College Access & Admissions

Overview

College Access & Admissions

Covering Americans’ access to college is nothing less than covering the American Dream.

Getting into college opens the door to more knowledge and skills, of course, but also better jobs and other advantages, including a longer, healthier life.

Covering Americans’ access to college is nothing less than covering the American Dream.

Getting into college opens the door to more knowledge and skills, of course, but also better jobs and other advantages, including a longer, healthier life.

But access to college isn’t universal or equitable. Approximately 40% of all American adults — and about 30 percent of those aged 18-24 — haven’t taken a single college course.

Then there’s the question of what kinds of colleges students in different demographic and socioeconomic groups have access to. When low-income students do attend college, they’re more likely to go to less selective and less well-funded institutions. Less selective institutions tend to meet fewer of students’ financial needs, offer less counseling and support, and have higher dropout rates.

Investigations into such inequities, such as admissions preferences given to wealthy students and “legacies,” have drawn a great deal of attention (and important journalism prizes).

The topic of college access offers plenty of territory for journalists to explore, including the quality of students’ K-12 courses; admissions tests such as the ACT and SAT; the process of completing applications; and the challenge of paying tuition and other expenses. (Navigating the notoriously complicated and underfunded financial aid system is an entirely separate genre of coverage.)

The modules below provide resources to help reporters cover college access, including:

  • A glossary of terms commonly used in the college admissions process

  • Data sources, key experts and leading organizations in the college access world

  • A curated collection of recent stories on college access

Updated March 2020

Latest News

Covid-19 Caused International Enrollments to Plummet This Fall. They Were Already Dropping.

The number of international students at American colleges plunged this fall, according to a just-released survey by the Institute of International Education, with new enrollments diving 43 percent as tens of thousands of students stuck overseas because of the pandemic deferred their admission or called off their studies altogether.

Read the full story here.

Latest News

U.S. Appeals Court Rejects Challenge To Harvard’s Race-Based Admissions Practices

A U.S. appeals court on Thursday upheld Harvard University’s use of race in undergraduate admissions, rejecting a challenge by affirmative action opponents who said the school’s policy discriminates against Asian-Americans.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston rejected the claims by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), a nonprofit founded by anti-affirmative action activist Edward Blum that gained the support of Republican President Donald Trump’s administration.

Latest News

As Some Disney Workers Lose Their Jobs, Their Free College Education Vanishes, Too

Madeline “Madi” Portes keeps a bucket list full of things like visiting Paris and taking violin lessons. But No. 1 was always to get her college degree, and she never forgot that as the years went by.

Portes, of Clermont, failed several times to finish her schooling, coming from poor roots and unable to afford her classes as a working adult. Maybe this was her shot at age 61 to finally get it done when Walt Disney Co. announced in 2018 it would pay tuition upfront — and books, too — for its hourly employees.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

The Top 11 Higher Ed Stories Likely to Make Headlines This Year
Inside Higher Ed's Scott Jaschik highlights COVID, Title IX, affirmative action and more

COVID-19 will continue to be a major story topic for the 2020-21 school year, but reporters should also look at the future of affirmative action and race on college campuses, according to Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik.

Jaschik, veteran higher education journalist and editor, listed his top 11 topics he thinks every higher education reporter should be ready to cover.

Latest News

More Doctoral Programs Suspend Admissions. That Could Have Lasting Effects on Graduate Education.

More than 50 doctoral programs in the humanities and social sciences won’t be admitting new students in the fall of 2021 — a response to the pandemic and ensuing economic turmoil. It’s a sort of financial triage to help the programs devote funding to their current students, many of whom will be delayed in completing their degrees because of the disruptions. Suspending admissions for a year, some administrators say, will also allow them to reimagine their doctoral curricula to account for the flagging Ph.D. job market.

