Partnering to Solve Pandemic Learning Loss


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Aired June 15, 2023

The impact of years of COVID-19 pandemic learning disruptions is coming into focus, and the picture is not good. To address the challenges P-12 students face, the Biden administration launched the National Partnership for Student Success (NPSS) in July 2022 and followed up last month with a call for colleges and universities to partner with their local school systems to help. The NPSS's Mariko Yoshisato Cavey visits the podcast to discuss how campuses can get involved.

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

National Partnership for Student Success (NPSS)

The NPSS Higher Education Coalition

NPSS Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Launches National Effort to Support Student Success
The White House | July 5, 2022

Mobilizing the Higher Education Community to Support P-12 Pandemic Recovery
Getting Smart | May 19, 2023

COVID-19 Learning Delay and Recovery: Where do US States Stand?
McKinsey & Company | January 11, 2023

‘Devastating’: Pandemic Learning Loss Needs Urgent Attention in U.S., National Survey Finds
Yahoo News | May 15, 2023

From the introduction:

More Borrowers at Risk of Defaulting
Inside Higher Ed | June 12, 2023

The Standoff Between Kevin McCarthy and Right-Wing House Republicans, Explained
Vox | June 11, 2023

Student Loan Payments will be Due Starting in October, Department of Education Clarifies
CNN | June 12, 2023

White House Prepares for Possibility Supreme Court Could Kill Student Loan Forgiveness Plan
The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) | June 8, 2023

Hosts and Guests
Mariko Yoshisato  Cavey - Director of Higher Education Partnerships, the National Partnership for Student Success  - Guest
Mariko Yoshisato Cavey
Director of Higher Education Partnerships, the National Partnership for Student Success

 Read this episode's transcript

Sarah Spreitzer: A quick note for our listeners. Since the conversation between myself, Jon, and Mushtaq earlier this week, House Republicans were able to come to an agreement, clear the log jam, and start moving legislation on the House floor. So we hope you enjoy this conversation.

Jon Fansmith: Hello and welcome to dotEDU, the higher education policy podcast from the American Council on Education. A little bit later in the episode, we're going to be joined by Mariko Yoshisato Cavey, who is the director of Higher Education Partnerships at the National Partnership for Student Success. That's a very, I think, interesting, exciting initiative, and we're looking forward to talking with Mariko and learning a lot more about it. But before we talk with Mariko, I am joined, honored to be joined as always by my co-hosts, Mushtaq Gunja and Sarah Spreitzer. How are you both doing today?

Sarah Spreitzer: I'm doing great. It is fabulous Monday here in Washington DC, little on the rainy side. Jon is giving me a look like he doesn't believe me.

Jon Fansmith: Giant gray clouds covering the entire sky. It is terrifying looking. It looks like the apocalypse.

Sarah Spreitzer: I'm trying to be optimistic, and I'm looking forward to our conversation later.

Mushtaq Gunja: I'm just happy to be here. I got to see both of you in person today, and that's a treat. So I'm doing great. Jon, how are you?

Jon Fansmith: I am doing just fine. Yeah, aside from very different view of the weather than Sarah has, I got to see you. That's always a highlight. I got to talk to some amazing doctoral students who are studying higher education policy, so probably know more about it than I do. It was a great day.

Sarah Spreitzer: Yeah. But we have Congress in town. That's why I'm trying to be optimistic. Because Congress is in town, the debt ceiling is done. They're going to really hit the ground and run as fast as possible to July 4th recess. Right, Jon?

Jon Fansmith: No, Sarah. No. That was a very obvious setup for me to say no to that. No, Congress is in town and Congress is doing, I don't know, is absolutely nothing an accurate… I should take that back. There are things that Congress is doing, the House Education Workforce Committee is doing a markup of a bill tomorrow. They're doing a hearing on innovation on Wednesday. There are activities taking place, but I think probably the reason you asked was what's happening in the chamber as a whole. And right now due to some internal turmoil among the Republican caucus, the house is essentially locked down. Kevin McCarthy did not make a lot of friends with the debt ceiling process, as a lot of people, us included, were relieved to see compromise, and talked a lot about that last time.

