Nuestra Iniciativa - June Issue

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Nuestra Iniciativa HeaderJune IssueAlejandra Ceja - WHIEEH Executive Director
Meet the WHIEEH Chief of Staff
Maribel Duran, Chief of Staff

As Chief of Staff, Maribel will work on amplifying and implementing the Initiative’s mission of increasing the Hispanic community’s education attainment levels through key partnerships, communication strategies and operational best practices.

With over 10 years of experience as an operations and administrative manager, Maribel has been recognized for being pragmatic and tactful, a thoughtful partner and a dedicated public servant. She began her career in the Chicago Public Schools, first as an administrative associate in the Office of Technology Services in 2001, and then as executive assistant to Arne Duncan, the district’s CEO at the time, from 2005 to 2009.

Maribel is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature at Southern New Hampshire University, and is the mother of two children. She and her family reside in Falls Church, Va.

In the NewsEducation Rises

A record seven-in-ten (69%) Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college that fall, two percentage points higher than the rate (67%) among their white counterparts. Additionally, the most recent available data show that in 2011 only 14% of Hispanic 16- to 24-year-olds were high school dropouts, half the level in 2000 (28%). Read more

Student Loans 101Photo: Girl Thinking About Student Loans

When it comes to repaying your federal student loans, there’s a lot to consider. But, by taking the time to understand the details of repayment, you can save yourself time and money. This should help you get started.

4 Mistakes I Made with My Student Loans
  1. I should have kept track of what I was borrowing.
  2. I should have made interest payments while I was still in school.
  3. I should have kept my loan servicer in the loop. 
  4. I should have figured out what my monthly loan payments were going to be BEFORE I went into repayment.

Read More to learn how you can avoid these mistakes. 

Find the Right College For You!Find the Right College for You!

Click here to compare colleges and find the right one for you!

New ResourceUS Armed Forces - Student Loan Brochure

America's servicemen and servicewomen will now have more information about their federal education loans, special benefits available to them, and their repayment options with the release of a new brochure announced today.

Access the brochure here

Did You Know?

*Of the roughly 3 million students receiving degrees at 4-year Title IV institutions [Title IV schools are institutions that process U.S. federal student aid], 46 percent were 18 to 24 years old. Read NCES Report

*Institutions reported a 12-month unduplicated headcount enrollment totaling about 29 million individual students. Of these, roughly 25.2 million were undergraduates and approximately 3.8 million were graduate students. NCES Report

*Between 1990 and 2012, the educational attainment rate of 25- to 29-year-olds who received at least a high school diploma or its equivalent increased for Hispanics from 58 to 75 percent. 

Leader Spotlight
Dr. Padron

This month we invite you to learn about Eduardo J. Padrón, Ph.D. He is currently the Chair for the Presidential Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and the President of Miami Dade College (MDC). 

In 2009, Time magazine listed him as one of the “Top 10 Best College Presidents.” He is highly recognized for his leadership at MDC, which enrolls and graduates the most minorities than any other higher institution in the US.  

What aspect of higher education are you most passionate about? I am most passionate about fulfilling the opportunity to learn. Learning isn’t optional; if we don’t exercise this intrinsic capacity, each of us is so much less than what we can be. In the U.S., the chance to go to college should be available to everyone. This should be the case not only because a changing workforce demands college-level learning, but also because human beings need to learn to reach their potential.   

What is the most crucial piece of advice you’ve ever been given? As I left my homeland for America, as a teen without my parents, my mother’s last words before my flight were that ‘whatever you do, go to college and get an education. If the road is hard, if you are hungry, if you are tired, do not give up on completing your college education. In life, most things can be lost or taken away. An education is something no one or no situation can take away.’

Many students are about to graduate; what one piece of advice would you give to students who will receive a certificate/degree in the next few weeks? Know yourself. Know what you want and love to do and if you don’t yet know, that’s okay. But explore, ask questions, find people you trust, be in discovery mode as much as you can. Make a commitment to keep learning because you are about to enter the most volatile workforce environment we’ve ever seen. Entire industries and careers emerge and disappear in the blink of an eye, and the willingness to continue learning is the only real anchor.

During June we celebrate Father’s Day. What unique role do you believe fathers play in the educational achievements of their children? We need to pass on the legacy of education from one generation to the next. My father did not attend college but he and my mother valued education. They helped me understand the importance and I took it as my responsibility to pass that understanding on to my son and my grandchildren. We want our children to have wonderful lives, better than what we had. Encouraging them to learn and fulfill their own lives is the best love we can offer.

