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11 things your students won’t learn in school from a speech given by Bill Gates

There are many things that come across my desk/e-mail each day. Most are quickly glanced over and a lot of the e-mails quickly deleted. Today I received an e-mail that summarized a recent speech that Bill Gates gave at a high school.  In the speech he summarized 11 rules that students won’t learn in school, but probably should.

They are:

Rule 1 : Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world doesn’t care about your self-esteem.
The world will expect you to accomplish something
BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school.
You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity.
Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping:
They called it opportunity.
Rule 6 : If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault,
so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7 : Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring
as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills,
cleaning your clothes and listening to you
talk about how cool you thought you were:
So before you save the rain forest
from the parasites of your parent’s generation,
try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8 : Your school may have done away with winners and losers,
but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades
and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer.
*This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9 : Life is not divided into semesters.
You don’t get summers off and very few employers
are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF.
*Do that on your own time.
Rule 10 : Television is NOT real life.
In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11 : Be nice to nerds.
Chances are you’ll end up working for one..


I’m not sure if Mr. Gates actually spoke these rules, but there is some wisdom in some of these that could benefit your students.

College Preparation Guide available to your students and their parents

The National Council for Open Education has published an online College Preparation Guide that can be used free by your students and their parents.

Chapters include:

College Prep for Students

Includes a checklist of things students should be doing during their senior year. Shown by Summer, Fall, and then month (September – May) in an easy to read format

Financial Aid

Includes a list of things NOT to do if you don’t want to decrease your chances of receiving financial aid. These include:

  • Sending in your application late
  • Waiting too long to take the SAT or ACT (so that your scores are not submitted in time)
  • Not preparing for a college interview
  • Going into a “senior slump” where your grades start to decline
  • Writing an uninteresting essay
  • Signing up for “easy” classes to boost your GPA (the financial aid offices will see your transcripts)
  • Not participating in extracurricular activities or volunteer activities
  • Turning in lackluster recommendation letters (you need to build relationships with those individuals you ask to write your recommendation letters, otherwise, they won’t know you that well and won’t know what to write to make you stand out)

College Prep for Parents

The college search process can be tough on some parents who are stressing about their child leaving home in the next year.  The site includes some great tips that can help parents get ready for this most important year ahead. Here are a few:

You can help your child along the way in the college application process by asking questions, keeping track of deadlines, and gathering necessary information needed for financial assistance (e.g., pay stubs, tax information, etc.). Have a listening ear and be a guiding resource in navigating the process. Just as you might have questions and anxiety about the whole process, your child may have the same questions and anxiety as well. Keep communication lines open and be patient. This is a big deal! Below is a checklist for parents:

  • When your child is considering which schools to pick, help your child understand the pros and cons of different schools based on their interest areas. Does your child know what he or she wants to do when they get out of college? Have any ideas what types of careers they might be interested in? Have they taken a career interest assessment to determine what types of careers fit well with what they like to do? Help your child understand the importance of a major and how it will help them toward their career choice. Does your child want to be an engineer? Then it might be better to focus on more technical schools that have strong engineering programs than smaller liberal arts colleges. Is your child interested in a career as a musician? Check out which schools have top music programs!
  • Arrange college visits. Once your child has narrowed down their school choices – contact the school to find out when you both can visit to see the campus, listen to administrators and students talk about their experiences, and chat with academic counselors to understand what the next steps are.
  • Keep track of SAT and ACT schedules and remind your child of these deadlines, so the exams can be taken early enough for the scores to transfer to the colleges.
  • Help your child through the application process. Act as a sounding board for questions, review application materials, and keep an eye out on deadlines and costs associated with the application process.
  • Attend a financial aid event with your child. Financial aid can be tricky to understand – it’s best if you both can attend these types of events. This also includes helping your child navigate the scholarship process. There will likely be many questions about eligibility, tax information, and other complicated financial information that your child will need help with answering.
  • When the acceptance letters start arriving, sit down and help your child choose the best school for him/her.
  • Be proud! Your child is going to college – this is a big step for both of you. Celebrate!

College Prep for Teachers (and Counselors)

Provides a checklist of ways Teachers (and Counselors) can help students prepare for college. These include:

Help to plan challenging course schedules and course materials – follow your school’s curriculum, but keep your lesson plans challenging and interesting to motivate your students’ learning process!

