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Education Fund Releases 10 Policy Briefs for Civil Rights in Higher Ed.

A civil and human rights coalition group is urging the federal government to ensure civil rights in the higher education system across the country.

Last week, The Leadership Conference Education Fund released the Civil Rights Principles for Higher Education to ensure equal opportunity and success for all students, particularly those that have been historically marginalized in higher education institutions.

The ten principles, developed collaboratively by more than two dozen higher education organizations in 2018, call on policymakers to advance equity and protect students’ civil rights.

The top three principles call on the federal government to ensure implementation and enforcement of civil rights laws across all postsecondary institutions that accept federal funds, to remove barriers to enrollment and promote meaningful access for historically marginalized students, and to increase student persistence in and completion of a quality, racially equitable postsecondary education.

“All students deserve a higher education system with equal access and support to help them succeed,” Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Education Fund, said. “Too often, policies and practices shut out our most marginalized communities, creating barriers to their success.”

Other principles recommended making college more affordable for low-income students, excluding for-profit colleges from federal financial aid programs, implementing stronger protections for student loan borrowers, and ensuring safe and inclusive campus climates free 
of harassment and violence.

“Higher education remains a pivotal key to advancing economic and social opportunity in our country today. However, college affordability, barriers to enrollment and other systemic inequities have precluded African Americans and other marginalized communities from fully reaping the benefits of higher education,” Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said.

“Congress must address these inequities by ensuring civil rights protections are included in any reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to improve higher education outcomes for students of color,” Clarke added.

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