hybrid remote/in-office schedule would be ideal, while students of color were more open to remote work. Overall, just over a third of students want to work in an office full-time and only 8% want to be fully remote. Female students were more likely than males to say their career would require going into an office but less likely to say they wanted to go in every day.”

Source: University Business