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Strolling across Lehigh University's picturesque campus, Jamel Haggins is a striking example of the best that Philadelphia's neighborhood high schools have to offer.
Now a 20-year-old college junior, Haggins is on track to earn his architecture degree next spring. A chiseled 6'3" tall and 255 pounds, he's also an all-conference tight end for Lehigh's football team. Sporting an easy smile and a bright red fraternity sweatshirt – he's the president of the campus chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi – the proud North Philly native is a magnet for attention from students and staff alike.
With costs soaring, getting to and through college is more difficult now than ever, and that has many students skeptical about whether it’s even worth the effort.
The Notebook wanted to offer practical information and advice on how students can successfully navigate the college-going process. To do that, we talked to two local college placement experts, Thomas Butler and Karen Campbell, asking them questions that high school students may have.
One of the biggest concerns for college students is how to pay for it. The Notebook asked Karen Campbell and Thomas Butler, two college placement experts, to explain how students can finance their post-secondary education without breaking the bank.
Ten college and university presidents met with Vice President Biden at the White House recently to announce their voluntary endorsement of a uniform financial aid award letter that would provide students with clearer, more transparent and accurate information about how much they will have to pay — now, and in the future — for their college education.
The initiative is an effort to discourage students from financially over-extending themselves, and beginning in the 2013-14 school year students applying to any of these institutions will be given a one-page cost or “shopping sheet” prepared by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The sheet will include the full price of a year at college, including an estimate for books and personal expenses. This is nothing revolutionary as far as I’m concerned, as I’ve always worked for colleges that disclosed this information.
Chris Navas needed a course that met at the right time in the evening and would not interfere with his day job, which was building boilers, or his daily obsession, which was building his body. That was a little over three years ago. He was making good money at a factory in Maspeth, Queens, forming new boilers from sheet steel as if it were clay, rolling it, shaping it, cutting it. He visited the gym fervently. His class work at Queens College was fitted into patches of time around boilers and barbells.
First things first: Congress should extend the current 3.4 percent interest rate on student loans now. If it doesn’t act by July 1, the rate will double to 6.8 percent and the average student borrower will owe $1,000 more each year.
Senate Republicans say they support the rate reduction signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007, but they blocked full consideration of a Democratic-sponsored bill earlier this month. The legislation proposed to offset the $6 billion cost by closing a tax loophole that allows rich individuals to reduce their taxes by filing as corporations.
Like almost 14 million other Americans, Monica Reyes is looking for work.
"Macy's, Walmart, Kmart, Sears, Friday's, Outback," said Reyes, ticking off her list of recent unsuccessful job applications.
A sluggish economy has made finding work difficult for people from all walks of life. Nationally, the unemployment rate is still above 8 percent. Four people compete for every job.
Few of them will have a tougher time finding work than Reyes.
Philadelphia’s new Great Schools Compact lays out an ambitious goal: replace or transform 50,000 seats in low-performing schools with better options.
But will the Compact include a push to close low-performing charter schools and help successful District-managed schools flourish? Or will it function solely to accelerate existing efforts to close District-run schools and expand the city’s burgeoning charter sector?
Those were the biggest questions on the table during a lively discussion Monday night attended by about 100 people before the School Reform Commission’s “choice, rightsizing, and turnaround” committee.
“The best way I think is to look for things that interest them,” said Anthony Martin, the founder of What it Takes (WIT), a Philadelphia-based e-mentoring program aimed specifically at connecting at-risk Black male students with successful Black men.
Last summer Heston Elementary School Principal Icilyn Wilson-Greene received a phone call from the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePac) about an opportunity to restore the school’s library.
It was a welcome call because a large and growing number of Philadelphia public elementary school students don’t have access to a school library or a certified school librarian, and Heston was struggling to keep its own library doors open.
The School District's on-time graduation rate climbed 3 percentage points last year to 61 percent, the first time in memory that more than six of ten Philadelphia students have graduated on time. That figure is the percentage of students who entered 9th grade in fall 2007 and finished high school by 2011.