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Are historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) the key to improving the state of national education?

JRF | Jul 12 2011 |

The White House seems to think so.

HBCUs graduate about 17% of all black students in the U.S. In order to achieve the national initiative to make the U.S. a world leader in education, 200,000 more graduates need to come from HBCUs.

Presidents of HBCUs agree that this is a daunting task. With cuts in funding and lack of financial aid, it’s harder for students to afford college.

Of course, another point of agreement amongst the college presidents is that all levels of the education system needs to evaluated.

Carlton Brown of Clark-Atlanta University said, "In one sense, it is sheer folly to be talking about increasing the number of bachelor degree recipients without simultaneously talking about the rest of the agenda."

It’s vital to grow to have representative college graduates. HBCUs are committed to increasing diversity.

"We come to the table from different places," Beverly Hogan, of Tougaloo College, said. "We don't all look alike, but we all do one thing extraordinarily well – we provide access to opportunity for a broad array of students. We give them a chance to succeed."

For more information check out this article.

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The economic imperative for more adults to complete college

JRF | Jun 24 2011 |

A new paper, Not Just Kid Stuff Anymore: The Economic Imperative for More Adults to Complete College, predicts that there will be a shortage of workers with college degrees by 2018. It calls for federal funding to help adults afford higher education in order to qualify for these jobs.

The paper also details the unemployment rate by level of education. In Georgia, for example, the rate of unemployment for someone with only a high school degree is 11.7%. For someone with a college degree, it is only 5.8%.

“The country’s economic competitiveness rests on more people accessing postsecondary education and credentials,” said Patrick Kelly, coauthor of the report.

Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund is one of only a handful of organizations that help low-income women 35 and older go to school. We see a huge demand; this year about 860 women applied for scholarships. From that group, we could only award scholarships to 80.

Next year we hope to increase the number of scholarships we award, but we need help to do it. Our amazing supporters have changed the lives of more than 600 women, and we look forward to working with more people to help the next 600.

To read the report click here.

To read the AJC article about the report click here.

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Where are the women MBA and engineering students?

JRF | Jun 14 2011 |

There have been at least a couple of things posted recently about the lack of women in certain fields of study, namely science/engineering and business.

“The UK needs to recruit 13,000 automotive, mechanical and aerospace engineers every year just to stand still.” But when only 9% of UK engineers are women, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.

Even right here in the US, despite more women enrolled and graduating from college, there’s still a lag in women earning MBAs.

Last year 123,385 men were in enrolled in MBA programs, while women numbered only 69,511.

The underlying problems are similar for both: lack of women in higher positions to serve as role models, they don’t support women who want to have children and promotions don’t come as quickly for women.

Efforts are being made to increase diversity in the programs. The UK is reaching out to children to create a cultural shift in attitudes about women in science. Schools in the US are recruiting more women to MBA programs with scholarships, and Harvard launched a deferred MBA admissions program in 2007 which guarantees college students a place in a future class.

Contacts from each program say that more should be done.

What do you think? What should be changed to increase the number of women in these areas?

To find out more about the UK engineering dilemma click here.

For more information about the MBA programs in the US click here.

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Living wages not minimum wages

JRF | May 31 2011 |

The study referenced in this article provides more proof about the ridiculous expectations of people to provide for themselves and their families when they have to work for minimum wages.

Cameo, the woman featured, is raising two sons as a single parent, while working two jobs. One pays $9.50/hour and the other $13.05/hour; “with these kinds of salaries, you can’t support your kids, you can’t buy them clothes, save for college, or have money on hand for a car repair,” she said.

The Basic Economic Security Tables for Michigan found that single Michigan residents with no children need at least $12.24/hour to meet their basic needs. Single parents with two children need $24.49/hour – three times the minimum wage.

At the end of the article, we learn that Cameo is working towards a college degree. Former Chief Justice of Georgia, Leah Sears, said, “For millions, education is the only resource against poverty.”

Until minimum wages are changed to living wages, whether through policy change or by securing a better job, it will be almost impossible for a low-income person to change her situation. Education is a means to escape poverty, to earn wages that can provide food AND clothing AND shelter.

JRF works with women who are earning degrees and changing their lives. Scholarships can be used for rent, transportation, child care, power, tuition, wherever they need it most. With the help of generous and dedicated supporters and volunteers, we are increasing access to higher education. Next year, we plan to award 15 more scholarships and we could use your help.

We can’t sit back and wait for policies to change; we have to take action to make sure people are getting help now. Contact us at info@rankinfoundation.org or 706-208-1211 for more information.

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UN launches the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education

JRF | May 26 2011 |

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris will be the headquarters for the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education.

UNESCO estimates that two thirds of illiterate adults are women and that only one third of countries have achieved gender parity in secondary school enrollment.

“The new Global Partnership we are launching today focuses on two key points; secondary education and literacy. Both pay great dividends for individuals and society,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The theme for this partnership is “Better Life, Better Future,” and uses large corporations like Nokia, Microsoft and Apple to increase access to education.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "advancing the rights and opportunities of women and girls is not a marginal concern, but a central challenge of international development."

JRF is clearly a proponent of women’s education and we look forward to hearing about the work this group is doing. What do you think?

Read the full article here.

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