U Arkansas Little Rock Increases Higher Ed Accessibility Via Partnership

The university partnered with Little Rock School District on a new partnership, Trojan Pathway, that aims to make higher education more affordable and accessible. Through the partnership, students in the classes of 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 and their parents can sign a non-binding agreement that guarantees the student a spot at the university as long as the student satisfies admissions criteria, submits a complete application and makes acceptable financial arrangements.

NY Governor Proposes Free Tuition at State Colleges

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo proposed a new plan aimed at making college tuition-free for eligible students. The plan covers college students who have been accepted at a four-year or city university system school, provided they or their family earn $125,000 or less a year. The plan was unveiled at LaGuardia Community College alongside U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

NASFAA Releases Report on Free College

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) recently published a report that, after evaluating current and proposed promise programs, offers considerations for promise program developers to keep in mind in creating future federal, state or local plans. The report comes after NASFAA’s board of directors charged a task force to identify ways to scale promise programs to the national level.

Business Historians Move Meeting Out of NC

The Business History Conference, an affiliate of the American Historical Association, has announced that it will change the location of its 2018 meeting from Charlotte, N.C., to Baltimore. The organization did so out of protest to HB2, known as House Bill 2 or “the bathroom bill,” the North Carolina law that bars transgender people from using bathrooms other than those associated with their biological gender assigned at birth.

Higher Education Leaders Sign Letter in Support of DACA

As of Nov. 21, 2016, more than 180 college and university presidents from public and private institutions across the U.S. have signed statement supporting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The statement includes the benefit of this program on communities and the economy and asks that the program not only be upheld but expanded. Signatures are still being accepted.

Harvard U Strike Ends With New Labor Contract

In a 583 to 1 vote in favor of a new five-year labor contract, dining hall workers will return to work after a strike that began on Oct. 5, demanding a pay increase for 750 employees to cover the increasing cost of insurance. Now all of Harvard's workers will earn a minimum of $35,000 per year,. As part of the bargaining agreement with the help of their union, the dining hall employees will be moved into a new health care plan, but the school will pay the increased costs.

Southern Illinois U Gives Food Assistance to Hungry Students

Having opened in fall 2016, an estimated 300 students have already visited the new food pantry. Visits are limited to once per month and the amount visitors can take depends on the number of people in their family. Managed by a graduate student studying social work, the food pantry is sustained by donations.

Pennsylvania State U Brandywine Opens Food Pantry Service

After a student-initiated investigation revealed that peers needed food assistance, the CUB-Board was born, providing food and necessities such as soap, detergent and paper towels for students in need. Students can claim up to seven bags of groceries per month or, if they have a one-time need for lunch or a snack, they can come to the CUB-Board without a full application.

Northwestern U Students Form New Social Justice Group

Student Action NU, a new undergraduate-led organization, is meant to serve as a space for students who want to organize around social justice issues with an intersectional perspective, such as the Black Lives Matter movement and climate injustice issues.

Rhode Island Sets Goal to Save Students $5M on Textbooks

Responding to concerns about the rising cost of textbooks being a barrier to a degree, Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced a new challenge that seeks to save college students $5 million over the next five years by transitioning to openly licensed textbooks. The announcement was made at Rhode Island College, which launched a pilot program that has already saved students $100,000 by replacing the traditional textbook for all sections of its Biology 108 with an openly licensed text.

NCAA Encourages Divisions to Sign Diversity Pledge

The NCAA’s diversity and inclusion pledge, gaining approval from the NCAA's board of governors in August 2016, is now available online for presidents and chancellors to affirm their commitment to ethnic, racial and gender diversity in the hiring process for athletics. Colleges, universities and athletics conferences that commit to the pledge will be recognized in a public listing on the NCAA’s website. This comes after a 2014-15 NCAA employment survey shows slow progress toward addressing diversity initiatives.

Ten Universities Tackle Gender Inequality

The inaugural HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 University Parity Report highlights the progress of 10 global universities that signed a gender equality pledge. Launched in 2015, the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 is an initiative that convenes 10 university presidents as well as heads of state and CEOs to fast-track gender equality. The group of 10 universities span across eight countries on five continents.

