College Access & Admissions

Overview

College Access & Admissions

College access and college admissions are closely related, essentially the two sides of the gateway that determines who can enroll in (and ultimately complete) a college education. On a very basic level, college access refers to the preparatory work that must be done in order for a student to knock on a college’s door with the genuine possibility of being let in and being able to earn a degree. College admissions—at least from the standpoint of admissions officers who work at postsecondary institutions—is about how best to evaluate whether to let that student in.

College access and college admissions are closely related, essentially the two sides of the gateway that determines who can enroll in (and ultimately complete) a college education. On a very basic level, college access refers to the preparatory work that must be done in order for a student to knock on a college’s door with the genuine possibility of being let in and being able to earn a degree. College admissions—at least from the standpoint of admissions officers who work at postsecondary institutions—is about how best to evaluate whether to let that student in.

With a growing emphasis on college and career readiness, coupled with ongoing national efforts to increase dramatically the number of people in the United States who hold a postsecondary credential or degree, issues of college access and college admissions are bound to gain more attention and scrutiny in the coming years. This Topics section offers key reports, articles and other resources that examine the issues that affect the process through which students matriculate in higher education.

Of course, there are high degrees of variability in both the criteria different colleges use to select the students they enroll and the backgrounds and preparation of those students who are applying.

Underserved Students

Efforts to improve college access primarily focus on the student groups that the postsecondary community often refers to as “underserved.” This term includes first-generation college students; students from racial groups that have been “historically underrepresented” in higher education such as African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans; students from low-income households; and immigrant students or the children of immigrants. College access organizations also often work with students in foster care. In recent times, some college access organizations have expanded their work beyond serving just traditional high school-age students and have begun to work with adults and GED-earners.

For many of the students in these groups, the process of applying to college—and the pursuit of a degree—involve layers of decisions that they might be the first in their households to make. The National College Access Network, a Washington, D.C.-based association that serves as an umbrella group for organizations that help students plan for college, emphasizes three components it deems essential for these students to gain access to higher education: “plan, prepare and pay for college.” Planning and preparing involve students’ taking and completing the proper secondary school coursework to be capable of entry-level college courses, or “college ready” as this status is called by educators, advocates and policymakers. Even then, some students struggle in higher education. Remediation rates among college students are high, a circumstance that challenges the students placed in such courses and the colleges in which they are enrolled: Only 30 percent of students who take one remedial reading course go on to earn a degree within eight years, according to some studies.

The “planning” component of college access also involves helping students navigate the processes of selecting colleges to apply to and completing those applications. Some college access programs offer counselors to help students make these choices. Others offer more than just advice: Some offer academic preparation, such as SAT prep classes and tutoring. These tests can be a critical part of the college access equation because the students who tend to be underrepresented at colleges and universities often are the same students whose scores on these admissions tests are less competitive. Some college access programs even offer scholarships and internships.

Another key aspect of efforts to improve disadvantaged students’ access to higher education is financial aid. Some college access programs focus on counseling students about financial aid, both what it is and how to apply for it. This includes helping students understand and fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) but it can also include helping students decide which financial aid packages or offers from a particular college are best for a particular student and family, based on factors that range from the student’s career aims to his or her family’s ability to pay.

In recent years, the rise of “merit aid” has become a central aspect of discussions of financial aid and college access. To attract the students they most want to enroll, many colleges offer these students scholarships and grants—referred to as merit aid—regardless of their actual financial need. Critics of this practice argue that those funds would be more effectively used to improve access for low-income or otherwise underrepresented students.

College Admissions

While college access work is generally done on behalf of students who are still in high school as they prepare to apply for college, the work of college admissions—at least among college admissions officers at colleges and universities—involves making the actual decisions about admittance, financial aid and scholarship awards. For college admissions officers, the key question is how best to determine which students are most academically prepared for their college. A secondary question considered by selective universities is which students are the “best fit” for their campus, meaning which ones will be able to make contributions—both inside and outside of the classroom—that will enrich the overall learning experience for everyone.

