Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

Higher Education Workshop a Big Hit

Thomas Fitzgerald

Posted on February 01, 2016 in Sports
By USM Free Press

By Thomas Fitzgerald

On Jan. 28, a collection of students and prospective individuals who are interested in attending school at a college level gathered together on the seventh floor of the Glickman library to discuss their options with many different representatives. This event was organized with the association of the Martin Luther King Jr. day of service, and is aimed to assist the diverse changes that USM is seeking in order to further pursue this school as a metropolitan university.


There are some challenges that are more difficult to overcome when entering the United States from a foreign country and Reza Jalali, the coordinator of multicultural student affairs, outlined many of these challenges when asked.


“The greatest challenges seem to reflect the workshops we are offering: Language, cost of education and paying for it, and transfer of degrees from other countries.” Said Jalali, who was present throughout the workshop to answer student questions and emphasize the programs that are being offered. “ Others include cultural adjustment and navigating the complex American educational system.”


It is still crucial that although USM is also finding solutions to these problems as well as recognizing them, and Jalali clearly stated with confidence that USM will do their part to assist cultural adjustment for all students who are adapting to a new lifestyle among the community.


“The best ways include changing USM’s culture to be more welcoming to newcomers is by offering courses on issues they seem to be familiar with,” continued Jalali. “For example, classes in Arabic, World religion, international politics, immigration, hiring staff and faculty members, who resemble them, creating scholarships to attract them and retain them, creating a one-stop-shop where immigrants can get their degrees from abroad looked at, evaluated and easily transferred, and so on.”


One example of financial assistance that was present at the workshop was the finance authority of Maine. FAME, as it is abbreviated, did a thorough job at explaining the important steps toward applying for financial aid, what kind of financial aid is available, and how to reduce college costs overall while spending time at USM..


From a national perspective, the amount of diversity in the college classroom is making great levels of progress. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, students that are Hispanic have risen by more than twenty percent since statistics were reported in 2010.  This growth has mainly been accountable of students who are attending public four year colleges or universities, such as USM.


The workshop also took time to examine the possibilities of education from a broader perspective: college for families who have young children, and are thinking in advance about how they can afford education once their child reaches the appropriate age. This program is called the NextGen College Investing Plan, and it outlines how parents can open an account with a small start-up fee, and collect financial assistance as years pass with grants that match the money being saved within the account.


Whether you are an immigrant, a refugee, asylum seeker, or just an individual who is concerned about their ability to financially afford college and culturally adapt to the change in surroundings of a new area, this workshop was incredibly beneficial.


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