Top stories in higher ed for Thursday
Lumina Foundation is committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025.
January 2, 2020
Jamie Merisotis
Photo: Jason Greenberg 
The Barriers to Mobility
Karin Fischer, The Chronicle of Higher Education
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For generations of Americans, higher education was a ladder—study hard and you could climb into the middle class. 

Today, however, the ladder is rickety. Some of the rungs are missing; others are splintered and weak. Too often people can’t gain even the first toehold. And if they do, they can easily lose their footing, leaving them saddled with student debt but no degree. For those from wealthy families who start near the ladder’s top, the ascent is surer, but for the many who must begin at the bottom, it can be tough to scramble up. 

Some colleges are trying to change that scenario.

Jamie Merisotis
The Long Road to College From California’s Small Towns
Carolyn Jones, EdSource
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As enrollment in California’s public four-year universities surges, one demographic group is notably underrepresented on the state’s public college campuses: students who come from the vast, lightly populated rural communities stretching across the deserts, mountains, and valleys from Oregon to the Mexico border.

Educators around the state have been working hard to reverse the trend with efforts that include boosting college-prep classes in high schools, setting up internships with local businesses for every high school student, and talking about post-high school training beginning in elementary school. 

Jamie Merisotis
New SNAP Rule Affects College Students by Limiting Benefits and Adding Confusion
Rachel Treisman, NPR
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The financial strain of paying for college often translates into many students struggling to make ends meet. For some, it could become even more challenging.

Some low-income college students are among the 688,000 food stamp recipients projected to lose benefits as a result of a Trump administration rule announced Dec. 4. While the rule explicitly targets "able-bodied adults without dependents," it also limits food assistance for a share of college students at a time when campuses across the country are grappling with how to respond to food insecurity.

Jamie Merisotis
Kansas City 'Dreamer' Anticipating Supreme Court Decision on DACA
Bianca Beltran, KMBC News
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When Abi Rodriguez was 18 years old, she received a crash course in starting a business. Her family had been making balloon bouquets and arrangements for parties and selling them from home. With work authorization through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, she was able to help them open a store. 

As Rodriguez makes plans for the new year, she's mindful of the fact 2020 also will bring a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's decision to terminate DACA. Whatever the outcome, she knows it will alter her future forever.

Private Versus Public Colleges: What’s the ROI?
A.P. Dillon, North State Journal
Helping College Students Avoid Money Woes
The Christian Science Monitor
Viewpoint: Empire State-Northland Partnership Is Responding to Workforce Needs
Jim Malatras and Stephen Tucker, The Buffalo News (New York)
Commentary: Education Is the Key to the Future of Texas
Margaret Spellings, Austin American-Statesman
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