There are a large number of members of his party who felt that not only did he give up too many concessions, but maybe they shouldn't have been negotiating with the administration in the first place. And those people are not happy, and are right now essentially putting the party, putting the chamber in a stranglehold because Kevin McCarthy doesn't have a big margin to play with. He never did. He can't afford to lose four or five or six members and still move things forward. So it's a bit of an ugly situation right now and not entirely clear where a resolution will come from.

Sarah Spreitzer: Well, and we talked at length about what was in the debt ceiling agreement, but I think some of the more conservative members, who McCarthy convinced to vote for him as speaker back in January, when we saw, how many votes did it take? Nine?

Jon Fansmith: Fifteen, right?

Sarah Spreitzer: Fifteen. Fifteen votes. I think in the agreement that they struck with the White House was pretty far from the cuts of 30% across-the-board cuts, that I think the more conservative members of the party, the Freedom Caucus, were waiting for. So they are definitely making their displeasure known to Speaker McCarthy, but I don't know, it's going into week two. Last week, everything was stopped on the House floor. They've been unable to move things that they knew had a lot of Republican support, and it's unclear what's going to happen this week.

Jon Fansmith: On that spending part, I think, there's a couple things that are interesting about that and important about that too. Those 30% cuts, when we got the debt ceiling yield, I think most people, certainly most people in official Washington, to use that term, thought, okay, well now we know what the spending levels will be for this year. And what we're finding out is there remains a sizable contingency of members of Congress who don't think that just because they can spend up to that level, they should. And the other thing is they set themselves a very aggressive timetable for getting these funding bills done. The last thing they need is a fight, particularly within the majority party, over how to proceed and what to do with those levels. They need to pass bills, frankly, by the fall and have everything done by January to meet their timetables or there's serious penalties. We going to have cuts to defense funding that nobody wants to see, and this is not helping matters. We're moving back to zero even after we got what we thought was an agreement that would create a path forward.

Mushtaq Gunja: Jon and Sarah, remind me, how long do we have funding in the budget? We've never seen a default, thank God, but we have seen government shutdowns. How long do we have before we have to have that discussion?

Sarah Spreitzer: October 1st.

Jon Fansmith: Yeah, that's a new federal fiscal year. So if they don't have bills in place, signed by the president, then we head into a shutdown situation.

Sarah Spreitzer: But thankfully the default now I think is in place until 2025. So yeah, so our next big timetable is going to be whether or not they can get the appropriation bills passed by September 30th. But Jon is right. I was surprised to see members talking about the fact that they were going to go below the spending caps to make even deeper cuts than what is required under the death ceiling agreement. So I think, at least in the House, we're going to see some very, very deep cuts, which likely will not be accepted by the Senate.

Mushtaq Gunja: Is it even going to pass the house? Are there enough Republicans for some of these deep funding cuts?

Jon Fansmith: Oh, it's an interesting question actually, because you also have... We could talk about this for a long time, and I'm not sure it's necessarily of interest to our listeners, but anything that pulls too hard in one direction, that is a caucus that has moderate members too, and you begin to run the risk of losing those members of your party too. We've talked about this a number of times. Kevin McCarthy is in a very unenviable position of trying to juggle a lot of different constituencies that have, in many cases, strongly opposite views and not a lot of leeway to do it.

Mushtaq Gunja: We knew he was going to be in a ridiculously difficult position. He was going to get cross haired with his caucus at some point. The only question was whether it was going to happen before the debt ceiling fiasco or after. And thank God for the country it happened after and not before. But one of the things happening, as part of the debt ceiling agreement was this agreement to restart the student loan program. And as I read this the first time, I thought that the payments were going to restart, when was it, September 1st or late August? And now it seems like maybe there's some confusion around that. Is that right, Sarah and Jon? What are you seeing?

Jon Fansmith: Well, it's an interesting, so the department, the administration, but through the department, has always said two months after June 30th or whenever the Supreme Court makes a decision around student loan forgiveness. So functionally they're saying as of August 30th, we will resume meaning, to your point, September 1st is the date that repayments restart. The debt ceiling bill said exactly, that August 30th. No more extensions past August 30th. This is when it has to restart. But what we're seeing, the department put out some information today, is what does restarting mean? It is in the eye of the beholder. The actual debt ceiling bill doesn't specify, the language in it is awkwardly written in such a way that it can be interpreted in a couple different ways. And the way that the administration has chosen to interpret it is to say, we will begin collecting interest again on outstanding student loans as of September 1st, but your first payment won't be until October 1st, or whatever period your payments are due starting after October 1st.

