Almost half of students think the value of college has declined; nearly all think online instruction should cost less

The overwhelming majority (94%) of recently surveyed college students think they should pay less for online instruction than for in-person classes, and almost 50% believe the pandemic has diminished the value of a college education. Only 43% of administrators and 41% of faculty members believe online classes should cost less. “When asked what services should be provided by their colleges, students expressed interest in career planning services (47%); student life services, such as mental health support (42%); and academic support services (30%). Only 21% of students said their college should offer amenities and nondegree programs (17%).”

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Lack of in-person contact is students’ top remote-learning concern

Most students responding to a recent survey said not having in-person contact with faculty (30%) or fellow students (29%) has been the most difficult aspect of remote learning during the pandemic. “Another 21% missed the campus community; 14% believed they didn’t learn as well; and 6% said they were less comfortable contributing during online classes.” It’s worth noting, however, that more than one-third (36%) of respondents said they feel more confident participating in online classes, and “53% said they felt ‘just as much’ or ‘more’ like a community than in-person classes.” When asked to describe how well instructors adapted to online learning, 52% said “adequately” or “very well,” 44% said “OK” and 4% said “not very well.”

Source: Campus Technology

Despite lower investment returns, colleges spent more of their endowments

On average, college and university endowment investment returns fell to 1.8% during the 2020 fiscal year, from 5.35% one year earlier. At the same time, however, overall endowment spending increased 4%, to $23.3 billion as schools “grappled with revenue losses and increased expenses linked to the pandemic.” The study looked at 705 institutions with combined endowments exceeding $637 billion. “The 2020 fiscal year, which ended on June 30 for most institutions, overlapped with only the first few months of the pandemic, which means the survey doesn’t capture how endowments might have fared during the rebound in the markets that occurred later in 2020.”

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education

The number of ransom-ware attacks on higher ed institutions doubled in one year

Ransomware attacks are now being called “the top security threat at higher education institutions” after the release of a report saying the number of such incidents doubled from 2019 to 2020. On average, each attack cost the affected institutions $447,000. One school, the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, paid hackers $1.14 million. “Data breaches accounted for half of the security incidents colleges dealt with in 2019, according to the report. Nation-state activity leading to data theft impacted more than 200 institutions over the last two years, it found.”

Source: Higher Ed Dive