College Access & Admissions
Jennifer Pignolet of the Commercial Appeal checks on the closure of an AmeriCorps program called City Year in Memphis, which is wrapping up a pilot year at Brownsville and Westside Achievement Middle, a state-run school in Frayser.
Most low-income students rely on their parents for college advice, and many of them end up going to colleges that are less rigorous than they can handle, the research shows. Some organizations places recent graduates in public high schools for two-year stints as full-time college advisers, where they make up for a widespread scarcity of college counselors and bring their own recent experience to bear on the college application process.
Eva-Marie Ayala of The Dallas Morning News reports on a bill passed in the Texas Senate that would expand the state cap on virtual charter schools, widening their reach despite evidence that such schools have faltered in Texas and elsewhere.
The Oklahoman’s Ben Felder examines the decisions made by districts planning to slash funds as the state Legislature remains at an impasse when it comes to filling a nearly $1 billion budget hole.
As the number of Hispanic students enrolled in college has increased so has the discussion of the roles of the institutions that are educating them.
A large portion of Hispanic students are concentrated in a small number of colleges, which are called Hispanic-serving institutions or HSIs, in a few key states. By federal definition, these are two- and four-year colleges and universities that are accredited, grant degrees, and whose full-time-equivalent undergraduate enrollment is at least 25 percent Hispanic.
A 99-acre leafy island in Washington, D.C.’s revitalizing Northeast quadrant, Gallaudet University is currently the world’s only university for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Initially founded in 1857 as a school for deaf and blind children, the school had its collegiate charter signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1864.
Megan Raposa of The Argus Leader looks at schools that make students wash tables, wear special wristbands or even throw their food away if they’ve racked up debt on school lunches as the schools work to comply with Department of Agriculture requirements for written policy for handling unpaid meals.
Top Private High Schools Start Campaign to Kill Traditional Transcripts and Change College Admissions
What if traditional high school transcripts — lists of courses taken, grades earned and so forth — didn’t exist?
That’s the ambition of a new education reform movement, which wants to rebuild how high schools record the abilities of students — and in turn to change the way colleges evaluate applicants
The College Board on Monday released an analysis of the impact of free SAT tutoring offered by the Khan Academy as part of a College Board initiative to provide low-income test takers with test prep. A long-standing criticism of the SAT is that wealthy students can afford expensive test prep but others cannot. The study found that studying for the SAT for 20 hours through Khan Academy is associated with an average score gain of 115 points, nearly double the gain for students who don’t use the Khan Academy.
They could be considered the new minority student. Difficult to find, harder to enroll, but offering a perspective that moved to the forefront in the last presidential campaign. The small-town American who grows up to work a blue-collar job, who often feels ignored by a political climate that seems to cater more to the coastal middle class, has drawn more attention over the past year.
Jane Meredith Adams of EdSource reports that the California Department of Health’s new law, which eliminated personal belief as a reason not to vaccinate, may be why the percentage of vaccinated kindergarteners at an all-time high.
Thought the idea of free university tuition died with the presidential candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton? In fact, away from the national spotlight, momentum continues to build and new programs are being launched, propelled by bipartisan public and private-sector support at the state and local levels.
A new survey of college admission officers delivers a bracing suggestion to helicopter parents: Take a big step back and let your children be in charge of the application process.
If there are offended gasps ricocheting through the tony lanes of America, there are also waves of applause from educators who’ve seen the ugly side of “parent involvement” during college application season.
Chad Livengood of Crain’s Detroit Business provides updates on the escalating efforts from the Motor City’s public school district to block the state’s School Reform Office from closing 16 schools that have been deemed failing for at least three years.
For the CTPost, Linda Conner Lambeck takes a look at who is left out of a new school funding proposal that Stamford Mayor David Martin calls ”woefully inadequate.”
Ashley Smith of Inside Higher Ed discusses why the Golden State is leading the nation in free community college initiatives. Currently, a quarter of all such programs nationally are located at California institutions. The growth is a mix of grassroots efforts by individual campuses, cities, and community organizations. At the same time, California’s Democratic lawmakers are pushing for a statewide effort to add even more free seats at two-year colleges.
Alia Malik of the San Antonio Express-News tells how a 16-year-old constructed a “robot-hand” for a 6-year-old using a 3-D printer as part of his computer science class.
Nearly 40 percent of U.S. colleges are seeing declines in applications from international students, and international student recruitment professionals report “a great deal of concern” from students and their families about visas and perceptions of a less welcoming climate in the U.S., according to a survey conducted in February by six higher education groups.
Revised Travel Ban Excludes Current Visa Holders but Continues to Raise Concerns For Higher Education
President Trump on Monday signed a new executive order temporarily barring nationals of six Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — from entering the U.S. after enforcement of an earlier entry ban was halted by federal courts. The revised ban, which goes into effect March 16, does not apply to lawful permanent residents of the U.S. and individuals from the six nations who already have valid visas, including student and exchange visas.
Brian McVicar of Michigan Live spoke with parents facing some unsettling questions. For instance, if their children’s schools are closed because of poor academic performance, where would the kids go to get a better education? And, just as important, how would they get there?
It seems it really does matter what college you go to, especially if you’re black.
Colleges that say they can’t improve graduation rates for their black students because they enroll too many poor students or too many who are academically unprepared are sometimes just making excuses, a new report says.
The level of trust that middle school students of color have for their teachers could have long-term impacts on whether or not they enroll in college, according to a new study published in the journal Child Development.
Best-selling author Dale Russakoff discusses her profile of Indira, an undocumented college student, in this week’s cover story for The New York Times Magazine. Indira, who was granted legal status under the Deferred Act for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, now fears that President Trump’s revisions to immigration policy will derail not just her college plans, but her ability to stay in the country she calls home. Why is Delaware State University, a historically black college, recruiting students like Indira, and how does that factor into discussions about equity and opportunity? How likely is it that Trump will seek to overturn DACA?
