The Cost of College: Affordability and Accessibility

6:30 PM CST
Webinar via Zoom
29
Apr

The Cost of College: Affordability and Accessibility

6:30 PM CST
Webinar via Zoom

College Board shows that the price of tuition has inflated 278% in the past 30 years, leaving some with crippling loan debt and prospective students with loaded questions about their future. Is cost a barrier for prospective students, not only those coming right out of high school, but for those who want to return as adult learners? How does college readiness influence a prospective student’s ability to make choices about affordability and whether college is right for them? Join American Public Square at Jewell for a panel discussion aiming to explore these questions and more related to cost of college and college readiness. You will hear from higher education experts, those with lived experience, educators, and students.

This program is a combined product of APS’ 2020-2021 High School Student Initiative, featuring student voices from Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, Crossroads Preparatory Academy, and the Barstow School. Students from participating schools began this process in the Fall of 2020 with hands-on lessons about: Civility and Everyday Life, Fake News and Combatting the Spread of Misinformation, and Deliberation versus Debate. These lessons acted as a foundation for a Spring 2021 project-based learning experience where students have developed their own APS Style program about a topic of their choosing.

Panelists

This program is a part of STUDENT MONTH at American Public Square at Jewell (APS) Starting April 6th and ending on April 29th, APS’s Student Initiative will be presenting FOUR programs exploring the cost of higher education in the United States. These programs are planned and executed by college and high school students in the Kansas City Metro featuring conversations with policy experts and those with lived experience in higher education, student debt, and college readiness. We’re celebrating Student Month by giving back to students! Students attending 2 or more programs will be eligible to win an Apple Watch. Students attending 1 program will be eligible for either a Door Dash or Quick Trip Gift Card!

Moderator

Dr. Rodney Smith is the Vice President of Access and Engagement at William Jewell College, a position he was appointed to in July of 2020. As VPAE at Jewell, Smith leads the College’s radical inclusivity efforts, which includes such tasks as “supporting the recruitment and retention of students, faculty, and staff of color and forging meaningful relationships with communities of color in Kansas City and beyond,” according to Jewell President Dr. MacLeod Walls. Prior to stepping into the VPAE position, Smith worked with Jewell in a consulting capacity through his company Sophic Solutions, wherein he assisted with Jewell’s radical inclusivity initiative. Sophic Solutions is a change management and consulting firm, co-managed by Smith and his partner Stephenie Smith, which, according to the about section of its website, aims to “provide educational consultation to schools and school districts, offer change management solutions to a variety of organization-types and conduct diversity, equity & inclusion training for various companies and associations. Smith holds a Doctor of Education Degree from Tennessee State University a Master of Education Degree also from Tennessee State University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Morris Brown College.

Panelists

Michele L. Watley is an industry-recognized practitioner with more than 15 years of experience as a political strategist and communications specialist. She is the founder of Shirley’s Kitchen Cabinet, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to amplifying the voices and power of Black women through education and advocacy. Shirley’s KC works to wield the collective power of Black women, provide training, and position Black women for seats at decision-making tables.

Michele is also the Founder and President of The Griot Group, a political engagement, and public relations firm. She has developed a broad political, government, and private-sector network, serving in senior-level roles on candidate and issue campaigns at every level of government. Serving as a national political director for Senator Bernie Sanders in 2016, Chris Koster’s race for Missouri governor, the Missouri statewide minimum wage ballot initiative, and the general obligation bond for the City of Kansas City are just a few of the campaigns where she contributed to major wins.

Michele holds a Masters of Science in Organizational Development and a Bachelor in Communications from Avila University in Kansas City, MO. She completed course work in Public International Law and World Politics at Leiden University in The Hague, Netherlands.

Msgr. Stuart W. Swetland, S.T.D., was ordained a priest in 1991 for the Diocese of Peoria, IL. He received his undergraduate degree in Physics from the United States Naval Academy. Elected a Rhodes Scholar in 1981, he entered the Catholic Church while studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford. He has a B.A. and M.A. from Oxford; a M.Div. and M.A. from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary; and his S.T.L. and S.T.D. from the Pontifical Lateran University having studied at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, DC. He has an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Benedictine College in Atchison, KS. He currently serves as the seventh President of Donnelly College, the most diverse college in the midwest, in Kansas City, KS, where he is also Professor of Leadership and Christian Ethics. Previously, he served as Vice President for Catholic Identity and Mission and held the Archbishop Flynn Chair of Christian Ethics at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD. He has also served as the Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, the Executive Secretary for the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and Theological Advisor to the Illinois Catholic Conference.

Preston Cooper is a Visiting Fellow at the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, where he studies the economics of higher education. Formerly, he worked at the American Enterprise Institute and the Manhattan Institute. He is a regular contributor to Forbes, and his writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Seattle Times, U.S. News and World Report, the Washington Examiner, Fortune, RealClearPolicy, and National Review.

Joshua Burdette is in 15th year at University Academy where for the last seven years he has served as the College Advisor, a role that entails teaching both the Junior and Senior Seminar courses. Topics in these courses range from college terminology and applications to college ready skills and ACT preparation. Prior to moving into this role, he taught Mathematics. Before moving into the high school level, Josh worked in Residence Life at both the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Middle Tennessee State University.

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