Update to Federal Financial Aid

How is applying for federal student financial aid about to change?

The good news is the FAFSA will go from having 108 questions to 36 questions, and most students will only have to answer a smaller set of questions about family income and household size. The not-so-good news is that this simplified form will not be available to students until October 2022 to determine aid for the 2023-24 academic year.

Also, students with family incomes below 175% or 225% of the federal poverty line (which one depends on their family circumstances) will automatically qualify for the maximum Pell Grant, which is the main federal grant given to students from low- to middle-income families as of 2023.

For example, a high school senior in a family of three led by a single parent would receive the maximum Pell grant if their parent’s income is below about $50,000 per year. Currently, only about one in five students with family incomes around $50,000 per year get the maximum Pell grant. Currently, most students have to file the FAFSA to know the size of their Pell grant.

Automatic qualification will make it easier for students to know how much federal financial aid they can count on getting well in advance of going to college.Are any new people eligible who weren’t before?

The new law also gets rid of a 1994 ban on Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals. This change means that people can get financial help to begin to earn college degrees while they are still behind bars instead of having to wait until their release. This change will benefit everyone, as receiving education while in prison helps reduce the chances that someone will return to prison.

Also, Pell Grant eligibility is being reset for students who went to colleges that closed while they attended. This means these students can finish their studies elsewhere. Without this change, anyone who had exhausted their Pell eligibility after 12 semesters would likely struggle to find the money they need to finish up their degree at another college.Is the ‘expected family contribution’ a thing of the past?

Yes — sort of. Ever since 1992, the FAFSA has generated an “expected family contribution.” This number determines how much money students and their families can receive in federal financial aid. It is based on how much money the federal government expects students and their families to contribute toward the price of their education.

However, families are often unable or unwilling to pay this amount of money. The formula has also been adjusted over the years to decrease the number of students who receive the maximum Pell Grant, requiring families to pay more for college. In reality, the expected family contribution provides a rough ranking of families’ resources to help the federal government and others give out limited aid dollars.

Beginning in October 2022, the government will ditch the term “expected family contribution.” It will instead rely on a “student aid index,” the same term that had been used before 1992, that more accurately reflects how the FAFSA is used to determine financial aid. The index also does not send the message that students have to contribute a certain amount.

But in reality, the student aid index is still the amount that the federal government will expect students and families to pay for college.

In good news for students and their families, the law allows for the student aid index to be as low as -$1,500 instead of being limited to zero. This is something that I have called for in my research because it allows students to get more financial aid and helps colleges and states identify students with the greatest financial need. The change in the student aid index will not give students more financial aid from the federal government, but it will allow them to obtain up to $1,500 more in grants, loans and other financial aid from other sources.Is the government increasing federal student financial aid in any way?

The government is also increasing the maximum Pell Grant to $6,495, a $150 increase, in the 2021-22 academic year. This is basically enough to keep up with inflation. A bigger change is that more students will qualify for the maximum Pell Grant because of increases to the income limits for receiving the grant. But while more students will receive federal grants, students with the greatest financial need will not see increases in their Pell grants other than to keep up with inflation.

Source: HigherEd Jobs; Robert Kelchen

Top 5 Careers Worth Chasing

1. Find your calling

“Some people are very money-motivated, but most are looking for career fulfillment, not just a big paycheck,” says Molisani. That’s especially true of the millennials: 65% of them said they took their first job because they saw an opportunity for personal development, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found. (Only 21% based their decision on salary.)

During the early stages of your career, one of your main professional goals should be finding what industry best suits your ambitions. “Now is the time to explore different career paths,” says Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, a New York-based job-search consulting firm. “It’s more difficult to change industries later on in your career when you have a family to support and need a steady paycheck.”

2. Develop a broad skill set

Today, you’re hard-pressed to find a job that requires one skill and one skill only. “Employers want to hire people with a spectrum of talents,” says Molisani. Hence, instead of concentrating on what you want your job title to be in five years, focus on developing skills that will make you more marketable to future employers.

Start by honing your communication skills. Molisani recommends joining Toastmasters, an organization that helps people sharpen their public speaking. You may also want to take a writing class since nearly every industry will require you to write something, be it an email or an annual report.

3. Set a timeline for education

Depending on your chosen field, you may have to complete certain training, certification programs, or education to excel in your career. To avoid getting sidetracked, set a goal to acquire the skill or degree within a specific time period (e.g., “I will go to law school in two years”).

However, before enrolling—and potentially taking on student loan debt—think about why you want the degree and if it’s really going to make a difference in your future. “A lot of people go back to school for the wrong reasons,” says Safani, “and then they get frustrated because their education doesn’t lead to better career opportunities.”

If getting an MBA will increase your earning potential, it’s probably worth the investment; but if the degree isn’t relevant to your work, you might be better off going without.

4. Distinguish yourself in the field

To become a leader, you’ll need to raise your visibility at your current company and in your field. Show the boss you’ve got management potential by spearheading an initiative. Working on a group project? Be the one who presents the report to your manager. Join an industry group or association and regularly attend networking events.