In a story about higher graduation rates for students in career and technical education programs, one source tells Natalie Pate of the Statesman Journal that while math or English may not be students’ favorite classes, “they are more willing to put in the time and do the work” because they can see the relationship between what they are learning and the projects they work on.
As Cuomo Proposal Rekindles Free College Movement, New Research Provides Ammunition for Skeptics
In early January, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced his intention to make a public college education tuition-free for most students in the state. The proposal has breathed life back into the free college movement, which supporters feared would lose momentum under the incoming presidential administration. Instead, momentum has simply relocated (back) to the state level. Tennessee and Oregon already have their own “free college” initiatives, and just this week, Governor Gina Raimondo proposed a version for Rhode Island.
“While Trump spoke of his desire to reinvest in rural America, most of his education policy has had an urban focus,” Ben Felder writes for The Oklahoman in a story that’s part of a series leading up to the inauguration.
Kate Murphy of the Cincinnati Enquirer interviews the sexual assault survivor whose case launched a federal investigation of how the University of Cincinnati handles reports of sexual assault.
Journalist Daniel Connolly spent a year embedded at a Memphis high school to learn first-hand about the educational experiences of Hispanic immigrants’ children. Connolly’s new book focuses on star student Isaias Ramos, “the hope of Kingsbury High.” The author explores how Isaias, born in the U.S., seeks to overcome obstacles to his plans for college. How did Connolly (The Memphis Commercial Appeal) gain such extraordinary access to the students, educators, and families of this school community? What does Isaias’ journey tell us about the hopes and aspirations of Hispanic immigrant families? And how are real world realities pressuring public schools to redefine expectations for student success?
More Americans are pursuing graduate degrees, but it’s the students from wealthier backgrounds who are most likely to earn the degrees that pay the most, a new report shows.
“I think that the idea that people from low-income backgrounds are so unlikely ever to get to medical school or law school is definitely a problem,” said Sandy Baum, a renowned scholar on the economics of higher education and a co-writer of the report.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to make tuition free year at New York’s public colleges and universities for students from families earning less than $125,000 is being touted as a shot across the progressive bow. As the new Congress and White House tout a conservative agenda, the governor is offering a playbook that states could use to capitalize on the liberal currents that crisscrossed the Democratic presidential primaries.
Nationally, 84 percent of computer science majors are men. At Harvey Mudd College in California, women make up 55 percent of computer science graduates. Rosanna Xia explores the school’s gender-equity efforts in this Los Angeles Times story.
Undocumented immigrants in Georgia who came to the U.S. as children and have received temporary protection from deportation under the Obama administration will now be able to pay in-state tuition at the state’s colleges and universities, a judge ruled in the years-long court case Tuesday.
What’s Next for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics?
A Q&A With Outgoing Executive Director Alejandra Ceja
Alejandra Ceja has been the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics since 2013 — a position she’ll give up at noon on Jan. 19, the day before the presidential inauguration. I recently sat down with her at the U.S. Department of Education to talk about the state of Latino education, the Initiative’s first 25 years, and what we can expect from the Initiative under the next administration.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length.
More students than ever are seeking a future at one of the University of California System’s nine campuses — among them a record-breaking number of Latino applicants.
Latinos made up the largest share of applicants for the 2017 fall semester by far. According to figures released by the university system, 41,575 Latino applicants were California residents.
What will education in California look like under President Trump? Nan Austin of The Modesto Bee offers her take, noting the ”stability built in by state law and sheer size.”
In this story on tall tales during exam week, one Indiana University professor tells Michael Reschke of The Herald-Times that this ”can be an especially dangerous time of year for grandmothers, grandfathers and pets,” who all seem to fall suddenly ill.
This company trains schools how to respond to active shooter attacks, reports Dan Carsen for WBHM. Unlike other training, this group, which has partnered with 3,700 districts, encourages staff and students to fight back.
A heartwarming tale or a case study in picking favorites? Gabrielle Russon of the Orlando Sentinel examines the merits of a Florida university absorbing a bionics company and the worries other firms have about an unfair competitive environment.
Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel investigates how Orange County school board members spent $500,000 of taxpayer money over the last two years. “One board member paid $2,500 for a school mural that depicts herself,” she writes.
Starting in January, Portland Community College will teach a specially designed curriculum for nursing students left stranded by the closure of the for-profit ITT Technical Institute earlier this year, Andrew Theen reports for The Oregonian.
Boys are less likely than girls to take advantage of college-prep services in California. Larry Gordon of EdSource reports on the how and why.
The school district in Ohio’s capital created a counseling response team to aid students at campuses beset by tragedy. A team of roughly 20 personnel responded to 17 incidents last year, write Bill Bush and Shannon Gilchrist for The Columbus Dispatch.
Colleges Face a New Reality, as The Number of High School Graduates Will Decline
An increase in low-income and minority-group students will challenge colleges to serve them better
The nation’s colleges and universities will soon face a demographic reckoning: A new report projects that the total number of high school graduates will decline in the next two decades, while the percentage of lower-income and nonwhite students will increase.
Two state universities in Georgia will now admit undocumented immigrants to their campuses, despite legal restrictions that have barred these students from the state’s most selective public universities since 2010.
In a new series, Memphis Commercial Appeal reporter Jennifer Pignolet tells the story of Shelby County students working hard to make it to college — and to succeed once they arrive. And their challenges aren’t just financial: for some, like Darrius Isom of South Memphis, having reliable transportation to get to class on time is a game changer. And what are some of the in-school and extracurricular programs that students say are making a difference? Pignolet also looks at the the Tennessee Promise program, which provides free community college classes to qualified students, and assigns a mentor to help guide them.
THANKSGIVING BONUS: EWA journalist members share some of the things they’re grateful for this year.
Since the 1970s, a “doom loop” has pervaded higher education, writes Christopher Newfield in his new book The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them. Newfield, a professor of American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, calls this loop “privatization” – the hidden and overt ways that “business practices restructure teaching and research.”
