The State of Student Loan Debt

As 2017 comes to a close, recaps of our eventful year are popping up in the media, social media feeds, and end-of-year reports. News stories have come and gone from our short-term memory, but the student loan debt crisis has perpetually remained top-of-mind. It won’t fade away anytime soon considering at least $1.3 trillion is owed by 44 million borrowers, according to a Forbes piece from February 2017.

The picture is particularly tough for minorities when digging deeper. “In 2013, 42 percent of African American families had student loans, compared to 28 percent of white families, according to the Urban Institute” (from a piece in The Atlantic).

The Brookings Institution reported in 2016 that “black borrowers remain more than three times as likely to default within four years as white borrowers (7.6 percent versus 2.4 percent). Hispanic borrowers, despite having about the same level of debt as white graduates, are more than twice as likely to default (5.7 percent).”

Repayment plans are available for loans offered through the federal government, but some borrowers aren’t always aware of them. However, short-term relief can turn into a long-term financial burden. To share an anecdote from my own experience, an income-based repayment plan sets a lower monthly payment than the 10-year standard repayment plan, but that prolongs the life of the loan and in turn the amount of interest paid.

Without question, students of all backgrounds face challenges in a landscape of rising costs of attendance and tightening budgets, but minority students are particularly impacted.

No need to make a prediction for 2018 – with certainty, the student loan debt crisis will remain top of mind for students and all of us who counsel them.

One last note: Now more than ever, scholarships are extremely valuable for students seeking funding for their education. The Charles L. Warren Memorial Heritage Scholarship is awarded by the Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling each year to outstanding high school seniors. The scholarship is a one-time $1,500 award, and eligible students may apply here: https://form.jotform.com/72675876761170. The deadline to apply is January 19, 2018.

Ryan Collins is an admission counselor at Baldwin Wallace University.

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DACA and Higher Education

It’s official: President Trump plans to end the DACA program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA protected over 800,000 young people from deportation who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

DACA isn’t going away overnight. President Trump gave Congress a six-month deadline to pass related legislation before the program is phased out. In a tweet this week, he noted he would “revisit this issue” if necessary.

Many people who DACA impacted are or were college students in the United States, and the world of higher education has played close attention to the issue. Many institutions in Ohio, both public and private, took a stand to support these undocumented students after President Trump’s announcement.

The news was met with condemnation from NACAC. Former president Barack Obama, who created DACA, also condemned the action.

Inside Higher Ed has written an excellent, in-depth article explaining the recent news.

 

By: Ryan Collins

Admission Counselor

Baldwin Wallace University

Diversity Training in the Workplace

While universities enact policies to maintain compliant with diversity and institutional equity, in efforts to promote inclusivity and an ethical model concerning multiculturalism; offices and departments must ensure that they are doing their own part to remain committed to diversity. In a climate where university administrations are being taken to task for the lack of diversity in institutions or for poor responses to racially hostile environments and race-conscious admission policies are under particular scrutiny, offices being proactive instead of reactive can lead to benefits for the office, staff, and student body.

Diversity Training can come in many forms (e.g. workshops, conferences, one-off meetings, ongoing training programs) and can cover a variety of content (e.g. microagressions, types of diversity, sensitivity training, communication among differences). Trainings can be held internally or by external representatives, but no matter the setup, it should be a key component in the ongoing training of individuals in the workplace. Further, research indicates that an ongoing diversity training program in workplaces is one of the most effective means to promote diversity in your workplace . “It should be something that all departments within the company take part in, and that all department managers are held accountable to enforce and encourage. By making diversity a company-wide initiative, it includes all employees and helps to widen the appeal of diversity to the workforce” (Root, 2016).