  • Keep records of classes and grades and meet with students who seem to be struggling in particular areas. Don’t let them struggle – encourage them to seek out help.
  • Track graduation requirements and keep your students informed of deadlines and schedules
  • Suggest which college admission tests are necessary and educate your students about what they are used for and why they are important
  • Connect your students with college and career counselors that can help them in figuring out what type of majors they might be interested in and which schools are best for particular career interests
  • Teach students about “safety” colleges, “maybe” colleges, and “reach” colleges – encourage applications to “reach” colleges, but educate students on the importance of applying for schools that are a good fit for their academic level and experience to ensure acceptance
  • Write letters of recommendation for students, as requested. Be thoughtful in your letters – spend some time on them and weigh the importance of these letters in the future of your students!
  • Celebrate your students’ successes and know that you played a key role in guiding them in their achievements!

It Takes a Village!

Summarizes that it takes a team of Counselors, Teachers, Parents and the Students to have a successful College Search. Using this guide can provide some great tips that can help your students succeed. Here is a link:

What Counselors Need to Know about Private Student Loans

When it comes to the college application process, parents and students look to high school counselors to give them the information that they need in order to be successful. That’s especially true when it comes to the financial aid process as it’s a part of the application process that’s especially confusing.

Many parents and students don’t understand how student loans work, but most students will end up having to take on student debt. In fact, over 6 out of 10 students graduate from college with a student loan and the average amount of student debt borrowers have is around $28,000.  It’s therefore critical that high school counselors are well-informed about both federal and private student loans so they can ensure that students make informed borrowing decisions.

Students Don’t Understand Private Student Loans

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the message is currently getting through to borrowers. In 2016, we conducted a survey at LendEDU on undergraduate and graduate students’ understanding of federal and private student loans. What we found was concerning.

Most students did not understand how private student loans worked. For example, almost 76% of students didn’t know the difference between private student loans and federal student loans. Around 71% didn’t even know the risks of acting as a co-signer on private student loans.

What’s more concerning is that almost 8% of students didn’t know the interest rates on their loans and over 6% of students didn’t understand their repayment terms. In fact, 75% of students didn’t understand how interest rates work at all and over 55% of students were either not sure or believed that they would never be able to pay off their student loans.

What are Private Student Loans?

More students take out federal student loans than private student loans in order to finance their education and so while many counselors are well versed on the basics of that type of student debt not all understand private loans.

Private student loans are given out by banks, credit unions, and other lenders. They are similar to federal student loans in certain ways. For example, most also have a grace period of six months after you graduate before your have to start repayment and many offer things like the ability to defer your loan in certain situations although there are often fewer qualifying circumstances with private loans. You can also deduct the interest you pay on them on your taxes, just like with federal loans.

But private student loans are different in some very important ways. For example, they are mostly given out based on credit-worthiness and ability to repay. Since most high school students don’t have a credit history or credit score and don’t have a high enough income to qualify about 90% of private student loans require parents, family friends, or grandparents to co-sign for the loan. While there are some lenders who are starting to use alternative underwriting criteria like good grades, or work experience to lend to college students without a co-signer – they are often smaller online lenders and don’t make up the majority of the market.

Private student loans are also different from federal student loan in that they have widely different interest rates. Each lender has different interest rate ranges and you can generally choose between variable and fixed rate loans. How much you pay is set based on the borrower’s or co-signer’s credit score and income.

Private student loans also have very different repayment options. When you take out a loan, you can choose the term length. Different companies offer different term length options which can vary widely from 5 to 15 years. Private student loans don’t have options like the income-based repayment programs that are offered by federal student loans.

Private student loans also don’t have the same types of borrower protections in the event of disability or death as federal loans have. Not all private student loans would be discharged or forgiven in such cases. Also, private student loans have different rules around things like deferment and forbearance and these vary from lender to lender so it’s critical that borrowers read the fine print on their loans.

The Consequences of Borrowing Too Much

One critical thing that high school counselors should be prepared to explain to borrowers and their families is the consequences of borrowing too much. Given that many students don’t believe that they will be able repay their student debt, it appears that many students are taking on more debt than they should based on their income potential and major.

That’s why it’s critical that high school counselors talk about affordability and student loans before students start taking on debt.

Nate Matherson is the co-founder and CEO of LendEDU. In 2014, Matherson started LendEDU in his University of Delaware dorm to help students and families learn about the consequences of student debt; Nate, 23, is still working to repay over $55,000 in student loan debt.