When it comes to determining the academic readiness of students, admissions officers rely on tests such as the SAT, the ACT, Advanced Placement (AP) tests, and International Baccalaureate (IB) credentials (both subject tests and the diploma), to offset perceived grade inflation or other ambiguities in the high school transcripts of applicants. On the other end of the spectrum, however, there also is a trend of colleges’ making the SAT or ACT an optional part of their application process. Some of the colleges that have made this decision—including Wake Forest University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute—cite that second aspect of the college admissions process—“best fit” —as a reason for dropping the requirement, given that students from underserved groups generally score lower on these tests.

The best fit question also plays a role in perhaps the most contentious issue in the college admissions debate, affirmative action, the practice a giving preference to applicants from a particular demographic group. The controversial subject has divided college campuses for decades, with arguments questioning the preferences given to students ranging from disadvantaged minorities to the children of wealthy alumni. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that universities could take race into consideration when making admissions decisions. That Supreme Court decision, however, is scheduled to be reconsidered in the fall of 2012. This ruling could have a substantial impact for college access and admissions, as national demographics show rising percentages of exact types of students who traditionally been underserved in higher education. 

Member Stories

September 14 – 21
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

The Sacramento Bee’s Diana Lambert reports on a school board’s decision to keep policies that allow the teaching of potentially controversial topics, after the reading of a kindergarten book about a transgender child caused months of uproar from parents divided along ideological lines.

 
 

Edsource’s Mikhail Zinshteyn reports on possible changes to remedial education requirements in California, with potentially huge effects for the state’s community colleges. 

Latest News

Five Issues to Watch in Massachusetts Education

Massachusetts has always been on the forefront when it comes to education, be it progress, reform or innovation.

This academic year, students, teachers, families and legislators will be no less subject to dealing with changes and proposals on education on multiple fronts as communities continue to demand for their students, a high-quality, 21st-century education that’s accessible, affordable, equitable, and most importantly meaningful for student success and the economic health and well-being.

Latest News

When Affirmative Action Isn’t Enough

Despite the continued debate and legal wrangling over whether college affirmative action efforts are too aggressive, black and Hispanic freshmen were more underrepresented at the nation’s top schools in 2015 than they were in 1980, the Times analysis found.

Member Stories

September 8 – 14
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Aliyya Swaby writes in The Texas Tribune on how Hurricane Harvey has reignited anxieties in an annexed school district. 

 
 

Edsource’s Carolyn Jones reports on how California leaders are pledging millions of dollars to support “dreamers” with financial aid and legal services. 


 

Latest News

America’s Best Colleges for Adult Learners

In college, as in life, youth and glamor go together. The top schools on the U.S. News & World Report rankings and similar college lists recruit virtually all of their freshmen right out of high school—or perhaps after a “gap year” spent, say, saving baby sea turtles in Australia.

By contrast, colleges that cater to adult students, the kind with jobs and families, aren’t given much attention or credit by the usual gatekeepers.

Latest News

The Trump Effect in College Admissions: Rural Outreach Increases, International Recruitment Gets Harder

A sizable share of college admission directors say they have intensified efforts to recruit in rural areas and find more white students from low-income families following Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the 2016 presidential election, according to a survey from the online news outlet Inside Higher Ed.

Agenda

Covering Campus Conflict in the Time of Trump: Agenda
Atlanta • October 2–3, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

10 a.m.: (Optional) Journalists’ Tour of CNN

CNN has graciously agreed to give 20 EWA members a journalists-only tour of their newsroom, and a chance to talk with members of CNN’s newsgathering, digital and data analysis teams to learn about their state-of-the art techniques of building traffic. The tour will start at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2 at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, located at One CNN Center, Atlanta, GA 30303. Please be at the entryway at 9:45 a.m. so you can go through security.

Member Stories

September 1 – 7
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Amanda McElfresh of the USA Today network gives the low-down on the Louisiana Supreme Court case that could affect the future of several of the state’s charter schools.

 
 

The Advocate’s Charles Lussier reports that Hurricane Harvey seems to be sending few if any schoolchildren back to neighboring Louisiana after Katrina once sent so many to Texas.


 

Latest News

‘We Didn’t Know It Was This Bad’: New Act Scores Show Huge Achievement Gaps

New results from the nation’s most widely used college admission test highlight in detailed fashion the persistent achievement gaps between students who face disadvantages and those who don’t.

Scores from the ACT show that just 9 percent of students in the class of 2017 who came from low-income families, whose parents did not go to college, and who identify as black, Hispanic, American Indian or Pacific Islander are strongly ready for college.

