Rhode Island to Offer Free Community College
The state's lawmakers passed the state budget proposal recently, which included $2.8 million to fund the free tuition program for one year. Graduating high school seniors who maintain a 2.5 GPA and go to school full-time will be eligible, regardless of income. Rhode Island joins three other states – New York, Tennessee and Oregon – that have approved plans to make community college free.
Eastern Kentucky U Creates Scholarship With Solar Savings
The Photons for the Future scholarship program uses the monetary savings generated by 25 solar panels on campus to provide $1,000 scholarships to students pursuing degrees in scientific fields. A donation helped pay for the solar panels and provide scholarship seed funding.
NC BOG Attempts to Ban Students From Practicing Litigation in Law School
The North Carolina Board of Governors has proposed a ban on litigation efforts by the UNC Center for Civil Rights at the law school of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which takes on legal cases of school desegregation, fair housing and environmental justice for poor and minority clients. Several board members want to prohibit the center from filing legal claims and lawsuits, saying it is inappropriate for the center to represent clients in court against other government entities. Some UNC and N.C. Central University law school leaders say barring the centers and clinics from engaging in legal action would effectively end those student training opportunities, potentially leading to questions from the American Bar Association.
U Wisconsin Madison Meets Student Needs With Food Hub
The UW Campus Food Shed is a new program that gives students and faculty access to free vegetables and produce, stocked by university agriculture researchers and local farms with excess crops. Many of these excess crops would otherwise be composted or thrown out.
U North Carolina Chapel Hill Wins $1M Prize for Commitment to Equity
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation recently awarded the university the 2017 Cooke Prize for Equity in Educational Excellence, an honor that bestows a $1 million gift. The Cook Prize recognizes achievement in enrolling low-income students and supporting them through graduation. The university will match the foundation’s award through private funding, and will use the $2 million to support efforts that benefit low-income students.
U Michigan to Roll Out Tuition-Free Program
The new financial aid program for in-state students offers a guarantee of free tuition for up to four years for students with family income of up to $65,000, which is roughly equal to the state's median family income. Recently approved by the university's Board of Regents, the new program will launch in January 2018.
U Virginia to Commemorate Slaves Who Built Campus
The university is planning to build a large memorial to commemorate the contributions of an estimated 5,000 enslaved people who helped build and maintain the school. With recent Board of Visitor approval, private fundraising for the project will begin immediately. This project is part of the UVA's President’s Commission on Slavery and the University.
City of Boston Announces Tuition-Free College Program
Massachusetts' Republican governor and the Democratic Mayor of Boston recently launched a new college affordability program for high school graduates in the city. The aim is to allow eligible students to complete four-year degrees without paying tuition or mandatory fees. The program, open to 2017 high school graduates who live in the city, will cover students' tuition and fees.
U Colorado Boulder Creates 'Social Justice Living Environment' in Dorm
In fall 2018, the Social Justice Living Environment will house communities for students who identify as black, LGBTQ and those passionate about diversity. The new program stemmed from student concerns following a campus climate survey revealing only a quarter of African-American undergraduates and less than half of undergraduates, in general, felt welcome on campus.
Central Carolina CC Receives $199K to Expand Sustainable Tech Curriculum
The community college has been awarded a $199,612 grant from the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education Small Grant program. The goal of the project, which includes recruitment from underrepresented populations, is to provide technician skills, competencies and hands-on experiences needed for employment in the fields of energy-efficiency verification and building performance analysis.
Minnesota Two-Year Schools Receive $1M for College Readiness Program
A 2016 report from Minnesota's Office of Higher Education found 26 percent of Minnesota high school graduates enrolled in at least one developmental course when they got to college. The new $1 million donation will create the Summer Scholars Academy, a program aimed at closing the opportunity gap in underserved communities by offering new students tutoring in math, reading, writing and study skills during the summer months before the fall semester. Officials hope improving college readiness will result in higher graduation rates for students of color.
Chemeketa CC Opens Press to Reduce Burden of Textbook Cost
The community college recently started a publishing peer-reviewed textbooks with original content authored by the college’s faculty in an effort to reduce the financial burden to students. In addition to savings, the Chemeketa Press supports collaboration and professional development across the university. The Chemeketa Press published 13 titles in 2016, with over 20 new titles planned to be released for fall 2017.
Portland CC Helps Students Save $1M in Textbook Costs
In response to the skyrocketing cost of textbooks, the community college's staff, faculty and students came together to establish an open educational resources (OER) program that has reduced the cost of books, saving students $1 million since the program began in 2015. Open educational resources involve open textbooks, which are texts released under flexible copyright licenses, such as Creative Commons, that facilitate copying, printing and adapting at no cost. They are often written by scholars and published by grant-funded projects or universities.
Columbia U Partners with HBCUs in Scholarship Program
In an effort to combat the lack of diversity in the professional workforce, beginning summer 2017, Columbia University will admit two students from each of the top 10 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as ranked by The Wall Street Journal, through a university scholarship program with a $100,000 value. The chosen students can earn a one-year master’s degree, receive access to industry mentors, career coaches and Columbia’s alumni network, followed by a paid summer internship and the possibility of a job offer from one of the program’s 11 Fortune 500 partners.
