Perspectives: A quick round-up of this week’s commentary

How can college presidents support immigration? Why did one student’s loan debt lead to a warrant? Keep reading for a round-up of this week’s perspectives on access and affordability in higher education.

College presidents must be loud and clear in support of immigration

David Oxtoby, president emeritus of Pomona College, and Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark, this week called on college presidents and leaders “to become directly involved” in supporting immigration, asserting that recent Trump administration actions to deter immigration “strike at the heart of our mission as higher-education institutions.” They recommend writing op-eds, mailing elected officials, and focusing on especially vulnerable students. Read Oxtoby and Cantor’s piece on The Chronicle of Higher Education.

How colleges must collaborate to lift up the communities just outside their door

Asked what impact universities should have on their local communities, Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark, and Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University, outline ways their institutions are reaching out to enhance well-being in their college towns, surrounding cities, and states. Gee notes that Newark and West Virginia “share many economic and social challenges”—gaps that have prompted the schools to focus on college access, degree attainment, and collaboration with other local institutions. Read Cantor and Gee’s piece on The Conversation.

I couldn’t afford to pay my student loans. Then I received a warrant for my arrest.

Raising questions about college affordability, the number of students—especially Black students—accruing loan debt, and the increase in lenders taking borrowers to court over delinquent loans, former Boston University student Arielle Gray recounts her experience receiving an arrest warrant related to unpaid student loans. She focuses especially on private lenders, ultimately asking “why has education been lauded as a partial solution to our society’s ills yet comes at the price of inheriting crippling, lifelong debt?” Read Gray’s piece on HuffPost.

Colleges are ditching the SAT/ACT. It’s time they end early-decision practices, too

While lauding the University of Chicago’s recent decision to go test-optional, Sara Garcia, a policy analyst for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress, says such selective and competitive institutions will need to take even more “intentional steps” to “open the doors of opportunity to a more diverse student body.” Specifically, Garcia suggests that top-tier institutions consider ending early decision practices—which favor wealthier students who can commit before knowing their financial aid situation—stop giving preference to legacy applicants, and develop alternative “metrics of success” that can be used “when considering students from high-poverty school districts.” Read Garcia’s piece on Fortune.

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