Highlights from Higher Ed: Pandemic-Related Financial Losses, Graduate Program Growth, Boot Camp Partnerships and Inequality

RJ Nichol
Feb 12, 2021

Black History Month: A Look at Graduate School Enrollment for Black Americans

Liaison International has launched a new Black History Month weekly blog series to help discuss the unique challenges in higher education faced by Black Americans, and share information about steps we are taking in the service of promoting racial equity. This latest installment explores the impact on graduate enrollment caused by racial disparities in student loan debt, unfair targeting of Black Americans during financial aid audits and the overall lack of representation of Black Americans in various graduate fields. Each week we will also share our plans for working to promote greater equity and inclusion. For example, we recently worked with affinity groups like the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) to launch the EngineeringCAS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board, which has a mission of achieving greater representation of all underrepresented students in the graduate engineering population and offering suggestions for implementing and evaluating effective strategies for doing so.

The pandemic could cost U.S. colleges and universities $183 billion

An associate professor in North Carolina has estimated that U.S. higher ed institutions could lose as much as $183 billion as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The academic, Paul Friga, is “a public higher education consultant for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges and a clinical associate professor of strategy at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School.” Friga arrived at that number after analyzing budget estimates for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 at more than 100 U.S. colleges and universities. According to Friga’s estimates, revenue losses alone could amount to $85 billion in 2021, “driven by decreased enrollment, tuition discounting, declining international student enrollment and the suspension of athletic programs… College budgets could be further strained by an estimated $74 billion cut to states’ higher education funding, as well as $24 billion in pandemic-related expenses.”

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Moody’s anticipates growth in graduate programs

Moody’s Investors Service has released a new report predicting that demand for graduate education will continue to grow and, as a result, will be a crucial component of schools’ revenue-growth and diversification initiatives in the years ahead. Moody’s, a credit rating agency, “says colleges that have the resources and ability to adapt quickly to new demand will be the most likely to benefit from the heightened interest in graduate programs. Moody’s also notes the continued potential for growth in online and short-term offerings, [which] institutions have been embracing as a way to expand their reach.” The fact that many graduate programs already offered online programs before the pandemic is one reason for the optimistic outlook. However, obstacles to growth include competition from “alternative credential providers,” students’ potential reluctance to take on new debt and perceptions among international students that the United States is “less welcoming or more volatile than other countries with attractive graduate school offerings.”

Source: Higher Ed Dive

higher ed admissions

More colleges are embracing third-party coding boot camp partnerships

Rather than continuing to view coding boot camps as competitors, more colleges and universities are embracing them as on-campus partners in order to keep pace with growing demand for short-term, technical skills programs. According to one market research firm, universities worldwide created at least 73 partnerships with boot camps through the first nine months of 2020, compared with 49 in all of 2019. “For coding schools, these arrangements lend their programs credibility and familiarity from well-known college brands. Universities, meanwhile, benefit from a new revenue stream and partners that can launch and modify programs faster than they could on their own.” According to one estimate, the number of full-time students enrolled in U.S. and Canadian coding boot camps rose from approximately 7,000 in 2014 to more than 23,000 in 2019.

Source: Higher Ed Dive

Report: U.S. Education Department “disproportionately” auditing minority students

According to a new report from The Washington Post, the federal Education Department “has disproportionately selected students from majority-Black and Latino neighborhoods to provide further proof that the information on their financial aid application is accurate” for at least the past decade. For example, “students whose household income is low enough to qualify for Pell grants are audited at six times the rate of those who are ineligible. Students with an expected family contribution, or EFC, of $0, those who qualify for the most federal grant dollars, are most often selected. Because of racial income and wealth disparities, those students tend to be Black and Latino.”

Source: The Washington Post

RJ Nichol

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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.