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Nearby colleges scramble to assure students that their campuses are safe. Elsewhere, students are protesting.
Not all institutions categorize students the same way when they report their data to the Education Department.
Across the country, there is a great need for early learning. But the need isn’t just for preschool seats — it’s for high-quality early learning programs that can put children on the path to thrive in kindergarten and beyond.
Research has shown the powerful benefits of high-quality early education. Children who receive rich early learning experiences are less likely to need special education services. They’re in better health, and they get better jobs. Yet, today, only 30 percent of 4-year-olds in the U.S. participate in state preschool, and 10 states don’t offer it at all. Among other industrialized nations, the U.S. ranks 25th in enrollment of 4-year-olds in early learning.
President Obama has issued a call to expand access to high-quality preschool to every child in America. Yesterday, an important down payment was made toward that goal when Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the availability of funds through the Preschool Development Grants program.
This new $250 million federal program will support states to build, develop, and expand voluntary, high-quality preschool programs for children from low- and moderate-income families. It will be jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. All states — including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — are eligible to apply by Oct. 14, 2014.
Secretary Duncan noted, “Through the Preschool Development Grants, we continue our efforts to create educational opportunities that prepare our youngest Americans for success in kindergarten, through elementary school and beyond. This new grant competition will prepare states to participate in President Obama’s proposed Preschool for All program — a federal-state partnership that would promote access to full-day kindergarten and encourage the expansion of high-quality preschool programs for 4-year-olds from low- and middle-income families.”
He added, “We urge states and communities to seize this opportunity, form partnerships, and begin drafting their proposals for the Preschool Development Grants program, because providing high-quality early learning opportunities is the most important single step we can take to improve the future of our young people.”
Secretary Duncan highlighted the new grant program yesterday during a trip to Pittsburgh, where he joined Mayor William Peduto in a visit to the Hug Me Tight Childlife Center and a community conversation at Hill House’s Kaufmann Center.
While at Hug Me Tight, Secretary Duncan toured classrooms, met with early childhood education providers, parents, and community members, and engaged in arts activities with some of the city’s youngest learners. Following the visit to the center, Secretary Duncan and Mayor Peduto participated in a discussion on early learning hosted by the city of Pittsburgh and the National League of Cities.
For more information about the new Preschool Development Grants program and how your state may apply, visit here. For more information on early learning at the U.S. Department of Education, visit here.
Tiffany Taber is Chief of Staff for Communications Development at the U.S. Department of Education.
The reality of college costs is that many families find themselves struggling to pay the entire college bill, despite having already filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and receiving federal, state, and institutional financial aid resources. If you find yourself in this position, here are some ideas to consider to help fill the gap between what your financial aid covers and what you owe the institution.
For those heading to college this fall, most scholarship decisions for the academic year have already been made. However, we recommend you begin a routine of searching and applying for scholarships regularly. You should first consider scholarships local to where you graduated from high school or live; try community, religious, and fraternal organizations. You may also consider businesses in your community or those that employ your parent(s).
Then, look for scholarship resources available statewide, especially from organizations with which you may have been involved or companies in your state that are in the field for which you plan to study.
National scholarships can be very competitive, but don’t let that keep you from applying. Ask your financial aid office or academic unit about institutional or departmental scholarships (decisions may have been made for this year, but ask how to make sure you don’t miss deadlines for next year!). With scholarship opportunities, it’s always important to be careful of fraud. If you are concerned about the legitimacy of a scholarship, your school’s financial aid office might be able to help you make the determination.
You may have been awarded Federal Work-Study, which at most schools still requires you to find the work-study position yourself. This can help you cover some costs throughout the semester since these funds are paid as you earn them through working. If you were not awarded work-study funds, most schools have other part-time on-campus positions that can help you with some college costs. Working part-time on campus can be beneficial to your educational experience. Be cautious of working too many hours if you can avoid it. Ask your financial aid office or career services office how to apply for on-campus positions.
Federal Direct PLUS Loans
If you are a dependent student and still need assistance, your parent can apply for a Direct PLUS Loan. Your school may not have offered this opportunity, but if your financial aid does not exceed your cost of attendance and your school participates in the Direct Loan program, your parent would be able to apply. Some schools use the application on studentloans.gov and others have their own application. The PLUS loan application process does include a credit check. If your parent is not approved, he or she may still receive a Direct PLUS Loan by obtaining an endorser (cosigner). If a parent borrower is unable to secure a PLUS loan, the student may be eligible for additional unsubsidized student loans of up to $4,000 (and sometimes more).
Your school’s billing office, sometimes referred to as the bursar’s office or cashier’s office, may have payment plans available to help you spread the remaining costs you owe the school over several payments throughout a semester. The payment plan can help you budget the payments rather than paying in one lump sum, possibly helping you avoid costly late fees.
