This is the transcript for Season 2, Episode 10 (February 28th, 2019) 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.


Katie: 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.

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

Jacob: And I am Jacob Newman and I am also a paying for college expert with StepUp Utah. I am going to start our episode today with some news headlines. This is from the Utah System of Higher Education, they have released their 2018 annual report, and you can read it at higherutah.org. But here is some key findings we find particularly interesting and you might find interesting as well, 95% of new jobs created since the great recession now require college education but only slightly over half of Utah’s adult population between ages 25-64 have college degrees or high quality certificates. Another interesting fact, and I have heard this multiple times, and this is consistent with trends in the past, is that Utah is also ranked near the top of states with high percentages of adults with “some college” but no degree. That is about 18% of adults so I think we are going to open this up and we are going to have a little bit of a discussion about this in particular.

Katie: So, if I am doing my math correctly, if that 18% of adults had graduated college, if we add that to the 50%, we are well over 2/3rds at that point with a college degree. So, I think the important takeaway for me was the importance of teaching student’s tips and tools for persistence. So, once you get to college I know that’s half the battle, navigating that pathway from K-12 education into Higher Ed, but what tools do we need to be teaching our students so they can be successfully completing that degree once they’re there.

Jacob: I think another really interesting point with this is there are only 5% of new jobs created since the great recession that don’t require a college education. This is a little scary because for a lot of students they graduate high school and they’re hoping to find a job, but were really hoping to encourage them to pursue some post-secondary education because they’re going to have to have it in order to find a decent paying job. I mean, 95% that’s almost all the jobs out there and the rest of the 5% of jobs I don’t even imagine what those would be paying necessarily.

Katie: Exactly, and one of the promising things about that 95% statistic is that it not only includes associates and bachelor’s degrees, but also the certificate programs and I’d be interested to see the share of certificates vs degrees when it comes to these new jobs. It’s just good to know that students have options because it doesn’t mean that they’re tied down to 4 years of college if that’s not the correct path for them, but it could be a lot quicker of a route to get an associate’s or a certificate out of a community or technical college. With that, I will move us over to the upcoming events for the next few weeks. The FAFSA “Ask the Experts” webinar series, which you can find at stepuputah.com you can use the search bar on our website just type, ask the experts, there is one more left and that is “All Things Verification” on March 7th. So, if you are interested in attending that webinar online and you’d like to learn more about the verification process and how to help their students when their FAFSA has been selected for verification you can visit our website or, if you miss the March 7th webinar, we also post them on YouTube so you can watch them after the fact. Well, Latinos in Action or LIA is having a conference at Weber State on March 4 and they are having a second one at BYU on March 15. So if your students are part of LIA or they want to be involved they can learn more at latinosinaction.org. Finally, the Wasatch Front Counselor Conference will be March 4 at the UATC South Campus in Riverton, Jacob and I will be there are we will be presenting about FAFSA Topics so we hope to see you soon! Last but not least I wanted to give a short plug for our StepUp to College Scholarship, so if you haven’t heard of this already we started this program last year. When we took a look at our resources and realized that we often talk to students about the fact that scholarships are available before 12th grade, but none of the scholarship dollars that StepUp was giving out went to anybody but a senior! So, we started a program last year, a scholarship contest for 8th and 9th graders as well as 10th-11th graders called “StepUp to College Access”. So, the 8th and 9th grade application pool, they’re asked to download the StepUp Scholarship toolkit from our website which helps them with writing tips, how to formulate a resume, it’s a really useful tool. So we are asking them to download that and then write an essay based on one of the common scholarship essay prompts we have listed in that toolkit. You can find more information about this, the rules, the contest, and the application itself on our website, StepUpUtah.com, search for “StepUp to college costs.” So, that’s the 8th and 9th grade pool. The 10th and 11th grade pool, that is a little bit different. We ask those applicants to use the FAFSA Forecaster, which is a tool that the Department of Ed created; it’s a fake FAFSA essentially. It is a simplified version, it doesn’t actually take any of this information down, its not an application for aid, its just a tool that estimates how much your student may qualify for once they’re actually a senior and filling out the real FAFSA. So we are asking them to interact with that tool, see what they might qualify for from a federal standpoint, and then write an essay to us about how they plan to prepare for college costs before their 12th grade year with the information they found out on the FAFSA Forecaster. We give away two $500 scholarships to each pool. So $500 scholarships go to the 8th and 9th grade pool and then two $500 scholarships go to the 10th and 11th grade pool. The applications this year open on March 1st and we are accepting them through 11:59pm on April 15th. So they’ve got about 6 weeks to compete in this contest and were giving ourselves a few weeks to review the applications after the contest window is over and then we will let your students know if they won that $500 prize!

Jacob: This is a great opportunity for students to start thinking about paying for college if they are in the 10th to 11th grade because we have a lot of seniors who, they’ve reached their senior year and they’re like “finally how am I going to pay for this”. They need to have FAFSA in the back of their brain so they can have awareness about that and so then they can start formulating that paying for college plan with their parent or guardian. We are really excited to be able to offer these this year.

Katie: Yeah. With that, we will end this episode. We appreciate you joining us, if you have any questions, comments, feedback, you can always contact us at outreach@utahsbr.edu. Thanks so much!

Jacob: See you next time!

Katie: 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.