Smith College Invests $8.5M of Endowment in Sustainability

In her annual welcome letter, Smith College President Kathleen McCartney announced the college will invest $8.5 million of its endowment in a private equity fund focused on energy efficiency and sustainable manufacturing processes. McCartney's welcome letter also mentions a commitment to a just and inclusive campus and highlights a few key events during the upcoming year to build a campus of inclusion.

ACC Moves Games Out of North Carolina

In response to a recent North Carolina law that makes it illegal for a person in a publicly owned building to use a restroom that does not correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificate, the ACC Council of Presidents recently joined the NCAA when they announced the relocation of all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year. The ACC and NCAA expressed a desire to promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches and fans.

California State U East Bay Helps Under-Resourced Students

After a recent study from the chancellor’s office revealed a small number of the university’s students is homeless, a member of the university's Care Team was appointed to design a program that helps students who are homeless, face food insecurity and/or are financially unstable. In addition to launching a food pantry, organizing drives to provide clothing and toiletries, and addressing emergency housing and financial insecurity, the program aims to also provide students with a sense of community and support.

Brown U Will Consider Undocumented & DACA Students as Domestic Applicants

Beginning with the class entering in fall 2017, the university will consider first-time, first-year undergraduate applicants who hold undocumented or DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status and graduate from a U.S. high school as if they were a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The change means that like first-time, first-year domestic students, undocumented and DACA applicants will be considered under the university’s need-blind admission policy and that Brown will meet 100 percent of each student’s demonstrated financial need upon matriculation.

INSIGHT Into Diversity Recognizes 82 Institutions for Diversity

The INSIGHT Into Diversity recently announced the 2016 recipients of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, which recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion through initiatives, programs and outreach; student recruitment, retention and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff.

Georgetown U President Responds to Its History of Slavery

After a new report was published by the university's Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, which cites the school's involvement in the institution of slavery when it sold 272 enslaved people in 1838, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia announced that it will issue an apology, give the descendent community the same admissions process considerations as the Georgetown community, develop a public memorial to the enslaved, and establish a new Institute for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies. In addition, two campus buildings will be renamed.

Colorado Mountain College Pilots Textbook Rental Program

Lessening the financial hardship for some, a new partnership with textbook rental company Rafter Inc. allows students to pay a flat fee of $286 for the semester with a guarantee of receiving all required textbooks and course materials in time for when school starts. The National Association of College Stores estimates that the average college student spends $655 on textbooks each year.

North Carolina State U Lifts Resource Burden for Low-Income Students

A new program called Pack2Pack connects under-resourced students within the Pack Promise program with used, unwanted home furnishings that would otherwise go to local landfills.

Business Officers Discuss Sustainability

Business leaders gathered recently after the NACUBO annual meeting to explore how to preserve the core mission and values while ensuring a more sustainable future. The content and discussion was focused on building integrated strategies for affordability, diversity and sustainability for higher education to fulfill its critical role in meeting society's needs.

Norfolk State U $5M NSF Grant to Support Underrepresented Minority Students

The five-year, $5 million National Science Foundation grant through the university's Center for Renewable Energy and Advanced Materials will be used for investigating and developing advanced materials and devices for renewable energy. Additional aspects of the research include introducing underrepresented minority students to energy engineering through training and outreach activities.

NY Times Covers Food Banks on College Campuses

The recently published piece from the NY Times indicates that more than 300 food pantries have been created at colleges across the country "to address a problem the Agriculture Department calls "food insecurity" on campus". The article mentions a stigma associated with food insecurity on college campuses and cites various stories of students who face hunger.

College-Bound Student Rejects Scholarship From Nestlé

Hannah Rousey, accepted to Sterling College for fall 2016, turned down a $1,000 scholarship from Poland Spring, a subsidiary of Nestlé, due to her objections to bottled water and the company’s alleged environmentally destructive practices. Rousey, future sustainable agriculture and environmental protection law and policy student, said that acceptance of the money would be "hypocritical". Photo credit: GoFundMe

Indiana U Professor Uses Innovative Fundraising Method for Scholarship Endowment

Mike Keen, the Chancellor's Professor of Sustainability, will hold an early retirement party at which he intends to fundraise to endow the Sustain the Future Scholarships for underrepresented students with financial need from the South Bend region. Keen and his wife are donating $25,000 to the scholarship. They hope to raise an additional $10,000 with tattoo votes and party ticket sales.

