2020 Higher Education Virtual Meeting Series: Addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic


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Budgeting for Higher Education in the Era of COVID-19  | Nov. 20 Colleges and universities face unique and unprecedented challenges when it comes to safely operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, and those challenges are having a significant impact on higher education budgets. Hear from NCSL experts about trends in state funding for higher education, the impact of federal aid, and the funding challenges facing state lawmakers and higher education institutions.

Solutions to the Student Debt Crisis in a Time of Economic Distress | Oct. 16 Prior to COVID-19, student loan debt imposed significant financial burdens on millions of students and borrowers. The pandemic has exacerbated the challenges that borrowers face in managing and repaying their educational loans. While action from the federal government has temporarily suspended payments and waived interest, these programs are slated to expire at the end of the year, with uncertainty looming in the future. In recent years, states have passed legislation to address the student debt crisis including bills to modify or create loan forgiveness programs, expand consumer protections, or provide tax incentives to aid repayment.

  • Whitney Barkley-Denney, Center for Responsible Lending
  • Don Baylor Jr, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Tim Shaw, Aspen Institute
  • View Recording and View Slideshow 

The Role of Community Colleges During and After the Pandemic | Aug. 21 The affordability and accessibility of community colleges positions them as vital for students and communities struggling with the impacts of COVID-19. Community colleges are balancing numerous challenges including serving newer and more mobile students, helping retool and retrain workers who have lost jobs, and responding to changing workforce demands and local economic needs.

How the Pandemic is Exacerbating Inequities in Higher Ed (and What States Can Do) | July 17 The pandemic has worsened class and racial disparities, with early data suggesting that people of color and low-income families have been most impacted both physically and economically. At the same time, cuts to higher education budgets are almost guaranteed. How might states think about making budget cuts without exacerbating inequities? Are there state actions that might protect and strengthen need-based financial aid while also preserving and strengthening student supports and consumer protection, especially for communities of color and other underserved students?

COVID-19 Legislative Tracking and Legislative Sessions | May 29

Higher Education and Distance Learning | May 15

Higher Education in Crisis  | May 12 

Schools are Closed—Now What? Considerations for P-12 and Higher Education | April 17

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