Kimberly Rowan No Comments

Governor Newsom released a significantly revised state budget

Today, May 14, 2020, Governor Newsom released a significantly revised state budget amid the coronavirus pandemic, which projects General Fund revenues decline over $41 billion over the current and budget fiscal years, and when combined with COVID-19 expenses, the projected budget deficit of about $54 billion that will need to be addressed.

The Administration is proposing a combination of actions to address the projected state deficit:

  • Cancel $6.1 billion in program expansions and spending increases, including redirecting $2.4 billion in extraordinary payments to California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) to temporarily offset the state’s obligations to CalPERS in 2020-21 and 2021-22.
  • Spend down $16.2 billion in the Budget Stabilization Account (Rainy Day Fund) over three fiscal years and allocate $450 million from the Safety Net Reserve to offset increased health care costs in 2020-21.
  • Borrow and transfer $4.1 billion from special funds.
  • Suspend net operating losses and temporarily limit to $5 million the amount of credit a taxpayer can use in any given tax year, to generate new revenue of $4.4 billion in 2020-21 to support schools and colleges, and maintain core state functions. The proposal could potentially generate $3.3 billion in 2021-22 and $1.5 billion in 2022-23.
  • Utilize $8.3 billion in federal CARES Act.

The Legislature has until June 15, 2020 to adopt a balanced state budget. To read the full Governor’s May Revision 2020-21 Budget Report, click here.

 

Proposition 98: Avoiding Permanent Decline

The state revenues shortfall creates a decline of $19 billion to Proposition 98 Minimum Guarantee from the Governor’s January Budget.  In order to address this severe decline in resources, which is compounded by the impact of declining average daily attendance and declining per capita income, the Administration proposes to suspend for three-year net operating losses and limitations on business incentive tax credits to offset no more than $5 million of tax liability per year, which could generate $1.8 billion in benefits to Proposition 98 Guarantee.

Beginning in 2021-22, the Administration proposes to provide supplemental appropriations of 1.5 percent of General Fund revenues per year, in order to avoid a permanent drop in the Proposition 98 Minimum Guarantee and maintain the Guarantee at 40 percent of total state General Fund support.

Local Control Funding Formula & Deferrals

The May Revise proposes a reduction to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) by $6.5 billion, or 10 percent, which includes the elimination of a 2.31 percent cost of living adjustment. The Administration indicates that should the federal government provide sufficient resources, these reduction could be backfilled. The May Revise also suspends the statutory cost of living adjustment for all eligible programs.

The May Revise proposes to defer $1.9 billion of LCFF apportionment to the 2020-21 fiscal year. For the 2021-22 fiscal year, the state defers a total of $5.4 billion as follows:  $528 million in April 2021, $2.4 billion in May 2021 and $2.4 billion in June 2021 to an unspecified date.

The Administration plans to engage with the Legislature and stakeholders in the spring and summer to develop a process for the development and adoption of the local control and accountability plan (LCAP) due December 15, 2020. The Administration states that their focus is on equity for vulnerable students, stability for core instructional programs, learning loss mitigation and support for helping schools through this economic downturn.

Learning Loss Mitigation

The May Revise proposes a one-time investment of $4.4 billion in federal funds ($4 billion federal Coronavirus Relief Fund and $355 million federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund) for mitigation of students’ learning loss during school closures. These funds will be allocated to local educational agencies (LEAs) that offer instruction based on a formula which prioritizes students most heavily impacted by school closures, and may be used as follows:

  • Summer programs
  • Extending the instructional school year
  • Providing additional academic services for students (such as materials and devices)
  • Counseling or mental health services
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Access to school breakfast and lunch programs

California also received $1.6 billion in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, of which 90 percent will be distributed to LEAs through Title I-A funding for COVID-19 related costs. The May Revision proposes to use the remaining $164.7 million (10%) in the following manner:

  • $100 million: Grants to county offices of education to support developing networks of community schools, mental health services, and ways to address barriers for high-need students
  • $63.2 million for training and professional development
  • $1.5 million for the Department of Education for operational costs due to COVID-19

Pension Relief

The May Revise reallocates $2.3 billion paid to CalSTRS and CalPERS towards long-term unfunded liabilities to further reduce employer contribution rates in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

Changes from Governor’s January Budget

The May Revise rescinds the Governor’s January Budget Proposals as follows:

Special Education

The May Revise keeps the Administration’s commitment from the January’s budget proposal to improve and support special education. With the reflection of the suspension of the 2.31 percent COLA, it brings the special education base rates to $645 per pupil, an increase of 15 percent from current year, apportioned on a three-year rolling average daily attendance (ADA) of local educational agencies’ ADA, and distributed to SELPA’s. Existing categoricals that are outside of AB 602 will be frozen until a finalized formula is adopted.

 The May Revise includes $15 million in federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds for the Golden State Teacher Scholarship Program to support increasing the teacher pipeline and $7 million to assist LEAs with developing different dispute resolution services and mediation services for cases arising from COVID-19 distance learning service delivery models.

