Highlights from Higher Ed: Revolutionary Changes in the ACT Scoring System and Expanding Higher Education Opportunities to Rural Students

Arielle Ahladianakis
Oct 18, 2019

Revolutionary changes in the ACT scoring system

The ACT recently announced changes to its scoring system which will take effect with the September 2020 distribution of the test. The ACT has framed these changes as enhancements for students. One of the most consequential changes allows for students to “be able to take the ACT online at a test center on national ACT dates, with results from the multiple-choice sections of the test available as early as two business days after the test is taken.” In addition, students who have taken the ACT in the past will be able to retake certain sections of the test, rather than the entire test. The last change is the introduction of ACT’s “superscore,” which is the combined best score of each section if the student has taken the test more than once. These changes have many wondering if the SAT will follow suit.

Source: Inside Higher Ed 

Expanding higher education opportunities to rural students

According to research by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, there are steps rural communities can take in order to boost degree attainment. The research focused on four rural areas across the United States including Shasta County in Northern California; Texas’ Rio Grande Valley region; Elkhart County in northern Indiana; and Columbus in southeast Indiana. All four of these areas were recognized as Talent Hubs by the Lumina Foundation, which qualifies each of these regions to “receive grants from the [Lumina Foundation] to support local efforts to increase degree attainment among college-aged, stopped-out and adult students.” Although each area’s challenges were unique, the key to increasing degree attainment lies with leaving behind the “one-size-fits-all approach.” Instead, a more effective approach includes understanding what local barriers students are facing, tailoring programs to serve students, and collaboration between schools and the workforce to connect students to “relevant credentials and create more opportunities for lifelong learning.”

Source: Education Dive

College towns after schools go under

With many small private colleges closing their doors due to shifts in higher education and declining student enrollment, some college towns are feeling the absence of the thousands of students who once roamed their streets and kept business booming. Towns that hosted these schools must now adapt to the loss of students and are waiting to see what comes next. For example, will larger post-secondary institutions or land developers fill the economic void? Across the United States, 71 private nonprofit universities and colleges have closed their doors since 1995. In that 24-year span, 12 independent institutions have opened and 29 have merged. This could be in part due to a “shift toward more career-oriented training and a decline in the number of college-age students.”

Source: The Christian Science Monitor 

The future “sticky independence” of campus libraries

Campus libraries are anticipating a shift in how collections are managed and shared. This new codependent system would rely on research libraries to “move away from a mind-set of independent libraries, motivated by self-interest” and instead think of their separate collections as if they were one single shared collection within a network of libraries. The system would allow institutions to reallocate money that would otherwise be used to acquire more and more collections. Although libraries acknowledge that it may not be necessary to have a copy or print issue of every journal or book, some librarians wonder “how many copies do you need to have of something to mitigate the risk of one copy being lost or deteriorating?” The alternative to this shared approach is for libraries to keep growing their own individual collections, which can be costly. 

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Arielle Ahladianakis

You may also enjoy

Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 31,000 programs on more than 1,000 campuses more effectively manage admissions through its Centralized Application Service (CAS™) technology and complementary application processing and support services. The higher education technology leader supports its partner institutions’ total enrollment goals by pairing CAS with its Enrollment Marketing (EM) platform as well as the recently acquired TargetX (CRM) and advanced analytics software Othot.