dotEDU Episode 18: Higher Education in the Time of COVID-19

Episode 18

​​​Aired April 7, 2020

Recording from various remote workplaces around the DC area, the dotEDU team comes together to discuss the implications of the coronavirus pandemic on higher education. Hosts Jon Fansmith and Sarah Spreitzer focus on the federal stimulus relief, including why ACE and its members think the relief provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is not enough. Later they are joined by ACE colleagues Robin Helms and Brad Farnsworth to find out how colleges and universities are adapting as they move to online learning, how student well-being is being impacted, and the future of international education.

Episode Notes

Here are some of the links and references from this week’s show:


 Read this episode's transcript

Jon Fansmith [00:00:04] Hello and welcome to dotEDU, the higher education podcast from the American Council on Education. I'm your host, John Fansmith, director of government relations here, D.C. And I'm joined by my--I don't actually think we've ever co-hosted one of these, have we? Anyway, I might. Today's co-host, Sarah Spreitzer, also a director of government relations here at ACE.

Sarah Spreitzer [00:00:25] We have actually co-hosted it before. Jon, I'm so happy that you remember.

Jon Fansmith [00:00:30] Obviously, it wasn't very memorable. Well, anyway, Sarah, thank you for being here today. We have a whole lot of things to talk about, but it's all on the same theme. And that's the theme that I think basically everyone in American higher education is thinking about dealing with addressing right now, which is the impact of the coronavirus on campuses, what it means for campuses, what it means for students, what it means in terms of the federal policy that you and I spend so much time focusing on. You know, first and foremost, just want to say to anybody who's listening this, hope you are healthy and well, we certainly appreciate you taking some time with everything that is going on to check out this podcast and listen to us. It means a lot to us and certainly as somebody who works at ACE, the engagement for members, members reaching out, sharing their thoughts or situations. It's been really pretty powerful and pretty impactful. So I just want to say thanks to all. Sarah, how are you doing working from home? We have very similar situations in terms of our work from home set up, right?

Sarah Spreitzer [00:01:32] Yeah, except I seldom see your children running in the background. So I don't know how you're corralling them or how you're keeping them quiet. Maybe it's bribes. But the home schooling/working thing...I've lost count of the days at this point.

Jon Fansmith [00:01:49] So this is our third week of home schooling and we've worked out a really healthy formula. It's bribes, mostly combined with threats. So those two things work together nicely.

Sarah Spreitzer [00:02:01] Yeah. Nice.

Jon Fansmith [00:02:02] I think they've both regressed about two grade levels at this point.

Sarah Spreitzer [00:02:06] Unfortunately they have been learning a lot about federal policy and how it relates to COVID-19 now.

Jon Fansmith [00:02:13] It's true. But my kids will often say, "Why can't they have both grants and loans?" But you actually bring up the thing that you and I have been spending a lot of time on. It's funny but it's true. We've been working early mornings and late nights and long hours for the last few weeks. The federal government, as people know, has been looking at different ways to help, not just higher ed, but all of America through a supplemental spending bill. They just passed one that was signed into law last Friday called the CARES Act. Sarah, do you remember what that acronym stands for?

Sarah Spreitzer [00:02:49] No, sorry. I know it has coronavirus in there.

Jon Fansmith [00:02:52] I was hoping that you would know and I could make it seem like a quiz.

Sarah Spreitzer [00:02:55] The "C" definitely stands for Coronavirus Relief and Economic Security Act.

Jon Fansmith [00:03:04] Oh, that sounds right. Are you looking at something?

Sarah Spreitzer [00:03:08] No, no. But I've typed it so many times. I know all of those words fit in there somehow.

