Student smiling in the classroom

Equity in ACTion



SEL and Educational Equity

By: The ACT Social Emotional and Academic Learning Team

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) focuses on developing important skills students need for academic success AND personal well-being. ACT defines social and emotional skills as

Read More…






COVID-19 and Financial Aid

By: Amber O'Connor, program manager II

On October 1, when the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) site opened for the 2020-21 school year, we shared a blog about the importance for college-going families to apply for

Read More…



Native Scholars Need Help Now, More Than Ever

By: Cheryl Crazy Bull (Sicangu Lakota), president & CEO, American Indian College Fund

The American Indian College Fund has helped Native students access higher education for more than 30 years. We’ve made incredible progress in that time, with

Read More…


College Signing Day 2020: Let’s Celebrate

By: Stephanie Sprow Owens, director of programming, Reach Higher at the Common App

College Signing Day is very special to Reach Higher. In spring 2014, our team planned the first national College Signing Day. Former First Lady Michelle

Read More…



Teachable Moment

By: Dr. Cassandra Herring, president and CEO, Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity

In California, shelter in place orders closed schools in March and, more recently, for the rest of the school year. Across the country, hundreds of

Read More…




In Celebration of Women All Over the World

By: Amber O'Connor, program manager II

Sunday, March 8 was International Women’s Day (IWD), a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. According to the International

Read More…




I Found a Deep Sense of Sisterhood at Spelman

By: Cheryl Williams, vice president, Women’s Congressional Policy Institute

Why did you choose an HBCU? Both of my parents attended Howard University, an HBCU, so I was very familiar with what HBCUs had to

Read More…


Empowering Hispanic Students and their Families

By: Lori Swartzendruber, senior program manager and Dr. Nancy Lewin, program director

ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning focuses on closing gaps in equity, opportunity, and achievement for underserved populations through purposeful investments and thoughtful advocacy efforts.

Read More…


Racial Inequality is Our History, but it Doesn’t Have to be Our Future

By: Tiffany Jones, Ph.D., senior director for higher education policy and Andrew Nichols, Ph.D., senior director for higher education research, The Education Trust

As we celebrate Black History Month and the vast contributions of African Americans to this country, let’s not forget the struggles and inequities that continue

Read More…


Finding Freedom at HBCUs

By: Maya Cade, senior account manager, Verified Strategy

Perhaps we all know that 25 percent of degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) obtained by Black Americans are from Historically Black Colleges

Read More…


The Role of HBCUs in Our Nation’s Success

By: Dr. Harry L. Williams, president & CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are congressionally defined as “…any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission

Read More…



ACT Participates in NSBA Equity Symposium, SEL and Equity: Follow the Data

By: Dr. Nancy Lewin, program director; Dr. Dana Murano, research scientist I, Center for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning; and Anthony Giudice, account executive, SEL Solutions

On Saturday February 1, a team from ACT attended the NSBA Equity Symposium in Washington, D.C., and addressed an audience of school district board members,

Read More…


Connecting with Students: School Counselors

By: Laura Ross, school counselor, Five Forks Middle School, and 2020 ASCA School Counselor of the Year

February 3-7, 2020 is National School Counseling Week. In recognition of the incredible role that school counselors play, we’re featuring school counselors who have been

Read More…


2016 School Counselor of the Year: Katherine Pastor-Lorents

By: Katherine Pastor-Lorents, school counselor, Flagstaff High School, and the 2016 National School Counselor of the Year

February 3-7, 2020 is National School Counseling Week. In recognition of the incredible role that school counselors play, we’re featuring school counselors who have been

Read More…


Iowa College Aid Coach & Mentoring Model

By: Elizabeth Yaddof, community engagement consultant and Keyli Keifer, community outreach representative, Iowa College Aid

January is National Mentoring Month and in celebration of that, we are featuring a series of guest blogs from professionals regarding the importance of mentoring. 