EWA Radio

The End of DACA?
EWA Radio: Episode 138

With the Trump administration’s announcement of plans to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), a key focus is on college students who fear deportation. But ending DACA, which offers protections to roughly 800,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, has significant repercussions for K-12 school communities as well.  

Latest News

What Major Universities Had to Say About Trump’s Move to Roll Back DACA

Shortly after the Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it would rescind a federal program that offered legal protections to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, dozens of universities declared their virtually unanimous opposition to the move. Major colleges and higher-ed systems and associations issued a cascade of critical statements — a wave of condemnation reminiscent of higher ed’s response to President Trump’s travel ban.

Member Stories

August 25 – 31
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Writing for the Atlantic, Linda K. Wertheimer examines the curriculum being used to explore a topic many teachers would prefer to avoid: the recent  surge of white nationalism.

 
 

EducationDive’s Linda Jacobson looks at ways administrators are aiming for balance between addressing racial disparities while still supporting teachers in reducing suspensions.


 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Hispanics Now Nearly One-Quarter of U.S. Students, Data Reveal

New U.S. Census data show a dramatic increase in the number of Hispanics attending school, reaching nearly 18 million in 2016. The figure — which covers education at all levels — is double the total 20 years earlier.

“Hispanic students now make up 22.7 percent of all people enrolled in school,” said Kurt Bauman, the chief of Census Bureau’s Education and Social Stratification Branch, in a statement.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

NSF Grant Fuels Efforts to Boost Latinos in STEM Fields

As part of an effort to boost the number of Latinos graduating with degrees in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — four universities will use a new federal grant to bring together experts closest to the issue to examine the challenges and brainstorm successful strategies.  

The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of California at Irvine, the University of Arizona, the University of Houston and Nova Southeastern University in Florida each $100,000 to host the conferences.

Member Stories

August 18 – 24
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

 Valarie Honeycutt Spears of the Lexington Herald Leader reports on the Eastern Kentucky school districts struggling to keep the doors open after taking hits of $1 million or more in a year from a combination of economic and demographic factors. 

 
 

Anna Burlson spoke with students at Weber State University for the Standard-Examiner as they prepare for another school year with optimism and hope.


 

Latest News

Even With Affirmative Action, Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges Than 35 Years Ago

Even after decades of affirmative action, black and Hispanic students are more underrepresented at the nation’s top colleges and universities than they were 35 years ago, according to a New York Times analysis.

The share of black freshmen at elite schools is virtually unchanged since 1980. Black students are just 6 percent of freshmen but 15 percent of college-age Americans, as the chart below shows.

Member Stories

August 11 – 17
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

ChalkBeat’s Julia Donheiser walks us through the steps educators across the country are taking to prepare for next week’s “Great American Eclipse.”

 
 

Jennifer Chambers of The Detroit News looks at how school supplies get into the hands of students where many children live in poverty, and parents cannot afford the long list of required items.


 

Latest News

New Data Explain Republican Loss of Confidence in Higher Education

Not only do Republicans and Democrats have different levels of confidence in higher education, but they are coming at the issue by focusing on different issues, a new poll by Gallup shows. Republicans who distrust higher education focus on campus politics, while the smaller share of Democrats who distrust higher education tend to focus on rising college prices, the pollster found.

Member Stories

August 4 – 10
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

KPPC’s Kyle Stokes reports that while vaccination rates in California schools reached an all-time high in the prior academic year, one subset of public schools still appears to be lagging behind: charter schools.

 
 

Jenny Rankin provides commentary for the L.A. Times on why 41% of teachers leave the profession within their first five years.


 

Latest News

AP Interview: DeVos Says She Should Have Decried Racism More

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday distanced herself from her comment earlier this year about the nation’s historically black colleges and universities being pioneers of school choice, saying that in the past “there were no choices” for African-Americans in higher education.

Latest News

Justice Dept. Plan To Attack Colleges’ Race Preferences Stirs Concerns

Education advocates are reacting with dismay to a report that President Donald Trump’s administration is recruiting lawyers within the U.S. Department of Justice for an initiative to investigate and potentially sue colleges and universities over racial preferences in admissions that discriminate against white applicants.