So in some ways, you could say they're absolutely complying with that August 30th deadline. In other ways, and we've already heard this, some people are saying, "Well, they're pushing out the deadline even further and they're not following the spirit of the law if not necessarily the letter of it." The other thing, and to their credit, the department has always been talking about... Or always has been talking about for a long time, the need to figure out ways that when they flip the switch back on borrowers who will struggle, will have some tools available, that the department will have some tools in place to help with those situations, extending out the periods where if payments aren't made before you go into default or there's penalties or fees attached to it. And that's important because another report out today from, I believe, the Consumer Financial Protection Board. Is that right?

Sarah Spreitzer: Yeah. Yeah.

Jon Fansmith: Said they look at factors of the borrowers and think that about 20% of them are likely to be unable to make their payments. The Federal Reserve Board just had a report out too, that said, if you look at obligations, other obligations, student loan borrowers have, so things like mortgage payments or car payments, those debts have grown as a proportion of their income since the repayment pause went into effect. And then you add to the fact estimates of at least 16 million in as many as 30 million of the roughly 45 million borrowers, when they restart, will have a new loan servicer than they did before the pause went to effect. You've got people who have less money to spend, who will be contacted by an organization they may not be familiar with about processing, moving their loans forward.

And frankly, 20% of those borrowers are already in circumstances that make them likely to default. There's going to be a lot of problems when this restarts. It was inevitable. The department is doing everything they can do, I think, to mitigate that. But it is, I think, a reasonable person could look at this and say, there's going to be some pretty significant problems, and those significant problems are going to affect millions of people.

Sarah Spreitzer: Well, not only are we watching that, but it's also June when the Supreme Court starts putting out their decisions, and Mushtaq, our unofficial court watcher, I think there's two big decisions that higher ed is watching for that should come out at some point this month.

Mushtaq Gunja: Yeah, that's right. I think we're waiting to hear, speaking of student loans, we're waiting to hear the fate of the administration's student loan forgiveness plan. So I assume that we will see that really could be as soon as this week. And then we're waiting for something that's even probably a little bit bigger, which is the decision on race conscious admissions. And I say bigger, not necessarily because it affects more people than the $10,000 student loan forgiveness plan, but because it's been precedent for so long. We've had affirmative action blessed by the court since 1978. And I think the court is poised, we will see what happens, but it's poised to make some changes to the constitutionality of race conscious admission. So it will be a momentous couple of weeks for us in higher education watching with bated breath. I'm also watching the happenings down in Miami with bated breath. That's probably not for this podcast. You'll have to talk about Trump on a different podcast.

Sarah Spreitzer: For your other podcast, Mushtaq. But Mushtaq, on the UNC-Harvard case, what I keep hearing is that we really... It's not going to be an up or down decision. We have to see the language in the opinion that's going to come out that's going to say what the next steps might be for our institutions. Is that right?

Mushtaq Gunja: I think so. Yeah. I think that there are many shades of possible gray here. I think... Look, our admissions practices are varied across our different types of institutions. And so it'll be really interesting to see with how broad a brush the Supreme Court acts here. There have been amicus briefs filed by everybody, the military business, our institutions, ACE. So let's see what the court does. I have been very hesitant to make predictions here because it's just a little bit hard to know how far they might go in a world of changing demographics of our students. We don't have the same types of students or the same demographics as students that we had back in 1978, or frankly even in 2003. So what the court does with all of that information, whether they want to recognize any of that or not, I think will be really interesting. But I assume that we'll spend quite a bit of time talking about this in our next podcast. So stay tuned, everybody.

Jon Fansmith: Yes. And on that note, a good note. Thank you, Mushtaq. Stay tuned for our conversation right after the break. I think it's going to be a fun and interesting one. So stay with us.

Jon Fansmith: And welcome back. As we mentioned at the top of the episode, we are very happy to be joined today by Dr. Mariko Yoshisato Cavey, who is the senior program officer and the director of Higher Education Partnerships with the National Partnership for Student Success. Mariko, thank you so much for joining us.

Mariko Yoshisato Cavey: Thank you so much for having me on today. It's a pleasure.

