News 2012

Thoughts on Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery Sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

November 2012

Thoughts from the Yes We Must Coalition about the Reimagining project sponsored by the Gates Foundation.  

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Visionary Idea

By Allie Grasgreen
September 12, 2012, Inside Higher Ed

Two years ago, Michael J. Sorrell was giving a speech to the student body when he noticed one of his favorite students in the front row. Despite sitting only 25 feet or so from Sorrell, the student was squinting to see him. Sorrell, president of the historically black Paul Quinn College in Dallas, stopped the speech and asked how many students would go to the eye doctor if he made the arrangements. It turned into more than just a poll. Between 10 and 15 percent of students needed glasses and lacked the means to get them or have their eyes examined. Not anymore.

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The Kresge Foundation Awards the Yes We Must Coalition $150,000

August 2012

The Yes We Must Coalition is grateful to The Kresge Foundation for a grant of $150,000 to implement "Planning for Sustainability" from October 1, 2012, through December 31, 2013.

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Yes We Must Takes on Issue of Retroactive Reduction in Pell-eligibility Time Limit

July 1, 2012

As of July 1, the time limit for receiving Pell grant support for attending college was reduced from 18 semesters to 12 semesters. As students have been receiving word from the DOE that they are no longer eligible, our colleges are scrambling to measure the magnitude of the impact and to counsel their students who never saw this coming. These are often students who spent considerable time in community college and are now pursuing a bachelor’s degree. They are often first generation and students of color whose paths to college have been rocky. Many are entering their senior year but with no Pell, they will drop out. We know this is not the intention, but it is going to be the result. The EdTrust estimates that 100,000 currently enrolled students are being negatively impacted for academic year 2012–13.

We understand the battle that has gone on to preserve Pell at a higher level and greatly appreciate those efforts. It is the retroactive nature of this change that is unfair to students who thought they were following the rules and they were.

The President and others have spoken out loud and clear about stopping the doubling of interest rates on student loans. But for the retroactive implementation of a time limit change that is so punishing to thousands of students who are finally nearing completion, there seems to have been no public discussion. Can’t the new time rule be phased in so that the new rules are known, by both schools and students, when students begin their academic career? Can we at least consider grandfathering those who are within three semesters of completing a bachelor’s degree?

To learn what you can do, contact Gloria Nemerowicz.

Take Advantage of ATB Before it’s Too Late
Congress is shutting down an alternative route to college

by Dr. Vinton Thompson, President, Metropolitan College of NY
February 2012, New York Nonprofit Press

In December, shortly before Christmas, with little notice and no debate or public comment, Congress eliminated an important route to higher education for non-traditional students. Presently, students without a high school diploma or a GED can demonstrate college-ready proficiency by passing one of a handful of federally designated tests at a prescribed level. If they succeed, they are eligible for federal aid programs like Pell Grants and student loans. This route to college was established for students who demonstrate “ability to benefit from education or training”, generally shortened to ATB (ability to benefit). It applies to American students without high school credentials and to some immigrants with high school credentials from abroad, permitting them to enter college directly, without diversion of time and effort. Come July 1, 2012, entrance to college through ATB will end. I am writing here to put this setback to college access in context and urge those who can to take advantage of this opportunity before it vanishes.

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