Launch Global Education
Odyssey newsletter: FAFSA . Harvard . 2024

Volume 3  Issue 1

 by Michael Wagner

 Knowledge Pilot, Launch Global Education

Odyssey logo

It is a New Year, welcome to 2024!

As we embark upon the journey of a new year, 2024 stands as an important period for higher education and college admissions. The evolving landscape, marked by the enduring impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, underscores the necessity for institutions to navigate challenges and opportunities with resilience and innovation. Against this backdrop, the relationship between technological advancements, changing student demographics, and inclusivity will be significant as we enter 2024. Higher education institutions must rise to the occasion, embracing transformative strategies that shape the future of learning and redefine the trajectory of college admissions. And perhaps most importantly, higher education must continue to address the ongoing debate – is college worth it?


Calendar rolling from 2023 to 2024


The Education Department's highly anticipated launch of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has been marred by a series of technical glitches and delays, frustrating students, families, and financial aid professionals. Despite the soft launch on December 30, the form has only been available for limited windows each day, with "maintenance pauses" preventing many users from accessing or completing the application. Technical and scheduling concerns, including a calculation oversight, have added to the challenges, prompting concerns of a chaotic spring for all stakeholders involved. With more than 400,000 applications started or completed, and over 17 million expected this year, the bungled rollout raises fears of a tumultuous financial aid season, particularly affecting lower-income and first-generation students. The delays in processing applications and providing applicant data to colleges have led to calls for clear guidance and flexibility in deadlines. The difficulties highlight the broader challenges of implementing the FAFSA Simplification Act, with some attributing the issues to the agency's lack of funding and technical challenges in updating the system. Inside Higher Ed reporters Katherine Knott and Liam Knox outline the rollout of the new FAFSA format.

The New FAFSA Is Here. Or Is It?

Harvard University pole flag

The Shortest Sitting President in the History of Harvard Resigns

Harvard University President Claudine Gay has resigned after just six months in the role, marking the shortest tenure in the Ivy League institution's history. The decision follows a new round of accusations of plagiarism in her published works, with The Washington Free Beacon publishing a complaint. The Harvard Crimson had also called for her resignation, citing plagiarism allegations and concerns about her response to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Congressional lawmakers urged her resignation after a hearing on antisemitism, where she refused to give a yes-no answer on whether calls for genocide violated Harvard's policies. The Harvard Corporation accepted Gay's resignation, acknowledging her resilience in the face of personal attacks. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce is expanding its investigation into Harvard to cover the plagiarism accusations against Gay. Editor Natalie Schwartz of Higher Ed Dive helps sort out the facts regarding the events leading up to Claudine Gay resigning.

Harvard President Claudine Gay resigns amid plagiarism accusations

What To Expect in 2024

Higher education institutions are grappling with diverse challenges and opportunities as we enter 2024. The aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to shape the balance between in-person and online learning, with hybrid options gaining prominence. The focus on lifelong learning is growing, requiring institutions to foster self-development mindsets and offer micro credentials to cater to the diverse needs of students, including adult learners. As the job market demands digital literacy and soft skills, universities are adapting their programs to align with industry requirements. Additionally, institutions face the responsibility of addressing societal issues, promoting sustainability, and prioritizing mental health and well-being. Robyn Davidson of Fundamental Media Insights highlights four higher education trends to watch out for in the new year.

Higher education trends for 2024

Tip of the Week

Student pointing to computer screen

One More Important Task Before Moving Ahead

As the first semester concludes, it is crucial for students to take a proactive approach in verifying their grades on transcripts. The academic transcript is not just a record of your past achievements; it plays a pivotal role in shaping your educational journey and future opportunities. By carefully reviewing your grades, you not only ensure the accuracy of your academic record but also gain insights into your strengths and areas that may need improvement. This self-awareness allows you to set realistic academic goals for the upcoming semester and seek appropriate support or resources if necessary.

Moreover, verifying your grades serves as a form of academic empowerment. Mistakes on transcripts, though rare, can occur, and addressing them promptly is vital. Whether it is a grading error or a missing credit, rectifying these issues early on can prevent complications in the long run. Accurate transcripts are essential for submitting college applications, and when applying for internships and scholarships. Being vigilant about your academic records demonstrates a commitment to excellence and integrity, qualities that are highly valued in both academic and professional settings. So, take a few moments to review your grades – it is a small yet impactful step towards ensuring a smooth and successful academic journey.

Before you go...


Happy New Year!

Amidst the global revelry, cities like Sydney and Auckland lead the way to welcome 2024 with dazzled grand firework displays, setting the stage for a spectacular New Year's Eve celebration worldwide. In New York City, heightened security marked the iconic Times Square ball drop, reassuring attendees despite concerns, as the vibrant descent of the ball heralded the arrival of 2024, met with cheers, confetti, hugs, and kisses from a jubilant crowd. CBS News Correspondent, Gina Martinez, shares the images of celebrations from around the world of the welcoming of 2024.

Ringing in 2024: New Year's Eve photos from around the world

A Final Word…

In keeping with the goal of the Odyssey Newsletter we release the first edition of the newsletter by highlighting two major stories to start the new year.  The launch of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and Harvard University President, Claudine Gay, stepping down after just six months in the role. As I have always stated, we strive to provide the most current and relevant information as it relates to the higher education system. 2024 will be no different as we continue to highlight important issues.

Please take a moment and pass along the Odyssey Newsletter to your friends to help us with one of our most important initiatives this year which is to focus on growing our following. As always, we appreciate your support.

Mr. Mike and Dr. Ann

Mr. Michael J. Wagner

Michael Wagner, MAED is a founder and the Knowledge Pilot for Launch Education.  Mr. Mike has assisted hundreds of students around the world on their college pathways.