Jon Fansmith: Let's start right there at the beginning. Can you tell us a little bit about what the National Partnership is?

Mariko Yoshisato Cavey: Yes, absolutely. So we know that students, educators, families, schools and communities have been impacted by the pandemic in a multitude of ways. And so we are really focused on efforts that will help support pandemic recovery in P-12 education, and also help support students thriving into the future. So we know there are lots of evidence-based ways for how to do this effectively, but these approaches really require more people power to support P-12 students in schools and out of school time programs. And that's really where the National Partnership for Student Success comes in. So in the 2022 State of the Union address, President Biden called on more people to serve in roles as tutors, mentors, and other crucial positions that support P-12 students. And then in July of 2022, the White House announced the launch of the National Partnership for Student Success to support the president's call to action, along with a specific goal of getting an additional 250,000 people into P-12 support roles by 2025.

So the NPSS was created to address the challenges of pandemic recovery in P-12 education and really help facilitate the networks and cross-sector collaboration that will be needed to help meet the president's goal. So we are a public private partnership between the US Department of Education, AmeriCorps, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University. And that is the home of the NPSS Support Hub where I'm based. And the hub serves to provide capacity building support through a breadth of resources and collaborative networks. We help everyone who's answering the president's call to action to do so in ways that are grounded in evidence and aligned with quality standards, and really draw on community strengths and local solutions. So we unite schools, districts, higher ed institutions, nonprofits, state agencies and others, to really address this challenge together. But my focus, as director of higher ed partnerships, is to engage the higher ed community specifically. So excited for your audience to play an essential role in this collective national effort.

Sarah Spreitzer: So Mariko, sometimes it feels like the COVID Pandemic was yesterday, and sometimes it feels like it was 10 years ago. And obviously the Biden administration just officially ended the pandemic. I don't know if that's actually true. I guess hopefully we're moving in the right direction. But as a mom who tried really hard to work and homeschool my kids, what do we know about what happened during the pandemic for students, for K-12 students and for post-secondary students?

Mariko Yoshisato Cavey: We know students are months behind in math and reading, but we also know that the effects of the pandemic are not just limited to academics. So supporting students' mental health needs and wellbeing, for example, are also essential to their thriving, both in P-12 education and throughout the higher education pipeline. And with the NPSS, we really do take a holistic approach to engaging more people in P-12 support roles, focusing on not only tutoring, but also roles as mentors, student success coaches, post-secondary transition coaches and wraparound and integrated student support coordinators as well.

Reason being, these are all evidence-based roles that show potential for high impact on student success when implemented in alignment with quality standards. And so we at the NPSS Support Hub really offer a breadth of resources to help organizations do that effectively to support their P-12 students and communities. But in terms of impacts to higher education, we've heard a lot from administrators we've spoken with through the NPSS, and who have joined our coalition, and they've indicated that enrollment numbers in higher ed are down, and they're navigating challenges with recruitment, or supporting pathways into higher ed for young people.

And so that's where the NPSS is really focused on roles like the post-secondary transition coaching, or student success coaching at the middle and high school level, to help students plan and then take actionable steps towards their future goals, to become college students or perhaps take other pathways. And so we've seen a number of colleges and universities really answer the president's call to action through that approach in creating clearer paths into higher ed institutions in their regions. It might be through specific post-secondary preparation programs, responding to locally determined needs, but it's also happening as higher ed institutions are generally focusing on cultivating really strong relationships between their local schools, districts and nonprofits that work with their institutions, to support both P-12 students as well as college students in these types of roles.

Sarah Spreitzer: Yeah. You talked a bit about enrollment, and we did see a quite sizable dip in enrollment in our colleges and universities, especially at our community colleges during the pandemic. It's now seemed to somewhat come back, but is the focus for higher education less on learning loss and more on whether or not people are choosing to pursue a post-secondary education? Would you say that there's a clear difference between how you're helping K-12, and then how you're helping post-secondary education?

