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Join Education on the ‘Real-World Learning’ 2016 Green Strides Tour!

U.S. Department of Education Blog - August 27, 2016 - 1:00pm

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) and its Green Strides outreach initiative share promising practices and resources in the areas of safe, healthy, and sustainable school environments; nutrition and outdoor physical activity; and environmental and sustainability education.

To bring additional attention to honorees’ practices, ED-GRS has conducted an annual Green Strides tour, allowing schools, school districts, and postsecondary institutions to share their work with community leaders and policymakers and celebrate their achievements. The following is the tentative tour schedule. Updates will be shared through our newsletter.

Tuesday, September 27          

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. – Tour of Albert M. Greenfield Elementary School, 2200 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Tour of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, 500 W Willow Grove Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Tour of Harriton High School, 600 N Ithan Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Tour of Radnor Middle School, 150 Louella Ave, Wayne, PA 19087

Wednesday, September 28

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Tour of Charles F. Patton Middle School, 760 Unionville Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. – Tour of Westtown School, 975 Westtown Road, West Chester, PA 19382

1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. – Tour of the School District of Jenkintown, 325 Highland Ave, Jenkintown, PA 19046

2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Tour of Council Rock School District, Bucks County, Location TBD

Thursday, September 29

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. – 2016 Tour Discussion Session, Broughal Middle School, 114 West Morton Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Tour of Broughal Middle School, 114 West Morton Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Tour of Nazareth Area Middle School, 94 Friedenstahl Avenue, Nazareth, PA 18064

2:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Tour of Northampton Community College, Monroe Campus, 2411 Pennsylvania 715, Tannersville, PA 18372

All are welcome to join the tour! Past participants have included federal, state, and local agency officials and elected officers, such as governors, state legislators, mayors, and city council members. Members of the press are also invited to attend and amplify honorees’ promising efforts, many of which leverage free resources that are available to all interested parties. Moreover, neighboring schools, districts, and colleges and universities are invited to come and learn from the examples on the tour.

This year we’ll be focusing on how project- and solutions-based learning provides opportunities to expand traditional learning into the real world to create real change for the betterment of our society and the environment. The tour will highlight how schools teaching effective environmental education through authentic learning help students to learn higher-order thinking skills, collaboration, and problem-solving, preparing them for the careers of the future, in addition to making positive contributions to their communities and planet.

I look forward to meeting many representatives that are just beginning their green schools journey and to celebrating the school communities that we have already honored with our award. With a little elbow-grease, strong partnerships, resourcefulness, and leadership, I’m confident that I’ll have the opportunity to read about visitors in a coming awards cycle of ED-GRS.

See you on the road … and don’t forget to carpool!

Andrea Suarez Falken is Director of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and Facilities, Health, and Environment Liaison at the U.S. Department of Education.   In her spare time, she explores Colorado’s natural wonders with her toddler on her back.

The post Join Education on the ‘Real-World Learning’ 2016 Green Strides Tour! appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

2 Major FAFSA® Changes You Need to Be Aware Of

U.S. Department of Education Blog - August 27, 2016 - 7:00am

There are two exciting changes coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) process this year.

1. The 2017–18 FAFSA will be available earlier.

You can file your 2017–18 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling you to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year.

2. You’ll use earlier income and tax information.

Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, you’ll be required to report income and tax info from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, you—and your parent(s), as appropriate—will report your 2015 income and tax info, rather than your 2016 income and tax info.

We understand that some families’ income may have changed significantly since the 2015 tax year. If this is the case for you, you must complete the FAFSA with the info it asks for (2015). Then, after filing your FAFSA, contact the financial aid office at your school to explain your situation. The school has the ability to assess your situation and make adjustments to your FAFSA.

The following table provides a summary of key dates as we transition to using the early FAFSA submission timeframe and earlier tax information.

