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from The Great Debate:

How can we expand college access to low-income students?

As President Obama focuses on lowering the cost of college education, he is overlooking another equally important challenge: ensuring that all students, regardless of their income level, have the opportunity to attend selective colleges.

Every year thousands of low-income students in the U.S. “under-match” in college admission, landing at colleges that are not the strongest academic fit for them. Most of these students never even apply to the best colleges they could be admitted to because they have no idea what their college options really are.

The stakes could not be higher: Over his or her lifetime, a U.S. college graduate earns nearly $3 million more than someone who has not graduated from college. Students who attend selective colleges are much more likely to graduate. And, because selective colleges tend to offer more substantial scholarship packages, their net cost to students is often lower, and students are able to graduate with less debt.

A study by Stanford professor Caroline Hoxby and Harvard professor Christopher Avery showed that students in the top quartile of academic achievement and the bottom quartile of family income are more likely to apply to lower-priced local schools that do not prepare them for a successful career, while students in the top quartile of family income are more likely to apply to more selective schools regardless of their academic qualifications.

from Photographers' Blog:

“I will show you the Pope”

Rome, Italy

By Alessandro Bianchi

After what seemed like a lifetime of standing in the rain, "Habemus Papam" (We have a Pope!).

I woke up after basically not sleeping at all. Another day and now what? We had no idea what Pope Francis would do. Nobody knew. Only that he was due to attend a small prayer at the Santa Maria Maggiore - a basilica in central Rome. So, fellow photographer Stefano Rellandini and I got on our scooters and went to take a look. When we got there, there was a lot of people - media, tourists (the basilica is right next to the main train station), curious bystanders, and a big wall which surrounds the basilica. Stefano stayed with the pack outside the main entrance and I went for a little wander. How could I see above this wall? The only way was to go into a local school. I walked in, looked for the principle and said "Come with me I have something to show you. I will show you the Pope." He smiled and said "Okay let's see." I said, "I have to have this picture, or my boss will be very unhappy..."

from Photographers' Blog:

Inside an NFL Locker Room

By Jason Reed, Larry Downing and Molly Riley

Hey football fans… imagine walking past the solid steel doors guarding the locker room outside one of the National Football League’s most treasured teams and standing inside watching 60 professional athletes preparing to take the spotlight in front of 70,000 expecting Baltimore fans.

Talk about fantasy football coming true; that ultimate “back stage pass” was given to Reuters’ photographers Jason Reed, Larry Downing and Molly Riley from the Baltimore Ravens as an early Christmas present last December, extending them complete photographic access of their cheerleaders during the production of an in-depth multimedia project by Reuters entitled, “Ravens Rule the Skies.”

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