FAFSA Workshop Subs

Train short-term substitute teachers to deliver workshops teaching students how to fill out the FAFSA forms and DREAM Act applications

Photo of Jill Vialet

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At any moment in time, 10% of the teachers standing in front of US classrooms are substitute teachers.  While medium and longer term substitute positions require the skills of a classroom teacher, recruiting and training guest instructors to deliver specialized short-term content, such as workshops on how to fill out the FAFSA and the DREAM Act application, represents an opportunity to make the most of the time students spend with substitute teachers and provide engaging content for subs to deliver, while de-mystifying the college application process.

Have a doc or slides that you're collaborating in? Link it here.

https://docs.google.com/a/branson.org/document/d/1MiTAfxRqLEFswDf7eMqiN4piwof6XTqTbkVNccabqZ0/edit?usp=sharing

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Photo of Norka Padilla
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This is essential for many of our students!  And what's even more important is training our students who are 18 and older to NOT include parent income. There is no reason for it. Adult students can and should be able to apply to schools without relying on their parents. They can take out their own loans, earn scholarships, and receive grants. Disclosing parent income assumes parents should pay. 18 year olds are adults and should not be expected to rely on parent income for anything. Most of our 18 year old students can't anyway. By revealing parent income, students are forced to take private, costly loans.  Until our federal government removes caps from loans or makes state schools free, we need to help teach young people how to negotiate education post 18 without parents.

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
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Excellent point Norka!! 

Photo of Jill Vialet
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Norka Padilla Do you know anything more about how a student goes about not including their parents' income - do they have to be legally emancipated?

Photo of Norka Padilla
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I have one son who successfully declared independence after his second year in college. No additional information was needed. He rented his own house, filed his own taxes, worked part time, and I did not declare him on taxes. I have another son who declared independence after his first year in college in London, but still had to file with Fafsa.  His university has to verify his independence. He had all of the documentation that he was on his own with  no parental help- his own lease, job, independent tax return and I did not declare him on my taxes. The university said he had to be either homeless or abused with proof from clergy or social worker. The irony is he is really on his own, an unaccompanied young adult and the decision was made by a clerk in a university office. I am encouraging my son to appeal.  There is no reason anyone over 18 should have to rely on or disclose their parents income. Banks are forcing students toward private, expensive loans requiring co-signing.

Photo of Jill Vialet
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Totally fascinating - thanks!

Photo of Dan Ryder
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Like Charles Shryock, IV  and Meredith Herrera  below I can see this idea scaling into all sorts of powerful places.

As a classroom teacher, I know there are often FAFSA nights and once-a-week workshops for students to help with paperwork.   I also know how difficult it is for districts -- particularly in rural areas -- to recruit substitute teachers. 

Wondering about job sharing between districts.  How might we create a pool of trained subs that have content knowledge as well as college prep knowledge -- teachers would not have to generate sub plans as those subs would come with ready-to-go content.  

It has possibilities for certain and I'd be keen on exploring this idea with you here on The Guild.

Photo of Jill Vialet
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I think there's a lot of potential for sharing between/among districts.  Subs could even cross the Maginot Line and work in both mainstream public schools and charters!  And for short-term subs, beyond FAFSA and other college prep knowledge, there are all sorts of opportunities around having specialized content (art, music, the economics of car ownership), eliminating the need to generate sub plans for short absences and making the most of the time that students spend with substitute teachers.  Very pleased you're interested in exploring more.

Photo of Dan Ryder
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Have you thought about putting up an open Google doc in your idea to keep building out these thoughts?

I'm seeing this being a very powerful opportunity in large population centers.  I'm trying to "how might we" and "what if" this into workable models for rural regions where there's still a huge need for help in the college process but where finding substitute help is incredibly difficult.

Photo of Jill Vialet
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That's a great idea regarding the open Google doc - I'll work on making that happen!

