January 9, 2015: Education News We're Reading This Week


January 9, 2015—Here are the best articles from education news this week.

In an effort to “widen access to higher education,” President Obama has announced a plan to make community colleges tuition-free. Executive Director Harold O. Levy issued a response, which you can read here. Higher education sources have also been weighing in about the newly-coined America’s College Promise program, which plans to help approximately 9 million students per year.

The Washington Post quotes White House domestic policy director Cecilia Munoz saying that the hope is to make two years of college as normal as attending high school. Of course on the downside, a 10-year, multi-billion dollar effort is needed.

Politico is a bit more critical of the announcement, which hopes to provide students of any age with a C+ average a cost-free two years of community college. The Institute for College Access and Success remarks that non-tuition costs are omitted, while former Association of Community College Trustees policy analyst Bryce McKibben says many low-income applicants may already be covered by Pell grants and other federal aid.

Matt Reed presents his honest reaction to the plan on Inside Higher Ed. As a fan of what some would call the model for America’s College Promise, the Tennessee Promise, Reed admits that the political nature of the program—as opposed to Tennessee’s effort with a continuous stream of revenue—may make it a funding nightmare if it ever gets off the ground.

The New York Times responds by pointing out the bipartisan nature of this announcement, as President Obama will stand alongside Tennnessee Republicans, and the potential for American growth such a large educational endeavor could bring about.

Lastly, Washington Monthly lays out a basic response with pros, cons, and a list labeled “mixed or unclear.”

The American Association of Community Colleges has released a review of tuition-free community college programs. They ask how the programs have fared since inception and whether this is a good use of higher education funds.

Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed wrote this fascinating article on one reason high-achieving, low-income students may not be applying to competitive institutions. Research suggests that many of these high school seniors require more information and carry misinformation about liberal arts colleges and flagship universities.

According to U.S. Government Accountability office statistics, public college revenue comes from students more than it does from state governments. In 2003 17% of revenue was made of tuition, but the number jumped to 23% in 2012 writes USA Today.

Reuters offers tips on how to avoid mistakes when filling out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Among common errors are waiting to apply and misreading instructions.

Interested in adding thousands of dollars to your financial aid package? TIME offers seven legal options to do so, suggesting that clarity and timing are key.

The College Solution offers their take on the recent news highlighting a lack of diversity at Catholic universities. In response to the TIME magazine article, Lynn O’Shaughnessy also takes a look at who does well in supporting low-incomes students and why this trend is currently being examined.

WMAL 105.9 recently aired their New Year’s Day segment of “Mornings on the Mall,” which includes an interview with Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy.

The Philadelphia Inquirer released an article on Cooke Scholar Chionque Mines this week after her introduction of President Obama at the White House College Opportunity Summit.