Great lesson plans and strategies that can be used in your school

As a home-based teacher, my role as an educator never stops – even if students in some areas are on summer break! Actually, where I live, there are a lot of home and community education programs that run year-round, so we’re always on the lookout for great new ideas on engaging our students.

I’ve come across a lot of really exciting lesson plans and strategies lately, so I’m passing a few onto you with the hope that you can find a way to utilize them in your school:

Guide to Finding Lesson Plans

K-12 Student Financial Literacy Lesson Plans

University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies: K-12 Lesson Plans

Engineering the Future: The Educator’s Guide to Building and Construction

New England Primate Conservancy: K-12 Lesson Plans

The Educator’s Guide to Real Estate Lesson Plans

Storytelling in the Classroom as a Teaching Strategy

The Educator’s Guide To Addiction Prevention: The Most Effective Strategies and Resources To Implement in The Classroom

Strategies for Fostering Inclusion in the Classroom

Jenny Wise is an Educator based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached by visiting her website at

New App available for your students that are interested in STEM Careers

Students can now travel across the country from Silicon Valley to Chicago, touring STEM careers, all without leaving the confines of their guidance counselor’s office thanks to a new free virtual reality phone app.


VR STEM Career Exploration is a new innovation in education created jointly by VictoryVR and Assumption High School, where it was recently unveiled. The free app is now available for Android phones from the Google Play Store and for iPhones at Apple’s App Store.


Using head-mounted displays, like a Google Cardboard which can be purchased for as little as $10, students using the app enter a virtual lobby and select from a wide variety of careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). From programmers in Silicon Valley, to game developers in Dallas, to astrophysicists in New Mexico, to school technologists in Chicago, students experience an impressive array of opportunities within the STEM fields.


“This app is a perfect tool for high school guidance counselors and parents as they help students search for career paths. Students don’t even need to leave school to learn about STEM careers across the country,” said Wendy Martin, an Assumption High School science teacher.


Guidance counselors will be able to provide students with a tool that examines 20 different careers within the STEM fields, some of which are non-traditional.


“When someone thinks of STEM careers, dairy farmer and patent lawyer are probably not jobs that jump out. This app allows students to see that the understanding of science and technology is not just for people who wear white coats and work in labs,” said Steve Grubbs, CEO of VictoryVR.


VR STEM Career Exploration also highlights the importance of lifelong learning. Several of the professionals interviewed for the project didn’t start out in the careers they are currently enjoying.


The interviewees are asked three main questions: what do they do in their career, how did they get to where they are today, and what advice do they have for students. One key theme throughout the interviews is that STEM knowledge will serve students throughout life, no matter what career path they choose.


“Our goal was to show that students shouldn’t feel confined in choosing what they do after high school, but rather that the world of STEM offers them many possibilities,” commented Grubbs. “A degree in biology can lead to a career in solar energy; someone starting out in manufacturing engineering can use that experience to become a successful lawyer.”


Since the app’s recent unveiling, numerous media outlets have picked up on the opportunity: the Quad City Times, National Public Radio, Iowa Public Radio, and the (Iowa) Governor’s STEM Advisory Council News.


The full list of professions the app covers includes:

  • Science Teacher
  • Family Doctor
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Web Developer
  • Horticulturalist
  • Blood Center Director
  • Registered Nurse
  • Phlebotomist
  • Veterinarian
  • Technology Director
  • Patent Attorney
  • Farmer
  • Telescope Operations Specialist
  • Astrophysicist
  • Astronomy Site Manager
  • Mechanical & Electrical Contractor
  • Solar Energy Entrepreneur
  • Computer Animator
  • Video Game Programer
  • Gaming CEO


Funding for the project was provided by a $25,000 STEM Best Grant from the State of Iowa and matching corporate contributions.


In addition to the VR STEM Career Exploration app, VictoryVR is in the final stages of production for its virtual reality science curriculum supplement. VictoryVR Science adheres to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for grades 5-8, though the lessons can be enjoyed by users of in a wider span. VictoryVR Science contains 24 “VR books” covering standards in Physical Science, Life Science, Earth Science, and Engineering Design. Each book contains a virtual field trip (similar to the experiences in the VR STEM Career Exploration app), a virtual science lesson delivered by one of America’s top science teachers, virtual reality animated lessons, and interactive learning games.