Photo of Jill Vialet
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Dan Ryder Let me know if you'd like to work on this as it moves forward - thanks

Photo of Dan Ryder
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Jill Vialet happy to stay in the loop and offer input as it might prove useful to you 

Photo of Jennifer Auchmoody
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Very intriguing.  I like the idea.  I think it would be important to monitor which students received the instruction.  I worry that there may be some students who may not often have subs and therefore miss hearing the information.  Counter to that I wouldn't want for a student to hear the same 10 -15 minute spiel over and over.  If we then have multiple scaffolding 10-15 presentations how could we ensure equity in the distribution of the information.

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
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Yes, I could see a series of lecture-based presentations getting tiresome. The material would have to be engaging, relevant, and flexible. (Jenn, we should ask Greg and other financial literacy teachers we know for ideas.) 

Photo of Jill Vialet
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Jennifer Auchmoody Are you interested in working more on this project?

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
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I love this!  Thank you for sharing the idea here Jill! 

Jennifer Auchmoody and Meredith Herrera would love to get your thoughts on this too! 

Photo of Margaret Powers
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This is awesome Jill Vialet Would this be for subs at any level of high school? Could it even start in middle school? FASFA - both the form itself and the implications of the EFC - can be so challenging and I think creating systems to support students in tackling them slowly, over time, would be great! 

Photo of Jill Vialet
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I was thinking that it would be something great to prototype with high school seniors, but if it worked, I think testing exposure at younger ages makes a lot of sense.  I think the key is tapping students' sense of relevance.  Thanks.

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
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Maybe at the lower levels you start with financial literacy? Could also build in some knowledge about how investing in college pays off in the long run. I remember in some of the empathy interviews from Discover phase, understanding the financial risk of college itself is essential. 

Photo of Jill Vialet
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I love this.  One idea I've been playing with is trying to recruit corporations to allow donated employee time to be directed to substitute teaching - this could be a great basis of content

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
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Yes, and if you find the right corporations, they might already have programs/structures/curriculum to support this! 

Photo of Jill Vialet
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Like this: http://www.pwc.com/us/en/about-us/corporate-responsibility/commitment-to-youth-education/financial-literacy-curriculum.html

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
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High school seniors might be too late of a start, given how applications keep creeping earlier and earlier.  What do you think Jennifer Auchmoody Kristian Owens Meredith Herrera ?  I'm thinking 10th grade. Maybe would be good to look up some data about drop-out rates too. 

Photo of Jill Vialet
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Margaret Powers Let me know if you'd like to be on the team moving this forward, Jill

Photo of Ananta Ahmed
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This is fantastic!! I needed this when I had to apply for FAFSA! I am very excited to work with you on this.

Photo of Jill Vialet
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Excellent!  I set up this Google doc to add content/ideas:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZyDIBYSgSk8A8O_C36x6FMFlLSMXIYGJrc3j_oYaT54/edit?usp=sharing

Photo of Jill Vialet
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Ananta Ahmed Do you want to be on the team?

Photo of Meredith Herrera
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Wonderful idea Jill!  I think it's scaleable to a larger degree even.  At the lower grade levels, increasing financial literacy for both students and parents is critical, particularly as it relates to affordability.  So many families experience sticker shock when they go through the process and write off a school before they even know if it's affordable.  For the financial aid forms specifically, finding a way to reach parents is key, since they bear the main responsibility of filling out these forms.  How could you imagine using substitutes or full time staff to reach parents?  

Photo of Jill Vialet
Team

Agreed - I think with the idea of the FAFSA subs, one way to reach parents is that the in-class workshop would include reviewing the information that parents/families have to enter and then "assigning" a conversation with parents/guardians as homework- supported by materials and information on where people can get more support.  One other idea is that parents interested in returning to the workforce represent an untapped source of substitute teachers, and training them to do a FAFSA workshop for students would have a double benefit.

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

Fascinating!!  Love how all those interests converge in this single idea. 

Photo of Jill Vialet
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Thanks to suggestion from Dan Ryder I've put up an open Google doc for folksto keep building on the ideas here: 
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZyDIBYSgSk8A8O_C36x6FMFlLSMXIYGJrc3j_oYaT54/edit?usp=sharing  Many thanks to Charles Shryock, IV for helping me figure out how to do this!