weekly digest and other news from the New England Board of Higher Education
May 27, 2020
With fear of the coronavirus shutting down all but essential businesses in March, NEJHE has invited economists and other experts on “employability” to weigh in on how COVID-19 will affect 2020’s college grads. In this installment, economist Nicole Smith of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce notes how forces such as the "digital divide" and the impact of economic "scarring" will shape graduates' approach to a tough job market.
"The graduating class of 2020 will face a difficult job market, and the adversities will follow them for years."
In our latest practitioner perspectives on Open Educational Resources (OER), Thomas College Provost Thomas Edwards discusses how the Waterville, Maine college is working with a Davis Educational Foundation grant to redesign 30 courses over three years to help save students money on textbooks—a cost he says is a well-documented and significant barrier to student success.
More from The New England Journal of Higher Education
Following up on their earlier NEJHE analysis of the most disastrous job loss in U.S. history, which is still unfolding, Drexel University economists Neeta Fogg and Paul Harrington write that Americans with lower levels of education have borne a disproportionate share of the costs of COVID-19-related shutdowns.The April 2020 unemployment rate of adults without a high school diploma was over 21%; 2.5 times higher than the 8.3% unemployment rate among their counterparts with a bachelor’s or higher college degree, write the former Northeastern University economists.
The desire to reopen colleges, shared across the country, is fraught with risks, writes education consultant, author and former Southern Vermont College President Karen Gross. "For colleges that have decided they are reopening in fall 2020 with in-person classes and residential life, risk management is a task that moves front and center," she notes. The overwhelming risk, in addition to students not enrolling and faculty and staff not appearing due to concerns of risk, is death. Who wants to be the "Reopener" in which there is an on-campus death? "That is not a risk I would take were I a president," writes Gross. "But," she adds, "if the risk is undertaken, risk management must be implemented in full force."
From time to time, NEJHE revives the presentation of facts and figures called “Data Connection” that we had published quarterly for nearly 20 years in the print editions of The New England Journal of Higher Education, formerly known as Connection.
Total enrollment in the RSP in 2019-20 was 9,257, up 14% over 2018-19. Of the 81 participating public colleges and universities, 46% reported enrollment increases. About 64% of students were enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs, 28% in community college programs and 7% in graduate programs.
News Around NEBHE
New England is home to a large number of fast-growing, high-skill industries with jobs that require a postsecondary credential. Effective models of education and training need to be created to meet labor market demands, overcome employer-reported skills shortages and satisfy workers’ desire for additional training. Consequently, the region’s businesses need to make upskilling programs available to employees to improve skills matching, retention and work productivity. The successful implementation of upskilling programs will require greater collaboration and alignment between New England’s educators and employers.
In a webinar sponsored by NEBHE, two college admissions officers give school counselors, parents and prospective students insight into what’s happening on their campuses, and why it’s taking some time to provide answers in this year of COVID-19.
Tracking Coronavirus
NEBHE's Tracking Coronavirus web resource features an easy-to-use visual showing institutions' COVID-19 responses including current status of campus closures and shifts to online operations, as well as i nfo on refund strategies for students' room and board charges and commencement statuses. The page also features: COVID-19 News; Governmental Responses, Guidance & Advocacy; Distance Education Resources & Compliance; Institutional Finance Information; and Admissions and Enrollment Information. Please s hare updates from your institution at: cpeyser@nebhe.org .
NEJHE NewsBlast is a summary of NEJHE content and other news around NEBHE prepared weekly by NEJHE Executive Editor John O. Harney and emailed every Wednesday to opinion leaders and practitioners. When responding to NEJHE content, please make sure that your remarks are relevant, courteous and engaging. Individuals are responsible for their comments, which do not represent the opinions of the New England Board of Higher Education. We urge commenters to briefly note their occupational or other interest in the topic at hand. Please refrain from offensive language, personal attacks and distasteful comments or they may be deleted. Comments may not appear immediately. Thank you for staying engaged.
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