Latest News

Pandemic Hammers College Enrollment This Fall, Report Says

A snapshot of fall enrollment shows fewer students are pursuing undergraduate degrees this semester as the coronavirus continues to sow fears of infection and devastate the economy.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center on Thursday released its first look at fall enrollment through Sept. 10, confirming what many in higher education already suspected: that the public health crisis would lower head counts at the nation’s colleges and universities.

Latest News

Are Colleges Really Falling Short on Racial Justice?

College leaders are talking more than ever about inclusion. Faculty members and students are demanding institutional changes. At some colleges, dozens or even hundreds of faculty members have signed onto open letters that call for anti-racist action and offer criticisms that, depending on one’s point of view, will either seem compelling or exaggerated.

Key Coverage

Her School Offered a Path to the Middle Class. Will Covid-19 Block It?

A year ago, when Bianca Argueta was beginning her senior year at Richmond Hill High, she felt pretty excited about what the fall of 2020 might hold for her. Richmond Hill is a big, old-fashioned public high school in central Queens, the alma mater of Rodney Dangerfield and Phil Rizzuto, and Bianca was a top student there, full of ambition, part of the leadership club, taking A.P. classes.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How the Pandemic Is Changing the World of College Admissions
Journalists should examine access, enrollment uncertainty

Hundreds of colleges are going test-optional. Fewer students are filling out financial-aid forms. Everyone is staring down unknowns.

The field of admissions has been turned upside down, Eric Hoover, a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education, said as he kicked off a panel about college admissions and enrollment at the Education Writers Association’s 2020 National Seminar.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Schools Experiment to Allay the Inequitable Impact of COVID-19
Pandemic sparks calls for changes to technology, curriculum and funding.

In an effort to counteract the way COVID-19 is worsening many educational inequities, government and educational leaders around the country are trying a variety of interventions such as free headphones, traffic light Wi-Fi, and more explicit teaching about the realities of race relations.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Educating During COVID: Superintendents and College Leaders Scramble to Fill Students’ New Needs
Solutions include more financial aid, free headphones and traffic light wifi hotspots

Pedro Martinez, the superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District, oversees the education of almost 50,000 students. Ninety percent live in poverty, he said, and half of the families in the district make less than $35,000 a year. Martinez described educating students, kindergarten through high school, who live in cramped homes without computers or internet connections since the pandemic hit in March. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

DACA Ruling Has Important Implications for Educators, Students
Find tips and resources to inform local coverage of decision's impact

The U.S. Supreme court today struck down a Trump administration effort to end protection from deportation for more than 650,000 young undocumented immigrants — including many educators and students. The action to prevent these individuals from legally living and working in the United States was “arbitrary and capricious,” the high court declared in its 5-4 ruling.

EWA Radio

What’s New With ‘Varsity Blues’
The latest on the college-admissions scandal, and how COVID-19 is reshaping what campuses will look like this fall
(EWA Radio: Episode 239)

With more celebrity defendants pleading guilty to using a high-priced fixer to help their kids cheat their way into top colleges, what’s been the impact on college admissions? The Wall Street Journal’s Melissa Korn, whose book on the “Varsity Blues” scandal has been optioned for a television project, discusses the latest developments, as well as the fallout more broadly for higher education.

Seminar

73rd EWA National Seminar

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. 

This multi-day conference is designed to give participants the skills, understanding, and inspiration to improve their coverage of education at all levels. It also will deliver a lengthy list of story ideas. We will offer numerous sessions on important education issues, as well as on journalism skills.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Under the Circumstances, No Pomp for the Class of 2020
Telling the story of a senior year changed by coronavirus

Few years are as laden with symbolic touchstones as the senior year of high school. With this year’s graduates denied those rites of passage due to the coronavirus pandemic — or at least the traditional rituals associated with them — emotions are running understandably high. 

