Category Archives: Access

Student View: Changes Needed to Support College Applicants with Disabilities

iStock
iStock

Colleges must do more to provide and improve accommodations for students with disabilities, grad student Valerie Piro wrote in a recent essay published by Inside Higher Ed.

Piro, who uses a wheelchair and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, highlighted the challenges she faced when touring colleges as a high school student.

At one university, she had to use a makeshift wooden ramp to navigate a short flight of stairs. At another school, her prospective residence hall was located at the bottom of a steep hill and the college’s dorm rooms were much too small to accommodate her physical therapy equipment.

“Physical space and a well-functioning infrastructure on a campus cannot be overlooked, especially when one has a disability,” wrote Piro, who is paralyzed from the chest down. “What better way to tell a wheelchair user that they don’t belong at a college or university than by strewing the campus with stairs, broken help buttons, and pitiful excuses for ramps?”

Continue reading Student View: Changes Needed to Support College Applicants with Disabilities

Out-of-Service: IRS Data Retrieval Tool Unavailable to FAFSA Filers

iStock
iStock

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool that many students use to complete their FAFSA is currently unavailable, and officials estimate it will be several weeks before it is back up and running.

Representatives from the IRS and the Office of Federal Student Aid said Thursday that they decided to suspend the service out of concern that it could be misused by identity thieves.

Although FAFSA applicants still have the option to enter income information manually, college access advocates are concerned that students and families who can’t access the tool will face more complications in their quest to access federal student aid.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool, introduced in the 2010-11 school year, helps speed up the application process and reduces the potential that a student’s FAFSA will be flagged for verification — a process that can delay the awarding of financial aid packages.

Continue reading Out-of-Service: IRS Data Retrieval Tool Unavailable to FAFSA Filers

Breaking Down Barriers: New White Paper Examines Racial Equity in Higher Ed

iStock
iStock

Coalition building and collaboration at the federal level may help lead the charge for equity-centered admission and higher education policies.

That assessment was shared last month by panelists and attendees at a Washington, DC, event marking the release of a new white paper examining racial equity and barriers to postsecondary education for minority students.

The paper was released by the Young Invincibles, a bipartisan nonprofit focused on the needs of young people ages 18-34. Through policy research and analysis, the organization advocates for a broad range of policy priorities, including access to postsecondary education — a crucial element for this age group.

Continue reading Breaking Down Barriers: New White Paper Examines Racial Equity in Higher Ed

ICYMI: NACAC Advocates for Transgender Students

NACAC CEO Joyce Smith expressed strong opposition last week to the Trump administration’s decision to roll back federal protections that allow students to use the school bathroom that reflects their gender identity.

The move directly conflicts with NACAC’s Statement of Principles of Good Practice, which states that member organizations and individuals must “strive to eliminate bias within the education system based on ethnicity, creed, gender, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, national origin, and disability.”

Continue reading ICYMI: NACAC Advocates for Transgender Students

Report: Many Community College Students Struggle Financially

iStock
iStock

The majority of community college students live paycheck to paycheck, and nearly half say a lack of finances could cause them to leave school, national survey results show.

The findings — included in a new report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCSE) — underscores the role finances play in educational attainment.

Continue reading Report: Many Community College Students Struggle Financially

Students and Counselors Make the Case for a Streamlined FAFSA

istock
iStock

Educators, advocates, Hill staffers, and students gathered in Washington, DC, earlier this month to learn more about efforts by the National College Access Network (NCAN) to simplify the Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA).

The overarching goal of this new streamlined FAFSA is simple — stop making low-income students repeatedly prove that they are low-income. The NCAN report, Half the FASFA: Cutting the Red Tape to Postsecondary Aid, includes three potential pathways to shorten the FAFSA.

For example, on one track, once a student has confirmed that their family earns a means-tested benefit such as SNAP (food assistance) or TANF (cash assistance), they are automatically sent to the signature portion of the form.

Continue reading Students and Counselors Make the Case for a Streamlined FAFSA

Utah Pilot Program Would Expand Housing Options for Low-Income Students

iStock
iStock

Lawmakers in Utah are considering a pilot program to help low-income college students secure housing that’s both convenient and affordable.

The bill — sponsored by Republican state Rep. Mike Winder — would provide eligible students with a place to live near their college campus.

Residents would not have to dip into student loan funds to pay for housing. Instead the program would be largely supported by public funds and private donors.

Continue reading Utah Pilot Program Would Expand Housing Options for Low-Income Students

Spread the Word: School Counselors Positively Impact College Access

hsls_twitpic_7fafsa

Need another reason to celebrate National School Counseling Week?

A recent NACAC study confirmed that students who meet one-on-one with a school counselor are significantly more likely to attend college and apply for federal financial aid.

Continue reading Spread the Word: School Counselors Positively Impact College Access

News Roundup: Colleges and Communities Respond to Immigration Order

wapo-video

The effects of President Donald Trump’s most recent executive order are already being felt at high schools and colleges across the country.

The action temporarily bans individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US or obtaining visas, including F-1 and J-1 student visas.

The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and other media are closely monitoring this developing story. The coverage below explores  the order’s effect on students, scholars, and communities.

Continue reading News Roundup: Colleges and Communities Respond to Immigration Order

ICYMI: NACAC Responds to Immigration Order

NACAC President Nancy Beane sent the following message to members today:

Dear Colleagues,

This past Friday’s executive order restricting immigration has shaken the admission profession and the institutions we serve. The policy is fundamentally opposed to NACAC’s values, and we have begun strategizing with colleagues in the higher education community and others to discover ways to help ease the anxiety students, families, and professionals are experiencing.
Continue reading ICYMI: NACAC Responds to Immigration Order