Mariko Yoshisato Cavey: I think where the NPSS supports the P-12 space is in providing more people power to support students' success, both in their current schools and out of school time settings, as well as into the future. In the higher ed space, we are really focused on cultivating these relationships that will help into the future. So for example, the major call to action for higher ed institutions is to place more of their college students in P-12 support roles, knowing that college students offer a really crucial dimension of support and encouragement and mentorship to young people in communities. And so we also know that there are lots of ways that this work is happening really effectively. And so part of the work of the NPSS is to help colleges and universities build on their effective practices, drawing, in some cases, on innovations that came out of the pandemic.

So recognizing that, of course there have been lots of challenges to navigate, but also in that we've learned a lot. And for example, some colleges are really doing a great job leveraging high quality virtual tutoring approaches to support their P-12 communities, or build connections and relationships between young students in elementary, middle, and high school, and then college or university students in their regions. And so while we are excited to support existing paths into addressing pandemic recovery needs, we're also encouraging campuses to draw on innovations that have come out of the pandemic, and build on those into the future.

Jon Fansmith: And Mariko, we've talked a little bit about how you work, or I should say, talked about working with institutions, and you are the director of Higher Education Partnerships. I need to get that right. Higher education, director of Higher Education, making sure I got your title. But a lot of our listeners are college leaders, they're presidents and other senior administrators. Can I drill down to the nuts and bolts? How does a college actually get involved? Are there certain requirements? Do you have to be a certain type of institution? Do you have to make certain commitments? What does that look like if you are a campus leader who's saying, well, I'd love to be more involved, I'd love to contribute to my community in this way, and certainly participate on a national level? Walk us through a little bit what's involved with that.

Mariko Yoshisato Cavey: To be specific, this May, the US Department of Education actually issued a call in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter for higher education institutions to set a goal in answering the president's call to action. And the NPSS does create a supportive pathway to help colleges and universities on their journey towards doing that. So colleges and universities can answer the call to action by joining the NPSS Higher Education Coalition. And to join the coalition, campuses can go to the NPSS website and submit a voluntary public goal to place more of their college students in NPSS aligned, P-12 support roles. And the focus is over the next two years. So by 2025. There are multiple pathways for colleges to move from goal setting to implementation. And so various options are important here because we know that institutions have a multitude of opportunities for students, in some cases, many different pathways to engage in these types of roles.

So the Dear Colleague letter from the US Department of Ed specifies that campuses can set a goal to either use at least 15% of their federal work study funds for community service, devoting any increase to NPSS-aligned roles -- so, for example, tutors, mentors, post-secondary transition coaches, et cetera. Or campuses can set a goal to significantly increase the number of college students that they will place in these roles. And that's regardless of funding source. So those other types of opportunities, in addition to federal work study, might include AmeriCorps programs or federally or state-funded P-12 support programs. In some cases, community engaged learning courses or other credit bearing opportunities and more. So again, this is really an effort to help campuses build on their existing resources, programs, infrastructure and relationships, to build back up in addressing some of the challenges presented by the pandemic. We know that P-12 spaces were not only affected, but again, higher ed institutions were affected in just their ability to place college students in these types of opportunities.

Challenges of being in person was certainly one of them, but also, over time, we saw a dip in the number of college students in these roles through federal work study or otherwise. And so an important message to colleges here is that we know it's possible to do this work in really effective ways. Many institutions were already doing it well before the pandemic. And so this call to action is really an encouragement for campuses to voluntarily build back up, or, in some cases, maybe even exceed their pre-pandemic efforts to engage more college students in these youth supporting roles.

Jon Fansmith: And I really like that too, because I think there will probably be a lot of our listeners who are saying, "Well, my campus already does something like that. We already support community service." And we know institutions that use 60 or 70% of their work study funds towards community service projects. For a lot of institutions, that's really core to their mission. So I think it's fascinating to think about the ways that they can expand those opportunities, and coordinate with other institutions who are doing this work, learn from the best practices, but also they're probably looking for what are the benefits for my institution? If we're already doing this, why should we be partnering? What is the upside there? So talk a little bit about some of the benefits that both accrue to the students who are participating through the program and also the institutions as well.

Mariko Yoshisato Cavey: So this is certainly a mutually beneficial approach to supporting pandemic recovery. As your listeners probably already know, community engagement is so crucial to the work of universities and just the relationships that are possible to build with schools, districts, nonprofit organizations, and others in the region. And so this effort really encourages that type of community engagement. And as you mentioned, it's not only the P-12 students that benefit from receiving services, the college students really benefit as well. And so it's so important to create these opportunities through federal work study jobs or other types of pathways to service, for college students to have these really meaningful experiences. And I think it's clear that today's college students are very motivated to engage in their communities and get involved in service and supporting the next generation of young people. And so this is a really wonderful pathway for institutions to help support motivated young people to do this work in their regional communities.

