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TOP STORIES  Hamas-Israel and the new war on American campuses.... An AI medical degree.... Female professors sue Vassar.... Rankings revised (yawn)... Big changes to the SAT... No changes to Title IX....  Student loan forgiveness falls short—again....   and more.

Campus Leaders Still Wary of AI
A new survey finds they’re not ready to spend money on the new technology   MORE

Free Speech Isn’t Free—From Consequences The Hamas-Israel war has started a new war on America’s campuses MORE

Intolerance on Campus  Is it time to bring back Western Civ? MORE 

A Panel on Biological Sex in Anthropology Is Canceled You have to read it to believe it MORE

Dual AI-Medical Degree for Physicians  Did we make this up? MORE

Teachers Integrate AI Into Classrooms  Cautiously MORE

College Presidents and the New Campus (Mid-East) Culture War
Leave it to Harvard to start the battle: a student group issues a pro-Hamas statement just hours after the Hamas attack MORE

Affirmative Action Skirmishes Continue Yale caved, removing race as a factor in financial aid consideration, and West Point is now on the defensive MORE 

Female Professors Sue Vassar Is the sky falling? MORE 

West Virginia Axes 28 Majors and 140 Faculty Jobs Unfortunately, it’s a trend MORE

U.S. News Revamps Its Rankings Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose MORE

Michigan State Can’t Catch a Break  
A coach’s very public ouster exposes new MSU problems and exacerbates old ones MORE

College Presidents Some planning for growth, some cutting programs, some looking for safe housing MORE 

Musical Chairs All Over Again College presidents arrive, depart, and search for a new job MORE 

Presidents Speak Out On academic freedom, institutional change, and shared governance MORE

Backlash—and Pushback—from Everywhere
How college presidents are handling the uproar over the Hamas attack and the Israeli response MORE

Big Changes Coming to the SAT
Is going digital a big deal? MORE 

CSU to Hike Tuition by Six Percent The California State University Board of Trustees unanimously votes to raise tuition MORE

Florida Becomes the First State to Approve an Alternative to the SAT and ACT The CLT is a humanities-focused alternative to the standard tests MORE

Tuition Resets: Marketing gimmick or a viable way to attract new students? MORE

Complex AI Challenges Minimizing admissions bias, keeping degrees relevant MORE

Biden Administration Breaks Promise to Finalize New Title IX Rules Oops MORE

How Politics Influence Where Students Want to Go to College Political climate of the states makes a big difference MORE

Biden's Second Attempt at Student Loan Forgiveness Falls Short  Frustration mounts as borrowers’ relief falls short MORE

Chaos in the Transition Monthly loan payments marred by wrong amounts and start-up struggles MORE



1   Campus Leaders Still Wary of AI  Inside Higher Ed’s 2023 survey of chief technology and information officers found them to be very cautious about embracing artificial intelligence. Only 16 percent said investing in artificial intelligence technology was a “high priority” or “essential,” while 69 percent said AI was low-to-medium priority. But roughly one-third of CIOs said they may try out AI, machine learning, and adaptive learning.

Some educators believe the technology is too new to warrant substantial investment. Stephen Harmon, executive director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said, “We don’t know where these technologies will end up, so as a CIO, I would be reluctant to invest heavily at a production level.”

Tyler Cowen, professor of economics at George Mason University, in a September lecture at Iowa State University, said there is a fear that AI might destroy jobs. Jobs will be created and others will be lost, he said, but overall net jobs will not fluctuate: “There’s always more work to be done. We’re very far from scarcity, but there’ll be this rather major reallocation of rewards to people who work with this stuff well.”  to the top

2   Free Speech Isn’t Free—From Consequences  Speech may be “free”—but it’s not consequence-free, as law schools, universities, and students are finding in the wake of pro-Hamas, anti-Semitic statements, rallies, and threats, as well as anti-Palestinian activities. Led by billionaire Marc Rowan, a University of Pennsylvania alumnus and longtime supporter, donors are pulling funds from UPenn, Harvard, and other elite schools. Wealthy donors are not just losing patience with the schools, they are losing it with the schools’ students too: businesses leaders do not want employees whose values are at odds with their firms’. White-shoe firms withdrew employment offers from Harvard, Columbia, and New York University students after their pro-Hamas statements—and two-dozen law firms fired off a letter to deans at top-ranked law schools, warning the deans that they are questioning whether graduates are being prepared to contribute to a workplace culture with “zero tolerance” for anti-Semitism or other forms of bigotry. Meanwhile, as we enter early-decision application season, some are counseling Jewish families to factor campus safety into their school selection. (See also College Presidents and the New Campus Culture War.) to the top 

