By Tosin Akintola

2020 is winding down, the weather’s getting frosty, we can smell a vaccine in the air, and our out of office messages are set. This year will certainly go down as one of the most unprecedented in modern history. It began with devastating wildfires in Australia, the impeachment of President Trump, the tragic death of Kobe Bryant — all within the month of January! The next month brought the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl win, “Parasite” and its FOUR Academy Awards and the resurgence of President-elect Biden’s campaign in South Carolina. …

By Tosin Akintola

If you wrote a book based on the events of 2020, it would be a bestseller. We’ve had drama, tragedy, joy, suspense, mystery, ups, downs, and everything in-between. Having experienced nearly a year’s worth of events within the first few months, (you can take a trip down memory lane here!) it became abundantly clear this would be a year like no other. What seemed to be a typical year battling an administration often indifferent to the needs of students turned into a whirlwind of mini crises. …

By Michelle Dimino, Education Senior Policy Advisor

In March 2020, as COVID-19 upended daily life in the US and led colleges across the country to rapidly transition to emergency remote instruction, a faculty member and three undergraduate students at Davidson College in North Carolina recognized that there was a void in reliable, up-to-the-minute data on colleges’ shifts online. So, rather than wait for the government or journalists to collect this data, they created the College Crisis Initiative (C2i) with the aim of learning about how colleges and universities react and innovate in times of crisis, starting with the coronavirus pandemic.

By Rachel Reh

At his first debate against Joe Biden, President Trump promised Americans that “our country is coming back incredibly.” But that same night, central Florida was dealt a crushing blow: Walt Disney Co. announced it would lay off 28,000 employees, with a staggering 15,300 jobs cut in Florida alone. Despite months of promises about the coronavirus “disappearing like magic,” cases in Florida are beginning to spike again. …

By Rachel Reh

In 2016, Donald Trump campaigned in Pennsylvania and vowed to supercharge the state’s economy. He didn’t.

Some voters of the labor force who went for Trump in 2016 are starting to realize that another four years under a Trump administration will only make Pennsylvanians sicker and more destitute. On the same day the CDC reported Pennsylvania’s meat production workers had the highest rates of COVID-19 in the nation, many workers from a poultry packing plant in Lebanon County — where Trump won overwhelmingly in 2016 — were protesting unsafe working conditions. …

by Shelbe Klebs, Education Policy Advisor

A new student enrolling at a federally-funded college or university would reasonably assume that a large proportion of their tuition dollars would go to funding the instruction their institution plans to deliver. But at many institutions, it’s common to have only 25 cents of every dollar paid in tuition and fees dedicated to helping students learn. At others, that amount drops to 5 or 10 cents. The truth is institutions have always had to make decisions about how they spend tuition revenue by weighing what proportion of those dollars go directly to student learning…

By Michael Itzkowitz

As COVID-19 rocks the world of higher education, policymakers and institutional leaders are trying to figure out in real time how they can best support today’s students and continue to provide educational services in highly unpredictable circumstances. Since the pandemic hit the US, brick and mortar institutions have been forced to cancel in-person learning and, instead, move all instruction to an online setting. This, coupled with unprecedented unemployment rates, has left many worried about the disproportionate effect this crisis will have on low-income and underrepresented students, who are already most susceptible to economic upheaval and educational interruption.

By Shelbe Klebs, Tosin Akintola, and Michael Itzkowitz

If a student wanted to find information on how their college is responding to COVID-19, the first place they might turn is to the school’s website. But what if that website only lists a “resource page” that reminds students to wash their hands? Or even worse, has no search bar to find COVID-related information at all?

For tens of thousands of students attending college across the country, this lack of transparency isn’t just a nuisance, but a possible violation of federal law. Under the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security…

By: Tamara Hiler

There are a lot of things going on in the world right now to incite fear, worry, and pessimism.

Yet, in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus crisis and a partisan divide that often feels insurmountable, something remarkably bipartisan happened right before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Senators from both sides of the aisle joined their counterparts in the House of Representatives to pass a joint resolution blocking a recent rewrite of the Borrower Defense to Repayment (BDR) regulation by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. …

by Michael Itzkowitz

Last month, we introduced a new measure designed to get a better look at the economic value institutions across the United States are providing to their students. The new metric — called a Price-to-Earnings Premium (PEP) — compares the cost that students pay out-of-pocket to attend an institution versus the additional amount of income they eventually could earn by doing so. …

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