Mental and Behavioral Health
This graduation season ushers in the commencement of a new cohort of alumni—one for whom the college experience was entirely marked by the pandemic. Professionally, these graduates seem to be in luck: Marketplace notes unemployment for 20 to 24-year-olds is its lowest since 1969. And for the Class of 2023, rocked by the economic uncertainty of recent years, Fortune finds financial stability is their top priority when it comes to the job search, outranking mental health benefits. Yet, these young graduates may find themselves disappointed, Diverse Education suggests, given a new survey indicating undergraduates significantly overestimate their salaries for after college.
In an op-ed for The Chronicle, former professor Joshua Dolezal decries higher education’s “happy talk,” urging university leadership to promote “realism” over “bombast and bromides.”
The Week considers the tragedy that befell North Carolina State University this past academic year after 14 students died—seven from suicide and two from overdose.
On The Key, a podcast of Inside Higher Ed, three experts discuss evolving definitions of “mental health” and whether the line between “expectable” and “unmanageable” discomfort has become too vague.
Also in Inside Higher Ed: a student success program at the University of Kentucky, UK Invests, promotes “financial wellness” by crediting student savings and investment accounts if they engage in “healthy habits.”
The Washington Post reveals Prince George County Public Schools in Maryland are the latest district to join in suing several top social media companies for their contributions to the youth mental health crisis.
ABC features the story of 18-year-old Johah Barrow, who survived an attempted suicide last year and wants to share what he learned from the trauma to protect other teens.
An op-ed in The 74 explores the influence of bullying on teen suicide and suggests the inability for many students who are victims of bullying to transfer schools may be putting their lives at risk.
The Texas Tribune covers the “difficult, heartbreaking choices” state schools anticipate making between student mental health and campus safety needs once Covid-19 emergency federal funding expires.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a likely Republican candidate for president, has signed into law a controversial bill restricting the ability of public colleges and universities to fund diversity, equity, and inclusion-related programming, The New York Times writes. This decision comes as similar bills move forward in other states, and many liberal activists and politicians suggest the legislation is a “political assault on academic independence and anti-bias efforts.”
In the latest turn of the “Operation Varsity Blues” admissions scandal, The Washington Post reveals a federal appeals court “overturned convictions of two parents accused of paying bribes to secure their children’s admissions to college as athletic recruits.” The judge suggested the jury that had previously convicted the fathers may have done so on the basis of evidence that only demonstrated the guilt of other parents involved.
The law and medical school rankings from the U.S. News & World Report are out for the first time since a number of top universities decided not to participate, citing equity issues with the evaluation system. The Chronicle explores the significance of the latest rankings and whether the boycott really made a difference.
Inside Higher Ed spotlights a new program at Texas Christian University that leverages human relationships as an academic intervention. Start With Support (SWS) involves training residence hall supervisors to engage with academically at-risk students to establish relationships and provide support before the academic year starts.
Sexual Assault and Title IX
The Academic Minute podcast features Dr. Chris Linder, Associate Professor of Higher Education at the University of Utah and sexual violence expert, who discusses a “new approach to stopping sexual violence.” This approach, she suggests, requires a focus on preventing harm rather than just avoiding it.
As emergency benefits launched during the pandemic approach expiration, Democratic legislators are trying to expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for low-income college students, Higher Ed Dive says. Meanwhile, Inside Higher Ed profiles the work of food pantries at three different universities, all employing innovative technologies to help students fight food insecurity.
Community colleges in California want to build new, affordable options for students whose financial burdens are threatening their academic futures, The Los Angeles Times reports. But the state may not be able to help cover costs to the extent needed, as funds are spread thin across the three public university systems all looking to thwart affordable housing issues.
According to Politico, interest rates for federal student loans will reach their highest in the last decade, increasing to 5.5% for undergraduate borrowers and 7.05% for graduate ones. These new rates, which go into effect July 1, will affect loans issued for the 2023-34 year and remain fixed until borrowers pay the loans off.
Politico covers initiatives led by Republican politicians, with apparent support from President Biden, to increase school safety precautions and infrastructure in the wake of several on-campus shootings. And as school districts rethink earlier plans to limit police presence on their campuses, Inside Higher Ed dives into how different police departments are working to recruit HBCU students and graduates to their ranks.
Higher Ed Dive reviews a new report from cybersecurity company Sophos, revealing the devastating effect of ransomware attacks in higher education. These attacks targeted education more than any other industry, impacting 79% of higher education institutions and leading to significant business or revenue losses for almost 60%.