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Financial Aid Calculation Mistakes Affect Loads of Students

Cam Speck

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Due to a significant blunder, over 200,000 financial aid applications have been affected, potentially holding up college decisions for a lot of students in the United States. The Department of Education admitted to this screwup which comes on top of other problems with the newly updated Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) system. This has led to quite a bit of worry and negative feedback from different groups.

Finding the Mistake

A company that the government hired made a mistake when figuring out who’s eligible for financial aid. They messed up some numbers and sent wrong info to colleges. These colleges then use those figures to decide how much money to give students who want to attend. The Department’s folks haven’t said which company goofed up, but they’ve told us it’s all fixed now. Future submissions will still be accepted, but a lot of applications must be looked at again.

Vendor Troubles

The vendor, General Dynamics Information Technology, was hired in 2022 to update the Education Department’s aid system. The same company had a hand in starting Obamacare and has been watched by the department for past errors that messed up the FAFSA launch.

Effects on Students and Schools

  • Financial aid offers are lagging behind. This mistake is making an already tense time for making college choices even more difficult.
  • The messedup applications need reworking. The department cannot say exactly when they’ll finish. they’re telling schools to give out provisional offers for now. Complaints and Demands for Responsibility. This issue has brought criticism.

Broader Implications

The FAFSA is the key to unlocking federal financial aid and it was recently changed to make things easier and more accessible. But, the reality’s been rough with delays and tech problems causing trouble for students, families, and colleges alike. This year’s seen fewer FAFSA forms turned in which might be because of these problems.

Looking Ahead

The process of filling out the FAFSA has faced lots of criticism from education experts and politicians. Justin Draeger, who heads the group that deals with student financial aid at colleges, called this a needless mistake that makes life harder for students who really need help with money for school. On top of that, Wayne Johnson, who used to be a big deal in handling student loans for the government, slammed the Education Department for being carelessly harmful. He stressed how bad these errors are for both students and schools.

Conclusion 

The Education Department is rushing to fix a big problem that looks like it’s going to affect the next school year. Because of this mess, universities had to push back their decision deadlines and figure out student aid on their own, which isn’t the best way to do things. This whole situation shows how important it is for the financial aid process to be clear, quick, and reliable so that everyone has a chance at going to college.

Officials from the department have promised they’ll work faster to sort out applications that got messed up and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Everyone in schools and students who want to go to college are waiting for this issue to be solved. It just goes to show how complicated and hard it is to handle student aid for the whole country.

If you’re looking for more news as this story develops, keep an eye out here.

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Education

Columbia University Faces Anti Semitism Claims 

Ryan Lenett

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On a recent Wednesday, Columbia University garnered national attention as its leadership appeared at a Congressional hearing. Representative Virginia Foxx, who chairs the House Education Committee, led this session to delve into claims of growing antisemitism on campus. The focus was not just on how the university dealt with specific events but also on their general strategy to uphold free speech while protecting student wellbeing.

The Backstory of the Inquiry

This hearing in Congress isn’t happening in a vacuum. It’s part of a larger concern for the welfare of Jewish students at Columbia. These worries grew after incidents that resulted in top administrators stepping down from posts at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. Rep. Foxx openly criticised

The student criticised Columbia’s leaders for being carelessly negligent. She claimed they let the campus turn into a hotbed for extreme ideas and aggression aimed at Jewish students.

Insights from Leadership

Columbia’s President Minouche Shafik, Board of Trustees co chairs Claire Shipman and David Greenwald, along with law and economics professor David Schizer, gave their accounts to the committee. They talked about what the university has been doing to tackle these pressing problems. Shafik agreed that stronger actions are needed to protect students and pointed out the challenges in balancing free speech with shielding students from bigotry and bullying.

Hearing Highlights

  • Lack of Success Admitted: President Shafik admitted that even though steps have been taken against antisemitism, there’s a lot more to do to make every student feel secure and valued.
  • Updating Rules: After getting a lot of heat and attention from the press, Columbia has made changes to its rules on campus demonstrations. Now, there are tougher consequences for those who misbehave.
  • Criticism from Conservatives: The committee, mostly conservatives, were not happy with Columbia acting only after problems happened. They want to see actions that stop trouble before it starts, especially for Jewish students.

University’s Response to Crisis

The bad feedback made Columbia University seriously reconsider how things are done at the school. They’ve taken important steps like,

  • Better Reporting System: Students now have an improved way to tell the school about harassment or threats. This lets Columbia respond faster and more effectively.
  • New Rules for Protests: There are updated instructions dictating the time and place for protests. This is meant to stop any behaviours that could lead.
  • Handling Complaints: The university has strengthened how it deals with complaints, making sure that everyone is treated fairly and no one is subjected to harassment or violence.
  • Teaching About Diversity: The school has increased its programs to teach the community about respecting differences and making sure everyone feels welcomed. This includes training sessions to fight against hate speech and help create a campus where everyone can feel at home.

What’s Next and Potential Problems

Columbia University’s problems show larger concerns that all colleges in America are dealing with. While colleges want to be places where people can speak freely and have open discussions, they also need to stop any kind of hate or unfair treatment. What Columbia does next and how the government watches over them could show other schools how to handle these challenges.
A recent meeting in Congress started more conversations between politicians, university leaders, and everyone else. The important point everyone agrees on is that even though things are getting better, we still have a long way to go to make campuses completely welcoming and secure places for all students.

Conclusion

The work to make schools better never stops. It’s all about creating smart plans that respect the important principle of being free to learn and think, while also making sure every student has a secure place to study.

