6 ways to learn a foreign language for free while you’re sheltering in place for COVID-19
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woman sitting at table using laptop

Your always-home lifestyle presents an unparalleled opportunity to expand your language skills. Why not go immersive? French radio! German podcasts! Italian recipes for dinner!

Or, you know, just brush up. Much of the world is stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now, the best intensive language programs in the world are free:

  • Rosetta Stone. The grandfather of language companies is offering free three-month subscriptions to learn any of 22 languages.
  • Babbel. The course hub just opened up three months of free classes in a dozen languages.
  • Fable Cottage. These fun audio and video stories in French, German, Spanish, and Italian are usually locked under subscription, but are now freely accessible.
  • Conjuguemos. This teachers’ mecca of games, activities, and worksheets in seven languages (including Latin and Korean) is perfect for building an awesome curriculum of the nuts and bolts—verbs, grammar, and vocab. Free during the outbreak.
  • iCulture. Don’t miss Carnegie Learning’s immersion package of videos, articles, and songs in French, Spanish, or German, which are free through June.
  • Mango. The company provides high-speed learning in 70 languages for companies and schools. Its online language portal is freely accessible.

Bonne chance!

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Real Estate Developer Brings Diversity, Cultural Immersion To Early Education In DC Area With Tierra Encantada Business
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Mustafa Durrani seated at home office table wearing a suit and tie and looking confident

(Alexandria, VA) – For minority business owner and real estate developer Mustafa Durrani, bringing opportunity to area residents has long been a passion.

The George Washington University and Cambridge graduate has built market rate and affordable homes in the Washington, DC, metro region as a successful real estate developer. Today, he is expanding his business with plans to bring three Tierra Encantada Spanish-immersion preschool and day care centers to local residents of Northern Virginia. Opening in mid 2021, the centers will provide children ages six weeks to six years of age with a bilingual curriculum designed to foster early cognitive development and respect for diversity.

Durrani chose Tierra Encantada for its award-winning concept, experienced team and high demand, a unique combination that he knows firsthand is key to success. The franchise empowers the entrepreneur to join the fast-growing early childhood education market with his own Tierra Encantada centers, while providing the expertise and support to help Durrani succeed.

“I saw solid opportunity in Tierra Encantada’s concept, and the value of cultural immersion and diversity in early education. There is a constant demand for quality education and resources for parents and families. Tierra Encantada is among the best in the country,” said Durrani.

The popular early education franchise is also a natural fit for Durrani’s real estate investment and development expertise. As a lifelong resident of Virginia, it taps both his expert insight about local area communities and experience in bringing new development to the region.

“I will maintain my development business and the Tierra Encantada franchises in the DC metro area,” added Durrani. “I think the model will be very successful here.”

Bilingual and cultural immersion childcare is also at the forefront of where the market is going, enabling Durrani to enter a powerful niche at a key, early stage in the category. As a minority business owner, he knows the value and opportunity in America’s dynamic cultural diversity and multilingual population. Furthermore, Mustafa is a father of three young children and realizes the value of being multi-lingual at a very young age for a child’s development.  Finally, with Tierra Encantada, Mustafa, an advocate of Organic Food will serve only Organic meals and snacks to all his students.

“I plan to start with the three new locations in the region, and then expand to additional communities in the next five years,” added Durrani.

Tierra Encantada is the leader in Spanish immersion early education. For franchise information, visit franchise.tierraencantada.com.

How Can Business Schools Prepare Students for Jobs That Don’t Even Exist Yet?
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Latinos celebrating graduation throwing hats in the air with a blue sky background and sun shing through

Business schools and other higher education institutions are facing a conundrum. Technology is moving at lightning speed, which means churning out future employees with the necessary skills to not only survive, but thrive, is challenging.

What is even more difficult is the need for educational institutions to prepare students for jobs that don’t exist yet.

Dell Technologies Institute for the Future (IFTF), along with 20 experts, recently revealed that 85 percent of the jobs people will be doing in 2030 don’t exist yet. While that number seems awfully high, there is no question that plenty of new work is on its way.

As a result, the pressure for top graduate business schools to train future C-suite executives for unimaginable possibilities is high. No one expects professors and administrators to be mind-readers, but they should have insight and intuition about what the future may hold. Also, there are techniques to prepare students for whatever may come their way.

