This article originally appeared in The Boston Globe.
Harvard made headlines recently by expanding financial aid, even for wealthier families. But such initiatives by the wealthiest schools affect only a small fraction of American students. For a great many promising low-income students, access to college depends on what nonprofits and smaller, lower-profile schools are doing to improve access to higher education. In Massachusetts alone, the variety and creativity of these efforts is impressive.
Financial aid isn't always enough, argues Deborah Hirsch, Mount Ida College's interim associate vice president of academic affairs. She says access also means helping students get to graduation. That means working student by student to remove barriers. To do this Mount Ida offers "intrusive advising," a model of fast help for struggling students.
At Pine Manor College, Sophia Henderson is the go-to person for financially worried students and parents, helping make sure that money woes don't knock students out of college. She helps with immediate problems and builds financial literacy through counseling and workshops, covering student loans, scholarships, bills, paperwork, and how to avoid defaulting on loan payments.
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Sat, March 8, 2008
by Boston Globe Editorial