For Frances Suavillo, an immigrant from the Philippines who is the valedictorian at Carson High School near Los Angeles, the change in plans wasn’t easy.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Five Story Angles on College Admissions During the Coronavirus Pandemic
How higher ed reporters can plan for their next enrollment-related story

Amidst the tsunami of headline-making impacts from the coronavirus, this spring’s closure of nearly all the nation’s 4,200 college campuses could have some of the longest-term effects.

As higher education scrambles to provide instruction and prepare for whatever is next, “the big issue that’s out there is what will enrollment look like in fall 2020,” says Terry Hartle, a senior vice president at the American Council on Education, the largest membership organization of colleges.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Getting Education Equity Messages Through the Noise Now Takes a 5-Prong Strategy
The Education Trust's Nicolle Grayson: Journalists should "leave us with hope."

Growing up in one of the nicer neighborhoods of Washington D.C., Nicolle Grayson assumed that her fellow students across the city had the same kinds of well-funded schools and highly qualified teachers as she did. Then she started volunteering at an elementary school across town, and discovered how drastically different public education could be for students just a few miles apart.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Investigating a University’s Ties to China
How one reporter used her EWA Fellowship to examine a school's growing Chinese population

The number of students from mainland China attending an American university has increased by more than 50 percent in the last decade. For many campuses, that student population has become a key source of tuition revenue and talent. For those who see China as an economic, political and military threat, this rapid growth has raised alarms.

Key Coverage

States Want To End Developmental Education. Why Chicago Professors Are Fighting Back.

Late last summer, Luis decided to attend Wilbur Wright College, one of the seven two-year community colleges that make up the City Colleges of Chicago. He received financial aid to cover tuition and books. We’re not using Luis’ last name at his request to retain some privacy online.

Luis hopes to eventually get a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and said he’s motivated by the idea of earning enough that he doesn’t have to worry about money. His mom works 12-hour days to support their large family.

Key Coverage

As Colleges Close, How Will Vermont Schools Survive?

Low enrollment and financial troubles have caused a slew of Vermont’s small, independent colleges to shut their doors. What’s causing the problem — and is there a solution?

VPR’s Amy Noyes, who has been reporting on higher ed in Vermont with a fellowship from the Education Writers Association, has answers to these three questions:

“Why are student populations shrinking?” — Diana Clark, South Burlington

Key Coverage

University of Minnesota’s Academic Work With China Chilled by Federal Concerns

The solar-powered air purification tower rises 200 feet out of a cluster of high-rises in China — a soaring symbol of new possibilities for its inventor, University of Minnesota engineering professor David Pui.

Collaboration with China has long been a linchpin of U research, and lately that work has accelerated. In the past five years, university faculty have published more than 4,300 scientific papers jointly with colleagues in China — more than any other country.

EWA Radio

Higher Education in 2020
Looming Supreme Court decision on DACA, new rules for college admissions, lead Associated Press’ reporter’s list
(EWA Radio: Episode 226)

While it’s a new calendar year, plenty of familiar issues are carrying over from 2019 on the higher education beat, says reporter Collin Binkley of The Associated Press. Many of the biggest headline-grabbers this year are likely to center on admissions – the process of deciding who gets into what college. To settle a federal anti-trust case, colleges recently scrapped old rules that limited what they could do to compete for applicants. Now, a potential admissions marketing free-for-all will create new winners and losers. The Trump Administration’s policies against immigration, and tensions with countries such as Iran can’t help but impact foreign students interested in studying in the U.S. And the growing trend by colleges to drop application requirements for ACT and SAT test scores could also mean big changes to college access.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Word on the Beat: Public Charge

In the latest sortie of a long-running legal battle, a federal district court ruled Nov. 2, 2020 that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can not enforce the “public charge” rule to anyone applying for permanent legal status in the U.S. 

Key Coverage

University of Minnesota Mines China Connection But Worries About Future

Jieie Chen and Dong Xuan felt a strong connection to the University of Minnesota long before they arrived from China with their son, Ken, an incoming freshman.