Latest News

Affirmative Action Battle Has A New Focus: Asian-Americans

By most standards, Austin Jia holds an enviable position. A rising sophomore at Duke, Mr. Jia attends one of the top universities in the country, setting him up for success.

But with his high G.P.A., nearly perfect SAT score and activities — debate team, tennis captain and state orchestra — Mr. Jia believes he should have had a fair shot at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania. Those Ivy League colleges rejected him after he applied in the fall of 2015.

Latest News

Justice Dept. To Take On Affirmative Action In College Admissions

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.

The document, an internal announcement to the civil rights division, seeks current lawyers interested in working for a new project on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

More Efforts Proposed in Congress to Help Undocumented Youth

"Interviewing DREAMers" panel at EWA's 2016 National Seminar in Boston

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — or DACA — continues to make headlines, with several bills introduced in Congress this month aimed at protecting undocumented young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and providing them with a path to citizenship.

DACA provides recipients access to higher education, putting educators on the front lines of the debate over undocumented youth. Many colleges and universities have created special websites or designated personnel to help DACA students navigate college and feel safe on campus.

Member Stories

July 21 – 27
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

As AP test scores fall, Diana Lambert and Phillip Reese of the Sacramento Bee ask the question: are students ready for college-level coursework? 

 
 

Suzanne Pekow and the APM Reports team are back with a new episode of the Educate podcast, outlining the current school trend back towards segregation.


 

Member Stories

July 28 – August 3
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

The Florida Times-Union’s Denise Smith Amos reports on a local district’s disproportionate rates of suspension and discipline amongst black students.

 
 

Writing for EducationDive, Linda Jacobson speaks with educators still working out how to get the right balance of testing without sacrificing valuable instructional time.


 

Member Stories

July 14 – 20
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Bracey Harris of The Clarion-Ledger has the latest on the federal investigation into allegations that a school district discriminated against Hispanic students by retroactively changing their transcripts and schedules in a bid to make the students ineligible for state exams.

 
 

From the Virginia GazetteAmanda Williams discusses the concerns that led to the signing of a bill mandating schools test their water for unsafe levels of lead.


 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Troubled by College Dropouts, High Schools Track Students Beyond Graduation

While many high schools focus a lot of energy on getting students into college, admissions is only the first step. And especially when it comes to low-income students and those who are first in their family to attend college, many drop out long before they complete a degree.

Growing concern about this problem is sparking efforts in the K-12 realm to ensure better college success rates for high school graduates.

Latest News

House Republicans At Odds With Trump’s Proposed Higher Education Cuts

House Republicans issued a 2018 budget bill Tuesday afternoon that rejects several higher education cuts proposed by President Trump but upholds plans to pull billions of dollars in reserves out of the Pell Grant program for needy college students.

Ahead of a markup slated for Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee released the full funding report for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies that provides money for programs placed on the chopping block in the White House budget.

Member Stories

July 7 – 13
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Kevin Richert reports for Idaho Ed News that barely 12 percent of Idaho’s class of 2016 graduated high school with AP college credits in hand — lagging well below the national average.

 
 

Jennifer Palmer writes for Oklahoma Watch about how some districts are now raising a long-held cap on the number of students in pre-K classrooms, a move that could dilute the state’s most admired and arguably successful educational initiative.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Community College Challenges Explored at Civil Rights Conference

The ongoing issues Latino students face in community colleges was the focus of a town hall meeting held earlier this month Phoenix, Arizona, during the annual conference this week of the largest Latino civil right organization in the U.S.

While more Hispanic students are graduating high school and enrolling in college, many still need remediation or are taking longer than the standard two years to earn an associate’s degree.

Latest News

When States Pay For The SAT or ACT, More Poor Students Go To College

New research finds a simple strategy can modestly boost the share of poor students who go on to college: requiring, and paying for, all students to take the ACT or SAT.

And while the impact isn’t huge, the policy is relatively cheap — just $34 per student increases four-year college attendance by about 1 percentage point for low-income students.