Frameworks for flexibility

Business schools need to incorporate teaching methods to train students to be flexible and roll with the punches just as they would teach them to read financial statements. After all, entire jobs and industries may find themselves eliminated while others emerge from the dust. With the right frameworks, future CEOs could have a better perspective on what to do when things shift unexpectedly.

Schools are in fact doing this in some instances, as simulations for courses and frameworks currently being taught have flexibility baked in. But this is a suggestion to make flexibility the main lesson and not just a byproduct.

For example, students could envisage what they would do should an entire department get replaced by artificial intelligence (AI). How would they react? What steps could they take to deal with the employees feeling abandoned and who lose their jobs? What would they do about training people who could help employ AI? It’s the age-old question: How do you get old dogs, themselves included, to do new tricks?

Providing them with a set of questions to ask and allowing them to take a more flexible stance in simulations is helpful. Professors could also include case studies where flexibility was necessary, asking students to discuss situations and gain insight into how others have handled the unexpected. While no one can truly anticipate these non-existent jobs, they can still look to past leaders for lessons in character and process. They can pull what is relevant from those experiences to try and handle these new prospects.

Relevant research

Many professors spend a significant period of time conducting research in areas of interest relevant to their teaching. Sometimes, they work with industry to ensure the research is useful, practical, and easily applicable. By conducting research about growing industries with an eye on the future (think big data, AI, blockchain, etc.), they can better prepare themselves and their students for what the future may hold.

Sometimes, the writing is on the wall. Many recognize, for example, that coal is dying and new, clean energy is the future. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management has long linked engineers with business students, so that commercialization of innovation is possible. Their professors – along with the research they conduct – are the link between the two groups. The point is, professors can help their students recognize such a trend and see something new is on the horizon. Then, they can train them for whatever is coming.

By studying these areas, some professors could become the creators of new jobs and thus able to train others for these roles. Or, they could simply be among those who are the first to know about emerging industries. Either way, they can better help students based on this insight.

Evergreen curriculum

The core curriculum, in general, will always be applicable. People need to know how to handle finances, and budgets and need to be savvy on how to optimize operations and inspire employees. Those skills will never go out of style and can be applied to any leadership role. Of course, professors need to stay on the cutting edge of industry to ensure the references and connections they use make sense to their audience. But they should never stop teaching those basic skills, which are a necessity for success. The good news is that accredited business schools are already doing this and many of them with verve.

Ultimately, no one knows what the future holds. But business schools have an obligation to do some forecasting and prepare students for jobs they aren’t able to imagine yet. They have to help future leaders recognize value and the next big thing. Producing innovators is no easy feat, but by teaching flexibility, studying the marketplace, and providing knowledge of basic skills, business schools can at least begin to prepare students for the uncertainty the future job market holds.

Source: Top MBA

Why Diversity Matters: The Benefits of Recognizing Overlooked and Untapped Talent
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young boy holding sign that says latinos and blacks united with mother behind him and both wearing masks

By Santura Pegram

Growing up, most of us were taught that brilliant innovators of everything from electricity to the lightbulb, automobiles, pharmaceuticals-medical devices, materials, alloys like steel-iron-aluminum-copper, and everything else under the sun were created by European (white) inventors.

However, while such figures certainly deserve recognition for their creations, and ongoing generations should be grateful to those individuals for their contributions, what was omitted from such history lessons was the fact that equally skillful black people and incredible thinkers of other diverse backgrounds also played equally pivotal roles. These latter groups of people helped to create some of the greatest inventions, took others to the next level or devised a new product or service altogether that are still relied upon today.

Disappointingly, most schools and institutions of higher learning have failed to teach material that revealed such hidden truths – both then and now. Thankfully, recent developments in several industries are enlightening increasing numbers of people about the historic and almost unknown contributions of black and brown people throughout the world.

Most affluent Americans and countless others have little clue that it was black people alone who kept the automobile brand, Cadillac, afloat in the U.S. In the 1930’s, as America was struggling to recover from The Great Depression and as racism continued to ruin opportunities for everyone who held onto to such nonproductive beliefs, a low-ranking German immigrant – Nicholas Dreystadt – who worked for General Motors at the time boldly entered a boardroom after overhearing perplexed white executives discuss consideration of abandoning the brand due to increasingly poor sales. The problem: GM was relying solely upon white Americans to buy the cars. Yet, from his menial position as a service division employee, Dreystadt quickly recognized that it was large numbers of black customers who owned Cadillacs who often were found waiting for their vehicles to be serviced at GM dealerships.

