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NACACNet > Collaboration & Networking > Blogs and Communities > Admitted Blog
June 30
Survey: Cost Pays a Role in College Decisions

collegecostsUSE.jpgFinancial considerations play a large role in students’ postsecondary plans, new national survey data shows.

More than two-thirds of families factored the price of a college when narrowing their list of schools, according to How America Pays for College 2016. And more than half of survey respondents eliminated schools from consideration due to cost before beginning the college application process.

However, “cost was not the leading determinant for most families when making the final selection,” according to report authors. “The primary reason families gave for choosing the school the student currently attends was split between academic program and personal choice.”

Nearly 1,600 college students and parents of undergraduates were interviewed for the study, which was commissioned by Sallie Mae — a leading student loan provider.

Overall, 98 percent of respondents had taken steps to reduce their college costs, data show. Four out of five students chose to attend college in their home state in an effort to save money. One-third of respondents selected a community college as a first step toward earning a bachelor’s degree.
 
Read the full report and learn more about paying for college.

To comment on this post, sign into the NACAC website (see top left corner of this page). Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

June 29
FAFSA to be Simplified for Homeless Students

homelessUSE.jpgIt will soon be easier for homeless students who are over age 21 to access federal financial aid to help pay for college.

Currently, the federal government’s definition of homeless youth excludes older students who may be struggling with housing instability. The steps those students must take to confirm their homeless status on the FAFSA are more burdensome than those required of younger students.

In a letter sent Monday, Education Secretary John King Jr. said the process would be streamlined beginning with the 2018-19 award year.

“All students who say they are homeless or at risk of being homeless on the FAFSA, not just those younger than 21, will be able to indicate that a designated official, such as a school counselor or social worker, vouched for them,”  The Washington Post reported. “This will help older students get through the process of being designated homeless a little faster.”

The change comes in response to a request from US Sen. Patty Murray. The Democrat from the state of Washington has been a longtime advocate of FAFSA simplification.

Directions on the form explaining the application process for homeless students will also be clarified. In 2014, more than 56,000 homeless students applied for financial aid.

“Higher education is a lasting path out of homelessness, yet homeless youth face barriers to accessing the financial aid they need to complete their college education,” Barbara Duffield, policy director of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, told The Post. “The policy changes remove many of those barriers, allowing homeless youth to focus on their studies and their future.”

To comment on this post, sign into the NACAC website (see top left corner of this page). Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

June 28
ACT Creates Center for Equity in Learning

ACTcenterUSE.jpgOne of the nation’s leading assessment companies has launched a new effort aimed at identifying learning gaps and helping underserved students succeed.

The ACT Center for Equity in Learning — focused on promoting achievement through partnerships, research, and initiatives — will be based at the company’s Iowa headquarters. 

Last year, 59 percent of US high school graduates in the Class of 2015 took the ACT. Of those students, 31 percent failed to meet any college or career benchmarks in English, reading, science, or math.

“The US has an increasing challenge to live up to the American dream,” ACT CEO Marten Rooda said in a statement. “Educational equity and access are societal issues that impact individuals across the country.”

In addition to improving access to ACT’s programs, the new center will conduct research aimed at improving learning and closing gaps in equity and achievement, according to a press release.
 
It will also lend support to existing college access efforts, including the American College Application Campaign, according to a report from Education Week.
 
The campaign is aimed at increasing the number of low-income and first-generation students to pursue higher education.

Read about the new center and check out more strategies to help low-income college students succeed.

To comment on this post, sign into the NACAC website (see top left corner of this page). Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

June 27
College Coaches Use Social Media to Vet Recruits

StudentAthleteuse.jpgHoping to play sports in college? Make sure your social media accounts send the right message to recruiters.

“Right or wrong, most college coaches will assume that how you act on social media will be how you act on campus,” according to a recent USA Today column by Fred Bastie. “For that reason, your actions and behavior on social media in high school are critical if you expect to play in college.”

According to Bastie, college coaches are increasingly using social media as a means to research and communicate with potential recruits. Oftentimes, coaches will peruse a student-athlete’s online accounts before reaching out via an email or phone call.

Students who post inappropriate material are often passed by.

