HEA Update: Standardized Financial Aid Letters Proposed

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Financial aid award letters have long been a topic of conversation within the college admission counseling profession, and as discussions about reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) intensify, Congress seems poised to join the conversation.

Last month, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced the Understanding the True Cost of College Act of 2019 — stand-alone legislation intended to be included as part of the larger HEA reauthorization.

If passed, higher education institutions would be required to use a uniform financial aid offer form containing standardized definitions. According to the bill’s sponsors, the move is intended to ensure colleges provide information to students and families in “a consumer-friendly manner that is simple and understandable.”

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International, First-Generation Student Experience Inspires Online Platform

There are many issues and challenges facing international and first-generation college students in the college admission process and as they work to earn their degrees.

But one student is taking those challenges and using them as the basis for her new education tech start-up.

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Survey: ‘Lack of Clear Pathways’ Barrier to Community College Transfer

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Community college presidents are still concerned that a lack of clear pathways for community college students to transfer two years’ worth of credit is a significant barrier to students transferring to four-year colleges to earn a bachelor’s degree.

However, less presidents than in years past hold this view, according to Inside Higher Ed’s fifth annual Survey of Community College Presidents.

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Dealing with Stress as a Teenager

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Teenagers are stressed. And pressured. And anxious. And overwhelmed.

According to a recent study, 45 percent of teenagers in the US are stressed “all the time.” And though anxiety levels have risen in teens across all backgrounds, it has risen more among teens in affluent areas.

In an essay for Philly magazine, Tom McGrath explores the idea that “it’s the kids with the seemingly endless opportunities who are most anxious about their futures.”

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High School Senior Aims to Close Race Gap at Selective Universities

Courtesy of The Champion Project

Campus visits can often seem out of reach for low-income or marginalized student populations.

But one high school senior has made it her mission to get students like her to see the campuses of selective universities firsthand.

Leila Champion, a senior at Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School (IN), launched The Champion Project this year. The Champion Project, which also served as her senior capstone project, aimed to show her fellow classmates that they too could go to their dream schools.

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Adults Returning to College Face Barriers Beyond Tuition Cost

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“Free college” programs eliminate one of the biggest barriers to a college degree, but for adults returning to school, tuition isn’t the only stressor.

About 13,000 adults enrolled last fall in Tennessee Reconnect, a state program that gives free community college tuition to people over age 25 who haven’t yet earned a college degree.

Mike Krause, head of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission that oversees Tennessee Reconnect, told NPR they need to do more to prevent students from dropping out because their reasons for leaving school aren’t always financial.

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Survey: Only 38 Percent of Americans Believe the College Admission Process is Fair

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In the wake of the recent bribery scandal, Americans want to see change in the college admission process.

But many of the changes they want to see are already common practice.

According to recent surveys conducted by the Higher Education Analytics Center at NORC and the AP-NORC Center, only 38 percent of Americans consider the admission process to be fair and most survey respondents want to see colleges value academics over other factors.

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The Carters Shine a Spotlight on HBCUs

Courtesy of Netflix

Beyoncé and Jay-Z have become two of the world’s best ambassadors for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

In 2018, Beyoncé became the first black woman to headline Coachella and she used the opportunity to take concertgoers – and those watching at home – to school, celebrating HBCUs on the main stage.

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SIG Focus: Rural and Small Town Special Interest Group

Waiting in the Lexington, KY airport terminal for my flight home from the Rural College Access and Success Summit, I can’t help but reflect on the past few days meeting educators dedicated to rural issues.

I was heartened by the work of GEAR UP advisors from multiple states encouraging college aspirations among rural middle schoolers, but I was also reminded of the challenges our most remote counselors and students face, be it transportation issues, lack of curricular options, fewer students going on to college, or retention of teachers.  For sure, unique barriers in rural spaces persist, and we must tackle them head-on.

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