Four Ways to Stay Connected With Our 2015 Back-to-School Bus Tour

A map of all locations that the tour will visit. See list in blog post.


Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and senior leaders from the U.S. Department of Education are hitting the road on September 14, 2015 for our 6th annual back-to-school bus tour.

We’ll be stopping at 11 locations in seven states long the route. Click here to learn more about each stop. Even though we may not be stopping in your city this year, there are still several ways to stay connected to the tour.

1. Social Media

Follow the hashtag #ReadyForSuccess on Twitter and Instagram for the latest and keep up-to-date by following @usedgov and @arneduncan.

2. Email Updates

Sign up here to get the latest from the road in your inbox.

3. YouTube

Subscribe to our YouTube channel and see daily video updates from the road, as well as special videos highlighting the people we’re meeting along the way. Check out this video previewing the tour.

4. Blog Updates

We’ll be blogging throughout the tour. Visit or sign up for email updates from our Homeroom Blog.



By state, two-year colleges where students earn high salaries after graduation

Many two-year community colleges can offer students valuable opportunities to excel in their careers. Depending on the programs that the school offers and excels in, the career ambitions of its students, and the skills that students gain while in school, two-year degrees can provide a great value to students. Here are 45 two-year public colleges across the U.S. at which earnings exceed those of the typical two-year college.

Institution Name State Median Earnings of Students 10 Years After Entering the School
Prince William Sound Community College AK $42,000
Marion Military Institute AL $48,500
NorthWest Arkansas Community College AR $32,300
Scottsdale Community College AZ $35,700
Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health CA $85,800
Colorado Northwestern Community College CO $38,300
Capital Community College CT $35,000
Delaware Technical Community College-Stanton/Wilmington DE $33,500
Santa Fe College FL $33,500
Georgia Highlands College GA $34,100
Kapiolani Community College HI $33,300
Northwest Iowa Community College IA $38,400
College of DuPage IL $35,000
Vincennes University IN $32,200
Manhattan Area Technical College KS $36,400
Louisiana State University-Eunice LA $31,500
Quincy College MA $38,400
Prince George’s Community College MD $40,900
Southern Maine Community College ME $37,300
Schoolcraft College MI $31,000
Inver Hills Community College MN $38,400
Linn State Technical College MO $36,400
Highlands College of Montana Tech MT $39,800
Carolinas College of Health Sciences NC $47,300
North Dakota State College of Science ND $41,400
Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture NE $43,800
NHTI-Concord’s Community College NH $37,700
County College of Morris NJ $40,200
New Mexico Military Institute NM $39,100
Truckee Meadows Community College NV $32,500
Fashion Institute of Technology NY $44,100
Ohio State University-Marion Campus OH $42,600
Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City OK $34,400
Clackamas Community College OR $33,800
University of Pittsburgh-Titusville PA $48,200
University of South Carolina-Sumter SC $32,800
Mitchell Technical Institute SD $38,000
Lamar Institute of Technology TX $48,200
Salt Lake Community College UT $36,200
Northern Virginia Community College VA $41,700
Vermont Technical College VT $44,200
Bellevue College WA $41,300
University of Wisconsin Colleges WI $33,000
Potomac State College of West Virginia University WV $43,900
Casper College WY $32,900

This list includes only predominantly two-year-degree-granting public schools with higher median positive earnings 10 years after beginning at the school than the median earnings for all predominantly two-year-degree-granting schools. Only the predominantly two-year-degree-granting public school with the highest median positive earnings in each state is shown in the list.


23 four-year schools with low costs that lead to high incomes

One of the biggest concerns about college that students and families have is the costs of attending—and the possible opportunities it could create for their careers. Check out 23 four-year institutions of higher education that have demonstrated both high earnings, as well as low costs for their lowest-income students.

