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Spelman College Breaks Admissions Application Record

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The all-female historically black college has received more applications for admission than they ever have in their 140-year existence.

What We Know:

  • Spelman has recently received 11,000 applications for their Fall 2021 semester. It is a 20% increase in the number of applicants the HBCU had in 2020. Spelman is currently ranked number 1 on U.S News and World Report’s ranking of HBCUs. The school is also ranked number four on the list of top-performing schools on social mobility and number 10 in the most innovative schools in the country. Notable Spelman alumnae include actress Keisha Knight Puliam, A.J Johnson, and Stacey Abrams.
  • Spelman is regarded as the global leader in the education of women in the African diaspora. The HBCU carries a reputation of being the largest producer of Black female Ph. Ds in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. On average, students accepted to the school have a high school GPA of 3.8 and an average SAT score of 1203. Applicants from the school’s home state, Georgia, have also increased four percent.
  • The record-breaking amount of applications can be attributed to the combination of recent campaigns supporting HBCUs across the countries. Neighboring HBCU Morehouse College has also experienced an increase in applications after revealing an online program intended to reduce tuition for men looking to continue incomplete degrees. Last year, Mcdonald’s launched their “Black and Positively Golden Scholarship Fund” to assist students going to HBCUs in the fall, despite COVID-19. The scholarships will be distributed through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph. D., commented on the recent achievement, saying, “Our admissions team has done an excellent job of sharing our stellar outcomes with prospective students from across the nation.”

  • “We are excited that these bright young minds are seizing the opportunity to experience our unique liberal arts education by applying to Spelman,” she continued.
  • The news comes just as Spelman is close to reaching a historic $250 million funding goal. Hundreds of donors have contributed to the campaign, which is being called Spelman Ascends. The campaign also looks to install a new building on campus called the Center for Innovation & the Arts.

Spelman College is one of many HBCUs looking to increase its student base as well as provide opportunities for women to become scholars.

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Alex Haynes is Editor-At-Large/NYC Editor at Urban Newsroom, Executive Editor at UNR's Black Alerts and the host of Boss Mornings and Unmuted Nation. Alex joined Urban Newsroom in 2010 and contributes regular op-ed and editorial pieces while advising the columnist and contributing staff.

Crime

Classes canceled at Howard University as US Government investigates ransomware cyberattack

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Howard University officials along with leading cyber experts are trying to assess what has been compromised in an active ransomware, cyberattack on the HBCU campus. Officials have deemed the attack criminal.

What We Know:

  • Monday, the university issued a statement to faculty and students that “the service disruption was caused by a ransomware cyberattack against the university.”
  • Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Students have been notified that online and hybrid classes will remain canceled and only essential staff will be allowed on campus. All in-person undergraduate, graduate, professional, and clinical experiential courses will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.
  • A ransomware attack can be triggered by simple, everyday activity. Opening a unintended link inside of can lead to a cyberattack.  Computer, tablet and phone users are encouraged to change their passwords and security questions regularly.

Howard University is home to several notable high profile Black alumni such as Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad.

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Education

Howard University installs Chadwick Boseman’s name on College of Fine Arts building

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The “Black Panther” star is seen as an “icon in his own right who has left an immeasurable legacy for the next generation,” the university said.

What We Know:

“Yesterday, the letters were installed over the now official Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts,” the school said in a tweet Friday. “An icon in his own right who has left an immeasurable legacy for the next generation. Thank you Mr. Boseman.”

  • Howard University first announced in May that it would rename its performing and visual arts school after the ‘Black Panther’ star who also happens to be an alumnus of the school.
  • Boseman graduated from Howard in 2000 with a bachelor of arts degree in directing. During his time at the school, Boseman led a student protest against the absorption of the College of Fine Arts into the larger College of Arts & Sciences, according to the university.

In 2018, the year Boseman rocketed to international fame as King T’Challa in the Marvel cinematic universe, the university announced that its performing and visual arts school would return to its independent status.

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Education

Education Department Will Erase $5.8 Billion in Loans For Borrowers With Disabilities

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The Department of Education (DOE) announced it would eliminate the outstanding loans of over 32,000 borrowers with significant, permanent disabilities. It will also remove barriers that block future students from qualifying for this relief.

What We Know:

  • The DOE’s declaration erases approximately $5.8 million in debt. In addition, NPR writes that it symbolizes a “significant step” toward improving a “troubled debt relief program meant to help borrowers with disabilities.” U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona confirmed this statement when the Education Department revealed its decision, stating it would remove a major barrier for disabled students.

“Today’s action removes a major barrier that prevented far too many borrowers with disabilities from receiving the total and permanent disability discharges they are entitled to under the law,” Cardona said.

  • Despite the program’s intention to wipe student loans of those who cannot work due to disabilities, those who qualified for the program needed to apply for relief. Under the new plan, students will obtain automatic relief when identified through a data match with the Social Security Administration. The next match will take place in September.
  • In addition, the Department of Education said it would propose to eliminate the three-year income monitoring period. Officials will stop sending requests to borrowers for income information during the aforementioned years. Furthermore, the DOE will consider removing it entirely during the upcoming negotiated rule-making.
  • Disabled students and advocates believe this will bring change to the program. Persis Yu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said the vote is “long overdue.” However, Yu hopes the Education Department will review the eligibility criteria to determine when someone holds a disability discharge.

Yu added that Social Security’s match does not identify some qualified borrowers.

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