3   Intolerance on Campus: Is It Time to Bring Back ‘Western Civ’?  First-year courses in Western Civilization, once a common requirement in undergraduate curriculums, have all but disappeared at most college campuses. From 1964 to 2010, nearly all selective schools abandoned first-year requirements featuring a common humanities curriculum and instead opted for a “buffet model” in which students could choose from various curricular tracks. In a recent article in The New York Times, Debra Satz, a dean at Stanford University, and Dan Edelstein, a Stanford faculty director, say this has left students “woefully ill equipped for dealing with disagreements” and has helped to create the culture wars on campus. This year alone has seen at least 20 instances in which students or faculty attempted to disinvite or silence speakers. The authors fault our institutions of higher learning for failing to develop the “shared intellectual framework” that could help defuse or prevent such incidents, and they argue that “to strengthen free speech on campuses, we need to return civic education to the heart of our curriculum.”  to the top

4   A Panel on Biological Sex in Anthropology Is Canceled  A panel titled “Let’s Talk about Sex Baby: Why biological sex remains a necessary analytic category in anthropology” was canceled over fears it would cause too much “harm.” The all-female panel was to feature a number of scholars who have defended biological sex as relevant in the sciences, and was slated to be presented at the American Anthropological Association and Canadian Anthropology Society’s joint annual conference in November. In a statement, the two anthropological associations said they deplatformed the panel to protect the transgender community: “The session was rejected because it relied on assumptions that run contrary to the settled science in our discipline, framed in ways that do harm to vulnerable members of our community.” But the panelists say they were blindsided and that none of them had been contacted about any concerns since the panel was approved back in July. They released their own statement, saying it was a “false accusation” that their ideas were advanced in such a way as to cause harm. Academic freedom advocates criticized the AAA and CAS for caving to political pressure.   to the top

5   Dual AI-Medical Degree for Physicians   Universities have begun to incorporate AI technologies into medical practice by offering a certificate program—Artificial Intelligence in Medicine—mainly geared toward working physicians. Times Higher Education wrote that so far this pioneering movement is underway in medical schools at the universities of Florida and Illinois, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Stanford and Harvard universities.

Fortune reported in late September that the University of Texas at San Antonio, in conjunction with UT Health San Antonio, “is launching the first-of-its-kind dual degree in medicine and AI to uniquely train the next generation physicians at the forefront of the tech world.”

Students in the five-year program will earn a Doctor of Medicine degree and a Master of Science in AI (MSAI). During a gap year between their third and fourth years of medical school, they will complete the MSAI. Students will acquire foundational AI skills and learn how to deploy them in real-world medical situations.  to the top

6   Teachers Cautiously Integrate AI Into Classrooms Professors are just beginning to figure out how—and how much—to integrate AI into their teaching. Laura Dumin, professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma, is co–managing editor for The Journal of Transformative Learning. Writing in October in Ed Surge, she noted she and her students discuss “what AI can and can’t do.” They examine the output of large language models (LLMs) and probe the quality of the responses. Next semester she will have her students work with prompt writing (giving a topic to center or guide a project) and reflect on “when knowledge and learning matter versus when human-AI hybrid writing makes sense. For many faculty, that last question is causing the most friction around campuses.”

Dumin says instructors across the disciplines ask whether students will rely too much on AI, or will they “still be motivated to spend time struggling with concepts and gaining deep understanding of topics?”  