Institution Median Earnings of Students 10 Years After Entering the School Average Net Price for Low-Income Students
Amherst College $56,800 $3,739
Bowdoin College $54,800 $6,731
Brown University $59,700 $6,104
Columbia University in the City of New York $72,900 $5,497
Dartmouth College $67,100 $7,648
Duke University $76,700 $6,280
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus $74,000 $7,875
Hamilton College $57,300 $7,245
Harvard University $87,200 $3,386
Haverford College $55,600 $5,648
Massachusetts Institute of Technology $91,600 $6,733
Massachusetts Maritime Academy $79,500 $7,519
Princeton University $75,100 $5,720
Rice University $59,900 $7,960
Stanford University $80,900 $3,895
Trinity College $56,100 $7,874
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor $57,900 $7,156
University of Pennsylvania $78,200 $6,614
University of Virginia-Main Campus $58,600 $7,007
Vanderbilt University $60,900 $7,147
Washington and Lee University $77,600 $7,663
Williams College $58,100 $8,202
Yale University $66,000 $7,637

This list includes schools in the top 10 percent of predominantly four-year-degree-granting schools for 1) median positive earnings 10 years after beginning at the school and 2) low net price for students receiving federal grants or loans with a family income of $0-$48,000. Net price refers to the net price for in-state students in public institutions. Percentiles were calculated excluding cell sizes less than 30, schools with zero undergraduate degree-seeking students, schools not currently operating, and schools in territories.

15 public four-year colleges with high graduation leading to high incomes

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. Here are 15 public, predominantly four-year-degree-granting institutions of higher education that fall in the top 10 percent of all four-year schools on graduation rate and median earnings.

Institution Median Earnings of Students, 10 Years After Entering the School 150 Percent Completion Rate
College of William and Mary $56,400 89.9%
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus $74,000 80.7%
Rutgers University-New Brunswick $54,800 79.5%
SUNY at Binghamton $58,400 80.1%
The College of New Jersey $56,800 85.7%
University of California-Berkeley $62,700 90.9%
University of California-Davis $57,100 81.3%
University of California-Irvine $55,800 85.7%
University of California-Los Angeles $59,200 90.9%
University of California-San Diego $59,600 86.0%
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign $56,600 83.9%
University of Maryland-College Park $59,100 83.1%
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor $57,900 90.3%
University of Virginia-Main Campus $58,600 93.2%
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University $57,900 82.6%

This list includes schools that fall in the top 10 percent of predominantly four-year-degree-granting schools for 1) completion within 150% of time for first-time, full-time students; and 2) median positive earnings of students who attended the school, measured 10 years after they began. Completion rates are calculated as two-year rolling averages; and percentiles are calculated excluding schools with an n-size of 30 or fewer students and schools in territories. Percentiles were calculated excluding cell sizes less than 30, schools with zero undergraduate degree-seeking students, schools not currently operating, and schools in territories

30 four-year schools with high graduation rates and low costs

Students may want to find schools that have a high rate of success among their students—all for a good price. The following 30 four-year institutions have high graduation rates among first-time, full-time students, and low costs for their lowest-income students.

Institution Graduation Rate (150 Percent of Normal Time to Completion) Average Net Price for Low-Income Students
Amherst College 95.2% $3,739
Be’er Yaakov Talmudic Seminary 93.5% $6,989
Bowdoin College 94.3% $6,731
Brown University 94.8% $6,104
Colby College 91.4% $6,443
Columbia University in the City of New York 94.2% $5,497
Dartmouth College 95.3% $7,648
Duke University 94.4% $6,280
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus 80.7% $7,875
Hamilton College 91.8% $7,245
Harvard University 97.2% $3,386
Haverford College 93.3% $5,648
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 92.9% $6,733
Pomona College 95.8% $4,935
Princeton University 96.5% $5,720
Rice University 91.8% $7,960
Stanford University 95.5% $3,895
Texas A & M University-College Station 79.3% $4,528
Trinity College 84.8% $7,874
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 90.3% $7,156
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 89.7% $6,543
University of Pennsylvania 95.8% $6,614
University of Virginia-Main Campus 93.2% $7,007
University of Washington-Seattle Campus 81.3% $6,406
Vanderbilt University 92.4% $7,147
Vassar College 92.2% $5,062
Washington and Lee University 90.1% $7,663
Wesleyan University 91.1% $7,455
Williams College 95.9% $8,202
Yale University 97.0% $7,637

This list includes schools in the top 10 percent of predominantly four-year-degree-granting schools for 1) graduation rates (150% of normal time to completion) for first-time, full-time students and 2) low net price for students receiving federal grants or loans with a family income of $0-$48,000. Net price refers to the net price for in-state students in public institutions. Percentiles were calculated excluding cell sizes less than 30, schools with zero undergraduate degree-seeking students, schools not currently operating, and schools in territories.

