Category Archives: Access

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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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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