Presidential Opinion

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Hartford Courant (CT)

I am a College President. I Fear We Have Failed to Adequately Prepare Our Students for a Difficult Political Future.

I am a College President. I Fear We Have Failed to Adequately Prepa...

December 20, 2021

John J. Petillo, president of Sacred Heart University (CT), writes: As 2021 nears its tumultuous end and the fall semester wraps up, I cannot help but wonder what chaos and new challenges our students will return to in 2022, beyond the academic trials they face and continuing adjustments to young adulthood. I ponder how well-informed they will be about the world around them and how they will face the significant dangers from within our borders, including the rise of fascist ideologies, racism and demagoguery, the politicizing of religion and media, intense polarization, the decay of liberties and the relentless attacks on truth and our democratic principles. If this year was any indication, we, as educational leaders, might not deserve a good grade for how well we have prepared our charges for the evolving social and political infrastructures.
John J. Petillo, president of Sacred Heart University (CT), writes: As 2021 nears its tumultuous end and the fall semester wraps up, I cannot help but wonder what chaos and new challenges our students will return to in 2022, beyond the academic trials they face and continuing adjustments to young adulthood. I ponder how well-informed they will be about the world around them and how they will face the significant dangers from within our borders, including the rise of fascist ideologies, racism and demagoguery, the politicizing of religion and media, intense polarization, the decay of liberties and the relentless attacks on truth and our democratic principles. If this year was any indication, we, as educational leaders, might not deserve a good grade for how well we have prepared our charges for the evolving social and political infrastructures.

December 20, 2021

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The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Did the U.S. News College Rankings Cost My School Millions in Philanthropic Dollars?

Did the U.S. News College Rankings Cost My School Millions in Phila...

December 08, 2021

Walter Kimbrough, President, Dillard University writes: Those who run the college guide insist they don’t penalize schools for not participating in the rankings race. But in our case, by listing our data for that year as N/A, or not available, U.S. News made a decision that created a wild swing in our rankings, potentially costing Dillard millions.
Walter Kimbrough, President, Dillard University writes: Those who run the college guide insist they don’t penalize schools for not participating in the rankings race. But in our case, by listing our data for that year as N/A, or not available, U.S. News made a decision that created a wild swing in our rankings, potentially costing Dillard millions.

December 08, 2021

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USA Today

It's Time To Double Pell Grants. Here's Why

It's Time To Double Pell Grants. Here's Why

December 06, 2021

Marvin Krislov, President, Pace University writes: As college has become much more expensive, federal aid hasn’t continued to meet America’s needs. A half-century ago, the maximum grant covered more than three-quarters the cost of attending college. Today, it’s less than a third. 
Marvin Krislov, President, Pace University writes: As college has become much more expensive, federal aid hasn’t continued to meet America’s needs. A half-century ago, the maximum grant covered more than three-quarters the cost of attending college. Today, it’s less than a third. 

December 06, 2021

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The New York Times

Anxiety About Wokeness Is Intellectual Weakness

Anxiety About Wokeness Is Intellectual Weakness

November 19, 2021

Michael S. Roth, President, Wesleyan University writes: In the current climate of political pessimism and manufactured outrage, we can work with students to reject the tired tropes of the past and embrace what many in the older generations have forgotten: how to engage with and, yes, debate people who have a variety of points of view and who imagine the future with a mix of hopes sometimes very different from their own. No scapegoats required.
Michael S. Roth, President, Wesleyan University writes: In the current climate of political pessimism and manufactured outrage, we can work with students to reject the tired tropes of the past and embrace what many in the older generations have forgotten: how to engage with and, yes, debate people who have a variety of points of view and who imagine the future with a mix of hopes sometimes very different from their own. No scapegoats required.

November 19, 2021

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BizJournals.com

Commentary: It's Past Time To Double Pell Grants

Commentary: It's Past Time To Double Pell Grants

November 01, 2021

Elizabeth Stroble, Chancellor, Webster University writes: Creating educational opportunities across race and class is imperative not only for underserved populations, but also for our economy and business sector as a whole. 

This is why heads of industry in St. Louis have recognized the importance of diversifying our workforce and creating on-ramps for higher education and professional development. 

Greater St. Louis Inc., for example, is focused on addressing racial disparity in quality jobs in our community. Consultant Bruce Katz of New Localism Associates said, “One of the qualitative goals we have put out there (in the Greater St. Louis Jobs Plan) is an increase in the share of Black workers with quality jobs. There’s a gap between white workers and Black workers with quality jobs…. Closing that gap and outpacing peers is a critical need.” 

Pell Grants are the major federal program to award direct financial aid to lower-income students. They are intended to ensure that every student, regardless of financial circumstances, can afford a college education. Currently, Congress is considering critical legislation to double the Pell Grant. Unlike one-size fits all proposals, Double Pell Grants create the greatest opportunity for those who have the greatest need. And we cannot wait.

In our region, 18,929 students in the 1st Congressional District, which includes St. Louis city and north St. Louis County, receive $71.1 million in Pell Grants. In the 2nd Congressional District, which includes south and west St. Louis County, 6,847 students receive $26.2 million. The regional need for funding the Pell Grant program is clear. This funding is needed to help develop a diverse and skilled workforce for the St. Louis region.

We like to say, “The time is now.” But we are past that. Each day that we delay may hold back yet another underserved student. We must pass this legislation. We must affirm our commitment to our students and to our communities. Clearly, educating the region’s students for the jobs that create stronger futures for them and their families results in benefits for them and the St. Louis region.

