The 2016-17 FAFSA and beyond

Here are some documents from the federal government and TurboTax to help you help your student understand FAFSA.

Unique_Situations_Tip_Sheet_2016-17 – includes questions that pertain to your student as a foster youth

Guide to Tax Form 1098 – this information from TurboTax discusses the tax form sent out by colleges and other educational institutions

fafsa-changes-17-18 – this document from the US Department of Education talks about the “Prior Prior” year changes to the FAFSA for 2017-18. Learn about it in advance!

The FSA ID – the old FAFSA PIN is gone – now, applicants use an “FSA ID.” Find out what it is, how to get one and what it’s used for on this document.

FAFSA deadlines  – this document is for  2015-16; however, in reviewing the current year every date is the same as last year – just replace “2015” with “2016.”

Student loan repayment – a good document for your graduating seniors and for anyone who is planning their future.

Why Texting’s Important

Coach Christine sent us this article from Inside Higher Ed.  It’s about professors texting their students, but it pertains to our ASP students as well – note, particularly, the paragraph printed in red.  Interesting!

The Desire Path of Texting •  September 18, 2015 • Karen Costa

I have been actively texting my students for almost a year with great success. I’ve wanted to text them since I started my first professional position in higher education, nine years ago, but resistance to texting has been persistent. We are talking, after all, about much more than punching some letters into a phone. If Raymond Carver was writing this story, he’d title it, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Texting.”

Marshall McLuhan famously argued that the medium is the message. He considered our communication channels to be an “extension of ourselves.” In other words, when we talk about texting, we are talking about much more. We are talking about ourselves: our hopes, our fears, our pasts and our futures. In short, the texting conversation that is (or isn’t) taking place on our campuses touches the core of how we walk through this world.

In the past years, I’ve identified two tracks of texting holdouts, or people who are hesitant to add “type of faculty who texts her students” to their respective definition of self:

1. People who don’t text, period. These folks are genuinely — and legitimately — concerned about giving up a part of their minds and selves to texting technology.

2. People who text in other realms but who think that texting their students crosses a professional boundary. They believe that email is more professional and that texting will send a (negative) message of informality to their students.

To my anti-texting colleagues: we hear you. Your concerns are valid and important. But in the name of student and faculty success, we have to move forward to pave a new path.

The most recent data shows most teens own smartphones and of those who do, texting is the most popular way to communicate with close friends. (But I’m not their friend, you’re thinking. No, you aren’t. But so what, I ask. If you want to catch a fish, you go where they’re biting, don’t you?) Texting is growing quickly among adults, too. Like it or not, it’s the new normal.

I read with wonder a recent Inside Higher Ed article bemoaning the lack of student use of college email. It reminded me of an empty Blockbuster video store. If we want to communicate with our students, we have to align our mediums with theirs.

What does this all point to? Our students are forming a desire path.

The concept of a desire path comes from design theory. Have you ever been in a park and noticed a dirt path that veers off the paved one? Park visitors have essentially voted with their feet or their bikes. They’ve said they’ve found a better alternative to the designers’ plans. Some designers actually wait for desire paths to form and then pave the organically preferred route. Research on communication channels shows an overwhelming desire path of texting emerging in the park of higher education. The question is, will we pave it?

We should, for a number of reasons. We should:

Use Texting to Address Inequalities. Research has found that African-American students text at even higher rates than white students. If dealing with racial disparities in student success is a concern on your campus, disseminate this data to faculty members and discuss how you can use texting to connect with diverse populations. Survey your own students about texting access and preferences.

Nudge During Gaps. Most of our campuses have become data informed enough to have identified periods of disengagement among our students. Do your faculty members notice class sizes dip during the week after spring break? Consider texting over break to keep students connected. In your online courses, student log-in tends to peak immediately before due dates. Do your online courses hear crickets on Monday? Work with the faculty to develop automated Monday motivation texts to keep students engaged.

Harness the Immediacy and Intimacy of the Texting Medium. Nancy Lublin, CEO of DoSomething, made a compelling case for texting in a recent TED talk. In addition to affirming the high texting rates among urban and minority youth, she points to the 100 percent open rate of texting. Students will read every text that you send. Can you say the same for email? Teach faculty to develop professional and caring texts to send to struggling students. Students might avoid opening emails from professors due to a natural fear of authority figures. Texting is different. The supportive message will be received.