Latest News

U. of Michigan Implementing Free Tuition Program for Some In-State Students

The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus has implemented a free tuition program, called “Go Blue Guarantee,” for in-state students and applicants with families earning up to $65,000 a year. The program will go into effect on January 3, 2018, when the winter semester commences. UM’s tuition rate will escalate by almost three percent, costing $14,826 annually for in-state undergraduates. The tuition for out-of-state undergraduates will increase by four and a half percent, making the tuition $47,476 a year.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

New ‘Gates Scholarship’ to Offer Full Ride to 300 Students of Color

Starting July 15, high school seniors who are Hispanic, from low-income backgrounds and believe they have strong leadership credentials can apply for a private scholarship to cover virtually all college expenses.

Launched this year, the new program from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will award its first full scholarships to 300 students in 2018. The support will include not just tuition, but also cover fees, housing, books and other costs.

Member Stories

June 30 – July 6
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Adam Harris of The Chronicle of Higher Education provides an update on the month of stagnation since Betsy DeVos has taken reporters’ questions, or made other senior officials available to explain policy shifts.

 
 

Member Stories

June 23 – 29
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

The Rivard Report’s Bekah McNeel explains that while changes to the funding formula are the ultimate goal for most public school advocates in Texas, some districts are not waiting around for legislative relief.

 
 

Valarie Honeycutt Spears writes for the Lexington Herald Leader about the Kentucky middle school chorus teacher whose recent coming-out as bisexual lent comfort to some of his LGBT students, but also cost him his job.


 

Latest News

Law Schools Close, Merge As Legal Job Market Shrinks

Whittier Law School in California is closing its doors for good next spring, and students and faculty are stunned. It is, after all, a shocking milestone – to be the first ever accredited law school to shut down. 

“We were completely caught off guard,” Kristopher Escobedo, a second-year student and incoming student body president at the Costa Mesa, Calif., school, told the Los Angeles Times. “It was almost like an ambush.”

Future lawyers, heed this. Whittier’s demise could be a sign of things to come.

Member Stories

June 16 – 22
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Eva-Marie Ayala of The Dallas Morning News digs into a clash between charter schools pushing for state funds to pay for their buildings, while others want the money to go toward vouchers for private schools. Gov. Greg Abbott has made school choice a focus of the special legislative session that starts July 18.

 
 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

College Admissions: The V.I.P. Treatment
Do students from wealthy or politically connected families get preference in the admissions process?

The wealthy and politically connected have many advantages in life. But do they really have an edge getting into the best colleges?

Some impressive investigative work by two journalists in Texas and Virginia reveals that family money and influence appear to have helped students get into at least two top public universities.

Member Stories

June 9 – 15
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Liz Bell of Education NC found that some North Carolina teachers had to mark students’ final grades as “incomplete” because they received final exam scores before their grading deadlines, and in some cases, teachers were asked to come back to school—after their contracts are over—to amend students’ final grades.

 
 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

From ‘Sugar Daddies’ to College Mailboxes: Reporters Share ‘How I Did the Story’

Nick Anderson didn’t have to be asked twice to get on a train to New York City.

A professor at Columbia University called the veteran Washington Post reporter last summer. She told him she had spoken with students who were making ends meet by engaging in the sex trade, hooking up with older men on “sugar daddy” websites.

“She asked me, ‘Would you be interested in writing about something like this?’” Anderson relayed to a room full of journalists who had assembled for a session at the Education Writers Association’s annual spring conference.

Member Stories

May 19 – 25
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

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. 

 
 

Member Stories

May 12 – 18
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

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. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Does Going to a Hispanic-Serving Institution Affect How Much Graduates Earn?

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.

Member Stories

May 5 – 11
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

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.

 
 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Higher Education Reaches Out to Rural Students

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.

Member Stories

March 16 – 23
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

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 CTPostLinda Conner Lambeck takes a look at who is left out of a new school funding proposal that Stamford Mayor David Martin calls ”woefully inadequate.”


 

EWA Radio

Go West, Young Students: California’s Free Community College Boom
EWA Radio: Episode 114

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.

EWA Radio

Under Trump, DREAMers Face Uncertain Future
EWA Radio: Episode 108

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?

Report

As Cuomo Proposal Rekindles Free College Movement, New Research Provides Ammunition for Skeptics
Brookings Institution

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.

EWA Radio

‘The Book of Isaias’: A Memphis DREAMer’s Uncertain Path
EWA Radio: Episode 106

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?

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Wealthier Grad Students Earn the Most Lucrative Degrees

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.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Who Benefits from New York’s Free College Plan?