Today, the Pell Grant program serves more than 6.7 million students, or about 40% of all undergraduates, according to Forbes. Doubling the Pell Grant is the quickest and best way to provide access and success for lower-income students.

Students qualify for Pell Grants if their family’s total household income is less than $50,000 annually. These grants, importantly not loans, serve nearly 60% of African American students and nearly half of Latina students in higher education.

At Webster University, about 35% of our students receive Pell Grants. This federal support, paired with the generosity of donor-funded scholarships, state access grants and maintaining a freeze on tuition costs, means that we can successfully educate an economically diverse group of students. Their success in attaining a degree closes the equity gap in degree attainment for our region.  

RECOMMENDED
Webster University’s success in graduating students with the greatest need with less debt has been recognized locally by St. Louis gaduates and nationally in U.S. News and World Report.

Webster University sophomore Brennaé Jackson, a Pell Grant recipient and Donald M. Suggs Scholar from St. Louis city, said, “The Pell Grant is essential in ensuring the educational longevity of scholars belonging to low socioeconomic status and/or minority communities, including students like me. As many people are aware, there is a resource and opportunity disparity present in these communities, hence why most Pell Grant recipients have an annual household income of less than $20,000. The increased monetary assistance through these grants provides an opportunity for those communities to thrive, as it has allowed me to continue my educational journey in college.”

However, we and our students are already playing catch-up. Doubling the Pell Grant addresses a number of critical needs. Students now cobble together loans with long hours of work, which negatively impacts their ability to progress academically while saddling them with debt upon graduation.  

“Doubling the Pell Grant maximum from $6,495 to $13,000 is the single most important step Congress can take to make access to college possible for all students," NAICU President Barbara Mistick said. "Pell Grants are a proven bipartisan program and the fairest and most efficient way to help low-income and first-generation students access and complete college."

Elizabeth Stroble is the chancellor of Webster University.
Elizabeth Stroble, Chancellor, Webster University writes: Creating educational opportunities across race and class is imperative not only for underserved populations, but also for our economy and business sector as a whole. 

This is why heads of industry in St. Louis have recognized the importance of diversifying our workforce and creating on-ramps for higher education and professional development. 

Greater St. Louis Inc., for example, is focused on addressing racial disparity in quality jobs in our community. Consultant Bruce Katz of New Localism Associates said, “One of the qualitative goals we have put out there (in the Greater St. Louis Jobs Plan) is an increase in the share of Black workers with quality jobs. There’s a gap between white workers and Black workers with quality jobs…. Closing that gap and outpacing peers is a critical need.” 

Pell Grants are the major federal program to award direct financial aid to lower-income students. They are intended to ensure that every student, regardless of financial circumstances, can afford a college education. Currently, Congress is considering critical legislation to double the Pell Grant. Unlike one-size fits all proposals, Double Pell Grants create the greatest opportunity for those who have the greatest need. And we cannot wait.

In our region, 18,929 students in the 1st Congressional District, which includes St. Louis city and north St. Louis County, receive $71.1 million in Pell Grants. In the 2nd Congressional District, which includes south and west St. Louis County, 6,847 students receive $26.2 million. The regional need for funding the Pell Grant program is clear. This funding is needed to help develop a diverse and skilled workforce for the St. Louis region.

We like to say, “The time is now.” But we are past that. Each day that we delay may hold back yet another underserved student. We must pass this legislation. We must affirm our commitment to our students and to our communities. Clearly, educating the region’s students for the jobs that create stronger futures for them and their families results in benefits for them and the St. Louis region.

Today, the Pell Grant program serves more than 6.7 million students, or about 40% of all undergraduates, according to Forbes. Doubling the Pell Grant is the quickest and best way to provide access and success for lower-income students.

Students qualify for Pell Grants if their family’s total household income is less than $50,000 annually. These grants, importantly not loans, serve nearly 60% of African American students and nearly half of Latina students in higher education.

At Webster University, about 35% of our students receive Pell Grants. This federal support, paired with the generosity of donor-funded scholarships, state access grants and maintaining a freeze on tuition costs, means that we can successfully educate an economically diverse group of students. Their success in attaining a degree closes the equity gap in degree attainment for our region.  

RECOMMENDED
Webster University’s success in graduating students with the greatest need with less debt has been recognized locally by St. Louis gaduates and nationally in U.S. News and World Report.

Webster University sophomore Brennaé Jackson, a Pell Grant recipient and Donald M. Suggs Scholar from St. Louis city, said, “The Pell Grant is essential in ensuring the educational longevity of scholars belonging to low socioeconomic status and/or minority communities, including students like me. As many people are aware, there is a resource and opportunity disparity present in these communities, hence why most Pell Grant recipients have an annual household income of less than $20,000. The increased monetary assistance through these grants provides an opportunity for those communities to thrive, as it has allowed me to continue my educational journey in college.”

However, we and our students are already playing catch-up. Doubling the Pell Grant addresses a number of critical needs. Students now cobble together loans with long hours of work, which negatively impacts their ability to progress academically while saddling them with debt upon graduation.  

“Doubling the Pell Grant maximum from $6,495 to $13,000 is the single most important step Congress can take to make access to college possible for all students," NAICU President Barbara Mistick said. "Pell Grants are a proven bipartisan program and the fairest and most efficient way to help low-income and first-generation students access and complete college."

Elizabeth Stroble is the chancellor of Webster University.

November 01, 2021

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