Jon Fansmith [00:03:15] Well, and it is a massive piece of legislation that spends $2.2 trillion dollars. Like I said, it goes to all different areas. There is a lot to go over in this bill. And I think first I'll start by saying we won't have the time, and we shouldn't spend the time, we have some great guests who will be joining us very shortly to go over other aspects of the coronavirus impact on higher ed. But I would recommend that you look at the website for this podcast, there'll be a lot of resources. ACE's website and the Engage platform have tons of resources for institutions, not just on the federal policy side, but across a range of things. We'll talk a little bit about that in a second. But probably the single biggest thing is there's $14 billion dollars in the CARES Act specific to higher education. It's going to go out to campuses. Roughly $7 billion dollars of that money will go to campuses to help them with lost revenue, with new expenses pretty broadly available to help institutions stay afloat in a very difficult financial time. The other half of that money is to be distributed by institutions to their students as emergency grant aid. And this can be used by students for a variety of purposes, housing, food, transportation, lost income, all sorts of things really as a way to help students who have been particularly adversely impacted by the coronavirus, whether through economic circumstances or having to leave the physical campus, not having necessarily an easy or safe place to go to adjust to the new circumstances. Sarah, were there any particular highlights you think we should talk about before...?

Sarah Spreitzer [00:04:51] Well, I would just say that this bill, you know, it's a $2 trillion dollar bill. And I think it's really focused on kind of the economic short-term side. So there are some loan programs in there that some of our institutions may be eligible for that's really focused on kind of keeping payroll going for the next eight weeks. And it's really focused, I think, on kind of the next two months of the economic impact. And Jon, I know we're already starting to talk about kind of the next bill, which I think will be a little more longer term.

Jon Fansmith [00:05:24] And we'll touch on that at the end of the podcast. I think the one other takeaway for our members: we have seen so many different accounts from presidents, from institutional leaders about the gut punch financially that schools are taking by doing the right thing, by sending students home, by prioritizing the safety and health of their students and their staff. $14 billion dollars is great. It's fantastic. It certainly is going to help a lot of institutions get through the immediate short term. But we know it's a fraction of what's actually needed. So you mentioned there's another bill. Hopefully we'll get that addressed. You know, people should always ACE's team is working very hard on that. But ACE's team is working very hard on a lot of different things at this point in response to concerns from our members, needs of our members and two people who are especially well equipped to talk about that are joining us today. The first is Brad Farnsworth. And Brad, I'm going to very embarrassingly admit I don't know what your official title is. Do you want to say what your title is?

Brad Farnsworth [00:06:27] Vice President for Global Engagement.

Jon Fansmith [00:06:29] Thank you. And you know, the second person joining us is Robin Helms. And Robin, again, I'm not exactly sure what your official title is.

Robin Helms [00:06:38] That's okay. It's a bit of a mouthful. It is Deputy Chief Innovation Officer and Principal Internationalization Strategist.

Jon Fansmith [00:06:46] Well, thank you both for joining us. I know you heard Sarah and I complaining about what long days we're having. I think it probably maybe even pales in comparison to the time  you guys have been putting in. But there's obviously a lot to cover, a lot we're hearing. I think maybe the obvious place to start is what is ACE and the higher education community doing right now in response to the virus?

Robin Helms [00:07:13] Yeah, I'm happy to kick it off in terms of...And we'll talk a little bit about ACE's initiatives as we go through the conversation, but sort of framing some of the issues, certainly front and center for a lot of our institutions right now is that the distance learning piece, institutions having made this pivot to closing their campuses and we're reading all throughout the the news and then working with our campuses as well about the challenges and the victories of making that pivot in a very quick fashion. We did a webinar actually, it feels like about a year and a half ago now, but I think it was actually maybe two or three weeks ago on this topic, specifically the swift pivot institutions were making. And we had some some great speakers. We had a provost and then some distance learning specialists talk about how they were going about this. So just a couple of the takeaways that I would reflect on from that webinar, again, keeping in mind, this was a couple of weeks ago were this idea of we're talking about remote learning. So I think we in our heads, even going into that webinar, had framed this really as online learning. But one of the points that the provost who joined us made was that it's not just online. This is how do we work with our students off of campus, whether that's online, whether that's via a cell phones. She even brought up that they were stockpiling stamps at that point for what if things have to go back and forth by mail? So all of the different ways, all of the different modalities of doing this, I think institutions are figuring that out, but really figuring out how to make this accessible for students.

