This is the transcript for Season 2, Episode 2 (September 20, 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 outreach@utahsbr.edu.


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 StepUpUtah.com.

Jacob: Welcome, listeners to Title IV + More: The StepUp Utah Counselor and Educator Podcast. I’m Jacob Newman and I’m a paying for college expert.

Katie: And I’m Katie Wornek, also a paying for college expert. I’m going to kick our episode off with some news headlines. We have quite a few because there was a lot of news going on over the summer that we didn’t get to cover. The first one – really exciting – is that “Salt Lake Community College’s Promise Initiative Extends Life-Altering Tuition and Fee Waivers.” This is an article from the Deseret News. It will be available as a link in the transcript, which you can find at stepuputah.com. This article actually goes over the celebration of SLCC Promise entering its 3rd year – it’s hard to believe it’s been that long since they started it. If you’re not familiar with SLCC Promise, this is a program that covers the gap of tuition and fees when Pell Grants don’t cover that cost of attendance for students who qualify for a Pell Grant. So far, over 1,500 students have enrolled in this program over the course of this 3 years and they’ve waived over $1.6 million in tuition and fees. This is something that’s worth celebrating, and the reason we bring it up now is because it’s important to share this information with you college-bound students. It’s an excellent opportunity to help them afford college if Salt Lake Community College is something that they’re pursuing. And it’s not just Salt Lake Community College that offers programs like this. There are options at Weber State and at Westminster too that can cover that gap for Pell Grant-eligible students. So it’s worth looking into if you have students who are interested in those institutions. Our second article comes from the Desert News as well and it’s “Zions Bancorp CEO Reluctantly Heads to India to Hire Skilled Workers He Can’t Find Here”. He is specifically referring to cybersecurity professionals in this article, but there’s a lot of other industries and skilled labor markets that are echoing this sentiment that they just can’t find the skilled labor that they need to fulfill their hiring requirements here in Utah. The moral of this story and the reason we bring it up is that it’s as important as ever to talk to your students about the viability of going to a technical college. Our economy depends on it, your students can benefit from a shorter degree with promising job prospects. So if your  students are interested in potentially pursuing a one-year certificate or a two-year degree instead of a traditional four-year college, that is definitely something that we need in our market today. The third story is from the Daily Herald and this is actually really exciting and we’re celebrating – it says that Utah is once again ranked as the state with the least student debt. This has been going on for a couple of years now. Once again, we have the lowest average student debt and the lowest number of student borrowers out of the total number of college students. And this is excellent because it means that students are benefiting from – first of all Utah’s comparatively low tuition. We’re the third lowest tuition in the country. And they’re also benefiting from the robust scholarship and grant landscape here in the state. We also have some great savings options like My529, so students are pursuing these options as they should before they’re taking out student loans and it’s really paying off in the long-run. And then last but not least, more exciting news coming out of Utah colleges, “Snow College is Taking the Next Step” and adding an on-campus housing option for their Richfield campus. This is an article that comes from the Richfield Reaper, so if you have students who are interested in attending Snow College at Richfield, they can look forward to the option of living on campus starting in fall 2019. And that’s all the news stories we have. Jacob, I will pass it over to you for upcoming events.

Jacob: We have a lot of events coming up soon and we’re super excited. It’s getting to be that busy time of year where we’re out and about all over the state. Here are some of the events we have coming up. We have the USHE Counselor Conference, which will be September 14 at the Provo Marriott, so we hope to see you there. We’re giving some breakouts about FAFSA completion and how to help your students finance higher education. In terms of training, we are going to be offering our virtual FAFSA Boot Camp for anyone who wants to participate in September. We’ll have a link for you to be able to register in the transcript as well as some details about that. Another event that we have going on is the Utah Valley University Alumni Fair on Saturday, September 29th from 3:00-7:00pm. It’s a great community event if your students are interested in attending UVU to kind of get some interesting resources as well. Another event that we have coming up at the beginning of October is Expect the Great, which will be on Saturday, October 6 starting at 8am at Salt Lake Community College. This is for students who are Black, African-American, or African. It kind of talks about college and career readiness and students can register now at expectthegreatutah.com. It’s a really great event; we look forward to seeing you there. Another event that we have coming up is the Utah School Counselor Association Fall Conference, or the USCA Fall Conference as you might know it, from October 11-12 at the Ogden Eccles Center. You can find more details about that at utschoolcounselor.org. That’s a great opportunity for professional development. Finally, and it’s hard to believe we’re already announcing this – the 2019-2020 FAFSA, which is the FAFSA that high school seniors who are graduating this year will fill out, will kick off on October 1, and so throughout the next few podcasts you’ll hear quite a few announcements for events. We have over 110 events scheduled throughout the state this year. We won’t be attending all of them personally because that would be impossible for our small team, but we look forward to letting you know about some of those opportunities as well. And with that, I’m going to pass the time over to Katie for a guest interview this week.

