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Admissions Diversity Directive

Thursday, July 5, 2018 – Governor Cuomo issued an open letter to SUNY Board of Trustees Chair H. Carl McCall and CUNY Board of Trustees Chair William C. Thompson Jr. directing them to maintain their diversity and inclusion plans for college admissions. The letter directs the Chairs to continue existing policies that promote racial diversity and inclusion and to prepare a report by August 15 on how they will further expand and increase diversity on campuses.

The full text of the letter is available below:

Dear Chairman McCall and Chairman Thompson, 

The Trump administration’s move to rescind the guidelines on using race in college admissions is a blatant attempt to limit the participation of minorities in higher education.  It is part of a troubling trend by the President and his administration to alienate minorities and build walls to diversity and equal participation in society.

As you know, this issue has been going through the courts since 1978 (Regents of the University of California V. Bakke), most recently with the 2016 decision in Fisher V. University of Texas. The courts have determined that diversity is a valuable and allowable part of higher education.

New York’s two university systems have long been bastions of diversity and engines of social mobility. SUNY is nearly 45% minority and CUNY is 76% minority.  This diversity broadens understanding and breaks down barriers and stereotypes, and it ensures all New Yorkers have the opportunity to succeed. 

In this state, we embrace diversity and we encourage it. I am directing you to continue your existing diversity and inclusion plans. The new federal action should have no bearing on admission policies and should not interfere with SUNY’s and CUNY’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive student body.

In addition, I am directing you to reexamine your existing plans to ensure these plans are furthering New York’s goals of diversity and inclusion. To that end, SUNY and CUNY should each prepare a report due by August 15, 2018 outlining how they will expand and increase diversity representation on our campuses. 

The Trump administration wants to take this country backwards, but in New York we are moving forward. We will continue to work together to dismantle barriers to social and economic mobility and extend the promise of equal opportunity to all New Yorkers.


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo






Mrs. Glynn Goes to Washington—How to Advocate for the HEA

Tensions in higher education are running high. For the first time ever, society is beginning to question its value. College enrollment is down. And, with the anticipated reduction in high school graduates, schools will continue to have to fight harder for each new student. Disruption of the education and funding models is no longer a question of if, but instead when, it will occur. With the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) on the table, now is an ideal time to make sure your voice is being heard.

A Topic Too Important for Our Insecurities

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C., and speak with staff members on Capitol Hill about the future of financial aid. This was a completely new experience for me—and one that I never thought I would take part in. You can ask my husband: Politics and the legislative process have always been his thing; not mine. If you are more like me, the idea of advocating in Washington may be overwhelming, nerve-racking, and even cause you to have self-doubt. A bit of a perfectionist—as I think most financial aid professionals are—it’s hard to go into new situations where there are so many unknowns.

However, it is my hope that you will overcome those feelings—as I did—to help advocate for students and to continue to shape the future. Here are five things I learned during my visit that I think (hope) will help you find the courage to speak up in D.C.

1. This Is Just the First Step in Building a Relationship  

No relationship of value has only one interaction. This was probably the single-best piece of advice I received (Thank you, NASFAA President, Justin Draeger!). You are not looking to sway opinion in a single meeting. Instead, you are working to build relationships—and future opportunities—with staff members and elected officials. The purpose is to introduce yourself as a relevant and credible leader in your area.

Your goal for that first meeting is to have this interaction be the first of many; to be someone who comes to mind in the future as a subject matter expert and resource. In doing this, know your audience and its agenda. Try to use your alignment with them in your favor and frame your talking points around things that are important to both of you.

2. You Know More Than They Do

Part of relationship-building is about credibility-building. Remember that you are the expert. You know a thousand times more than the person you are talking to about financial aid, college affordability, and the student experience.

Yes, I know that many people who sit on education committees have previously worked in higher education. But I would challenge you to find a single one who has experience in the Financial Aid Office. They need professionals like you to share insights on what is going on in your world—so they know what is, and is not, working.

You have a responsibility to your students and your institution to share your knowledge with the individuals who are developing policy that shapes our industry. As the expert, it is your responsibility to frame your opinions in a nice, neat gift box—topped with a bow. Remember to keep things at a relatively high level. Otherwise, you will lose people—and that doesn’t help you build those all-important relationships.

No matter how excited you get about calculating R2T4 or the intricacies of a credit hour, your excitement will be lost on those you are meeting with. Talk to them in a way that makes your insights easy to digest.

3. They Work for You

Those people you’re meeting with? They’re elected officials—and they have an obligation to listen to their bosses. You are one of those bosses. At work, we have an obligation meet with our employees to ensure that they are staying on track. Your meetings in Washington should be no different.

Elected officials need to be reminded of, and educated on, the expectations of their constituents. Even under the best circumstances, elected officials can get it wrong. Though well-intentioned, poor interactions with representatives of the industries they are regulating can lead to unintended consequences that are long-lasting.

4. Take Comfort in Numbers

Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of attending meetings like this by myself was daunting. I worried that I was not going to connect quickly—or that I would forget what I wanted to say and there would be awkward silence. Finding someone willing to attend meetings with you can alleviate some of this stress.

Ensure that you pick your partner wisely. Knowing that there is a second person to lean on for ideas, examples, and support can significantly reduce your anxiety level. Identify someone whom you mesh well with and who holds similar opinions and ideas. Doing this will give you a partner and a source of feedback for improving your interactions in the future.

Besides the emotional support and backup, it’s nice to have someone to talk to while waiting on security and traveling between appointments. Navigating Capitol Hill can be a little overwhelming—I’m grateful that our National Director Mark McGinnis was there for me!

5. You Are in the Driver’s Seat

You asked for a meeting because you have something to say. There is a concern, point of view, or opinion you want to make sure is expressed. You are the one who is in control of the agenda of this meeting and others are there to listen and ask questions.

Just remember that your meeting will be relatively short, normally 15–30 minutes, so your agenda does not need to be long or overly formal. Go into it with two or three key things you want to articulate. If this is an initial relationship-building meeting, make sure you are discussing the things that are important to you—and are most likely to be supported by the individuals you are talking to.

And, when all else fails, make sure you keep it simple. Politicians do not care about the minutia of aid administration. You need to instead speak to them in terms they will understand and appreciate. Get out of the forest so you can see the trees (and the cherry blossoms!) and you will be fine.

Read more from Amy >

State Authorization Rules Delayed

State Authorization Rules Delayed

On June 29, 2018 ED announced a delay, until July 1, 2020, implementation of state authorization rules.  The rules, would require online colleges to inform students whether their academic programs meet state licensing requirements.  The delay allows schools and other impacted individuals to provide commentary to ED.

One component of the rules became effective July 1, 2018 requiring state and federal oversight of American institutions receiving federal financial aid but operating in foreign locations.

The ED announcement can be accessed at the link below and appeared in the Federal Register July 3, 2018.


Navient Loan Servicing Lawsuit

Navient Loan Servicing Lawsuit

Navient, aka Sallie Mae, loan servicing accusations continue.  Thursday, California’s attorney general to file a lawsuit accusing the company of widespread deceptions and mistakes that cost borrowers millions of dollars.