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Episode Notes

Episode Title: College News Fit to Digest. June 27, 2020

Episode summary introduction: Making sense of the College News of the week curated by Alma Matters. Coronavirus continues to drive the news. Shveta Bagade, College Counselor gives us her take on the news.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • OPT Visa lives for now [1:13]
  • Colleges go Creative to Reopen in Fall [3:24]
  • College cut programs with Lower Pay Potential [6:32]

Our Guest: Shveta Bagade, College Counselor based in Silicon Valley California.

Resources referred to in this episode:

Episode Transcript: Please visit almamatters.io/podcasts.


Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Venkat  0:11 

Hello, and welcome to yet another episode of College News Fit to Digest. Every week, we pick a few news items relating to US Colleges and discuss it with our own Shveta Bagade, College Counselor. Alma Matters curates the news daily relating to US Colleges, and makes it available on alma matters.io/coronavirus. We pick a few news items from that curated list, and discuss it every week here in these podcasts. Now, without further ado, on with the podcast!

Shveta  0:59

Hi Venkat!

Venkat  1:00  

Hey Shveta! How are you?

Shveta  1:02  

Excellent, how are you?

Venkat  1:05  

Good, good. Okay, another Friday, another podcast.

Venkat  1:13  [OPT Visa lives for now ]

So good, no shortage of things. So let's sort of get right into it. I think the first item I thought worth discussing is the price. You know, the practical training the OPT, is currently, has been saved, so to speak, from the suspension, that the US government kind of imposed on a bunch of visas. And that obviously means a lot to international students coming over for their undergrad or grad programs, so any thoughts on how that's all gonna change things?

Shveta  1:52  

Well, as I'd like, you know, people to be cautiously optimistic. about these things. I thought this was a good sign, and maybe understanding the impact of some of these, you know, visa changes and, you know, programs and things like that, that have an impact on the US directly. It's not something, I see where they can see that this is, you know, beneficial to just keep all the jobs for the US citizens and residents.

But there are other things that are being impacted. And I think this is a sign of keeping this program, training program, kind of intact. It's a small victory, but we take the victory where it is.

Venkat  2:45  

Yeah. I mean, and I think, at the end of the day, it is a good amount of money for the US college systems, with international students coming here to study and so this is a good motivation, or at least a good incentive for that to continue.

Shveta  3:04  

Yeah, I guess I'm a glimmer of hope that, you know, the reason why they come here is to get experience as well. It's not just for the education. So, um, hopefully, this will encourage those international students to still try to come.

Venkat  3:24  [Colleges go Creative to Reopen in Fall]

I guess the next topic was looking at is, you know, everyone's sort of, all colleges are preparing for what to do in fall. And this particular news item caught my attention. It said that Amherst College is ordering tents for outside classes. And do you know anything about that?

Shveta  3:45  

Um, well, for me, this just rings to the need to be creative. And this is just another sign of the universities trying to think out of the box and provide as meaningful a on campus experiences possible because they they're already hearing, they already know the online experience is not meaningful, though, you know, with universities, changing, start dates, revisiting how they structure classrooms. This, to be honest, as tempting is extremely creative, like if you don't have this space, and you've got climate that might make it palatable or they'll make it work. Amherst should be interesting in the winter, but at least in the fall, I think this is very manageable. It could be another thought process for a lot of universities across the country, especially the ones that are space constrained.

Venkat 4:48  

Agreed. I mean, in fact, in a lot of rural areas, they just don't have the buildings to house you know, whether it's classes or dorms, have extra space available. So yeah, I do think it's creative. In fact, large classrooms if they want to split it out and have, you know, in person that the, like the professor is lecturing in one facility, but, you know, a whole bunch of students are in different, I don't know how big these tents would be, But yeah, they can house a few people then that prevents too much of congestion or density as far as it and practice social distancing.

Shveta  5:34  

Well, I've seen some pretty big tents. So it's just a matter of finding physical space, you know, a flat green or concrete area where they can set this up. And they it like I said, it's just another option. And another way to kind of try to keep the students on campus.

Venkat  5:56  

Yeah, I guess rural areas or rural, I mean small towns in those places. is likely to have more space available, even if it's not directly on campus elsewhere, but, you know, places like New York City and you know, Boston would have trouble but smaller places, they could probably always find something.

Shveta  6:14  

Exactly. Exactly.

Venkat  6:17  

So cool. That's, that's sort of, uh, you know, so adversity, you know, is the mother of all inventions. So here’s another one.

Venkat  6:32  [College cut programs with Lower Pay Potential]

Okay, the last topic for the day is sort of a disturbing trend, as a lot of colleges or a number of colleges are looking to or cutting programs because of the pandemic. And one of the things that the criterion they seem to be using is that degrees that pay versus degrees that are quote, unquote, you know, just for a larger learning and things like liberal arts are sort of under the axe. So what, what are your thoughts on that?

Shveta  7:08  

Well, I think it, I don't even think it's just limited to liberal arts universities, I think any big public university that just doesn't have the endowment from, you know, to support this or even funding from the state of states are having issues with their education funding. There's a lot of different avenues that are affecting this.

And so they have to look at which programs are bringing in the students and their programs they have that aren't bringing the students they have to consider cutting them and this goes beyond the academics. This also carries over into sports programs as well. And some of those big things that other that draw students, whether it's music, sports, things like that.

So this is just kind of sign of the times of smaller universities or where universities are just their budgets are just not there for where it was last year. And they have to make some dramatic decisions, unfortunately.

Venkat 8:14  

Yeah, and these are not going to be temporary. It's going to take a while for it to come back. So

Shveta  8:20  

Yeah. And you know, history shows us a lot of times when we cut things a lot, many, many times they don't come back. Yeah. And so it should be interesting if it does, and not surprising if it doesn't. Well,

Unknown Speaker  8:37  

Well, yeah, I guess, more of this to come. I'm sure. We'll have a better understanding as we go get into fall. But that sort of wraps it up for this week.

Venkat  8:50  

You know, we're just going through these, you know, very topics, all of them, sort of driving us towards fall and hopefully students show up and We're able to manage the pandemic or at least, you know, control it in someway.

Shveta  9:05  

Yeah, and it should be interesting because as different states are, you know, rolling back their restrictions, and then reinforcing their instructions because COVID has flared up back in their states. This up and down, is definitely going to have an impact on the universities and colleges and how they make their decisions as well.

Venkat  9:28

Absolutely, absolutely.

Okay, thank you once again, and we'll talk next week, but take care till then.

Shveta  9:37  

Absolutely. My pleasure.

Venkat 9:39

Okay, bye.

Shveta 9:40

Take care.

Venkat  9:48

Hi again, hope you enjoyed this conversation with Shveta Bagade on this week's College News Fit to Digest. Stay connected with us by Subscribing to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters].

These podcasts are brought to you by almamatters.io. Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you.

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