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.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Georgia Judge: DACA Students Can Pay In-State Tuition Rate

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.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

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. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latinos Highest Share of University of California’s Record-Breaking Number of Applicants

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. 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

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.

EWA Radio

‘Unprepared’ in Memphis: The Realities of College Readiness
EWA Radio: Episode 99

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. 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Public Universities Have ‘Really Lost Our Focus’
Q&A with Christopher Newfield

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.”

Report

Competency-Based Education in College Settings

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).

Key Coverage

College Is the Goal. Will These Three Teenagers Get There?

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. 

Seminar

Doing More With Higher Ed Data: From Policy to Newsrooms
Philadelphia • February 2–3, 2017

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.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

A Push for More Latino College Graduates in Texas, but Not by ‘Business as Usual’

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

Key Coverage

From the Reservation to College

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.

Key Coverage

Higher Ground: KIPP Strives To Lift New Orleans Grads Past Their Struggles

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.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Programs Providing ‘Excelencia’ in Latino Education

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

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

First in the Family: What Works for First-Generation College Students

Source: Flickr/ via COD Newsroom ( CC BY 2.0)

“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.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

College Completion Failures Must Be Tackled in Tandem With Costs, Report Says

By Shenandoah University Office of Marketing and Communications (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Key Coverage

Why Appalachian Colleges Are Recruiting Hispanics

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.

EWA Radio

Same As It Ever Was: The Pitfalls of Remedial Education
EWA Radio: Episode 88

Pixabay/Karsten Paulick

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.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Ensuring College Readiness and Success for Latino Students

From left, Fermin Leal of EdSource, Juan Garcia of ACT, Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj of Seton Hall University, Carmen Macias of the University of Southern California, Victor Zamora of KIPP Colorado Schools participate in a panel discussion about Latino students and college readiness at EWA's third annual Spanish-language media convning. Source: Twitter/ @leslieenriquez

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.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

The Republican Plan For Higher Education: Less Red Tape And Less Money

By Bjoertvedt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Less money.

“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.

Seminar

Election 2016: New President, New Education Agenda
Washington, D.C. • November 14, 2016

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.

Seminar

The U.S. Elections & Education: Part 1
Washington, D.C. • August 30, 2016

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?

Key Coverage

Scholar: After Fisher, Schools Should Reassess Diversity Policies

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.”

Report

FAFSA Non-Filers: What the Research Says
National College Access Network (NCAN)

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).

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Higher Ed: Hunger on Campus

Flickr/Salvation Army USA West (CC BY 2.0)

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.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Report: Latino Graduation Rates Highest at Selective Institutions

Source: Flickr/ via Alan Light (CC BY 2.0)

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. 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Obama Official: To Lower Cost of College, States Must Spend More

U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell spoke at EWA's 69th annual National Seminar in Boston. Source: U.S. Department of Education

“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.

EWA Radio

Competitive College Admissions: Too Much Hype?

Flickr/Wayne Stadler

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?

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

‘Lives in Limbo’: Supporting Undocumented Students

Yehimi Cambron, middle, shares her immigration story at the Center for American Progress event, "Harnessing the Talent of DACA and Unauthorized Students at the K-12 Level." She was joined by, from left, Richard Loeschner of Brentwood High School in New York, Frances Esparza of Boston Public Schools, Roberto Gonzales of Harvard University, and moderator Scott Sargrad of CAP. Photo by Natalie Gross/ EWA

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.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Wanted: Faculty Who Can Mentor Latino Students

Source: Bigstock

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. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Marijuana Tax to Fund Scholarships for Latinos

Source: Flickr/ via Miran Rijavec (CC BY 2.0)

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. 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How Colleges Can Help Students Who Are First in Their Families to Attend College

Reina Olivas, right, speaks to reporters at an EWA journalism seminar in Los Angeles, February 27, 2016. (Photo credit: EWA/Mikhail Zinshteyn)

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.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

SAT Makes Bid to Better Serve Poor Kids

David Coleman speaks to reporters at an Education Writers Seminar in Los Angeles, February 27, 2016. (Credit: EWA)

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.

Multimedia

New Developments in College Admissions Testing
College Readiness: What Does It Mean for Higher Ed?

