Supporting All Students: First-Gen Student-Turned-Prof Offers Tips

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David Hernández is an assistant professor of Latino/a studies at Mount Holyoke College. But before joining academia, he was a first-generation university student.

Having experienced university life from two perspectives, Hernández recently reflected on what would have helped make college more accessible to him the first time around.

He wrote a personal essay featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education that shares his experience as an 18-year-old and asks, “What could today’s universities and colleges do differently for a student like me?”

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#nacac17: 10 Ways to Make the Most out of the Exhibit Hall

If Boston is your very first NACAC conference, that’s wicked good news! There is so much to love about this city and this conference. But with that, I’m sure that there are lots of questions and planning and “what do I do” floating around your mind.

I can assure you that you will find that the NACAC conference is one of the best of the year in our industry! Sessions, coordination, content, and venues all play a part in that. But, above all else, it’s the people.

This year will be my (gulp) 17th NACAC conference. And one thing I’ve gotten to know well is the exhibit hall.

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News Update: Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

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A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finds that many qualified student borrowers have been delayed, or even denied, access to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

The program, a Department of Education initiative, allows borrowers to have their federal student loans forgiven after making 120 eligible payments over the course of 10 years  working in eligible public service careers.

Yet despite meeting all eligibility requirements, the CFPB found that some borrowers have spent years paying into the program without receiving their promised loan relief.

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Campus Differences Matter in the College Search

Courtesy of Barbara T. Conner

Editor’s note: A version of this post originally appeared on Admitted in June 2016. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.

After visiting a few college campuses, most people begin to think that they are all alike — and in some ways they are right. Most colleges offer students a variety of factors that seem similar: rigorous academics, varied social activities, and meaningful ways to connect with the community.

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4 Ways College Counselors Can Increase Access for Underrepresented Students

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Diversity on campus strengthens our colleges and our country.

Yet a large number of qualified students from low-income and minority populations are still underrepresented in American higher education due to inadequate access to college advising resources.

Continue reading 4 Ways College Counselors Can Increase Access for Underrepresented Students

Reflections on Diversity in Higher Education and the Consideration of Race in Admission Decisions

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Editor’s Note: This column was first published by Education Counsel.

The New York Times  recently reported that the US Department of Justice [DoJ] released an internal document indicating action with respect to “a new project on ‘investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.’”

The DoJ responded with indications that its effort was aimed at one case on behalf of Asian-American students — a position, according to the Times, that was greeted with some skepticism by others. While there is much more to learn about the Department’s planned action, we should take this opportunity to reflect on the fact that time-tested, common sense principles derived from settled federal law continue to inform the work of higher education institutions today, just as they did last week…and last year.

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College Coaches Use Social Media to Vet Recruits

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Editor’s note: A version of this post originally appeared on Admitted in June 2016. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.

Hoping to play sports in college? Make sure your social media accounts send the right message to recruiters.

“Right or wrong, most college coaches will assume that how you act on social media will be how you act on campus,” according to a recent USA Today column by Fred Bastie. “For that reason, your actions and behavior on social media in high school are critical if you expect to play in college.”

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Private Colleges Propose Tuition Reduction Strategy

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What if America’s private colleges could stop their annual increases in tuition or even drop their prices down?

The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) has an idea it says would do just that.

NAICU has recommended that Congress give private, nonprofit colleges a temporary anti-trust exemption for the purposes of promoting affordability.

Current laws ban discussion about prices and discounts — including student aid — among competitors in any industry. NAICU says that this has led to a vicious cycle of ongoing tuition inflation and has forced private colleges to offer larger and larger discounts on the sticker price to stay competitive.

They believe that if schools could talk to one another, they could end this cycle and start targeting financial aid to the students who need it most. The thinking is that if everyone made the decision to collectively lower tuition, then no college would feel like it “lost” because it wasn’t offering the huge discounts that are currently available to counter price inflation.

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ICYMI: NACAC President Responds to Trump Administration’s Reported Plan to Challenge Affirmative Action

NACAC President Nancy Beane

NACAC President Nancy T. Beane responded Wednesday to media reports suggesting the Trump administration is considering legal action against colleges and universities with race-conscious admission policies.

In a statement released to the press, Beane noted that the Supreme Court upheld in 2016  the right of colleges to consider a student’s race or ethnicity as one factor when making admission decisions.

“By disregarding the Fisher ruling, the administration and Justice Department would frustrate efforts to improve educational opportunity, and would erode respect for diversity in higher education,” she said. “This initiative would be a serious challenge to the critical work of improving college access and success for all students.”

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Real Talk: Discuss Diversity, Bias, and Cultural Fluency at #nacac17

It’s human nature: Difficult conversations are often the easiest ones to avoid.

Yet when it comes to discussions surrounding diversity, bias, and cultural fluency, educators owe it to themselves and the students they serve to tune in.

Next month, attendees at NACAC’s national conference in Boston will have the opportunity to do just that. Two interactive Real Talk sessions—one addressing workplace issues, the other focused on the needs of students and families—will be facilitated by Lisa D. Walker, former director of Cross Cultural Student Development at the University of California-Berkeley.

“Good conversation and effective dialogue can inspire us to change individually and collectively,” Walker told Admitted. “In my experience, those changes often start small but can gain momentum over time.”

Continue reading Real Talk: Discuss Diversity, Bias, and Cultural Fluency at #nacac17