North Carolina State U Tours State with Diversity & Social Justice Lens

Partially funded by the University Diversity Mini-Grant program, the College of Natural Resources and the University Sustainability Office coordinated a recent tour of eastern North Carolina to raise student awareness about the environmental, societal and economic dimensions of sustainability.

SUNY New Paltz Bolsters Diversity & Inclusion Support with New Hire & Task Force

The university recently announced Tanhena Pacheco Dunn as chief diversity officer after being hired in 2012 as executive director of Compliance and coordinator of Campus Climate and Title IX. Pacheco Dunn came to SUNY New Paltz from Vassar College. Additionally, a new, 21-member Diversity and Inclusion Plan Task Force has been tasked with leading the development of a draft campus diversity and inclusion plan.

Conscious Company Compiles Top 15 Affordable Conscious MBA Program List

Using Net Impact’s Business as UNusual report as a baseline, Conscious Company added affordability, social impact, environmental sustainability and social entrepreneurship filters to compile the top 15 impact-focused business programs in the U.S. today. Each costs less than $110,000 for two years.

Amherst College Receives $1M 'Cooke Prize for Equity in Educational Excellence'

The Cooke Prize was recently awarded to the college due to its record of eliminating arbitrary barriers to admission and promoting the success of high-achieving students from low-income families.

Wesleyan U Funds Sustainability Education and Social Justice Programs

Among this year's initiatives and projects that the student-run Green Fund allocated money to are the development of sustainability curriculum into existing courses, an event featuring a Stony Brook University professor about ecofeminism, eco-grief and climate justice, and funding to a pilot program that offers cooperative food shares to a local elementary school.

Santa Ana College Announces Tuition-Free First Year

Building on the past 33 years of the Santa Ana Partnership, a pathway for students in the Santa Ana Unified School District to attend Santa Ana College, the college will now include a guaranteed tuition-free freshman year for all full-time students from the Santa Ana Unified School District.

NCAA Board of Governors Approves Anti-Discrimination Process for Bids

The NCAA Board of Governors adopted a new requirement that all sites hosting NCAA events and bids must demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event.

U Louisville Removes Confederate Monument After 120 Years

The university's President James Ramsey and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the removal of a Confederate monument on the university's Belknap Campus. Student, faculty and staff members of the Diversity Committee listed the removal of the statue as one of their highest priorities to improve diversity and inclusion on campus. The statue was gifted by the Kentucky Woman’s Monument Association in 1895 to commemorate the Kentuckians who fought and died for the Confederacy.

Auburn U Opens Certified Gluten-Free Restaurant

University students with gluten intolerance now have access to Plains to Plate, a locally sourced farm-to-table restaurant that is now certified gluten-free and is the first retail concept on a college campus to achieve a Gluten-Free Food Service (GFFS) certification, a part of the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Los Angeles to Offer Free Community College

In early April, the city's mayor announced a plan to offer one year of free community college to graduates of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

HRC Names Over 30 University Hospitals as LGBT Healthcare Equality Leaders

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation released its 2016 Healthcare Equality Index, a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare facilities' policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients, visitors and employees. Over 30 university hospitals were identified as leaders by having patient non-discrimination policies, equal visitation policies, employment non-discrimination policies and training for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patient-centered care.

U Connecticut Names Chief Diversity Officer

Joelle A. Murchison has recently been named chief diversity officer and associate vice president to the university. Murchison, who begins her new role in July, will serve as the university’s main strategist responsible for guiding efforts to define, assess, and promote diversity, inclusion, and educational and employment opportunity. She will develop programs and coordinate activities to recruit and retain faculty, students and staff from diverse backgrounds.

