Notes & Coffee: September 11 - 17

Notes & Coffee is here to keep you informed of all the trending student affairs and higher ed news stories most critical to our field as they develop. In the age of information overload, we’re here to bring you vetted examinations of the stories that matter to our field. We invite you to brew a favorite morning beverage, kick back, relax, and catch yourself up for the week ahead with Notes & Coffee.

Student voices: DACA students worry about "really tough times" ahead – Following President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation, some of America’s 800,000 young adults brought to the United States illegally as children may be deported beginning in March 2018. As Washington continues to debate the issue, The Hechinger Reportspoke with four DACA recipients about how this new reality affects their lives and education goals. 

California leaders pledge $30M for young immigrants – California Gov. Jerry Brown and top lawmakers announced Tuesday that they plan to spend $30 million helping young immigrants with legal services and college financial aid. The announcement comes in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to end a program that gives temporary protection from deportation to people brought to the country illegally as children or by parents who overstayed visas. The proposal requires legislative approval this week before lawmakers head home for the year.

How can colleges better serve adult students – The pervasive image of college students as kids a few years out of high school is badly out of date—today, some 40 percent of college students are 25 or older. Many of these students attend schools that cost too much and don’t deliver high salaries down the road. However, some colleges are finding creative ways to make educating adults their core mission and are transforming higher education to be responsive to the people—of all ages—who actually use it.

Long wait for loan forgiveness – Student and consumer advocates have taken Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to task over her decision to block or water down regulations issued by the Obama administration to add student protections -- including a new borrower-defense rule written to clarify and expand students’ ability to clear loans taken out to attend fraudulent institutions. As of this summer, though, tens of thousands of claims were still pending from students who had filed to discharge their loans under existing statute but have yet to receive a ruling from the department.

Transfer students still lose lots of credits – Community college students lose a substantial amount of credits when transferring to a four- or two-year institution, which is due in part to poor coordination among the participating colleges and an inability to effectively communicate the transfer process and policies to students, according to a new U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. Overall, transfer students among all postsecondary institutions lost an estimated average of 43 percent of credits, according to a GAO analysis of a selected cohort of students. Students moving from public two-year to public four-year colleges — the most common transfer path that accounts for 26 percent of transfer students — lost the fewest estimated credits at 22 percent.

More Notes

State innovations for near-completers

How can a “sanctuary school” protect its DACA students?

Emphasis on STEM and skilled trades is priority du jour, but what about the value of liberal arts?

When employment is the goal, should “student success” include dropouts?

More programs give special attention to first-generation university students