National News

Chicago teen who started college at 10 earns doctorate degree at 17

Courtesy of Arizona State University Dorothy Jean Tillman II’s participation in Arizona State University’s May 6 commencement was the latest step on a higher-education journey the Chicago teen started when she took her first college course at age 10. In between came associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. When Tillman successfully defended her dissertation in December, she became the youngest person — at age 17 — to earn a doctoral degree in integrated behavioral health at Arizona State, associate professor Leslie Manson told ABC’s “Good Morning America” for a story Monday. “It’s a wonderful celebration, and we hope … that Dorothy Jean inspires

Nikole Hannah-Jones Calls Out UNC For Holding Back Millions In Fellowships For Black Journalists

By Stacy Jackson The founder of a program for Black students pursuing journalism says the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill owes her foundation millions of dollars. Nikole Hannah-Jones told NC Newsline that UNC-Chapel Hill owes $3.8 million to the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting. She said it could no longer do the work it set out to do. Hannah-Jones said, per The Messenger, “It’s all of our operating funding, all of our grant money, our quasi-endowment.” She continued, “Without it, we can’t work toward our mission, we can’t do any of our work.” According to Hannah-Jones, the program was

Massachusetts Proposes Tuition-Free Community College for All Residents

By Evan Castillo Massachusetts wants to make community college tuition-free for every state resident, regardless of the student’s family income. On May 6, Massachusetts senators announced MassEducate, a program that would give every state resident a tuition- and fee-free education at any state community college. The proposal, included in the fiscal year 2025 budget, has yet to be approved. MassEducate builds on MassGrant Plus, a tuition-free program for Pell Grant-eligible and middle-income college students. If the $75.5 million program is approved, MassEducate will begin in fall 2024. Thanks to the state’s Tuition Equity Law, non-U.S. citizens and undocumented students who earned a high school diploma or

Rev. William Lawson, civil rights leader who worked with Martin Luther King Jr., dies at 95

The Rev. William “Bill” Lawson, a longtime pastor and civil rights leader who helped desegregate Houston and worked with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement, has died. He was 95. Lawson’s longtime church, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in that Texas city, announced on its website that he had died on Tuesday. “He has completed his time of service here on earth and is now enjoying eternal rest,” the church said in its announcement. Lawson founded Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in 1962 and served as its pastor for 42 years before retiring in 2004. He was

Biden Admin Launches $50M FAFSA Completion Initiative

By Matthew Arojas The Department of Education (ED) launched a multimillion-dollar effort to increase the number of FAFSAs completed before the next academic year. ED announced Monday that it would invest $50 million over the coming months as part of its FAFSA Student Support Strategy. The program will provide grants so organizations can offer extended resources to students and families still struggling to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This comes after repeated delays and issues have plagued the rollout of the 2024-2025 FAFSA. The FAFSA typically drops on Oct. 1 each year, but ED didn’t soft-launch this year’s FAFSA until

A Georgia beach aims to disrupt Black students’ spring bash after big crowds brought chaos last year

Thousands of Black college students expected this weekend for an annual spring bash at Georgia’s largest public beach will be greeted by dozens of extra police officers and barricades closing off neighborhood streets. While the beach will remain open, officials are blocking access to nearby parking. Tybee Island east of Savannah has grappled with the April beach party known as Orange Crush since students at Savannah State University, a historically Black school, started it more than 30 years ago. Residents regularly groused about loud music, trash littering the sand and revelers urinating in yards. Those complaints boiled over into fear

White House Awards $93M In Grants for R&D at HBCUs, Tribal Schools, Other MSIs

By Nigel Roberts Five historically Black universities are on a list of 20 institutions serving students of color to receive federal education funding for research and development and to improve completion rates for underserved students. The Education Department announced $93 million in grants to the HBCUs, Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) on Friday (Dec. 8). U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the Biden-Harris administration recognizes the urgency of creating opportunities for students of color and other underserved students to succeed in cutting-edge fields. “These grant awards will help many of our nation’s most inclusive and diverse colleges and

Uncle Nearest Holds Second Annual Challenge To Raise $1.4M For Underfunded HBCUs

By Oumou Fofana Uncle Nearest has announced the launch of its second annual HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge, a campaign aimed at raising money for underfunded HBCUs. This year’s challenge, which began on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan. 15) and will end on Juneteenth (Jun. 19), will see the company work to raise $1.4 million. Speaking on the accomplishment of its first-ever campaign in 2023, a spokesperson for the Black-owned spirits brand took to Instagram and wrote, “Thanks to the participation of 3,500 bars, restaurants, retail stores, Uncle Nearest’s matching donation, and YOU, we [were] able to give nearly $1,000,000 to HBCUs across the nation,

HBCUs Gifted $100M, Largest Unrestricted Gift In 80-Year History of the UNCF

By Rashad Grove The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) announced that HBCUs will receive a $100 Million gift from Lilly Endowment Inc. In 80 years of existence, the gift is the largest donation to the 37 HBCUs affiliated with the UNCF, reports The Hill. The UNCF is currently raising funds for a $1 billion capital campaign that will enhance student scholarships, HBCU endowments, technology and research for HBCUs, cash reserves, and endowed funds for UNCF and  to support its annual campaign.” Marc Barnes, senior vice president of capital campaign at UNCF, shared the importance of receiving the generous gift from the Lily Endowment

Biden Admin Forgives $1.2B in Student Loan Debt Through SAVE Plan

By Matthew Arrojas Borrowers enrolled in the newest income-driven repayment (IDR) plan will see over $1 billion in student loan forgiveness. The Department of Education (ED) will soon discharge $1.2 billion in federal student loan debt for borrowers enrolled in the new Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan, which creates low monthly payments for borrowers. Under the SAVE plan, borrowers who originally took out $12,000 or less in student loans qualify for automatic debt forgiveness after 10 years of making payments. Nearly 153,000 SAVE plan borrowers benefited from this mechanism during this latest round of relief, according to ED. President Joe

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