The First Lady’s New Tool for Students: Up Next

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When we talk about improving educational outcomes, we talk about all kinds of critical issues: poverty, accountability, school climate, teachers and curriculum to name a few. These are all essential pieces of the puzzle and deserve our attention as educators, advocates, and parents. But another piece of the puzzle also merits further attention: student access to college advising.

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Voice from the Classroom: The Value of a Mentor

I’m new to teaching and have recently earned my master’s in education. I just started to implement the strategies I learned during student teaching in my own classroom. Getting to start from scratch is very exciting, but also a little intimidating. I am finally moving from wondering how I would make my classroom look, how I would start each class, how I would run each class, and how I would teach the curriculum, to actually putting it all into practice.

Learning in the classroom isn't just for students! Mentors can be invaluable for new teachers. (Photo courtesy of the author.)

Learning in the classroom isn’t just for students! Mentors can be invaluable for new teachers. (Photo courtesy of the author.)

I’ve always asked a lot of questions and welcomed advice from others, but sometimes other teachers don’t have the time to take out of their day to provide guidance. Every teacher is so busy — balancing life and work; in fact, I don’t know a teacher who works only 40 hours a week. However, somehow I was lucky enough to find myself not only in a great school, but in a fantastic math department, with the best mentor I could ask for.

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The Presidential Election: A Lesson in Civics

As a social studies teacher, I’m always excited to teach students about their legal rights, our political system and how they can become engaged citizens. However, that excitement kicks up a notch during a presidential election year because I’m reminded of the importance of teaching students how to become engaged citizens. As a social studies teacher, it’s up to me to set the foundation for my students so they will be able to engage productively.

Exchanging ideas in civics class. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Exchanging ideas in civics class. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Each year around Constitution Day (September 17), the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania releases data showcasing some Americans’ limited understanding of civics and government. Two alarming statistics from their most recent study: three-quarters of respondents could not name all three branches of government, and thirty-one percent of respondents could not name one branch. This data provides a yearly reminder about how important it is for me to arm my students with this knowledge so they can become informed citizens who don’t end up as one of those statistics.

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Helping ITT Students Find a Way Forward

Over the past two weeks, since the closure of ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT), we’ve received thousands of emails and calls from its former students trying to find their way forward. Some are looking for a pathway to degree completion by transferring to another institution. Others are applying for federal student loan discharge to wipe away their loans. Yet there are others who are so deeply frustrated, discouraged and angry at ITT’s closure that they’re considering abandoning their education. A college education is still the best investment a person can make in oneself and the surest path to the middle class. While ITT’s closure may be a disruption, we cannot allow it to be the end of the road for these students.

We’ve been working around the clock to support ITT students, and partners around the nation have stepped up to do the same.

Reaching Out Directly to Students

The day the closure was announced, Secretary King outlined students’ two core options: pursue a closed school federal loan discharge or transfer to a comparable program. Within the first week after the closure, we had:

  • emailed all 35,000 of ITT’s enrolled students restating their options.
  • launched an online hub with helpful information about the ITT transition, including FAQs and information about closed school loan discharge. The FAQ is continuously updated so that it has the most up to date information.
  • hosted 11 ITT-specific webinars, which is an easy, accessible way for students to learn more about their transition options, and published an up-to-date schedule of future webinars. Colleagues from Veterans Affairs joined us in the webinars to provide information to GI Bill beneficiaries affected by ITT’s closure. We have five more webinars scheduled.
  • used social media to remind impacted students of these resources and remind them that they never have to pay for services the Department offers for free.

The following week we continued direct outreach and emails. Through these efforts, the Department has had almost 20,000 interactions with impacted individuals through our webinars, call centers, and dedicated email account. While it’s up to each student to decide the path best for them, we are doing everything we can to ensure they are well-informed about their options and opportunities.