Competency-based education (CBE) has ignited a great deal of public interest in recent years because it allows students to learn and progress at a flexible pace and holds promise for filling workforce skills gaps. What makes it different? First and foremost, it measures learning rather than class time. Students move through material independently, usually in preparation for specific jobs, progressing when they demonstrate mastery of required knowledge and skills (called competencies).
The Times is following three teenagers in Topeka, Kan., on their quest to go to college. In today’s installment, we look at how easy it is for insecurity and fear of failure to trip up even the most motivated students as they go through the complicated application process.
With colleges and universities under increased pressure to ensure that more students earn degrees without amassing mountains of debt, journalists are at the forefront in examining how these institutions measure up. But there’s one major obstacle that both colleges and reporters share when it comes to making sense of how well these schools are meeting their goals: insufficient data.
Latino children will “pretty much determine the fate of Texas” during the 21st century, the state’s Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes said in his annual address this week.
That’s why the state will need to get more creative in educating Latinos and ensuring they graduate from college. “Doing business as usual,” won’t work, he said, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
A college degree may be the golden ticket to a better job, but that incentive alone isn’t enough to stop millions of students from dropping out of school. In fact, just over half of students complete their postsecondary degrees within six years.
Timothy Pratt of The Hechinger Report discusses why liberal arts colleges in Appalachia are making Latino student recruiting a top priority. A 2016 EWA Reporting Fellow, Pratt recently completed an in-depth reporting project on the implications of this shift for private colleges — many of which are struggling to keep enrollment counts up.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has its eye on becoming the first school in the state to earn federal recognition as a Hispanic-serving institution. But first, it must more than double the number of Hispanic students it enrolls.
President Obama wants more American Indian students to graduate from college. But look at the challenges these high schoolers face, and it becomes clear why that is a tall order.
Read more from an occasional series of articles on the transition to college for students at Browning High School on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana.
Eleven years ago, as Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters receded, experts promised to transform the city by upending its schools, fixing poverty and crime by and through degrees. …
Far more students graduate from New Orleans public high schools now: 75 percent, up from 54 percent before the storm …
But the real test is what happens after high school. The new New Orleans won’t materialize if beaming teenagers walk off the graduation dais as if it were a gangplank.
In what the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics is calling a “culturally relevant” resource guide, Latino students and their families could find all they need to know about preparing, applying, paying for and succeeding in college.
Scrap the lecture halls, final exams, degree plans and traditional semesters.
What’s the point of college?
At Arizona State University, it’s often about “the entrepreneurial mindset,” as Sethuraman Panchanathan put it, who helps lead the university’s research and economic development efforts.
The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Excelencia in Education has released its annual list of college programs and community groups that are effectively supporting the educational advancement of Latino students in higher education, or “Examples of ¡Excelencia!“
Here’s a look at this year’s honorees.
Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program, Northern Virginia Community College
The best data are often the hardest to parse. Sure, a neat snapshot of three or four variables is easy on the eyes, but to really dig deep and find important and surprising trends, you’ll probably have to wade through dozens of variables.
Or in the College Scorecard’s case, 2,000 variables.
As has become tradition at EWA’s higher education conferences, Inside Higher Ed Co-founder and Editor Scott Jaschik offered a series of story ideas for reporters to pursue this academic year.
What does the term “innovation” mean in regard to higher education, and should journalists take colleges’ definitions at face value?
“A bad attitude is like a bad tire: You can’t go anywhere until you change it,” Arizona State University sophomore Ricardo Nieland told a roomful of journalists gathered on the campus for a seminar on innovation in higher education earlier this month.
Nieland was speaking on a panel about college students who are among the first generation of family members to pursue a degree. The session addressed the struggles many of these young adults encounter in higher education.
Two numbers haunt the college landscape: $1.3 trillion and 40 percent.
The first is the ever-increasing debt Americans are shouldering to pay off the cost of a degree. But a growing chorus of experts believes that extraordinary sum obscures another crisis: For many, those debts wouldn’t be as devastating had they earned a degree. But only 40 percent of Americans complete a bachelor’s degree in four years.
The upshot is that millions of Americans earning meager wages are on the hook for thousands of dollars with almost nothing to show for it.
More of the teenagers graduating from high schools in Appalachia look like Janeth Barrera Cantu, and fewer look like the middle- and upper-class whites from which local colleges and universities have historically drawn their enrollments. So Lenoir-Rhyne and other schools in the region have started trying to recruit Hispanics, who—like Barrera Cantu—increasingly want college educations.
With 52 data points over 52 weeks, the University of Pennsylvania Center for Minority-Serving Institutions hopes to raise public awareness about these types of colleges and the return on investment they can offer.
Millions of high school graduates show up for the first day of college academically unprepared for the rigors of higher ed. And that’s where remedial (or “developmental”) education comes into play. Students don’t get academic credit for these classes even though they still cost them in time and money. And there’s another problem: being placed in even one remedial class as a freshman — particularly at a community college — can significantly reduce a student’s odds of ever completing a degree.
The number of Hispanics taking the ACT exam jumped 50 percent from 2011 to 2015. But only 15 percent of those test takers are scoring well enough to be deemed college-ready in all four subjects, compared to 28 percent of other students.
These figures starkly reflect “the gap between the level of aspiration and the level of readiness” required to thrive in college, said Juan Garcia, senior director of the ACT’s Office for the Advancement of Underserved Learners.
A system meant to give college students a better shot at succeeding is actually getting in the way of many, costing them time and money and taking a particular toll on students of color.
Margarita is a four-year-old girl living in East Harlem. She speaks Spanish at home with her Mexican-born parents, is obedient, well-behaved and plays well with kids her age, younger and older.
The Obama administration is rolling out an experimental program that will allow employers and training programs to partner with accredited universities to teach students work-related skills. This pilot will enable students to receive federal financial aid for programs such as coding boot camps that typically are ineligible for these funds.
Past is prologue.