Meanwhile, some teachers are bypassing AI with a centuries-old method: the oral exam. Says Beth Carlson, an English teacher at Kennebunk High School, in Maine, who sometimes conducts 15-minute oral assessments: ‘They’re exhausting. I can only really do four at a time, and then I need a brain break.”  to the top


7   College Presidents and the New Campus Culture War  College presidents found themselves in the crosshairs when it came to speaking about the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the aftermath. Controversy flared first at Harvard, where a coalition of student groups issued a pro-Hamas statement hours after the Hamas attack; with that student statement setting the tone, Harvard president Claudine Gay was forced to play defense and catch-up, issuing three statements in quick succession after her first statement was seen as being insufficiently critical of Hamas. What played out at Harvard was typical of what happened on many campuses, where presidents issued further statements when their first ones were read as too soft on Hamas. This fraught situation offers “a moment to think about the virtues of neutrality,” according to Tom Ginsburg, who directs Forum for Free Inquiry and Expression at the University of Chicago. Ginsburg referenced the University of Chicago’s 1967 Kalven Report, which recommended that institutions remain neutral on political issues, a recommendation recently endorsed by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Expression and the Heterodox Academy. But can college presidents now credibly adopt institutional neutrality, “given the number of issues on which leadership at Harvard and other universities have spoken out”? Perhaps the bigger question is this: Can colleges navigate a new campus culture war, where they broker speech on issues that may engender threats of harassment and violence, putting civil academic discourse out of reach? (See also Free Speech Isn’t Free—From Consequences.) to the top

8   Affirmative Action Skirmishes Continue  The anti-affirmative-action group Students for Fair Admissions dropped its lawsuit against Yale University after the Ivy League school agreed to overhaul its admissions practices—including removing race as a factor in financial aid considerations and taking new “technological steps” to see that demographic data related to race and ethnicity don’t play a part in admissions decisions. This comes after the Supreme Court ruled in SFFA’s favor in June and struck down race-conscious admissions policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. However, a footnote in the ruling left open the question of race in admissions at military-service academies. Academy leaders say their admissions processes take many factors into account, especially academic credentials and leadership potential, but SFFA argues they are violating the Fifth Amendment by setting desired percentages of each class to be filled by Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities. The group is now suing the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The Biden administration and some military leaders, on the other hand, say having a diverse officer class is a must for promoting morale and discipline within the armed forces.  to the top

9   Female Professors Sue Vassar, Alleging Wage Discrimination  Vassar College—one of the country’s first all-women’s colleges—has been hit with a federal lawsuit brought by five tenured female professors over allegations of unequal pay, delayed promotions for female professors, and a discriminatory performance-evaluation system. Salary data released by the college indicates that the gender-based wage gap has grown over the past two decades. During the 2003–2004 academic year, female full professors earned about 7 percent less than their male counterparts. By the 2021–2022 academic year, the gap had grown to 10 percent. College officials contend the disparities are tied to differences in seniority, academic discipline, and peer evaluations. Vassar president Elizabeth Bradley said in a statement to The New York Times that Vassar had agreed to allow a faculty committee to hire an independent compensation-analysis firm to examine salaries and would act on the findings.  to the top



10 WVU Axes 28 Majors and 140 Faculty Jobs Despite Outcries At a packed meeting disrupted by protesters chanting, waving signs, and shouting, the West Virginia University Board of Governors voted to slash 143 faculty positions and 28 academic programs—including all foreign-language degree programs and graduate degree programs in math. Over the past decade, enrollment at WVU’s flagship Morgantown campus has dropped by 17 percent, while state appropriations fell nearly 36 percent. More public universities like WVU are facing serious financial challenges brought on by state funding cuts, declining enrollments, and, in some cases, years of inordinate spending. Faced with a $45 million budget deficit that was projected to reach $75 million by 2028, WVU president E. Gordon Gee said there was no other choice: “We can’t keep every program. We can’t do everything that we’ve been doing, because we’ve lived beyond our means.” (A Wall Street Journal analysis found that spending at WVU increased by 38 percent between 2002 and 2022.) Other universities are following suit. To close a $9 million budget gap, SUNY Potsdam is looking to eliminate 14 academic programs and significantly reduce faculty positions, while Vermont State University has unveiled a voluntary faculty buyout offer in hopes of avoiding layoffs.  to the top