Clarion U Designates All-Gender Restrooms
Anyone wanting privacy can now choose from several facilities across campus after the university selected 11 buildings with one-stall restrooms and converted them to all-gender facilities. The restroom facilities needed only locks and signage, making the cost to convert minimal.
Southeast Missouri State U Opens Food Pantry
The new Redhawk Food Pantry provides non-perishable food items, hygiene products and school supplies to university students and employees in need. The food pantry provides supplemental support for members of the campus community who struggle with food insecurity, encourages an educational understanding of food insecurity, and provides a space for students to volunteer with their peers.
Santa Fe CC Faculty Vote to Unionize
A recent vote yielded a 93 percent to seven percent ratio in favor of unionizing, which means that 50 full-time faculty at the college will now be represented by an American Association of University Professors chapter. The collective bargaining agreement will establish clear policies for faculty employment, and it will create a set of standards that holds everyone accountable.
U Michigan Launches Three Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives
As part of its ongoing strategic efforts to enhance diversity in higher education and society, the university's National Center for Institutional Diversity is starting the Distinguished Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship, Grants to Support Research and Scholarship for Change, and the Distinguished Diversity Scholar Career Award and initiatives. Through these initiatives, the center is actively working to highlight the interconnections of diversity and excellence in research and scholarship in ways that positively affect knowledge production and its use for societal change.
Northland College Pledges to be Sanctuary for Undocumented Students
In a letter dated March 2, the college's president cites a rising national rhetoric of intolerance and acts of hate that threaten minorities as a basis for affirming Northland’s intention to support all students in their quest to pursue their education without government interference. Unless it is legally required to do so, the college will not voluntarily share student information with or grant property access to immigration enforcement officials, nor participate in the enforcement actions of immigration officials on campus.
Johns Hopkins U Commits $55.5M to Locally Owned Businesses
The university and the Johns Hopkins Health System hired 304 workers from Baltimore's distressed neighborhoods and campus-area communities and committed $55.5 million of construction project spending with minority- and women-owned or disadvantaged businesses in the first year of their HopkinsLocal initiative, an effort to use the university's purchasing and hiring power to help expand opportunities for those living in city neighborhoods.
Niagara College Launches Diversity and Social Justice Center
The university announced its plans to launch a new on-campus center that aims to foster and grow the institution's commitment to diversity and social justice. Among other goals, the center will support faculty and student research, organize events, provide professional development, and serve as a community resource and expand community engagement.
Virginia State U Opens Food Pantry
Thanks to a partnership with the grocery chain Food Lion, a new campus food pantry gives students with limited funds a variety of healthy foods in an effort to reduce hunger and food insecurity. This new initiative also aims to increase graduation rates by helping to meet students' basic needs.
Big Tent Consortium Issues Travel Ban Call to Action
The Big Tent Consortium, a global network of universities and their community partners, have issued a call to action to its members to oppose the Jan. 27 U.S. travel ban, join with other worldwide protests, and create spaces for dialogue within universities and communities everywhere to combat alleged growing Islamophobia and exclusionary trends around the world.
City College San Francisco to Offer Free Education
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced at a press conference recently that, starting fall 2017, community college will be tuition-free for all San Francisco residents through the City College of San Francisco. Approved via a voter proposition in November 2016, the plan allows any student who has lived in San Francisco for at least one year, regardless of income, to attend community college for free.
Higher Education Leaders Issue Statements on Immigration Ban
Many higher education leaders issued statements recently in response to the Trump administration's executive order to ban immigrants and nonimmigrant visitors from seven countries, which are majority Muslim, from entering the U.S. They criticized the ban for the disruption it caused to students and scholars and for confusion around the order and its implementation and, in many cases, expressed moral outrage.
Wheaton College Announces Scholarships for Refugees
The college recently announced the Wheaton Refugee Scholarship to be awarded for student refugees fleeing conflict in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen—the seven nations named in President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban.
U Alberta Creates Multi-Faith Space
The new Multi-Faith Prayer and Meditation Space offers spiritual peace and quiet for students of various faiths, offering more opportunity to rest, recharge and get to know people of other religions.
U California Divests $475M from Wells Fargo Contracts
Following continued advocacy from the Afrikan Black Coalition, a Black student union, the university has discontinued $475 million worth of contracts with Wells Fargo citing amoral practices and unfair treatment of black and brown people as the reason. The decision comes on the heels of several cities and states terminating relationships with Wells Fargo.
Pierce College Opens Food Pantry for Students in Need
The new pantry contains free, non-perishable food items. With student government acting as steward of this new program, the pantry serves a need for students who are dealing with food scarcity, students who have forgotten money on a particular day or for students who find themselves on campus after the cafeteria has closed.
Green Mountain College Offers Sustainability Scholarship to High Schoolers
High school seniors who want to pursue an interest and eventually a career in sustainability can apply for the college's new First in Sustainability Scholarship, a $200,000 award that seeks to bring attention to the college's sustainable mission and encourage a wider array of students to apply to the college. The scholarship will fully cover the winner's four-year tuition, room, board and fees.
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.