I recently had the opportunity to represent NACAC at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE). Since 1988, this annual conference has served as the premier forum for members of the higher education community to discuss and work to create college campuses that are more equitable, accessible, and anti-racist.
NCORE was an incredibly valuable professional development opportunity. My participation in this conference helped affirm the importance of some of the work already underway at NACAC and sparked ideas for new avenues for advocacy. Here are some of the things that have kept me thinking in the weeks that have passed since the conference concluded.
When I learned of the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) in 2011, I immediately decided to go. There, I was amazed to see various departments such as academic affairs, multicultural affairs, housing, and development represented. However, I saw very few people from college admission counseling and enrollment management.
By 2014, I decided to do something to change that. That year, I founded NCORE’s Enrollment Management Professionals Caucus (EMPC) — a convening of faculty and staff who work with students at the intersection of high school and higher education and/or help to manage enrollment at colleges and universities, including those who work in admission, financial aid, registrar, and college counseling, among other departments.
Celebrating our members and their accomplishments is a highlight of our work at NACAC. From receiving awards to landing new jobs, NACAC members gave us a lot to cheer for in the second quarter of 2019.
Undocumented status can add an additional challenge into the already complex college application process.
“For undocumented students, there are so many barriers to pursuing higher education: an unstable political climate, a lack of clarity around university policies, the cost of attendance and less access to financial aid, and concerns about travel and safety, to name a few,” said Jessica Ch’ng, senior assistant director, multicultural recruitment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
To work toward breaking down these barriers, Ch’ng used a NACAC Imagine Fund grant.
We’ll be broadcasting via Facebook Live on Tuesday, July 9 with Brian Coleman, this year’s Guiding the Way to Inclusion keynote speaker.
An eloquent and enthusiastic advocate for college counseling, Coleman is a school counselor and counseling department chair at Jones College Prep in Chicago, IL. He was named the 2019 School Counselor of the Year and was also this year’s recipient of the Upstander Award from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
New policy guidance issued last month by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed that Form I-20 must be issued directly to a student, not a recruiter or agent.
The form—which serves as an individual’s Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status—is supplied to international students who have been accepted for enrollment at a US educational institution certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
Financial aid offers play a big role in the college decision for admitted students.
But these offers are often confusing and award letters vary wildly, leaving students to make one of their first major life decisions without access to clear information.
“I think anyone who’s worked with students is just like, ‘No, no, no, no, no. What a mess,’ ” Rachel Fishman, a researcher with New America, told NPR. “It’s really the Wild West when it comes to how these letters look.”
As a high school college counselor, I should be enjoying a relaxing summer, but my work is far from over. My summer days are dedicated to making calls to every graduating senior to ensure deadlines are being met, deposits are being paid, and orientations are being attended. And that doesn’t end after the student starts college.
Today, graduates of KIPP high schools complete college at a rate of 45 percent, that is four times the national average of 11 percent for students from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. We accomplish this through detailed check-ins with our college students and maintaining a lower student-to-counselor ratio (roughly 100-to-1 versus 482-to-1 nationwide).
Imagine if every student had access to this level of intensive college counseling, then our college completion rates would improve. Today only one out of 10 students from low-income families earn a bachelor’s degree. The KIPP Foundation is urging Congress to prioritize college counseling nationwide and make it a priority in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. We recommend creating a federal grant program intended to increase the number of college counselors in public schools, adopt proven evidence-based counseling practices, and track results.