They had spent hours online researching the university. They had heard the director of the U’s Beijing office make a case for joining the “Gophers family” at a meeting with admitted students in Shanghai last spring. They had later taken in testimonials from U students and alumni at one of the orientations the university hosts in China each summer.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

5 Tips for Covering Students’ Paths to College
Reporters offer advice on tracking down students, getting past roadblocks

This school year, two Chalkbeat reporters in Detroit and Newark are examining whether low-income students from struggling schools are ready for the rigors of college.

Education statistics tell a sobering story: For many students, no. But Lori Higgins, the bureau chief for Chalkbeat Detroit, and Patrick Wall, a senior reporter for Chalkbeat Newark, wanted to delve deeper into the challenges spelled out in the data.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How to Help First-Generation Students Persist Through College
Experts say assisting students takes a 'larger cultural shift'

When Pete Gooden went to college, he had an all-too-common experience. 

“As a first-generation student, I was just coasting through college, and I was just trying to navigate on my own without support,” he said. 

Eventually, he dropped out. After earning his degree at age 30, Gooden began working for KIPP Through College Chicago, where he’s now the director—amazed to find a program that offered the help he once needed. 

Learn About a Handy New Free Education Data Tool
Webinar

Learn About a Handy New Free Education Data Tool

There’s tons of education data out there, but it is spread out among dozens of different confusing websites, making it hard to use quickly and easily. 

The Urban Institute is trying to address that by creating a centralized K-16 education data one-stop-shop that a few journalistic early adopters tell us is turning out to be fairly handy. 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Three Takeaways From Chicago’s Largest Charter School Network
At Noble campuses, it's 'college prep from the moment you walk in the door'

From the exterior, Muchin College Prep doesn’t look much like a high school. It’s located in an unremarkable office building in downtown Chicago, where an elevator carries visitors to the seventh-floor campus. There, the walls are festooned with college banners, classrooms are bustling with discussions and group work, and football helmets rest on top of a long row of lockers.

Tip Sheet

EWA Tip Sheet: Covering the Student Loan Debt Crisis

A leading student debt researcher, the CEO of the nation’s biggest income share agreement company, and a veteran education reporter discuss the biggest concerns, misconceptions and stories to pursue when it comes to the country’s student loan debt crisis.

Report

Free College 101
Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce

The push for free college is a recognition that the most well-traveled economic path to good jobs and the middle class requires at least some college for the vast majority of young Americans. It is also a response to the reality that many students and their families are taking on large amounts of debt to finance increasingly pricey postsecondary educations.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

The Guidance Gap: How to Rethink School Counseling
Experts discuss how to effectively steer a student to, through life after high school

One of Joyce Brown’s former students was getting ready to board a bus to college for the first time when he changed his mind. 

“His mom said, ‘Don’t go if you don’t want to,’” Brown recalled. So the student, who grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes housing project on Chicago’s South Side, didn’t go.

But Brown — who spent 40 years working as a school counselor in Chicago Public Schools — knew this student would thrive in a college setting because of the relationship she’d built with him. So she drove him to college herself.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How Technology Is Reshaping the Modern College Classroom
The good and bad of online classes, AI in grading and accessibility

Technological innovation, which has upended everything from the way we order lunch to how we find a life partner, is also revolutionizing education. Optical character recognition devices, artificial intelligence grading programs and powerful computers are profoundly remaking what goes on inside traditional college classrooms. In addition, about a third of college students are taking at least one course online. 

Key Coverage

Early Action? Early Decision? An Explanation of Looming College Admission Deadlines

Last week brought the first early decision deadlines for high school seniors applying to college — and also a lot of potential questions: Just what is early decision and how does it differ from early action? Have college admissions changed since the “Varsity Blues” scandal broke earlier this year? How do college admissions officers view Vermont’s new proficiency-based grading systems? What are the admissions options at Vermont colleges and universities?