11  U.S. News Revamps Its Rankings to Emphasize Social Mobility U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” of 2024 rankings are out. This year’s list places a greater emphasis on mobility and outcomes, which the publisher is calling “the most significant methodological change in the rankings’ history.” New this year is a factor that tracks the graduation rates of first-generation college students. Despite the attempts at leveling the playing field, highly selective schools continue to occupy the top spots: Princeton University is still No. 1, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is still in second place, and Harvard and Stanford Universities tied for third. But some public institutions climbed significantly—the City College of New York and San Diego State University both jumped 46 places—while some private colleges with little socioeconomic diversity, such as American University and Wake Forest University, dropped by double digits. Last year, Yale and Harvard’s law schools announced they would no longer participate in the U.S. News rankings—a decision that had a domino effect on other elite-school law and medical programs. For the most part, however, the rankings continue to be entrenched at undergraduate schools, even while their influence is shrinking.   to the top

12  At Michigan State, a Coach’s Ouster Exposes New Problems and Exacerbates Old Ones   In September, after a protracted process that left some asking why they hadn’t acted sooner, Michigan State University fired head football coach Mel Tucker over allegations of sexual misconduct. According to a complaint filed with the university’s Title IX office in December 2022, Tucker “made unwanted sexual advances” and “masturbated while on a telephone call” with a university vendor. The vendor, Brenda Tracy, is a prominent sexual-abuse survivor and activist who was hired in 2021 to educate the football team on sexual-misconduct prevention.

Despite “having detailed knowledge of the allegations for months,” MSU finally suspended Tucker after a September 10 story in USA Today detailed the charges against him. He was officially fired on September 27, and a week later MSU held a hearing to determine if he’d violated the school’s sexual-misconduct policy. Tucker responded to the timing of that October 5 hearing by saying “MSU cut off any semblance of interest in the truth or due process by terminating me weeks before the hearing,” and he appears poised to challenge his termination, which would deprive him of about $80 million remaining in his contract.

This high-profile case is further complicated by the Larry Nassar saga. Nassar, the longtime doctor for USA Gymnastics, who was also employed by MSU, admitted to molesting girls under his care for about two decades. The case resulted in a $500 million settlement with the university, and with Nassar serving, in effect, a life sentence in federal prison.

Rachael Denhollander, a lawyer and former gymnast who spent years trying to work with MSU’s board to put in place reforms and new procedures, said of the current situation, “They don’t want outside accountability. We tried to fix these issues. This is a repeat of 2014.” Regardless of the outcomes of the cases involving Mel Tucker and Brenda Tracy, a larger question remains: How will the university address its culture and how it handles cases of harassment, abuse, and sexual violence in the future?  to the top

13   College Presidents: Some Planning for Growth, Some Cutting, Some Looking for Safe Housing David A. Thomas has led Morehouse College since 2018, and, recently contracted for another four years, he sees a lot of work ahead for this HBCU. This leader is planning for growth after the SCOTUS affirmative action decision. Steve Easton, president of Dickinson State, in North Dakota, is asking the state’s Board of Higher Education to cut several degree programs, resulting in five tenured faculty members losing their positions: “We are pleased that the number isn’t higher than that, although it’s, of course, hard for everyone to have a decision like this.” (See also WVU Axes 28 Majors and 140 Faculty Jobs Despite Outcries for other cut-back news.) The regents for the University of California are trying to safeguard housing for the system’s president, Michael Drake. His home, purchased with $6.5 million in private donations last year, has had repeated damage, including racist graffiti and smashed windows. There was a $13 million alternative in the form of housing in Piedmont, but that was voted down by a majority of regents.  to the top

