Rethinking the Campus Visit


Campus visits often play an influential role in a student’s enrollment decision, but one clinical psychologist is questioning whether teens rely too heavily on their initial impressions when selecting a college.

“If we are making a decision we haven’t made before (such as where to go to college) then our present selves must rely on imagination, instead of experience,” Erica Reischer writes in a recent New York Times op-ed. “…Visiting the campus — to take a tour, meet students, get the lay of the land — seems like a prerequisite to making a good decision. But visiting a college is not the same as being a student there, and this distinction matters a lot, because of the many ways in which our imagination misleads us.”

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Imagine Fund Supports Iowa Student Conference

Teens need good information as they approach the college application process, but they also need inspiration.

The latter factor is a key component of an Iowa youth leadership conference that encourages teens to include higher education in their postsecondary plans.

The day-long event — held last month at Mount Mercy University (IA) — was supported by a $900 grant from NACAC’s Imagine Fund. The conference is aimed at students who have traditionally been underserved by America’s colleges and universities.

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Study: Implementation of Individualized Learning Plans Varies Across US High Schools


About 72 percent of public high school students are required to have a graduation, career, or education plan, according to findings released this month by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This figure supports data collected by NACAC as part of its 2015 study of individualized learning plans (ILPs), which indicated that all 50 states had in place at least one initiative for promoting college and career planning among high school students.

In fact, 29 states plus the District of Columbia mandate the development of ILPs in secondary schools, but the ways in which these plans are implemented vary greatly.

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New Website Explores College Affordability

Cost of Education.Many of us working with students in the college search and selection process struggle to help families understand college affordability. While most students will not pay the full cost of attendance, many will use sticker price to eliminate colleges from their list before they have the chance to weigh financial aid packages and scholarship offers.

What are best practices in talking to students and families about financial aid, student debt, and fit and finances? How do we best explain longer-term benefits beyond financial gain, inherent in the value of higher education, to high school juniors and seniors? How do we address the value of borrowing for college?

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New Survey Measures Public Perceptions of Higher Ed


A new national poll paints a troubling picture of how the public views college access.

In a survey of 1,600 US adults, more than half of all respondents disagreed with the notion that all Americans have a decent chance of getting into a good college.

The finding is part of a larger report released this morning by New America examining public perceptions and knowledge of higher education and economic mobility.

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Study: Extra Years in College Cut into Income, Retirement

A young female college student between classes.

In just a few short months, a new crop of freshmen will begin their college journey.

For first-year students, four years may seem like more than enough time to pick a major and earn a degree.

But national data shows that roughly one in five students take longer to complete college. And each extra year cuts into their lifetime earnings and retirement savings, according to an analysis by NerdWallet — a San Francisco-based consumer finance company.

“Taking six years to get a four-year college degree can cost students up to almost $300,000 in tuition, interest on loans, and forgone income and retirement savings,” the report notes.

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3 Ways to Help Vets Succeed


More than 5 million post-9/11 service members are projected to transition out of the military by 2020.

Many will seek out higher education. But while veterans can bring tremendous value to the nation’s college campuses, their path to a degree is often more complex than that of a traditional undergrad.

Veteran students are typically older than their peers. Many juggle work and family responsibilities. And on top of that, adjusting to civilian life comes with its own set of hurdles.

“Veterans value their education benefits, but it’s often a very difficult transition,” said Tommy Lucas, interim director of the Office of Military and Veteran Enrollment Services at Saint Louis University (MO).

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Spots Still Available for Students at More Than 500 Colleges

The number of colleges still accepting applications for Fall 2017 continues to grow.

More than 500 institutions have openings, financial aid, and housing available to qualified freshmen and/or transfer students, according to NACAC’s College Openings Update.

When survey was first posted on Thursday morning, the list included 414 colleges and universities. Since that time, dozens of additional schools have added their information. The update, which includes public and private institutions located here and abroad, will continue to be modified by colleges and universities through July 30.

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Michelle Obama Celebrates College Signing Day in NYC

Getting into college is only half the battle, former First Lady Michelle Obama told a group of New York City students Friday.

The next challenge? Having the courage to ask for help.

“No one gets through college, or life, on their own,” Obama told the teens, who were gathered to celebrate College Signing Day. ” So when you hit those walls — and you will — don’t be surprised; don’t be shocked; don’t think it’s you; don’t think you’re not supposed to be there. Go get some help.”

More than 1,300 similar events — which honor college-bound students — were planned nationwide. The annual celebration, coordinated by Better Make Room, is aimed at increasing college access for low-income, minority, and first-generation students.

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Lawmakers Examine Factors Behind Suspension of DRT

The Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) was suspended on March 3, with Federal Student Aid (FSA) and IRS citing security and privacy concerns. On  May 3,  the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing to get a better understanding of the problems that caused the tool to be taken out of service and the steps FSA and the IRS are taking to restore this critical tool.

James Runcie, the Chief Operating Officer of the office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), confirmed that the DRT will continue to be suspended for 2017-2018 FAFSA; it will return Oct. 1, 2017 for the 2018-2019 FAFSA. This solution, according to a memo from FSA, will “limit the information that displays to the applicant” to enhance security. Taxpayer information will be encrypted and hidden from view on both the IRS DRT page and the FASFA page. Continue reading Lawmakers Examine Factors Behind Suspension of DRT

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