This is the transcript for Episode 11 (January 25, 2018) of the “Title IV + More Podcast for Utah Counselors and Educators” from Katie Wornek, Jacob Newman, and Bryan Lee at StepUp to Higher Education Utah.

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Please be advised that the FAFSA and federal student aid are subject to change. While we ensure all the information we share in each episode is accurate at the time of the episode’s release, our statements are not insulated from future changes. If you have questions, we encourage you to call us at 801-869-5701 or email us at

Bryan: Welcome and thank you for listening to StepUp Utah’s Title IV + More Podcast for Counselors and Educators. This podcast is brought to you by StepUp to Higher Education Utah, helping Utah’s students and parents prepare and pay for college. Find more about us at

Katie: Welcome, listeners. My name is Katie Wornek and I am a paying for college expert with StepUp Utah.

Jacob: And I’m Jacob Newman. I’m also a paying for college expert with StepUp Utah. We’re going to go ahead and start off with our news headlines for this week. As some of you may be aware, the Utah state legislative session is underway at the Utah state legislature. It started on January 22nd and will continue until March 8th. As of the day that we record this podcast, over 25 bills have been written and numbered. None that we can see as of right now are directly related to K-12 or higher education, but go ahead and visit their website for updates. This is a really important time of year –it’s 45 days where the legislature meets together to discuss all kinds of different issues. We would encourage you to stay informed during the session. There’s several ways that you can do that. Do you have any suggestions that you’d like to mention, Katie?

Katie: Yea, definitely. From a personal standpoint, I have used the “45 Days” podcast that KUER 90.1 puts out, so you can download it on iTunes. That was really helpful last year and I believe they’re continuing it this year.

Jacob: Yes, they’re going to have that this year as well.

Katie: I’ve heard some ads for it, yea. And in addition to that, if you feel like you have opinions to voice or concerns as it pertains to your job as a counselor, we’ll have a segment a little bit later, but I know that the Utah School Counselor Association does legislative outreach, so they might be a good organization to tap into to kind of voice some collective opinions or concerns to the legislature.

Jacob: It’s also just good to stay tapped into the local news. We encourage you to remain active. There’s a lot that can happen in 45 days. I mean, it sounds like a short time, but it’s also kind of a long time at the same time. Go ahead and contact your representative to voice opinions or concerns. We’ll also have the link to the summary and how you can follow what’s going on in the Utah state legislature as well.

Katie: Yea, that link will be in the transcript. For anyone who wants to visit, it’s if you want to check those bills out that are numbered at the moment.

Jacob: Another interesting headline we have for this week is the return on investment of Utah System of Higher Education graduates. This is published by the Utah System of Higher Education’s Institutional Research team. They wanted to kind of see what the return on investment was for these graduates from these institutions here in the state. It’s estimated that there is a $3 return on investment in Utah’s economy for every $1 tax dollar spent on higher education. That is pretty amazing. The report also details ROI data for the graduates themselves. In 2016, the first-year median wages for someone with a bachelor’s degree was just under $43,000. And, consider that’s the median as well, so that’s pretty high. Data from the graduating class of 2011 shows that an average individual with a bachelor’s degree saw a wage increase of $15,000 from their first year of employment to their fifth. That’s a pretty substantial increase if you’re looking at their wages when they began to their fifth year. And we all know that this is not just about 4-year degrees, so this explores everything from certificate programs to doctorate degrees, because we know that college for everyone it’s not going to be that 4-year degree. A lot of individuals are really successful with a 1-year certificate or a 2-year degree. But this really presents some interesting food for thought I think in terms of return on investment.

Katie: Yea, I know last week’s episode we talked about Governor Herbert’s Educational Roadmap and the plan there is to make sure Utah’s population is as educated as possible so that we can bring in as many businesses as we possibly can and grow our economy. And I think that goes hand-in-hand with what we’re seeing with the return on investment for people who hold degrees. And what I love about this report is it’s not just about the return on investment for the students themselves, but for, as you said, the Utah taxpayer. That 3 to 1 return on every tax dollar that we invest in higher education is fantastic. As far as counselors are concerned, what I would say is this article or this paper that was published by USHE, it’s only 4 pages long and it’s really readable, so if you’re looking for a resource to share with you students as to, “Why should I go to college?”, this is a real-world implication and impact for them. And it’s something that I would encourage you to show them. The link, again, will be in the transcript to this podcast. But you can show them just the charts that show them what they’re going to be earning after college after that degree, from a 1-year certificate to a 4-year program, when you’re having those talks about why college is important.

Jacob: Yea, I mean, I really think that statistic that they show from the graduating class of 2011 is pretty amazing because, when you’re a senior in high school, you’re not – maybe if you’re working part-time – you think about $15,000, that’s a lot from your first year of employment to your fifth year of employment, that’s pretty amazing. If you have that college degree in-hand, there’s something to be said for that, that you can increase your earning potential within just 5 years. We’re not talking about a lifetime.

Katie: Exactly, yea.

Jacob: We’re talking about just 5 years here.

Katie: Yea, that’s a raise of about, what? $3,000 a year if I’m doing my rudimentary math right [laughs]. That’s amazing.

Jacob: That’s significant.

Katie: Yea, definitely.

Jacob: Alright, we’re going to go ahead and we’re going to transition to the FAFSA Tip of the Week.

