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University URLS: The Disruptions of Summer

posted Jul 7, 2017, 2:25 PM by Emily Tai   [ updated Jul 7, 2017, 2:26 PM ]

From Emily Tai

Yes, it’s been a tough summer, with more scrutiny for CUNY from the New York Inspector General, and disquieting suspension of regulatory measures for For-Profit educational institutions, that has, as of yesterday, spurred eighteen state attorney generals (and another in the District of Columbia) to file lawsuits against Secretary of Education Betsy De Vos.
Supreme Court Decision on Travel Ban: The Good and the Bad

But there’s also been some good news, sort of.  While the Supreme Court upheld certain aspects of President Trump’s Travel Ban issued last winter, a key provision will protect foreign students, as well as foreign nationals who travel to the United States to accept employment or join loved ones: those who can show a “bona fide” relationship with institutions and persons in the United States will be able to enter the country. 

Judge Clarence Thomas, along with Judges Alito and newly-appointed Judge Neil Gorsuch expressed reservations concerning the possibility that proving “credible claims” of such relationships might invite complications in enforcement, and possible litigation.  In this decision, the majority of the Court nevertheless expresses implicit respect for the contribution American higher education makes to workforce training and the creation of new knowledge, world wide.  At the same time, it imposes a level of scrutiny on those who come to this country as immigrants that seems inconsistent with traditions of openness that have enriched our society, and particularly the American Academy.
Expanding Pell Grants: It's All Good

Better news is the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act, proposed legislation that would expand Pell coverage to match the rising cost of college tuition, and allow students access to funding for summer classes.—a measure that was already endorsed by Congress in the omnibus funding bill for summer, 2017.  The new bill would be an especially valuable leg up for CUNY students, better enabling them to satisfy the academic progress requirements they would need to meet in order to be eligible for additional funding from Governor Cuomo’s new Excelsior scholarship.

In other words, whatever reservations some legislators may have about how CUNY promotes our colleges and our students, they agree that our students matter, and that they deserve support—wherever they may come from.

#PellGrants; #TravelBan; #Excelsior

Emily S. Tai is a professor of History at Queensborough Community College who serves on the UFS Executive Committee, and edits the UFS Blog.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

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