At the time, Cadillac had a strict practice against selling any of their luxury cars to black customers. Interestingly, through his own experiences of interacting with many such black customers, Dreystadt learned that black people routinely paid a white person (i.e., a front man) a fee to go into a dealership and purchase the Cadillac of choice for them. Thus, determined to make his point and show what could happen if GM abandoned their discriminatory policy, Dreystadt was successful at implementing a new diversity marketing approach, which increased sales of Cadillacs by 68%, and helped to make the brand profitable within 18 months. His same strategy was later adopted by Mercedes Benz to include black people and increased sales of their once-struggling brand too.

Still not convinced that diversity makes a huge difference in the world? Then consider the story of Nathan “Uncle Nearest” Green and how he revolutionized whiskey. Green, a former slave in Lynchburg, Tennessee was the first black master distiller in America who taught Jack Daniel how to make the liquid gold. For more than a century, Nathan “Nearest” Green’s name was purposely left out of history books and absent from most conversations which tied him to the Jack Daniel’s brand. It would have likely remained that way had it not been for the relentless curiosity of Fawn Weaver, a California businesswoman, who in 2017 spearheaded the launching of what is now known as the Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey brand in an industry that generates $3 billion dollars annually.

If those two examples are not enough proof that the creative (yet often unwisely ignored) potential of black and brown people continue to be a legitimate factor to consider throughout every sector of business, then consider other little-known facts that prove minorities are capable of being far more than the brawn behind an endeavor, they can also be the brains too.

Did any of the schools you ever attended teach you that Dr. Domingo Liotta – a South American native – was the person responsible for creating the first artificial heart that was successfully transplanted into a human being? Did they teach you that Dr. Alejandro Zaffaroni – who was born in Uruguay – not only invented a bandage that administers medicinal drugs through a patient’s skin, but he was also responsible for helping to develop several other widely used products for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including the nicotine patch used to aid smokers in breaking their nasty habit? Were you ever informed that it was an enormously intelligent medical doctor – Julio Palmaz, who was born in Argentina – that invented the balloon-expandable stent frequently used to treat one of the most common health conditions (cardiovascular disease)?

Do your research on Dr. Thomas O. Mensah, the engineer and genius inventor who played a critical role in the development of fiber optics and nanotechnology. While you’re at it, take a few moments to delve into the impressive educational program known as ‘Make Music Count,’ created by Marcus Blackwell which aims to eliminate the fear of math and simultaneously teach children between the 3rd grade and 12th grade how to perform better mathematically while enjoying culturally relevant lessons through music.

Explore the insightful exploration of incredible thinkers like Elijah McCoy, Granville T. Woods, Patricia E. Bath, Frederick McKinley Jones, Jessica O. Matthews, Jasmine Crowe, Diishan Imira and countless others.

Then, imagine what could be accomplished if people of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds throughout America and around the world were to put our heads together and entertain the thought of what has yet to be discovered? Quite possibly, that could include creating a cure for most (if not all) chronic diseases and health ailments. Maybe finding the answer to eradicate poverty, homelessness, and world hunger. Perhaps devise better public policy solutions focused on bringing people together instead of fanning insignificant flames which have only kept us apart.

Whatever the case and despite our achievements as segmented human beings, it’s not difficult to debate that we have only scratched the surface of everything that can be accomplished – if we will commit our hearts and minds to doing it together.

Santura Pegram is a freelance writer and socially conscious business professional. A former protégé-aide to the “Political Matriarch of the State of Florida” – the Honorable M. Athalie Range – Santura often writes on topics ranging from socially relevant issues to international business to politics. He can be reached at: santura.pegram@yahoo.com

The Wilke Family Foundation Grants $1 Million to American Indian College Fund to Grow Computer Science Programs at Tribal Colleges
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Jeff Wilke, CEO of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon, stands on top of stairway with hand on rail smiling

Jeff Wilke, CEO of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon, knows the difference technology can make. As a boy growing up in Pittsburgh, he learned to code. That skill took Wilke from public school to Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, opening doors to his current leadership role.

