This is the transcript for Season 2, Episode 4 (November 8th, 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 4 and More, the Step Up Utah counselor and educator podcast I am Jacob Newman and I am a “Paying for College” expert with Step Up Utah

Katie: And I am Katie Wornek, also a Paying for College expert with Step Up. I will lead our episode this week with a news bulletin from the Utah System of Higher Education Commissioners Office, they released this in their weekly Newsletter.

There has been a pretty significant enrollment increase at the Utah System of Higher Ed. So, Fall 2018 enrollment was up 4,000 students over the previous fall which is very significant. To break that down, the top three institutions by enrollment were: Utah Valley University, which has nearly 40,000 students at this point, or just shy of 40K, that is crazy to think about! The University of Utah is the second largest with just over 33,000 in their student body population and Salt Lake Community College, no surprise there, is just behind it with slightly over 29,000.

What’s really interesting about this article too is that they’re projecting an additional 57,000 students will enroll in USHE’s colleges over the next decade, which is immense growth, that is incredible to think about! And, as a reminder, this is exactly why we see over 80% of the students who participate in UCAW submit applications for in state tuitions. We know that the vast majority of students stay in state for college, and the big reason behind that is that we have excellent institutions, we offer a great education, we’re the third lowest tuition in the country and we have the lowest student debt in the country so its no wonder were growing but it’s exciting news about of USHE. And with that, I will pass it over to you Jacob for our “FAFSA Tip of the Week”

Jacob: Alright, so we are talking about best practices to improve FAFSA Completion and promote FAFSA Completion at your school and today we’re gonna talk about “peer mentors”. So, for better or worse, we’re all influenced by our peers and that is especially true of teenagers. So, it’s a really great opportunity to take advantage of that dynamic by enlisting peer mentors to help with FAFSA Completion. So here are some ideas!

So, the first idea that you can do is you can have peer mentors or students do a social media account takeover to promote FAFSA Completion because we know that when it comes from a student it’s a little bit more meaningful than one of us. Another thing that you can do is you can recruit peer college mentors to coach students through college readiness. So, Skyridge High School does this, so they use this peer-to-peer kinda program where students, they promote FAFSA Completion, they promote college access in general. It’s really great to hear it coming from a peer because it means more than it would coming from someone like us. Another thing that you can have peer mentors do is have them create posters or advertising materials to promote FAFSA Completion, applying for college, financial aid…this is a really great resource because students are often very creative when it comes to their ideas. In Phoenix, Arizona there was actually discussion of this in a school district and how they created posters with a Halloween theme that were done by students and it was like, “you don’t have to fear the FAFSA” and it was very clever. You can also utilize your student body officers, who already have a lot of influence, to promote FAFSA Completion and College and Career Readiness in general.

So these are some really great and cheap ideas to get students involved in FAFSA Completion and college access as well because students are always looking for those leader ship opportunities that they want to put on their resume.

Katie: I think you can also incentivize them with like extra credit is always an option. I think a lot of this is baked right in because I know of, you know, a handful of counselors off the top of my head who have a TA during a certain period, so it would be nice to give them a few tasks to help out with this.

Jacob: So if you have any questions about this FAFSA Tip or some more specific examples you can totally feel free to reach out to us at outreach@utahsbr.edu because we have lots of resources that we can share with you, and some examples that we can share so you can implement this strategy in your school!

Katie: Awesome! That’s our episode for this week, join us next time where we’ll cover more news headlines, more upcoming events and we’ll discuss FAFSA Completion.

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.