Counseling Students on Transfer

A number of our partners outside the government that focus on college readiness and counseling are interested in helping students make informed choices about how to move forward with their education. We’ve asked for their help with students as they explore comparable programs of study. To assist students with continuing their education at other institutions, a number of groups have committed to sharing resources with them, including:

  • Beyond 12,
  • National Association of College Admissions Counseling,
  • National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators,
  • National College Access Network,
  • UAspire, and
  • Veterans Education Success.

We are grateful to these organizations for stepping up to support ITT students, and we hope to see others around the country do the same. Organizations interested in pitching in can visit ifap.ed.gov/SupportITTStudents, our resource page for partners, and they can email supportITTstudents@ed.gov with any questions or to share examples of what they are doing.

Improving the School Transfer Process

The day ITT closed, I wrote to hundreds of college presidents in areas where ITT students are most concentrated to encourage them reach out to students directly, and to be open to accepting transfer credits. Many were interested in supporting students’ work towards degree completion. Our direct outreach to institutions coupled with that to related independent groups, such as the American Association of Community Colleges and federally recognized accreditors, has resulted in a number of positive efforts to inform students’ transition:

  • Many accreditors have proactively informed their accredited institutions of their flexibility in assessing credits for transfer, administering prior learning assessment, and waiving maximum transfer-in credit requirements to ensure colleges know about the ways they can support ITT students who want to continue their education.
  • Community colleges in Houston, Texas are accepting ITT students on a “staging process” until their official transcript is available to allow students to begin classes right away instead of waiting for administrative processes to catch up with them.
  • A number of colleges, such as those in Dearborn, Michigan, have proactively created webpages and reached out to students, providing enrollment opportunities and information on credit transfers.
  • Many colleges, such as the Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon, are hosting transfer fairs, in collaboration with Federal Student Aid, where students can get answers to their questions.
  • Many institutions around the country are opening their doors to former ITT students and are making good-faith efforts to help them identify programs that match their interests and will allow them to continue their educational pursuits.

Employing a Multi-Agency Approach to Sharing Information

We are fortunate to have strong partners in other parts of the Obama Administration. The Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have all conducted outreach to students to help them navigate their next steps. And the Department of Labor will provide information to its network of nearly 2,500 American Job Centers (AJCs) about options available to former students from recent school closings. Additionally, employees displaced by school closings can access reemployment assistance services at their local AJC.

There is much more work to be done to help the students impacted by this closure. If your organization would like to support these students, please email us and visit our resource page for stakeholders. Also, please share your student success stories as you conduct outreach. Together, we can help ITT students move forward to pursue their dreams.

Ted Mitchell is U.S. Under Secretary of Education.

Veteran Teacher Shares Hopes for the New Year

Secretary King and senior officials got on the bus and went back to school this week during #OpportunityTour, which visited exemplary PK-12 schools and institutions of higher education and celebrated local ideas and initiatives across several southern states, including Alabama. This week’s edition of Voice from the Classroom brings us perspective from the 2008 Alabama Teacher of the Year, Dr. Pamela Harman.

After teaching for more than 20 years, I can say that everything about a new school year is exciting (except maybe having to wear shoes).

When I was a new teacher, the beginning of the school year intimidated me. I was nervous about both my content knowledge and my pedagogy. So my goals for the year focused on improving my practice and strengthening my teaching skills. I worked to deepen my science content knowledge, and I developed a repertoire of instructional skills and habits of mind necessary to promote my students’ success and capacity for life-long learning. It was difficult for me to push students’ learning because I was still honing the skills I needed to teach and evaluate it.

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25 Community Colleges that Advance Opportunities for Low-Income Students

These public, two-year (community) colleges enroll over 40% low-income students at the school, and have relatively high outcomes for those students. In total, low-income students at these schools averaged at least $30,000 in earnings 10 years after they first enrolled at the school. In addition, over 70% of all borrowers at these schools were successfully repaying their loans three years after they left school. It’s important to know that both the college you select and the program you enroll in can have an impact on your post-college earnings – schools that offer more technical or health programs, or where a lot of students transfer to a four-year college, often have higher earnings. Ask the colleges you are considering attending for more information.