Jon Fansmith [00:08:57] And that's really interesting. And I should note, people might have already picked up on this if you've been listening to our previous podcast. ACE is working remotely. So we were holding this podcast via Zoom. So that might explain some of the less than crisp sound. It's not Malcolm's fault. Malcolm is amazing. This is the new modality we are engaging in to get this out to you. But so Robin, you talked about the different modes, the idea of the hoarding stance if you have to go back to now and the lessons learned. So can you talk a little bit more about some of those lessons that campuses are doing sort of broadly that we see applicable, whether it's a community college or an R1 or whatever else?

Robin Helms [00:09:34] Yeah. And actually, to your point about maybe our audio is not as crystal clear as it might be is again, somebody in the webinar talked about don't let perfect be the enemy of good. So realizing that we are in a situation where we're figuring this out together and we're making this work and in some cases we're sort of duct taping it all together and being OK with that and being patient with each other as we experiment and make this happen. And I think we're we're doing that at ACE and we're really seeing campuses do that and come up with some just really innovative ways of going about this and supporting their faculty as they carry out this work.

Jon Fansmith [00:10:14] And it's kind of a good point because you said some of these things have been emerging out of these discussions, things that schools have learned. What were some of the biggest emerging issues as higher education made this move?

Robin Helms [00:10:34] Yeah. Well, and it's interesting, again, that webinar, these things that were top of mind two and a half weeks ago, I think we have moved on in terms of the conversation. One of the big things that's coming up so far right now, I think, is questions of assessment. So how are we assessing students and their learning? What's fair to do that knowing that different students have different access to technology, different students are able to complete their assignments to different degrees. So we're seeing a lot of conversations emerge about is it pass/fail grading for the semester? Is that what's really fair? How do we make this equitable? And I think to assessment of faculty. Some of the conversations around the faculty are having teaching evaluations done and this is their first time teaching remotely. And students don't think it's going that well. Is that going to impact promotion and tenure, for example, for faculty? So thinking about the assessment piece from a lot of different angles I think is really important. We've seen also the impacts on international students. It's interesting the whole public crisis kind of started as an internationalization and international education student mobility/study abroad issue. And then, of course, it became a lot broader. But those issues particularly for international students are not going away. So we're seeing students, for example, in this remote environment who have had to return home and can't access the technology. So VPN connections, for example, are not working. So students are trying to figure out and institutions figuring out how to deal with that. And again, it's back to that, it's remote. It's not just online. What are the different modalities that we can use as well? And I do think also we're starting to hear in that conversation, particularly around international education, the questions of what if international students can't come to campus in the fall? Are they going to be able to participate remotely? Is that something that might be under consideration, relaxing some of those regulations? That might be something that Sarah can speak to, but starting to look ahead towards the fall semester as well. And I'll just put in one other issue that's emerging again and just illustrates how quickly this is happening, sort of right when we feel like we have our heads around something--the Zoombombing that's happening right now. So there was an article in Inside Higher Ed, we had that happened on a webinar yesterday. So we're figuring it out and responding. But again, to me, it was just an illustration of every day, you know, we sort of feel like, "OK, we've  managed this challenge," but the next thing is coming down the pike as well.

Sarah Spreitzer [00:13:17] And I think, Robin, that's a really good point, especially with international students and our domestic students, as this goes on longer and longer, we have more and more issues because I think our institutions are looking to the summer programs and what's going to happen with those. And then as you were saying, to the fall programs and, you know, for our international students, we have seen some flexibility from the State Department and from the Department of Homeland Security. So, for instance, State allowed, you know, international students for the purposes of their F1 visas to go to all online learning platforms. But it's unclear if they're going to issue that guidance for the fall. So that's something that we continue to monitor.

Jon Fansmith [00:14:00] And Brad, I was curious, Robin has been talking about the things that she's learned from the short term. Are there other aspects of what ACE and the higher education community are doing now that Robin hasn't touched on?

