October 16, 2020

Need to know: COVID-19

Need to know: Voting

Thursday was the first day of early voting in North Carolina. Before you head to the polls, check out our voter’s guide on the races most important to education: governor, lieutenant governor, and state superintendent of public instruction. We take a look at who each candidate is, their fundraising numbers, and more. 

And whether you’re voting by mail, early voting, or voting on election day, check out our how-to-vote guide for important tips from EdNC’s Analisa Sorrells.

Dropping Knowledge

COVID-19 continues to disrupt higher education — both students and institutions. Three new data sets illustrate the effect of the pandemic on higher education and paint a troubling picture.


First, updated enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse shows worsening declines. Compared to fall 2019, undergraduate enrollment at public four-year institutions, private nonprofit four-year institutions, and community colleges is down, but enrollment is up at private for-profit institutions.

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First-time students represent the largest declines at these institutions, particularly community colleges where first-time student enrollment is down 22.7%. Among private for-profit institutions, first-time student enrollment is up, especially for students ages 21-29.

Student mental health

The latest Strada Education Network COVID-19 Work and Education Survey shows students are struggling, both academically and emotionally. Strada surveyed students at four-year institutions between Sep. 10 and 25 and found that 13% of them expect COVID-19 will delay their graduation. They also cite emotional well-being as their biggest challenge this fall. About three in 10 students said online instruction has made their ability to learn much worse.

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Student finances

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators released a new report showing 59% of colleges and universities have seen an increase in students appealing their financial aid packages. Students are recommended to appeal — or submit a professional judgment request, as it’s officially called — when their financial circumstances change.

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