State Community College Share of Low-Income Students  Average Net Price  Percentage Repaying Loans Average Earnings 
California Glendale Community College 41% $3,057 77% $34,800
Connecticut Naugatuck Valley Community College 41% $6,802 75% $34,100
Connecticut Three Rivers Community College 45% $4,044 74% $31,700
Kansas Colby Community College 62% $7,822 80% $30,300
Kansas Manhattan Area Technical College 44% $13,409 78% $35,100
Kansas North Central Kansas Technical College 47% $10,933 72% $35,200
Massachusetts North Shore Community College 46% $8,150 71% $30,900
Massachusetts Quinsigamond Community College 49% $7,221 73% $32,700
Massachusetts Springfield Technical Community College 56% $8,754 73% $31,200
Maine York County Community College 46% $10,266 71% $31,300
Minnesota Minnesota State Community and Technical College 41% $11,684 70% $30,400
Minnesota Ridgewater College 43% $10,402 73% $33,300
Minnesota South Central College 48% $11,757 71% $31,700
Minnesota St Cloud Technical and Community College 45% $9,443 73% $34,400
Missouri State Technical College of Missouri 40% $9,141 83% $39,100
New Jersey Middlesex County College 44% $5,828 77% $38,600
New Jersey Union County College 44% $4,473 71% $33,200
Pennsylvania Community College of Beaver County 42% $8,893 71% $36,700
Pennsylvania Lancaster County Career and Technology Center 56% $11,589 74% $33,900
Pennsylvania Luzerne County Community College 42% $7,121 73% $31,200
Pennsylvania Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology 56% $6,968 76% $33,400
Rhode Island Community College of Rhode Island 47% $6,598 76% $30,300
South Dakota Lake Area Technical Institute 43% $11,403 87% $35,500
South Dakota Southeast Technical Institute 47% $13,644 79% $34,200
Wisconsin Chippewa Valley Technical College 44% $10,111 72% $32,400

Note: These data include only public institutions identified as less-than-four-year schools in IPEDS. In addition, calculations exclude:

  • Institutions that do not appear on the College Scorecard consumer website (e.g., institutions that do not award associate or bachelor’s degrees).
  • Institutions where fewer than 40% of students are Pell Grant recipients.
  • Institutions with fewer than 250 undergraduate degree-seeking students enrolled.
  • Institutions with missing data or small n-sizes on repayment, earnings, or graduation rate.

The list is constructed of the remaining community colleges that have a repayment rate of at least 70 percent and average earnings of at least $30,000 for students in the lowest income category (tercile). Average earnings reflect the average earnings of federal financial aid recipients 10 years after they first enrolled at the institution for the lowest income category. Repayment rate reflects the share of undergraduate student borrowers who had paid down at least $1 of their principal balance at three years after entering repayment. Net price reflects the sticker price, less any grant or scholarship aid, for all federal financial aid recipients at the school. Share of low-income students enrolled reflects the share of undergraduate students at the school who received Pell Grants. While the share of undergraduate students who received Pell Grants in a given year is a measure of the access an institution provides to low-income students, it may not capture all low-income students. Students who are undocumented immigrants or foreign nationals are not eligible to receive Pell Grants, and some low-income students may not have completed the FAFSA to receive federal aid, but those students may have similar financial circumstances to Pell recipients, or may be just on the other side of Pell eligibility, creating a cliff effect. Additionally, in some states (such as California), state financial aid may be sufficient to cover costs at community colleges, in particular; so those students may not seek or receive a Pell Grant.

26 Four-Year Public and Private Colleges with Low Costs and High Salaries

These four-year public and private nonprofit colleges enroll over 40% low-income students at the school, and have good outcomes for those students. All of them boast above-average Pell enrollment, an affordable net price, and good graduation rates for their students (including their low-income students). That’s important, because graduating from college has been shown to lead to higher earnings, lower unemployment, and a lower likelihood of defaulting on their loans.

