HEat Index, Issue 14 – Adults Pursuing Higher Ed, New AI Features, and Student Advising

05/17/2024

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You’ll probably be happy to hear that we won’t be talking FAFSA this week. Instead, we’re focusing our attention on the increase in adults considering higher education, as well as a new ChatGPT version. We’re also discussing students seeking advice from staff, and how institutions can improve this process.  

After reading today’s issue, let us know in the comments if students at your institution utilize the career center! 

 

Adults Express Interest in Higher Ed 

From What’s keeping adults interested in college from enrolling? | Higher Ed Dive  

As institutions continue to struggle with enrollment challenges, a new Gallup survey shows that enrolling in higher education has piqued the interest of many adults.  

Our thoughts  

The results of this survey found that 51% of unenrolled adults said they would pursue a degree in the next five years; the highest consideration level since 2020. This interest is a great sign, but unenrolled adults are anxious about the required time and money to pursue a degree and want assurances that this effort will benefit them economically.   

A huge demographic that institutions should cater to are Some College, No Credential, which hit 40.4 million in July 2021. With institutions already feeling the heat from enrollment challenges, schools need to consider this growing population to fill their seats.  

 

New Features of ChatGPT 

From OpenAI Rolls Out Next Evolution of ChatGPT, Able to Accept or Output Any Combination of Text, Audio, or Image | Campus Technology 

The newest version of ChatGPT will now accept and generate combinations of text, audio, or images. 

Our thoughts 

Although not higher ed specific, these are advancements that many institutions need to bear in mind. Students and staff are worried about the impact that AI will have on all aspects of the academic space. As more features are introduced, the more crucial it is that institutions get strategies and policies in place. Whether it is training faculty, improving AI literacy through updated curriculum, or establishing ethical use guidelines to ensure data protection, there are numerous things to consider with AI enhancing rapidly.  

We’ve talked about AI at length in this series, with HEat Index Issue 10 and HEat Index Issue 12 focusing on the need for communication and initiatives amongst institutions. As AI continues to improve, it is essential that institutions start having these conversations about their AI usage and how to ensure the safety of their institution, students, and staff.  

 

The Value of Higher Education 

From  Yes, College Is ‘Worth It’ | The Chronicle of Higher Education  

As we continue to hear conversations about the value of higher education, studies show that there are significant benefits to having a four-year degree.  

Our thoughts 

The skepticism around a college degree being “worth it” has been an on-going conversation, but studies show that there are long term benefits of having a college degree. As of 2021, bachelor’s degree holders made, on average, 88% more than those who only have a high school diploma, and is the number one reason we see a wage premium. Having a degree has also been shown to significantly help those who are recently unemployed.  

Despite these proven benefits, why are there still hesitations about college? The major issue is that the high sticker price holds many people back. Institutions should better communicate their pricing to students and families and provide accurate economic information about the degree students are going to pursue. As enrollment challenges continue to make an impact, debunking the “worth it” myth is crucial not only for students, but for institutions as well.   

 

Faculty Advising for Students 

From Faculty are a key resource for student career exploration | Inside Higher Ed  

The National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE) put out a new survey showing the significant role that faculty plays in supporting students in their career development and readiness.  

Our thoughts 

The faculty at many institutions are not only academic instructors, but they also play a critical role for students seeking advice about their majors, careers, and graduate programs. While there are career centers on campus, a fall 2023 survey shows that 28% of students do not engage with these centers. Although faculty feel confident in their advice, they still seek answers from their career center to properly inform students.  

This survey emphasizes the need for career integration into the academic experience and encourages collaboration between the career centers and staff to better aid students for the workforce. The NACE survey provided a few recommendations for administrators and staff to help bridge this gap between students and the career center:  

  • Integrate competencies into curriculum 
  • Invest in professional development 
  • Collect data 
  • Build internal partnerships 
  • Develop experiential learning opportunities
Maya Kvesic
Marketing Coordinator at Evisions

Maya Kvesic is the Marketing Coordinator with Evisions, based in southern California.  A proud graduate of California State University Long Beach, she earned her B.A. in psychology in 2023 but has always had a passion for writing. Beyond the world of marketing, Maya finds joy in outdoor activities and finding new places to eat.

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