Archive for the “Interesting Articles” Category


The New York Times published a startling article today discussing the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education’s biannual report, and I have to admit the findings are pretty scary.  There are certainly immediate implications for my husband and I as we produce our documentary film about students who are low-income and first generation college-going, but really the college-going future of our country effects all of us in both personal and national ways.

“If we go on this way for another 25 years, we won’t have an affordable system of higher education,” said Patrick M. Callan, president of the center, a nonpartisan organization that promotes access to higher education. “The middle class has been financing [college education] through debt. The scenario has been that families that have a history of sending kids to college will do whatever if takes, even if that means a huge amount of debt. But low-income students will be less able to afford college. Already the strains are clear…The share of income required to pay for college, even with financial aid, has been growing especially fast for lower-income families, the report found.”

Reading this article, I could certainly relate.  Like a lot of low-income students who see higher education as their ticket to moving up the social ladder, I was willing to work my way through school and go into debt just to get that college diploma.  But as financial aid decreases and tuition at public and private universities continue to rise at unprecedented rates, more and more students are getting priced out of college by the everyday costs of living or balk at the idea of going into debt for school. I’m still paying off my original $45K student loan for four years at Columbia which now hovers around $10K, and while I don’t regret the choice I made, carrying that burden of debt certainly has created its own set of worries and limitations. And even though student loans are still available for college, in our current recession, it just doesn’t seem like the smart thing to do.

But the reality is (and as the article states), we need more citizens to achieve higher education in order for America to remain competitive in the global market.  Those of us who know how important education is to the future of our country have to arrive at a solution to make higher education accessible and affordable to the untapped talent in the lower class who feel the cost of going to college is just too great. We as a nation will pay the price if we don’t figure out a way to invest in our greatest commodity: people.

If you’re interested in learning more about our documentary film, check out the First Generation website and blog, and I’d love to hear any ideas or thoughts you might have on this issue of college affordability.

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Shopping for school supplies has pretty much been a back-to-school ritual for the last decade of your life. But before you head off to college, you better be sure you’ve got more than a hefty stash of pens and notebooks. Here’s a list of some not-so-obvious things you might want to add to your usual school shopping spree.

1. bathrobe
Most dorm rooms don’t afford you the luxury of a private bathroom, so you might want to invest in a stylish, comfy bathrobe for those hallway treks to the shower.

2. shower caddy
How’s a girl going to transport her toiletries from dorm room to bathroom? Invest in a handy shower caddy big enough to hold everything you need to maintain that squeaky-clean image.

3. spill-proof travel mug
There’s nothing like a hot drink during an early morning class or a mid-afternoon caffeine pick-me-up, and a spill-proof travel mug is the best way to transport your favorite drink. Not only are these beverage containers usually permissible in libraries, but coffee shops often will give you a discount for using your own mug (not to mention the kudos you get for doing your part to help the environment).

4. flip-flops
Whether you’re going to school on the beach or in the Alaskan tundra, flip-flops for the great indoors are a must-have for any dorm dweller. Chances are you’re going to be running down the hallways for late night chat sessions, and flip-flops are a great alternative to going barefoot. They also come in handy if you’re skeeved out by the communal shower.

5. mini reading light
A lot of college homework will entail reading, so you may want to invest in a mini reading light that can attach to your book or bed. This gives you the option to stay up late without flooding the room with the overhead light. Plus, your roommate will love you for it.

To see the 12 other items on the list read my full article “College Packing List” on Seventeen!  And I’d love to hear what stuff you wouldn’t want to live without in college…

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According to NPR, “The presidents of about 100 U.S. colleges are calling on lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age to 18. John McCardell, the former president of Middlebury College in Vermont, says his group, the Amethyst Initiative, is against intoxication but supports responsible, adult behavior toward alcohol.” Listen to the full news story on All Things Considered.

What do you think: should the drinking age be lowered or remain at 21?

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When I was in high school (ages ago!) the only time I had to worry about administrators possibly reading about my extra-curricular escapades was at the end of the year when we passed out our yearbooks to be signed by our super cool history or English teachers. Now all that has changed with teachers friending students on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. And don’t think college admission officers aren’t looking up student profiles online–cause they so want to know what’s between the lines of your college applications–which is why I always recommend that you keep your profiles private, unless, of course, you don’t care who knows what you did the night before last.

But all this begs the question of whether or not it’s cool or creepy to be friends with teachers or professors or admission officers on social networking sites? Is there a line being crossed? All this came to mind after reading this article on CNN. I’m not sure what the answer is, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the issue…as long as we can still be friends.

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