“How my superhero helped me go to college”

Former ED intern Tenzin Choenyi and his mentor Aubrie Tossmann re-connected in Chicago recently.  (Photo courtesy Tenzin Choenyi)

Former ED intern Tenzin Choenyi and his mentor Aubrie Tossmann re-connected in Chicago recently. (Photo courtesy Tenzin Choenyi)

Like most kids, I used to think a hero was someone with super powers, such as Batman or Captain America. As I grew older, I realized that heroes like Superman don’t exist. But I learned that there are other types of heroes in this world — ones who guide you, protect you, teach you and care about you.

Aubrie Tossmann — or, as I call her, Ms. Tossmann — works at my alma mater, Sullivan High School in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. She works for Umoja Student Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization that partners with Sullivan to provide student support services in postsecondary readiness and restorative justice. Her job title is mentor/college counselor, but Ms. Tossmann represents far more than that to me: She is my hero.

Five years ago, my family arrived in the United States as immigrants from Nepal, where we lived as Tibetan refugees. I was foreign to the American language, culture, people, the schools and almost everything else. Starting out as an English as a Second Language (ESL) student, I had to work twice as hard as other students to master high school lessons while still improving my English skills. I wanted to compete with the best of the best.

After a year I enrolled in non-ESL classes and joined the school’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Medical Academy. As a CTE student, I was able to take honors and Advanced Placement classes to challenge myself even further. Sullivan’s Medical Program also allowed me to experience real-world work activities through internships at CVS Pharmacy and Lurie Children’s Hospital.

By my senior year, though, I still felt unprepared for college. There were thousands of unanswered questions in my mind: Would the colleges that I applied to accept me? Even if they did, how would I pay for such a school?

As I reflect back to that time, I’m overwhelmed by how much Ms. Tossmann did for me during my senior year. After I shared my goals and struggles with her, she took me under her wing. She guided me through a very tough year; I was a teenager who hoped to become the first in his family to attend college. She made sure I applied for several scholarships because there was no way I could pay for college without financial assistance. At one point, I spent every lunch period in her office, asking questions about college.

With Ms. Tossman’s support and mentorship, I accomplished something that once seemed impossible: I was accepted to Gustavus Adolphus College and received scholarships and a federal Pell Grant to pay for my education.

Months after my high school graduation, Ms. Tossmann learned about the White House’s “Beating the Odds” Summit and helped me to apply for it. I was accepted, and attended with nine other recent high school graduates from all over the country.  At the summit I had amazing discussions with First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and other leaders.

Some might say that Ms. Tossmann just did what she was supposed to do as a mentor and college counselor at my school. But I truly believe she went above and beyond to make sure nothing stood in the way from my achieving my fullest potential.

Tenzin Choenyi is a second year student at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peters, MN. He interned at the U.S. Department of Education’s Chicago office in Summer 2015.

Join Us in Celebrating Constitution and Citizenship Day

As we close out the Labor Day holiday, there is another day worth commemorating at the end of summer and beginning of the school year: September 17 — Constitution and Citizenship Day. The day was first designated by Congress in 1952, and in 2004 the Congress required all educational institutions that receive Federal funding to hold an educational program pertaining to the Constitution, and all Federal agencies to provide employees with education or training about the Constitution to mark the day.

The Constitution Day commemoration requirement was sponsored in legislation by the late Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-West Virginia). He also sponsored the legislation that established the Department of Education’s (ED) Teaching American History (TAH) grant program. As these two pieces of legislation relate to one another, we will honor both at ED’s Constitution Day commemoration, which will focus on the accomplishments of the TAH program. This year marks the end of funding of TAH grants, but the program has established a legacy of materials which teachers and students will be able to use for years to come.

Did you know that the Teaching American History grants resulted in many useful activities and products, including the following?