That’s what Republicans promise in the higher education platform they’ll finalize at their national convention in Cleveland: an approach that follows the direction they’ve already taken in Congress.
Fewer regulations for colleges and universities. Less red tape for students.
“Obviously what we do legislatively is a statement of our philosophy and our principles,” said Virginia Foxx, Republican chair of the House subcommittee that oversees higher education and co-chair of the GOP platform committee.
For education reporters, coming up with fresh ideas for back-to-school stories is an annual ritual. And if you’re balancing the K-12 and higher education beats, it can be an even bigger challenge.
The election of Republican Donald Trump is sure to reshape federal policy for education in significant ways, from prekindergarten to college, especially coupled with the GOP’s retaining control of Congress.
Although Trump spent relatively little time on education in his campaign, he did highlight the issue from time to time, from his sharp criticism of the Common Core and high student debt loads to proposing a plan to significantly expand school choice. And Congress has a long to-do list, including reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Now that the White House race has narrowed to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, how is education playing out as an issue in the campaign? Will it prove an important fault line between the Democratic and Republican candidates? Will Trump offer any details to contrast with Clinton’s extensive set of proposals from early childhood to higher education? What are the potential implications for schools and colleges depending on who wins the White House? Also, what other races this fall should be on the radar of journalists, whether elections for Congress, state legislatures, or governor?
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the use of race in college admissions, colleges and universities should assess their policies in a way that takes a more nuanced look at diversity, a higher education scholar said Tuesday.
Liliana M. Garces, assistant professor of higher education at Pennsylvania State University, said the court’s majority opinion in the case — known as Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin — “reflects a robust understanding of diversity.”
If you haven’t yet heard of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the use of race as a factor in college admissions, you may have at least seen the #BeckyWithTheBadGrades buzz on Twitter and wondered what it meant.
Though it is in part a reference to Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” sensation, the hashtag has more to do with higher education than pop culture.
Does Federal Aid Drive College Tuition? The “greedy colleges” thesis conflicts with how nonprofit universities decide on admissions and pricing.
Our College Results Online web tool has been updated with new data and a few new, important variables that can help students and families weigh the investment in a college degree against the return expected down the road. The new variables are:
Whereas non-filers used to cite their parents’ ability to pay, more recently, students have said they didn’t think they qualified for the aid. Despite standing to benefit the most, a full 44 percent of non-filers were first-year community college students, compared with 26 percent of students at four-year public colleges and 18 percent of those at private colleges. Community college students were also more likely to file late (54 percent did so) than four-year students were ( just under a quarter of those at public colleges and 17 percent at privates were tardy).
The stereotypes of the financially struggling college students are well-known. They live on ramen, share an apartment or house with several roommates, and work part-time for money to buy beer. They get summer jobs to cover college tuition and expenses. And they come from middle- and upper-class families, so if they do struggle sometimes to pay the bills, that scarcity is hip and cool.
Colleges Experiment With New Ways of Graduating More Students
Paying students not to work and introducing psychology surveys are some of the actions
With the number of well-paying jobs open to those without college degrees becoming scarcer by the day, policymakers have adopted an ambitious goal to increase the number of Americans with college credentials to 60 percent by 2025. As of 2016, that rate stood at just 45 percent.
The more selective the institution, the higher the graduation rate for Latino students, a new study by Excelencia in Education shows.
At selective colleges and universities — those that admit less than half of applicants — 68 percent of Latino students graduate and are more likely to do so on time. At other four-year institutions and two-year colleges, the Latino graduation rates are 47 and 17 percent, respectively.
Last month, The Washington Post ran a front-page profile about Edwin Ordoñez: a high school valedictorian who swam across the Rio Grande with his father at age 9. Now he has protection from deportation and is choosing between admissions and scholarship offers from Emory, Williams and Princeton.
“If you’ve made the commitment to go to school here, then you’ve made the commitment to go to college.”
“The most expensive degree is the one you don’t get.” That’s Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell quoting former U.S. Ed Secretary Arne Duncan at the Education Writers Association’s National Seminar on Monday. Mitchell’s talk focused on how to prevent such a costly slip.
The nation’s colleges continue to graduate far fewer students who grew up in poor households. With the country’s economic potential possibly hanging in the balance, a new report urges the United States to dedicate more resources and know-how to closing the college-completion gap between wealthier students and those from low-income backgrounds.
Some students throughout Arizona won’t have to add a $40 ACT fee to the list of bills they’ll encounter on the path to college.
Are education reporters unwittingly contributing to the hysteria over elite college admissions? What do policymakers say needs to be done to ramp down the tension without dimming enthusiasm among students? And how did the perception of college admissions as inaccessible to most — when the reverse is actually more accurate — become so pervasive?
When Yehimi Cambron crossed the U.S. border from Mexico with her parents, they told her she would not have documented legal status in this country. But as a third-grader, she had no concept of how that would affect her.
It wasn’t until she was 15 and denied a $50 prize in an art competition because she didn’t have a Social Security number that she grasped its meaning.
It’s been six years since one of the worst recessions in American history officially ended and all but two states are still spending less per student on higher education than they did before the markets tanked almost a decade ago.
In an effort to diversify its faculty, California Lutheran University is trying a new approach in its hiring.
In a job posting for an assistant professor position, the recently designated Hispanic-serving institution specifies it wants “candidates who can mentor African-American or Latino(a) students and are able to teach courses that deepen student and faculty awareness regarding power dynamics related to race/ethnicity.” The ability to speak Spanish is a plus.
In the Long Beach Unified School District, Superintendent Chris Steinhauser actively recruits students to take Advanced Placement classes.
“Hey ‘John,’ according to our data, you qualify for these AP,” he says he would write in a letter to students in the district. “You need to talk to your mom and dad.”
According to a leading economist, the public debate over affirmative action’s role in higher education is missing the point, and could actually lead to worse academic outcomes for students who get a boost from a college’s affirmative action policies. That view, however, is hotly contested by a wide range of scholars.