To learn more about the VR STEM Career Exploration app check out


Quad-City Times:

Iowa Public Radio:


Governor’s STEM Advisory Council:


Visit for more details about VictoryVR Science.




Resource to help your students search for the right college programs available to them

We have found a website that lets you search thousands of college programs and courses and immediately access official online college catalog information.

Searches are available by:

  • state
  • type of program (2-year, 4-year, Graduate, etc)
  • college name
  • area of study

There is currently information available for more than 3,900 Colleges and 16,000 total College Catalogs.

Search and compare college catalogs

Narrow your search within a particular college catalog by:

  • keyword
  • program
  • course name or number.

Your search results appear in a separate tab for easily comparing multiple colleges.

Where does this college and program information come from?

The content is gathered from official academic catalogs and updated constantly to present the most current information from each institution. Archived content is also available so you can look at past college catalog versions. Further information on costs and accreditation are supplied through the US Department of Education data sources.

What makes it different from other sites?

  • Information is not limited to sponsoring institutions or advertisers. The site is a comprehensive data resource where all public two- and four-year colleges are represented.
  • Detailed information is included about courses and programs and graduation requirements from official college catalogs. It does not contain marketing information in the content.
  • It is not a recruitment site. It does not sell user information to college recruiters. You will not be contacted by recruiters as a result of using the website.

The information can be found at

New Book Available for Students and Their Parents on Writing an Effective College Essay

Several few years ago, when my nephew was applying to college, my sister Tami asked me what she could do to help her son with this process.

I gave her a long list of things she should not do: Don’t tell him what you think he should write; don’t write it for him; don’t edit it and change words; don’t suggest topics when he says he is stuck and needs help. I was so busy telling her what not to do that I forgot to tell her anything she could do.

She suggested we write a book with real tips and advice for parents who just want to help. It was wrong to assume every parent wants to fix the child’s essay.

That conversation with my sister was momentous. As a direct result, we changed the way we approach parents. Rather than tell them to back off and go away, as many inside this industry tend to do, we began to embrace them. We brought parents into the process and gave them permission to help.

We even wrote a book about it – How to Write an Effective College Application Essay – The Inside Scoop for Parents. Just released in paperback, we first released it a year ago as an ebook. The new version is updated with more helpful resources, blank pages to write notes, advice from the admissions office, and detailed explanations of the new 2017 Common App prompts. You’ll also get additional access to writing exercises we use with our own students.

We wrote How to Write an Effective College Application Essay for parents, but with you in mind. We share our unique approach to teaching reflection early so you can prepare students properly for the essay at the beginning of the process before the actual writing takes place. We also provide insight into the essay’s role within this increasingly competitive admissions process.

At Wow, we will never suggest a parent (or anyone!) write a college application essay for your child, or edit an essay so heavily it loses your child’s personality and voice. But we believe parents can be a huge asset to you if they feel like they are playing a critical role in the journey to college. The preparation process is a perfect place to include them.

Please read the book (it’s just $9.99), and then recommend it to your parents. (We can give discounts for purchases of 50 books or more). It is a short guide, and will take you less than an hour to read.

Parents who read our book and follow our advice are always surprised by how straightforward it is. Many are also surprised by how wrong they were about their role in the process.

When students learn how to reflect before they start writing, they write more meaningful college essays. With our book as your guide, you and your parents can help your students approach the college application essay calmly and confidently, and get a better shot at admission to their dream school.

Parents have called the book engaging, informative and a must-read for any parent with a child applying to college. Here are a few reviews:

“This book gave me insight into the parent’s role in the process,” said Debbie Logan, from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. “I had no idea what colleges were looking for or where my job ended. The insight is priceless.”

Logan read the book before her second daughter applied to college. (She now attends Columbia University.) She said the book helped her keep a healthy distance from her second daughter’s application, particularly the essay.

Rebecca Gold, from Providence, Rhode Island, was about to start working with her third child on the college application journey when she read the guide. She said it was easy to follow, well-written and more helpful than any other college-related book for parents. “Rather than telling me what to do, the authors helped me understand what my son needed to be successful in this essay writing process, and what I could do to support him.”

Mark Cornillie, from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, thought his background in public relations and journalism would be valuable when his sons applied to college. The book gave him a reality check. “I thought I had some wonderful ideas about the essays my son should write and how he should write them. This book convinced me to step back, and empowered my son to remind me whenever my conviction faltered. The essay he submitted was wholly his own, and not only did he achieve admission to his top-choice school, but his essay was among a handful referenced in a letter by the Dean of Admissions to incoming students. I doubt my envisioned ‘perfect’ essay would have achieved that.”


