higher ed

Pre-pandemic stress test already showed warning signs for more than 500 colleges and universities

More than 500 colleges and universities nationwide showed warning signs in a stress test that was conducted before the pandemic according to a new series of reports by the Hechinger Report and NBC News. Declining enrollment and decreased state government support had left dozens of universities under financial stress. With the added pressures of the coronavirus pandemic, “the fabric of American higher education as become even more strained,” the report says.

Higher ed playing outsize role in rural economies

The importance of higher education institutions in helping rural communities build innovation-based ecosystems has been detailed in a report released by the Center on Rural Innovation. Higher Ed’s Key Role In Rural Innovation Ecosystems profiles 10 colleges and universities that have been engaged in their area’s innovation environment and explores what techniques each institution has found most useful in building that ecosystem.

Experts examine challenges facing research universities

In an hours-long virtual workshop that could have covered days, the presidents of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and leaders from government, academia, and publishing explored key questions the research enterprise must address to build a more effective and resilient 21st century research university. Facing challenges that may have long been present but have been exacerbated and accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis, the leaders began exploring questions that could help research universities rebound to a better place than the pre-pandemic status quo.

Must read: The economic impact of access to higher ed

At a time when higher education is facing some of its greatest challenges, its value both for individuals and for states is reinforced through the findings of a recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. In “The Economic Impact of Access to Public Four-Year Colleges,” Jonathan Smith et al. show through an examination of the University System of Georgia that access to public higher education leads to “substantial economic benefits for the marginal student,” and that the state roughly breaks even on its initial investment after 10 years. Although other studies have provided descriptive evidence that identify colleges as catalysts for economic mobility, the authors looked for causal evidence of the linkage and employ a novel approach through credit bureau data.

Innovation impacts of nation’s colleges and universities examined

A new report released by the George W. Bush Institute has measured the impact that innovation research at U.S. universities and research institutions has had on the country’s economic development. The report, The Innovation Impact of U.S. Universities: Rankings and Policy Conclusions, examines and ranks institutions on four primary impact categories: commercialization, entrepreneurship, research, and teaching.

Useful Stats: Science and engineering degrees by state

The total number of science and engineering (S&E) degrees awarded grew from 520,474 in 2000 to 955,401 in 2018, an increase of 83 percent, according to National Science Foundation (NSF) data. The portion of S&E degrees awarded compared to all degrees has increased as well, from a 2000 average of 31 percent of all degrees awarded to an average of 34 percent in 2018. S&E degrees includes bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in areas such as life sciences, physical sciences and engineering.

$194.7 million grant boosts U of A research, creates new institute

The Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation is making a $194.7 million grant to advance research and economic development at the University of Arkansas and will allow a new research institute to become reality. The grant is expected to grow the university’s cross-disciplinary research capability, expand the scope of discoveries made by U of A researchers and increase the speed in transferring such discoveries to the marketplace.

APLU report focuses on bolstering diversity in STEM faculty

Just 10 percent of STEM faculty at four-year institutions are from underrepresented backgrounds, according to a new report by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

US universities work towards UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings has measured 768 universities around the world against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Combining research and activity metrics, the 2020 rankings place institutions from New Zealand and Australia in the top four spots, with U.S. universities holding 14 places within the top 200.

Higher education enrollment further threatened by pandemic, proclamation

The pandemic’s negative impact on enrollment at institutions of higher education is getting even more complicated. New figures show that the number of students that have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a figure that serves as an indicator for postsecondary enrollment, has decreased.


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