Episode Notes | Episode Transcript

Episode Notes

Episode Title: College News Fit to Digest. May 9, 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:

  • Students suing Colleges for Tuition fee refunds  [1:09]
  • Finding Summer Internships [5:48]
  • ACT Test in June on? [9:33]

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

Resources referred to in this episode:


Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Venkat  0:12  

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!

Venkat  1:02  

Hey, Shveta.

Shveta  1:04  

Hey, Venkat how are you today?

Venkat 1:07

Doing well, and you?

Shveta 1:08

Not too bad, thank you.

Venkat  1:09  [Students suing Colleges for Tuition fee refunds]

Good, good. So good. We're rolling here. So this is the third episode. And, you know, never a shortage of things. So I think a few items that seemed pretty interesting to discuss today.

The one of the first things that caught my attention is the fact that a lot of the spring semester students are suing the universities for refunds, and I guess, about 25 such universities and obviously a bunch of students who've gotten together to do this. And what's interesting is, obviously somewhere midway through the semester they, you know, went from On campus to off campus and online. And, you know, their main issue, the students main issues, seem to be around, you know, online is not the real thing, you know, in terms of experience in terms of instruction, education, and of course, they didn't get to be on campus and use the dorms and other facilities.

So the larger question I have is really, you know, how, is the medium data important for the quality of instruction? I mean, is on, being online, going to be I, you know, it's different, but in terms of quality of instruction, and what people or students can learn, is it in any way diminished, you think, and, you know, even, not even discussing the merits of such cases? Just curious.

Shveta  2:52  

Yeah, no, I think I think they have some valid points, right. You know, you lose a little bit of that spontaneity conversation, you lose that ability to maybe go up to a professor after class and, you know, and maybe have a question or even just continue on a little bit of the discussion, or talk about even possibly connecting later, on to dig deeper into whatever that was going on. So I do see that element being an issue.

I also see where some students are, you know, education by design is social.  You know, even though you can do a lot of online, I have a lot of classes, you know, but you can't do it for everything. And I think when you're losing that social context, some students just lose that engagement or even the ability to even process the information, and kind of absorb it and really learn it.

So there's, I think there's two different perspectives on this.

On a third one could be even like, yes, I'm getting instruction, but I'm also losing access to all those extra facilities that I thought I was paying for whether it's extra tutoring services, the library, research, access, things like that. So I think there's some validity to it. And some concerns whether they'll be successful or not is obviously not my call. But I think there is an issue there and the colleges may have to kind of come up with a almost like, I think, some kind of condition or understanding of what's happening right now, especially if this is the trend we're going into, into the fall.

Venkat  4:47  

I agree. I agree. I mean, I think I think really the, you know, there's two parts to it.

One is, of course, colleges have been kind of pretty firm about the fact that you know, they don't see any reason to refund the tuition fees at least.

And the second part is if they do come up with some kind of a compromise, you know, is it 50%? Is it 80%? Is it 20%? You know, is, you know, percentage a quantitative number around the tuition fees and the instruction.

So, you know, it is I mean, just to be fair, it is not, it's not something that colleges or you know, any one of us did, wantonly or willingly, it just happened. And so a lot of them, a lot of it, is just a global issue, and a crisis, but nonetheless, one has to see how to compensate, I suppose so.

Shveta 5:45


Venkat  5:48  [Finding Summer Internships]

The next one I thought, which is sort of uplifting thing somewhat is, internships, or lack thereof, for this summer and You know that I think the last time we talked, a lot of these were just being cancelled or rescinded in some way.

But it looks like now there are a bunch of opportunities springing up. And for students who want internships or want to be doing something during the summer, obviously all virtual, but it seems like a lot of companies are digging deep and trying to find opportunities or trying to find a way to leverage all this talent that's going to be sitting at home.

