STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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This special reporting project wrapped up in May 2017. Read more.

Start your weekend with these education stories you may have missed

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Got some free time this weekend? Check out these 5 education stories you may have missed this week:

1. Applying for college aid just got harderNPR

Many students use the Department of Education’s IRS data retrieval tool to answer most of the FAFSA's tax questions. The tool pulls the applicant’s tax information directly from the IRS into the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. But with financial aid deadlines looming, students who recently tried to access it found it was unavailable.

Last week, the IRS and the Education Department said in a joint statement that the retrieval tool would be down for "several weeks." And although students can still complete the FAFSA while the tool is down, it may make it more difficult, especially for those who are low-income, homeless or don’t have access to the tax information they are required to provide.

2. Trump budget would make massive cuts to Education Department | Education Week

President Donald Trump's first budget would cut the Education Department's roughly $68 billion budget by $9 billion, or 13% in the coming fiscal year, cutting into programs that help districts offer after-school programs, and hire and train teachers. It also seeks a $1.4 billion federal investment in school choice, including new money for private school vouchers and charter schools, as well as directing $1 billion to follow students to the school of their choice.

3. Why six states still spend nothing on preschool | The Hechinger Report

Idaho is one of just six states — the others are New Hampshire, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and Montana — that do not offer any funding for preschool. We've previously discussed how research has proven high-quality preschools produce long-term academic and social benefits for children. But resistance to spending on preschool runs deep in Idaho and the other hold-out states.

4. Studying for the SAT and ACT can really pay off, and there are low-cost tools to help | Michigan Radio

In Michigan, there are numerous opportunities for merit aid at local colleges and universities. And there are some schools that offer scholarships based on SAT and ACT test scores alone. Getting good scores often means being well-prepared. Listen to this Stateside interview to hear more about best practices for SAT and ACT test prep, and why one expert typically recommends students take both tests.

5.The University of Michigan's plan to increases diversity | The Atlantic

A recent study covered by The New York Times found that the median family income of a student at the University of Michigan is $154,000, the highest out of nearly 30 public colleges the report classified as highly selective, according to The Atlantic. And fewer than 4% of students come from families in the bottom 20% income-wise. Now the school’s chief diversity officer is in charge of implementing a multiyear, $85 million plan that aims to make both the student and the faculty bodies more diverse and welcoming to people from all backgrounds; But a lot of students aren’t pleased.

Paulette is a blogger for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously interned as a reporter in the Michigan Radio newsroom.
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