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Highlights from Higher Ed: Coronavirus Concerns, Online Learners and Completion Rates

Business schools rush to respond to coronavirus concerns

With no end of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak in sight, business schools around the world are implementing a variety of strategies to safeguard the health of students and faculty as well as to ensure that classes continue with as little disruption as possible. Responses to date have included closing schools, cancelling trips abroad, postponing lectures by visiting speakers and teaching classes and interviewing applicants online instead of in person. In countries that rely heavily on Chinese students, some schools are also taking extra steps. The University of Melbourne, in Australia, for example, has begun offering additional financial aid of up to AUS$7,500 per student to those who have incurred extra expenses as a result of travel restrictions. In the bigger picture, “schools that rely heavily on Chinese students might see this as a wake-up call to widen their recruitment net. If nothing else, the coronavirus crisis is a great real-time case study about the interconnectedness of the 21st-century economy.”

Source: Poets & Quants

A longer-term look at coronavirus’ implications for higher ed and innovation

“For as long as China’s cancellation of standardized tests persists, business schools and all graduate programs will lose countless applicants from America’s largest feeder country for international students,” said the authors of a recent opinion piece on the potentially long-lasting fallout from the ongoing crisis. Robert Ruiz, managing director of Liaison’s BusinessCAS™, and Dr. Toby McChesney, senior assistant dean of graduate business programs for the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University and chair of the BusinessCAS Advisory Board, noted that the nearly 370,000 Chinese students at U.S. institutions comprise 33.7% of America’s total international students. As some institutions, that proportion is even more substantial. For example, at the University of California, Berkeley, China accounts for 40.4% of all international enrollment. As a result, Ruiz and Dr. McChesney said that colleges and universities should consider introducing “a number of specific strategies to offset the impact of declining enrollment from China. These include developing closer relationships with local community colleges or smaller colleges that serve large numbers of international students; cultivating and/or subsidizing international student alumni networks, including by sponsoring events where alumni can interact with prospective international students; and expanding recruitment efforts in under-represented countries from an enrollment perspective, particularly Latin America and Africa.”

Source: The Mercury News

Most online learners study at schools in their home states

More than half of the students enrolled at nearly 2,000 institutions participating in an interstate reciprocity agreement for distance learning study at institutions located within their home states. Approximately 1.5 million students fall into that category, compared with roughly 1.3 million online students enrolled in out-of-state schools. “Public institutions accounted for the majority (79.8%) of in-state online enrollment, while the rest was divided between private nonprofits (17.6%) and for-profits (2.5%).” The regional brand recognition of local institutions may explain help why. With that in mind, schools that are launching online learning programs in order to boost overall enrollment may want to consider focusing most of their recruiting initiatives on nearby students.

Source: Education Dive

College completion rates rose in almost every state

A new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reveals that college completion rates increased in 43 of 45 states. The list of states excluded from the study includes Alaska, Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma and West Virginia, each of which “had data that were too uneven across the years to be included.” Among the states in the report, only Alabama and New Hampshire reported declines. Their completion rates dropped by 1% and 9%, respectively. The biggest gains were reported in Ohio (from 53% to 62%), Georgia (52% to 61%), Michigan (51% to 60%), New York (58% to 66%), California (45% to 53%), Utah (41% to 51%), Iowa (60% to 69%), Nevada (29% to 38%) and North Carolina (54% to 62%). Completion rates take into account “all full-time and part-time students entering postsecondary two-year and four-year institutions for the first time each year who subsequently complete their degree at any U.S. degree-granting institution” and represent “97% of enrollments in degree-granting institutions.”

Source: Forbes