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Words of Faith

Assume Nothing

June 5, 2017

The Greyhound Bus trip from St. Louis to San Bernardino took 48 hours, following the general path of old Route 66.  Taking that trip several times each year to and from college taught me: to be careful in striking up conversation or making eye contact; that there is no sadder place than the Las Vegas bus station at night; and, that I could abandon early my assumptions about wealth, scarcity, and generosity.


May 23, 2017


If you are reading this blog, chances are good that you are committed to educational equity and to the principles of democracy. Your action is needed now.

First, a refresher in higher education history. In 1963, President Lyndon Johnson spoke of the importance of the Higher Education Facilities Act, legislation which created and enabled each of the major federal financial aid programs.

Policymaking Toolkit for Tough Times

May 17, 2017

Right now, policy is being made not by legislation but by incompetence and intimidation. These tactics were not among the principles set forth by the founding mothers of The Scholarship Foundation when they acknowledged that democracy requires an educated community.

Here’s a starting list of current conditions, with specific emphasis on those backdoor policymaking practices that especially affect low-income students and students of color.

Pride and Proof

May 8, 2017

Sometimes graduates who have repaid their loans in full are asked to speak to our board.  Often, we hear “I wanted to make you proud.”  Sometimes it goes beyond that, “This was the first time I felt like someone believed in me and I wasn’t going to let you down.”

This kind of pride is vested in relationship. 

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday

May 1, 2017

Among the lesser known observances of May 1 is “Decision Day.” For low-income students, this is more than a misnomer. Until the entire system changes, this higher education holiday should not be observed.

May 1 has multiple meanings:

Invisible Outcomes

April 24, 2017

Among the many programs presently targeted for elimination or surgical hatchet is Federal Work Study.  For me, hearing the vapid chatter about the program’s “effectiveness” was like a catapult back to 1979. 

Policy. Impact. Education.

April 19, 2017

I’m introducing a new format for me, one I’ve resisted for so long.  Not only am I starting a blog, but I’m writing in the first person, something I ask communications staff members NOT to do except in the context of correspondence.  Among the reasons I’ve resisted is that I’d prefer to avoid contributing to any cults of personality that keep us from working as a community.