Katie: Yea, and I’m going to take that over. Our tip of the month theme for January has been reporting student demographic information, so this week we’re going to focus on the student demographic information for the Selective Service requirement. The FAFSA will ask, “Have you registered for the Selective Service?” And the federal rule is that any male between the ages of 18 and 26 has to enlist in the Selective Service, which is essentially the draft, if they want to receive federal student aid. If you have a male student who is younger than 18 when he completes the FAFSA, he can choose not to register with the Selective Service at that time, and can still qualify for federal aid the next school year, even if he turns 18 during that time. What the student is going to need to do in that situation is register with the Selective Service on the next FAFSA or apply with the Selective Service System directly or, I believe the post office is a location where he can enlist as well. Now, if you do have a student who is younger than 18 when they’re filling out the FAFSA and they do choose to hit “yes, register me”, it’s safe to do that. Their information is not going to be transmitted to the Selective Service until they’re 18th birthday, so they won’t be registering for the draft early or anything like that. And we also need to bear in mind the fact that Selective Service and the FAFSA define “male” for these purposes as the gender that was assigned on the student’s birth certificate. If you do find yourself in a circumstance where your student objects to that classification or is maybe identifying as a different gender or is non-binary, although they can’t appeal it on the FAFSA, they can appeal the decision directly through the Selective Service System if you do encounter that. With that, I’m going to transition to our guest interview with Monique Hadley, who is the president of the Utah School Counselor’s Association.

Katie: This week we have Monique Hadley, who is a counselor at Timpview High School in Provo, and she is also the current president of the Utah School Counselors Association or “USCA”. Welcome, Monique!

Monique: Thank you, Katie. It’s nice to be here.

Katie: We’re happy to have you! Can you tell us – what is USCA designed to do and what are some of the main programs and services that you offer?

Monique: Ok, yea, USCA, or Utah School Counselor Association. It’s interesting because the Utah School Counselor Association has been around a long time. We were actually one of the first four chartered associations that came out of the American School Counselor Association. So, we’re pretty proud of that. We’ve been an association for about 65 years now. So, some of the programs that we offer, some of the things that we do as an association that we have every year is that we have our annual conference, we bring in national speakers, and we have professional development during that time. We started off there probably about, well – even 10 years ago, even 10 or 20 years ago, there were only like 80 counselors going and now we have 400 counselors or more that attend every year. So we just keep developing that and providing really good professional development for counselors. We also have what we call a legislative outreach. Each year we meet at Capitol Hill and we invite our members to come and join us to learn more about how to advocate for students in Utah. And we usually invite legislators that can take some time to just talk to us about how we should be talking to legislators, how we can move things along educationally and get them involved in our schools and to better understand school counselors.

Jacob: Awesome. It sounds like it has a long, rich history and it sounds like it has some great resources. What are some of the benefits of membership? What would you tell a counselor who is interested in potentially joining USCA?

Monique: I think the number one benefit actually is the professional development that comes with the conference and then also online. On our website, we update professional development all the time. We also do a newsletter, quarterly newsletter for members. We have the legislative outreach and we send out legislative outreach and to help our members get involved with the legislative process. We also have – it provides a really good place for social networking for counselors and, there’s a lot of other benefits, but those are probably the main benefits.

Katie: Yea, it sounds awesome. It sounds like it’s a really good opportunity for counselors to stay connected and get the resources they need to continue to be successful. Can you tell us about any upcoming events or projects that you’re excited about?

Monique: Yea, actually, we have our Lynn Jensen Memorial Scholarship coming up. That is on February 1st up at the state capitol in the Rotunda. That’s where we celebrate school counseling and students and we give four $1,000 scholarships away. It’s amazing, it’s an amazing event. The students are amazing – they tell us their story about where they’ve been, how their counselors have helped them get where they’re going.

Jacob: Awesome. If any of our listeners are interested in joining USCA, how do they become a member? What’s the process for that?

Monique: The easiest way to become a member is just to go to our website, which is at and then there’s a tab that says “join” and you just click on that tab and fill out the information.

Jacob: Awesome. Thank you so much for joining us today, we really appreciate that. And we hope that our listeners will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity for professional development. Alright listeners, this is our episode for this week. Next week, you can expect to hear about a FAFSA tip and news and events. As always, we encourage feedback, questions, and counselor spotlight nominations. Until next time, see you.

Bryan: StepUp to Higher Education is an outreach initiative of the State of Utah that empowers 8th through 12th grade students and their families to prepare for college. We believe every Utah student should pursue education after high school, whether that be a one-year certificate, a two-year degree, a four-year degree, or beyond that. We provide programs and resources to encourage college prep and success, as well as training and materials for school counselors like you. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Title IV + More Podcast for Counselors and Educators. You can find more about us, order outreach and access materials, or request a StepUp Utah event at your school at And lastly, be sure to follow us on social media. You can find us at, also on Instagram and Twitter by searching for @StepUpUtah. You can also find our Outreach Officers on social media, as well. Just search for @StepUpKatie and @StepUpJacob.


This is the transcript for Episode 11 (January 25, 2018) of the “Title IV + More Podcast for Utah Counselors and Educators” from Katie Wornek, Jacob Newman, and Bryan Lee at StepUp to Higher Education Utah.

Listen to the “Title IV + More Podcast for Counselors and Educators” on iTunes

Listen to the “Title IV + More Podcast for Counselors and Educators” on SoundCloud

Listen to the “Title IV + More Podcast for Counselors and Educators” on Google Play