Wilke and his wife, the writer Liesl Wilke, both supporters of the American Indian College Fund for more than 20 years, are now giving Native American students computer science opportunities at selected tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) with a $1 million gift for The TCU Computer Science Initiative.

The timing could not be better. The outbreak of the Corona virus hit Native communities harder than others. The pandemic underscored the ways in which technology keeps communities connected and allows people to continue their work and education—but also highlighted the digital divide impacting Native communities.

The TCU Computer Science Initiative will address the TCUs’ urgent need to create or expand computer science programs to meet Native communities’ needs, including improved education quality and opportunities, social and economic development, better managed health care systems, and career opportunities. The initiative will begin by bringing qualified computer science faculty to the TCUs to increase, improve, and expand computer science programming to Native communities.

Liesl and Jeff Wilke said, “We are thrilled to see this initiative taking shape and moving forward so that it can deeply impact Native communities. The demand for computer science in many fields of work and study accelerates every year. We hope to help meet the needs of Native communities to flourish in the digital age, whether that means access to more jobs or the ability to program health care applications for a reservation or to preserve language, impact safety, or improve communication among community members according to their unique needs and desires. The opportunities are massive and very exciting.”

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “We are so appreciative, on behalf of Native students and their families, of The Wilke Family Foundation and its willingness to invest in our communities. We know that computer science education is foundational to many aspects of modern life – everything from databases to mapping our lands to creating technology resources that improve our quality of life. This investment helps create a thriving indigenous future.”

The College Fund will facilitate a selection process to choose four TCUs which can support hiring computer science faculty and program development. Each TCU will receive $250,000 over a four-year period to include the costs of faculty salary and benefits, professional development, coursework integration, and other costs.

About the Wilke Family Foundation

The Wilke Family Foundation supports organizations in the areas of education (with a focus on minority and underprivileged students, and both technology and art programs), health care (with a focus on research and models that disrupt what’s not working), and community support (with a focus on providing meals, housing, and safety for women and children, especially in new ways that have a longer-term focus when possible).

About the American Indian College Fund

Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $7.72 million in scholarships to 3,900 American Indian students in 2018-19, with nearly 137,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $221.8 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit www.collegefund.org.

 

For the first time, Latinos are the largest group of Californians admitted to UC
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Cheerful multiethnic female student walking to school smiling
By Teresa Watanabe

In a historic shift, Latinos are the leading group of prospective freshmen accepted into the University of California for fall 2020, part of the system’s largest and most diverse first-year class ever admitted, according to preliminary data released Thursday.

Latinos slightly eclipsed Asian Americans for the first time, making up 36% of the 79,953 California students offered admission. Asians made up 35%, whites 21% and Black students 5%. The rest were American Indians, Pacific Islanders or those who declined to state their race or ethnicity. About 44% of admitted students were low-income while 45% were the first in their families to attend a four-year university.

Overall, the UC system’s nine undergraduate campuses offered admission to a record number of students: 119,054 freshmen, up from 108,178 last year. The campuses also admitted 28,074 transfer students from the California Community Colleges system.

“This has been an incredibly challenging time as many students have been making their college decision in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “UC continues to see increased admissions of underrepresented students as we seek to educate a diverse student body of future leaders. The incoming class will be one of our most talented and diverse yet, and UC is proud to invite them to join us.”

UC Berkeley led all campuses in boosting admission offers to underrepresented minorities, accepting the largest number of Black and Latino students in three decades, more than a 40% increase over last year. The increase reflects an intensified push by one of the nation’s premier public research universities to open its doors more widely to students of diverse racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds. Berkeley also admitted more students who are low-income, lack immigration status or are the first in their families to attend college.

“These numbers are an important and gratifying indication that our efforts to advance and expand the diversity of our undergraduate student body are beginning to bear fruit,” UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ said in a statement. “But now, more than ever, we must not be complacent, and remain focused on building a campus community that truly represents the state we serve, and allows every student to experience a true sense of belonging.”

Roberto Salazar is heading to UC Irvine as one of the 28,662 California Latino students admitted to UC’s fall freshman class. The Los Angeles High graduate migrated to Los Angeles from El Salvador at age 10 and did not speak English. He had no idea what college was and had no role models to adjust his perception that manual labor was the best way to earn a living. He got failing middle school grades.