What is the best way to conduct outreach to engage minority and disadvantaged students in higher education?  Dreams can begin at a young age which implies that going to college begins with encouragement from a young age. This is really a community endeavor that should include parents, all sectors of education, the business community, civic organizations and government support. We need to ensure that children growing up know that college is possible, necessary and that the support to help them is present. As a nation, we need to dramatically increase the percentage of college-going students if our families, communities and economy are to achieve a strong foundation.   

Read more about Eduardo J. Padrón, Ph.D. here

Funding Opportunity

Grant under the School Leadership Program: The School Leadership Program assists high-need local educational agencies in recruiting, training, and supporting principals. Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 8, 201

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $850,000 with an estimated 14-17 number of awards

For applicant information click here.

Why go to College?Why go to College?

Click here to learn why you should go to college! 

Don't Forget!
Archive Newsletter Access Here
Stay Connected to the WHIEEHFacebookTwitterThis Month in History

On June 19, 1915 Luis Raul Esteves became the first Hispanic to graduate from West Point.  He graduated with Omar Bradley and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who he was known to tutor in Spanish.  After his graduation, he was first in his class to rank as general. 

On July 19, 1910, the governor of the state of Washington proclaimed the nation’s first “Father’s Day.” However, it was not until 1972 that the day became a nationwide holiday in the United States when Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday.


4 Things to Do During your Student Loan Grace PeriodStudent Loan Grace Period Image

Your student loan grace period is a set amount of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment before you must begin repayment on your loan. For most student loans, the grace period is six months but in some instances, a grace period could be longer. The grace period gives you time to get financially settled and to select your repayment plan.

Here are four things you can do during your grace period to prepare for repayment. 


What is a Student Loan ServicerRepayment Plan Image

So you took out a federal student loan and now it’s time to pay it back. Now you are asking, why am I receiving federal student loan bills from a company rather than the U.S. Department of Education? This may help

Secretary Duncan on EducationDuncan on CSpan

Giving testimony before the House Education and the Workforce Committee about the President's budget, Secretary Duncan fielded questions about the country's education goals. View the C-Span video. 

Commencement Words of Wisdom

Secretary Duncan, Morgan State University, May 18.  

“I learned two valuable lessons in thinking about the future from my teachers, my family, and my mentors.  First, I learned the importance of following your passion -- that your ability to adapt and be creative, to skillfully manage the inevitable uncertainty that would come, would, in large measure, determine one’s success in a knowledge-based, global economy….  Second, I learned I should strive to lead a life of consequence -- to try to demonstrate my respect and gratitude to all those who had helped me grow up by working to help others.”

Why Dads Get an A

A study found that children who had a highly involved father were 43% more likely to earn more A’s in their classes and 33% less likely to repeat a grade.  A father’s involvement in their child’s life from when they are toddlers into adolescents is correlated with high academic and educational achievements.  Toddlers who are nurtured and more played with by their father have higher IQs, linguistics skills, and cognitive abilities. Learn more. 


Student Loan Interest Rates

On May 22, Secretary Duncan issued a statement on federal student loan interest rates, declaring, “Our priority is to ensure that Congress doesn’t allow federal student loan interest rates to double [from 3.4% to 6.8%] on July 1.  [...] While we welcome action by the House on student loans, we have concerns about the current approach, which does not guarantee low rates for students on July 1, makes students bear the burden of deficit reduction, and fails to lock in interest rates when students take out a loan -- so their rates could escalate in the future.”

The White House released a fact sheet detailing President Obama’s fight to keep interest rates from doubling. The fact sheet includes the change in interest paid on subsidized Stafford loans by state. Access the Fact Sheet.


Definition of the Month

Unsubsidized Loan: A loan for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status. Interest on unsubsidized loans accrues from the date of disbursement and continues throughout the life of the loan. 


More News
  • Aspiring Americans Share their Stories as Senate Debates Immigration Reform.
  • Nearly everyone in America has an immigration story to share. Tell the White House yours here
  • Coming Together to Stop Slavery at the 10th annual meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. 
  • In the latest session of the Department’s Student Voices Series, Secretary Duncan and Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier met with 11 inspiring adult learners.
  • Getting America’s schools covered (information on the Affordable Care Act): If your children are under the age 26, you can generally insure them if your policy allows for dependent coverage.

5 Things to Consider When Taking Out Student LoansStudent Loan Photo
  1. Keep track of how much you’re borrowing. 
  2. Research starting salaries in your field. 
  3. Understand the terms of your loan and keep copies of your loan documents. 
  4. Make payments on time. 
  5. Keep in touch with your loan servicer

While you shouldn’t be afraid to take out federal student loans, you should be smart about it. Read more


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