Brad Farnsworth [00:14:12] Well, I think Robin gave us a great summary, but I'll just add a couple of points. I just first of all, want to give a shout out to the government relations team on this last theme that surfaced on really keeping the focus on visa policies and the adaptation of what historically has been a fairly rigid approach to visa regulation. I'm really encouraged by this flexibility on the online enrollment issue. And when we get later on in the program, we can talk about some of the other issues that are going to come up, particularly as students start to graduate in May. But I'll just add that ACE has a number of very strong partners in this. One of them is Southern New Hampshire University And our president, Ted Mitchell, and the president of [incomprehensible] have been working together to develop some programming to help institutions through this and to help them to get online quickly, to design courses that have historically been live and face to face and get them online. So, look for more resources on that in the near future. Other very important partners, ACUE, the Association for College and University Education, and Noodle Partners, which of course is the developer of our Engage platform, have also been very active. And at the end of the program I know we're going to post links to all these organizations to make sure that you have all the access that you need to that. I just want to say again, Engage has tons of resources on online education. Robin put together a document specifically for her webinar, and I've worked with Carly and others to develop a list of resources from other organizations. So if you're not already a member of Engage, it's absolutely free. It's open to everyone in higher education. It's a great resource. Really quickly, one other organization who's a very important partner and that's EDUCAUSE. They've been keeping track of all the different vendors in the space that are offering special deals, special discounts. Some of these are discounts they're offering to institutions. These are the vendors that provide the backbone and the infrastructure for providing online education. They're doing their best to help in this time of crisis. And then also the Internet service providers, we have a huge challenge with getting access to fast broadband. And I think every local paper now has a story about a student who's parking their car outside the library or outside, wherever they can get Internet access. This is a huge issue. Some ISP's are offering discounts and we're hoping working with EDUCAUSE, we  can move the needle on that as well.

Jon Fansmith [00:17:03] And I think that's such a great point. And it's great that we have so many helpful collaborators. You know, the fact that so many people and organizations have stepped up in this time. And, you know, that last point about the access students have. You know, there's a lot of things that we've talked about on this: the difficulty for institutions in trying to ensure that access education is equitable, that students are appropriately served in ways that make sure they have equal opportunity with their fellow students. And this is something we've never experienced before in American higher education. So a lot of those issues we've had with equity and care for students and students' well-being and health are now confronting universities in an entirely different way. And I'm curious, Robin in particular, are there in all your conversations with the campuses are these things that are coming up and what are campuses telling you?

Robin Helms [00:18:01] Yeah, I think this issue of well-being is a really interesting way of framing it, so thinking about physical needs, thinking about the equity pieces, thinking about mental health are all sort of encapsulated in that idea of well-being. And we did a webinar also on that again and posted some resources on Engage to Brad's point about the platform around that idea of well-being and how are we keeping campuses...It's not even campus well-being anymore, right? It's our community well-being because we're not all on campus. And some of the things that came up in that conversation about a week and a half ago or two weeks were some of the physical challenges of distance. Some of these very literal things of students not having access to food or a place to live and still figuring out those pieces as campuses pivot to being a remote community at this point, but then thinking more broadly about how students are engaged. So, once those sort of physical needs are met, how do they stay part of a community and recognizing that for some that really is their community. I was really struck by a conversation I had with a colleague at Gallaudet University, which ACE has worked with our internationalization laboratory program and other places. But Gallaudet University is really sort of...they would probably call themselves first and foremost, a community for deaf and hard of hearing students. And those students don't necessarily have access to a community when they're home that really brings that together. And so I think that's one thing that really came out in the conversation on that webinar and as we're talking with institutions is how do you maintain that connectedness? Can you do that virtually and through other mecanisms at this point this really seems to be front and center in that well-being conversation right now.

Jon Fansmith [00:19:56] Yeah, and I think there's a lot of things. You know, building a community, maintaining a community, it's such a challenge in the best of times. You're clearly not in the best of times. You know, one of the things that I think we never really thought about was how do you manage sort of the emotional health of students on a campus? And I know you've done some discussion, you've discussed this with folks. You've seen the reports of, you know, how can an institution help their students navigate what's certainly an unparelleled time for the institution, but in a way that's really impactful for students?

