Category Archives: Access

Department of Education Simplifies FAFSA Verification Process

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The Department of Education recently announced changes to FAFSA verification aimed to help make the process less burdensome.

In lieu of IRS tax return transcripts and verification of non-filing forms, the guidance allows institutions to accept copies of signed income tax returns and written statements of non-filing from students who are selected for FAFSA verification. The changes are effective immediately and apply to both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 cycles.

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Tennessee Weighs Next Steps in College Completion Campaign

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Tennessee is considered a national leader when it comes to college access.

The Tennessee Promise program offers high school grads two years of free community college. Meanwhile, Tennessee Reconnect provides tuition-free avenues for adults who want to return to school or are just starting their college journey.

Yet despite the wide-array of offerings, degree attainment across the state is uneven. A new analysis of public data published by The Tennessean offers insight into some of the factors impeding wider progress.

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#NACACreads: Read an Excerpt from ‘Breakaway Learners’

The students we serve are changing.

Are you?

Karen Gross, who spent eight years as president of Southern Vermont College, poses that question in Breakaway Learners — a book we’ll discuss during our next #NACACreads chat.

“Many of today’s students are the first in their families to attend college, let alone graduate; many are immigrants; many are low income,” writes Gross, who will join us for an hour-long Twitter discussion on Dec. 12. “Many have experienced trauma or toxic stress.”

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New Report Highlights Changes to Rural Education

Like many other segments of society, small towns in the United States are changing.

Today, roughly one out of every five residents in rural America identifies as Latino. Between 2000 and 2009 alone, rural schools saw a 150 percent increase in enrollment of Latino students, according to a recent report from the Center for Public Education (CPE).

“As rural areas become increasingly diverse, it becomes more important to examine how this trend may change student needs,” according to report author Megan Lavalley, a CPE research analyst.

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#NACACreads: Join Us for a Discussion of ‘Breakaway Learners’

Building a freshman class has never been an easy proposition.

But attracting and retaining students today requires admission professionals and their university colleagues to possess a different set of skills than in the past.

“At the most basic level, the students of today and tomorrow are not the students of yesterday or yesteryear,” author Karen Gross writes in Breakaway Learners. “…Many of today’s students are the first in their families to attend college, let alone graduate; many are immigrants; many are low income. Many have experienced trauma or toxic stress.”

The book — now available in paperback and electronic format — will be the subject of our next #NACACreads discussion. The hour-long Twitter chat will kick off at 9 p.m. ET on Dec. 12.

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University’s Commitment to Transfer Students Pays Off

Students walk to class on the University of Central Florida campus. (iStock)

Transfer students are an important part of the University of Central Florida.

In fact, in recent years, the institution has welcomed more transfer students in its incoming class than first-year freshmen — and in the process has created what some consider a national model of excellence while increasing access for underrepresented students.

“We’ve always been concerned with the success of every student, but as our numbers started to increase with transfer students, we really started to focus heavily on how we could work with our transfer population to make them as successful as possible,” said Jennifer Sumner, a UCF administrator.

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ICYMI: New Research-to-Practice Brief Addresses College Access for Rural Students

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Nearly half of America’s school districts are located in rural areas, yet the unique needs of these students are too often overlooked in the college search and selection process.

While family income, parental educational attainment, and prior academic achievement all play a role in limiting college access, systemic constraints also come into play – resulting in lower rates of college attendance for rural students when compared to their urban and suburban peers.

One such barrier? Poverty due to the loss of economic opportunities.

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Minnesota Launches Effort to Reconnect with Adult Learners

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A new pilot program is encouraging adult learners in Minnesota to restart their college careers.

MN Reconnect aims to help those with prior credits re-engage with higher education at four community colleges located throughout the state.

The goal? To increase the number of Minnesotans holding degrees by making college more accessible for adults.

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Upcoming Webinar Addresses Race-Conscious Admission Policies

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What policies and practices are most effective when it comes to race-conscious admission? And how do recent lawsuits — including the ongoing Harvard case — affect the ability of colleges to promote diversity?

An Oct. 24 webinar hosted by the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) will address those questions and more. The two-hour program is aimed at university counsel who advise institutions, but is also open to admission professionals and others who are involved in student enrollment and retention. The webinar is presented in cooperation with NACAC.

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Keeping Culture at the Center: Native Students Succeed When Curriculum Affirms Their Identity

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The statistics are stark when it comes to college access and success for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

On some reservations, the college-going rate for high school grads is as low as 18 percent, according to data from the American Indian College Fund. And US Census Bureau data shows that only 14 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives hold college degrees.

Yet when given support and curriculum that affirms their culture, Native students excel, Carrie Billy, president and CEO of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), told attendees Thursday at NACAC’s 74th National Conference in Salt Lake City.

“A lot of our students don’t know who they are,” she said. “They’ve been through the K-12 system — a lot of them on reservations — and still haven’t learned their culture and their identity.”

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