Lynda McGee, a college counselor at a downtown Los Angeles high school, is using any means possible to get students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). That includes daily texts and phone calls to a student's personal cell phone—and they respond. This year, at least 78 percent of her seniors have already submitted their financial aid applications.
Even in a year with no life-altering global pandemic, helping high school students transition to college takes intense, sustained support. This is especially true for first-generation students who often lack the confidence to see themselves as college material, says McGee.
California’s public colleges and universities are economic engines of opportunity for the state. They provide jobs, workforce training, and innovations. But they need the fuel of stable state and federal funding sources to help drive California's recovery as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, write Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education in this opinion piece.
More than 2 million Black men who pursued a higher education never finished their degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The reasons range from college affordability to family responsibilities to military service.
Morehouse College wants to help them reach the finish line. Starting this August, the historically Black men's college in Atlanta is offering an online program with reduced tuition for men who already have some college credits. Within three days of announcing the program last month, the school received 5,000-plus inquiries—more applicants than it saw last year for its traditional on-campus program.
In Missouri, a barrel company’s employees serve as substitute teachers. In Connecticut, a superintendent turns to recent high school grads.
The pandemic is exposing chronic staffing shortages in the country’s schools. Even before the coronavirus hit, schools were able to fill only about 54 percent of some 250,000 teacher vacancies each day. Now, the shortages are much worse, district leaders and principals say, because the need continues to grow exponentially.