Robin Helms [00:20:30] Yeah, the webinar that we did had some great perspectives from campus mental health professionals. And we've got, again, some good resources on Engage. One of the things that has really struck me lately in the conversations, there's a Harvard Business Review article going around that's framing emotions around this in terms of grief at the moment. So grief for lost graduations, grief for lost study abroad opportunities. And I was tuning into a podcast by actually a high school and college classmate of mine who's now transformational life coach in California. And one of the things that he brought up is, that we're hearing a lot right now about this being the new normal. And he said, "You know what? This is not normal at all." I think if we can make not acknowledge that this is (a. Not normal and we're gonna grieve over the things that we're losing and then frame it in that way and help our communities work through that. And (b. understand that we hopefully will go back to normal and that this is not permanent. There may be changes, but not having the expectation that we just need to adapt and sort of carry on by really taking the time that we need, again, to acknowledge what we're losing right now and doing the best that we can and being resilient. But framing in that way seems to be resonating for people and I would say resonated for me certainly.

Jon Fansmith [00:21:55] And that's true for you know, we've talked a little bit about students, but that's true for faculty and staff in the way that institutions should approach their employees as well. Right. It's that...I mean, could you talk a little bit more about how that differentiates in terms of your campus faculty and staff versus how you reach out to your students and address their needs?

Robin Helms [00:22:13] Yeah, and you know, as we should be. Often our faculty and staff right now are focusing on how are we helping our students through this. But it brings to mind for me the view...what you hear...Well none of us are on airplanes right now, but when we are on airplanes, the "Put on your own air mask before assisting others," right? If those oxygen masks dropped down from the ceiling. With this idea that if our faculty and staff are not taking care of themselves and not sort of acknowledging their own processing of all of this and managing their energy levels, they're not going to be able to really help our students through this. So thinking through and allowing space for the ups and downs. I've been really struck myself, I would say personally and in conversations with campus colleagues about how tired I am right now and just sort of dealing with all these things. Some of what you and Sarah talked about at the beginning of the podcast, I'm surprised my kids have been run through here and we've only had one or two meltdowns today and that's pretty good so far. So we're all managing that. So I think, you know, recognizing that different people that we work with, our colleagues have different obligations, different situations outside of work, and that's going to manifest in different ways. And recognizing that this whole thing is going to hit us at different points.

Jon Fansmith [00:23:33] I think that's great. And really, it's actually sort of reassuring to hear you say that and think about it. I mean, it's helping me sort of for reframe how I'm thinking about what's going on with my life. And Sarah, there was something I know related to this about ways institutions can help the students that ACE has been working on on the policy side?

Sarah Spreitzer [00:23:56] On mental health, yes. So one of the issues that we've found is that there's actually an issue with state licensing requirements for health care professionals, especially if they are trying to...say you are the campus mental health counselor and you're looking to help students. If your student has returned home, you may not be licensed to actually provide services in the state where the student is. So even if you could do it remotely, the licensing requirement may stop you. And so we joined with several other colleagues and associations in sending a letter to the governors asking that states think about doing something to allow for flexibility specifically to address this issue.

Jon Fansmith [00:24:48] That's great. And I know, Brad, there's some other things. You're gathering some information from our colleagues that can help institutions start moving through the stage right now and into the next phase of wherever we're going.

Brad Farnsworth [00:25:02] Right on. And I'm trying to keep aware of all of the institutional surveys that are being developed and administered across the Washington higher education community. I'm not sure I've got it all, but I'm doing my best to track it right now. The survey that's coming out right away and I just learned it is coming out on Monday is through the American College Health Association (ACHA). And this is the association of health care professionals who do things like manage the student health care centers on our member campuses. And so the idea there is to to really do a climate survey of what's going on on campuses, keep it really short, and on the conference call today we agreed, not to ask people to collect any data they don't already have at their finger tips. They just don't have time to do it. So the survey will be limited to maybe ten or twelve questions, something that you can do really quickly. And they'll repeat it. They want to get a baseline. I think everybody in the medical community feels like it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. So they want to set a baseline in the next few days for what we're seeing. A couple of the questions I think will be much broader and of great interest to the entire higher ed community, not just medical practitioners. One of them, for example, is what is your greatest challenge on campus? And another one is what innovations are working? What do you see that's happening on the ground that could be shared with other institutions? And I think we'll be seeing a survey come out from ACE. We just started that conversation last week, but everybody's working in rapid response mode. So I think our members will see something coming out from ACE see fairly soon.

Jon Fansmith [00:26:53] And the survey from ACE, is there a particular focus it'll be on or...?