New Developments in College Admissions Testing

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.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Florida Senate Votes ‘Yes’ to Coding As a Foreign Language

Source: Flickr/ via HackNY.org (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Report Connects Student Debt to ‘Structural Racism’

Bigstock

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.

EWA Radio

Can ‘Pushy Moms’ Nudge Community College Students to New Heights?
EWA Radio: Episode 59

Flickr/Johnathan Nightingale

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.

Report

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.

Seminar

Higher Ed 2016
September 16–17 • Tempe, Arizona

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.

Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Cafécolleges Offer Unique Approach to Higher Ed Help

Cafécollege in San Antonio opened in 2010 to assist students of all ages with their higher education questions. Now, the center is being replicated in Houston. Source: Flickr/ via lee leblanc (CC BY 2.0)

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.

Seminar

College Readiness: What Does It Mean for Higher Ed?

“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.

Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel
711 S Hope St, Los Angeles, CA 90017
Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Saving on College by Doing Some of It in High School

Gov. Dannel Malloy announces the creation of Connecticut's first P-TECH high school, modeled after the IBM-backed school in Brooklyn, New York. (Source: Flickr/Dannel Malloy)

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.

Webinar

Seven Challenges First-Generation College Students Face & How to Write About Them

(Bigstock/michaeljung)

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.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Their Roles in Higher Ed

Panelists Alicia Diaz, left, of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Kathleen Plinske, a Valencia College campus president, discussed the roles of Hispanic-serving institutions at EWA's 2015 Spanish-Language Media Convening. The discussion was moderator by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez or Southern California Public Radio. 
Source: Valencia College/ Don Burlinson

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.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How Community Colleges Are Helping Transfer Students

Source: Bigstock

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.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

White House Celebrates Hispanic Education During Heritage Month

Alejandra Ceja, left, speaks at a White House celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month Thursday, Oct. 15. Ceja is the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence of Hispanics. Source: Flickr/ via US Department of Education (CC BY 2.0)

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. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Georgia Supreme Court Considers Whether DACA Students Pay In-State Tuition

The Georgia Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this week in a controversial case to grant in-state tuition benefits to some undocumented immigrant students. 
Source: Flickr/ via peoplesworld (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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. 

Seminar

69th EWA National Seminar

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.

Boston, Massachusetts
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Schools With Tough Tests Send More Low-Income Kids to College

Morris Jeff Community School in Louisiana, an  International Baccalaureate school. (Source: Flickr/Bart Everson)

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. 

Webinar

Escaping the Ordinary: The Best Back-to-School Story Ideas
Back-to-School Webinar

Escaping the Ordinary: The Best Back-to-School Story Ideas

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. 

Speakers

Blog: The Educated Reporter

NCLB Rewrite Survives Senate Vote

A mock schoolhouse outside the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. (Flickr/elonjoned)

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. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Money Magazine’s College Rankings Examine How Much ‘Value’ Students Get

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. 

Multimedia

New Insights on State Funding for Higher Education
2015 EWA National Seminar

New Insights on State Funding for Higher Education

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
Multimedia

The Impact of International Students in Higher Education
2015 EWA National Seminar

The Impact of International Students in Higher Education

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
Multimedia

Can FAFSA Be Fixed?
2015 EWA National Seminar

Can FAFSA Be Fixed?

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.

EWA Radio

After Pushback, White House Yields on College Ratings
EWA Radio: Episode 28

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.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Influx of International Students Spurs U.S. Colleges to Change

(Flickr/Wolfram Burner)

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.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Ten Higher Education Stories You Should Be Covering

Game Day at the University of Iowa. Focusing on how athletic programs influence a university's operations is a smart story for reporters, says Inside Higher Ed's editor Scott Jaschik. (Flickr/Phil Roeder)

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.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

An ‘H’ for ‘Hispanic’ at Many HBCUs

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

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Opening the Door to Student College Success

Johnson Gate at Harvard University. Researchers say low-income high school students with strong academic records aren't getting shut out of college opportunities. (Flickr/Wally Gobetz)

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.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Suspended Mexican-Studies Program More Than a Major to Colorado Protesters

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. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Hispanics More Optimistic Than Most About Higher Ed Access, Affordability

Source: Flickr/ COD Newsroom (CC BY 2.0)

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. 

Report

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.”

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Vegas Campus Claims Nevada’s First HSI Title

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.