The Department of Education highlighted these schools in its recent report, Fulfilling the Promise, Serving the Need, which identified institutions that were doing well in enrolling and graduating low-income students.

College State Share of Low-Income Students Enrolled Average Net Price Graduation Rate Typical Earnings 
Agnes Scott College Georgia 44% $18,517 73% $38,800
Blue Mountain College Mississippi 56% $9,284 48% $29,200
California Baptist University California 48% $27,813 57% $40,300
California State University-Stanislaus California 60% $6,759 53% $43,400
Converse College South Carolina 44% $18,163 61% $31,200
CUNY Bernard M Baruch College New York 44% $6,841 66% $54,900
Florida International University Florida 56% $11,845 53% $43,700
Georgia State University Georgia 52% $15,853 53% $40,800
Howard University District of Columbia 48% $23,191 60% $46,000
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Massachusetts 46% $14,884 54% $34,800
Mills College California 50% $25,161 67% $39,000
Monmouth College Illinois 42% $16,661 57% $39,500
Rutgers University-Newark New Jersey 52% $12,497 67% $54,500
Salem College North Carolina 58% $14,669 65% $31,900
Spelman College Georgia 48% $34,308 71% $46,000
Spring Arbor University Michigan 45% $17,194 55% $38,100
The Sage Colleges New York 49% $16,521 58% $38,900
University of California-Irvine California 45% $12,771 86% $54,500
University of California-San Diego California 40% $14,136 86% $59,000
University of Illinois at Chicago Illinois 51% $13,811 58% $51,100
University of La Verne California 45% $22,696 59% $50,200
University of Michigan-Dearborn Michigan 43% $12,227 51% $45,600
University of North Carolina at Greensboro North Carolina 44% $12,186 56% $36,000
University of Pittsburgh-Bradford Pennsylvania 44% $16,811 52% $48,800
Western Illinois University Illinois 44% $17,988 55% $41,100
William Carey University Mississippi 65% $16,740 60% $34,700

Typical earnings reflect the median earnings of federal financial aid recipients 10 years after they first enrolled at the institution. Net price reflects the sticker price, less any grant or scholarship aid. Graduation rate reflects the share of first-time, full-time students at the school who completed within six years. For schools where Education Trust was able to collect data, we also used the graduation rates of first-time, full-time Pell Grant recipients at the school to identify the institutions. While the share of undergraduate students who received Pell Grants in a given year is a measure of the access an institution provides to low-income students, it may not capture all low-income students. Students who are undocumented immigrants or foreign nationals are not eligible to receive Pell Grants, and some low-income students may not have completed the FAFSA to receive federal aid, but those students may have similar financial circumstances to Pell recipients, or may be just on the other side of Pell eligibility, creating a cliff effect. Additionally, in some states (such as California), state financial aid may be sufficient to cover costs at community colleges, in particular; so those students may not seek or receive a Pell Grant. More information is available in Appendix A of the Department of Education report.

 

Find a Community College in Your State with High Salaries

These public, two-year (community) colleges have the highest earnings of any community college in the state. Note that earnings might vary significantly depending on the program you study – for instance, some of these schools offer a large number of technical or health programs that tend to be higher-earning majors. Students who transfer to a four-year college and graduate with a bachelor’s degree may also earn more after college. Ask the colleges you are considering attending for more information.

