This month: The focus on prestige during college admissions shifted towards personal fit. The debate about online learning found its continuation on the Reddit platform. Meanwhile, educators raised their concerns about the rising number of earned high school diplomas in spite of plummeting test scores. No wonder Gen Z decided to take action and demand change in the educational system. The US Congress, on the other hand, also decided not to stand behind and brought up the discussion of race-conscious college admissions. Worldwide attention was also concentrated on the issue of student loans, especially in light of the news about record £4.8bn interest on UK learners.

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If you are not into reading the news but still want to stay updated on the latest trends in higher education, A*Help got you covered. We collect all the juiciest and most discussed topics to form a monthly digest to keep you posted on what’s happening in the studying world. We are determined to give you the most valuable pieces so you don’t waste your time on irrelevant information. On top of that, this news summary can be useful in showing you which tendencies in higher education to expect in the future.

Rethinking College Admissions: A Misguided Focus on Prestige

Apr 3, 2023

Rethinking College Admissions: A Misguided Focus on Prestige

Were you thinking of using the general ranking system to choose the future college? Maybe you should take another route and, as Frank Bruni encouraged in his New York Times piece, prioritize personal fit over prestige.

 The Times has developed a new interactive tool to help students weigh factors like affordability, potential post-graduation earnings, and academic programs in their decision-making process. Some universities, including Yale and Harvard law schools, have opted out of the U.S. News rankings to shift focus away from prestige. Despite this, many high school students still fixate on enrolling in elite institutions. In order to create a more inclusive and fulfilling college experience, it is essential to change the college admissions culture and focus on finding the right match for each individual.

Online Learning Debated: 15 Crucial Reddit College Insights

Apr 10, 2023

Online Learning Debated: 15 Crucial Reddit College Insights

Even though the COVID rush has slowed down, online classes were still left to be an educational option. The question though is it a good or a bad thing? Redditors had their opinions.

Many said that online education offered flexibility, accessibility, and inclusivity, but also presented challenges such as staying motivated, maintaining academic integrity, and forming connections. Students have shared strategies to stay engaged, improve time management, and balance work and study. Technical difficulties, mental health, and quality of instruction were also discussed as significant concerns. The future of higher education may increasingly embrace blended or hybrid models to cater to diverse student needs while preserving the benefits of traditional college experiences. Institutions should invest in faculty training, secure testing methods, and creative virtual extracurricular activities to provide a well-rounded, high-quality learning experience.

The Post-Pandemic Puzzle: High School Diplomas Rise Amid Declining Test Scores and Attendance

Apr 13, 2023

The Post-Pandemic Puzzle: High School Diplomas Rise Amid Declining Test Scores and Attendance

It seems that the COVID pandemic has had a great impact on students’ education as more and more high schoolers started to receive diplomas even despite the general lowering of test scores.

The D.C. Policy Center’s March 2023 report revealed that nearly half of the district’s students have missed 10% or more of the 2021-22 school year, with academic progress in math dropping significantly. Despite this, the high school graduation rate reached a record 75%, while college enrollment rates have decreased. The trends in Washington appeared to be consistent across the country, sparking concerns about the futures of these graduates. The pandemic’s grim academic toll raised questions about underprepared high school graduates and their impact on the workforce, with the potential to negatively affect the economy.

Gen Z Demands Change in Education: How Can Institutions Meet Their Needs?

Apr 19, 2023

Gen Z Demands Change in Education: How Can Institutions Meet Their Needs?

Even though there were many changes happening in the world, generation Z didn’t feel like it was enough. So they went after the current educational system demanding a shift in the way educators support them.

Gen Z students, known as the “solidarity generation,” stated the need for change in education, requiring institutions to adapt their methods to better support them. Timothy Law Snyder, president of Loyola Marymount University, highlighted Gen Z’s unique characteristics, emphasizing their skills in organizing on social media and working across traditional divides on critical issues. Educational institutions were urged to embrace intergenerational solidarity and partner with students on curriculum and system reforms. Fostering open dialogue and inclusivity could help schools bridge divides and empower students to engage in constructive, issue-oriented discourse. Recognizing Gen Z’s potential and providing tools and support was said to be crucial in preparing them for political and civic life.

Exploring the Impact on American Education: Terminating of Affirmative Action

Apr 26, 2023

Exploring the Impact on American Education: Terminating of Affirmative Action

The US’s race issues in education made it to the Supreme Court. The raised discussion was said to possibly have a great impact on the current state of American education.  The New York Times has invited individuals affected by affirmative action to share their experiences with college admissions and its implementation in schools or workplaces.

Affirmative action has long been a controversial topic, with supporters advocating for its role in promoting diversity and aiding underrepresented groups, while critics argue it is unfair and discriminatory. As the Supreme Court reviews cases involving the University of North Carolina and Harvard, the future of affirmative action remains uncertain, and a ruling against it could have far-reaching consequences for student diversity in higher education and workplace policies. The NY Times’ call for personal narratives seeks to deepen the understanding of this contentious issue and its implications.

Record £4.8bn Interest on UK Student Loans Adds to Soaring Debt Crisis

Apr 28, 2023

College Admissions, Online Learning & Post-Pandemic Struggles, and Gen Z’s Changes Into Education — Top Higher Education Stories of The Month

The problem with student loans was obvious for a long time. However, the UK’s debt reached new heights almost doubling the interest rates set by the Bank of England. 

Rishi Sunak’s government saw revenues from student loan interest more than double despite capping rates at 6.3% last autumn. Rates have since risen to 6.9% and are set to hit 7.3% in June. Students who began their studies in 2021-22 were said to owe an average of £45,800 upon graduation, with only 20% expected to repay in full. Critics argued that soaring debt levels widen the financial divide between generations and socioeconomic backgrounds. Economist Ben Waltmann called for lower, stable interest rates to ease students’ financial burden and promote a more equitable higher education system.

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