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Highlights from Higher Ed: International Outlooks, Fall Plans and Students’ Mental Health

International students think the U.S. is the “least safe” English-speaking country

Although students from abroad are eager to study in the United States, they also believe it is among the least safe English-speaking countries in which to attend college. Seventy-five percent of those who participated in a recent survey said they would be willing to self-isolate in order to return to campus this fall, and 74% expressed confidence in their ability to resume their studies as planned here. In terms of “student welfare,” the U.S. ranked lower than Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. “Students in the survey also wanted their colleges and universities to provide assistance with travel, logistics and healthcare” in the event they fall ill in the U.S. International students are also now more willing than they were in April to begin the school year online “with the hope of eventually returning to face-to-face instruction.”

Source: University Business

As late as June, most students were in the dark about their schools’ fall plans

Summer began with widespread uncertainty about the upcoming fall semester, although four-year students were much more likely than two-year students to know how their schools planned to operate when classes resume. Most higher education institutions (86%) had not announced fall plans by June 1, and 62% of students overall said they were unsure of those plans. However, 55% of four-year students knew their schools’ fall plans, compared to just 12% of those attending two-year programs. There also appeared to be a correlation between tuition and uncertainty about the fall. Among schools with annual tuition greater than $10,000, only .5% were planning for online courses, compared with 23.5% of schools charging less than $10,000 for tuition.

Source: eCampus News

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Most students would give up partying and sports to return to campus

Three-quarters of recently surveyed college students said they will go back to campus this fall if allowed to do so — and most would give up attending parties (79%) and sporting events (71%) to make that possible. “Given the option… two-thirds of students would attend in-person classes. However, a similar share said they’d leave campus if a major outbreak of the Coronavirus occurred.” Despite assurances from students that they will wear masks and abide by other safety protocols, “More than half of the 69 campus officials recently surveyed by consulting firm EAB said they were worried about enforcing social distancing in campus common areas and that students wouldn’t follow safety measures off campus.” In addition, school leaders are unsure of their options for enforcing health regulations, as “legal experts are not clear on whether and how colleges can punish students for flouting rules.”

Source: Education Dive

The pandemic is adding to students’ mental health challenges

A majority of college students (60%) said the current pandemic “has made it harder to access mental health care,” and 66% said the outbreak has increased their financial stress, which researchers describe as “a known predictor of student metal health.” More than one-third (35.7%) of the 18,764 students who participated in the survey said they have moved as a result of the pandemic, and 30.5% “reported that their mental health negatively affected their academic performance on at least six days during the prior four weeks.” In the fall, 21.9% of survey respondents felt the same way. Generally speaking, they gave their schools good marks when it comes to supporting them. “About 69% of students said their campus administration has been supportive during the pandemic, and about 78% said their professors have been supportive.”

Source: Inside Higher Ed