Key Coverage

As Detroit Students Settle Into Their First Semester of College, ‘Bridge’ Programs Provide Needed Support

But still, despite excelling in her other classes, Marqell McClendon has struggled in the remedial math class she’s taking during her first semester at Michigan State University.

It’s an unfamiliar scene for McClendon, the valedictorian of her graduating class at Detroit’s Cody High School who’s used to students coming to her for help. Now, the tables are turned. She describes it as “bittersweet.”

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Colleges Struggle to Adapt to Changing Demographics
More diverse student body poses challenges in admissions, teaching and counseling

Quick: Picture a “typical” college student. Are you envisioning a young person wearing a college sweatshirt, living in a dorm and attending school full time? 

Try again: Full-time students who live on campus account for less than 15 percent of all undergraduates, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

At a recent Education Writers Association seminar, three experts on student demographics suggested that investigations into changes to the makeup of the nation’s undergraduate student body can spark fresh and impactful stories. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Soft Skills Training Teaches Electricians to Fix Fuses, Not Blow Them
Community colleges award budding trades workers badges in empathy

Sure, a plumber should be able to stop a leak or fix a toilet. Those job skills are essential, and easily measured.

But what about the rest of the equation — the people skills customers also want? How does an employer really know if an applicant has what it takes? Can’t there be a test or something?

Key Coverage

Promises Kept: How a Scholarship Program Is Serving as a Model for Community Change
Cory McCoy

A city of just 5,500 residents in East Texas might not be the first place people would think of when looking to pilot a program that could change the college landscape, but it’s happening in Rusk.

When the Rusk promise launched in 2014, it was the first community promise initiative in the state. In just five years, the results already are creating change in the community.

Key Coverage

An Unseen Victim of the College Admissions Scandal: The High School Tennis Champion Aced Out by a Billionaire Family

On a Monday morning in April 2017, students at Sage Hill School gathered in its artificial-turf quadrangle, known as the Town Square, to celebrate seniors who were heading to college as recruited athletes. The 10 honorees lined up behind an archway adorned with balloons. One by one, they stepped forward as their sports and destinations were announced. Patricia Merz, the head of the private high school in Newport Coast, California, placed a lei in the appropriate college’s colors around each student’s neck.

EWA Radio

Paul Tough on Why College Years ‘Matter Most’
New book offers deep dive into social mobility, inequality in higher education
(EWA Radio: Episode 218)

In his new book, “The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes Us or Breaks Us,” author Paul Tough looks at inequities in access to high-quality higher education, specifically, the opportunity to earn degrees that research says lead to high-paying jobs, social mobility, and according to some research, better health and a longer life.

Seminar

Education and the American Dream: Pathways From High School to College and Careers
Northwestern University • November 14-15, 2019

What will it take to make the U.S. education system a more powerful engine for economic mobility? What are the obstacles, especially for low-income families and students of color?

At this journalists-only seminar on Nov. 14-15 in Chicago, we will explore these and other questions, with a special focus on emerging efforts to create stronger pathways from high school to college and promising careers.

Key Coverage

Students Have an Uphill Battle to Degrees, But Montana Educators Push for Success

At Helena College, a 26-year-old student raising her daughter alone schedules class around her job at a grocery store. Stephanie Heitman’s paychecks were going toward unpaid medical bills until her small college helped with a grant.

When Tristin Bullshoe landed at the University of Montana after growing up in Browning, he struggled to pursue his dream of being a doctor. He landed in a college lecture hall with 300 people after graduating high school with a class of 12, and the Blackfeet student faced culture shock.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Redrawing the Map for Student Success

When Baltimore City Public Schools placed current education data on a map of the city’s historic racial redlining, it was apparent that not much had changed, as district CEO Sonja Brookins Santelises tells the story. The segregated neighborhoods created in part by policies that barred predominantly black communities from federally subsidized mortgages were the same neighborhoods that today showed lower academic outcomes.

Santelises said those findings motivated her district to take a closer look at what kind of opportunities it provides students.

