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Lawmakers Mull Tuition Break for Undocumented Students

Lawmakers in the southern U.S. state of Tennessee are close to passing an ordinance that would allow undocumented students to pay less expensive college tuition rates.

Undocumented students, who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children, do not qualify for the federal or state financial aid that makes college affordable. And in Tennessee, like several other U.S. states, they are required to pay out-of-state tuition rates that are often double the price that residents pay.

If approved, the lower fees and tuition would be available to students who attend a state high school or home school program for two-years whether they are legal or not.

Bill sponsor and Republican state representative Mark White says that by providing affordable tuition, the state is helping these students assimilate. "I’m just trying to protect Tennessee in the long run, because they’re here," he said.

"I’m all for building ‘the wall’ and U.S. sovereignty, closing our borders. … But we didn't, and now we’re damaging innocent people."

Barbara Prescott, a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, and supporter of the bill, says charging undocumented students higher prices turns many away from higher education.

"They are so dedicated, they want so much to be in college, and for them to not be able to get any other aid, and then. … to have to pay out-of-state tuition, just really robs them of access," she told local media.

Critics of the legislation say it could encourage more undocumented immigrants to move to the state.

If passed, Tennessee will become the 21st state to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students.

The measure, already been approved House and Senate panel, faces a separate vote Tuesday by a separate House committee.

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Which schools have biggest alumni networks?

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In addition to considering the cost and reputation of a school, prospective students should consider alumni networks – connected graduates who can help with the job search once classes are complete.

Writing in University Magazine, Anwar Abdi takes a look at the 25 U.S. universities with the largest alumni networks. (June 2024)

Report: Number of college dropouts remains high

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Enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities is increasing, but the number of dropouts remains high, according to a report in the Chronicle of High Education.

Amanda Friedman writes that more former students are returning to school, but many want shorter-term programs, such as certificate programs. (June 2024)

Xi wants more exchanges between US, Chinese universities

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Mutual understanding between China and the United States can be improved by having more university exchanges between the two countries.

According to Bloomberg, Chinese President Xi Jinpin told Xinhua News Agency that exchanges could develop young ambassadors who understand both countries. (June 2024)

Students learn protests can affect job prospects

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UCLA names new chancellor as campus is still reeling from protests over Israel-Hamas war

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The president of the University of Miami was chosen Wednesday to become the next chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, where the retiring incumbent leaves a campus roiled by protests over Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.

Dr. Julio Frenk, a Mexico City-born global public health researcher, was selected by regents of the University of California system at a meeting on the UCLA campus, where there were a swarm of security officers.

Frenk will succeed Gene Block, who has been chancellor for 17 years and announced his planned retirement long before UCLA became a national flashpoint for U.S. campus protests. This spring, pro-Palestinian encampments were built and cleared by police with many arrests, and again this week, there were more arrests.

Frenk has led the 17,000-student University of Miami since 2015 and previously served as dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and as Mexico's national health secretary, among other positions.

In a brief press conference, Frenk said he was approaching the appointment with excitement and humility.

"The first thing I plan to do is listen very carefully," Frenk said. "This is a complex organization. It is, as I mentioned, a really consequential moment in the history of higher education."

Frenk did not comment on specific protests at UCLA this spring or the current administration's response, which initially tolerated an encampment but ultimately used police to clear it and keep new camps from forming.

During public comment in the regents meeting, speakers criticized UC administrators, alleged police brutality, complained of a lack of transparency in UC endowments and called for divestment from companies with ties to Israel or in weapons manufacturing.

Speakers also talked about experiencing antisemitism on campus and called for an increased law enforcement response to protesters.

Later, about 200 people rallied, including members of an academic student workers union and the Faculty for Justice for Palestine group as well as students from other UC campuses. Participants held signs calling for charges to be dropped against protesters who have been arrested.

Block departs UCLA on July 31. Darnell Hunt, executive vice president and provost, will serve as interim chancellor until Frenk becomes UCLA's seventh chancellor on January 1, 2025.

In previous roles, Frenk was founding director of Mexico's National Institute of Public Health, held positions at the World Health Organization and the nonprofit Mexican Health Foundation, and was a senior fellow with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's global health program.

Frenk received his medical degree from the National University of Mexico in 1979. He then attended the University of Michigan, where he earned master's degrees in public health and sociology, and a joint doctorate in medical care organization and sociology.

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