14  Musical Chairs All Over Again: College Presidents Arrive, Depart, and Search for a New Job Melissa Gilliam, who was in a “tight circle of future higher ed leaders” mentored by Robert Zimmer (who passed away in May), will be joining Boston University as its president. It was Zimmer who suggested she consider pivoting from research and medicine into higher education leadership and who also is credited with mentoring the “current presidents of Dartmouth, Caltech, Vanderbilt, Clark, and Colby College. And now Boston University.” If Rutgers University’s Senate had its way, the system’s president, Jonathan Holloway, would be departing. After more than an hour of discussion where “no one spoke in favor of Holloway,” the Senate, composed mostly of faculty members, voted 89 to 47 for a “no confidence” resolution. Reasons cited for a poor level of support for the president included “handling of employees’ demands and of their triple-union strike in the spring, the unexplained ouster of the Rutgers University at Newark chancellor, the merging of the Newark and New Brunswick medical schools, and a lack of dialogue with the University Senate.” However, according to a public statement by the university: “President Holloway continues to have the support of the university’s Board of Governors....The Board of Governors has the sole responsibility to appoint the president.” Sadly, Temple University lost its acting president, JoAnne A. Epps, in September. She fell ill during a memorial service at Philadelphia university and passed away later that day. Reverend John Jenkins, longtime president of the University of Notre Dame, is stepping down at the end of the academic year, with plans to return to teaching and ministry at the Roman Catholic institution. Notre Dame’s next president will be selected from among priests in the Congregation of Holy Cross. In a Florida Atlantic University presidential search, the Board of Governors has asked the state’s attorney general to weigh in on a survey its search firm was using to rank candidates. Apparently, the questionnaire may be in violation of the Sunshine State’s law of the same name.  to the top

15  Presidents Speak Out on Academic Freedom, Institutional Change, and Shared Governance Last year at Hamline University, an art history instructor showed a 14th-century image of the Prophet Muhammad and garnered a complaint from an observant Muslim student. That incident ended with Hamline failing to rehire the adjunct, Erika López Prat, and receiving criticism from a full spectrum of politicians and those interested in academic freedom. Regardless, the university held a forum on academic freedom in September at which President Fayneese S. Miller noted that she did not see the event as a defensive move, “but rather an offensive” one and advised faculty to “not treat [students] as cattle to be prodded and moved in the direction we want.” Forbes reported on warnings coming from past presidents of higher education institutions regarding transformational change. Former president of Bucknell University and Washington & Jefferson College, Brian Mitchell, offered this important advice: “Abandon the approach to governance where trustees are updated in their periodic board meetings,” given that “institutional change will happen at a speed to which they are unaccustomed and potentially unwilling to accept.” Macalester Colleges former president Brian Rosenberg just published a book on change: Whatever It Is, I’m Against It: Resistance to Change in Higher Education. In it he states, “Shared governance is a system designed, in my view, to make sure that any changes are very slow and very incremental...and end up...with an outcome that is...antithetical to anything...transformational.” Yet he concedes that presidents “will go back to their campus and wax poetic about the wonders of shared governance, because that’s what they have to do to survive.” Forbes closed with this Benjamin Franklin quote “When you are finished changing, you are finished.” to the top

16    Presidents Face Backlash—and Pushback—from Everywhere A former trustee of and donor to UPenn has called for President Liz Magill to step down over the uproar following the Palestine Writes Literature Festival in September, which was held at UPenn and included speakers with a history of making anti-Semitic remarks. The trustee, Vahan Gureghian, had stepped down from the board earlier in the month in protest of the lack of UPenn’s response prior to the festival. CNN Business reported that “in the wake of Hamas’ attack on Israel, donors’ displeasure increased rapidly, as they argued the university wasn’t sufficiently battling antisemitism on campus.” Gureghian correctly predicted that “people are just going to turn that spigot off. That’s a major, major thing for a university of this stature.”

In Inside Higher Ed, a piece entitled “Presidents Can’t Win” addresses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict spilling out onto campuses and observes that presidents are “blasted...for speaking up too late or for speaking too forcefully—or not forcefully enough” and that it is “virtually impossible for college presidents to navigate the issue without alienating student groups, angering donors and trustees, or prompting backlash from multiple quarters.” (See also Free Speech Isn’t Free From Consequences.) Efforts to help navigate uproars on campus and “promote free speech and civil discourse” have been laid out by College Presidents for Civic Preparedness, an initiative that was launched in the summer of 2023 by the Institute for Citizens & Scholars. It presents three major components: First, a “Campus Call for Free Expression,” in which a participating institution commits to seeking new ways to elevate “the principles of freedom of expression and critical inquiry.” Second, a “Faculty Development Institute on Dialogue Across Difference,” which includes training for inculcating “a robust culture of free inquiry and heterodox discussions.” Lastly, an institution needs to “track the essential metrics, gauge progress....After all, it’s one thing for college presidents to say they support free speech and another to stand firm in the face of irate students, faculty, alumni, or politicians.”  to the top