And we also know that college students can really make a difference in the lives of youth. So we've seen lots of great examples of tutors, mentors, and other types of youth support coaches engaging with students through the NPSS work, in all types of diverse communities across the country, be those urban, suburban, rural, and all sizes of institutions that have a multitude of different types of partnerships and support varied, diverse young people in their regions. And so we're excited for more institutions to come on board in answering the call to action, and also ensure that they have the support needed to move from setting a goal to implementing their programs. So by joining the NPSS coalition, campuses are really becoming part of a national network of institutions that are also answering the call to action, and gaining access to resources and collaborative opportunities along the way.

Sarah Spreitzer: That's great, Mariko. I guess there's been a lot of studies that have been coming out about learning loss during the pandemic, and we're just starting to dig into what happened, over those three years, to our students. So looking at that in a different lens, how is NPSS, how are you going to measure success? Or have you already started measuring success? Is it based on, are we going to make up all of that learning loss? Are we going to see enrollments returned to pre-pandemic levels? Or has NPSS even started thinking about that?

Mariko Yoshisato Cavey: So I'll emphasize that the NPSS is really focused on community strengths and locally driven solutions, with broad national support for this work to happen in all varied regions throughout the country. And so part of the support of the hub is helping organizations, be those schools districts or higher ed institutions, work together to really identify what the local needs are, and implement the types of supports and infrastructure and resources that are necessary to address those particular needs of their particular students, and find pathways to success based on what they see as their priorities in their region. We're excited about the progress made in that realm. For example, we've learned a lot from the field in the past year, and been able to provide a breadth of resources that help organizations answer the call to action. And so recognizing, for example, that staffing programs and scaling programs, to provide the needed supports for P-12 students, is a challenge.

We've compiled toolkits and other forms of guidance to help higher ed institutions and schools and districts work together alongside nonprofits in their region, to do the work of identifying needs, recruiting adults to serve in these roles, and then supporting them in the positions. We've also issued voluntary quality standards that help guide how programs assess needs, build resources to support, and then to scale with high quality and sustainability. And we've also provided a breadth of no cost technical assistance supports to help organizations in their implementation of this work. So as part of that, we've engaged a really diverse coalition of 135 and growing, nonprofit organizations that we call NPSS Supporting Champions, who have been really crucial in helping to inform and guide this work. So these are all national and local youth development organizations that are working in collaboration with higher ed institutions and others to move from commitment to action, and really help make these changes in communities locally and at a national scale.

Sarah Spreitzer: I was going to ask, and you touched on it. Have you found any best practices that our listeners may be interested in, or have you seen any promising programs? And then I guess my second question to that is, you talked about some of the resources NPSS has put together. Is that all on your website or do you have to join the coalition to access those resources? Sorry, two questions. Sorry, Mariko.

Jon Fansmith: You're doubling down, Sarah.

Sarah Spreitzer: I am. I was worried Jon would jump in there. So first question, have you seen any promising best practices? And then the second question, building on that, are all those resources publicly available?

Mariko Yoshisato Cavey: As part of joining the Higher Education Coalition, higher ed institutions are actually invited to share some of their effective practices, along with the challenges that they're navigating, and how they're coming to solutions that seem to be working well, given their own unique regional contexts. And we've been able to spotlight a variety of programs in action. You can see this on our website, and these are great examples of institutions that have partnered effectively with schools, districts and nonprofits in their region, and drawn on a variety of funding sources, ranging from federal work study to AmeriCorps programs and more, to move from studying a campus goal to implementing programs, and really growing the number of college students that are placed in P-12 support roles.

So we're excited to continue uplifting promising practices from organizations that join the coalition, and are open to sharing their insights and expertise. Because again, we know that lots of colleges and universities have been doing this work pre-pandemic, and will continue doing it afterwards. So we see this as a really wonderful opportunity to bring a national network of institutions together to share that learning, and then elevate it to others in the field. So yes, excited to move that work forward with additional spotlights and sourcing more great insights from the field. As part of our resources, the program spotlights are publicly available on the NPSS website, along with the other resources such as toolkits and other forms of guidance for organizations answering the call to action.