Special Circumstances Reevaluation
Sometimes a family’s finances are not accurately reflected on the FAFSA because of changes that have occurred recently, such as job loss, divorce or separation, or other special circumstance. Schools are not required to consider special circumstances, but those that do have a process by which you can petition for a reevaluation of the information on the FAFSA. This process may require you to submit documentation, and the financial aid office will recalculate your eligibility, possibly resulting in a change of financial aid awards.
Emergency Advances or Institutional Loans
Sometimes you may have college-related costs, such as housing costs or other living expenses, before your financial aid is disbursed to you. Your school may offer an option to advance your financial aid early or offer a school-based loan program. Ask your financial aid office if this is an option and always make sure you are aware of the terms and conditions (such as interest rates or repayment terms) of your agreement.
Private or Alternative Loans
Some private institutions offer education loans that do not require the FAFSA. While we recommend federal aid first, we realize it does not always cover the cost, especially for pricier schools. These types of loans will almost always require a cosigner and usually have higher fees or interest rates depending on your credit. We encourage you to first ask your financial aid office if they have a list of lenders for you to consider, but not all schools maintain such a list. If not, you can search for lenders on your own, but compare products before making your choice: look at interest rates, fees, repayment terms, creditworthiness requirements, satisfactory academic progress requirements, etc.
Before making any final decisions on how to fill the gap between your aid and your costs, it is always recommended that you meet with a representative in your financial aid office to determine what campus resources might be available before going out on your own. It might also be possible that you still have the time to change some of your choices before the semester begins: Can you change the type of meal plan you chose? The type of housing? Check with campus officials to see if you still have time to select a different, more affordable option.
Justin Chase Brown is an Associate Director of Student Financial Aid at the University of Missouri.
The Education Department has warned borrowers not to share their government-issued PINs with student-loan-relief firms, citing concerns about identity theft and fraud.
Forcing them to work through impasses can promote deeper levels of comprehension, researchers find.
Last month President Obama signed a law that seeks to maximize opportunities for all youth and adults to succeed in postsecondary education and in high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand jobs.
It’s called the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and you now have the opportunity to provide feedback to the Department of Education as we work to implement this important law that holds great promise for Americans.
WIOA will help support programs that are critical to ensuring that all Americans are able to contribute to and benefit from our 21st-century economy, from English literacy to secondary transition to competitive employment.
To read more about WIOA and comment on how to make the new law work for everyone, go to the joint blog from the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
Please share your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions by Friday, Aug. 29.
When President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, he called on Americans to make sure that every American — including our boys and young men of color — can reach their full potential. On August 2, over 150 people showed up early on a Saturday morning for a “Data Jam” hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with Georgetown University and the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation. The Jam took place at Georgetown Downtown in Washington, D.C.
The My Brother’s Keeper Data Jam brought together a diverse group of high school students, teachers, data scientists, data visualization experts, developers and community and non-profit leaders. The aim was to find new and better ways to use data to highlight opportunities and create solutions that can improve life outcomes for all students, including boys and young men of color. It was a powerful day.
A group of young men started us off with compelling spoken word performances that reminded all in attendance of the incredible challenges they face and enormous potential they hold. While acknowledging the role they had to play in changing the narrative of their own lives, they made plain the real danger and risks they face each day and expressed frustration in having to overcome the negative stereotypes that are applied to them and their peers.
The attendees then broke into teams focused on the six universal goals outlined in the My Brother’s Keeper 90 Day Task Force Report– entering school ready to learn; reading at grade level by third grade; graduating from high school ready for college and career; completing post-secondary education or training; successfully entering the workforce; and reducing violence and providing a second chance. The teams were designed to capitalize on the range of perspectives and expertise among the participants. The student and teacher team members almost uniformly commented that they had never before been engaged in developing or even asked about tools and resources that impact their daily lives.
Nearly 20 teams worked through the day on crafting compelling ways to show data and creative solutions to chronic challenges – ranging from strategies to reduce preschool suspensions and expulsions to websites that enable students to find career paths and the required education or training to access them. At the end of the day, seven teams were voted by other participants as having the most promising ideas, and those teams committed to moving these and other ideas forward.
We are excited about the ideas that emerged and anxiously await seeing these ideas in action. We are even more excited about the lessons learned from the day and how they will improve future Data Jams that I am sure other colleges and universities will be clamoring to host. But we are most excited by the demonstration of commitment and unbelievable energy of the individuals and teams that participated. With no cash prizes or press coverage, these people leaned in and showed a big part of what My Brother’s Keeper is all about – people coming together to help our young people and the country. The Data Jam simply applied a little technology and innovation to that simple but profound concept and left many of us feeling inspired.
