Category Archives: Access

Nontraditional Students Now the Norm on College Campuses

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Still using the term nontraditional students?

Researcher Alexandria Walton Radford told NPR this week that it’s time for the name to go.

“What we think of as nontraditional is really the majority of students now,” said Walton Radford, who leads postsecondary research at RTI International, a think tank based in North Carolina.

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Member View: Simple Changes Can Ease the College Transition for First-Gen Students

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Heading off to college can be an anxiety-ridden process for all teens, but first-generation and low-income students experience “a whole different level of stress,” NACAC member Andrew Moe wrote in a recent op-ed for the Hechinger Report.

As a result, such students are far more likely than their peers to “melt” — a term used to describe the phenomenon of students who enroll in college but fail to show up in the fall.

“They think there aren’t any other students on campus who are the first people in their families to go to college. But there are,” wrote Moe, associate dean of admissions and director of access at Swarthmore College (PA). “And it’s our job as educators to ensure that first-generation students don’t feel alone, and that they have the necessary support during this tough transition—from high school applicant to college graduate.”

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Common App Removes Criminal History Question

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The Common Application announced it will no longer ask students about their criminal history, a big win for “ban the box” advocates.

Common App’s announcement is a shift in policy. The question has been asked since 2006. Common App last reviewed the policy in March 2017 and decided to keep the question.

“Our focus is always on serving the needs of members, students, and counselors. We believe this change provides members with the greatest flexibility and is most responsive to the evolving landscape around this issue. As the conversation around criminal history continues, we will keep monitoring it to ensure we support the needs of our membership,” Common App President and CEO Jenny Rickard wrote in the announcement of the new policy.

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Campus Work Programs Could Help Expand Access

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

On-campus jobs aren’t optional at Berea College (KY).

Students at the NACAC member institution work 10 to 15 hours a week in approved positions either at the college or within the surrounding community.

The requirement has been part of the Berea’s formal educational program since 1906, and college president Lyle Roelofs thinks more institutions should consider the model as a way to address the growing challenges of access and affordability.

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Textbook Costs Dropping Thanks to Digital Resources

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College students are paying less for class materials, thanks in part to the success of OpenStax – an organization that provides free textbooks and digital resources.

The nonprofit, started six years ago by Rice University (TX), serves more than 2.2 million students, according to a recent article in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Nearly half of all US colleges currently use the service, which offers 29 free textbooks for college and Advanced Placement classes.

And for the first time in five decades, average textbook costs are decreasing, according to recent data analyzed by the National Center of Education Statistics.

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New Guaranteed Admission Program Will Offer More Choices to California’s Community College Students

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Community college students in California now have even more options when planning their path to a four-year degree.

The Board of Governors that oversees the state’s community colleges approved a plan last month that offers guaranteed admission to students who take specific community college courses geared toward their intended four-year major.

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$125K Prize Launched to Promote College and Vocational Success

Does your organization help low-income youth access and complete college or vocational degrees?

You may be eligible for financial support to help you reach more students.

The Evergreen National Education Prize—launched by The Greenwald Family Foundation in conjunction with the Nudge4 Solutions Lab at the University of Virginia—will award $125,000 to an organization that can demonstrate evidence of increasing college or vocational success for low-income students and that has a plan to scale its program’s impact.

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‘Verification Melt’ Keeps Students from College Dreams

A little over half of all students who were eligible for the Pell Grant were selected for verification in 2015-16.

The procedure, which requires students to submit additional paperwork to prove their income, inserts an extra step into the financial aid process. And in an op-ed published by The Hill this week, Justin Draeger—president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators—voiced concerns that verification keeps some students from attending college.

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