Brad Farnsworth [00:26:57] We're thinking about really the leadership. So the presidents and the vice presidents of institutions and what they're seeing from their point of view. A big part of that is going to be financial impact. I know we've got that scheduled for later on in the podcast. But when we get to thatI can tell you a little bit more about what we've seen so far.

Jon Fansmith [00:27:17] Great. And I'll remind people are listening that all the resources we're mentioning, I know we're sort of checking a whole bunch of them off as we go along. There are a lot of things out there that are helpful for campuses. They'll all be posted on the Web site for this podcast. It can be found on ACE Web site on our Engage platform. Sarah, we talked a little bit about the impacts on international students and the difficulties of enrolled international students. I know you have worked a lot with both Brad and Robin on international education. Maybe you can kind of give a rundown about where that project...where the role of international education on campuses in these very difficult times is right now. Nobody can even get on a plane really. 

Sarah Spreitzer [00:27:58] And I don't think, you know, looking back at when we started to deal with this in February, we would have thought that we would have arrived at the situation. And in fact, I can think back, in February, Robin and I and Brad were discussing the fact that our colleagues in Australia were in a tight bind because they had a travel ban put in effect for Chinese students trying to return. And obviously it was at the start of their winter semester. And unfortunately, there were students that couldn't return to their campuses. And so we felt very lucky because of our calendar, our academic calendar. Most of our students were back before some of the travel bans went into place. But then obviously, when the crisis continued to grow, there were a lot of things that happened. You know, some international students decided to stay here. I think some have been called back to their home countries. Obviously, they're going onto online learning platforms. Some of them have chosen to stay in dorms, even though the campuses have pretty much closed. And I think our institutions are trying to be flexible on that to allow our international students to stay. But I'd say like a new issue crops up kind of every day. And Brad and Robin and I are just in constant contact, talking about these different issues as they arise. One of the issues that we're having now is Brad and I were just talking...We have a member institution that has a researcher who's trying to come from in India and needs a visa to be processed. And unfortunately, all the consulates are closed. And so under the existing travel ban, they should be able to get an expedited visa through, especially because they are addressing research related to COVID-19. There's nobody to actually contact at the at the consulate.

Jon Fansmith [00:30:03] So a researcher into COVID-19 can't get here to perform research.

Sarah Spreitzer [00:30:06] Well, it's more about...yes, it's trying to figure out who to actually talk to and then just multiply that by several thousand. And I think everybody's just trying to figure out. And Brad alluded to the fact that state and DHS have really...They have been pretty flexible. And we're hoping that that flexibility is going to extend as we get closer to the summer. Obviously, many of our international students right now are preparing to come here in the fall, hopefully. And what happens is your institution issues an I-20, which is the piece of paper you need to apply for your visa to come here and study. But with the consulates being closed, they can actually apply for...they can't apply for the F1 visa. And so we are asking states for some flexibility to see, is there a way to waive the in-person interview requirement for F1 visas? Is there a way to start the process? While the consulates are closed. So, yeah, I think with our international students, you know, we're dealing with different issues every day. And so, you know, Brad, I know you've been talking to a lot of our institutions. You've also been talking to some of our foreign partners. What are some of the issues that you are seeing come up?

Brad Farnsworth [00:31:29] Well, Sarah, obviously, the ban on travel has had a huge impact, particularly between the US and China. So right now, if an American goes to China, they're required to be in quarantine for 14 days. So every institution I've talked to has given up on any kind of live recruiting. And in China, it's all being done virtually at this point. Tremendous concern about how you would apply for a visa when all the consulates are closed. And current rules require a face to face interview. I will say that our colleagues at NAFSA have proposed an innovative solution, which is: there is the possibility that the secretary of state can waive the live interview. It's only a possibility. But the community is raising it with the secretary of state, the possibility of allowing an exception so that live interviews are not required. That would be a huge step, but the real early warning system in this business are the people who advise companies and the coaches who advise students in places like China and India. And they're telling us that there's a lot of concern that applications are down, that we may be looking at a significant decline in the fall. One of the thing really quickly and that's that's the issue of the harassment of Asian-Americans. And with what we estimate to be maybe 90 percent of students now off campus. This isn't as prevalent as it was. But San Francisco State University has a Web site where they're collecting incidents, not just international students. This is all type of harassment against Asian Americans. The numbers really are stunning and very disturbing. And so we have a lot of work to do on that. One of our member institutions, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, just received the NSF grant to study the same thing, to systematically document and analyze these various forms of discrimination. So lots of challenges ahead.