The May Revise also keeps the two work groups as provided in the January proposal but replaces the $1.1 million that was originally proposed from Proposition 98 General Fund and uses federal IDEA funds instead. Two new workgroups are created to 1) study cost out-of-home care and 2) develop an IEP addendum for distance learning. These two new workgroups will be funded by an additional $600,000 received by federal IDEA funds.

K-12 Categorical Programs

The May Revise makes a total of $352.9 million in reductions to all of the following categorical programs:

  • $100 million: After School Education and Safety
  • $79.4 million: K-12 Strong Workforce Program
  • $77.4 million: Career Technical Education Incentive Grant Program
  • $66.7 million: Adult Education Block Grant
  • $9.4 million: California Partnership Academies
  • $7.7 million: Career Technical Education Initiative
  • $3.5 million: Exploratorium
  • $3 million: Online Resource Subscriptions for Schools
  • $2.4 million: Specialized Secondary Program
  • $2.1 million: Agricultural Career Technical Education Incentive Grant
  • $1.3 million: Clean Technology Partnership

Flexibility Proposals

The Administration is committed to working with school districts and stakeholders to offer flexibilities that allow LEAs to make progress in closing the achievement gap of the most vulnerable students and intends to work with the Legislature and education stakeholders on other options to minimize the impact of reduced funding.

The May Revise includes the following programmatic and fiscal flexibilities:

  • Exemptions for LEAs if apportionment deferrals create a documented hardship.
  • Authority for LEAs to exclude state pension payments on behalf of LEAs from the calculation of required contributions to routine restricted maintenance.
  • Subject to public hearing, increases on LEA internal inter-fund borrowing limits to help mitigate the impacts of apportionment deferrals.
  • Authority to use proceeds from the sale of surplus property for one-time general fund purposes.
  • Options for specified special education staff to utilize technology-based options to serve students.
  • Extension of the deadline for transitional kindergarten teachers to obtain 24 college units of early childhood education, from August 1, 2020 to August 1, 2021.

Other K-12 Budget Issues

  • Local Property Tax Adjustments. Increase of $84.5 million Proposition 98 General Fund in 2019-20 and $727 million Proposition 98 General Fund in 2020-21 as a result of lower offsetting property tax revenues in both years.
  • Full-Day Kindergarten Facilities. Decrease of $300 million one-time non-Proposition 98 General Fund for construction of new, or retrofit of existing, facilities for full-day kindergarten programs. The May Revision proposes sweeping these unexpended program funds to facilitate budgetary resiliency.
  • AB 1840 Adjustments. Increase of $5.8 million one-time Proposition 98 General Fund for Inglewood Unified School District and $16 million one-time Proposition 98 General Fund for Oakland Unified School District, amounting to 50 percent of the operating deficit of these districts.
  • Categorical Program Growth: Decrease of $10.9 million Proposition 98 General Fund for selected categorical programs, based on updated estimates of ADA.

Early Education Programs

The May Revision proposes to utilize $350.3 million of federal CARES Act for COVID-19 related child care expenses as follows:

  • $144.3 million for state costs associated with SB 89 expenses, family fee waivers, and provider payment protection.
  • $125 million for one-time stipends for state-subsidized child care providers offering care during the pandemic.
  • $73 million for increased access to child care services for at-risk children and children of essential workers.
  • $8 million to extend family fee waivers until June 30, 2020.

The May Revision continues to propose to consolidate the state’s early learning and child care programs under the Department of Social Services, which maintains $2 million General Fund in 2020-21 to support this proposal.

State Preschool

Absent additional federal funds to mitigate these fiscal decisions, the state will reduce the following programs:

  • $159.4 million General Fund to eliminate 10,000 slots scheduled to begin April 1, 2020 and 10,000 additional slots scheduled to begin April 1, 2021.
  • $130 million Proposition 98 General Fund and $67.3 million General Fund to reflect a 10 percent decrease in State Preschool daily reimbursement rate.
  • $20.5 million Proposition 98 General Fund and $11.6 million General Fund to reflect suspension of a 2.31 percent cost of living adjustment.
  • $3.3 million Proposition 98 General Fund and $3 million General Fund to eliminate a 1 percent add-on to the full-day State Preschool reimbursement rate.

Child Care

The May Revise proposes to reduce the following programs, which would be mitigated if the federal government provides sufficient funds to restore them:

  • $363 million one-time General Fund and $45 million one-time federal Child Care and Development Block Grant funds from the 2019 Budget Act for child care workforce and infrastructure.
  • $223.8 million General Fund to reflect a 10 percent decrease in the Standard Reimbursement Rate and the Regional Market Rate.
  • $35.9 million General Fund to reflect lower caseload estimates in CalWORKs Stage 2 and 3 child care.
  • $25.3 million General Fund to reflect suspension of a 2.31 percent cost of living adjustment.
  • $10 million one-time General Fund from the 2019 Budget Act for child care data systems.
  • $4.4 million one-time General Fund to reduce resources available for the Early Childhood Policy Council, leaving $2.2 million available for 2020-21 and 2021-22.
  • $13.4 million in federal funds is appropriated through the Health and Human Services Agency to reflect the state’s 2020 Preschool Development Grant award.