Programs that allow students to take college classes in high school have been gaining popularity in schools across the country.
Latinos from low-income backgrounds in Pueblo, Colorado, will soon be able to apply for college scholarships funded by marijuana sales.
Next year — in a move that’s never been done before – the city will earmark an estimated $700,000 in newly generated marijuana-tax revenue to fund scholarships for high school seniors who plan to attend local community colleges and state universities, Rafa Fernandez De Castro reports for Fusion.
A few weeks ago Reina Olivas got on the phone with a freshman college student. “She was having a hard time with the cultural experience, the college experience,” said Olivas, a college mentor who’s in her third year at the University of Texas at Austin. “So I asked her this initial question – ‘Have you gone to office hours?’”
Olivas is part of an eight-person crew at the Dell Scholars Program that connects with 1,500 college students across the country who could use a helpful hint from other students who also are wending their way through higher learning.
Do tests or high school grades better determine whether a student is ready for college-level math and reading? For public universities and community colleges, increasingly the answer is both – or no tests at all, reporters learned during a seminar hosted by the Education Writers Association in Los Angeles last month.
The SAT has been called out of touch, instructionally irrelevant, and a contributor to the diversity gaps on college campuses because the test arguably benefits wealthier students who can afford heaps of test preparation.
But now the SAT is fighting back. The College Board, the test’s owner, is hoping that a major makeover of the assessment that’s set to debut this weekend will persuade critics that students, teachers and colleges still need an exam that has been a centerpiece of the admissions landscape for 90 years.
In March, students nationwide will take a new version of the SAT for the first time, one that ditches the dreaded vocabulary words and tries to better gauge how students can apply what they have learned in classes. ACT also has made changes to its exam, most notably in the essay-writing portion. Meanwhile, the number of colleges that are test-optional in their application process continues to grow. Experts update journalists on these changes.
The state of Florida is one step closer to equating computer coding with foreign languages.
A controversial bill, which passed by a wide margin in the state Senate Wednesday would allow students to take computer coding for foreign language credit and require the state’s public colleges and universities to recognize it as such.
Minority student loan borrowers are struggling at disproportionate rates to pay back their debt, leading a pair of researchers to draw a connection to structural racism in higher education and other parts of American society.
According to data released last week by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, U.S. zip codes that are home to higher shares of blacks and Latinos also had higher rates of delinquency in loan repayment, specifically among minority residents in the middle class.
Many community college students dream of making the transition to a four-year institution but the application process can be daunting – especially if you don’t have experienced family members to ask for help. Enter the “Pushy Moms” at LaGuardia Community College, a volunteer group of mothers well-versed in the ins and outs of the higher education admissions maze.
More Latinos are going to college, but they’re doing it at a small number of schools, according to a new analysis from Excelencia in Education released this week.
A Latino student group at Duke University has declared the school is “not a safe space“ for Latinos, and announced this week it will no longer participate in an annual recruitment event for prospective Latino students.
A new report from a coalition of educators suggests it’s time to rein in ambitious students (and their families) when it comes applying to the nation’s top colleges and universities.
Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good Through College Admissions
Making Caring Common Project, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions, represents the first time that a broad coalition of colleges and universities have joined forces in a unified effort calling for widespread change in the college admissions process. The report includes concrete recommendations to reshape the college admissions process and promote greater ethical engagement among aspiring students, reduce excessive achievement pressure, and level the playing field for economically disadvantaged students.
By popular demand, we’ll be playing EWA Buzzword Bingo tonight on Twitter during President Obama’s State of the Union address. You can join in with the online versionof the game (click the box when you hear the buzzword). The hashtag is #EWABingo.
On affirmative action, Bush was not just burnishing his conservative credentials by abolishing what he called “stupid” and discriminatory race-based set-asides in Florida’s higher-education system and government-contracting sphere. He also was trying to preserve a pipeline to education and employment opportunities for minorities that would, he promised, actually improve their access to college and state contracts.
What new techniques and practices should higher education embrace to ensure that more students graduate? Join the Education Writers Association September 16–17 at Arizona State University to explore cutting-edge innovations that aim to address financial, academic, and social barriers. More on the seminar theme.
This annual seminar is one of the largest gatherings of journalists covering postsecondary education. Network with others covering this beat and step up your coverage for the upcoming academic year.
It’s been a terrific year for our scrappy little podcast, and we’re thrilled to report an equally stellar lineup coming to EWA Radio in 2016.
I’d like to take a moment to thank the many journalists and education experts who made time to join us for lively conversations, and to all of you who have offered suggestions for stories and guests to feature. Please keep the feedback coming!
Here’s a quick rundown of the 10 most popular episodes of the year:
A cup of coffee in a comfortable lounge may be just what students need to keep them relaxed about the college application process. At least, that’s what a new education-focused center in Houston is going for.
Cafécollege Houston opened last week, modeled after San Antonio’s successful center with the same name – a “one stop shop” for teens and adults looking for guidance on college applications, financial aid, the college transfer process and more.
Many teenagers find themselves at odds with their parents when they plan for college. But those who are among the first in their families to attend college are especially prone to choose less-selective schools than they can handle, in part because their families pressure them to stay close to home or because they lack information about their options. That reduces their odds of earning degrees, since more-selective schools tend to have higher completion rates.
Students in Syracuse, New York who fear a trip to the principal’s office might haunt them later in life no longer need to worry about it affecting their chances of getting into college. The Syracuse City School District has decided it intends to stop sharing student disciplinary records with colleges.
Should race-based college admission policies prioritize minority students from affluent families over those from low-income households?
That’s the question at the heart of a heated debate as the Supreme Court prepares to hear another round of arguments in the high-profile Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action case next week.
“College and career readiness” has become the rallying cry for what high schools should aim to achieve for their graduates. But large numbers of students still arrive on college campuses needing remedial courses, and many of those who are academically ready still struggle to adapt to college and earn their degrees.
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Nearly 1 million students studied abroad in the United States last school year — among them more Latin American students than ever before, according to a new study by the Institute of International Education.
