Notes & Coffee: April 3-9

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.

Threat to university research - “When President Trump proposed a cut of nearly 20 percent in support for the National Institutes of Health, many wondered how the administration would even attempt to find such reductions. The answer emerged in the congressional testimony last week of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who argued the government could save billions without hurting research by cutting back on the overhead reimbursements to colleges and universities. Higher education associations said cutting those reimbursements would have a very real impact on the science conducted on campuses. For some institutions, eliminating support for administrative costs could mean they would find it difficult to continue that research at all, the groups said.”

Behind the problem of student homelessness - “’Homeless college student’ seems like a contradiction in terms,” said Paul Toro, a psychology professor at Wayne State University who studies poverty and homelessness. “If you’re someone who has the wherewithal to get yourself into college, well, of course you should be immune to homelessness. But that just isn’t the case. It’s difficult to know exactly how many students are homeless, or are dangling dangerously close to it, in part because of the enormous stigma surrounding the issue. But new research shows how pervasive a problem it is — and one that some educators believe is growing.”

The high (dollar) cost of sexual assault - “Much of the public discussion about the impact of campus sexual assault cases in recent years has focused on the toll on victims (and increasingly on the rights of the accused). But college leaders have grown concerned, too, about the financial impact on their institutions, and a new report from United Educators actually quantifies that burden. Over a five-year period, United Educators -- a member-owned insurance cooperative that insures hundreds of colleges and universities -- received reports of about 1,000 cases at its member institutions in which a student reported being sexually assaulted. The report is based on information gleaned from those incidents.”

Should affirmative action be based on socioeconomic status? - “In a recent lawsuit, Harvard was accused of using race quotas and maintaining a cap on Asian enrollment for decades. To me, the worst part of this isn’t that some kid who looks like my son won’t get into the Ivy League. It’s that truly disadvantaged Asians get lumped in with model minority Asians. There are economically disadvantaged students from Laotian, Cambodian and Hmong communities. There are Pakistani and South Asian students whose parents scrape by working 100-hour weeks. Affirmative action has the potential to hurt these individuals most of all. But let’s be fair. Colleges’ intentions are good. They use affirmative action to craft diverse classes because we all benefit from exposure to people of different races and backgrounds. I strongly agree with this.”

More Notes

Pre-college factors in racial gaps on graduation 

The 5 stages of digital readiness for adult online students

Stop competing against luck: Applying the Jobs to be done Theory to higher education

Feeling like imposters

Colleges could start using “Adversity Index”