What to Expect Next

We will report in more detail new and updated proposals when the trailer bill language is released, and will continue to share information on the development of the state budget as events and further analysis warrant.

  • Monday, May 18, 2020 at 1:30 p.m.: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance: May Revise Overview of K-12 education and Early Education Programs. To view, click here.
  • Monday, May 18, 2020 at 1:30 p.m.: Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee: Overview of Governor’s 2020-21 May Revise. To view, click here.
  • Friday, May 22, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 6: Budget Process, Overview & Program Evaluation. To view, click here.
  • Monday, May 25, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.: Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education Finance: May Revise. To view, click here.
Kimberly Rowan No Comments

COVID-19 Covered Coverage Info

Addressing main questions about COVID-19 and how it is covered under your student health insurance plan when you are on-campus, home, or traveling. Each insurance company is different, so please navigate to the one that you are covered by below. You can find information about your insurance company and benefits by locating your plan brochure.

All plans have Preferred Provider Networks with hundreds of providers and hospitals around the nation that will provide the same coverage whether you are on-campus, home, or traveling. You should continue to seek in-network providers to receive the care at the lowest out-of-pocket costs.

Coronavirus Coverage

Aetna/ CVS Health:

  • Aetna will waive co-pays for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19.
  • All other treatments will be paid according to the benefits of your Policy (see Plan brochure).
  • For the next 90 days (as of 3/6/20), Aetna will offer zero co-pay telemedicine visits for any reason. Login to your Aetna Account for access and information.
  • Through Aetna’s Healing Better program, members who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive a care package containing CVS over-the-counter medications to help relieve symptoms.

For more information on the above and additional updates, visit

https://www.aetna.com/individuals-families/member-rights-resources/covid19.html

Anthem:

  • Anthem will waive co-pays, coinsurance, and deductibles for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19.
  • All other treatments will be paid according to the benefits of your Policy (see Plan brochure).
  • Anthem recommends downloading the free Sydney Care mobile app (available for download on iOS and Android) to evaluate your symptoms, and if necessary, connect you to a doctor through a LiveHealth Online video session or a Virtual Care text session right from your phone. Your LiveHealth Online visit will be at no extra cost through June 14, 2020.
  • Anthem is relaxing early prescription refill limits, where permitted, for members who wish to refill a 30-day supply of most maintenance medications early.

For more information on the above and additional updates, visit

California schools: https://www.anthem.com/ca/blog

All other Anthem schools: https://www.anthem.com/blog

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts:

  • BCBSMA will waive co-pays, coinsurance, and deductibles for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19.
  • They will waive co-payments for medically necessary COVID-19 treatment at doctor’s offices, ERs, and urgent care centers.
  • All other treatments will be paid according to the benefits of your Policy (see Plan brochure).
  • 24/7 nurse hotline (888-247-2583) is also available free to all members and offers a safe and convenient clinical resource for minor ailments or questions.
  • Telemedicine is available through Well Connection. Copays for COVID-19 related visits will be waived. Login to your BCBSMA Account for more information.

For more information on the above and additional updates, visit https://home.bluecrossma.com/coronavirus

CareFirst

  • CareFirst will cover medically necessary diagnostic tests that are consistent with CDC guidance related to COVID-19 without member cost-share.
  • CareFirst has eliminated prior authorization requirements for diagnostic tests and covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with CDC guidance for members diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • All other treatments will be paid according to the benefits of your Policy (see Plan brochure).
  • CareFirst is waiving early medication refill limits on 30-day maintenance medications (consistent with a member’s benefit plan) and encouraging members to use their 90-day mail order benefit.
  • 24-Hour Nurse Advice Line – Members can call 800-535-9700 anytime to speak with a registered nurse to discuss their symptoms and get recommendations for the most appropriate care.
  • CareFirst Video Visit – Members can also register for CareFirst Video Visit to securely connect with a doctor, day or night, through their smartphone, tablet or computer. No appointment is necessary.

For more information on the above and additional updates, visit https://member.carefirst.com/members/pop-up/coronavirus-information-and-illness-prevention.page

CDPHP:

  • COVID-19 diagnostic tests prescribed by doctors will be covered in full.
  • There will be no prior authorization for COVID-19 testing.
  • All other treatments will be paid according to the benefits of your Policy (see Plan brochure).
  • For those who think they may have COVID-19, Telemedicine is available at no cost through myERnow. CDPHP members can download the app on their smartphone, or simply call 1-800-ER-ANYWHERE to be connected to a live, emergency medicine provider, or visit cdphp.com/ERAnywhere.

For more information on the above and additional updates, visit https://www.cdphp.com/members/wellness/common-health-topics/cold-and-flu/corona-virus/preventing-spread

MVP Healthcare:

  • COVID-19 diagnostic tests prescribed by doctors will be covered in full.
  • There will be no prior authorization for COVID-19 testing.
  • All other treatments will be paid according to the benefits of your Policy (see Plan brochure).
  • For those who think they may have COVID-19, Telemedicine is available at no cost through myERnow. MVP Healthcare members can call 1-833-myERnow, or visit mvphealthcare.com/myERnow to be connected to a live, emergency medicine provider.