  • Research on the history of the Constitution
  • Digital projects that make the content of primary historical sources accessible to teachers and students
  • Teacher professional development on teaching the country’s history, including weekend workshops
  • Scripts for students to play the roles of Founding Fathers at the Constitutional Convention

These are just a few of the many activities and resources that were created for the study of the Constitution and the many other events in our history through the TAH program.

At the ED commemoration, representatives of various TAH grantees will discuss their work. For example, Dr. Kelly Schrum directed the development of, a free online clearinghouse, which provides millions of teachers with history content, teaching strategies, best practices, and digital resources to improve U.S. history education in their classrooms. Dr. Fran O’Malley, a former Delaware Teacher of the Year, State History Teacher of the Year, and recipient of a James Madison Memorial Foundation Fellowship, created the “New Nation” weekend workshop under the TAH grant. The weekend workshop gave teachers the opportunity to assume the roles of delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Dr. Kevin Brady created the CICERO History series of on-line resources for teaching the Constitution, which includes numerous original videos and state-focused readings that are used in hundreds of school districts across the country. He also established the Liberty Fellowships to increase history content knowledge of teachers across the nation and has developed curriculum for U.S. history at the high school and college levels.

As we celebrate Constitution and Citizenship Day, the products of the TAH grants point to what Benjamin Franklin said in his speech at the end of the Constitutional Convention: “I hope. . . as part of the people. . . that we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this Constitution . . . and turn our future thoughts and endeavours to the means of having it well administered.” We at ED are reminded that we swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” when we entered Federal government service, thus agreeing to uphold the Constitution. In carrying out our duties, we are aware of ED’s mission and the power of equity in education, which can change lives by helping to ensure that all students have the opportunity to achieve their highest potential.

In addition to TAH- funded resources, there are myriad other resources and activities which families and classrooms can use to plan a Constitution Day event. For your convenience, we have posted a few examples below. Let us know what you are doing!

Note: The non-governmental websites cited in this blog are provided as examples of resources for Constitution Day that you might find helpful. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of these sites, nor does our inclusion here constitute an endorsement of the sites, the material on the sites, or the related products or services of the entity that provided the information. There are many other resources available that may be just as helpful or more helpful.

We encourage Federal, State, and local officials, as well as leaders of civic, social, and educational organizations, to consider conducting ceremonies and programs for Constitution Day that bring together community members to reflect on the importance of active citizenship, recognize the enduring strength of our Constitution, and reaffirm our commitment to the rights and obligations of citizenship in this great Nation.

¡Hablar, leer, y cantar todos los días!

Hojas de consejo para familias, cuidadores y maestros de aprendizaje temprano

La investigación demuestra que dar a los niños desde el nacimiento hasta los cinco años de edad experiencias ricas y consistentes en lenguaje, incluido hablar, leer y cantar, puede beneficiar notablemente el desarrollo mental de los niños y el éxito escolar más adelante.

Sin embargo, muchas familias no tienen acceso a los recursos que pueden ayudar a sacar mayor provecho a las prácticas que desarrollan el lenguaje. Esto crea un vacío en la cantidad y calidad de las palabras que los niños aprenden, y afecta directamente su éxito en la escuela y más adelante en la vida.

Como resultado del compromiso asumido en la Cumbre de la Casa Blanca sobre la Educación Temprana para aumentar la cantidad y calidad de las palabras que los niños aprenden, el Departamento de Educación de EE.UU. y el Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de EE.UU., en colaboración con la iniciativa Too Small to Fail (Demasiado joven para fracasar), han creado las hojas de consejo “Hablar, leer y cantar juntos todos los días”. Las hojas, elaboradas especialmente para las familias, cuidadores y los primeros maestros, pueden ayudar a enriquecer el lenguaje de los infantes mediante métodos comprobados por la investigación, incluido hablar, leer y cantar con ellos a diario desde que nacen. Todas las hojas de consejo están disponibles en inglés y español, y se pueden descargar gratis en nuestro sitio web.

Nunca es demasiado temprano para ayudar a que su hijo aprenda — ¡Hablen, lean y canten juntos todos los días! Disponible en inglés y español.