But dedicated teachers and an inspiring biography he read about families that fought cancer convinced him “there’s more to life than being a bad student,” he said. He buckled down in high school, earned a 3.98 GPA and was selected as the class valedictorian. At Irvine, he plans to major in psychology

“My teachers really inspired me and told me what opportunities would open for me if I went to college,” Salazar said. “I felt I would be letting them down if I didn’t do my best.”

Audrey Dow, senior vice president for the Campaign for College Opportunity, said demographics are one reason behind the surge in admission offers to Latinos: They made up 51.8% of California high school graduates in 2018-19 compared with 42% in 2009-10, according to state Department of Education data. Equally important, the number of Latino high school graduates who met UC and California State University admission requirements hit 94,297 in 2019, an increase of about 7,000 students over 2017.

“Today’s students understand the value of a college degree and want to have their best shot at a four-year university,” Dow said. “They’ve rightly earned their spot at UC.”

Continue on to the LA Times to read the complete article.

Boy, 13, Earns Fourth Associate’s Degree
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fullerton college in california campus

He may not have a driver’s license yet, but Jack Rico does have something most other 13-year-olds don’t: a quartet of college degrees under his belt.

The California teenager earned his associate’s degree this week from Fullerton College, bringing his total number of degrees to four, his mom Ru Andrade tells PEOPLE.

“It has been pure joy having Jack as a son and I couldn’t be any prouder of him,” she says.

The accomplishment makes him the youngest graduate ever from the community college.

“The college was established in 1913, so this is quite a legacy he can claim!” a spokeswoman for the school tells PEOPLE.

Jack started college courses when he was just 11 years old, and has spent the last two years earning his different degrees.

Andrade says she knew her son was “not your average kid” as early as 3 years old, when he asked to visit the White House for his 4th birthday.

“I told him that was a big trip for a little guy, and that I would take him if he could learn all the presidents,” she says, adding that the request was just a joke. “A week later he said, ‘Mom, I have a confession to make. I already knew all the presidents, but I learned all the vice presidents if that will still count?'”

Andrade says her son struggled in public school, and so she began homeschooling him in third grade, which allowed her to better focus on his areas of weakness.

“When he was 11, I knew he needed more of a challenge and a better teacher than me,” she says.

With that in mind, she entered him into Fullerton College’s Bridge Program, which allows K-12 students who pass placement exams to attend.

“He started out just taking one class and he absolutely loved it,” she says. “He just kept requesting taking more and more classes.”

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Selena Gomez Gives Heartfelt Message to Graduating Students from Immigrant Families: ‘You Matter’
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Selena Gomez gives heartfelt speech to mexican immigrants for graduation 2020

Selena Gomez is congratulating the class of 2020! The singer, 27, gave a surprise commencement address during the #Immigrad 2020 Virtual Commencement, which was a national celebration of students from immigrant families and supporters of immigrant rights from hundreds of high school and college campuses.

In a video message, Gomez shared a heartfelt message to the graduating students who were hosted by Define American, FWD.us, United We Dream, I Am An Immigrant and Golden Door Scholars.

“I know that this is a virtual ceremony, but it is very real. And it’s very real to all the families and all of you and your communities. I want you guys to know that you matter. And that your experiences are a huge part of the American story,” the star said.

“When my family came here from Mexico they set into motion my American story, as well as theirs. I’m a proud third-generation American-Mexican, and my family’s journey and their sacrifices helped me get me to where I am today,” Gomez said. “Mine is not a unique story. Each and every one of you has a similar tale of becoming an American.”

Gomez added, “Regardless of where your family is from, regardless of your immigration status, you have taken action to earn an education, to make your families proud, and to open up your worlds. I’m sending all of my love to you guys today and congratulations, and I hope that you guys are set off to be everything that you want to be.”

The Living Undocumented producer also recently made a special message to this year’s graduates during the #Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020 livestream.

“When people ask me what I would tell my younger self, I always said, ‘Go ahead and do it.’ You all have worked incredibly hard to get to this point and I know it’s not exactly how you imagined your graduation to look like,” Gomez said in a video filmed from her home. “I want to say it’s okay not to know what to do with the rest of your life. It’s a journey to find your direction or your passions, so don’t get frustrated by the mistakes and setbacks as they happen to all of us.”