EWA Radio

Can a State Help More Residents Finish College?
With 75 percent of the state’s jobs requiring postsecondary credentials, Colorado looks to boost college and career training
(EWA Radio: Episode 213)

Like many states, Colorado has set an ambitious goal for boosting the number of citizens with advanced degrees and credentials, all with an eye toward filling high-need jobs in areas like health care and manufacturing. In a five-part series, EWA Reporting Fellow Stephanie Daniel of KUNC (Northern Colorado Community Radio) looks at how the Rocky Mountain state is trying to do that:

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Word on the Beat: Adversity Score
What reporters need to know about the College Board's experimental "Environmental Context Dashboard"

The question of which students should win admission to selective colleges is so heated that it has sparked state legislation, discrimination lawsuits and a celebrity-studded bribery scandal. So news that the College Board had been providing admissions officers data on the kind of “adversity” to which applicants had been exposed couldn’t help but stir controversy.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

College Board Explains ‘Environmental Context Dashboard’
In this on-the-record interview, David Coleman objects to the term "adversity score."

In the midst of legal and political battles over preferences given to different kinds of college applicants, news broke that the College Board has been experimenting with providing college admissions officers with what some have called an “adversity score” for each applicant to, potentially, give admissions boosts to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Covering How ‘Varsity Blues’ Affects College Admissions
Experts suggest following up with investigations into large inequities and sports recruiting.

The “Varsity Blues” scandal involved a small group of wealthy families using bribes and other tactics to gain admissions to selective colleges. But it also illuminated broader admissions problems – particularly those involving income disparities – that should be examined by education reporters, according to experts who spoke at the 2019 Education Writers Association seminar in Baltimore.

Finalist

A College Degree More Than 15 Years in the Making
The Edwin Gould Foundation Eddie Prize

Entry Credit

  • Casey Parks, The New Yorker

About the Entry

This article for The New Yorker offers a searing portrait of Dorian Ford, a single mother determined to graduate from Grambling State University, even as the historically black college faces its own institutional challenges. The piece also looks at underlying factors, including institutional racism and the impact of the economic recession on Ford’s life decisions and opportunities.

EWA Radio

‘Operation Varsity Blues’: The Real Story Isn’t the Admissions Scandal.
How federal investigation of ‘side doors’ into elite colleges sheds light on larger inequities for underserved students
(EWA Radio: Episode 202)

Nearly 50 people, including 33 parents, have been indicted in what the U.S. Department of Justice is calling its largest-ever fraud investigation in college admissions. Looking beyond the celebrity-driven headlines on bribery and fraud allegations, how can education reporters seize the moment to examine the underlying societal and institutional factors that fuel admissions inequities in postsecondary admissions?

Stories You’re Missing on Transfer Students
Webinar

Stories You’re Missing on Transfer Students

More than 3.7 million college students—accounting for more than a third of the nation’s undergraduate student body—are expected to transfer this year. As the end of the semester approaches, many students will be facing spring deadlines to make the jump from campus to campus.

This EWA webinar offers the opportunity to learn about one of the most under-covered—but important and timely—aspects of college admissions.

Seminar

72nd EWA National Seminar
Baltimore • May 6-8, 2019

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This year’s event in Baltimore, hosted by Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education, will explore an array of timely topics of interest to journalists from across the country, with a thematic focus on student success, safety, and well-being.

EWA Radio

Higher Ed ‘Deserts’: Who Lives in Them, and Why it Matters
For millions of would-be college students, convenient and affordable degree programs are out of reach
(EWA Radio: Episode 179)

About seven in 10 undergraduates are “nontraditional” students, according to the U.S. Department of Education, meaning they delayed starting college, have a job or children, or are attending part-time. Meanwhile,, millions of would-be college students live in what some have dubbed higher ed “deserts” without easy or affordable access to postsecondary education.

