Coronavirus News Roundup for May 8

Everything you need to know for Friday and the weekend about higher ed and the coronavirus in one easy-to-read package (with some distractions to help your sanity).

May 8, 2020
 
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We made it to another weekend.

There's so much new news, but also not much at all. The economy continues to crash and burn. There are still plenty of COVID-19 cases, even as states reopen. And experts say a vaccine -- potentially the only way out of this mess -- is at least a year away.

But I have something to cheer you up. It's Pet Friday!

Here is Chet, who lives with Angelynn King, the head librarian at Delaware Technical Community College. Angelynn said he's so angry about sharing his space that "he's forgotten he hates to have his picture taken. He has no likes. Only dislikes."

Love a good grumpy cat.

And here is Lola, who lives with Melissa Whatley, a postdoctoral research scholar at North Carolina State University. Quite possibly the polar opposite of Chet, Lola likes many things, including playing outside and barking at squirrels and birds. "When she's happy, she runs with a skip in her step (at first, we thought she was injured -- but she's not!), and her favorite food is rice," Melissa wrote.

Ah, that was nice.

Now let’s get to the news.

Democrats in the House are planning to propose more funding for state education aid in the next coronavirus relief package.

California's community colleges are asking the state's governor to allow the use of state and federal funds to provide emergency financial aid for more than 82,000 low-income students, nearly 12,000 of whom are undocumented. The aid would come in the form of a one-time increase to Cal Grants.

What's happening with enrollment in Missouri provides some insight as to the disparities institutions may face. The University of Missouri system said freshman and transfer enrollment is tracking higher than they were last year at this point for three of its four universities. But at Lincoln University, a public, historically black institution, summer enrollment is down 46 percent, and fall enrollment is down 25 percent compared to this time last year. ​

The board of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) has committed to continue using federal financial composite scores to evaluate institutions' eligibility for reciprocity agreements for distance education, despite some higher ed groups' calls to suspend use of the evaluation during the pandemic.

The Board of Regents at the University System of Georgia has approved a system plan to possibly cut jobs or furlough employees. The state's tax revenues dropped by about $1 billion in April.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reportedly told Arizona State University to pause its work producing COVID-19 models for the public. The university is refusing to do so.

Here’s a quick roundup of our latest stories, in case you’ve fallen a bit behind (we don’t blame you):

You likely heard that many smaller colleges "won the lottery" with stimulus funding. Kery Murakami has the story on criticism the education secretary is facing for the move.

I wrote about the budget situation in New Jersey, which is likely a sign of things to come in other parts of the country.

Lilah Burke wrote about the new ways students and unions are protesting when they're required to stay six feet apart.

A new survey found that many Americans would switch careers if they lost their jobs, and most prefer training programs over getting a college degree, Emma Whitford reports.

News From Elsewhere

Deadspin wrote about the financial crisis college sports are facing.

NBC News has a story on a professor who denied giving a student an extension on assignments, even though her father has just died.

Students put up with a lot this semester, but that's unlikely to continue for long, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Percolating Thoughts

This is a time when everyone has an opinion. As journalists, we try not to have opinions, but we've gathered some interesting ones from others.

The Century Foundation tells us to look at liquidity to determine which colleges may soon close.

A leader from the American Council on Education wrote about its prize for innovative practices that will help college students who are also parents during the pandemic.

A professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, proposes letting college campuses offer up housing space to needy families.


Have any percolating thoughts or notice any from others? Feel free to send them our way or comment below.

We’ll continue bringing you the news you need in this crazy time. Keep sending us your questions and story ideas. We’ll get through this together.

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