Jon Fansmith: And that is a great place to transition to my next question, which is really just to give you the opportunity before we wrap up to, as I mentioned before, we have this audience of college and university leaders. You've outlined a lot of different steps they can take in the ways that NPSS can assist them. But just any final thoughts, recommendations, takeaways? What are the things that, if nothing else, as we wrap up, listeners should be walking away thinking and keeping them in the top of their mind?

Mariko Yoshisato Cavey: Well, I think moving forward, we'd really encourage higher ed leaders to help mobilize their campuses to join the Higher Ed Coalition and answer the call to action, understanding that every institution and community is in a different place in terms of needs and recovery efforts, and the support that might be necessary to really provide the resources that students need to be successful. But that's exactly what the NPSS Support Hub strives to do. And so we really hope for colleges and universities to know that they're not alone in this effort. There are lots of resources to support moving from setting a goal, to implementing programs, to sharing progress and practices with a national network of peers that are also engaged in this work in their own communities. And so we really hope for all higher ed institutions to see themselves as a crucial part of this work, and join the national community that's answering the call to action together.

And speaking from personal experience, I really do know the impact of these types of opportunities on college students, as well as P-12 students. I know others in the NPSS would share similar stories. But as a former federal work study student myself, years ago, these were the very jobs that I held as an undergrad that truly laid the foundation for my own professional pathway into the education field. And so now it's truly an honor to be in the position of supporting other colleges and universities to make these opportunities available to their own students, and really have a positive impact in their broader community in such a crucial time for P-12 support.

Jon Fansmith: Great. And the current members of the Higher Education Coalition, that's publicly available on the website, right?

Mariko Yoshisato Cavey: Yes. So institutions can take a look at the NPSS website, see who's joined the coalition, and as institutions join, we'll continue adding them to the website, and invite them all to, again, share their insights that will help inform the work of the coalition going forward.

Jon Fansmith: And just an opportunity too, for a lot of our presidents, who probably know somebody who's on that list, running an institution that's on that list, to reach out and communicate, which we know is such an important part of how presidents socialize around these things and start building momentum on their own campuses. So before we go, Sarah, are you also a former work study student?

Sarah Spreitzer: I am. I'm former work study, former Pell Grant student, and my work study job was actually at my institution, Beloit College's museum.

Jon Fansmith: Oh?

Sarah Spreitzer: So it was great. I was studying museum studies at the time, and I got to work at the Museum under Work Study. So it's such an important program, and kept me close to campus so I didn't have to get a job off campus.

Jon Fansmith: I did lots of different work study jobs, library, laboratories, all sorts of things, but museum would have been nice. I didn't quite get the opportunity to work in a museum. But anyway, clean sweep across the board for all of us being former work study students, and speak to Sarah's point, critical program and so valuable, and obviously so useful in efforts like the ones NPSS is undertaking. Mariko, before we bore you with more stories about when Sarah and I were in college, I just want to take a chance to thank you for coming out. You've mentioned the resources are available. I'd encourage our listeners to go and check those out as well. But thank you so much for taking time to join us today.

Mariko Yoshisato Cavey: Thank you so much for having me, and I truly look forward to connecting with your listeners. I welcome everyone to feel free to reach out personally, and I would be glad to set up a meeting and strategize around how to support your campus in answering the call to action. So thanks so much.

Sarah Spreitzer: As always. You can check out earlier episodes and subscribe to dotEDU on Apple, Google Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcast. For show notes and links to the resources mentioned in the episode, you can go to our website at\podcast. While there, please take a short survey to let us know how we're doing. You can also email us at to give us suggestions on upcoming shows and guests. And finally, a very big thank you to the producers who helped pull this podcast together. Laurie Arnston, Audrey Hamilton, Malcolm Moore, Anthony Trueheart, Rebecca Morris, Jack Nicholson, and Fatma NGom. They do an incredible job making this happen and making Jon, Mushtaq and I sound as good as possible. Finally, thank you so much to all of you for listening.

About the Podcast

​Each episode of dotEDU presents a deep dive into a major public policy 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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