Highlights from Higher Ed: Regional Views of COVID Policies, Fewer Test Scores, the Value of a Degree and the College Gender Gap

David Art
Sep 17, 2021

Colleges COVID-19 Policies Vary by Region

A survey of higher-ed faculty and staff conducted by Liaison International during the summer found “stark differences in their colleges’ fall semester COVID-19 protocols and plans across institutions and geographic regions.” For example, while approximately two-thirds of respondents overall (68%) reported mask requirements for students, only 53% of those in the South did so. Elsewhere, 84% of schools in the West had a mask mandate, as did 73% in the Midwest and Northeast. “A quarter of respondents from the South said their institutions were requiring vaccines for staff members, compared to 37% in the Midwest, 58% in the Northeast and 70% in the West.” The entire Liaison report, “COVID-19 Fall 2021 Impact on Higher Education,” is available online.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Test Score Submissions Plummeted Last Year

The number of students who submitted standardized test scores with their Common App college applications declined dramatically during the 2020-2021 school year, from more than 75% the previous year to approximately 40%. “Common App found that first-generation and underrepresented minority students were also less likely to provide admissions exam scores than other applicants, lending credence to the argument that test-optional policies can help colleges draw more applications from these groups.” Last year, 30% of first-generation students submitted standardized test scores, compared with 48% of other applicants. Thirty-one percent of Native American, Black, Latinx and Pacific Islander applicants opted to submit the scores, versus 47% of non-minority college hopefuls.

Source: Higher Ed Dive

Most Americans — Especially Employers — See the Value in a College Education

A new report found that most Americans (60%) believe college is still worth the investment of time and money, but that number jumped considerably (to 87%) when survey respondents also happened to be employers. Respondents’ income, education and political views also accounted for differences in opinion. For example, nearly three-quarters of those earning at least $100,000 (74%) or holding a bachelor’s degree (73%) felt that way, whereas only about half of those earning less than $50,000 (52%) or without a degree (51%) shared that opinion. “Similarly, respondents who identified as Democrats (70%) were much more likely to believe a college degree is ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ worth it than those who identified as Republicans (53%) or independents (52%).”

Source: American Association of Colleges and Universities

The College Gender Gap Continues to Widen for Men

In a trend that’s been described as “the most consequential college predicament you may not have heard about,” the number of male college students sank to an all-time low last year (40.5%). According to one researcher, there will soon be two women earning a college degree for every man who has attained the same level of education if the trend continues. “[T]he gender gap has been ‘slowly widening for 40 years,’ and carries across just about all barriers, from two- to four-year schools, as well as racial, geographical and economic boundaries.”

Source: Yahoo

David Art

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Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 40,000 programs on more than 1,200 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.