Seminar

Higher Education Seminar Fall 2018
Las Vegas • UNLV • September 24-25, 2018

The Education Writers Association will hold its 2018 Higher Education Seminar Sept. 24-25 on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The theme of this year’s intensive training event for journalists will be “Navigating Rapid Change.” This journalist-only event will offer two days of high-impact learning opportunities. The seminar will focus on how both postsecondary education and journalism are adjusting to an increasingly divisive political environment, the decline of traditional revenue sources, and continuing technological innovations that are upending much of the economy.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Top Higher Ed Stories for the 2018-19 Academic Year
Politics is driving some of the hottest news stories on college campuses.

Some of the most pressing higher education stories for the next academic year will spring from the intersection of education and politics, predicts Scott Jaschik, the editor of Inside Higher Ed.

Jaschik reprised his always-popular rundown of the top higher education story ideas during the Education Writers Association’s National Seminar in May.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Hispanic, Latino, Latinx: How to Cover the Fastest-Growing Student Group

Hispanic students, who make up the second largest racial demographic in schools today, are entering college in record numbers. But they are also dropping out of college at a far higher rate than white students. That reality has important implications for our educational and economic systems and the reporters who cover them, according to a group of researchers and experts gathered at the 2018 Education Writers Association National Seminar.

image of Miami, Fla.
Seminar

Beyond the Numbers: Getting the Story on Latino Education
The Fifth Annual EWA Conference for Spanish-Language Media

The Education Writers Association is pleased to partner with NAHJ to offer a 1½-day institute on covering education at the NAHJ National Conference in Miami. The July 20-21 education coverage bootcamp, which will be held in Spanish,  will feature some of the most important and influential researchers and educational leaders in the field of Latino education. They will help journalists gain a better understanding of the education issues affecting Latino students in the U.S., such as the impacts of school choice, teacher demographics, and student loans. You’ll also get training on data sources that can help you buttress or generate  education stories.

Finalist

The Redemption and Rejection of Michelle Jones
Single-Topic News or Feature: General News Outlets, Print and Online (Large Staff)

2017 EWA Award Finalist Banner image

About the Entry

This profile by The Marshall Project for The New York Times explores how universities weighed an aspiring scholar’s potential against her past, raising questions about attitudes toward ex-inmates who have served their time. 

Entry Credit

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Word on the Beat: DACA

All eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court as it weighs whether to preserve an Obama-era program that protected undocumented youth and young adults from deportation. In this installment of Word on the Beat, we examine the history of the DACA program, its legacy, and the significant implications the pending legal ruling could have on students, families and schools from K-12 through higher education.

Word on the Beat: DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

EWA 71st National Seminar Los Angeles graphic
Seminar

71st EWA National Seminar
Los Angeles • May 16-18, 2018

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This multiday conference provides participants with top-notch training delivered through dozens of interactive sessions on covering education from early childhood through graduate school. Featuring prominent speakers, engaging campus visits, and plentiful networking opportunities, this must-attend conference provides participants with deeper understanding of the latest developments in education, a lengthy list of story ideas, and a toolbox of sharpened journalistic skills.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Getting Latino Students To and Through College

Michele Siqueiros recalled the day she arrived on a college campus.

“I thought I had arrived on another planet,” she told a recent gathering of journalists who attended the Education Writers Association’s fourth annual convening for Spanish-language media. “There were very few Latinos.”

Siqueiros, now the president of The Campaign for College Opportunity, a California nonprofit organization, said she was a straight A student in high school, but in college “I felt for the first time I wasn’t prepared.”

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Do Affirmative Action Policies Harm Asian-American College Admissions?

The often secretive and arbitrary-seeming acceptance and rejection decisions by elite colleges have long sparked controversy and, thus, news stories.

But new complaints by high-achieving students of Asian descent are raising questions about a kind of racism that may well be surprising to most Americans, as well as challenges to long-standing affirmative action policies, according to a panel of admissions experts who spoke at the Education Writers Association’s Higher Education conference Oct. 2-3.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Covering the New Reality of Adult Learners at College
Non-traditional students account for almost half of undergraduates.