Kim Lifton is President of Wow Writing Workshop, a strategic communications and writing company; she is a national expert on the college application essay. You may contact, or go to the Wow website for free and other counselor resources.

6 Questions You Can Ask To Help Students Pick a Major

Choosing a college major is tough—the options seem endless, and students must navigate the waters of overbearing parents, societal standards and personal uncertainty.


Our role as counselors is to guide students as best we can, prompting them to identify career paths and contemplate different directions on their own. Here are some questions you can ask your students to get them thinking:


  1. “What are your academic interests?”

If you get a blank stare here, try more specific approaches like: “What classes do you look forward to?” “What homework assignments do you enjoy?”


Identifying interests is a form of self-discovery. If a student finds herself fascinated by the human brain, it might be good for her to start doing some research into the coursework behind neuroscience degrees.


Every field of study is different – one may require creative thinking or a detailed analytical approach, a collaborative mindset or dedicated solitary attention. Finding majors that include many (or even all) of a student’s preferred traits is a good way to start narrowing down options. For example, because Alicia may enjoy team-based problem solving, she might consider engineering or project management rather than computer science due to its solitary nature.


  1. “What are you curious about?” or, What do you do in your free time?” “What do you choose to learn more about?”


The answers to these questions are often indicators of what someone enjoys doing. As curiosity typically leads to more enjoyable work, it’s important for students to feel some passion for their major.


Remind students that curiosities aren’t limited to academia. Creative and personal interests are more than valid—in fact, they’re encouraged. If Emily spends her time watching and thinking about her favorite Netflix show, she should start narrowing down what exactly fascinates her. Is it art? Filmmaking? Storytelling? Encourage her to hone in on those subjects.


  1. “What type of work do you enjoy?” or, Do you work better in teams or by yourself?” “Do you prefer working on a computer or working with your hands?”


Even the brightest, most successful person can struggle in the wrong work environment. Encourage your students to identify when they are the most (and least) productive.


If Nick finds that he is more effective in an active environment, a sedentary job in accounting or computer programming might not be for him. Instead, he should consider something in healthcare, education, or engineering where he wouldn’t be sitting behind a desk all day. This small exercise could immediately eliminate certain majors and help a student craft their ideal work atmosphere.


  1. “When do you get excited about your words?” or, “What was a great conversation you had recently?” “What kinds of things do you like to discuss with others?”


When a student’s face lights up, when they become more animated and talk faster, they’re experiencing passion in action. It can be hard to identify exactly what makes someone excited, but these moments are hints. Pay attention and note when they happen, and guide students toward that source of joy and energy.


  1. “What are you good at?” or, “What work do you get compliments on?” “What subjects do you find yourself teaching to others?”


For example, Isabel may be very talented at math, but detest her algebra homework. However, outside of the classroom, she may love helping others and wishes she could focus on that.  In this case, Isabel might consider finding a way to help others using her talent in math. Perhaps she could design the infrastructure for hospitals, schools, or homes. The key here is to find the overlap of what the student is good at and what they love. Ultimately, the goal is to find the intersection of gratification and talent.


  1. “What have you tried? What haven’t you tried?”

Remind students that realizing a passion is a slow process of trial and error. Trying new things – lots of them – can be a crucial step towards finding what you love.


Here are a few suggestions you might offer to a student looking to expand their experiences:

  • Try an extracurricular activity, or just attend a few meetings of a student club to get a feel for it
  • Watch TED Talks about various subjects
  • Read up on different fields of study
  • Find a summer internship, volunteer opportunity or job


Students may be surprised to discover that what they love is something previously outside of their comfort zone.


Through it all, remind students that this process is difficult and lengthy. It can also be comforting to share an often forgotten truth:


“You will not be defined by this decision.”

Too often, high school students feel like they are deciding what they will do for the rest of their lives when they choose a major. This is simply not the case. At many schools, students can wait to declare their major for up to two years, and they can change their major or double-major as needed.


College also teaches universal, transferrable skills. Students will not only absorb specific knowledge in their chosen field, but also learn how to think and approach problems. Earning an ocean engineering degree teaches the skills to be an ocean engineer, it does not require that a graduate become one. Skills and lessons from college will likely overlap with many other career paths. While important, this decision is not a lifelong commitment.