For more information on the above and additional updates, visit https://www.mvphealthcare.com/covid19

UnitedHealthcare:

  • Member cost-sharing will be waived, including copays, coinsurance, and deductibles, for COVID-19 diagnostic testing provided at approved locations in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • Any referral provision will be waived for COVID-19 tests and/or treatment. In the event a claim is denied for no referral, it can be appealed for reconsideration.
  • All other treatments will be paid according to the benefits of your Policy (see Plan brochure).
  • UHC is encouraging members to take advantage of the Virtual Visit capability, available through the HealthiestYou mobile app. UHCSR insureds have access at no charge when it’s included with their UHCSR medical plan. For more information, go to uhcsr.com/MyAccount.
  • Optum is opening its Emotional-Support Help Line, providing access to specially trained mental health specialists to support people who may be experiencing anxiety or stress following the recent developments around COVID-19. Optum’s toll-free helpline number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary.

For more information on the above and additional updates, visit https://www.uhcsr.com/news-main

Wellfleet/ National Guardian Life:

  • Wellfleet/ NGL will cover COVID-19 testing (including ER, telemedicine, urgent care, and office visits) similar to a preventive benefit, waiving co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance for customers when treated by in-network or out-of-network providers.
  • All other treatments will be paid according to the benefits of your Policy (see Plan brochure).
  • Insureds students can use the 24-Hour Nurseline for medical advice at 800-634-7629.

For more information on the above and additional updates, visit

https://wellfleetstudent.com/student-well-being/coronavirus-faq-for-student-health-members/

If you have any further benefit questions related to COVID-19 or any medical issue, please contact the insurance company at the phone number or website located on your health insurance ID card. Stay Healthy!
Kimberly Rowan No Comments

Tips for Studying at Home

  • To study effectively, you need a quiet study space, a calm atmosphere, and a working surface.
  • Writing out goals and intentions is the first step in achieving good study outcomes.
  • Keeping a study schedule requires effective time management, but it takes practice.
  • Practicing self-care will ease your anxiety and promote mental and physical wellness.

Campuses around the world are closing temporarily to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), and an increasing number of students are being forced to continue their studies remotely.

During these challenging times, it can be hard to stay motivated and focused, particularly when world events and news headlines seem to demand your attention from moment to moment.

It’s important to remember that, for right now at least, the only thing you can control is what is right in front of you. You might not be able to alter world events, but you can create a calm, conducive atmosphere that will help you move forward in your studies and career planning.

To help students stay productive while studying remotely, we’ve compiled some essential tips for staying focused at home.

Create a Conducive Study Atmosphere

 

You can’t begin studying or planning unless you have a quiet space to get work done. First, identify a space that works for you and find a working surface, like a desk. Your bedroom might work as a study space, but don’t work on your bed — this is important for good sleep hygiene.Next, create a calming atmosphere that will help you study with minimal distractions and anxiety. Put your phone away, and maybe light a candle or incense. If you want fresh air, open the window and let in some natural light. The cooking concept of mise en place, meaning “everything in its place,” is also instructive for good study habits. Be sure you have everything you need, including things like a snack and beverage, a calculator, a countdown timer, a pen and paper, and noise-canceling headphones. By having these items in place in advance, you can stay focused and avoid getting up and procrastinating on your work.

TIPS FOR A GOOD STUDY SPACE

  • Find a quiet space to get work done and establish a working surface, like a desk.
  • Avoid working or studying on your bed, as this can confuse your body’s sleep schedule.
  • Create a calming atmosphere with scents, fresh air, and natural light.
  • Gather everything you will need in advance, including tools, snacks, and study materials.

Write Out Your Goals and Intentions

A young woman in a wool sweater sits cross-legged on the floor and smiles as she writes in a small journal

First things first: Make a list of everything you aim to complete. Are you striving to pass a test? Do you need to outline a research paper? Do you want to research career opportunities? Make sure you list your goals so that you can create a study schedule that will support them.

Once you set your goal, you can write out the steps you will take to achieve it. A good formula is to make goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. You can also write down subgoals and subtasks that help you define measurable outcomes.

While writing out your goals on a computer is great, sometimes it’s helpful to have a physical connection to what you’re doing. Journals like Moleskine or Passion Planner are stylish ways to stay organized. Or, you can use online tools like Habitica, which offers a way to “gamify your life.”

TIPS FOR ORGANIZING GOALS

  • List your broad goals first, then define specific, measurable actions in your subgoals.
  • Consider defining goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
  • Using a pen and paper is a good way to establish a physical connection to your work.
  • Online tools like Habitica can also help you with tasks and time management.

Create a Study Schedule

A woman sits at a dining table next to a window and consults her notebook and laptop

After you write down your goals, you need to commit time to achieve them. You should plan to create a study or work schedule. How many minutes will you spend reading? Taking practice tests? Searching for sources? Writing? You need to figure out what your end goal is and then create a schedule that matches that.