In the last year, newspapers published more than 100 stories focused on admissions to Harvard University, an institution with fewer than 7,000 undergraduates.

Meanwhile, a Nexis search over the same time period turns up fewer than 50 articles using the phrase “adult undergraduates.” The U.S. has 7.6 million undergraduates aged at least 22 - more than 1,000 times Harvard’s enrollment. These older students account for fully 44 percent of the population on the nation’s college campuses.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Nine of the Hottest Stories on the Higher Ed Beat This Year

Campus racial conflicts, sports corruption scandals, and a new partisan divide over the perceived benefits of college are among the biggest potential storylines for journalists covering higher education these days, according to Inside Higher Ed co-founder and editor Scott Jaschik.

Seminar

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

From heated debates over free speech to the Trump administration’s threats to deport undocumented students, these are tense times on college campuses. For reporters who cover higher education, questions abound and important stories need to be told. 

On Oct. 2-3, EWA will bring together journalists at Georgia State University in Atlanta to explore pressing issues in education after high school. (Here’s the preliminary agenda.) At this journalist-only seminar you will hear:

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Trump Urged to Renew Advisory Panel on Improving Education for Hispanics

For nearly three decades, a White House commission created to help boost Hispanic student achievement has advised four presidents and their secretaries of education. The advisory panel, however, is set to expire on Sept. 30 unless President Donald Trump issues an executive order to keep it going, according to Patricia Gándara, a commission member who is rallying to preserve it.

Agenda

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

Monday, October 2, 2017

9:45– 11:30 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.

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.  

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.

"Interviewing DREAMers" panel at EWA's 2016 National Seminar in Boston
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

More Efforts Proposed in Congress to Help Undocumented Youth

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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

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

Source: Flickr/ via COD Newsroom ( CC BY 2.0)
Blog: Higher Ed Beat

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

“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.

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
Blog: Higher Ed Beat

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

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.

Pixabay/Karsten Paulick
EWA Radio

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

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.

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
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Ensuring College Readiness and Success for Latino Students

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.

By Bjoertvedt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Blog: Higher Ed Beat

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

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?

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).

Flickr/Salvation Army USA West (CC BY 2.0)
Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Higher Ed: Hunger on Campus

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.

Source: Flickr/ via Alan Light (CC BY 2.0)
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Report: Latino Graduation Rates Highest at Selective Institutions

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. 

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

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

“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.

Flickr/Wayne Stadler
EWA Radio

Competitive College Admissions: Too Much Hype?

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?

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
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

‘Lives in Limbo’: Supporting Undocumented Students

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.

Source: Bigstock
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Wanted: Faculty Who Can Mentor Latino Students

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. 

Source: Flickr/ via Miran Rijavec (CC BY 2.0)
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Marijuana Tax to Fund Scholarships for Latinos

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. 

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

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

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.

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

SAT Makes Bid to Better Serve Poor Kids

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.

New Developments in College Admissions Testing
Multimedia

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

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.

Source: Flickr/ via HackNY.org (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

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

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. 

Bigstock
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Report Connects Student Debt to ‘Structural Racism’

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.

Flickr/Johnathan Nightingale
EWA Radio

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

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: The Educated Reporter

EWA Radio: Here Are Your Favorites of 2015

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:

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)
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Cafécolleges Offer Unique Approach to Higher Ed Help

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
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)
Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Saving on College by Doing Some of It in High School

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.

(Bigstock/michaeljung)
Webinar

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

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.

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
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Their Roles in Higher Ed

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.

Source: Bigstock
Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How Community Colleges Are Helping Transfer Students

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.

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)
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

White House Celebrates Hispanic Education During Heritage Month

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. 

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)
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

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

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. 

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Blog: The Educated Reporter

CNN Debate Aside, Ed. Finds Way Into Presidential Race

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.