Changes coming to college campuses in the fall

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INDIANAPOLIS–College will very likely be different in the fall. But, some students will be asking more of their college or university than they have before, says Dr. Yolanda Spiva, who leads the Indianapolis-based company Complete College America, which works to help people finish college.

“Not everyone has a laptop. If you have siblings, if you have children at home, it looks different for every person. The environment in which you’re trying to learn could be different for every student,” said Spiva, speaking about how coronavirus has affected the way way people are learning.

She said college in the fall will likely incorporate some of the same procedures that have enabled people to complete the spring semester.

But, students will likely require that universities and colleges offer more help.

“Some colleges are saying to students, if you don’t have a laptop, let us know. We’ll provide you with a laptop.”

Though laptops and wifi are part of the experience, Spiva said the principle of equity will play into what students are demanding for their money.

“The biggest thing that colleges and universities are gonna have to do is be compassionate, be nimble and be flexible,” she said. “The culture is gonna be different. Students are now saying, we’re not gonna take the discimination. They’re gonna ask to be treated equitably.”

Spiva explained equity as it relates to college as students not be treated as equal, but each student being tra=et=ated according to his or her needs.

“Equity says give the person who needs the most more, because they have a lot further to go to accomplish their aims,” she said. “It’s no longer about giving everybody the same thing. That’s called equality. But, in equity you give people what they need.”

Spiva said that will be an adjustment for schools not only in Indiana, but around the country.

“Essentially what students are saying is that if I am a student that doesn’t have wifi, I shouldn’t be treated the same way as a student who does. So, I might need a little extra help to get the resources I need. And, unfortunately, colleges and universities are not accustomed to that.”

Spiva said both COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd have exacerbated situations where underserved students have already had a tough time completing college. She hopes any changes would help keep students and help them work toward their goal of completing their education.

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