Sarah Spreitzer [00:33:43] That's really helpful, Brad. And I know, Robin, you work a lot with our institutions here in the States who are looking, you know,  to recruit those those international students and kind of planning for the fall. What are you hearing on your end?

Robin Helms [00:34:00] So I would echo a lot of what Brad mentioned in terms of the immediate issues institutions are thinking about. I was just on a virtual town hall hosted by the Association for International Education Administrators or AIEA, and lots of conversation around the international student support piece. So thinking about recruiting students for the fall and as we talked about what might be possible in terms of online learning, if need be, if the visa issues and everything continue to make this difficult, but also our current international students who are being harassed, as Brad said, or simply need that mental health support, need the access to the community that they're part of. So that's very much front and center right now. And I think part of the conversation as well is study abroad for fall. So pretty much everybody's canceled summer study abroad at this point. Those decisions have been made. But now the questions are, what can we do in the fall and how do we do the risk assessment around that? When do we make the decisions about that? So I think those are still the issues that are really front and center. But I think what we're starting to see conversations about and I've definitely been thinking about a lot is the longer term impacts of this situation and maybe some of the opportunities that come out of it. I did a blog post a couple of weeks ago called "Can Internationalization Survive coronavirus?" And it was pulling on some data that I have from a joint study that we did with the NSSE project, the National Study on Student Engagement, that found looking at some of their data on student learning outcomes and our data on institutional internationalization. It found that what really makes the difference in terms of students' global learning, so gaining the skills and the knowledge that they need to operate in this increasingly interconnected world is what's happening on campus. So how are we incorporating that type of learning into our classrooms without student mobility happening at all necessarily? How are we relying on technology through COIL, collaborative online international learning and other modalities to bring those perspectives into the classroom? And how are we engaging our faculty in that work? That's what really moves the needle on student learning. So I think our institutions are going to be thinking sort of beyond mobility at this point. What do we need to do when we're thinking about making sure our students are globally competent in a world where student mobility is maybe in question, certainly for the time being. I think it also highlights the need for interdisciplinary. In many ways this idea that the whole COVID crisis underscores the need for globaly competent graduates and for some of the collaborative research that Brad has mentioned as well, that question about the Indian scholar not being able to come and study. We need everybody around the world studying this to understand how this happened, not only from an epidemiological standpoint, but thinking about the communication between this. It would be so interesting to have sort of a joint project that's looking at how the virus spread and then how all the messaging spread around the world. So I think that's opportunities for research collaborations and for our students to be looking at issues from different angles as well. So it's kind of seeing the whole phenomenon as a global learning opportunity. I think will be very interesting and I think it's starting to become part of the conversations for the aftermath of all of this when hopefully the dust settles.

Jon Fansmith [00:37:34] And I think that's it's a really good shift in terms of thinking now a little bit about what higher ed looks like going forward. And it's obviously very valuable to. And Brad, you know, I wanted to just come back to you. You had mentioned that there was going to be or that there was a recent ACE webinar on the financial impact for institutions. And I just want to follow up with you and give you an opportunity to sort of complete that thought, if you will.

Brad Farnsworth [00:38:01] Thanks, Jon. This was a webinar that was recorded yesterday, excuse me, Wednesday on the 1st of April. And I'm not going to go into the details of speakers and things like that. That's all again on Engage and it's completely recorded for those of you who are interested. But I think that when we're thinking about...we're looking at the way leaders are thinking about this crisis, they've got a range of extremely short-term, urgent logistical things to take care of on the financial side. They've got to get refunds on housing and students desperately need that so that they can make a down payment on an apartment or they can fly home. I mean, it sounds really mundane, but it's a huge issue. You need those refunds to generate the cash so that you can pay for other things. And so that's the urgent...that's what has to be done tomorrow. And then there's even a slightly less urgent with this, you know, what has to be done in just the next few weeks. And that includes planning for the summer. We're now thinking that this...I haven't talked to anybody who is even considering any live programing over the summer. And then to Robin's point, we may be looking at going online in the fall as well. What would that look like programmatically and most importantly in this conversation, financially and then most of our institution fiscal years start on July 1. That's the typical beginning of an academic institution's fiscal year. How do you think budget for this? You know, we were probably...most institutions were probably in the middle of the budgeting process when this hit. Then I think in the longer term, we're really thinking now about how this crisis fundamentally changes the business model. What needs to change long term in terms of the mix of revenue sources, how we manage expenses, how we plan for the long term? All of that is, I think, up for very intense discussion.

