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2014

MSI Unplugged

By Michael J. Sorrell, President, Paul Quinn College
February 18, 2014, MSI Unplugged

As the president of a Minority Serving Institution (“MSI”), I spend a lot of time trapped in conversations of the “America no longer needs your kind of colleges” nature. Additionally, it seems as if every article I read is inundating me with research findings that purport to confirm the inferiority of MSIs or studies that lament the damaging impact of gifted students attending our schools (code name: “under-matching”).  At a time when higher education is searching for more ways to educate minority and under-resourced students, MSIs find themselves in the ironic position of being attacked while the methods they have successfully used to nurture and educate students for over 100 years are being copied by majority-run institutions.

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Critics Say White House Summit Sidelined Community Colleges

By Katherine Mangan
January 17, 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Education

As guests of the White House on Thursday basked in the good will of promises to open doors and guide students to graduation, many educators who have dedicated their careers to helping low-income students succeed in college watched from the sidelines.

Most were excited that the issues they'd long grappled with were taking center stage. But some couldn't help pointing out that many ideas emerging from the White House summit—targeted scholarships, better test preparation, summer enrichment programs, fast-tracked remedial education—were old news on their campuses, which nonetheless continue to see low completion rates.

Critics contended that the meeting's guest list, which included more than 100 colleges as well as 40 nonprofit organizations, foundations, and other groups, was dominated by elite institutions.

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2013

Students: Pay isn't the key benefit of a college education

By Ben Unglesbee
Monday, December 23, 2013, Lawence Journal-World

Against a backdrop of rocketing college costs and mounting student debt, many experts, policymakers and families are reassessing the value of a college education. But how to judge the value of higher education has never been clear.

One measure has taken a prominent, if controversial, place: the incomes of college graduates.

For decades the wide differences between college and high school graduate incomes helped justify public investment in higher education. With college costs rising and job opportunities more scarce for new grads since the recession, those numbers have come under closer scrutiny.

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History Suggests College Rating System a Losing Proposition

By Dr. Vinton Thompson, President, Metropolitan College of New York
December 16, 2013, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education

President Obama’s proposal of August 2013 to tie individual students’ financial aid to government ratings of the college they attend is perhaps the worst idea ever put forward for higher education by a sitting president. Two of the major proposed metrics — graduation rates and post-graduation employment and income — are inexorably bound up with the nature of the students that the colleges serve. Poverty, poor preparation, commuter and part-time attendance, and non-traditional adult age status are all highly correlated with lower completion rates.

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Small School Collaborations Create Synergy for All

By President, Thomas University
December 5, 2013, The Huffington Post

Small colleges and universities understand both the value, and often the necessity, of collaboration in order to advance their own unique and individual institutions. Many operate with modest resources yet are expected by their constituencies to deliver the same level of quality education as any other college or university, regardless of their wealth or stature in the marketplace. Such is the nature of accreditation reviews which has a way of leveling the playing field in the academy, as we are all expected to meet the minimum requirements of the accrediting bodies that review and sanction our work.

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Heritage University releases Breakthrough Strategies video series to assist educators in overcoming challenges that inhibit first-generation college student success.

By Bonnie Hughes, Communications Officer, Heritage University, 509-865-8588 or hughes_b@heritage.edu
October 4, 2013

Toppenish, WA — Heritage University has produced a series of brief instructional videos each featuring a “breakthrough strategy” to enable first-generation college student success. The videos highlight practices that can be used across a number of disciplines and are available to educators nationwide. The strategies are supported by the research literature on college-level classroom-based practices.   

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Small Is Still Beautiful

By Gary Bonvillian, Ph.D., President, Thomas University, GA
August 28, 2013, The Huffington Post

Understandably, colleges and universities today are seriously considering the consequences of what President Obama and his administration are proposing for significant changes to how higher education in this country functions, and measures its worth. Those of us who have made higher education our life's work know from experience that the merit of these changes will be intensely debated in our circles and perhaps some may actually come to fruition. That said, early response is suggesting many of these reforms will be difficult to actually implement.

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President of Yes We Must comments on Obama's Plan for Higher Education

Obama Plan to Tie Student Aid to College Ratings Draws Mixed Reviews

By Kelly Field
August 22, 2013, The Chronicle of Higher Education

President Obama continues his three-campus "college cost" bus tour on Friday, promoting his plans to make college more affordable through a mix of carrots and sticks.

The heart of the proposals is a controversial plan to rate colleges based on measures of access, affordability, and student outcomes, and to allocate aid based on those ratings. Under the plan, students attending higher-rated institutions could obtain larger Pell Grants and more-affordable loans.

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Bank on Student Loan Fairness Act Offers Best Solution to Interest Rate Problem

By Prof. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, Ph.D., President, Keuka College
July 11, 2013

KEUKA PARK, N.Y.—While pleased that Senate bipartisan negotiators reached a tentative deal on student loan interest rates, Keuka College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera believes there was a better deal to be struck.

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College Joins Yes We Must Coalition

By Doug Lippincott, Keuka College
June 4, 2013, Around the Tower

Keuka College has joined a national organization that advocates for needy students and their colleges.

The College recently became a member of the Yes We Must Coalition, a non-profit organization of 32 small, private, non-profit colleges and universities across the U.S. that work to help low-income, first generation, and minority students receive a higher education.

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Throwing Scorecard a Curve
College of St. Mary Challenges Federal Rating with Its Own

By Leslie Reed, World-Herald Staff Writer
May 28, 2013, The Omaha World Herald

College of St. Mary officials say a scorecard that the Obama administration released this year doesn't do justice to the Omaha college and its mission to serve low-income and nontraditional students.

So they've worked up their own version and hope it will be adopted across the country by other colleges that serve similar students.

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'Yes We Must' Coalition Steps Up to Advocate for Needy Students—and Their Colleges

By Goldie Blumenstyk
March 25, 2013, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Alarmed that the college-completion agenda and other national policy and financing debates overlook the special challenges of needy students and the institutions they attend, a coalition of colleges called Yes We Must is revving up to ensure that its concerns are not ignored.

The three-year-old Yes We Must, which has 32 members, is a coalition for private colleges no larger than 5,000 students where at least 50 percent of the undergraduates qualify for Pell Grants. Many of the current members also have small endowments and operate on tight budgets.

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