Weekly News Round-Up: September 28, 2023

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By Shorelight Team
Published on September 28, 2023

Each week the Shorelight team rounds up trusted headlines on the latest in international education and all things impacting students and universities.

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Partial US Government Shutdown Just Four Days Away As Congressional Standoff Continues

Last week, we reported on the potential government shutdown in the US, and as of now, we are still on the brink. If the House and Senate are unable to come to an agreement on government funding by midnight Sunday night, the US will go into a partial shutdown. What does that mean? If the government shuts down, only US workers deemed “essential” or government services that are fee-funded will continue to function.

For Shorelight, the good news is visa services are fee-funded and will continue. Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and VA services will remain in place. Unfortunately, programs such as the WIC (Women, Infants, & Children) food assistant program will not. Our military won’t get paid but will remain active. There will be impacts on education. However, the US Dept. of Education has been planning for this and is looking at classifying more staff as “essential” in order to keep many programs functioning.

Get the full story on Reuters >

Below are articles from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and University Business. Both articles provide an idea of what to expect in the event of a shutdown.

AILA - What Happens If the Government Shuts Down

  • This article from the AILA provides good details on the agencies and services that could be impacted by a potential government shutdown. It is important to note that visa services are "fee-funded" and will continue through a shutdown. If the shutdown goes on for some time, there is the possibility of these services being impacted due to other operations that get backlogged. 

Higher education protected in the near-term from government shutdown

  • “Everyone I talk to—people in Congress and people in agencies—is [saying]

    we will absolutely have a shutdown on Oct. 1,” said John Fansmith, senior vice president of government relations at the American Council on Education, in an ACE Sept. 21 podcast. “Really, the [question] right now is how long it’s going to go. Ten days? Two weeks? Those seem to be the ones you hear most often.”

How Can Institutions Improve International Student Conversions From Admission To Enrolment?

Post intake, there are multiple conversations taking place around conversion rates. As stated in the article, “Student decision-making is complex, after all, and there is a certain unpredictability to how and when an admitted student will progress to become an enrolled student.” The article also discusses changes in agents and how their roles are evolving with international students.

That key stage in the funnel, explains Mr den Hartog, “Is the point at which the student is in the driver’s seat. They can make the decision on where they want to go, and your hands are tied.” One of the reasons for that, he adds, is that there “this huge gap between this super exciting admissions letter and like six-seven months of, well nothing – maybe some emails or a webinar. That period is really intense for students and that is also the time where we really need to focus on conversion.”

Get the full story on ICEF Monitor >

Hundreds Of Colleges Vow To Boost Transparency In Financial Aid Offers

There has been a lot of talk about reforms to student financial aid in recent years. It appears that schools have come together to standardize their offers of financial aid, helping students and parents understand the true cost of college. The effort is being led by, the College Cost Transparency Initiative (CCT).

“Students and families need transparency, consistency, and clarity when colleges and universities communicate their student financial aid offers so that they are able to make informed decisions about enrolling in and affording higher education,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. “Unfortunately, financial aid offers are often confusing and, in some cases, misleading,” he continued. “I welcome efforts like the College Cost Transparency Initiative’s Principles and Standards that provide clarity when communicating these offers.”

Get the full story on The Hill >