The most important thing to keep in mind when allocating time to complete tasks is to be specific. For example, for a given window of time, you might write, “30 minutes to complete part one of biology homework.”

Until you are disciplined in your time management, you might also consider using a countdown timer. This will help you stay committed to your work without distractions. For more tips, you can watch this YouTube video that explains how to create a timetable that will work for you.

TIPS FOR CREATING A STUDY SCHEDULE

  • Define an achievable timeframe and tie it to a specific task (e.g., “30 minutes to research primary sources”).
  • If you are unused to time management, start with small time increments and work your way up to larger ones.
  • Using a countdown timer can help you stay focused on your task.

Employ Self-Care Techniques

A woman sits in lotus position on the floor, surrounded by plants and facing an open window, her back turned toward the viewer

Especially when you’re stuck at home, it’s important not to be too hard on yourself with a rigorous study or work schedule. Ensure that you take time away from your books to exercise good self-care.

Self-care consists of a variety of techniques and practices, but all of them generally address physical and mental wellness. To encourage wellness, you first need to take care of some fundamentals, like healthy food and exercise.

You should get at least 20 minutes of aerobic activity a day, which might include running outside or vigorous activity like jumping jacks. For food, make sure you’re eating a balance of nutritious vegetables, proteins, and fats. The temptation to eat junk food while studying is strong, but these foods can drain your energy, and certain stimulants can also cause you to “crash” once their effects wear off.

Aside from healthy food and exercise, you can also explore other self-soothing techniques, like a hot bath or listening to calming music. Meditation is also a good way to reduce anxiety and hone your focus. Several apps are available that can help, such as Headspace and Calm.

TIPS FOR PROPER SELF-CARE

  • Eat nutritious foods and avoid ingesting too much junk foods and stimulants.
  • Plan to get at least 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a day.
  • Try self-soothing techniques after you’re done studying, like hot baths or calming music.
  • Experiment with meditation using popular apps like Headspace and Calm.

In addition to the study tips outlined above, be sure you have a healthy support network. Reach out to friends and parents if you are struggling with anxiety and uncertainty, and also ask them for help if you are finding it difficult to remain self-disciplined.

Friends and family can also help you stay accountable for your studies along with your instructors and other school professionals. Particularly if you’re studying remotely, it’s important to know you’re not alone and that everyone can help support each other.

Kimberly Rowan No Comments

Student Safety and Reducing Sexual Assault Risk

What Students Can Do

Sexual violence can happen to anyone regardless of gender or age. Victims are not responsible for the assault. In fact, predators seek power and control over others, which fuels their actions.

While victims are never responsible for the assault, individuals can take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of attack.

Basic Safety Guidelines

  • Provide information: Students should inform friends and family about their plans, which may include a taxi ride, parties, a late study session, or a date. Important information to provide includes dates and times, names, phone numbers, addresses, and license plate numbers.
  • Share your location: Most smartphones offer the option to share your location with other people for a set amount of time or indefinitely. If individuals end up in a compromising situation, friends or family can provide local authorities with their location.
  • Watch your drink: Predators often slip drugs into their victims’ drinks. Students can reduce the risk of this happening by watching who pours their drink, keeping their drink close, and only accepting sealed drinks.
  • Know your personal limits: Students must identify their sexual boundaries, which can help establish clear communication with partners and reduce compromising situations. No matter the circumstances, students always maintain the right to say no or change their minds.
  • Have a backup plan: Having a backup plan can increase students’ safety. A portable phone charger, emergency cash, jumper cables, and pepper spray can all come in handy.
  • Avoid traveling alone: Students should consider walking to and from class with a buddy, especially at night. Commuters often travel alone. However, carpooling with other students can increase safety and reduce gas expenses. Universities often provide campus police escorts to ensure students’ safety. Using the buddy system at parties and social gatherings is also a good precaution.
  • Explore campus resources: Students can often request campus police escorts. Schools may also provide shuttle buses, emergency phones, and self-defense workshops. Students should also locate campus police and health centers.
  • Use social media with caution: Students often use social media to share their experiences with loved ones. Instead of immediately posting pictures, students should wait until they leave an event to prevent predators from following them. Social media privacy settings can also reduce the risk of sexual assault.
  • Stay secure in dorms and apartments: While dorms and apartments contain fewer entry points than houses, students need to make sure they lock their doors, especially at night. Dorms and apartment complexes also keep extra keys. Students may want to purchase inside door jammers, which prevent even unlocked doors from opening.
  • Utilize multiple routes and well-lit areas: Campuses offer multiple routes to get to the same destination. Individuals who switch routes keep predators from predicting victims’ locations at specific times. While dark shortcuts reduce travel time, students should also stay in well-lit areas at night.

Sexual Assault in Relationships

Terms referring to sexual violence in relationships include intimate partner rape, intimate partner sexual violence, domestic violence, or marital rape. Sexual violence in relationships often transpires alongside emotional or physical abuse. Understanding common warning signs can help victims identify unhealthy behavior and seek help.