But why is it important? One could easily write a book (and there are many readily available) about the essentialness of diversity training. In particular, diversity training in the workplace works to serve and support not only the office, but also individual staff, students, and clients. Implementing training can boost the morale of staff during periods when a campus is struggling with diversity issues, showing that your office not only values diversity, but is willing to take action to make sure staff embrace and support such values. But it is always better for offices to be proactive instead of reactive. Offices should not wait for a protest, a damaging article, or even an internal complaint to take steps to promote diversity and instigate training. Having diversity training shows that your office supports your diverse staff, which is particularly important when you want to retain those talented individuals. It promotes inclusivity and will help staff members recognize behaviors that could potentially create an uncomfortable or hostile environment for other staff, student workers, students, or visitors. Training can assist in making the hiring process more inclusive and finding more diverse talent to bring to your office. It is especially important for admission offices to ensure that their staff members are culturally competent and able to effectively converse with individuals of all background to ensure the appropriate level of service and ability to effectively recruit all types of students to your campus.

Root, G.N. “The best practices of diversity training.” Accessed February 19, 2016. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/practices-diversity-training-1851.html

 

Nicole Williams
Transfer Credit and Articulation Analyst
Ohio University
willian3@ohio.edu

CAMPUS SAFETY AND CAMPUS ENGAGEMENT

“What are the police like on this campus?” It’s not a question that we get too frequently, however, with current events it’s a question that we as admissions professionals need to be prepared to answer. While the majority of admissions personnel can recite facts about campus safety from rote memorization, it is imperative to dive deeper into what it is that your respective institution’s campus safety looks like. There are a variety of ways that admissions professionals can learn more about their institutions’ campus safety department. These include but are not limited to inviting campus safety to speak with admissions staff at an admissions meeting, inviting campus safety to participate at an admissions open house event, or reaching out to see if shadowing a campus safety officer is an option for staff members. Through forming a partnership with campus safety, admissions staff can increase their own knowledge about how their institutions’ campus safety works. There are also broader initiatives that can be discussed with a prospective student, such as ways that campus safety engages with the university community.

Schools such as Ohio State University utilize Facebook and Twitter to engage their communities via social media. Using these outlets, the police are able to engage their campus community and quickly update them on pertinent situations. Ohio University’s Coffee with a Cop program is a discussion forum where students are able to speak with the Ohio University Police Department and get to know who the officers are and how they plan on keeping Ohio University’s campus safe. Through this program, students are able to get to know the campus officers on a more personal level. Rutgers University has recently implemented a new program, Text to RUPD, where students are able to text the police for non-emergency situations.

As an admissions professional it is important to not only know statistics and facts about your intuitions’ campus safety department, but also know how the department works to engage with the community.  Being knowledgeable about opportunities for students to engage with campus safety (outside of a crisis situations) is a strong talking point for addressing students concerns when it comes to campus safety.

Christopher Williams
Admission Advisor
Ohio University
williac2@ohio.edu

 

Immigration Insight

U.S. citizen, U.S. national, foreign national, eligible noncitizen … Have you heard or seen these terms, but perhaps are confused about what they truly mean and the distinct differences between them? Highly complex and controversial, immigration continues to be a major area of focus in our country. Regardless of our respective personal opinions on the matter, as education professionals it is critical that we remain abreast of immigration-related issues and policies as we endeavor to foster inclusion, access, and success for all students in our daily work.

There are a host of citizenship, immigrant, and non-immigrant statuses and categories in the United States and each one has a unique set of characteristics and conditions that affect eligibility for financial aid, employment, and other numerous aspects of life. There are also countless related terms that are important to know.

While I am not an international education professional or immigration law expert, as a bilingual Enrollment Advisor who serves a wealth of students who fall into various immigrant categories, I have become a de facto resource for students and colleagues on our campus and in the greater community. Here is a very basic look at a few terms that you may encounter frequently in your work with students.

*Please note that this post should be used as an informal guide and is in no way meant to be an in-depth, comprehensive assertion on immigration law, nor is it intended to provide conclusive answers regarding immigration law or rights. Please consult with a legal professional for the most accurate, up-to-date information.

Click each term for more details…

CitizenA legally recognized subject or national of the United States (the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Marianna Islands), either by birth or by naturalization.

Immigrant – A person who comes to the United States to reside permanently, whether lawfully or without inspection or valid legally authorized clearance.

Nonimmigrant – A person with permanent residence outside the United States who enters the United States on a temporary basis for a specific purpose.

