Category Archives: Advocacy

ICYMI: NACAC Opposes HEA Reauthorization Legislation

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Congress has signaled it’s ready to tackle reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), but a bill introduced last week in the US House of Representatives has NACAC and other education organizations concerned.

“While NACAC agrees that the HEA needs to be reauthorized, this bill goes about it in the wrong way,” Michael Rose, NACAC’s director for government relations noted in a press release. “After an initial review, it is clear this bill reduces or eliminates student protections against fraud and abuse, and further dilutes the federal contribution to improving access to postsecondary education.”

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‘My (Underground) American Dream’ Selected for #NACACreads

An estimated 65,000 undocumented immigrants graduate from US high schools each year.

In 2001, Julissa Arce was one of those students.

“I graduated in the top 5 percent of my class,” she wrote in her memoir, My (Underground) American Dream. “I was all smiles. My whole family was proud of me. And all of us were worried.”

Join us Jan. 9 for a #NACACreads discussion of Arce’s book and the challenges undocumented students face as they make their way to and through higher education. Arce will participate in the hour-long Twitter chat, which kicks off at 9 p.m. ET.

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New Advocacy Resources Available to Support Undocumented Students

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Campus leaders who want to support undocumented students have a new place to turn for information.

Earlier this month, the Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition, of which NACAC is a member, created a new website highlighting facts about undocumented students and providing advocacy resources.

The coalition is encouraging colleges and universities to recognize Oct. 16-20 as Protect Dreamers Week. New resources created to help educators and others advocate on behalf of DREAMers include a fact sheet and talking points.

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DACA Update: What You Need to Know

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President Trump announced this week that the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will end in six months.

Since 2012, DACA has provided deportation relief to undocumented youth who came to the country before the age of 16, as long as they met certain criteria.

NACAC was among several education organizations to speak out against Trump’s decision. In a statement released on Tuesday, the association said the move to eliminate DACA was a “regressive step that hurts many of America’s brightest, most vulnerable youth.”

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NACAC Urges Passage of DREAM Act

NACAC expressed its strong support today for the reintroduction of the DREAM Act, which would provide certain undocumented students the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents and eventually apply for citizenship.

The DREAM Act, first proposed in the early 2000s and reintroduced this afternoon by Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), would also allow states to grant in-state tuition to DREAMers — making a college degree more affordable for thousands of students.

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Even on Welcoming Campuses, LGBT Students Face Hurdles to College Completion

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Colleges across the US have made major strides in their efforts to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.

But a recent New York Times op-ed published by a University of Mississippi grad provides an important reminder that much work still needs to be done.

By his own admission, Dylan Lewis “thrived in college.” At the University of Mississippi he finally felt free to be himself. Lewis joined the student government, led campus tours, and felt safe and supported.

Yet despite a welcoming campus, Lewis— like many LGBT youth — faced unique challenges on his path to college completion.

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Legislative Update: Affiliates Ramp Up Advocacy Efforts

After last month’s successful Advocacy Day in Washington, DC, advocacy efforts within many NACAC affiliates are on the rise.

Over the past several months, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee have hosted SACAC legislative days. Because SACAC is a regional affiliate, advocacy days take place in specific states, allowing members to meet with their own legislators and impact students where they live.

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Reminder: Beware Potential FAFSA Scams

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The Department of Education has always advised caution when working with third-parties on FAFSA completion, and is urging additional vigilance going forward given the unavailability of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).

Representatives from the IRS and the Office of Federal Student Aid suspended the service in March out of concern that it could be misused by identity thieves. The tool, which many students use when applying for federal aid, is not expected to be restored until fall 2017.

There are reports that some students and families have been scammed by individuals seeking to take advantage of this situation by charging families for help filing the FAFSA and/or stealing the families’ personal information for illicit use.

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IHEP Launches #CollegeNotPrison Campaign

ihepvideoA new public awareness campaign seeks to bring attention to the financial aid barriers justice-involved youth face when pursuing higher education.

#CollegeNotPrison — a initiative of The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) — made a splash on social media this week with a short video sharing the story of Alton Pitre.

As a teen, Pitre was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. He spent nearly two years behind bars before the charges were dropped and the case was dismissed.

Pitre, now a senior at Morehouse College (GA), is an advocate for criminal justice reform. He also speaks out about the need to make college affordable for more young people. In the video, Pitre, 25, notes that while a college education offers great long-term rewards, cost keeps many young people from completing a degree.

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

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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.

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