17   Big Changes Coming to the SAT The SAT is going digital. The new format is set to be released internationally this year and in 2024 in the United States. (The ACT has offered limited online options since 2016 but will pilot a digital iteration of the test more broadly beginning in December.) Once ubiquitous in admissions, entrance exams have seen their relevance diminished with the pandemic and the rise of test-optional policies. More than 2,000 colleges are not mandating the SAT and ACT for fall 2024 admissions, according to FairTest, a group that advocates for limited use of assessments. In response to critics who say that the pencil-and-paper format rewards students who “think fast and shallow”—while punishing those who “think slow and deep,” the new digital SAT will be shorter overall to minimize time pressure. The College Board discovered that 97 percent of students complete every question in a section on the digital SAT with up to seven minutes to spare.  to the top

18   CSU to Hike Tuition by Six Percent for the Next Five Years The California State University Board of Trustees unanimously voted to raise tuition by six percent a year for the next five years, despite fierce opposition from students and faculty. CSU, the country’s largest public four-year higher education system, has raised tuition only once in the past 12 years. Tuition remains a major bargain by nationwide measures. However, a large percentage of students are underrepresented minorities or the first in their families to attend college. Full-time undergraduates currently pay $5,742. By the 2028–2029 school year, they will be paying $7,682. According to a report released in May, CSU’s revenue covered only 86 percent of its costs, leaving it with a $1.5 billion budget deficit. Opponents of the plan say the budget gap was caused by financial mismanagement; they also point out that CSU presidents received salary increases last year—some amounting to 29 percent. But trustees said they reluctantly voted for the tuition hikes because there were no viable alternatives.  to the top

19   ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Florida Becomes the First State to Approve an Alternative to the SAT and ACT  Florida will now allow the controversial Classic Learning Test, or CLT, for admissions to its 12 state universities starting this fall. The CLT is a humanities-focused alternative to the SAT and ACT that was created in 2015 as part of an effort by conservatives to revive classical studies in America. To date, it has been used mainly by Christian colleges and select private institutions like the conservative Hillsdale College. Florida is the only state thus far to allow its public colleges to accept CLT, but the move implies further seismic shifts in the admissions world that have already included the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of race-conscious admissions practices, and the diminishing dominance of the College Board, which administers the SAT and has had run-ins with Governor Ron DeSantis. CLT test scores are accepted by more than 200 colleges and universities, or about one-tenth of the four-year institutions in the country. About 25,000 students have taken the CLT for college admissions. By contrast, 1.9 million students in the high school class of 2023 took the SAT, including 205,000 students from Florida, and 1.4 million took the ACT.   to the top

20 Tuition Resets: Marketing Gimmick? Or a Viable Way to Attract New Students? Scared off by the advertised sticker price, many students eliminate certain colleges before even applying. In response, a growing number of mainly small, private colleges are drastically lowering their published tuition price tag, or sticker price, to reflect the actual, or net, price that students pay after subtracting discounts and financial aid. While critics refer to “tuition resets” as pricing gimmicks, they’ve become increasingly common in the last decade. But do they really work? Research shows that the connection between slashing sticker prices and increased enrollment is highly variable. A study published last year found that the enrollment gains are short term rather than long term. In 2015, Utica University in New York State slashed its published tuition price by 42 percent, from $35,500 to under $20,000. Enrollment grew the first few years after the reset, from 4,463 students in the fall of 2015 to 5,258 students in the fall of 2017. Then in the fall of 2022, enrollment plummeted to 3,861 students—lower than what it was before the reset. However, according to Utica officials, enrollment numbers have rebounded this fall.  to the top

21  Complex AI Challenges: Minimizing Admissions Bias, Keeping Degrees Relevant While University of Pennsylvania researchers, in a far-reaching study, found they could use artificial intelligence (AI) to assess application essays with a minimum of bias, a survey by a leading recruiter predicts that the technology could devalue the four-year degree.

The Penn study found AI can be used to assess admissions essays—and probe them for indications of seven personal qualities—with minimal bias. The project, which tested more than 300,000 U.S. student application essays, also achieved “overall accuracy in predicting eventual graduation success,” according to Times Higher Education.

