The "Building Rural Innovation, Designing Educational Strategies" initiative by the nonprofit Education Design Lab will help five rural community colleges reduce barriers to education and improve training to meet workforce needs. The three-year project is backed by a $1.9 million grant from Ascendium Education Group, a student loan guarantor and education philanthropy.
The coronavirus shutdowns in the spring inspired interest for certifications and online boot camps, and while demand has diminished some, more people are engaged in these types of educational programs than before the pandemic. Online continuing education providers say the interest has risen for both credit-bearing and noncredit offerings.
Classes begin Monday at Lake Superior State University, and students began moving back to campus in late July. The protocols for students include symptom screenings, a voluntary coronavirus test, two free school-branded masks, and an appointed hour to move their things into the dorm.
A survey by SimpsonScarborough finds that 40% of incoming freshmen are rethinking their decision to attend a four-year college this fall. In addition, only 7% say they think fellow students will adhere to coronavirus protocols, and 34% say they would feel safe living in a dorm.
Faculty at colleges across the country are pushing back against decisions to reopen campuses for fall and urging schools to allow them to teach remotely, with at least one union threatening to strike. Many also are fighting budget cuts and layoffs and argue that faculty should have a voice in the decisions.
The proposed merger of the University of Arizona and the for-profit Ashford University is a complicated deal that is more partnership than merger, writes Kevin Carey, who directs the education policy program at New America. The proposal would create a nonprofit, essentially managed by Arizona University, to oversee the online campus that will deliver profit and burnish its academic reputation, he explains.
A common weed called pennycress has attracted a $13 million grant from the US Energy Department for research at Illinois State University into growing it as a biofuel. The plant has the same oil content as canola and could produce 65 gallons of oil an acre that could be used as biojet and biodiesel fuels.
Student-loan payment deferrals would be extended until the end of this year as part of executive orders signed by President Donald Trump. Other higher-education concerns, however, such as the $100 billion in federal relief that the nation's colleges and universities are seeking, are not included in the orders.
Westminster College in Utah has developed an app called Westminster Safe, which alerts students when someone they've been in close contact with tests positive for the coronavirus. All students will be required to download the app.
Executive orders signed by President Donald Trump over the weekend extend a moratorium on student loan payments, but do not offer help to colleges, which are asking for $110 billion in federal assistance. Congress is stalled on a new relief bill and it's not clear whether or not lawmakers can reach an agreement.