Highlights in Higher Ed: Building Repairs and Plain Language

Colleges look to states for help with repairs

It’s no secret that state funding for higher education is decreasing, but it has left institutions wondering where the money for repairs and building renovations are going to come from. In Wisconsin, the state legislature approved over $1 billion for these projects throughout the University of Wisconsin system. The lack of funds affects colleges across the country, as a 2016 estimation of backlog work was reported at $30 billion. Some colleges have opted to get private funding help, like the University of California, Merced which is working on a $1.3 billion project to double their campus footprint.

Source: Education Dive

Transgender students to be accepted at Morehouse College

This fall, Morehouse College will begin admitting transgender students who identify as men. The only historically Black all-men’s school in the country developed this new policy after over a year of consideration. Women, transgender women or anyone who identifies as a woman will not be considered for admission. Also, if any enrolled male student transitions to a woman, they will not be allowed to stay at Morehouse. The first women’s college to admit transgender women was Mills College, in 2015, followed by Smith College that same year. This is a huge step for transgender students and is supported by the National Black Justice Coalition which notes that socially constructed identities, like gender, are often divisive to families and are used to deny access to education and public resources.

Source: Diverse Education

The push for plain language

A push for universities to use plain language on their websites, applications and communications with potential students was sparked by the complex and convoluted forms and documents high school students are facing during the application process. Over half of last year’s high school seniors did not complete the FAFSA, forfeiting $24 billion in financial help. And one of the reasons might have been that they couldn’t understand what was being asked of them. The University of Georgia responded to this push and mailed a student handbook to incoming freshman that was written in plain language. It includes a list of acronyms and academic terms incoming students may not be familiar with and was also translated into Spanish, Korean and Chinese.

Source: Hechinger Report

Students get help returning to college

With about half of today’s college students never finishing their degree, colleges are losing about $16.5 billion in revenue since 1981. ReUp Education is focused on re-enrolling students and has announced several funding partnerships totaling $6 million to help colleges with this problem. Together with the higher education institution, ReUp uses data, technology and coaching to support students in their quest to return to school and complete their degrees. Over 8,000 students have returned to school since 2015 due to ReUp and over 400 of them have graduated thus far.

Source: ECampusNews