State Community College Typical Earnings Average Net Price
Alabama Jefferson State Community College $29,400 $9,207
Alaska AVTEC-Alaska’s Institute of Technology $33,500 N/A
Arizona Chandler-Gilbert Community College $39,700 $8,536
Arkansas Arkansas State University-Beebe $36,300 $6,859
California Foothill College $43,800 $4,640
Colorado Arapahoe Community College $35,600 $9,238
Connecticut Naugatuck Valley Community College $34,100 $6,802
Delaware Delaware Technical Community College-Stanton/Wilmington $34,000 $7,575
Florida Hillsborough Community College $32,400 $5,368
Georgia Gwinnett Technical College $33,400 $5,034
Hawaii Kapiolani Community College $34,100 $4,415
Idaho North Idaho College $29,600 $7,945
Illinois Oakton Community College $36,600 $5,959
Indiana Ivy Tech Community College $29,400 $7,186
Iowa Northwest Iowa Community College $37,200 $11,257
Kansas Johnson County Community College $35,800 $7,534
Kentucky Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College $31,100 $6,079
Louisiana Baton Rouge Community College $32,600 $7,625
Maine Southern Maine Community College $35,400 $11,232
Maryland Montgomery College $40,700 $8,381
Massachusetts Massachusetts Bay Community College $37,400 $12,347
Massachusetts Quincy College $37,400 $12,122
Michigan Schoolcraft College $31,000 $4,650
Minnesota Anoka Technical College $38,600 $13,961
Mississippi Northeast Mississippi Community College $28,300 $5,887
Missouri State Technical College of Missouri $37,500 $9,141
Montana Highlands College of Montana Tech $40,600 $9,177
Nebraska Southeast Community College Area $34,900 $7,503
Nevada Truckee Meadows Community College $32,100 $7,148
New Hampshire NHTI-Concord’s Community College $38,000 $17,162
New Jersey County College of Morris $38,400 $7,219
New Mexico University of New Mexico-Taos Campus $34,900 $9,937
New York SUNY Westchester Community College $37,400 $6,068
North Carolina Wake Technical Community College $31,600 $9,586
North Dakota North Dakota State College of Science $41,300 $10,573
Ohio Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute $42,900 $18,333
Oklahoma Oklahoma City Community College $32,200 $6,916
Oregon Portland Community College $34,200 $8,552
Pennsylvania Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology $38,900 $6,968
Rhode Island Community College of Rhode Island $29,400 $6,598
South Carolina University of South Carolina-Lancaster $42,200 $9,149
South Dakota Mitchell Technical Institute $37,000 $10,551
Tennessee Nashville State Community College $30,800 $8,246
Texas Lamar Institute of Technology $39,100 $9,498
Utah Salt Lake Community College $36,900 $7,267
Virginia Northern Virginia Community College $40,800 $9,488
Washington Cascadia College $43,700 $10,935
West Virginia West Virginia Northern Community College $24,000 $4,113
Wisconsin Waukesha County Technical College $37,400 $10,481
Wyoming Casper College $34,800 $6,861

Note: These data include only public institutions identified as less-than-four-year schools in IPEDS. In addition, calculations exclude:

  • Institutions that do not appear on the College Scorecard consumer website (e.g., institutions that do not award associate or bachelor’s degrees).
  • Institutions that are campuses sharing their earnings data with a four-year college campus (i.e., institutions that share a 6-digit OPE ID).
  • Institutions with fewer than 500 degree/certificate seeking undergraduates.

The list is constructed of the remaining institutions in each state with the highest median earnings. Typical earnings reflect the median earnings of federal financial aid recipients 10 years after they first enrolled at the institution. Net price reflects the sticker price, less any grant or scholarship aid, for all federal financial aid recipients at the school. There are two institutions represented for the state of Massachusetts because two different institutions had the same median earnings in that state, which are the highest among the comparison institutions.

Affordable Four-Year Schools with Good Outcomes

These four-year public colleges offer their students an affordable higher education, with relatively high salaries. As students weigh the costs and benefits of higher education, it’s especially important to find schools that can offer them the best possible outcomes. For students looking for a high return on investment, these institutions may offer good opportunities.