When a Student Is Attending College (School Year) When a Student Can Submit a FAFSA Which Year’s Income Tax Information Is Required July 1, 2015–June 30, 2016 January 1, 2015–June 30, 2016 2014 July 1, 2016–June 30, 2017 January 1, 2016–June 30, 2017 2015 July 1, 2017–June 30, 2018 October 1, 2016–June 30, 2018 2015 July 1, 2018–June 30, 2019 October 1, 2017–June 30, 2019 2016


We know you probably have some questions. Here are some we’ve been hearing from students:

How will the changes benefit me?

You might find that the FAFSA process is easier than you expected.

  • From now on, the FAFSA will ask for older income and tax information that you will already have. This change means you won’t have to use estimates anymore, or log in later to update your FAFSA after you file taxes!
  • Because you’ll already have done your 2015 taxes by the time you fill out your 2017–18 FAFSA, you may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to automatically import your tax information into your FAFSA.
  • Having the FAFSA available three months earlier will give you more time to meet most deadlines (although some will be early, so fill out the FAFSA right away just in case) and to explore and understand your financial aid options.
Since the 2017–18 FAFSA asks for the same tax and income information as the 2016–17 FAFSA, will my 2016–17 FAFSA info automatically be carried over into my 2017–18 renewal FAFSA?

No. Too much could have changed since you filed your last FAFSA, and there’s no way to predict what might be different, so you’ll need to enter the information again. However, keep in mind that many people are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import their 2015 tax information into the FAFSA, making the process of reporting tax info quick and easy.

Do I have to update my 2017–18 FAFSA with my 2016 tax information after I file my 2016 taxes?

No. The 2017–18 FAFSA asks for 2015 tax info, and only 2015. Beginning October 1, you can fully submit the FAFSA in one sitting using your 2015 tax info. No updating necessary. (Hooray!)

But what if my family’s financial situation has changed since our 2015 taxes were filed? Can we report our 2016 tax information instead?

No. You must report your 2015 tax info on the 2017–18 FAFSA. You do not have the option to report your 2016 tax info. If your family has experienced a loss of income since the 2015 tax year, talk to the financial aid office at your school. They have the ability to assess your situation and make adjustments.

Note: The FAFSA asks for marital status as of the day you fill it out. So if you’re married now but weren’t in 2015 (and therefore didn’t file taxes as married), you’ll need to add your spouse’s income to your FAFSA.

Similarly, if you filed your 2015 taxes as married but you’re no longer married when you fill out the FAFSA, you’ll need to subtract your spouse’s income.

Since I’m required to report my 2015 tax information, do I also answer all the other questions on the FAFSA using information from 2015?

No. Here’s a guide for which year’s info you should use to answer the different types of questions on the FAFSA.

Will FAFSA deadlines be earlier since the application is launching earlier?

We expect that most state and school deadlines will remain approximately the same as in 2016–17. However, several states that offer first come, first served financial aid will change their deadlines from “as soon as possible after January 1” to “as soon as possible after October 1.” So, as always, it’s important that you check your state and school deadlines so that you don’t miss out on any aid. State deadlines are on fafsa.gov; school deadlines are on schools’ websites.

Can I fill out the FAFSA before I submit my college applications?

Yes, you can fill out the FAFSA even before you’ve submitted your college applications. Add every school you’re considering to your FAFSA, even if you haven’t applied or been accepted yet. Even if you’re on the fence about applying to a particular school, add it. It will hold your place in line for financial aid in case you end up applying for admission at that school. You can always remove schools later if you decide not to apply (but you don’t have to).

Will I receive aid offers earlier if I apply earlier?

Not necessarily; some schools will make offers earlier while others won’t. If you’re applying to multiple schools or thinking of transferring to another school, you might want to look at the College Scorecard to compare costs at different schools while you wait for your aid offers to arrive. Note: You should be aware that the maximum Federal Pell Grant for 2017–18 might not be known until early 2017, so keep in mind that even if you do receive an aid offer early, it could change due to various factors.

Where can I get more information about—and help with—the FAFSA?

Visit StudentAid.gov/fafsa/filling-out; and remember, as you fill out your FAFSA at fafsa.gov, you can refer to help text for every question and (during certain times of day) chat online with a customer service representative.

Cindy Forbes Cameron and Nicole Callahan work in Customer Experience at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid, where they help shape communications about applying for, receiving, and repaying financial aid.