For instance, aggressors often attempt to create distance between their partner and their partner’s family. Other abusive partner behaviors include extreme jealousy, insults, destroying property, and preventing a partner from going to work or school. Aggressors may also threaten to harm their partner and take their children away.

Victims of intimate partner sexual violence may find it challenging to press charges for multiple reasons. Victims may feel concerned about the well-being of their children if they come forward. Furthermore, partners financially dependent on the abuser may feel trapped. Victims should not feel responsible for the predator’s actions.

Several organizations exist to help survivors, including the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

  • Contact a support line

    If you’re unsure how to get away from an abusive partner, contact a support hotline for assistance. Loveisrespect and the National Domestic Abuse Hotline both provide 24/7 phone assistance.

  • Don’t blame yourself

    Self-blame is extremely common in abusive relationships. It can be easy to feel trapped in your situation. However, your partner’s abusive actions are absolutely not your fault or a result of weakness on your part. Keep this in mind when you seek help.

  • List safe places

    Know where you can go in case you need to get away from an abusive partner. This might include a campus counseling center, a trusted friend’s dorm room, a survivors’ shelter, or a residence hall staff office.

  • Document hostile communications

    It can be emotionally painful to save threatening messages that your partner sends. However, voice messages, emails, IMs, and other hostile communications can be immensely useful in demonstrating a history of abuse when you speak with counselors or authorities.

  • Seek counseling

    Virtually all college campuses have on-site counselors who are trained to help with domestic violence and other forms of sexual assault. If you can’t find a way to contact a campus counselor directly, ask a residence advisor, professor, or academic advisor to help you explore these resources.

  • Call the police

    If you are being threatened with assault, find a safe place, and call the police immediately.

    After an Assault

    Sexual violence can leave lasting effects on victims, including depression, suicidal thoughts, and drug use. Ninety-four percent of women experience PTSD immediately after the rape, and 30% continue to experience PTSD nine months after being assaulted. Victims can access multiple online resources for support.

    After an Assault: Immediate Steps

    Get to a safe place: Victims of sexual violence often experience fear and disorientation after sexual violence. However, victims need to immediately leave the location where the attack occurred and find a safe place.

    Document what happened: Predators often know their victims. Therefore, survivors should compile proof of communication if applicable. While difficult to consider, victims should not change their clothing or shower because authorities can use kits to confirm the predator’s DNA.

    Reach out for help and support: Victims who go straight to the hospital can access help from local authorities to file a report. However, victims can also contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline, where a trained representative can provide assistance and direction. Students who feel uncomfortable calling the police can use their smartphone to report assault through apps, such as JDoe and Callisto.

    Seek medical attention: Receiving medical attention provides multiple benefits to victims. For instance, health practitioners can collect samples to confirm the identity of predators. In fact, many facilities only allow 72-96 hours for collecting forensic evidence. Healthcare facilities also offer to screen for STIs or medicine that can prevent HIV. Medical practitioners can also help drugged victims.

    Students who experience sexual violence outside of rape should still seek medical assistance. Responses to sexual violence include suicide and severe anxiety.

Kimberly Rowan No Comments

CAR AND INSURANCE BUYING GUIDE

In recent years, several prominent carmakers have introduced discounted rates on new and used vehicles for students; some deals are exclusively offered to those who have recently graduated or are about to finish college, while others are available to enrolled students at any level. Companies benefit from these promotions by reaching out to young men and women as they gain a significant amount of purchasing power for the first time in their lives, while students love these deals because, by the time graduation rolls around, every bit of savings goes a long way.

  • General Motors: The College Student Discount Program from General Motors enables students and graduates to save up to thousands of dollars on eligible new and unused Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC models. Students may purchase up to two vehicles per calendar year under the program.
  • Honda: The Honda College Grad Car Financing Program rewards recent master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degree earners with $500 in cash with the purchase of a 2015 or newer, unused Honda automobile, as well as the option to defer payments for up to three months. The offer is valid for all vehicles listed on the Honda website with a graduation cap icon. Graduates must present proof of employment within 120 days and will not be eligible for the promotion if their credit history is adverse.
  • Hyundai: The Hyundai Grad Program is available to any college student who is planning to graduate within the next six months, or has earned a degree within the last two years. Those eligible will be able to purchase any unused 2014-15 Hyundai model with no down-payment and will receive an additional $400 rebate upon purchasing the vehicle. Buyers may also defer their first payment for up to 90 days. This offer expires on January 4, 2016.
  • Nissan: Under the Nissan College Grad Program, any student who is going to graduate within six months or has earned a degree in the last two years from an accredited two- or four-year institution may receive up to $3,000 off a select 2015 or 2016 Nissan car.
  • Subaru: The Subaru College Graduate Financing Program operates a little differently than other student-friendly carmaker promotions. Students who are set to graduate within six months or have graduated within the last two years from an accredited college or university may be eligible to apply for financing with Subaru and establish credit within their own name. This program exclusively covers unused 2015-16 Subaru models. The maximum financing amount is $25,000; students with an adverse credit history will not qualify for the promotion.
  • Toyota: The Toyota College Graduate Finance Program rewards vehicle buyers with a $750 rebate upon the purchase or lease of a new and unused Toyota model. The program is exclusively available to graduates who will graduate in the next six months or have earned their degree within the last two years. Interested students should visit their local Toyota dealer or call (800) GO-TOYOTA for a list of models covered under the program.
  • Zipcar: For graduates who would rather not purchase a vehicle, Zipcar offers a solid alternative: self-service access to compact cars 24 hours a day without actually owning one. For a low hourly rate (which factors in gas and insurance), clients can utilize a Zipcar for as long as they wish. Zipcar operates in nearly 200 cities in 39 U.S. states (as well as the District of Columbia), and many of the company’s storage facilities are located on or near college campuses.