“Many college athletic programs actually have someone in charge of reviewing and monitoring the social media accounts of prospective athletes,” said Bastie, founder of a company that helps student-athletes navigate the recruitment process. “They’re hoping to not find racist, sexist, vulgar or profane posts. If they do, they will move on to the next recruit.”

Bastie offers these recommendations for student-athletes:

• Keep it clean. “If you have any doubt whatsoever about something you have just typed into your phone, delete it before you post it.”

• Know your limits. “If a student-athlete has the time to be on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook 24/7, coaches might question a recruit’s priorities.”

• Nix the negativity. “If it is apparent from your posts that you don’t get along with your coaches or teammates, that you dread practice or hate homework, that might be a sign for a college coach to steer away from you.”

• Own up to any mistakes. “If you realize that you tweeted or posted something you shouldn’t have: 1. Delete it immediately. 2. Take responsibility for it.”

Read the full column and check our NACAC’s tips for student-athletes and their parents.

To comment on this post, sign into the NACAC website (see top left corner of this page). Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

June 24
New Recruiting Strategies Spur Success at Rutgers-Newark

NewarkRutgersUSE.jpgOne college’s efforts to recruit and support local students of color is gaining national attention.

In recent years, Rutgers University-Newark (NJ) has markedly increased its outreach aimed at public high school graduates. The institution offers free tuition for all low- and moderate-income Newark residents, regardless of their grades or test scores.

The university’s story is explored in a recent article published by The Hechinger Report, an online news outlet focused on education.

“We’re a land grant public institution with a commitment to our state and our city, and that’s the talent we should be cultivating,” the university’s chancellor, Nancy Cantor, told the website. “…These are very talented students who, for a variety of reasons, rarely having to do with their own issues, are going to get bypassed if we don’t draw them into the education system.”

The approach seems to be working.

One major accomplishment: In 2015, the institution’s graduation rate for African-American students was among the nation’s highest, with 64 percent of students receiving a degree within six years. The average graduation rate for black students studying at US public colleges is 40 percent.
 
To support local students, many of whom are among the first in their families to pursue a college degree, Rutgers-Newark — a NACAC member institution — has made several changes, including increasing the visibility of its counseling services.

“It has become clear to more and more administrators nationwide that emotional issues can be as disruptive as financial ones when it comes to keeping students in college,” The Hechinger Report notes. “…(At Rutgers-Newark) the counseling team is aware that many students won’t seek assistance, so they’ve set up ‘listening tables’ at gathering points on campus.”

Read the full article and check out more strategies to help low-income college students succeed.

To comment on this post, sign into the NACAC website (see top left corner of this page). Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

June 23
Supreme Court: Colleges Can Use Race When Making Admission Decisions

SUPREMECOURTuse.jpgColleges can continue to use race as a factor when reviewing student applications.

In a 4-3 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled this morning that race-conscious admission policies do not violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause.

“A university is in large part defined by those intangible qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness,” Chief Justice Robert Kennedy wrote in the court’s majority opinion.

“Considerable deference is owed to a university in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission,” he wrote. “But still, it remains an enduring challenge to our Nation’s education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity.”

NACAC released a statement in support of the court’s decision, which came in response to the high-profile  Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case. 
 
“By retaining the right of admission professionals to use race as one of many factors that can be considered in a holistic review process, the court has assured that higher education — a proven pathway to prosperity — remains open to all,” the statement reads. “(C)ollege admission professionals must be able to craft a class of students who they believe can not only succeed, but also contribute to the betterment of their institution, the nation, and the global community.”

Read NACAC’s full statement and learn more about diversity in admission.

To comment on this post, sign into the NACAC website (see top left corner of this page). Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

June 22
Recommended vs. Required: When to Schedule a College Interview

collegeinterviewUSE.jpgWhat do colleges mean when they say an admission interview is “recommended” or “highly recommended?”

W. Kent Barnds, executive vice president of Augustana College (IL), addressed that question in a recent Huffington Post column.

“While I cannot speak on behalf of all colleges and universities, I do believe the vast majority of colleges that use the language described above really, really, really want to get to know students on a personal level, and expect that you will take them up on the admissions interview and will find it useful,” Barnds writes. “For years I’ve told families in the midst of the college search that they should interpret ‘recommend’ or ‘highly recommend’ as expected.”