Consejos para las familias — ¡Hablen, lean y canten juntos todos los días! Disponible en inglés y español.

Las ventajas de ser bilingüe: Información para maestros y cuidadores de bebes y niños pequeños — ¡Hablen, lean y canten juntos todos los días! Disponible en inglés y español.

El lenguaje en el hogar y en la comunidad — ¡Hablen, lean y canten juntos todos los días! Disponible en inglés y español.

Cierre la brecha de palabras — Consejos para los maestros y cuidadores de bebes y niños pequeños. Disponible en inglés y español.

Consejos para maestros de preescolar y proveedores de otros programas de educación infantil temprana — ¡Hablen, lean y canten juntos todos los días! Disponible en inglés y español.

Another Step Forward Under the Student Aid Bill of Rights

Earlier this year, President Obama unveiled a Student Aid Bill of Rights to ensure strong consumer protections for student loan borrowers and issued a Presidential Memorandum to begin making those rights a reality. Last month, as part of that directive, the Department of Education announced a number of new steps we are taking to help Americans manage their student loan debt, including:

  • Protecting Social Security benefits of Borrowers with Disabilities who may qualify for a loan discharge or other repayment options.
  • Changing the debt collection process so that it is fairer, more transparent, and more reasonable.
  • Providing clarity on borrowers seeking a discharge in bankruptcy.

Today, as another step forward in implementing the Student Aid Bill of Rights directives, Federal Student Aid (FSA) released the recommendations from an interagency task force on best practices in performance based contracting to better ensure that servicers help borrowers make affordable monthly payments. As directed by the Presidential memorandum, the task force reviewed input from its members in July. Now that these recommendations (pdf) have been finalized, they will inform the upcoming process of recompeting our servicing contracts prior to the expiration of the existing contracts.

Even ahead of that process, FSA has been taking steps to improve borrower service as it continues the transformation of the nation’s student loan program following the President’s landmark student loan reform.  Many of these steps are in concert with the recommendations of the interagency task force. Key steps include:

  • Ongoing development of an enterprise complaint system to track and support complaint resolution across all aspects of aid delivery, including servicing.
  • Targeted email campaigns to borrowers regarding available repayment options,  including campaigns related to IDR enrollment.
  • Enhanced performance metrics and incentive-based pricing for Federal loan servicers to ensure consistency and accountability while creating additional incentives to focus on reduced delinquency and default, more effective borrower counseling and outreach, and enhanced customer satisfaction.
  • Development and implementation of a robust enterprise data warehouse and analytics capability to support research of the portfolio.
  • Designing and implementing a quarterly delinquency reduction compensation program to provide additional incentives for success in reducing delinquency in payments among our largest servicers’ portfolios with the greatest number of at risk borrowers.
  • Increased focus on military service members, including a match with DOD to proactively provide service members with SCRA benefits,
  • Enhanced loan counseling and the ability for borrowers to select their repayment plan based on their individual circumstances during exit counseling.
  • Enhanced communication with and tools for borrowers including repayment calculators, loan consolidation application, and online application for income-driven repayment.
  • A pilot to test different approaches for curing delinquent loans.

We are also working with our partners at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the CFPB to continually improve the federal student lending program. For example, we are working with Treasury and the CFPB on how to improve credit reporting for student loans. In addition, as highlighted in a recent CFPB blog, Education, Treasury and the CFPB continue to work together to ensure student loan borrowers are aware of and can access affordable monthly payments. For Federal student loans, FSA and its servicing contractors have been certifying and enrolling, on average, over 5,000 borrowers per day into IDR plans over the past year. Enrollment in IDR plans has increased more than 50% over the past year and is at an all-time high.

Helping Americans manage their student loan debt has been a core priority of this Administration. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll continue to carry out the steps the President laid out in March and to take additional action to make college more affordable and ease the burden of student loan debt.

3 Important Financial Considerations for College Students


The U.S. Department of Treasury recently released a report entitled “Opportunities to Improve the Financial Capability and Financial Well-being of Postsecondary Students.”  I read this report because I am an intern in the office of Federal Student Aid at the Department of Education, and I am working on various projects related to financial literacy for college students. I actually found this report to be a worthwhile read as a college student embarking on the daunting journey of funding my college education and managing my money while in school.