“The amazing Oprah, like she said, you don’t become what you want not, you become what you believe. I think that really resonates as if you don’t believe in yourself, don’t expect others to believe in your abilities,” Gomez advised.

“Hopefully, you know, when large gatherings are allowed, everybody can get together and celebrate your important achievement. But until then stay safe, stay connected with your friends and loved ones, and congratulations for this milestone,” she said.

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Mellon Foundation Announces $4 Million Emergency Relief Grant to the American Indian College Fund in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
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American Indian College Fund students talking with each other

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation today announced a $4 million grant to the American Indian College Fund to support college students whose educational progress has been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) are engines of opportunity—propelled by a cadre of dedicated educators and administrators—many lack the resources needed to deploy information technology tools, student services, and other solutions at the scale needed by their students during the COVID-19 pandemic. TCUs have been disproportionately and devastatingly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to historical inequities, structural and enrollment-related challenges, and overly burdened institutional financial aid budgets. The Mellon Foundation is dedicated to supporting efforts to allocate resources and ensure that aid is delivered to students most in need.

“Tribal Colleges and Universities are central to our nation’s fabric and critical to its future. The COVID-19 pandemic is compounding the societal and structural challenges that many of these institutions have long confronted, and we are committed to doing all that we can to support them and the students they serve,” said Mellon Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander.

Even in better times, many students at these institutions face impediments to their individual well-being and academic progress. As campuses have closed in efforts to contain the virus’s spread, undergraduate and graduate students struggle to navigate these unprecedented times.

According to the Tribal Colleges and Universities #RealCollege Survey report published this March, 29 percent of TCU student survey respondents were homeless at some point in the prior 12 months, almost 62 percent were food insecure in the prior 30 days, and 69 percent faced housing insecurity in the prior 12 months.

“The College Fund appreciates the ways that the Mellon Foundation has demonstrated leadership in its support of tribal colleges and has shown care for the well-being of our students and their families during this crisis,” said American Indian College Fund President Cheryl Crazy Bull. “Our students are not only the backbone of their families, they are our hope for the future— through their perseverance and creativity, our tribal communities will survive this pandemic and bring prosperity to our society.”

The American Indian College Fund will distribute the emergency funds to its network of tribal colleges so that they can address immediate and pressing needs related to the pandemic and provide persistence resources to support new and returning students in the summer and fall of 2020 and beyond as determined necessary. Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund is the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education. In addition to providing thousands of scholarships to Native American students, the College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations.

Members of the public may add their support by making individual contributions on the American Indian College Fund’s website. 

About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 
Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation seeks to strengthen, promote, and defend the centrality of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse, fair, and democratic societies. To this end, our core programs support exemplary and inspiring institutions of higher education and culture. Additional information is available at mellon.org.

About the American Indian College Fund—Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $7.72 million in scholarships to 3,900 American Indian students in 2018-19, with nearly 137,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $208 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit www.collegefund.org.

Photo: American Indian College Fund Photo

Seize Your Online Education During Isolation
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virtual classroom with chairs covering a keyboard

As almost every university has closed its doors due to the repercussions of COVID-19, professors and students alike have taken to online schooling to finish their semesters.

Despite the stereotype of online schooling versus an in-classroom experience, so many tools have been implemented that allow students to still receive a quality education. Tools, such as Zoom Video Communications Inc, is one of the most popular tools in classroom communication. Students can log in to this webcam-based program and interact with their professors and peers in this lecture-based setting. Uploaded online lectures, unlike in-person lectures, allow for rewinding and pausing, should the student need more time to take notes or understand the topic.

Professors can also experience a variety of benefits from the online classroom. Programs like Cisco’s Webex have features that allow professors and students to have a more trusted form of education. Students can message questions to their professors on the app, and the professor can choose to answer the question to the entire class or answer the question privately. Professors can also use resources like Cisco to save their lecture notes and make them available to students who couldn’t keep up with the notes.

At this time, the materials needed for a quality online education are being offered in the form of free trials, discounted prices and even free resources. Google, for instance, recently announced it would be offering free hangout sessions equipped for a large number of people wanting to use Google for educational purposes.