Read More…




Make A Lasting Impression Through Mentorship

By: Ignacio Ruiz, assistant superintendent of the English Language Learner division, Clark County School District and president/founder, Nevada Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (NVALAS)

January is National Mentoring Month and in celebration of that, we will feature several guest blogs from professionals regarding the importance of mentoring. What is

Read More…




Open Up Opportunities for Success Through Mentorship

By: Brittani Williams, financial aid and career development specialist, Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance

January is National Mentoring Month and in celebration of that, we will feature several guest blogs from professionals regarding the importance of mentoring. What is

Read More…


The Making of an “Accidental” Mentor

By: Jennifer Yi Boyer, chief talent officer

January is National Mentoring Month and in celebration of that, we will feature several guest blogs from professionals regarding the importance of mentoring. Mentor and

Read More…



Giving Thanks

By: ACT's Center for Equity in Learning Team

We have taken a moment during this season of Thanksgiving to reflect upon our work and the blessings we have. We asked our team why

Read More…


Helping Native Youth Find Their Voice to Help Shape the Future

By: Erik Stegman, Carry the Kettle First Nation (Nakoda), executive director, Center for Native American Youth, Aspen Institute

During the month of November we recognize Native American Heritage Month by introducing you to a group of innovators and leaders who move us forward

Read More…



Helping Indigenous Students Thrive in College and Beyond

By: Stephanie J. Waterman (Onondaga, Turtle Clan), associate professor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)

During the month of November we recognize Native American Heritage Month by introducing you to a group of innovators and leaders who move us forward

Read More…




Latinx Leaders Conquering the Equity Gap

By: Lori Swartzendruber, senior program manager

Equality in education. Equity in education. Equality in education is treating all students fairly and equally, no matter their race, gender, age, disability, religion, or

Read More…




South Carolina Celebrates 10 Years of College Application Month

By: Gerrick Hampton, Ed.D., associate director for student affairs, South Carolina Commission on Higher Education and South Carolina College Application Month state coordinator

What is College Application Month South Carolina? College Application Month South Carolina, or CAM SC, is South Carolina’s adaptation of the American College Application Campaign.

Read More…


Helping Iowa Students and Families Pay for College

By: Jamie Covell, community engagement consultant, Iowa College Aid

Over the course of this month, you’ll hear from financial aid experts about how their organizations are tackling this incredibly important step in the college-going process.

Read More…


Turning #WhyApply into #IApplied

By: Lisa King, senior communications specialist

Last month, we asked everyone – counselors, college advisers, mentors, community leaders, etc. – to share their #WhyApply to college reasons on social media. We

Read More…


Working to Minimize Student Loan Debt

By: Brittani Williams, financial aid and career development specialist, Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance

Over the course of this month, you’ll hear from financial aid experts about how their organizations are tackling this incredibly important step in the college-going process.

Read More…




La Lucha Sigue

By: Jessica Martinez Vasquez, University of Colorado-Boulder graduate

September 15-October 15 is traditionally observed as Hispanic Heritage Month. This month, we are featuring guest bloggers who are sharing their stories of what it

Read More…



Preparing Students Financially for College

By: Bill Rinkenbaugh, vice president of student services, Butler Community College

Over the course of this month, you’ll hear from financial aid experts about how their organizations are tackling this incredibly important step in the college-going process.

Read More…




Build Bridges So That No Student is Excluded from Opportunity

By: Nancy Lewin Ed.D., executive director, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS)

As we prepare for our panel, The Digital Divide, Education Technology & Education Equity, on October 9, prior to the ACTNext Education Technology and Computational

Read More…




Sixty Years of Answering #WhyApply

By: Marten Roorda, CEO

This blog originally appeared on act.org. Think back to 1958. Imagine a professor hunched over a desk, laboring over a handwritten list. After decades of

Read More…


Leveling the Educational Playing Field

By: Jim Larimore, Chief Officer

This article originally appeared on act.org Since ACT’s founding 60 years ago, we have always believed every student deserves a fair opportunity to be successful.

