Thursday, October 31, 2013

Inside Higher Ed: College Counseling Matters for Gifted and Talented Low-Income Students

A study by Harvard and Stanford researchers revealed the obvious: gifted and talented low-income students often do not apply to selective higher education institutions for a variety of reasons. One factor is the students are often unaware of what colleges and universities exist beyond their region. Another factor is students may also want to live closer to home so that they can provide financial support for their families. From Inside Higher Ed:

A theme of several studies in the last year has been that there are plenty of academically talented low-income students who for some combination of reasons are not applying to competitive colleges to which they would probably be admitted.

A new study along those lines -- this time documenting the impact of intense college counseling -- was released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study (abstract available here) found that a nonprofit group that focuses on college counseling in Minneapolis-St. Paul had a significant impact in increasing the rate at which low-income students enrolled in four-year colleges, including competitive institutions.

The study was conducted by Christopher Avery of Harvard University -- co-author (with Caroline Hoxby of Stanford University) of a study released in December that found that most highly talented, low-income students never apply to a single competitive college. That work has set off widespread discussions about what sort of interventions might make a difference.

[UPDATE: January 9, 2014]: Check out this similar article by the New York Times, How to Help College Students Graduate. Sadly, when it comes to degree completion, where you attend college matters a great deal.

The situation is entirely different for most undergraduates, especially poor and minority students. All too often they’re steered to schools where they receive little if any support in mastering tough courses, decoding arcane requirements for a major, sorting out life problems or navigating the maze of institutional requirements. Graduation rates at these so-called dropout factories, especially those in urban areas that largely serve low-income, underprepared minority populations, are as abysmal as 5 percent.

Where a student goes makes all the difference. Consider a Chicago public high school graduate with a grade-point average of 3.5. If she enrolls at Chicago State University, a Washington Monthly investigation shows, the odds against her finishing are high — the school’s six-year graduation rate hovers at 20 percent. Her chances measurably improve if she attends the University of Illinois at Chicago, where the completion rate is 57 percent. And if she goes to Northwestern, just a few miles away, 93 percent of her classmates will graduate.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

REPOST: Asians and Whites Against Blacks and Latinos? The Myths and Realities of Affirmative Action and College-Bound High School Students

In March 2013, Rachel Christmas Derrick wrote one of the best essays I have ever read on the merits and benefits of race-conscious affirmative action in college admissions. I provide an excerpt below:

A high school teacher recently gave a student a lower grade than she expected. She told him after class, "I can't get grades like this! I'm not brown. If I was, it wouldn't matter, but since I'm white, I won't get into college with grades like this."

Two close friends were discussing where they were applying. The Asian-American student said to the African-American student, "Of course you’ll get into your first choice—you're black."

A white mother lamented, "I didn't know what to say to my son when he told me that a less academically gifted classmate, who’s Puerto Rican, got into a highly competitive college where my son was wait-listed."

"Most of the white and Asian students I hear talking about affirmative action really dislike it," David Joffe, a history teacher at Hunter College High School, a leading New York City school, says. "They rarely reference the historical or, for that matter, the current socio and political contexts that make race-based affirmative action, in my mind, still necessary. When it's discussed in terms of increasing diversity, many white and Asian students see it as meaning fewer of them in favor of more black and Latino students. So they view it as anti-white and anti-Asian."

These uncomfortable issues, which high schools across New York City and across the country are grappling with, were at the core of a thought-provoking discussion at a Hunter PTA meeting.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sign the petition: Protest "Shopping While Black" Policy in New York City

Lately in Manhattan, several black shoppers have been harassed by NYPD for making purchases at luxury stores that they can't possibly afford (even though they have the receipt to prove it). A third incident occurred at Macy's in Manhattan to Ron Brown, a celebrity and actor on the HBO series, Treme. The accusation is strikingly similar to what detectives allegedly asked a 19-year-old black student from Queens after he splurged on a $350 Ferragamo belt at Barneys this past April.

The third black New Yorker suing the NYPD for an allegedly unlawful stop and search while shopping is an actor who starred with Sean Connery in “Finding Forrester” and in HBO’s “Treme” – and he is after only justice, not money, his lawyer told the Post.

