The needs of Native American students are too often overlooked in all phases of higher education— including the admission process, according to a recent research project from the American Indian College Fund.
“(I)nvisibility is in essence the modern form of racism used against Native Americans…when a student is invisible, his or her academic needs are not met,” according to a recent executive brief produced by the College Fund, the largest US charity supporting Native student access to higher education.
As a result, many Native students are dissuaded from considering postsecondary education. And when American Indian students do try to access higher ed, they often are left feeling unwelcome and alone. Sometimes, they are even the target of hostility, as was the case in May 2018 when two brothers from the Mohawk Nation were removed from a Colorado State University campus tour after a mother on the tour became suspicious of their motives.
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.
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.
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.
Nasim Mohammadzadeh is ahead of the game when it comes to financing her college education.
The Kentucky teen’s entry in NACAC’s 2019 Video Essay Contest earned her a $1,000 scholarship — money that will soon come in handy as she works to pursue an undergraduate degree in neuroscience or biology.
“It really lifts a burden off of me as a whole because, you know, looking at that big number, that tuition cost, for any college…it’s overwhelming,” Mohammadzadeh, a rising senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, said Tuesday during a Facebook Live broadcast.“…Having this scholarship gives me motivation that even if I get into some place that’s extremely expensive and out of my price range, this little scholarship is going to help me be able to achieve that dream and go to that university.”
Colleges and universities are making strides in gender inclusivity, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Ten years ago, the University of Vermont became the first school in the US to allow students to self-identify their pronouns and to include it in their student data.
Now, according to the Campus Pride Trans Policy Clearinghouse, 255 colleges enable students to use a chosen first name, instead of their legal name, on campus records and documents; 60 colleges enable students to change the gender on their campus records without evidence of medical intervention; and 19 colleges enable students to indicate the pronouns they use for themselves on course rosters.