College State Average Net Price Typical Earnings 
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona California $11,085 $50,700
California State University-East Bay California $10,340 $51,200
CUNY Bernard M Baruch College New York $6,841 $54,900
CUNY Queens College New York $5,998 $47,500
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus Georgia $10,994 $74,500
Iowa State University Iowa $14,100 $47,800
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology New Mexico $11,451 $54,300
San Diego State University California $12,567 $47,400
San Jose State University California $12,862 $53,700
Stony Brook University New York $13,519 $55,000
Texas A & M University-College Station Texas $11,315 $53,900
The University of Texas at Dallas Texas $12,050 $49,700
United States Merchant Marine Academy New York $5,538 $82,000
University of Baltimore Maryland $14,180 $56,500
University of California-Berkeley California $13,707 $60,800
University of California-Irvine California $12,771 $54,500
University of California-Los Angeles California $13,399 $59,600
University of California-San Diego California $14,136 $59,000
University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Colorado $13,774 $57,400
University of Florida Florida $11,778 $51,100
University of Houston Texas $13,028 $48,900
University of Illinois at Chicago Illinois $13,811 $51,100
University of Maryland-University College Maryland $10,558 $49,900
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill North Carolina $13,243 $51,000
University of Utah Utah $13,874 $49,500
University of Washington-Seattle Campus Washington $13,566 $53,700

Note: These data include only public institutions identified as predominantly four-year institutions by the College Scorecard. In addition, calculations exclude institutions with fewer than 500 undergraduate degree-seeking students enrolled. The list is constructed of the remaining public four-year institutions that fall in the top 25 percent of all predominantly four-year institutions for median earnings 10 years after beginning enrollment and for low net price. Typical earnings reflect the median earnings of federal financial aid recipients 10 years after they first enrolled at the institution. Net price reflects the sticker price, less any grant or scholarship aid, for all federal financial aid recipients at the school. Percentile calculations are derived using institutions’ Unitid as the unit of analysis. List includes only institutions also featured in College Navigator and excludes institutions that are not main campus locations.

Honoring the Nation’s Leading Science and Mathematics Teachers and Announcing Active Learning Day

Cross-posted from the White House blog.

Today the White House honored the 213 newest recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Yesterday, these teachers, from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity, received their awards – the Nation’s highest honor for mathematics and science teachers – at a ceremony hosted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and featuring the President’s Science Advisor, Dr. John Holdren.

Dr. John Holdren speaking the PAEMST ceremony on September 8, 2016. (Credit: NSF)

Dr. John Holdren speaking the PAEMST ceremony on September 8, 2016. (Credit: NSF)

In addition, the teachers met with U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, who congratulated the teachers for their ongoing commitment to supporting students from all background to participate in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning.

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Empowering Students Through Nutrition This School Year

Healthy meals can lead to success during the school year. (Photo courtesy USDA)

Healthy meals can lead to success during the school year. (Photo courtesy USDA)

Reading, writing, and arithmetic aren’t the only things our nation’s children will be learning this school year!

Schools have made major strides in helping students learn the importance of healthy eating through balanced meals and nutrition education. Now that kids and teens are boarding their buses for another school year, the entire school community has the opportunity to build on that momentum by continuing to increase access to nutritious meals and encourage healthy habits.

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The Arts for All Students in All Content Classes

Acrylic paint, sidewalk chalk, and calligraphy pens are staples of my English class. These items, along with reciting poetry and acting out scenes from plays allow my students to communicate through a variety of mediums, and to integrate their creative capabilities into their everyday learning.

In 2001, I walked into my 6th grade classroom ready to share my love of reading and writing. However, I soon discovered that my students were in need of much more than an enthusiastic teacher with an English degree. I needed to engage them and make them want to learn.

Stacey Dallas Johnston incorporates the arts in her English classes. (Photo courtesy of the author.)

Stacey Dallas Johnston incorporates the arts in her English classes. (Photo courtesy of the author)

My students that year struggled with the basics of reading and writing. Many had already decided that they hated school, and could already be labeled as chronic absentees. Instead of teaching Shakespeare, I was struggling to keep students engaged. I too struggled that year. It took a few months, but The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster was the gateway into exploring the arts. We broke the story into parts and acted it out, we made 3D models and we wrote poems as the main character. It was a start.

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