Low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are more likely to graduate from high school and consider attending college, according to a new working paper published by the Institute of Labor Economics.
Being assigned to a classroom led by a black teacher in in third, fourth, or fifth grade reduced a student’s probability of dropping out of school by 29 percent, the study found.
And the positive effects were even greater among low-income black boys, whose likelihood of dropping out fell by 39 percent.
New York Times bestselling author Wes Moore launched BridgeEdU with one goal in mind: To increase college access and completion rates for low-income and first-generation students.
The program, which began in Baltimore in 2014, uses a high-tech, high-touch academic support model to help students transition during their first year of college. But as Moore and his staff quickly discovered, the complex process of applying for financial aid can create roadblocks for even the most motivated students.
Case in point? Although all members of the inaugural class of BridgeEdU scholars reported that they had applied for financial aid, the staff soon discovered that a whopping 75 percent hadn’t completed the FAFSA, and most of the students had not created accounts with Maryland’s state grant agency.
The experience inspired BridgeEdU staff to create YesU — a mobile app released in 2016 that offers customized step-by-step support to students across the nation as they apply for financial aid.
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.
We’ll be broadcasting from NACAC headquarters via Facebook Live with special guest Eric Waldo. Waldo, executive director of Reach Higher, is now part of Civic Nation — a nonprofit, non-partisan group that uses organizing, engagement, and public awareness to address some of the nation’s most pressing issues, including initiatives launched by the Obama White House.
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?”
After discovering that their classmates did not have a real understanding of racial injustice, then-tenth graders Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi set out in 2014 to start a conversation and initiate change.
The textbook is now on its third edition and has been sold to about 500 schools and individuals across 15 states. Now seniors at Princeton High School in New Jersey, the girls are looking at their next steps for the textbook and the online community.
Their goal? Ensure K-12 students in schools nationwide “develop the historical and sociological toolkit for racial literacy” — a knowledge base they hope will ultimately help young people recognize racial justice and inspire them to create a better world.
Guo and Vulchi recently sat down with Teen Vogue to discuss the project and their goals for the future. Here’s an excerpt of their chat:
Is your college application essay about money, work, social class, or another related topic?
If so, The New York Times wants to hear from you.
“No topic is too weighty and no stunt too flighty or approach too light for our taste, as long as the essay has at least something to do with money,” the paper notes in its call for submissions. “In the past people have written about their own jobs or their parents’ work (or lack thereof), what it’s like to be poor, what it’s like to be rich and what it’s like to work at McDonald’s.”
NACAC’s Gregory Ferguson applied to the association three times before being hired in 1987 as assistant director of National College Fairs (NCF).
What kept him coming back? Unwavering support for the program’s mission.
“I really firmly believe: For any student who wants to go to college, there is an institution out there for them,” said Ferguson, who celebrated his 30th year with NACAC last month. Under his leadership, the NCF program has grown steadily and gained a national reputation for quality.
Ferguson, who now serves as the program’s executive director, recently sat down with Admitted to talk about his contributions to NACAC, the future of the NCF program, and what inspires his work.