Katie: This week as our guest we have Scott Pettet, who does community outreach for My 529, formerly known as Utah Educational Savings Plan. Welcome, Scott.

Scott: Thank you.

Katie: Excellent. So you’re here to talk to us about your Make Your Mark scholarship contest that My529 promotes in September.

Scott: Yes

Katie: Can you explain to us a little bit about what that program is?

Scott: So, Make Your Mark is probably one of our favorite promotions we do. It’s open to all K-12 students and basically you just go to the website, you download the entry form, and you can create your own bookmark with your own original artwork. We don’t say with what – it can be crayons, pencils, it can be paint, it can be visual medium…whatever you want. And then you submit it and we have a panel of four judges that picks them and if you’re one of the eight winners you get a $1,000 scholarship account from us.

Katie: That’s awesome. And I know you guys have been doing this for a little while. What year are you on now?

Scott: Oh, we’re on year about 11 or 12. We’ve being doing this for quite a while. It’s a lot of fun. We really enjoy it.

Katie: Great. How many awards are given out each year?

Scott: So we do 8. We break up the groups so that, you know, we don’t have high schoolers competing against Kindergardeners. So it’s K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12. And then there’s a judge for each category and then the judge picks two of their favorites in each category, so there’s going to be two winners per category.

Katie: Ok, so actually quite a few scholarships are given out.

Scott: Yea, yea.

Katie: And then in addition to the scholarship award, I know you recognize the winners in other ways. Tell us a little bit about that.

Scott: We have a really fun banquet. It’s always at the top of the Zions Bank building in downtown Salt Lake, so you get some amazing views of the mountains and downtown and city life. And we have a really fun banquet that’s catered and people come and we recognize all the winners and we give them posters with their artwork, we give them quite a bit of their bookmarks already printed up so they can take those home and give them to family and friends and stuff like that. We invite the school principals and teachers and family so it’s a really big celebration, it’s a lot of fun.

Katie: That’s awesome. I’ve seen some of those bookmarks. They’re pretty spectacular.

Scott: There’s a lot of talented artists and I mean I was never that talented as a kid and they’ve surpassed my talent even as an adult.

Katie: Oh, yea. I’d still fit in that Kindergarden through 3rd grade category!

Scott: Oh yea! Exactly. And they would still kick my you-know-what!

Katie: So the kids get copies of their bookmarks – does anyone else in the community get these?

Scott: So, we use those bookmarks as kind of a way to promote reading and college savings, so we hand them out at all the different events we go to, and those events are state-wide, so people will see your bookmarks in Moab, in St. George, in Logan, you know, out in Tooele County. All through Salt Lake, even up in the Vernal area – we hand them out everywhere, so there’s a pretty wide distribution and your artwork is going to get seen by a lot of people, so it’s really fun that way.

Katie: That’s really exciting. So, if students are interested in participating this year, how can they enter and what is the deadline for entry?

Scott: So, the contest is open August 31st through October 1st. And then they just need to go to our website – my529.org and you scroll down you find the “Make Your Mark” link. You click on that and it will take you right to the entry form and it’s a PDF, you print it off, and it has the little area all sanctioned out for you to do you art and you do your art in that little area and you can mail it back to us or drop it off. We prefer a hard copy just because when we make scans, we don’t want a computer-printed copy of it. We want an original to make a scan. So they can drop those off and they just need to be here by close of business October 1.

Katie: Fantastic, so remind your students, counselors, to apply for the My529 Make Your Mark bookmark contest, which closes on October 1. Thanks for joining us, Scott.

Scott: Yea, thanks for having me. I greatly appreciate it.

Jacob: Thank you so much for joining us this week. As always, we welcome your feedback or your questions. You can reach out to us anytime and next time, we will look forward to some additional news headlines and event updates, as well. We’ll see you next time.

Katie: Thanks!

Bryan: StepUp to Higher Education is an outreach initiative of the state of Utah that empowers 8th-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 1-year certificate, a 2-year degree, a 4-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 access and outreach materials, or request a StepUp Utah event at your school at StepUpUtah.com. And last but not least, be sure to follow us on social media. You can find us at Facebook.com/StepUpUtah, also on Instagram and Twitter by searching for “@StepUpUtah”. You can also follow our Outreach Officers on social media as well. Just search for “@StepUpKatie” and “@StepUpJacob”.


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

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 outreach@utahsbr.edu.