Naturalized citizen – A foreign citizen or national who has been granted U.S. citizenship after voluntarily undergoing the naturalization process and fulfilling the requirements established by the U.S. Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Lawful permanent resident – A person who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis through one of several different ways. This person is not a citizen of the United States, but resides in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. Permanent residents are also known as “permanent resident aliens,” “resident alien permit holders,” and “green card holders.”

Refugee – A person who has fled his or her country of origin because of past persecution or a fear of future persecution based upon race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Applicants file for inclusion in the U.S. refugee program from outside of the United States and must be approved prior to entry. Refugees are required by law to apply for permanent residency one year after being admitted to the United States.

Asylee – A person who has been granted asylum status who has fled his or her country of origin because of past persecution or a fear of future persecution based upon race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Applicants are already in the United States or are seeking admission at a port of entry and may apply regardless of country of origin or current immigration status. These individuals have the option to apply for permanent residency one year after being granted asylum, but they are not required to do so.

Foreign national – A person who legally resides in a specific country, but is not a citizen of that country. Permanent residents, refugees, and asylees are all types of foreign nationals in the United States.

U.S. national – All U.S. citizens are considered to be U.S. nationals, but not all nationals are U.S. citizens. In many contexts related to education, employment, and federal aid, a U.S. national specifically refers to a person who is a native of American Samoa or Swain’s Island, which are both outlying possessions of the United States. These U.S. nationals are not U.S. citizens.

Eligible noncitizen – A term used by the U.S. Department of Education for federal student aid purposes. Includes U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents and conditional permanent residents (with an I-551, I-151, or I-551C), and eligible individuals with an I-94 who have one of the following designations: refugee, asylee, Cuban-Haitian entrant, conditional entrant, victim of human trafficking (T visa holder), and parolee.

Non-immigrant temporary visas – A visa issued to people with a permanent residence outside the United States who seek temporary entry to the United States for a specific purpose. This includes certain tourists or visitors for business (B), students (F, M), exchange visitors (J), victims of human trafficking (T), victims of criminal activity (U), certain classes of temporary workers, and a variety of specialized categories, among others.

  • Some non-immigrant statuses have rigid time limits for the person’s stay in the United States, while others do not.
  • People with some non-immigrant statuses are allowed to be employed in the United States, and others are not.
  • With the exception of T visa holders, non-immigrant temporary visa holders are not eligible to receive federal student aid, though they may be able to receive other financial aid from their respective state or college.

I-94 – The Arrival-Departure Record, in either paper or electronic format, issued by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to foreign visitors entering the United States.

Permanent resident card – An identification card (USCIS Form I-551) attesting to the permanent resident status of a person in the United States. Commonly referred to as a green card. Formerly called an alien registration card or alien registration receipt card (INS Form I-151).

Useful resources:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: www.uscis.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol: www.cbp.gov

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: www.dhs.gov

Federal Student Aid: http://studentaid.ed.gov

 

Shola Odumade, M.B.A.
Enrollment Advisor
Sinclair Community College
shola.odumade@sinclair.edu

[News Brief] The Supreme Court heard arguments in Fisher vs University of Texas – Austin

On December 9th, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Fisher vs University of Texas – Austin.  The case questions the legality of a race-conscious college admission plan.  The Court is expected to issue a decision in June 2016.  Below are two resources that may be of interest.

NACAC’s Admitted Blog post on yesterday’s hearing:  http://www.nacacnet.org/learning/communities/Admitted/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=698

NACAC’s Diversity in Admission:
http://www.nacacnet.org/issues-action/LegislativeNews/Pages/Diversity-in-Admission.aspx

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like additional information.

Michael Rose
Associate Director for Government Relations
National Association for College Admission Counseling
1050 N. Highland St., Suite 400  |  Arlington, VA 22201
mrose@nacacnet.org  |  nacacnet.org  |  @nacacwonk
703.299.6817

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); Opportunity to the Unauthorized Immigrant

It was in 1994 that I immigrated to “El Norte” (The North).

