IHEP Launches #CollegeNotPrison Campaign

ihepvideoA new public awareness campaign seeks to bring attention to the financial aid barriers justice-involved youth face when pursuing higher education.

#CollegeNotPrison — a initiative of The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) — made a splash on social media this week with a short video sharing the story of Alton Pitre.

As a teen, Pitre was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. He spent nearly two years behind bars before the charges were dropped and the case was dismissed.

Pitre, now a senior at Morehouse College (GA), is an advocate for criminal justice reform. He also speaks out about the need to make college affordable for more young people. In the video, Pitre, 25, notes that while a college education offers great long-term rewards, cost keeps many young people from completing a degree.

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Parental Expectations That Are Too High Can Harm Students, Researchers Say

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Editor’s note:  A version of this post was first appeared on Admitted in 2015.

Parental expectations that are too high can end up undermining student success in the classroom, research shows.

The findings, published in 2015, are derived from a five-year study of more than 3,500 middle and high school students in Germany.

Researchers examined the results of annual math tests given to students. They also asked parents to list the grades they hoped their children would earn, as well as the grades they thought their children could reasonably obtain.

The study showed that while realistic expectations helped kids perform well, unrealistically high expectations harmed student achievement.

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Smarter Balanced Explores College Admission Testing

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Could a new college admission exam be on the horizon?

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is testing the waters, according to a recent blog post published by Education Week.

The consortium — representing 15 states — oversees an online assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards. But the group is apparently looking to expand its offerings.

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Survey: Applications from International Students Decrease Amid Perceptions that US is Less Welcoming

intlreportNearly four in 10 colleges have seen drops in applications from international students, and recruitment officials report that families are exhibiting “a great deal of concern” about how their students will be treated in the US, according to early findings from a recent survey of more than 250 US colleges and universities.

The survey — conducted last month by AACRAO in cooperation with NACAC, International ACAC, and three other higher education associations — shows that 39 percent of respondents reported an overall drop in international applications for fall 2017, with the highest number of institutions reporting declines in applications from the Middle East.

Institutions also reported drops in applications from students in India and China. Currently, those two countries are home to nearly half of all international students studying in the US.

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Out-of-Service: IRS Data Retrieval Tool Unavailable to FAFSA Filers

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The IRS Data Retrieval Tool that many students use to complete their FAFSA is currently unavailable, and officials estimate it will be several weeks before it is back up and running.

Representatives from the IRS and the Office of Federal Student Aid said Thursday that they decided to suspend the service out of concern that it could be misused by identity thieves.

Although FAFSA applicants still have the option to enter income information manually, college access advocates are concerned that students and families who can’t access the tool will face more complications in their quest to access federal student aid.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool, introduced in the 2010-11 school year, helps speed up the application process and reduces the potential that a student’s FAFSA will be flagged for verification — a process that can delay the awarding of financial aid packages.

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Breaking Down Barriers: New White Paper Examines Racial Equity in Higher Ed

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Coalition building and collaboration at the federal level may help lead the charge for equity-centered admission and higher education policies.

That assessment was shared last month by panelists and attendees at a Washington, DC, event marking the release of a new white paper examining racial equity and barriers to postsecondary education for minority students.

The paper was released by the Young Invincibles, a bipartisan nonprofit focused on the needs of young people ages 18-34. Through policy research and analysis, the organization advocates for a broad range of policy priorities, including access to postsecondary education — a crucial element for this age group.

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Etiquette Advice for Students Facing Questions about College

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Editor’s note: A version of this post was first published on Admitted in March 2016.

What are your plans for next year?

It’s a query that college-bound seniors across the country will be asked a multitude of times in the weeks and months ahead.

But what happens when the questions become overwhelming? Last year the hosts of Awesome Etiquette — a podcast produced by American Public Media — discussed polite ways to deflect overly intrusive college admission questions.

The topic was raised by high school senior Amy Mercedes, who asked show hosts Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning how she should respond to questions from adults and peers about her college list, grade point average, college essay, and SAT scores.

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NACAC Members Meet with Congressional Leaders

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Southern ACAC and International ACAC leaders, from left: Amanda Lopez, Poinciana High School (FL); Myra Simpson, Oak Hall School (FL); Johanna Fishbein, United World College of South East Asia — Dover (Singapore); and Juan-Camilo Tamayo, JCT4Education (FL).

More than 130 NACAC members traveled to Capitol Hill on Monday to meet with members of Congress.

Their goal? To discuss issues important to students, families, and admission professionals across the country.

The visits with Congressional leaders are part of NACAC’s annual advocacy meeting, which brings together members from both sides of the desk to advocate on behalf of students.

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Shared Mission: Common App Lends Support to National College Fairs

Photo by Chuck Fazio
Photo by Chuck Fazio

Exploring college majors. Visiting with admission counselors. And, of course, seeing firsthand the wide variety of postsecondary options available.

A trip to a National College Fair (NCF) is a great way for teens to jumpstart the college search and selection process. And with more than 90 fairs offered each year throughout the nation, the program also serves as an invaluable outreach tool — encouraging all students to dream big.

For more than 40 years, that mission has driven the NCF program — which kicked off its spring season last month.

Aba Blankson, senior director for marketing and communications with The Common App, talked with Admitted about her organization’s role supporting the Greater Washington DC National College Fair.

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