Insurance

“Good student discounts” have enabled college students across the country to insure their vehicles and use them during the course of their education. These discounts reward students for their good grades by offering full auto coverage at relatively inexpensive premiums; as long as the students maintain good academic standing and avoid collisions or too many traffic fines, the monthly rates will remain low. Here are details about “good student discounts” from five of the country’s top insurance providers.

While most major insurance carriers offer such a discount, these are particularly notable. For each company, provide the following:

  • Allstate: Under the good student discount from Allstate, full-time students 24 years or younger will receive a 20% discount on their monthly premium. Furthermore, the student’s parents will receive a 35% discount on their monthly auto premiums if the student is attending an accredited college or university less than 100 miles from mom and dad’s permanent residence.
  • Esurance: Available in 44 states, the Esurance good student discount is offered to any full-time high school or college student with a GPA of 3.0 or higher (or a “B” average). Those who qualify will save up to 10% on “liability, collision, and medical payments coverages.”
  • Geico: Geico offers a discount for full-time high school and college students between the ages of 16 and 25 that earn a “B” average. Although the discount rate will vary, depending on the state and the policyholders driving history, students can save up to 15% on their premiums and other covered expenses.
  • Nationwide: Full-time high school and college students (ages 16-24) may qualify for the Nationwide good student discount if they earn a “B” average or higher; homeschooled students may also qualify with standardized test scores if they are within the top 20%. The discount can result in savings of up to 15% on monthly premiums.
  • State Farm: High school and college students may qualify for a discount of up to 25% under the State Farm good student discount, and eligible students will also save money after they graduate until they turn 25. Additionally, student drivers who avoid traffic citations and at-fault collisions for three years under a State Farm policy will receive a “Good Driver” discount of 10%.
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Undocumented Student College Guide

Finding and getting into the right college or university can be a daunting task, but it can also lead to extremely rewarding opportunities for career and personal advancement. There are many national programs and state laws that allow undocumented students to attend the college of their choosing. The following guide aims to help these students navigate the many exciting options available to them, in order to reach their educational goals.

According to the National Immigration Law Center, undocumented individuals are defined as foreign nationals who entered the U.S.:

  • without inspection;
  • with fraudulent documents; or
  • legally as nonimmigrants, who then violated the terms of their status by letting their visas expire.

Beyond legal realities, it’s important to remember that many undocumented students are victims of circumstances beyond their control. Most of them were brought to America by their parents at a very young age. They’ve learned English, completed high school, integrated themselves into communities, and they consider themselves Americans.

By recent estimates, 11.3 million undocumented individuals live in the United States. About half come from Mexico, and many others hail from Central America, South America, and Asia. Notably, the undocumented population in the U.S. is relatively young – around 80 percent are 44 years old or younger.

Foreign-Born Population in the US by Region, 2015
Pie chart with 9 slices.
 Currently, undocumented Americans pay $12 billion each year to the Social Security Trust Fund. According to a study by The College Board, undocumented students would pay even more in taxes and help stimulate the nation’s economy if given access to higher education. Additionally, these students would likely undertake community service and display an inclination toward civic engagement.

Undocumented students with excellent grades, ample volunteer experience, and high test scores will find that their path to earning a degree may not be as difficult as they expect. While some states – Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia – prohibit undocumented students from enrolling in public colleges, the majority welcome them and have protections in place to ensure they can reach their full potential. Regardless of their level of social and cultural assimilation, however, undocumented students may face some challenges when it comes to paying for college. For example, undocumented college students are not eligible for federal financial aid and can only receive state financial aid in a handful of states.

According to The College Board’s report, Young Lives on Hold, about 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools every year, and just 5-10% of them enroll in college. While that low number can be primarily attributed to systemic roadblocks, it’s likely that another significant contributor is the common misconception that college simply isn’t a realistic option for these students. Raising awareness of the viability and value of higher education for undocumented students is the first step to promoting their welfare as productive members of the nation’s workforce.

about 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools every year, and just 5-10% of them enroll in college

Not only is a college degree desirable, but it’s also on its way to essentially become a requirement in the U.S. job market. According to a report by the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, 65% of jobs in the U.S. will require some form of education beyond a high school diploma by the year 2020. That same report also states that, at the current production rate, the U.S. will lack five million workers needed to fill those jobs by 2020.

With that in mind, it’s all the more important that undocumented students explore the options and resources available to help them obtain a degree.