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Education

Harvard Unveils Major Shifts in Entry Requirements

Ashley Waithira

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April 11, 2024 Cambridge, MA, Harvard University has just shakin things up by reinstating SAT and ACT tests for its next round of applicants. This big news is causing a stir among folks who are looking to get into college and the academic world. Other top dogs like Caltech are doing the same, showing that there’s a wave of change going on in how colleges figure out who gets in after all the COVID19 chaos.

Back to Standardised Tests

If you want to apply for Harvard starting in fall 2024, you’ve gotta have your SAT or ACT scores ready to go. This is a Uturn from not needing tests while the pandemic was messing with everything. Basically, some smart people at Harvard’s own Opportunity Insights group did their homework and found out that these test scores are actually pretty good at predicting if students will do well in college.

All students, regardless of their background and life experiences, are provided with information that predicts success in college and beyond,” said Dean Hopi E. Hoekstra from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. This action is viewed as a move towards more fairness and impartiality in selecting students.

Community Feedback

The decision has received a mixed response. Some applaud the shift to an assessment based on merit, yet there’s concern about how this could affect disadvantaged students. The Generational African American Students Association has slammed the decision for going against efforts to make education accessible to everyone.

“This choice hits the core of what we’ve achieved in creating true equality in higher education,” they say.

Colleges like Harvard have said on a recent Instagram post that they’re bringing back standard tests.

What This Means for Future Students

Now, if you want to apply to Harvard for the Class of 2029, you need to get ready and take the common exams. That’s true even if you’re from abroad or a state that doesn’t really focus on these tests. Harvard has said they’ll make exceptions for those who can’t take these exams and will look at other ways to gauge their skills, like scores from AP tests or international baccalaureate exams, and so forth.

Harvard’s Continued Push for Variety

Even with this return to old school testing, Harvard’s still determined to have students from all walks of life. The Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, William R. Fitzsimmons says test scores aren’t everything. They look at the full picture when considering applicants, taking into account lots of different things about them./p>

Understanding the Changes

Harvard University has stopped requiring ACT and SAT scores for student admissions until 2026. This move is because of the ongoing pandemic’s impact on students’ chance to take these exams. They suggest that reviewing other parts of an applicant’s record can also reveal their potential.

The university acknowledges online tools like Khan Academy that offer free test prep, showing its commitment to providing equal opportunity for all applicants, no matter their financial status.

Looking Ahead

The world of college admissions is always changing. Harvard updating its policy is just a piece in a bigger conversation about how schools should pick their students. As other colleges watch what Harvard does, they might do the same thing. People will keep an eye out to see if these changes make college classes more diverse.

Harvard’s team says they’ll keep changing their approach if needed after seeing how things go with their new admission policies.

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Education

Harvard Brings Back Required Standardised Tests for Admission

Ashley Waithira

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Harvard University will again require SAT or ACT scores for admissions starting April 11, 2024. During the Covid19 pandemic, the university let students apply without these test scores. Now they’ve changed their policy to what it was before.

A Return to Old Ways

The move by Harvard follows a similar pattern seen in other Ivy League schools such as Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown. These schools have also started asking for standardized tests results again. This change shows that many in higher education still believe these tests are a good way to measure who should get into college.

  • Starting with Applications for Fall 2025- Students who want to go to Harvard must submit their test score when they apply for the fall of 2025.
  • Full Review- Even with changes, college admissions staff stress that test results are just a piece of the puzzle when they look at applications.

Effect of Covid19

Stopping the need for tests was because the pandemic disrupted things on a huge scale. Standardized testing got harder to do, so schools like Harvard made sure every student had a shot at getting in, no matter their situation.

Why They’re Bringing Tests Back

The Dean of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, Hopi Hoekstra, gave some reasons for bringing back the test rule,

  • Fair Comparison: Tests give an equal yardstick to measure all candidates by, no matter where they come from or what their story is.
  • Evaluating Student Potential: Standardized tests give us clues about a student’s ability to do well in college and later in life.
  • Identifying Underserved Talents: These tests are great for finding outstanding students from schools that don’t have a lot of resources. When we look at test scores along with other parts of a student’s record, we can find some really impressive kids.

A study by Harvard professors Raj Chetty, David J. Deming, and their colleague John N. Friedman has shown how important standardized tests can be for bringing more students from different economic backgrounds into schools. Their work shows that even though these tests aren’t perfect, they’re generally fairer than other things like letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and essays.

Support for Disadvantaged Students

To tackle issues of fairness and access, the folks at Harvard have highlighted various tools to help students get ready for these exams. For instance Khan Academy provides free prep courses which helps level the playing field.
Making it more manageable for students of various backgrounds to do well on exams like the SAT or ACT.

Looking Forward

As Harvard moves back to needing standardized tests, they’ll regularly check if this change matches up with their goals for admissions. They want a student population that’s diverse and skilled, showing a wide range of life stories and points of view.

  • Chances for Feedback: Harvard is open to hearing from those applying and folks who know education as they tweak the admission rules.
  • Aiming for Fairness: Harvard keeps focusing on fair admissions, looking at all aspects of an applicant and not just oversimplifying it to test results.

Wrapping It Up

To sum up, Harvard University deciding to bring back testing requirements is going back to how things usually are when letting people into college. Despite the different opinions about this, the school’s bosses reckon it’s the right move.
Upgrading the admissions process will give us a better picture of what each student could achieve. As we all deal with the effects of the pandemic, schools are changing their rules to keep things fair, easy to access, and still aim for topnotch quality.

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