The post 2 Major FAFSA® Changes You Need to Be Aware Of appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

With a Strong Stance on Safe Spaces, U. of Chicago Sends a Mixed Message to Students

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 5:43pm
While some applauded the clarity of a dean’s letter, others found it callous, out of touch, or simply misunderstood.
Categories: Higher Education News

A Brief Guide to the Battle Over Trigger Warnings

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 5:30pm
A message to incoming students from a University of Chicago dean has touched off a debate about the use of the warnings on college campuses. Here's what you need to know about them.
Categories: Higher Education News

Federal Judge Blocks U. of North Carolina From Enforcing 'Bathroom Bill'

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 4:09pm
The decision follows a federal appellate court's ruling that transgender students are protected by Title IX's prohibition of sex discrimination.
Categories: Higher Education News

Transformation Through Education: The Importance of Second Chance Pell

U.S. Department of Education Blog - August 26, 2016 - 12:00pm

In order for the nation to increase college access and success for all students, we know that education must occur in a variety of environments, Sing Sing prison included. Our group of college leaders, non-profit, government and corrections officials gathered for a strategic partners meeting to discuss expanding support for prison education programs and to see the work up close.

I started the day struck by stark contrasts — the daunting high walls and barbwire fencing overlooking the calm, picturesque waters of the Hudson River — the setting for an impassioned conversation about the value of education with a group of incarcerated college students. The students we met are enrolled in the Hudson Link educational program but as visitors that day, we were the ones going to school.

Hudson Link alumnus and Academic Coordinator Todd Young, Talisha Duncan, daughter of Hudson Link alumnus Douglas Duncan, and Kim Hunter Reed. (Photo courtesy of the author)

We heard tough facts from a black male who noted, “When you come up with nothing, you wind up in jail or dead. We wound up in jail.” We also saw demonstrations of transformation through education.

“College changed my life. It gave me an identity in a place where you quickly can become a voiceless number,” said one graduate. Another student, Jon-Adrian, talked about one of his favorite classes, criminology and the application of rational choice theory, helping him understand choices and consequences. Also in our visitor group, Alexandria, a former incarcerated female silenced the room saying, “There were a lot of things I wanted to pass on to my daughter, but being incarcerated wasn’t one of them.” Now pursuing a Ph.D., she enrolled in college to “pass on something positive.”

The statistics bear out the impact as well. According to a 2013 RAND study funded by the Department of Justice, incarcerated individuals who participated in high quality correctional education – including postsecondary correctional education – were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than those who didn’t participate in correctional education. We in the Obama administration are proud to support the education of more than 10,000 students participating in the Second Chance Pell Program. It’s designed to evaluate the impact of Pell Grants on helping incarcerated men and women pursue and attain a high-quality postsecondary education. Our thanks to the committed college and correctional leaders connecting to make this happen.

We know the reach of educational attainment extends beyond an individual, often impacting families as well. That impact was on display when Talisha, the child of a formerly incarcerated parent shared how her dad’s educational journey refocused her effort on doing well in school. I won’t soon forget that daughter’s pride when more than half of the incarcerated students noted the impact of her father on their drive for education as well. It’s simple, those who get it pass it on to others – their own families and their community inside and outside prison walls.

Corrections officials offered two compelling points to the critics of prison education. Good education programs are good for security, engaging incarcerated individuals in positive actions. The programs are also valuable because of the strong commitment of participants to do something good and to give back.

I asked the students how we get more high schoolers and middle schoolers to value education without incarceration and the ideas began to flow. Make education cool. Use great role models. Get good information to students and families so they know that college is an option. Get the hip-hop culture to promote the value of education.

We’re working on many of these ideas and more to expand opportunity and increase college completion, that includes encouraging more higher education institutions to Take the Fair Chance Pledge to support reforms and remove barriers to second chances in postsecondary education.

When someone says education saved my life, people listen. We need more life-changing and life-saving through education in our country.

Kim Hunter Reed is Deputy Under Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education.