Yet, nothing was as inspiring to me as the time I had during lunch with the youth in attendance. They asked how I got where I am; how I avoided and dealt with the violence in my neighborhood; how best to survive and excel on campuses where they, for the first time, might come across few people with similar backgrounds and experiences; and many other questions about life as they know it and imagine it. They shared their stories of struggle and triumph as well as their plans for the future and the impact they plan to have on the world. Their questions and their stories reminded me, as one young man said in the morning session, they are “overcoming every day.” So if we create ladders of opportunity, they are more than willing to climb. And, that, too, is a big part of what My Brother’s Keeper is all about.
Jim Shelton is Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education and Executive Director of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force.
The My Brother’s Keeper initiative is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach led by an interagency federal task force to build ladders of opportunity and unlock the full potential of our young people, including boys and young men of color. Learn more about My Brother’s Keeper.
The Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University exists to inspire and prepare students, faculty and global leaders with the necessary skills to generate and innovate solution-based social change both locally and internationally. It will promote collaborative spaces for fostering innovation and provide experiential opportunities to pragmatically impact the social sector. Learn more about the Beeck Center.
A look at how the college application has changed over the past century, through the experience of one North Carolina institution.
A committee voted instead to censure Wallace L. Hall Jr., whose scrutiny of the University of Texas flagship stirred debate about the appropriate role of a regent.
The only thing that deters terrorists is if "they know that their sister or their mother will be raped," Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University said last month.
Owning the Challenge: Summit Helps Community-wide Teams Strengthen Collaboration to Boost College Completion
Q: What do Camden, Denver, Spartanburg and Minneapolishave in common with Albany, New York; Baltimore; Kansas City, Missouri; Providence, Rhode Island; the Rio Grande Valley and McAllen, Texas; and Riverside County, California?
A: On July 31, leadership teams from each of these communities took part in a lively, constructive workshop hosted by the White House and the Department of Education. The teams came together to catalyze and expand collaboration across the K-12 and higher education sectors, as well as with community, business, and philanthropic partners, to significantly increase college access and completion.
The goal of the workshop was to support and accelerate these partnerships’ efforts by highlighting lessons learned from successful efforts for sharing effective policies and practices, connecting teams with experts and resources, and building relationships within communities.
Secretary Arne Duncan kicked off the day by saying, “This for me is very personal work. We never had an opportunity quite like this when I was in Chicago… having people come together, work together, and understand the goal of college completion as a national priority. It’s so exciting that you are stepping up to this challenge.”
Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, a SUNY System educator and Albany team member, said, “This is about all of us owning the challenge.” That spirit of shared investment for shared success propelled discussions throughout the day. She also challenged communities to think about how they could shift from being “program rich, system poor” to real cohesiveness and systemic change.
Participants eagerly dived into discussions of effective data sharing and looping across K-12 and higher education, along with strategies for college advising and counseling, developmental education, and accelerating college level work.
Several attendees said the workshop was the first time that leaders of their key education sectors had gathered at the same table. One participant called it “an historic occasion” because of the new links forged among her community’s players.
President Robert Templin of Northern Virginia Community College put his finger on a critical element of community collaboration: “jointly owning a common outcome.” Another participant picked up that theme when she said that her community tracked significant sets of data, but had never established ambitious shared goals for student achievement. Jeff Edmondson of Strive Together added an important factor when he said, to many nods, “Partnerships move at the speed of trust.”
The Partnership Workshop is part of the White House College Opportunity Initiative, a call to action by the President and First Lady to accelerate college completion through a set of targeted commitments by colleges and universities, non-profit groups, states and cities, philanthropy and other allies.
At the first White House Summit in January, many organizations recognized that the success of their efforts to increase academic preparation and broaden the pipeline to college would depend in part on building an even stronger foundation of early and K-12 education. These groups urged the White House and Department of Education to reach out to K-12 leaders and community organizations, and this new wave of city-based partnerships reflects an enthusiastic response to that suggestion to broaden the universe of players who can help promote real progress toward achieving local, state and national college completion goals.
With the White House College Opportunity Initiative continuing and a second Summit planned for December, more partners have a chance to “own the challenge” and build powerful momentum for even greater progress in 2015.
Jamienne Studley is Deputy Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education.
The announcement marks a new, pragmatic phase in the debate over how widely published research should be shared, and how quickly.
Two computer scientists resent the presence of Facebook's founder at a scholarly gathering.
In a culture of accountability, some professors call on technology to collect information about student participation in the classroom.
Through regional investment and engagement, U.S. institutions are tapping a vast pool of wealth around the globe.
Jack Dunn is retiring after having led a planetarium at the University of Nebraska for 43 years.
Academe, for its part, wants access to corporate data as well as the money that tech giants like Google can generate.
Andrew W. Moore was a professor of robotics and computer science at the university before he left to lead Google’s Pittsburgh office.