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Highlights from Higher Ed: Public Health Popularity, Microcredentials, Higher-Ed Risks, and Early Decisions

Liaison International
Jan 12, 2023

Number of undergrads pursuing public health degrees skyrockets

Undergraduate public health degrees have surpassed master’s degrees in the same field as the nation’s most popular type of public health degree. Between 2001 and 2020, the number of students earning the former increased by 1,100% thanks in part to the creation of new programs and growth in established programs. The trend also “reflects the mounting interest in public health fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, which underscored not only the vital importance of the work but also the dire need for more public health professionals in a time of crisis.” In addition, growing awareness of inequity in access to public health may also be driving students to such programs as they seek a career path that allows them to be part of a solution. Overall, 62% of bachelor’s degree holders work in the for-profit sector or in healthcare, compared with 41% of those who earned a master’s degree.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Most students think microcredentials and certifications will help them get a job

More than 40% of college students say the ability to get a job was a top motivation for enrolling, but many feel their institutions are failing to meet those expectations. As a result, “an overwhelming majority” now believes that earning professional certifications or microcredentials after graduation will be necessary to help them land a good job. That opinion is not unique to U.S. students. The survey included 3,600 individuals from Australia, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Turkey. “Most students rank job opportunities as their top criteria in choosing a postsecondary path, and ranking a close second is the ability to develop real-world skills and increase earning potential…Many institutions aren’t keeping pace with teaching students the skills and knowledge needed to compete in today’s workforce, and gaps between education and industry leave students underprepared.” More than half of the survey respondents said they have a hard time trying to decide which jobs to pursue and to understand the skills employers are seeking.

Source: eCampus News

Once again, enrollment is considered the top risk in higher education

For the fourth year in a row, enrollment tops the list of concerns facing colleges and universities, according to a survey of 105 higher-ed leaders conducted in September. Data security ranked second for the third year in a row, while the next most serious worry related to recruiting and hiring. Just one year earlier, recruiting/hiring was fourteenth on the list. Student mental health was fifth on the list this year, followed by “external risks” which refers to economic, political, and societal pressures. “The risks of sexual misconduct lost urgency; Title IX fell to 10th place, down from third place in 2019–20 and eighth place last year. And sexual misconduct, which includes sexual harassment and abuse, dropped to the 18th spot.” Covid and pandemics fell from third place last year to twentieth this year.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

At elite schools and elsewhere, early admission data underscores “promising trends”

While many colleges and universities are still struggling with pandemic-fueled enrollment declines, newly released data regarding early admission and early action decisions indicate that positive trends appear to be emerging, particularly at some of the nation’s elite institutions. Overall, the number of distinct first-year applicants has risen 24% since the 2019/2020 admissions cycle. In addition, there was a 43% increase in first-generation applicants and a 37% increase in underrepresented minority applicants during the same time period. “Some of the most elite colleges and universities in the country also saw an increase in applicants from underrepresented groups—a record 41% of Dartmouth’s domestic cohort of early admits were students of color…For some elite universities, this year’s early application cycle also proved to be one of the most competitive in their history.” For example, the University of Pennsylvania received the most early decision applications in its history. Schools including Yale, Harvard, and Duke reported record low (or near-record low) early acceptance rates.

Source: Forbes

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Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 31,000 programs on more than 1,000 campuses more effectively manage admissions through its Centralized Application Service (CAS™) technology and complementary application processing and support services. The higher education technology leader supports its partner institutions’ total enrollment goals by pairing CAS with its Enrollment Marketing (EM) platform as well as the recently acquired TargetX (CRM) and advanced analytics software Othot.