Shveta  6:32  

Yeah, I think, um, you know, obviously, there have been some cancellations. There are some that you just have to there's no way to go around it. But I think that some of the, a lot of the companies are really trying to, you know, make this happen, make it a meaningful experience for the student as well as something meaningful for them.

And I think if, if somebody did have an internship and they're cancelled, I think it'd be like, really interesting if they weren't to try to kind of speak with the people who are hiring and maybe explore with them ideas of how to do this online, maybe it's not full time and maybe it's only part time, but at least it would show some initiative on their part. And it might be something that they haven't thought of, because they just haven't had time to process because they're still managing all the changes that they're going through as well, with corporations doing all kinds of, you know, adjustments to do, you know, to deal with people working from home and, and worrying about production, and anything that's happening that's impacting them.

Obviously, their interns are not a high priority. So I think be I think it'd be prudent if somebody had an internship canceled, unfortunately, to at least take the initiative and try to make something happen. Find out, talk it through with them and see if they can do something a couple hours each day.

Venkat  8:01  

Sure, sure. No, I think I think that's a good, that's a good idea. Obviously, the tech sector is one, I was surprised to see insurance companies being another big sector, financial companies, the big ones like the Morgans and the Goldmans and whatnot.

So, and I'm sure that a lot of startups if you're in the, you know, the Silicon Valley area Bay Area, so depending on where you are, there must be, there will be opportunities that that one could explore.

So I think that's a great idea. I mean, I think just reach out with some, you know, do some homework, figure out what might be possible and reach out.

Shveta  8:37  

Exactly, exactly. There are some like, they might not be paid internships, but there are some volunteer opportunities as well that students can try to find out where they might be needing somebody to do some analysis of some data or reviewing documents, things like that. may not be again may not be ideal, but at least it shows initiative on their part and they're at least doing something.

Venkat  9:04  

Sure. Okay.

So I think students if you're listening, you know, do your research and make a list and reach out...

Shveta  9:14  

Yeah, you guys are good. This age group, Venkat for me, they're, they're creative. And they're very tech savvy. So it's just kind of the they need to be bumped it a little bit in that direction, and I think they can come up with something.

Venkat 9:30


Venkat  9:33  [ACT Test in June on?]

So the last thing for today, is the ACT. I guess the last time we discussed they had planned on having their tests in June, I think June 12th, 13th. And, do you know where things are? What's going on with that?

Shveta  9:51  

Yeah, so as of actually this morning, they extended the registration till May 27. Which is great for anybody who wanted to sign up and not pay late fees, sure, but they have not cancelled the June 13 date, which is basically a little bit over four weeks away.

And the concern I would have is, if you live in an area where the shelter in place is still being tightly enforced and in or encouraged, then the schools and the locations that are hosting them may not be able to implement the ACT or if they are trying to manage the shelter in place they may have to cut the number of students. 

So I'm not sure how that's all going to work. There's no information about that yet. I just a little bit leery that they haven't just cancelled them already. Like the SATs have for June, the week prior.

I also wondering if they're going to push forward with states that are still holding down, and countries that are even holding down on their shelter in place rules. There might be this almost unfair advantage for some of the kids who are able to take it.

So it should be interesting how the ACT, if they end up moving forward with the test date on June 13, how they're going to be dealing with the backlash on that.

Venkat  11:34  

Well, we'll find out pretty soon I think.

Shveta  11:38  

We'll see what happens next week.

Venkat  11:39  

Yeah. Okay.

Venkat  11:42  

That's great. So, thank you again, for your insights and analysis of this week's news. I, hopefully we're making some progress. I mean, we, meaning the, the fraternity of college students and the colleges themselves, I think Of course, we're looking for clarity on fall and other things as well.

So I guess Stay tuned and we'll talk again next week. Thank you again for doing this with me today.

Shveta  12:12  

Absolutely. My pleasure. You have a wonderful day.

Venkat  12:15  

You too. Take care. Bye.

Venkat  12:23  

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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