Last week the White House announced a new higher education experiment that will direct federal grants to some high school students who want to enroll in college classes.
The plan is to start small, with the administration offering $20 million to help defray the college costs of up to 10,000 low-income high school students for the 2016-2017 academic year. The money will come from the overall Pell Grant pot, which is currently funded at more than $30 billion annually and used by 8 million students.
While many first-generation students are excited and ambitious when they step on campus — eager to beat the odds and become the first in their families to earn a college degree — others struggle with guilt, fear and loneliness, sometimes even struggling to remember why they decided to attend college in the first place. And they grapple with these feelings while they also have to figure out how to apply for financial aid, register for classes, and manage the other necessities of undergraduate life knowing they can’t turn to their families for guidance based on experience.
In recent years, the United States has seen overall enrollment declines in the numbers of students seeking postsecondary degrees, but in a panel about Latinos in higher education at the Education Writers Association’s second annual Spanish-Language Media Convening, the executive director of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities reminded journalists of one area of growth: The number of Hispanic-serving institutions is on the rise and accelerating.
Students who transfer between colleges and universities on their path to achieve a college degree often encounter obstacles — barriers, like lost credits, that could keep them from finishing their degree altogether. At EWA’s recent seminar in Orlando focused on higher education, reporters got a lesson in the data on transfer students and heard from experts who are making the process of transferring and going on to earn degrees easier for students at their community colleges.
In a speech honoring Hispanic Heritage Month and the 25th anniversary of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Thursday, President Obama praised Hispanic students for helping drive the U.S. high school graduation rate to an all-time high and also announced the commitments of hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to boost student academic success.
With a tepid economic recovery and wage growth that fails to meet expectations, some workers may be wondering whether there’s an antidote to the fiscal malaise.
The Obama administration is giving a late-game push to its higher education initiatives this fall, rolling out a flurry of new accountability measures aimed at helping students and families make more informed choices when it comes to choosing colleges.
“Solutions Journalism” aims to draw attention to credible responses to social problems. A brand-new resource can help education reporters take that approach with their own work on the beat.
In-state tuition for undocumented immigrant college students is again in the spotlight this week in a case that’s made its way to the Georgia Supreme Court. Central to the arguments the justices will hear is whether students living in Georgia who have been granted federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals should be considered lawful state residents.
Why do so few students from low-income families earn college degrees, even when they were academic standouts as high schoolers? And what can be done to help these students make a smoother transition to higher education?
Kavitha Cardoza tackles these questions in “Lower Income, Higher Ed”, a new documentary for WAMU Radio in Washington, D.C.
In a word, perspective.
Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell knows his campus won’t be rated highly by the U.S. Department of Education’s new College Scorecard. In fact, Paul Quinn has “the worst numbers you can possibly imagine at the federal level,” Sorrell told reporters at EWA’s recent higher education conference Sept. 18-19 in Orlando.
The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics has launched a digital campaign to highlight the impact of Latino teachers and hopefully to attract more Latinos to the teaching profession.
Education didn’t exactly make a splash in this week’s Republican presidential debate — barely a ripple, actually — but the issue has gained considerable attention in the 2016 contest for the White House, from debates over the Common Core to proposals on higher education access and affordability.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is on the road this week for his sixth annual back-to-school bus tour.
Six years after Utah Valley University announced it would boost its efforts to reach Latinos, school officials are reporting positive, dramatic results.
Latino and black students who took and passed Advanced Placement exams in California outscored their peers in other parts of the country.
The Education Writers Association, the national professional organization for journalists who cover education, is thrilled to announce that its annual conference will take place from Sunday, May 1, through Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in the historic city of Boston.
Co-hosted by Boston University’s College of Communication and School of Education, EWA’s 69th National Seminar will examine a wide array of timely topics in education — from early childhood through career — while expanding and sharpening participants’ skills in reporting and storytelling.
Latino professors from universities across the country give incoming college freshmen advice in a recent post on NBC News Latino, sharing both practical reminders — like “use the class syllabus” and “get to know your teachers” — and heartfelt sentiments about what it means to be Latino on a college campus.
In a new study evaluating the college application habits of recent high school graduates in Texas, researchers found that academically talented Hispanic and black students were likely to pass up a chance at an Ivy League education and apply to colleges closer to home.
Schools that that teach low-income students a notoriously demanding curriculum are almost twice as likely to see those students enroll in college, a new report shows.
This news comes on the heels of growing research suggesting that challenging assessments, which are a staple of the International Baccalaureate program featured in the report, help students develop a deeper understanding of key subjects like math and history. That “deeper learning,” in turn, may lead to more college opportunities.
For education reporters, coming up with fresh angles for back-to-school stories is an annual challenge. Two veteran education journalists—Steve Drummond (NPR) and Beth Hawkins (MinnPost)—share smart tips for digging deep, and keeping ahead of the curve on the latest trends. We discuss new ways of approaching the first day of school, ideas for unique profiles, strategies for data projects and how to make the most of your publication’s multimedia resources.
It’s been a hugely busy week for education reporters on Capitol Hill, as the Senate plowed its way through the Every Child Achieves Act, one of the leading contenders to replace No Child Left Behind as the nation’s framework for funding public schools.
The Senate approved passage of the bill Thursday with 81-17 vote.
With Hispanic students accounting for the largest growth in college enrollment, how are higher education institutions reshaping programs and services to meet their needs? What are the most popular colleges for Hispanic students, and what’s driving their choices?
The folks at Money magazine are largely doing the work the White House sought to do but hasn’t: rate colleges and universities by the extra boost they give students in landing financially rewarding careers.
Released this week, Money’s rating system ranks more than 700 schools according to an in-house rubric for measuring how much value a college offers students given its price of attendance.
With the Supreme Court set to take another look at a controversial affirmative action case in Texas college admissions, some worry what a second decision from the nation’s highest court will have on college-bound minorities.
