Notes & Coffee: April 10-17

Notes & Coffee is here to keep you informed of all the trending student affairs and higher ed news stories most critical to our field as they develop. In this time of information overload, we’re here to bring you vetted examinations of the stories that matter to you. We invite you to brew up your favorite morning beverage, relax, and catch yourself up for the week ahead with Notes & Coffee. 

How the Trump administration made student aid applications a lot harder - “The nation's governors are urging the Trump administration to restore a widely used digital tool that simplified the financial aid application process for millions of students, noting that the IRS pulled the feature from federal websites due to vaguely defined security reasons at the peak time when students are applying for tuition assistance. The bipartisan National Governors Association on Thursday called on the Department of Education and the IRS to reinstate the tool, which allows students to easily upload required tax information into the online federal student aid application form – an otherwise cumbersome process that the governors argued creates a significant barrier for millions of students, particularly low-income students.”

Student affairs key to tackling inequality - “To understand the importance of student affairs, one must understand higher education’s role in society. Colleges and universities ideally provide the experiences and training meant to prepare students to pursue opportunities that generate both personal fulfillment and societal benefits. However, institutions of higher education can often — although unintentionally — promote, reinforce and reproduce inequality. Historically built to privilege and justify the status of those from White, upper-class backgrounds, some colleges and universities today continue to arrange themselves in ways that are hurtful and isolating to students.”

California Dreamers—and their nightmares - “Since the election, many undocumented immigrant students at campuses across the country have been grappling with heightened anxieties about their own safety and that of their loved ones, as well as new uncertainties about their future opportunities in the U.S. Many of these students are benefiting from the DACA program, which allows certain immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to receive two-year, renewable work permits and temporary relief from the possibility of deportation. President Trump has sent mixed messages about whether he will keep the program, which was established under President Obama’s executive authority and therefore could easily be undone by Trump.

6 improvement trends spreading like fire across all colleges and universities - “Just like 2016’s improvement trends, academic program creation and evaluation is top-of-mind with institutions. However, this year colleges and universities are looking to diversify their program portfolios, either through offering online or blended learning offerings, through offering micro-credentials, or by placing their bets on emerging programs. This is just one of the trends highlighted in Hanover Research’s 2017 Industry Trend Report, which studies the impact of these improvement trends across the 800 research projects commissioned by over 300 higher education clients (Hanover’s client list includes Georgetown University, Gonzaga, Johns Hopkins, Texas A&M, and Wake Forest to name a few). Hanover’s research work spans all institutional type—four-year, community college, business schools, law schools—as well as departments like marketing, academic affairs and finance/operations.”

Who should investigate sexual assaults? - “A Georgia lawmaker’s now defunct bill that would have restricted colleges’ powers to investigate campus sex crimes inspired a national firestorm. It highlighted a raging and yet unresolved debate: Do institutions unfairly pursue discipline against the accused? Some believe the current federal directions for how colleges should scrutinize sexual assault cases is skewed in favor of those making a complaint, but measures that others view as bringing more balance to the process are often slammed as protections for rapists. Though the controversial bill from Georgia Representative Earl Ehrhart easily passed the state's House of Representatives, the Senate Judiciary Committee tabled it, citing the need to rework the proposal. Ideas in the bill are reflected in national criticisms of how colleges adjudicate sexual assault allegations and have cropped up in both state legislatures and Congress.”

More Notes

Education summit highlights challenging climate on campus

Debate over in-state tuition for students in U.S. illegally

N.Y.’s tuition-free dream meets details

e-Credentials will do to higher ed what e-commerce did to retail

Students with sugar daddies

Another speech shut down

Integrating STEMployable skills at HBCUs