Jon Fansmith [00:40:12] And I think one of the things we've heard a lot from presidents the last couple weeks, just to add to this, which I think is a really comprehensive list of the challenges facing schools, are significant concerns about enrollment, about students who physically left to campus and maybe are not participating in online education, who are withdrawing from campus. The other thing is this hit right in the middle of the traditional admissions cycle. Presidents are looking at fall enrollments and I think they're very concerned about students' level of comfort returning to a physical space, their ability to access and make decisions about where they want to go and their interest in doing that in the first place. I think we could go on and on and on. There's actually a million different things we could talk about. And I want to be thoughtful of both of your time. I know everyone has things they have to get back to, whether that's professional or personal going on. And congrats. Nobody has had any children run in during this recording. So very good work, team. Sarah, just before we touch off, I think it'd be good to...We mentioned at the beginning, Congress passed the last supplemental was signed into law last Friday. I think they began working on the next supplemental funding bill on Saturday. What are you hearing? What are the highlights? What are the things our members probably most need to know at this point about what's happening with that?

Sarah Spreitzer [00:41:33] Probably that it's gonna be another big bill. And I think that members are looking at what wasn't addressed in the third package and also kind of looking at more long term things. So we've heard a lot of talk going on about possible infrastructure programs, trying to address kind of the needs of the business community and things that weren't addressed in the third package. So, you know, I think that everybody's kind of throwing out ideas right now.

Jon Fansmith [00:42:09] Yeah. And I think one of the things I mentioned at the top of the podcast that, you know, we are well aware that $14 billion dollars is great, it was a small fraction of what's needed. Congress has certainly heard the same things on the K-12 side where they received actually slightly less funding than higher ed did. So I think we're hopeful that there's an understanding that education broadly...K-12 schools are facing the same challenges about transitioning to remote learning, that, you know, there is an understanding of the need that's out there and the importance of addressing it. So we will obviously keep our members posted as to developments on the supplemental and we'll keep working. And again, I would reiterate too, it has been tremendously helpful to us to hear from our members what the financial impact has been and in particular, the willingness to reach out and let their members of Congress know the challenges they're facing. I don't know how many staff Sarah and I have talked to who have said, "Look, my boss is thinking about this and thinking about that." Then I had a college president call him, tell him they're facing a 20 percent revenue loss over the next three months. And they might have to close programs, they might have to close their doors permanently. Those are the kind of things that, you know, cuts to the heart of it and really lets people understand the dimensions of the problems we're facing. So for those of you who are listening, thank you. And keep at it. It's tremendously helpful and it's tremendously important. I think that's going to wrap it up for us today. I want to thank Brad and Robin, our amazing colleagues and amazing guests. Thanks for coming on, guys.

Brad Farnsworth [00:43:41] Thanks for having me.

Robin Helms [00:43:42] Thank you.

Jon Fansmith [00:43:44] And for those of you listening, thank you as well for listening. Thank you for all you do for higher education in these troubling times. If you want to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that on Apple podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your podcasts. You can also, and I'm going to probably mess this up because I don't have the text in front of me like I usually do, you can find the web site for the podcast at and all the resources we mentioned will be posted there as well. Once again, thank you all for listening. Hope you're safe. Hope you stay well. And we'll talk to you again soon.

About the Podcast

​Each episode of dotEDU presents a deep dive into a major issue impacting college campuses and students across the country. Hosts from ACE are joined by guest experts to lead you through thought-provoking conversations on topics such as campus free speech, diversity in admissions, college costs and affordability, and more. Find all episodes of the podcast at the dotEDU page.

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