The ease of online education accompanied with the current low prices invite students and those who having been contemplating going back to school to continue their education in an easy-to-use, low-stress environment.

Natalie Rodgers
Diversity in STEAM Magazine contributing writer

Here’s Everything That’s Happened With Your Student Loans In 2 Weeks
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Graduation mortar board cap on one hundred dollar bills concept for the cost of a college and university education loans

In case you missed it, there have been major changes regarding your student loans. President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act, which includes a $2 trillion stimulus package in response to the Coronavirus health emergency.

Among other benefits, the CARES Act has major implications for the way you pay your student loans, think about student loan forgiveness, and manage your money during Coronavirus.

Fortunately, let’s make it easy for you and put all the updates in one place so you’re up to speed. Here are the major changes:

Student Loans

President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act, which is a $2 trillion stimulus package that provides economic relief as a result of COVID-19. The CARES Act includes several benefits for your student loans, which are intended to help you manage your money due to the coronavirus emergency. Among other benefits, the CARES Act provides:

1. Stop paying your federal student loans through September 30, 2020.

That’s not a typo. You can stop paying your federal student loans through September 30, 2020.

What This Means: This means that you have the option to stop paying your federal student loans. If you choose this option (and you don’t have to), you will not face any penalties or late fees.

What This Doesn’t Mean: This doesn’t mean you can stop paying all your student loans. Remember, this is only for federal student loans that are owned by government agencies such as Direct Loans. However, this does not include private student loans or FFEL Loans.

2. Pay no interest on federal student loans.

What This Means: This is not a typo either. Through September 30, 2020, no interest will accrue on your federal student loans. This means that for this period, the interest rate will be set to 0% and no new interest will accrue on your federal student loan balance.

What This Does Not Mean: This only applies to federal student loans only, not private student loans or FFEL Loans.

3. Student loan debt collection has been halted.

What This Means: This means that wages, tax refunds and Social Security benefits will not be garnished during this period to pay for federal student loans. Trump previously stopped student loan debt collection for 60 days.

What This Doesn’t Mean: This does not mean the federal government is forgetting about student loan debt that is in default. Rather, the federal government has suspended student loan debt collection during this period.

4. Pausing student loan payments won’t negatively impact your payments for student loan forgiveness.

What This Means: If you choose to pause federal student loan payments during this period, the federal government will still count these “payments” (even if you don’t make any) as part of any required federal student loan forgiveness program, including public service loan forgiveness.

What This Doesn’t Mean: This doesn’t mean that you will hurt your chances to qualify for public service loan forgiveness because the 120 payments do not need to be consecutive.

Important Questions

1. If I don’t have to make federal student loan payments, is the federal government paying my student loans for me?

No. Your federal student loan balance will not change. Consider this a break from student loan payment. However, no one is paying your federal student loans during this period.

2. Is all my federal student loan interest being waived?

No, your existing federal student loan interest will remain. The only portion that is being waived is new student loan interest that would have accrued on your federal student loans through September 30, 2020.

3. Can I still make federal student loan payments if I want to?

Yes, you can still make federal student loan payments. Even though your interest rate is 0%, your monthly student loan payment unfortunately will not be lower. Rather, your student loan payment can help pay off your existing student loan balance (since there is no new interest accrual).

4. So, how much student loan forgiveness will I get?

Many borrowers ask, “What should I know about student loan forgiveness and Coronavirus?” Senate Democrats proposed a student loan forgiveness plan that would forgive at least $10,000 of federal student loans for all borrowers. House Democrats proposed that every borrower receive $30,000 of student loan forgiveness. Former Vice President Joe Biden supports $10,000 of student loan forgiveness, although this new plan differs from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s original student loan forgiveness plan to cancel student loan debt. Despite these proposals, the CARES Act does not include any student loan forgiveness.

5. I checked my student loan servicer’s website and it says that if I stop making payments on my federal student loans, I won’t qualify for public service loan forgiveness. This must be wrong.

Since this legislation is new, many student loan servicers have not yet updated their website to reflect these updates. (Also, make sure you know how not to get disqualified for student loan forgiveness).

Remember, this announcement applies only to federal student loans (not private student loans).

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

HNM BLM

 
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