Despite the heavy financial burden, most of us understand the necessity of a college degree. Report after report make evident that education is one of the most significant factors in upward economic mobility. Still, college students face not only education loans but also consumer debt. There are so many important decisions that college students have to make in support of the ultimate goal to become financially independent. And, as tuition, books, housing and more only rise, the dream of financial independence has only become more difficult, and stressful.

Although I am no expert in financial literacy and financial aid, learning about responsible borrowing, careful budgeting, and repaying loans on time has helped lower my financial stress. The following are some simple tips I’ve learned that can alleviate financial stress and help college students manage their money.

1. Borrow responsibly. 

Federal Student Aid offers resources to help students understand the borrowing process. 

First, know how to read the financial aid package your school offers you. Be sure you can differentiate among grants, loans, scholarships, and work-study offers. You can do this by talking to the staff at your school’s financial aid office. Next, talk to your parents or those contributing to your education. Review the financial aid offer from your school, and look at your family’s finances, to decide which aid to accept or turn down. This is important in calculating how much you need to borrow in order to afford your education. You do not need to accept the full amount of loan money that’s offered to you; and understanding that concept will leave you with less debt in the future.

2. Budget carefully.

Budgeting is vital to lowering stress. By adopting responsible budgeting habits, you’ll learn planning skills to help manage multiple priorities and prepare for the future. Healthy budgeting practices provide dual opportunities for money-saving and time-management techniques. Budgeting is a great financial foundation and can be a stepping-stone to handling greater financial responsibility, leaving lifelong benefits.

3. Repay on time.

Repayment is the final step of the student loan process and lasts long after you graduate. If you do your research, the repayment process can go a lot more smoothly.

One way to reduce your stress is to understand the different repayment plans. You might find that you meet the criteria for making payments based on your income. Use the Repayment Estimator to help you understand the different repayment plans and decide which one is best for you. Then contact your loan servicer to see how to apply for the plan that best fits your situation.

Another thing to be aware of is that there are certain loan forgiveness options, including one for those who work full-time in public service. Knowing who qualifies and how to apply can ease the stress you feel about your debt as well.

Lastly, know that forbearance and deferment (ways to postpone or reduce your payments) are options if special circumstances arise. Understanding what’s best for your situation and applying in a timely manner is something you need to be aware of and talk to your servicer about.

As the report says, “Postsecondary education is essential to the economic health of our nation and to the economic opportunity of many Americans,” and each of our personal financial decisions contributes to that!

Megan McCusker is a sophomore at Loyola University Maryland studying History and Spanish. She served an intern for U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid.

8 Things You Should Know About Federal Work-Study

22 1.19 work-studyIf you’re looking for another way to pay for college, Federal Work-Study may be a great option for you. Work-study is a way for students to earn money to pay for school through part-time on (and sometimes off) campus jobs. Work-study gives students an opportunity to gain valuable work experience while pursuing a college degree. However, not every school participates in the Federal Work-Study Program. Schools that do participate have a limited amount of funds they can award to students who are eligible. This is why it is so important for students to fill out the FAFSA as early as possible, as some schools award work-study funds on a first come, first served basis.
Here are 8 things you should know about the Federal Work-Study Program:

1. Being Awarded Federal Work-Study Does Not Guarantee You a Job

Accepting the federal work-study funds you’re offered is just the first step. In order to receive those funds, you need to earn them, which means you need to start by finding a work-study job. Some schools may match students to jobs, but most schools require the student to find, apply and interview for positions on their own, just like any other job. It is important that students who are interested in work-study or who have already been awarded work-study contact the financial aid office at their school to find out what positions are available, how to apply, and how the process works at their school.

2. Not All Work-Study Jobs are on Campus

The availability of work-study positions includes community service options with non-profit employers, which means some work-study jobs are available for off-campus work. An example might be reading or tutoring for elementary children at local public schools. If you are curious about securing a community service work-study position, contact the financial aid office or the student employment center at your school.