“In-person networking is irreplaceable,” says Marcelle Yeager, president of Career Valet, a professional coaching firm based in Washington, D.C. Read: you’re more memorable when you meet someone face to face. You may even want to take on a leadership role (e.g., secretary) to further boost your public profile.

Also, develop a strong online presence that will help you demonstrate your expertise. That entails being active on social media—meaning you need to tweet on a regular basis, not simply have a Twitter account.  

5. Align your life goals with your career goals

Think about where you want to be in five years in terms of your personal life, advises Molisani. Looking to start a family in your hometown? Build your career there. Want to buy a house or pay off your student loan debt?

Check Monster’s salary guide to see what the average salary is for someone in your industry with five years’ experience, and determine whether you need to make adjustments in order to stay on course.

Develop new goals

No matter how much preparation you do to work toward achieving your goals, know that nothing is set in stone—and that’s OK. Your goals may change with time, and it’s important to be flexible. If you notice your career path is moving in a new and unexpected direction, allow yourself to explore it rather than resist it. The workplace changes, industries change, and you yourself will change too.

Source: Monster.com

Why You Should Consider an Apprenticeship

What is an apprenticeship?

The federal government defines an apprenticeship as “an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, mentorship, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential.”

Or put another way, an apprenticeship is an alternative path to beginning a career in a profession, says Aaron Olson, Chief Operating Officer of AON, which created an apprenticeship program in the Chicago area.

“In our case, this alternative is important. As a professional services firm with white collar professions, we would traditionally hire from four-year degree programs. An apprenticeship is an alternative to that,” he says. AON’s apprenticeship allows people to go to work while they complete an education program at a partner community college. “When they’ve completed the apprenticeship, they’ve done the equivalent of a four-year degree,” Olson says.

If it sounds too good to be true, it’s because not every company and industry is on board just yet, so you may have to do some digging to find an apprentice program that fits your interest. Monster currently has thousands of listings for an apprentice. Read on to find out some other reasons why you should consider an apprenticeship.

1. It’s an alternative foot in the door without four-year degree debt

Apprenticeship programs are not only free, but you actually also get paid while you’re working through them. Certain programs also fund some schooling or provide credit that you can put toward a degree should you decide to go back to school to finish a degree at some point.

Compare that to attending college and having to borrow money to do so while also not earning any income. The average student loan debt per borrower was $35,359 as of 2019, and the scarier part is that there’s no job guarantee upon graduation.

With an apprenticeship, a person does not have to take on debt, and they can try out an industry while getting a paycheck.

2. You get paid a real salary

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, workers who undergo apprenticeships have an average starting salary of more than $50,000, and earn $300,000 more, on average, than non-apprentices over the course of their careers.

At AON, apprentices are paid as full-time employees with full benefits, and at the completion of the two-year program, they’ll come out with a two-year associate degree. While they are an apprentice, they are paid less since the company is also subsidizing their schooling. 

3. It’s a legit career path

“Being able to start in a career that would otherwise have required a bachelor’s degree is a real benefit,” says Olson.

AON believes so strongly in apprenticeships that it started a network with 26 other companies called the Chicago Apprenticeship Network, and have collectively hired more than 540 apprentices. “That validates that across multiple companies that we understand and believe in these programs,” says Olson. “We’ve legitimized this as a career path.”

There’s also a big push at the federal level with more than 1,000 occupations registering apprenticeships with the Department of Labor. And, it’s not only in fields that people typically think of as a traditional apprenticeship, like becoming an electrician or painter. You could train in health care, cybersecurity, information technology, and energy, for example. 

Furthermore, apprenticeships aren’t only for recent high school graduates. “When we started in the first year, we expected people right out of high school, but we did find folks further along in their careers who wanted to switch careers,” says Olson. “They have been really great for us.” 

4. It’s good for the economy, too

Apprenticeships could have a positive impact in filling in some of those skills gaps and helping organizations find qualified job candidates.

That’s probably part of the reason why the government is investing heavily in apprenticeships, with a $150 million in grants to support sector-based approaches to expand apprenticeships on a national scale in key industry sectors.

At the company level, it’s a good investment as well. Even though AON doesn’t require that apprentices stay on beyond the two-year period (some apprenticeship programs might), they’ve found that there’s a high retention rate among apprentices, and they stay with the company longer than more traditional hires.

Find your path

Whether you don’t think college is the right choice for you, you don’t want to take on student loan debt, or you simply want to fast track your start into a new career, researching apprenticeships could prove to be a good move. Could you use some help getting started? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of apprenticeship programs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get apprenticeship alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. 

Source: Monster.com

July Scholarships

The following scholarship have an application deadline of July 31, 2020.

Niche “No Essay” College Scholarship $2,000

ScholarshipPoints Scholarship $1,000

ScholarshipOwl “You Deserve It” Scholarship $1,000

Ian Parry Scholarship deadline, July 15, 2020, $3,500

Law Office of Matthew L. Sharp Annual Military Scholarship, deadline July 15th, $1,000

Mainor Worth Academic Scholarship 2020, deadline July 15th, $1,000

Law Office of John J. Sheehan Scholarship Overcoming Injuries Scholarship $1,000

Peterson’s Graduate Scholarship $2,500