Amid worries of a “skills gap” for U.S. youths and young adults, some experts call for rethinking and ramping up career and technical education. Panelists explore the skills and achievement of American young people in an international context, and highlight ways to improve CTE with an eye toward promising practices in other countries.
Research suggests that many students who could succeed in college never get the chance to enroll. But studies also show this circumstance can be overcome by getting students more information about options in colleges, scholarships and financial aid. Gain insights from experts on what approaches help these students succeed.
The Great Recession saw most states drastically cut their spending on public colleges, leading most of those colleges to increase their tuition. As the national economy continues to recover, how has state funding for postsecondary education fared and what does it mean for students and their families?
- Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, The Washington Post (Moderator)
- Daniel Hurley, American Association of State Colleges and Universities
- Laura Perna, University of Pennsylvania
- Ray Scheppach, University of Virginia
At one flagship public university, the number of undergraduate students from China jumped from 37 in 2000 to 2,898 this year. As public universities recruited more international students, what impact has the increased diversity had on students’ academic and social lives?
- Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed (Speaker)
- Peggy Blumenthal, Institute of International Education
- Gil Latz, Association of International Education Administrators
- Nicole Tami, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
How many questions does the crucial federal financial aid form really need? Proposals to simplify have ranged from trimming the form’s dozens of questions to replacing the form with just few queries on a postcard. This session illuminates how key questions can affect how much aid a student receives.
After nearly two years of public debate, and vociferous pushback from the higher education community, the White House announced it is pulling back on plans to rate the nation’s colleges based on a complex matrix of performance measures and student outcomes. Paul Fain, news editor for Inside Higher Ed has been following this story closely since the beginning, and he helped break the news that the Obama administration was scrapping the most controversial parts of its original proposal.
He spoke with EWA public editor Emily Richmond about who’s surprised by the decision (hint: not a lot of people), and the role played by aggressive lobbying against the rating plan by much of the higher education community. Fain and Richmond also discussed college ratings and consumer tools already available, and how to answer parents and students who ask for advice on choosing a school.
The Noble Network of Charter Schools is arguably Chicago’s most famous charter chain. Despite having schools only in one city and operating exclusively at the high school level, charter advocates now consider Noble to be in the same tier as KIPP and Achievement First — national brands in the no-excuses charter arena.
If you’re a student at an American college or university, chances are you’ll be living and learning in the midst of a more diverse student body than students who attended school a decade ago.
Recent years have seen an influx of international students to American colleges and universities. While the trend certainly isn’t new, it’s becoming more prevalent, according to a panel of experts at the Education Writers Association’s recent National Seminar.
Editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed Scott Jaschik’s panel “Top 10 Higher Ed Stories You Should Be Covering This Year” has attracted such a crowd every year that this year he began his presentation at EWA’s recent National Seminar in Chicago by noting that he’d been asked in the halls whether he’d be charting new territory. Although some stories remain fixtures on his must-cover list, there are new trends that education reporters should track, he told the roughly 80 attendees.
Small class sizes, athletic scholarship opportunities and track records for serving low-income, first-generation college students could be what’s driving the growth of populations of Hispanic students at historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs.
In the conversations surrounding low-income students’ access to college, there’s one statistic that Harold Levy finds most worrisome: Among those students who are in the top quartile academically and also among the lowest quartile financially, 22 percent never take the ACT or SAT.
That means many very smart, very poor kids aren’t even getting close to college.
It may be nestled near the middle in a list of the Top 100 Colleges for Hispanics, but Montclair State University in New Jersey received front cover-worthy recognition in the latest edition of the Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine.
Inside Higher Ed Co-founder and Editor Scott Jaschik offers his insights on the most influential stories journalists should be following in the upcoming academic year, including funding for community colleges, upheaval in the admissions process, free speech, and laws that permit students to carry guns on campuses.
Protesters at the University of Northern Colorado argue it shouldn’t matter whether the temporarily suspended Mexican-American studies program only had two students in it.
The university stopped accepting applications for the program in March due to low enrollment. “Just two students are seeking a Mexican-American studies degree this year, continuing a downward trend since 2010-11, when the programs had 11 students,” The Denver Post reported.
When asked in a recent poll whether education beyond high school is available and affordable to those who need it, Hispanic respondents were optimistic.
The results of a recent Gallup-Lumina Foundation poll reveal that while overall, Americans feel higher education is not affordable, the majority of Hispanics feel it is. And on the issue of access, Hispanics were also more confident than white and black survey-takers.
At EWA’s 2015 National Seminar, Vassar College President Catharine Bond Hill discussed the costs of higher education and Vassar’s efforts to make college more affordable and equitable.
EWA’s 68th National Seminar kicks off today in Chicago, and it’s going to be a fantastic three days of discussions, workshops, and site visits. The theme this year is Costs and Benefits: The Economics of Education. Be sure to keep tabs on all the action via the #EWA15 hashtag on Twitter.
Howard University Teams Up With D.C. High Schools
University is one of thousands to offer college courses to high school students
Another university in Washington, D.C., has partnered with high schools to offer their students college-level courses for free, allowing them to earn high school and college credit at the same time.
Rolling Stone retracted its story that supposedly detailed a University of Virginia student’s brutal rape by several members of a campus fraternity, and a report by the Columbia University Journalism School called the debacle “a journalistic failure.”
Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities
A Report Card on State Support for Academically Talented Low-Income Students
Year after year, in every state and community in our nation, students
from low-income families are less likely than other students to reach
advanced levels of academic performance, even when demonstrating
the potential to do so. These income-based “excellence gaps” appear
in elementary school and continue through high school. It is a
story of demography predetermining destiny, with bright low-
income students becoming what one research team referred to as a
“persistent talent underclass.”
On Monday, the College of Southern Nevada became the state’s first Hispanic-serving institution — a designation that two more Nevada colleges also might earn in the near future as the Las Vegas Valley’s Latino population continues to grow.
