Loan Forgiveness Available for Counseling and Admission Professionals

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Still paying off your student loans?

Good news is on the horizon for school counselors and college admission professionals: Public service employees are eligible to have their debt wiped off the books starting this year under a new federal loan forgiveness program.

Applicants are urged to start the process now by filing paperwork with the federal government, according to a post on Homeroom, the Department of Education’s official blog.

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Minnesota Seeks to Curb Summer Melt with Text Messages

The Minnesota Office of Higher Education has teamed up with a group of teens to promote Summer Nudging — a program that uses text messages to help high schoolers successfully navigate the transition to college.

Students from the High School for Recording Arts — a charter school located in St. Paul, Minnesota — recently created a music video to promote the free service.

Teens who sign up receive weekly text messages reminding them when key deadlines are approaching.

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Cost of Campus Meal Plans Continues to Grow

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The price of college meal plans continues to grow  and it’s contributing to the rising costs of higher education, according to an article published this month in The Hechinger Report.

A recent analysis of college dining contracts show that the amount of money students spend on meal plans outpaces what the average American shells out for food each year.

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Textbook Costs are ‘Heavy Burden’ for Students

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Scraping up enough money to purchase textbooks weighs heavily on the minds of many college students, according to staffers at New America.

The Washington, DC-based think tank convened students and parents this fall for a series of focus groups. The gatherings offered participants the opportunity to share their opinions about higher education and student success.

“Students and parents alike had a lot to say about the cost of tuition and the institutions themselves, and offered policy ideas they believed could alleviate some of the things that weren’t working,” New America staff members Ernest Ezeugo and Manuela Ekowo wrote in a recent blog post. “But when students were asked what they thought the most problematic aspects of college were, it was the cost of textbooks that most animated the room.”

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Interest in Science Careers Varies by Race, Ethnicity

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Black and Hispanic teens are less likely than their peers to express interest in a job in the sciences.

A recent Pew Research Center analysis of data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress revealed a racial and ethnic gap among students seeking such careers.

Among Asian and white high school seniors, 59 and 45 percent, respectively, say they would like a job that involves science.

By comparison, only 40 percent of Hispanics and 39 percent of blacks indicated they wanted a science-related career.

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Tips to Boost FAFSA Participation

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Looking for ways to boost FAFSA completion rates in your school district?

Erin Bibo, deputy chief of college & career programs with DC Public Schools, shared success strategies in a recent column published by Homeroom — the official blog of the US Department of Education.

“Financial aid plays a huge factor in students’ college-going decisions and success,” Bibo wrote. “For a large urban district like DC Public Schools, where 77 percent of our students qualify for free and reduced price lunch, getting graduating seniors to complete their FAFSAs on time isn’t an optional task, it’s a necessary one.”

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Register for NACAC’s Advocacy Meeting

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Registration is now open for NACAC’s annual Advocacy Meeting, scheduled March 5-6 in Washington, DC.

With a new president and dozens of new senators and representatives, your voice is especially important this year.

Visits with members of Congress will serve as the focal point of the two-day event. Attendees will also have the opportunity to engage with NACAC leadership, members, and staff.

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Track FAFSA Completion Rates by School, District

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Looking for a better way to chart FAFSA trends in your community?

Check out the US Department of Education’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid Completion Tool.

The searchable database provides weekly updates for every high school where five or more students have filed a FAFSA. The form is completed annually by current and prospective college students to determine their eligibility for financial assistance.

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Researcher: US High Schools Must Invest in College Counselors

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Editor’s Note: A version of this post originally appeared on Admitted in December 2015.

US high schools must devote more time to college counseling if they want to “see the fruit of other investments,” according to one education researcher.

In a 2015 column, New America staffer Abigail Swisher makes the case that students need both rigorous curriculum and personalized guidance to achieve their postsecondary plans.

“If we want to recreate the American high school as a place where all students have the resources for success in college and career, we need to reinvent the role of counselors,” Swisher writes, citing data from NACAC and other education associations. “This could mean reducing the caseload or number of responsibilities each counselor has, or it might mean moving to an entirely different model of support.”

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Parents of College-Bound Students Share Their Hopes and Fears

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Everyone knows that the college application process can be emotional for students.

But what about their parents? What hopes and fears do they have for their children?

NACAC member Brennan Barnard, director of college counseling at the Derryfield School (NH), recently asked moms and dads to share their outlook.

He published the answers in a recent Washington Post column.

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Daily updates on NACAC and the world of college admission counseling. For more information about NACAC, visit nacacnet.org.