The Latest News from College Success Arizona

| November 10, 2020
November 2020
By Dr. Richard Daniel
Looking back on the educational upheaval caused by the pandemic – and ahead to an uncertain future for schools, colleges, and universities – one thing is clear. The ways in which this crisis has affected the entire education continuum and severely burdened students, families, and educators. The educational crisis has been especially severe for students who were already at a disadvantage, and, historically, have been underserved by our schools and underrepresented in our state’s colleges and universities. It also threatens to undo what progress we have made in Arizona over the past several decades to increase educational equity and opportunity.
As a first-generation Latino college student from rural Arizona, and as someone who has spent a career in higher education championing efforts to expand opportunities for students from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds, seeing such opportunities diminished hits close to home for me.
I am a product of Arizona’s public education system, after all, and it was my good fortune that that system afforded me an exceptional education. It also provided me with the opportunity to attend and graduate from Arizona State University. These are opportunities that not all students from my background have access to.
Little did I know that my experience at ASU would also set me on the career path that has since been defined by a focus on increasing access, equity, inclusion, and attainment. When I was an undergraduate at ASU, I served as a peer advisor in the university’s newly created Minority Assistance Program. The program was designed to help students like me – from backgrounds and populations underrepresented at ASU – successfully navigate the transition to ASU and persist to completion of their degrees. At the time, programs like this were uncommon and this experience providing peer mentoring and assistance was when I first began to understand the power of these kinds of supports designed specifically and intentionally to increase educational access and equity. It also spoke to me on a cultural level. In our Latino community, it goes without saying that those who are in a position to do so lend a hand to those who need it and those who have found success will work to create opportunities for others.
In October, Achieve60AZ released its second annual State of Attainment Report. In the 2020 update, they argue that to reach Arizona’s widely agreed-upon statewide educational attainment goal — that 60 percent of Arizona adults possess a postsecondary degree or credential by 2030 — the state must prioritize the needs of Latinx, Black/African American, Native American, and adult learners.
To learn more about Achieve60AZ’s strategies for reaching the statewide attainment goal, view the 2020 State of Attainment Report at
Free FAFSA Help for Students
Project Benjamin and Access ASU have created a free hotline for students who need college advising and FAFSA support. The hotline is available to call Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM.
English: 1-833-AZFAFSA (293-2372) | Spanish: 1-833-MIFAFSA (643-2372
Growing up in the small town of Douglas, Arizona located on the border of Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, Yasmine Flores’ heart has always been in helping people, and through her academic strengths, she got into the University of Arizona’s nursing program. Not only is the program highly competitive, but Yasmine was one of the few to receive a direct admit opportunity.
During her first two years at UArizona, Yasmine was challenged. On top of taking a science-heavy course load, she was away from home for the first time and was a first-generation student trying to navigate the college system. Thankfully, she comes from a strong family of support and love, and a community that is rooting for her.
Professional Development Opportunities
College Nexus Summit:
November 12, 9:30 – 11:30 AM
The Maricopa Community Colleges, in partnership with the Center for the Future of Arizona, is hosting a 2 hour virtual event to bring together educational thought-leaders and professionals from Maricopa County High Schools, Community College, and Local/National agencies. The event will focus on promoting communication, collaboration, and partnerships to positively impact Arizona postsecondary attainment goals. Register here.
Supporting Undocumented Students 101: FAFSA:
November 17, 2:00 -3:00 PM
This workshop aims to open the door to exposure for educators on how to work with undocumented and DACAmented students specifically in applying to aid for higher education. We will cover the DO’s and DON’T’s of FAFSA, how to navigate these conversations with students of various immigration statuses, and state-wide and nationwide resources available to help further educator’s understanding of the topic. Register here.
Verification & Next Steps:
November 17, 10:30 – 11:30 AM
This webinar discusses next steps once a FAFSA is selected for Verification; including what is verification, what information may be requested, how to follow up with colleges. Register here. Register here.
Wild Out Counselor Wednesday:
November 18, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
We will have Dr. Nika Gueci, inaugural executive director for university engagement at the ASU Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience, presenting on mindfulness in the workplace and give tips on how to bring that practice to your work and life in order to better manage stress and uncertainty, and better support students, families, and community. Register here: Register here.
Persistence, Partnerships and Protocols — providing virtual support for students during COVID:
December 1, 2:00 – 3:00 PM
In this webinar we’ll take a look at how Phoenix Union High School District is responding to the need to provide students college application and FAFSA support in a virtual setting. Through persistence, partnerships, and protocols, Phoenix Union is making assistance available to the Class of 2021. Register here.
College and Career Planning in the Middle Grades:
Multiple Dates
In this 6-week online course, school counselors, administrators, and teachers will earn 20 professional development hours through four learn at your own pace sessions that will teach them about Arizona’s specific regulations including graduation requirements, AzCIS Jr., ECAP process, postsecondary institutions, college planning tools and resources. Register here.


Category: Education, Programs, Resources

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