All posts by Mary Stegmeir

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

FAFSA Applications Decline Amid Pandemic

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School closures and the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus propelled a decrease in FAFSA applications nationally, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal data.

As of mid-June, 70,000 fewer students had filed for federal aid compared to the same time period in 2019. The decline represents a 3.7 percent drop overall.

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Colleges Find Creative Ways to Celebrate Pride Month

Pride parades planned across the country this month were canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, but colleges are finding creative ways to celebrate.

LGBTQ-themed Netflix watch parties, online drag shows, and shoebox parade floats are among activities organized to keep students engaged and supported.

“There are a lot of people who are going to be coming here — either physically or online — in the fall, and they need to know there is an active community here for them, that there is support,” Frances Johnson, coordinator of the LGBTQ+ Pride Center at Texas A&M University, told Diverse. “Going to college is scary enough, but when you’re queer or from small (town) Texas or from come of these smaller areas, (college) may be your opportunity to come out…It’s about that representation and visibility.”

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Thinking about a Gap Year? Consider the Research!

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With the coronavirus pandemic raising doubts about the feasibility of in-person classes next year, a growing number of high school grads are considering taking a gap year.

But what should families know about this option? Education reporter Elissa Nadworny recently shared some important insights with National Public Radio listeners.

“Research has shown that those who do a gap year—so that’s (a) specific time away with a clear enrollment plan—they do really well when they get to college. They tend to be whiter and wealthier and have highly educated parents,” Nadworny said in a segment that aired earlier this month. “At the same time, we know that for many students, when they simply delay enrollment or they put off college to work to save money, the longer they wait, the harder it is to get a degree. And that’s especially true for low-income students.”

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Essay: Community College Students Hit Hard by Pandemic

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Colleges continued to offer online coursework this spring amid the coronavirus pandemic, but one educator says the “new normal” unfairly disadvantaged her students at MiraCosta College.

The two-year school is part of the California Community College District, and sociology instructor Kat Soto-Gomez said shifting learning online – particularly during a time of economic turmoil – hastened student attrition.

Her Ed Surge essay highlights the challenges low-income students face during the coronavirus pandemic. As one student told her after falling behind on his coursework: “I didn’t realize I would be deemed an ‘essential worker’ working at The Home Depot.”

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Study: Students Exposed to Police Violence are Less Likely to Graduate from High School, Enroll in College

New research confirms what many school counselors have witnessed firsthand: Black and Hispanic students who live near police killings experience significant negative impacts to their educational and emotional well-being.

Those findings are included in a working paper published this week by Desmond Ang, an assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School (MA).

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Students Turn to In-State Colleges Amid the Pandemic

Will incoming college freshmen opt to stay closer to home this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic?

Early enrollment data from a handful of US colleges suggests that may the case.

According to a recent article from the Associated Press (AP), commitments from in-state students have increased by 26 percent at the University of Texas at Arlington, 20 percent at The Ohio State University, and 15 percent at Michigan State University.

“Students want to be closer to home in case an outbreak again forces classes online,” the article notes. “Some are choosing nearby schools where they’re charged lower rates as state residents.”

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Study: Black Students Face Racist Actions 5 Times a Day

New research shines a spotlight on the extent to which black teens experience racism and explores how those experiences impact mental health.

A small study of 101 students from Washington, DC, found that black teens, on average, encounter racism and discrimination five times a day. Students who faced the most severe incidents of racism were more likely to experience depression.

The study, led by Devin English of Rutgers University (NJ), was published in the January-February issue of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.

Science News for Students examined the findings and interviewed English for a recent article aimed at helping all teens recognize and address racism. In easy-to-understand language, the article explains why the onslaught of discrimination faced by black students is so damaging and offers white students advice for becoming antiracist.

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Higher Ed: Pandemic’s Effects Will Be Felt for Years to Come

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Disruptions caused by the coronavirus will likely lengthen the time students take to earn a college degree, education experts say. And the effects will be felt most acutely by low-income and first-generation students.

“This could add a year or two easily to a student’s time to degree,” Kristen Renn, an education professor at Michigan State University, told The Hechinger Report.

Continue reading Higher Ed: Pandemic’s Effects Will Be Felt for Years to Come