Meanwhile, Axios reported on the Talent Connect Summit in October in New York City, attended by 2,000 of the nation’s top recruiters. Executives from LinkedIn, used by 90 percent of recruiters to find job candidates, said: “In AI-driven workplaces, employers will need to treat ‘up-skilling’ [giving current employees additional skills] as a ‘critical priority’ rather than a perk.”

In LinkedIn’s survey, 72 percent of American executives said they value soft skills (like critical thinking/problem solving, attention to detail, communication, leadership, teamwork, grit) more highly than AI skills. LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky told attendees that as AI automates menial work and some knowledge work, companies will place more focus on “human and people-oriented skills.” That, he said, will “make it virtually impossible for a one-off moment of learning [like a degree] to last an entire career.”
to the top



22   Biden Administration Breaks Promise to Finalize New Title IX Rules When he ran for president in 2020, Joe Biden promised to strengthen Title IX, the law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded institutions, and pledged to “immediately” overturn changes made by the Trump administration. But more than two and a half years after Biden took office, higher education is still waiting for him to keep his promises. The administration’s final rules on Title IX were initially supposed to be issued in May but were then delayed until October. Now that this deadline has been missed, it’s looking like the Trump-era rules will be in effect for another academic year. Advocates for survivors of sexual violence and other student groups, however, are tired of waiting, and say any further delay would harm pregnant and parenting students, LGBTQ+ students, and students of color. to the top

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23   How Politics Influence Where Students Want to Go to College One in four prospective students has ruled out certain colleges and universities because of the political climate of the states they are located in, according to a survey by the Art & Science Group. Students who describe themselves as liberal say they rule out states that are “too Republican” or have lax gun regulations, anti-LGBTQ legislation, restrictive abortion laws, or a lack of concern about racism. Students who are conservative reject states that they believe to be “too Democrat” or that have liberal abortion and gay-rights laws. Conservative students tend to avoid California and New York, while liberal students avoid schools in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. And one in eight high school students in Florida say they won’t attend a public university in their own state. According to a separate study, 60 percent of prospective students, of all backgrounds, say state restrictions on abortion would have at least some influence over where they choose to go to college.  to the top


24   Frustration Mounts as Biden’s Second Attempt at Student Loan Forgiveness Falls Short As the implementation of President Biden’s Plan B for student-loan forgiveness unfolded, disappointment and uncertainty began to overshadow the initial hopes of a second chance at relief for countless borrowers. Before the dust settled on the failed first attempt at large-scale student-loan forgiveness, Biden announced that a new plan for relief was in the works within the framework of the Higher Education Act, a 1965 law giving the education secretary “sweeping authority” when it comes to student debt. What remains uncertain is the precise number of eligible borrowers for this program and the extent of the relief they might potentially obtain—and to further the uncertainty the rule-making procedure entails months of conducting hearings, gathering public feedback, and considering input from diverse stakeholders. And all of that could be quashed by a new president if not implemented before the 2024 elections, or once more overturned by a Supreme Court that is unlikely to favorably embrace a program for student-loan forgiveness.  But then came some mid-November news from The New York Times: "How Millions of Borrowers Got $127 Billion in Student Loans Canceled." to the top

25   Chaos in the Transition: Monthly Loan Payments Marred by Wrong Amounts and Start-Up Struggles As the wheels of the federal student-loan system grind back to life, a troubling revelation has emerged: monthly payments of countless borrowers have been marred by miscalculations, leaving many unexpectedly burdened with higher financial obligations than they anticipated. These miscalculations have primarily impacted borrowers transitioning into the new income-driven repayment plan, SAVE, which determines monthly payments based on income and family size. The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority mistakenly used 2022 poverty guidelines instead of those for 2023, leading to some 280,000 borrowers receiving higher payments than they were due. The Education Department quickly notified affected borrowers of the correct payment amounts. Bobby Matson, the CEO of Payitoff, a debt-management software company, said that "critics contend that the Education Department’s funding decisions have significantly affected the customer-service division of student-loan servicers, resulting in mistakes as well as extended wait times for borrowers seeking assistance."  to the top

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