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Highlights from Higher Ed: International Students, Race-based Outcomes and Online Learning

ICE rescinds policy barring international students from online study

Following significant public backlash and lawsuits from Harvard and MIT, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has rescinded a policy that would have kept international students from pursuing their courses online this fall. The original July 6th announcement declared that students would be sent back to their home countries if their U.S. institution switched to virtual classes, adding even more uncertainty to what is shaping up to be a challenging fall semester for colleges and students alike. In Tuesday’s session at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Judge Allison Burroughs announced that Harvard and MIT had reached an agreement with ICE and the Department of Homeland Security to rescind this policy. “It makes me feel so relieved, and I think it’s just proof that universities have a lot more power than we realize,” said Sumana Kaluvai, a student from India who graduated from the UCLA last year.

Source: NPR

College-related financial experiences vary by race and ethnicity

“People from neighborhoods that are majority Black or Hispanic are less likely to attend college, and when they do, they borrow more and default on student loans more,” the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported. According to the report, which analyzed populations by ZIP codes, the underlying issues predated the Coronavirus pandemic but have been made worse by it. It noted that, “[P]eople from majority white ZIP Codes attend college at the highest rates, followed by those from majority Black ones. Those from majority white ZIP Codes attended four-year colleges at higher rates compared to the other groups. People in the majority Hispanic ZIP Codes had the highest attendance rates for two-year colleges.” Generally speaking, students from majority Black ZIP codes were more likely than others to have outstanding student loans at age 30. In addition, “borrowers who attended two-year colleges default on their loans almost 50% more than those who attended four-year colleges, across all racial neighborhoods, by age 30.”

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Study reveals top five concerns of online college students

Roughly half (51%) of all recently surveyed college students enrolled in online programs said affordability is a top consideration when choosing a school, although 64% said they would pay more tuition if they felt they would benefit from doing so. The list of top five priorities also includes: wanting to “use their mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, to help them progress through their courses” (74%), attending schools and programs with good reputations (36%), “quick degree pathways” (28%) and proximity to home (almost 25%). “Overall, 78% of those who completed their online degrees agree or strongly agree that it was worth the cost.”

Source: eCampusNews

“Well-designed” remote courses this spring reduced dissatisfaction among students and instructors

Two nationwide surveys of more than 1,000 undergraduate students and 4,000 instructors at 1,500 colleges support “the prevailing view that many instructors and students were not happy with how the spring went. The proportion of students saying they were highly satisfied with their experience in a course important to them fell from 51% pre-COVID to 19% post-COVID.” Sixty percent of instructors said they had a hard time keeping students engaged. However, when instruction “incorporated a set of practices widely embraced as contributing to high-quality virtual learning… students and professors alike were much likelier to express satisfaction with their experience.”

Source: Inside Higher Ed