Blog Archives for February 2013

Keeping Education Accessible, Attainable With Financial Aid

February 28, 2013

Recently, we discussed MDRC's Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration and whether scholarships alone can help students succeed in college. A big takeaway was that financial aid policies must address students' myriad struggles, which extend beyond financial need. But any policies that address financial need must also consider these struggles, such as balancing job, family, and school responsibilities. That is, they are not mutually exclusive, and while additional services and support are needed, policies also need to be refocused to help combat these obstacles.

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Empowering Veterans by Explaining Expungement

February 26, 2013

This is a guest post by Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow Kristin Maun from the Veterans’ Legal Project at Legal Aid of West Virginia.

One of the most common requests for services I receive from homeless veterans is for assistance with an expungement.  Often a criminal history is the barrier that prevents a veteran from obtaining housing and employment.  Housing authorities will deny an otherwise eligible veteran a placement based on a prior drug conviction and employers will be reluctant to hire a worker with a felony in his past. Many veterans come to me looking for a way to get a fresh start.  

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Fellow Friday: 2011 Equal Justice Works Fellow Vanessa Coe

February 22, 2013

In any given month, the U.S. hosts approximately 170,000 foreign workers on J-1 visas. The J-1 visa program, created as a cultural exchange program in 1961 as part of the Fulbright-Hayes Act, brings students and professionals to the U.S. for professional development and education. Equal Justice Works Fellow Vanessa Coe’s project at Florida Legal Services Inc. is dedicated to protecting foreign workers from being abused by employers. One big case she worked on last year involved students with J-1 visas who came to Orlando for a one-year internship in the hospitality industry. However, when the students arrived, they were not met with the learning experience they were promised. Earning less than minimum wage, the foreign interns were made to work as housekeepers or line cooks for the entire year—a violation of federal and state minimum wage laws and the rules of the visa program. “People who participate in the J-1 program cannot work in low-wage positions, cannot displace American workers, and must have a minimum of three rotations,” Vanessa says. The case gained local and national press attention, and Vanessa is very proud to have been a part of it.

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College Enrollment Lessons From the NFL

February 21, 2013

What can higher education learn from the NFL? That's the central question addressed by Jerome A. Lucido in "Lessons from the NFL for Managing College Enrollment," a paper recently released by the Center for American Progress.

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All Aboard the Justice Bus: Serving Native American Veterans in Northern California

February 19, 2013

This is a guest post by 2012 Equal Justice Works Fellow Austin Baumgarten who is sponsored by Greenberg Traurig LLP and works at Swords to Plowshares in San Francisco, CA. Earlier this year he joined Lauren Roberts, an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow at OneJustice, on a Justice Bus® trip to serve Native American veterans in rural California.

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Fellow Friday: 2012 Equal Justice Works Fellow Hillary Schneller

February 15, 2013

As an undergraduate at Barnard College in New York City, Hillary Schneller volunteered as an escort at a women’s health clinic in midtown Manhattan, guiding women through protesters and helping them gain safe access to the health care clinic. After her first year of law school at Columbia, Hillary served as an intern at Planned Parenthood, where she worked on a report with the Pennsylvania ACLU to document the barriers to health care for female inmates. Hillary recalls, “With the poor care these women received, they returned to their communities without an essential requirement—good health and access to care—for building a future.” From facing protestors to writing the report for the ACLU, Hillary has seen both the literal and more subtle barriers that women face when trying to access health care.

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Explore How Student Loans May Become Bigger Credit Risks

February 14, 2013

Last month the Student Loan Ranger examined a post from the Fair Isaac and Company's (FICO) Banking Analytics Blog that concluded that large amounts of student debt alone are not enough to lower your credit score.

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Get on the Bus: Taking the Justice Bus Project to New Distances to Assist Native American Veterans

February 12, 2013

This is a guest post by Lauren Roberts, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow at OneJustice.

Four months into my Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellowship at OneJustice, running the Northern California Justice Bus Project, I found myself boarding a bus at 6:30 a.m. on a January morning, embarking on our most ambitious Justice Bus trip to date – a two-day trip to Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, our furthest distance yet, with thirteen law students and three legal services attorneys in tow. Our goal? Provide legal assistance to Native American veterans by staffing three legal clinics, in two days, in three different locations.

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Fellow Friday: 2011 AmeriCorps Legal Fellow Gina Gemello

February 8, 2013

Gina Gemello served as a member of the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Fellowship class of 2011, and she continues her work at Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center in the San Francisco Bay Area. One of Gina’s main responsibilities is to oversee weekly Workers’ Rights Disability Law Clinics, which provide free legal services to low-income individuals with disabilities who face illegal employment practices that affect their ability to secure or maintain a job. Serving approximately 15-20 people per night, the Clinics have helped hundreds of clients since they began. 

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Study Assesses Effects of Financial Aid on College Student Success

February 7, 2013

Can scholarships alone help students succeed? That's the question that social policy think tank MDRC asks as part of its Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration, which is testing six programs across the country

While the study is not yet complete, MDRC recently published findings from two community colleges in its report, "Can Scholarships Alone Help Students Succeed? Lessons from Two New York City Community Colleges." The results revealed some factors that affect students' ability to pursue higher education and succeed in that pursuit.

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