This is what many Latin American individuals call this great land of opportunity. The choice was not made by me, the choice was made by my father that saw an opportunity for growth. Coming to a strange land meant leaving my identity (home). Oftentimes, people leave their children, your life as a farmer, and the most fearful part about this migration is that you have no idea what lays ahead. I remember running and crawling through fields of Arizona and swimming rivers of Guatemala and Mexico. Running at night and sleeping by day.

According to the Boston Globe more than 6,000 people have died trying to cross the Mexico-United States border since 1998. Young children, women, and young men have died trying to cross the border. At times women and children are involved in rape and human trafficking, as well as mules for drugs, but that’s another story. However, there are many that have made it to begin a new life in the U.S.A. As the years pass, many individuals like myself live in shadows and not  exposed to a normal life in the United States because they are afraid of deportation.

According to PEW Research Center about 65,000 Unauthorized children graduate from high schools all over the United States. Some of these students do not know that they are Undocumented or Unauthorized individuals in the States, until a parent decides to share that information with them. Now a young child full of deception, anger, and not connected, it is very hard to understand the concept of immigrant. It is heartbreaking for them, at one point thinking that college was an option, now it is a struggle to achieve or an impossible dream to catch. Hence, where the DREAMERS notion comes to be talked about.

With all that has been said, there are so many students that are wanting to go onto a university or college to make a better living, to get a better education, or to experience the whole “college experience” that their peers talk about. Education currently serves to them a gateway to be a better person that can contribute to society. Eleanor Roosevelt said “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. Students had no choice. According to their parents, they had to be here. How can these students be an individual of DREAMERS if we keep closing the doors for them. So what does it mean to be Unauthorized?  

Typically, a person has  “no papers”. That means that you do not have a social security number. Not having a social security number you have no way of working or being eligible for a driver’s license, nor can the student apply for federal student aid or FAFSA. The land of opportunities has now turn into a land of struggles. However, the U.S. Government and the Obama Administration has worked very hard to finally see some progress in the lines of Immigration Reform. Finally, for some, prayers were answered, On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal called The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). To find out more on eligibility visit the Department of Homeland Security’s page (DHS) for additional information; eligibility, renewal of DACA, application, and what defines DACA.   

Going back to helping students continue their education, I believe that education is huge component of receiving DACA, as well as if an Official at DHS sees your education progress that’s a big part of looking great on the application. One major part that I always encourage students is number one, to apply for DACA (if you can be able to afford it) and number two is to look for 2 year community colleges that can receive admissions to those students who are DACA recipients or not. It is not that colleges do not want to admit students with situations as this, it’s that some states do not allow for students to apply for admissions being Unauthorized. Which then brings on the issue of applying for colleges. Nerdwallet has some great insights of how to go about applying for college and as a DACA student. By clicking here you can find out the steps on how to apply as a DACA or Unauthorized Immigrant student. Also, a great amount of work has been done from non-for profit organizations that can help with students that are DACA recipients or Unauthorized Immigrant Students that are looking to finance their college education.

An organization that is located in Palo Alto, CA helps students with finding schools that they have partnered with to help students seek opportunities to go to college. The mission of QuestBridge is a powerful platform bridging the nation’s brightest, under-served youth and leading institutions of higher education and further opportunities. We are an aggregator of excellence. QuestBridge provides a single, internet-based meeting point which links exceptional students with colleges, scholarship providers, enrichment programs, employers, and organizations seeking students who have excelled despite obstacles. By facilitating these exchanges, QuestBridge aims to increase the percentage of talented low-income students attending the nation’s best universities and the ranks of national leadership itself.

Also, the best part of these colleges and universities is that they provide a great amount of institutional scholarships. If you would like to know which schools are part of the QuestBridge please visit: QuestBridge. It will provide much information on scholarships and as well as opportunities to even apply. This is a great opportunities for students to get engaged in and also it provides a gateway to help them understand that there is a way or a possibility that they can too go to college.

I hope that this has helped in making it more understanding of what Unauthorized individuals go through and as well as the struggles of what some of the brightest students go through in making a choice to go to school or not because policies put into place that hinder them from going to college.

Alex Bonilla, MBA
Multicultural Recruitment Coordinator
Defiance College
Abonilla@defiance.edu