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Parents and Financial Aid

My neighbor has two teenage kids. One is a sophomore at a UC campus and the other is a senior at a large public charter high school. Over the years, we’ve talked about college stuff since her kids are college-aged and she knows that I work in higher ed. Mostly, she asks a lot of […]

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The Halfway Point

The halfway point is usually when whatever I’m doing becomes real. I remember when I was writing my qualifying exam … I had to respond to 3 questions in exactly 50 pages in no more than 30 days. Halfway through the exam I was crying inside my parked car outside of my apartment building. The […]

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College Choice: It Matters

Earlier this year, the Pullias Center for Higher Education held its annual SummerTIME program (Tools, Information, Motivation, Education). Before SummerTIME began, I blogged about the compulsory financial aid counseling appointments with SummerTIME students. Specifically, I discussed how I was anticipating about 75% of students having an issue-free financial aid offer, 20% having issues that could […]

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Undocumented and Waiting

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve received quite a few e-mails that go something like this … “Lisa … I received my Social Security Number! I can’t believe it!” If the news is delivered via Facebook or Twitter, there’s usually an attached image of the person’s SS card (with the actual number concealed, of […]

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Beef Up the EAP

The California State University’s (CSU) Early Assessment Program (EAP) is a collaborative effort on the part of the CSU and the California Department of Education to better align high school and university standards. High school juniors taking the mandatory CSTs (as part of the state’s Standardized Testing and Reporting [STAR] Program) take an additional add-on […]

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The University of California Is Tops

Yes, I know that I’m writing on a USC-hosted blog. And, yes, I know that I’m a USC alumna. I’m also an alumna of UCLA. I worked at UCLA for 10 years, both as a part-time student worker and a full-time staff member. For good measure, I’m a second-generation Californian. So, when California public higher […]

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Going to College in Europe?

Back in August, I read an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times about going to college in Europe. This wasn’t your average “students study abroad in Europe for an academic term and come back with lots of cool and useful international knowledge (and some extra student loans)” piece. To the contrary, the article was written […]

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Undocumented and Unwanted: Attending College Against the Odds

Late last year, LFB Scholarly Publishing approached me regarding publishing my dissertation in their series, The New Americans, edited by Steven J. Gold and Ruben G. Rumbaut. I was honored and excited at the opportunity to share the stories of nine undocumented immigrant college students with a larger audience. I devoted every weekend of winter […]

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Securing a Fall Admission Offer in the Middle of the Summer

Last month, I blogged about what to do if you are coming up short on money for the upcoming school year. I ended the blog explaining that a minority of students will have to accept the fact that maybe their plans of attending University X in the fall are not going to pan out. Here […]

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Summer Financial Aid Problem Solving

Next week, SummerTIME—our annual four-week intensive writing and college knowledge summer program for 90 transitioning college freshmen—starts. Besides helping out with the writing curriculum and the program logistics, I’ll be reviewing financial aid offers with students and troubleshooting any issues. As in previous years, I anticipate the usual breakdown … 75% of students will have […]

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