Three decades ago, some Latinos said they didn’t feel welcome on the “overwhelmingly white” University of California, Santa Barbara campus, according to some reports. Now, the school is the fourth in the UC system to be designated a Hispanic-serving institution – a classification given to schools where at least 25 percent of students are Hispanic.
The report, released last week, is comprised of more than 20 fact sheets profiling the state of Latinos in education across the pipeline.
The Condition of Latinos in Education: 2015 Factbook
Excelencia in Education
Excelencia in Education
Excelencia in Education is committed to using data to inform public policy and institutional practice to achieve our mission of accelerating student success for Latinos in higher education. We know college success does not begin at the college gates. Every educational experience from early childhood to high school and into the workforce influences the potential for college success.
By popular demand, we’ll be playing EWA Buzzword Bingo tonight on Twitter during President Obama’s State of the Union address. Look for the hashtag #EWABingo.
The chair of the Alliance for Hispanic Education dedicated more than 1,000 words to an op-ed Monday explaining why he, as an educator and Christian, supports the Common Core State Standards.
Trends show that students of color are relying more heavily on community colleges as an “access point to low-cost, postsecondary education,” according to a recent report by the Center for American Progress.
There’s a busy year ahead on the schools beat – I talked to reporters, policy analysts and educators to put together a cheat sheet to a few of the stories you can expect to be on the front burner in the coming months:
Revamping No Child Left Behind
President Obama will be in Tennessee today, where he’s expected to reveal more details of a proposal to make the first two years of community college free to qualified students. More details will follow in the State of the Union address later this month.
As many as 3.7 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States are eligible for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which sets aside the threat of deportation and grants work privileges to eligible residents. Among the several conditions necessary to qualify for DACA approval is a high-school degree or its equivalent. That’s where schools enter the picture.
Six law schools in California are boosting their efforts to increase diversity in the legal profession, providing financial-aid counseling, admission-test prep and application-fee waivers, among other services, to students at 24 community colleges.
What if a kid’s first Bible came with a little money for college? Churches across America are taking this approach to promote education among the youngest demographic of Hispanics.
When you write a blog, the end of the year seems to require looking back and looking ahead. Today I’m going to tackle the former with a sampling of some of the year’s top stories from the K-12 and higher education beats. I’ll save the latter for early next week when the final sluggish clouds of 2014 have been swept away, and a bright new sky awaits us in 2015. (Yes, I’m an optimist.)
Academics are just part of the story for many students entering college – a whole new culture of learning awaits them. But if they are first-generation college students, those cultural challenges can derail a promising postsecondary career. New research is exploring the effects mentoring programs and brief psychological interventions can have on low-income, minority and first-generation students. What can colleges do to promote resiliency and support student well-being for all students? Are such efforts merely too much “coddling” of students by campuses?
Can the United States continue to sustain financially the notion of residential college experience? What are parents and students expecting when they choose a college? How has the rise of the “value consumer” altered the landscape of the 21st Century college campus? How will the changing demographics (e.g., increased calls for accountability in higher education, MOOCs, and other models for delivering education) affect the traditional residential experience?
Latino students who attend Western Nevada College are visiting schools to promote the benefits of higher education, presenting themselves as role models for students they hope to see follow in their footsteps.
On at least one measure of the White House’s bold plan to rate the nation’s colleges, a team of journalists may have beat the executive branch to the punch.
As the higher ed community eagerly awaits the details of President Obama’s plan to rate colleges and universities and perhaps tie their access to federal funding to their performance, third-party rankings and ratings of colleges and universities continue to proliferate. What effects do these reports have on the priorities of these institutions and how should journalists interpret each new list of “bests”?
The statistics are eye-catching. Only 41 percent of Latino college students finish their college degree in six years. When compared with the national average of 50 percent who earn a degree in the same time frame, the disparity seems to be clear.
A $50-million incentive may help Marian University in Indianapolis boost its Latino student population.
At least, that’s what school officials are hoping.
As millions of immigrants waited for President Barack Obama to shed light on their future Thursday, educators, too, had a stake in the conversation.
Fewer than half of Hispanic students who took the ACT this year met the college readiness benchmarks in math or science, but those who actually expressed interest in STEM fared better on the college admissions exam.
College graduates in the class of 2013 typically left campus owing closing to $30,000 in student loans, according to a new report out today. That’s a record high, and up 2 percent over the prior year, the Project on Student Debt reports.
Last fall at EWA’s Higher Education Seminar, we examined the challenges of military personnel making the transition from soldiers to students. Given today’s holiday, it seemed like a good time to re-share this post about the panel discussion, held at Northeastern University in Boston.
Far more students seeking higher education degrees are part-time, older than the traditional 18-22 set and well into their careers. And colleges have been flagged for their lagging efforts to address the unique needs of these mature students.
Who deserves money for college more: students whose test scores and grades qualify them for “merit aid” or students with greater financial need who might be unable to afford college otherwise? New research suggests that colleges might increasingly be favoring less-needy students, in a quest to boost their schools’ rankings and help their bottom lines. Does that finding hold up to scrutiny? And how do colleges’ decisions on need-based versus merit aid affect college enrollment and completion?
“For decades, whenever you mention the word ‘education’ next to the word ‘Latino,’ the news that follows or the information that follows is not the most encouraging.”
Exchanging work and life experience for college credit may seem like an ideal way to save time and money on the pursuit of a degree — especially if you’re older than 25, like many a modern student. However, a new study finds that Latinos are less likely to take advantage of such opportunities than their peers.
The Mormon church might have something to do with the mostly stagnant overall student population numbers at Utah universities, but according to preliminary fall figures released Wednesday Latino enrollment there has continued to grow.
A record-low high school dropout rate among American teens in 2013 was driven, partly, by improvements among Hispanic and black students, according to the Pew Research Center.
If you’re into numbers, you may want to consider the University of Pennsylvania over Yale. Computers? Try Stanford. If the media is your desired career path, New York, Hofstra and Duke universities should be on your list.