Read More…


ACAC’s #WhyApply Day is Sept. 20

By: Lisa King, senior communications specialist, American College Application Campaign

Higher education will determine the future of our nation, yet often students from underserved backgrounds are not given the opportunity or support they need to

Read More…





It’s OK to Ask for Help

By: Gaby Flores, Center for Equity in Learning intern

As students across the nation head back to the classroom this month, we are celebrating First-Generation students. A First-Generation College Student is defined as a

Read More…






The Power of a Question

By: Melissa Caperton, director, American College Application Campaign

As the director of the American College Application Campaign, I was delighted to join the 2019 ACT Enrollment Management Summit as one of four “ED”

Read More…



BGCA Keystone Conference Inspires Future Leaders

By: Lew Montgomery, program director, with support from Amy Nicknish, program manager

We recently attended Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s National Keystone Conference. You can learn more about our work with BGCA below. What is the

Read More…


Guest Blog: Kids on Course University

By: Beth Malicki, board director, Zach Johnson Foundation

Summer vacation in America typically elicits images of family getaways and new adventures. But for about half of the children in Cedar Rapids, Iowa the

Read More…




A Delayed Census Would Hurt Education

By: Jim Larimore, chief officer

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s argument that the 2020 Census include a question about citizenship, which caused President Trump to

Read More…


Creating Educational Opportunity Requires More Than a Dashboard Score

By: Alina von Davier, senior vice president, ACTNext; Jim Larimore, chief officer; Wayne Camara, PhD, ACT's Horace Man chair, Research

Originally posted on act.org on May 29, 2019 Media coverage of the recent ”Varsity Blues” investigation and prosecution involving celebrities and wealthy parents generated a

Read More…





College-Bound Students’ Views on Paying for College

By: Gregory Kienzl, principal strategist, and Michelle Croft, principal research associate, ACT

The following blog is reprinted with permission from the Education Commission of the States. The blog originally appeared on EdNote. As a means to paying

Read More…




Celebrating Pride Starts with Supporting Students

By: Cassi Barker-Carr, principal strategist-diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism

This blog originally appeared on act.org. Prior to becoming the Principal Strategist for Diversity and Inclusion at ACT, I spent more than two decades as

Read More…


Beating the Odds in Pursuit of Education and Career Success

By: Becky Bobek, PhD, director, Learning, Assessment, and Navigation Experiences Research

Navigating education and career paths involves making choices and meeting challenges along the way to achieving goals. Young people from underserved populations are particularly vulnerable

Read More…





Leadership in Action with ALAS

By: Lori Swartzendruber, program manager

April 29-30, 2019 marked the third annual Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) Legislative Assembly and Advocacy on the Hill, and the fifth annual

Read More…


Thanking Our Teachers-Our Unsung Heroes

By: Amber O'Connor, program manager

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, a week dedicated to showing teachers and staff in schools across the nation appreciation for the important roles they play in

Read More…


College Fund Publishes College-Going Guide for Native Students

By: Matthew Makomenaw (Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians), College Pathways manager, and Amanda R. Tachine, Ph.D. (Navajo Nation), research and evaluation associate, American Indian College Fund

The American Indian College Fund, with generous support from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, has published an invaluable tool for Native American high school students seeking

Read More…


College Signing Day Excitement

By: Christina Gordon, senior director

Can you remember the thrill (and perhaps a little anxiety) you felt as you weighed your college decision? Would it be the right choice? Would

Read More…


College Signing Day

By: Jim Larimore, chief officer

Originally posted on act.org May 1, 2019. As millions of high school seniors across the nation prepare to graduate, many of them are also making

Read More…




Guest Blog: Be Proactive About Your Future

By: Zahra Aalabdulrasul, student, University of Iowa

Applying for college was definitely a difficult experience for me during my last couple years of high school. Since I started high school, I was

Read More…


College and Career Navigation Leadership Roundtable

By: Katie Gragnaniello, manager, State and Federal Programs and Lori Swartzendruber, program manager

On March 21, ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning—in collaboration with our partners at Univision Contigo—convened a group of 100 education leaders and funders from

Read More…


Guest Blog: Here’s To Strong Women

By: Ruth Ray Jackson, associate vice president for academic affairs, Langston University

Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. -Unknown Several years ago, I saw this quote posted

Read More…


Guest Blog: I am not supposed to be here…

By: Dr. A. Katrise Perera, superintendent, Gresham-Barlow School District

When I reflect on my formal education – and my leadership journey to lead a community of learners as the superintendent despite statistical disparities and

Read More…