Picking a major is tough. No one can give students the answers, but we can offer them the right questions.

Jessica Velez-Lopez, M.Ed., MBA, Director, Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Florida Atlantic University.

  • Date May 22, 2017
  • Author Jessica Velez-Lopez, M.Ed., MBA, Director, Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Florida Atlantic University.

Advocacy Update for Professional Counselors in Texas – Your help is needed!

The Texas Counseling Association provides leadership and advocacy for the counseling profession and supports optimal development and mental health for all


85TH Legislative Session – May 22, 2017


Last Push Will Get Us Past the Finish Line!

Your Calls Work! Help Keep TCA Priority Items Moving!


All TCA Members need to contact their State Representatives and State Senators.

Two key bills – SB 490 and SB 196 will be voted on by the entire House on Tuesday. Both bills are essential to support professional school counselors in Texas.

The Senate could vote on SB 80 to extend the licensing boards as early as today. Passage of SB 80 is essential to extend the life of our licensing boards without the need for a special session.

  • Message to State Senators:
    • Concur with the House version of SB 80 and extend the mental health licensing boards to 2021.
  • Message to State Representatives:
    • Vote FOR SB 490 (Huberty/Lucio) on Tuesday. SB 490 will add school counselors to the campus Texas Academic Performance Reports. No fiscal note. No staffing requirements.
    • Vote FOR SB 196 (Coleman/Garcia) on Tuesday. SB 196 will direct schools to post notices on their websites if they do not have a full-time school counselor, nurse or librarian. No fiscal note. No staffing requirements.

What Happened this Weekend

  • SB 80 was amended on the House floor by Chairman Four Price on Saturday to extend the sunset date for the licensing boards for licensed professional counselors, social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, psychologists and physicians until 2021. SB 80 is a broad bill that will require an array of state agencies to submit various reports. In addition to extending the sunset date for these boards, the floor amendment adds a requirement that these boards conduct a rule review to determine if any rule may implicate the federal antitrust law by limiting competition or impacting prices charged by licensees.
  • SB 490 and SB 196 were added to the Tuesday House Calendar by the House Calendars Committee, in response to your calls. Tuesday is the last day for Senate Bills to be passed on second reading by the House.
  • SB 2078 was amended on the House floor on Sunday to require schools to accommodate the right of each student who does not wish to use the facilities designated for use by persons of the student’s biological sex by providing single-sex facilities for use by those students. Enforcement is limited to the attorney general for mandamus and injunctive relief. It does not permit districts to disclose intimate details about a student. SB 2078 is a bill related to multi-hazard emergency plans and other school safety measures. The Senate is likely to concur with the House amendment.
  • HB 21 was amended on the Senate floor to, among other revisions, provide Education Savings Accounts (aka vouchers) for students with disabilities. The concern is that this amendment will further deplete resources for an already under-funded public school system. It is uncertain if the House will concur in the Senate amendment.

Go to to read complete bill texts. Contact TCA Executive Director, Jan Friese, with questions.

Thank you for all you do to support professional counselors, your students and your clients!

New Report Looks at Ways to Improve Students’ College Completion

While college enrollment is up, college completion is not. Roughly 40% of all students pursuing a bachelor’s degree don’t graduate and affordability is the number one reason students don’t complete their degree, leaving them saddled with debt and without the increased capacity to pay it back. To address this alarming trend, uAspire, a national nonprofit working to remove financial barriers to higher education for low-income students, recently published “Affording to Finish: Strategies to Improve Students’ Financial Health & College Completion.

This report recommends several strategies to reduce students’ risk of dropping out of college by:

  • Identifying the financial challenges low-income students face and innovative strategies to address them
  • Highlighting 11 case studies, “Promising Practices,” of pilots implemented by colleges to promote student financial well-being and completion
  • Reviewing an expanded list of related resources in a comprehensive annotated bibliography for further exploration

Making sure your students understand their financial aid packages, college costs, and how to pay for them is critical to setting them up for success. But college affordability isn’t just the money it takes to start college, it’s also how much it costs to finish. Make sure your students are aware of their future financial commitments, the challenges they may face, and the institutional resources available if they need support.

Through their direct service work with high school and college students, uAspire sees firsthand how difficult it can be to pay the college bill and manage college costs, especially for students from low-income families. In addition to student advising, uAspire offers college affordability training to [link] school counselors so they can better help their students prepare, afford, and succeed in college.

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