Help Teach Limits. There are a host of concerns related to screen (over)usage both inside and outside higher education. As you pave the texting desire path on your own campus, provide faculty members and students with resources to set boundaries with their electronic devices and to manage their time accordingly. Better yet, go one step farther and introduce conversations on mindfulness and meditation as antidotes to hyperconnectedness.

Remember Faculty Success. We speak so passionately about student success that faculty success is often an afterthought, yet the two are intricately intertwined. Give faculty resources to support their texting plans. Provide quality, paid professional development to both full-time and part-time faculty to teach them how, when and why to text. Communicate to faculty members that texting is often a highly efficient alternative to email that has more benefits than costs.

Texting unquestionably pushes people’s buttons, for better or for worse. Pun intended. We can stubbornly stay on our paved path of email, letters and phone calls, or we can start proactively pushing buttons in the name of student and faculty success.

Great Suggestions from a Coach

Coach Kristen recently created this document, which you are welcome to share with your student(s).  It’s got great ideas on how to make the most of their education!

Click here for the document: FYStudentHandout.

Here are some words to spark a conversation!

Click HERE for a great TED talk you might want to share with your student.  It’s all about what it really means to be articulate.

Quick gifts and pick-me-ups

Coach Debbie has been searching the web for cool gift ideas for her students, and she’s come up with a bunch!

Click on them to see what you might send your student – and if you have suggestions of your own let us know and we’ll add them.

Thank you, Debbie!

Bear hugs
Crunch time
Pot of gold
Snow men
Roll ‘o gold 
Snowman soup 
Box of balloons
Gift in a Bottle
Post It Notes
Box of Sunshine
Decorated junior legal pad
Cozy toes

How to Find Local/National Resources for a Student in Need

The FC2S First Response Sheet for Coaches can help you find housing, health and parenting resources for your student by searching national websites.  It offers guidelines, but please remember, contact the ASP team if you feel you need specific help.  We are always here for you.

And if you have good resources, send them our way!

Helping Your Student Understand Education Loans

Here’s a brand new document to help your student understand education loans – it’s never too soon to figure out how NOT to take them!

Education Loans

So your student is thinking about grad school …

Many of our students say from their first day at community college that their goal is a Master’s Degree or a Ph.D.  Most of them change their path along the way, graduate with an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree and look for a job, but some of them do, indeed, move on to graduate school.  We are  proud of our M.A.s, M.S.s, M.S.W.s, M.B.A.s, Ph.D.s … the list could go on because we have doctors, lawyers and professors among our graduates.

If your student is at that juncture and is considering graduate school, here is some good advice from Pam Pierce, FC2S staff member with two Master’s Degrees.

Tips for Applying to Graduate School 

Selecting a Graduate School 

Funding for Graduate School 

And they’ll need letters of recommendation – here’s how to ask for one and get just what you need:

How to Ask for Letters of Recommendation

Welcome!

Welcome to the new Academic Success Coaching Program website.

This is a site just for you as coaches, providing information to help you work with your students.   Currently, it has three main areas –

  • Foster Care to … which features downloadable information sheets to help guide your students in four main areas; academics, career/job, health and personal life.  We will continue to add information on these topics on a regular basis.
  • Training and Coach Calls – here, you will find the four training webinars and videos of every coach conference call along with backup materials, starting with the September 17, 2013 call.  Please forgive our non-Oscar worthy performances!
  • Reports – this is the new portal from which to complete your regular bimonthly coach reports.

We plan to add

  • An FAQ section, not only for general questions but for answers to questions asked at the conference calls
  • A section with noteworthy research and reports from other organizations, for those of you who wish to keep up with current policies and best practices regarding the foster care/education field as a whole.

This is your website.  Please do not share the link with your students or other individuals, although you are welcome to share any information that is posted here.

We welcome your comments and suggestions, and to use a phrase we actually just learned today, we’re all about CQI – continuous quality improvement!

Again, welcome to your website.

Shelley, Pat and tina

Starting out on the right foot

Starting school can be an anxious experience, whether it’s your student’s  first semester or they’re an old hand sophomore, junior or even senior.

Here are some suggestions for those first days of school:

Foster Care to Academic Success-10 Ways to Make Your First Weeks Count 

Foster Care to Academic Success-College ABCs

Foster Care to Academic Success-Important Places on Campus

Remember – remind your student that life is what YOU make of it!