Nine Universities Receive $450K for Low-Income Students

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Coalition of Urban Serving Universities awarded nine public urban research universities a total of $450,000 to launch or expand pilot programs that inhibit low-income college students nearing graduation from dropping out. The recipients are Cleveland State University, Florida International University, Kent State University, The Ohio State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Central Florida, University of Houston, University of North Carolina, Charlotte and Wayne State University. The APLU and USU released a report on the success of these micro-grants at 10 universities that includes an implementation guide for universities.

Harvard Law School to Retire Shield

The Harvard Corporation has approved the recommendation of the Harvard Law School Shield Committee to retire the HLS shield, which is modeled on the family crest of an 18th century slaveholder, Isaac Royall. Because of its ties to slave labor, the shield came under fire in October 2015, when a group of law school students formed "Royall Must Fall" to demand that HLS discontinue using the Royall family crest as its symbol. The HLS has the opportunity to propose a new shield.

Brown U Renames Columbus Day

In an effort to recognize indigenous peoples and foster a more inclusive community, Brown University, by a recent vote of its faculty, has designated what was once Columbus Day at the university as Indigenous People's Day.

The Atlantic: 'The Hidden Hunger on College Campuses'

Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of education policy and sociology at University of Wisconsin, last year surveyed 4,000 students at 10 community colleges across the country and found that more than half of all community-college students struggle with food insecurity. Related studies from Goldrick-Rab indicate that two types of students struggle with food insecurity, those that were in poverty before they began college and those that were forced to deal with it due to higher education expenses. While a sample of 10 colleges might seem low, the impacts are far reaching. "Hunger has a large impact on learning and college retention", reports The Atlantic.

Johns Hopkins U Announces $25M Diversity Initiative

The new, $25 million Faculty Diversity Initiative recently announced by university leadership seeks to support more expansive and inclusive faculty searches, create a pipeline of diverse scholars, and broaden support for underrepresented members of the faculty. With five key programatic components, the initiative will measure progress and provide accountability through data and public reporting.

Brandeis U Responds to On-Campus Racism Protest

A 12-day sit-in concluded after university administrators released a plan that includes increased diversity commitments and racial inclusion training for university staff. The sit-in was one of many similar actions taken by students across the U.S. calling for schools to address racial exclusion.

NY Times: 'A New Way to Improve College Enrollment'

The recent article highlights Long Beach, Calif., efforts to increase admissions and graduation rates for the poor and underprivileged. The city is a predominantly immigrant city where public schools, the local community college and state university have collaborated on a program to guarantee high school graduates a tuition-free year of higher education if they meet the academic requirements.

U Florida Hosts Social Justice Summit

After research indicated that campus isn't always welcoming to diverse populations, the inaugural summit featured workshops about race relations, sexuality, gender identity and disability in an attempt to bring diverse groups together for a conversation about social justice.

Union College Updates Motto to Include Women

The college's motto, from nearly when it was founded (1795) until now, excluded women by reading, "Under the laws of Minerva we all become brothers". However, the college's board recently approved a change to add "and sisters" to the end of the motto. The original college seal is also slated for change to reflect the new motto.

Duke U Initiates Program Geared at First-Generation Students

In order to make accessibility for first-generation students and those from under-resourced high schools easier, the new Washington Duke Scholars Program enhanced financial aid and a comprehensive suite of academic and social programs for students who arrive at Duke with less experience with advanced coursework and networking opportunities than is common among many incoming Duke students.

Yale U Launches $50M Faculty Diversity Initiative

A new five-year, $50 million initiative was recently announced that seeks to build on the diversity of the university's faculty by recruiting faculty that enrich diversity, improving faculty development offerings, providing tools and resources to future generations of faculty, and including university-wide participation to support each school's diversity efforts.

U Southern Mississippi Removes State Flag

The university raised the American flag in lieu of the state one because it houses the Confederate flag in one corner. Mississippi officials are being urged to redesign the state flag.

North Carolina State U to Offer Scholarship for Employees' Dependents

Chancellor Randy Woodson recently announced the creation of a tuition scholarship for the children of full-time staff and faculty, beginning in the fall of 2016. The benefit will begin as a minimum $2,000 annual scholarship for the dependents of full-time employees who qualify for admission to the university, a discount of about 25 percent of annual tuition and fees.