Data from NACAC’s State of College Admission report show that 29 percent of colleges place considerable or moderate importance on student interviews when making admission decisions. 

Colleges that recommend interviews “do so because it is consistent with their community values and the admissions and recruitment culture they’ve built,” Barnds notes in his column.

Conversely, colleges that tell applicants that interviews may be offered “may not have the resources to interview everyone,” he writes. Schools that describe admission interviews as “optional or non-evaluative” will not use them when making admission decision.

Read the full column and check out college interview tips included in NACAC’s Guide to the College Admission Process.
 
To comment on this post, sign into the NACAC website (see top left corner of this page). Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

June 21
Survey: Students Lack Exposure to STEM Career Paths

STEMUSE.jpgTeens who are interested in science need better career preparation pathways, according to a recent national survey.

The study — funded by Change the Equation and the Amgen Foundation— showed that although students like science, they aren’t crazy about the way the subject is taught. In addition, many lack the out-of-school resources and connections needed to explore STEM careers on their own.
 
“Teens know what good science education looks like, but they lack engaging learning opportunities, career guidance, and professional mentors,” the report states. “Science advocates in our schools, businesses, and communities can change that.”

More than 1,500 students ages 14 to 18 participated in the online survey. Key findings include:

• While 81 percent of students found science interesting, only 37 percent reported liking their science classes “a lot.”

• And although more than three-fourths of respondents were interested in science-related job shadowing and career counseling, few students reported having access to such opportunities.

Study authors urged schools to partner with industry to provide students with more chances to explore STEM occupations. They also called on science teachers to increase hands-on learning and field trips for students.  

“The survey suggests, among other things, that many teens lack access to engaging, real-world science experiences, which is limiting their chances to pursue science any further,” the report notes. “These findings are a call to action for anyone who is committed to inspiring the next generation of American scientists and innovators.”

Read the full report and learn more about NACAC’s STEM College and Career Fairs.

To comment on this post, sign into the NACAC website (see top left corner of this page). Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

June 20
College Counselor Compiles Summer Reading List

SummerReadingUSE.jpgLooking for summer reading suggestions for yourself or the families you serve?

NACAC member Brennan Barnard has released his annual compilation of book recommendations.

The full list — featuring titles suggested by college admission deans and counselors — appears on The Washington Post website. Some selections are aimed at parents, while other titles are “for fun and thought.”

“There’s great fiction and non-fiction; books on parenting (and ‘overparenting’), history and science,” writes Valerie Strauss, a Post reporter who highlighted the recommendations last week on her Answer Sheet blog. “And, of course, there are, not surprisingly, books on college, getting in and staying there, and what to do post-college.”

Frank Bruni’s bestseller Where You Go is Not Who You’ll Be: An Anecdote to College Admissions Mania appears alongside Bill Bryson’s entertaining memoir, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

Also included are Malcom Gladwell’s David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Building Giants; Elizabeth Lee’s Class and Campus Life; and Robert Putnam’s Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis.

This is the fourth year that Barnard, director of college counseling at The Derryfield School (NH), has had his list published by a major US newspaper.

The 2014 and 2015 editions were also picked up by Post; 2013’s list appeared in The New York Times.

Read more about this year’s picks and check out NACAC’s online book club — #NACACreads.

To comment on this post, sign into the NACAC website (see top left corner of this page). Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

June 17
New from NACAC: Fact Sheet Explores Changes to Overtime Rule

timesheet400use.jpgTrying to sort out how the new overtime rule will affect your admission office?

A fact sheet from NACAC explores the new US Department of Labor regulations.
  
Starting Dec. 1, any salaried or hourly employee earning less than $47,476 annually will be entitled to overtime pay for work that exceeds 40 hours per week. The current salary cutoff is $23,660.

“The new regulations will increase the number of employees eligible for overtime pay,” the fact sheet notes. “…The salary threshold will increase every three years.”

Exemptions to the rule exist for both public sector employees and academic counselors.

Download the fact sheet. For additional information about the rule, email NACAC's legislative team or visit the association’s Compliance Center.

To comment on this post, sign into the NACAC website (see top left corner of this page). Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

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