The post Transformation Through Education: The Importance of Second Chance Pell appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

Have You Used Trigger Warnings in the Classroom?

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 11:46am
A controversy at the University of Chicago has touched off a fierce debate over the practice. We want instructors who have used such warnings to tell us about their experiences.
Categories: Higher Education News

Berkeley Suspends Its ‘Global Campus’ Because of Budget Deficit

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 11:45am
The project, proposed in 2015 and due to be built near the University of California campus, was supposed to be off-limits to budget cuts.
Categories: Higher Education News

Trading One Marathon for Another, an Olympic Runner Returns to the Classroom

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 10:59am
After his summer in Rio, Jared Ward is hitting the ground running for another semester of teaching and researching statistics at Brigham Young University.
Categories: Higher Education News

10 Common Tweets @FAFSA Gets on Twitter

U.S. Department of Education Blog - August 26, 2016 - 7:00am

We’ve been answering a lot of your back-to-school comments and questions on Twitter! Here are some of the most popular tweets we get, with our answers:

@FAFSA where's my money????

— Justin Shin (@JUUSTINSHIN) July 25, 2016

1. We get this question so many times a day! Your school will disburse (pay out) your financial aid, not the federal government. Since each school has a different timeline for awarding aid, you’ll have to call your school’s financial aid office to find out the specific date.


— j jackson (@Jemiyah_Jackson) August 13, 2016

2. College can be expensive, we know! We provide as much aid as we can based on the information you provided on your FAFSA. There are many factors we take into account, like your year in school and how much it costs to attend your school. If you need more financial aid, here are 7 options you should consider. Make sure you look into applying for local scholarships or talk to your school’s financial aid office for personalized advice.

Hey @FAFSA, I hate you.

— Cody Pennington (@codypenn26) August 10, 2016

3. During this time of year, we understand a lot of students get disappointed when they see their financial aid offer and don’t receive the amount or type of aid they were hoping for. Your school calculates the amount of federal student aid you qualify for using a formula established by law and that amount can change every year, depending on a number of factors. Additionally, some states and schools offer financial aid of their own. Some of that aid is need-based, other types are merit-based, and some of that aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. We recommend you talk to your school to find out how you can increase your chances of getting the most aid possible. One simple way is to make sure you fill out the FAFSA and any other financial aid applications required by your school ASAP each year, even before your state or school FAFSA deadline. If you need more aid to fill the gap, look into scholarships, part-time work or one of these options.

Rolling my eyes sooooo far back @FAFSA. I WANT FREE MONEY NOT MORE LOANSSSS

— jen (@jenvaldefiera) August 8, 2016

4. We definitely understand that free money, like grants and scholarships, are the preferred type of financial aid because they don’t have to be paid back. Many of the grants we offer, including the Federal Pell Grant, are “need-based”, meaning you must have certain level of financial need to qualify. Your school will use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for these grants, and if you do, you’ll get them. If you still have a gap between what your school costs and the amount of grants, scholarships, and out-of-pocket funds you can afford to pay, federal student loans can be a good option. Federal student loans offer several advantages over private student loans and most people qualify. Just make sure to borrow only what you need! If you want more free money, make sure you apply for scholarships. There are tons out there!

Just because my parents make decent money doesnt mean they can blow it all on college @fafsa

— Juwan McIntyre (@Organik_Wan) August 11, 2016

5. You’ll see an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number after completing your FAFSA, but don’t think it’s the amount your family has to pay! It’s not. It’s a measure of your family’s financial strength and a number used by your school to calculate how much aid you can receive. If you need more financial aid, read this.

@FAFSA Why am I considered "dependent" when I'm 21, don't live at home, and my parents don't pay for my bills/living expenses?

— Япсчзι (@KittyWingsx) August 8, 2016

6. Sorry, living on your own doesn’t make you an independent student for purposes of the FAFSA.  FAFSA dependency guidelines are set by Congress and are different from those of the IRS. This is why even if your parent’s don’t claim you on their taxes, you still won’t be considered independent unless you can answer “yes” to one or more questions on this list.

