Notes & Coffee: March 27-April 2

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 this time of information overload, we’re here to bring you vetted examinations of the stories that matter to you. We invite you to brew up your favorite morning beverage, relax, and catch yourself up for the week ahead with Notes & Coffee.

What some colleges are quietly doing to help undocumented students - “While the fate of undocumented students is still up in the air, and the effectiveness of promises at other universities to provide them sanctuary still untested, the attention to the issue in Utah and elsewhere has resulted in something much less widely noticed that could also have a big impact: Long-sought additional support is finally being added on campuses to help these students succeed in college.”

Fired because he wouldn’t dumb down a course? - “Students may complain about courses that are too hard, but could fighting to maintain high standards actually get a professor fired? A new report from the American Association of University Professors alleges that Colorado’s Community College of Aurora terminated an adjunct because he refused to lower his expectations for his introductory philosophy class. The report sets the stage for the AAUP to vote on censuring Aurora for alleged violations of academic freedom later this spring, but the college denies such charges. It blames Nathanial Bork’s termination on his own teaching “difficulties.”’

Long road for regulatory rollbacks - “GOP lawmakers have been clear since November's election about plans to dismantle several Obama administration higher education regulations, including two major rules aimed at the for-profit college sector. U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican, said shortly after Donald Trump's election, "You’ll see us do everything we can to roll back" those regulations. As chairwoman of the House education committee, Foxx is well placed to oversee those efforts. But the number of regulations targeted for repeal through the little-known Congressional Review Act has been modest so far. And GOP members now are saying a CRA resolution is off the table for borrower defense, the rule issued last year to clarify how defrauded borrowers can seek discharges of their student loans.” 

How will historically black colleges fair under Trump? - “Last month, dozens of leaders from historically black colleges and universities across the United States met with President Trump in hopes of securing increased federal funding. During the meeting, Trump signed an executive order transferring oversight of a federal HBCU initiative from the Department of Education directly to the White House. Some saw the move as purely symbolic, others said it presaged the Trump administration’s support for HBCUs, and still others saw it as a cynical political maneuver. After all, Trump received a mere 8 percent of the black vote in November.”

TRIO advocates say budget proposal cuts to core - “When President Trump issued his budget plan for the government’s next fiscal year, his proposed cuts in education programs hit close to home for thousands of people across the nation who count federal assistance as key to their ability to go to and complete college. The budget plan, which ignited protests from the higher education community, is set for close and intense Congressional attention in the coming weeks, now that discussion and debate over repeal of the national health care law has been set aside for the moment by Trump and other national leaders. Trump’s plan would reduce funding for the widely respected TRIO program, an umbrella for grant programs including Upward Bound and Student Support Services that specifically support early intervention and support for poor and first generation students.”

More Notes

Academic freedom front lines 

Anxiety on the rise

An optimistic outlook for year-round Pell

Bill proposed to put dropouts back on educational path

Cutting college prep 

Handshake deal