Category Archives: Advocacy

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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NACAC Members Meet with Congressional Leaders

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Southern ACAC and International ACAC leaders, from left: Amanda Lopez, Poinciana High School (FL); Myra Simpson, Oak Hall School (FL); Johanna Fishbein, United World College of South East Asia — Dover (Singapore); and Juan-Camilo Tamayo, JCT4Education (FL).

More than 130 NACAC members traveled to Capitol Hill on Monday to meet with members of Congress.

Their goal? To discuss issues important to students, families, and admission professionals across the country.

The visits with Congressional leaders are part of NACAC’s annual advocacy meeting, which brings together members from both sides of the desk to advocate on behalf of students.

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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.”

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Students and Counselors Make the Case for a Streamlined FAFSA

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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.

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