@FAFSA My mom has been trying to sign the form but every time she tries, it tells us the info is incorrect.. Help please

— Tyra (@ItsSaabyra) August 5, 2016

7. First, know that your FSA ID information and what you typed in your FAFSA demographic page must match 100% in order for you to sign successfully. You should double check both places for any minor typos. For parents, make sure you’re selecting the correct “Parent 1” or “Parent 2” option in the drop-down menu on the signature page. We have detailed instructions in the fourth bullet on the FAFSA trending questions page.

I swear I'm so done with @FAFSA. The most difficult and frustrating process ever! Keep your damn money!!!

— Giselle (@gisellesayshi) July 28, 2016

8. The FAFSA asks a lot of questions, but we promise we use each answer to calculate your aid in a fair manner! Even though some questions may sound difficult to answer, we provide help along the way in the sidebar. If you’re really stuck, we have a phone number and live chat options available to help you out. If you want a line-by-line demo, we have an hour-long webinar recording that walks you through the entire application.

@FAFSA do you still go in after 2016 taxes are filed to update info in the FAFSA with the IRS retrieval tool? Or is it based on 2015 taxes?

— Christina Hughes (@Catjul1977) July 20, 2016

9. The upcoming 2017-18 FAFSA (available October 1, 2016) will ask for 2015 income and taxes only. This is beneficial because you’ve already finished those taxes, so you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool right away to transfer your 2015 info! You will not be asked to log in again to update your info after you file 2016 taxes.

@FAFSA what if our 2015 taxes are completely different than our 2016 earnings?

— Jazmin (@jazminR14) August 12, 2016

10. We understand that financial circumstances change. If your income has dramatically decreased since the 2015 tax year, you still need to report 2015 information on your FAFSA. However, after filing your FAFSA, you can contact your school’s financial aid office to explain and document your situation. The school has the ability to assess your situation and may make adjustments to your FAFSA.

Sandra Vuong is a Digital Engagement Strategist at Federal Student Aid.

The post 10 Common Tweets @FAFSA Gets on Twitter appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

The Real Story Behind the U. of Connecticut’s ‘Scholars House’

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 2:57am
The university’s new residential community was created in an attempt to put more African-American men on a path to graduation. But some critics have depicted the program as a step toward segregating black students.
Categories: Higher Education News

A New Era for Grad-Student Organizing

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 2:56am
Changing realities in higher education and the broad scope of a decision this week by the National Labor Relations Board are feeding a growing appetite among graduate students to fight for better working conditions.
Categories: Higher Education News

College Republican Chapters Are Trying to Keep Trump From Tearing Them Apart

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 2:55am
With the fall semester starting and the November election fast approaching, the chapters are withholding endorsements, focusing on down-ballot races, and sometimes even splintering.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Chicago's Condemning of Safe Spaces and Trigger Warnings Reignites Debate

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 6:06pm
A letter from the dean of students cited academic freedom as the reason it opposes the practices. Some observers say that's a backwards argument.
Categories: Higher Education News

Education Dept. Cuts Off Federal Aid to New Students at For-Profit ITT

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 12:51pm
The department's move may be its most substantial action against a single for-profit educator since its heightened scrutiny of Corinthian Colleges caused that company to fold.
Categories: Higher Education News

Education Department Cuts Off Federal Aid to New Students at For-Profit ITT

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 12:51pm
The department's move may be its most substantial action against a single for-profit educator since its heightened scrutiny of Corinthian Colleges caused that company to fold.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Vermont Cancels Game at Chapel Hill Over 'Bathroom Bill'

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 12:34pm
The decision is the latest move in protest of North Carolina's House Bill 2, which mandates that people use only the public bathrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Vermont Cancels Game at Chapel Hill Over 'Bathroom Bill'

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 12:34pm
The decision is the latest move in protest of North Carolina's House Bill 2, which mandates that people use only the public bathrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates.
Categories: Higher Education News

Fraternity at Texas A&M Is Suspended After a Student Dies

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 12:12pm
A search warrant stated that fraternity members did not want the police to be called because drugs were involved in the incident on the College Station campus.
Categories: Higher Education News


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