Highlights from Higher Ed: Uncertain H.S. Graduates, Native American Financial Woes, Degree Requirements, and “Upper Class” Faculty 

Dec 2, 2022

Most Recent High School Grads aren’t Prepared for College and Career Decisions 

Seventy-five percent of recent high graduates feel unprepared to make important choices about their academic futures and careers. Most (62%) believe their schools should have played a bigger role in getting them ready to face the future, and more than half said family and friends play a deciding role in the choices they do make. Among the 500 survey respondents who had graduated since 2019, 41% couldn’t decide on a college major by the time they had graduated, and 42% “lacked confidence or were only slightly confident in their chosen career or education.” Nearly a third (30%) said they are not on a specific career path or educational journey. Generally speaking, less confident students reported having limited conversations about their future with high school counselors and teachers. The most confident students said they had had as many as 20 such discussions in high school. 

Source: University Business 

Money a Top Concern for Native American College Students 

A new report released by an organization called the National Native Scholarship Providers identifies money as the most critical factor determining whether Native American students enroll in college, where they enroll, and whether they graduate. The NNSP’s survey of 2,800 current and former Native American college students revealed that half had chosen their school based solely on its cost. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents said they had run out of money in the previous six months, “while more than a quarter experienced food insecurity and 16% experienced homelessness as they pursued a higher education.” A plurality of respondents were members of homes with an annual income of less than $20,000 and said that managing unexpected expenses is a challenge. “Thirty-four percent of former students relied on subsidized loans to make ends meet during college, 30% took out unsubsidized loans, 25% used credit cards, and 11% depended on private loans.” 

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer 

More Employers Drop College Degree Requirement 

The Wall Street Journal reported that a growing number of public and private employers are responding to a competitive hiring environment — and, in some cases, diversity concerns — by abandoning policies that require candidates for specific jobs to hold a four-year college degree. Google, Delta Airlines, and IBM are among the companies loosening the requirement. The state of Maryland has taken the same step, and the incoming governor of Pennsylvania is also an advocate. In early 2019, 46% of U.S. job postings mentioned a degree requirement. That number dipped below 35% during the pandemic and is now back to 41%. “The persistently tight labor market has accelerated the trend that builds on a debate about the benefits and drawbacks of encouraging more people to attend four-year colleges and as organizations try to address racial disparities in the workplace… The lifetime earnings of a worker with a high-school diploma are $1.6 million while that of a bachelor’s degree holder are $2.8 million.” 

Source: The Wall Street Journal 

Is the Prevalence of “Upper Class” Faculty a Problem on Campus? 

A study of data based on the ZIP codes of the childhood homes of tenure-track faculty revealed that their annual household incomes were 23% — or $14,000 — higher than the median income in all ZIP codes nationwide. The study, which examined approximately 47,000 faculty in eight disciplines ranging from STEM to the humanities, also determined that more than 20% of subjects had at least one parent with a Ph.D. The findings “highlight how parents pass on their socioeconomic standing to their children and spark concerns that a college education locks in class rather than drives social mobility.” That, in turn, may “cast higher education’s treasured concept of meritocracy into doubt.” According to a different study conducted in 2021, a disproportionate number of medical students are from affluent backgrounds. 

Source: Higher Ed Dive 


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