“The bottom line is…this isn’t about money, this about proving a point,” said Robert Brown’s attorney, John Eleftrekais.

“Police officers ran up to him, arrested him, and then kept him in a jail cell in Macy’s,” his attorney, John Elefterakis told the Post. After handing over his ID, Brown “was told that his identification was false and that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase,” according to the Manhattan Supreme Court suit.

Over 3,400 people have signed a petition calling on the rap superstar Jay Z to drop a lucrative partnership with Barneys over the alleged racial profiling incidents. Sign your name and send a message to Barney's and other luxury stores that you do not tolerate blatant racial prejudice and discrimination. Stores don't mind taking minority people's money, but will have the police to harass them once they leave the building. America is a free country, and people have a right to shop wherever they please. The phenomenon of shopping while black is criminal and should cease!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Welfare for the rich? The federal government even subsidizes high-income households

It's hard to believe that even the rich are receiving some type of welfare from the federal government. This report examines assets in homeownership, entrepreneurship, retirement, savings, and education. Access the full report (2012) at the NewAmerica Foundation:

Savings and assets are the building blocks for economic mobility and security. They provide a buffer against unexpected events as well as a means to move up the economic ladder with productive investments, such as by buying a home, starting a business, saving for retirement, saving for emergencies, or going to college.

Currently, the federal budget allocates a substantial amount of resources to support these priorities. Yet most of the benefits are delivered through tax breaks and subsidies that favor higher-income households. Families with lower incomes and fewer resources receive much less support.

This site describes how families are faring across 5 key policy areas that typically help people accumulate wealth and build assets, identifies the current spending to support these objectives, and suggests how we could do better. Scroll down or click on the links above to jump to a specific chapter.

Moneywatch: More U.S. students borrowing for college

Moneywatch recently released a report stating that more American students are borrowing student loans to pay for college. This trend is problematic because most graduates do not obtain high-paying entry-level positions that enables them to repay the student loan debt.

The number of U.S. students who borrow money for college continues to climb, while the number of graduates who are paying off these loans is slipping.

A new report by the Department of Education found that 64 percent of grads from the class of 2008 borrowed for college, compared with 64 percent for the class of 2000 and 49 percent for those graduating in 1993. The average amount that the students borrowed has continued to spiral up, rising from $14,000 in 1993 to $24,700 in 2008.

While the debt load was larger for the later graduates, they were less likely to have begun repaying their college loans a year after graduation. Sixty percent of 2008 grads were repaying their loans a year after receiving their degrees compared to 65 percent for the 2000 grads and 66 percent for the earliest grads in the study.

A larger number of the most recent graduates, at 31 percent, faced high monthly loan payments -- defined as amounts that were greater than 12 percent of their income -- than their counterparts who graduated in 1993 and 2000 (22 percent and 18 percent, respectively.)

Whether students borrowed for college was partially dependent on what type of institutions they attended. For the most recent graduating class that the report covered, 90 percent of students attending for-profit schools took out a loan, compared with 62 percent who graduated from public universities and 70 percent who attended private, nonprofit schools.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Books about Diversity and Civic Engagement in Higher Education

One of my specialties is diversity and social justice in higher education. My research fall within two areas: (a) access and equity and (b) civic learning and democratic engagement. In honor of Careers in Student Affairs Month (October), I list my favorite books on these topics below.

This list will be continuously updated every year.

October is Careers in Student Affairs Month

Student Affairs. Student Life. Co-curriculum. Student Services.

What do these terms have in common? They focus on teaching and learning outside the classroom. This can be residence housing, campus dining halls, recreational activities, student organizations, service-learning, the list goes on. They support the academic mission of the higher education institution. Student affairs complement academic affairs. They educate the whole student (identity, cognitive, moral, affective, experiential, etc.) so that students can make meaning out of their experiences. Student affairs educators apply developmental theories that guide their work in providing services and inclusive spaces for college students.

Are you interested in pursuing a career in student affairs? Are you interested in applying to graduate programs in higher education and student affairs? Don't forget to browse my other links on student affairs:

Considering a Career in Student Affairs?

Functional Areas in Higher Education and Student Affairs

Careers in Student Affairs (courtesy of NASPA)