3. Work-Study Funds Are Not Applied Directly to Your Tuition

Unlike other types of financial aid, work-study earnings are not applied directly to your tuition and fees. Students who are awarded work-study receive the funds in a paycheck as they earn them, based on hours worked, just like a normal job. These earnings are meant to help with the day to day expenses that students have and are not meant to cover large costs like tuition and housing.

4. Work-Study Jobs May Be Limited

You may still be able to work on campus without work-study if your school does not have enough work-study funds to cover all on-campus student employees. Many campuses offer jobs for students with or without work-study. Check with the student employment office on your campus to find out what is available.

5. Federal Work-Study is not Guaranteed from Year to Year

There are several factors that can determine whether or not you receive work-study from year to year. These include your family income or financial need, whether you used the work-study funds that were offered to you in a prior year, or how much work-study funding your school receives that year. Contact your school for specific awarding criteria if you are interested in work-study. Typically, students who file the FAFSA early (in January/February prior to the academic year) and answer on the FAFSA that they are interested in Federal Work-Study will have a higher chance of being awarded funds from the program.

6. Pay May Vary

Work-study jobs vary in qualifications and responsibilities, so the pay will depend on the job that you are hired to do. Pay may also depend on your school’s policies and/or the minimum wage requirements in the state.

7. Work-study Earnings Are Removed From Your FAFSA Calculation for the Next Year

One of the benefits of earning income through a federal work-study position is that those earnings do not count against you when you complete the next year’s FAFSA. Be sure to answer the question regarding how much was earned through work-study on your FAFSA accurately. If you do not know the answer, you can contact the financial aid office at your school for help. Some schools will send you a notice in early spring regarding your earnings from the last calendar year to help you file your FAFSA.

8. Hours Worked May Vary

How many hours you work each week will depend on the type of job you get and your employer’s expectations. Most student employment positions, however, will work around your class schedule and only require between 10-20 hours/week, but again – that can vary!

Chandra Owen, Training Coordinator in the Office of Financial Aid at Michigan State University, Justin Chase Brown, Director of Scholarships & Financial Aid at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Karla Weber, Senior Advisor in the Office of Student Financial Aid at the University of Wisconsin-Madison


Unique Mentoring Program Helps Students Build Confidence and Learn Valuable Skills


Student athletes from Urban Squash spoke with Secretary Duncan about how they can use sports for leadership development and academic success.

Recently, ED invited student athletes from Urban Squash to speak about how they can use sports for leadership development and academic success. The organization is a youth development program that combines the sport of squash with academics, mentoring, community service, and college placement for public school students in under-served communities.

Unanimously, the students expressed that being involved in the sport has made them more confident to speak up, taught them what it means to respect and help each other as a team and inspired them to make changes in their community. They also spoke about the difference it made to their academic and personal growth and how empowering it was to be part of something, “larger than ourselves.”The student athletes encouraged everyone – regardless of neighborhood or background – to get involved with community building opportunities inside and outside of school. These activities are not limited to sports teams. They identified programs in their neighborhoods geared to support youth such as non-profit organizations, community service, internships and even employment opportunities.

While most of these programs welcome students with open arms, the students acknowledged the challenge that often goes along with finding out about these opportunities. To promote accessibility and diversity in these programs, they recommended expanding outreach to a more diverse population.. As a sport that is still largely outside the mainstream, the issues of awareness and diversity are even more pressing in squash.

Ultimately, these afterschool associations serve as a cultural program to connect different students and inspire them to advance their goals. It also gives them a chance to learn from each other by working in a team with diverse backgrounds and interests. Program participants are committed to making the most out of these educational opportunities – both on and off the court – to better themselves and their communities. As one student explained, “We are student athletes but the student part comes first”Squash is an indoor racket sport played by more than 15 million people in 153 countries. Until recently, it was played almost exclusively at prep schools, elite colleges, and exclusive clubs in the United States. Thanks in large part to programs like Urban Squash the sport has become more popular in recent decades. Because of its strong link to top-tier educational institutions, it has become an effective after-school program “hook.”

Hannah Pomfret was a 2015 summer intern at the U.S. Department of Education.