Notes & Coffee: April 24-30

Notes & Coffee is here to keep you informed of all the trending student affairs and higher ed news stories most critical to our field as they develop. In the age of information overload, we’re here to bring you vetted examinations of the stories that matter to our field. We invite you to brew a favorite morning beverage, kick back, relax, and catch yourself up for the week ahead with Notes & Coffee. 

Ex-Education Secretary: Policy rollback an ‘assault on American Dream’ - “Former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said it is “distressing” to see the administration of President Donald J. Trump roll back policy initiatives put in place under President Barack Obama to protect college students from shady loan service providers and for-profit colleges with poor outcomes. Speaking Monday during an interview in his new office at The Education Trust, a D.C.-headquartered nonprofit where he is now president, King told Diverse that the Trump administration’s efforts to pare down the Education Department and cut various federal education initiatives — such as professional development for teachers, summer and after-school programs, and student aid for college — are an “assault on the American dream.”’

Why they marched - “Eric Schultz, an associate professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut, hopped on a bus at 1 a.m. Saturday and headed here with about 50 students and faculty members from the university. He said the March for Science was about communicating with the general public, which he said does not appreciate what science does and why it’s valuable. Schultz’s work is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation, with some support from the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency. Were the cuts to those agencies in the White House budget released last month to become reality, he said, his department could lose the ability to support graduate students. “That means we’re selling out our future essentially for the sake of weapons,” Schultz said."

Advocates for HBCUs aim to keep pressure on lawmakers - “The Trump administration indicated early in its tenure that it would place a heavy focus on historically black colleges and universities — with the president signing an executive order in February that moved the White House Initiative on HBCUs back to the White House from the Department of Education. But as the administration's 100-day mark looms, there is scant evidence of that extra attention. On Thursday members of the HBCU Collective, a group of alumni, students, and supporters of HBCUs working in politics and advocacy, journeyed here to urge legislators to take direct action on HBCUs in the absence of increased support from the administration. Dozens gathered at the U.S. Capitol to meet with more than 30 lawmakers and their staffs. The collective wants Congress to permanently restore the year-round Pell Grant program and to indefinitely protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The group is also recommending that Congress authorize federal agencies to increase to 5 percent the share of STEM grants awarded to HBCUs, among other requests.” 

Graduation rates and race - “College completion rates vary widely along racial and ethnic lines, with black and Hispanic students earning credentials at a much lower rate than white and Asian students do, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The center evaluated data from students nationwide who entered a college or university in fall 2010. The data represents students at two- and four-year colleges, students who studied part- and full-time, as well as those who graduated after transferring institutions. Altogether, 54.8 percent of those students completed a degree or certificate within six years of entering a postsecondary institution, but broken down by race and ethnicity, those rates fluctuate by up to 25 percent.”

Boosting Hispanic college completion - “Over the past decade, Hispanic students have graduated high school and entered college in growing numbers. Yet the rate of Hispanic college completion has remained persistently lower than that of whites and other ethnic groups in the United States: only 23 percent of Hispanic adults hold any postsecondary degree compared to 42 percent of all adults. Helping raise the Hispanic college graduation rate is an urgent goal, given the persistently high rate of poverty among Hispanic families, growth of the Hispanic population to account for one in five college-age Americans, and mounting concerns about racial and economic inequality. The question is, how?”

More Notes

Purdue’s bold move

Q: Who shouldn’t dress up as black gang members?

Not in my classroom

A focus on funding

What comes after Whittier shutdown? 

Years of work, tabled

Selective colleges are less likely to enroll high levels of low-income students