Overcoming Obstacles

Many students believe that their undocumented status will prevent them from attending college. These students may live in fear of being exposed and deported should they apply. This should not be a concern for potential college students as it is against the law for colleges to report a student’s immigration status without their permission.

Additionally, they could perceive college as cost-prohibitive because their status makes them ineligible for federal financial aid. While federal financial aid is not an option, there are many financial aid options including scholarships, grants, and private loans to make college more affordable. Undocumented students who are committed to attending college and who fully comprehend the challenges to come can make their educational dreams a reality.

The Path to Citizenship

Many citizens and immigrants consider green cards to be the obvious answer for students who want to become permanent residents in the United States. However, under current law, it’s virtually impossible for undocumented individuals to get a green card. In fact, even applying for one presents a risk that an undocumented individual and their family could be deported.

To apply for permanent residency, undocumented students must first leave the country and apply from a foreign consulate. Current law requires that if a person has been in the U.S. without documentation for more than six months after their 18th birthday, they will be banned from returning to the U.S. for three to ten years. This individual would also become ineligible for a green card as soon as they’ve left the country.

There is no direct path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants; even marrying a citizen does not guarantee that a green card will be approved. Undocumented students, however, do have cause for hope. In 2012, President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Through DACA, qualified undocumented students cannot be deported without legal cause for two years. The program does not lead to citizenship, but it protects undocumented students’ presence in the United States.

The DREAM Act

The federal Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, also known as the DREAM Act, serves as a symbol of hope for undocumented youth. If the act is passed into law, it would give those who were brought to the U.S. as children the opportunity to earn citizenship in the country they know as home.

The DREAM Act, initially proposed in 2001, has gone through many incarnations, all of them rejected by Congress. The latest version, recently introduced as the bipartisan DREAM Act of 2017, represents another opportunity to pave the path to citizenship for undocumented students.

DREAM Act Requirements

Threshold Requirements:
  • 35 years of age or younger at the time the act is passed;
  • younger than 16 at the time of entrance into the U.S.;
  • enrolled in or a graduate from a U.S. higher education institute or have a U.S. high school diploma or GED
At the time of application, undocumented individuals must have:

In its present configuration, the path to citizenship provided by the DREAM Act would be a six-year journey. It would begin with granting “conditional” permanent residency to qualified undocumented immigrants who enroll in college or serve in the military. College or military requirements could be met in a variety of ways, including attending a community college or vocational school or serving in the National Guard. After meeting those requirements, the conditional residency could be upgraded to permanent resident status, a key prerequisite for obtaining U.S. citizenship.

State DREAM Acts

The DREAM Act, should it become law, would also repeal Section 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). That provision discourages states from offering in-state tuition or other higher education benefits to undocumented students by requiring any state that does so to also offer the same tuition rates to citizens and lawful permanent residents who graduated from the state’s high schools but who do not now live in the state.

While the DREAM Act would not require states to provide in-state tuition to undocumented college students, it would repeal the IIRIRA stipulation that forces the states supporting undocumented students to support former state residents as well. This repeal would return authority for such a decision back to the states.
In the time since IIRIRA became law, nearly 20 state legislatures have decided it is worth the Section 505 penalty to offer undocumented college students and all other high school graduates from that state living elsewhere in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities through their own state version of the DREAM Act. In these cases, state laws take precedent over the federal government’s provisions.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program

DACA: A Temporary Fix

After the 112th Congress once again failed to pass the DREAM Act, President Obama directed the Department of Homeland security to initiate the DACA program, which essentially provides guidelines for applying “prosecutorial discretion” when dealing with young undocumented immigrants. Prosecutorial discretion could be interpreted to simply mean not deporting someone without proper legal status if they meet requirements outlined in the DREAM Act for conditional permanent residency. Undocumented students may qualify for DACA consideration if they:

  • were under the age of 31 as of June 15th, 2012;
  • arrived in the U.S. before their 16th birthday;
  • have lived continuously in the U.S. from June 15, 2007, to the present;
  • are physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and upon making a request for DACA consideration;
  • had no lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012;
  • are currently in high school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces;
  • have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and are not considered a risk to national security or public safety
DACA Requests by Year
Total Requests Made to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Navigating DACA

For guidance through the application process for DACA, United We Dream provides a variety of helpful resources, including:

  • an online screening tool to determine DACA eligibility;
  • a student hotline to call for answers to questions or concerns about DACA: 1-800-855-DREAM-D1;
  • text message updates for the latest DACA news

Qualifying for DACA does defer action for a period of two years. This means that those who meet the above criteria are not faced with deportation, and they are considered to be in the U.S. lawfully. They may also apply for employment authorization.

DACA status expires after two years, but renewal is possible. It is recommended that those who qualified for DACA submit their renewal forms no sooner and no later than four months before their two years are through. All forms are submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, and those applying for renewal must prove that they:

    • still, meet the initial guidelines;
    • have not left the U.S. during their deferment (unless for short visits);
    • have lived solely in the U.S. since their initial deferment was approved;
    • are not a threat to public or national safety;
    • have not been convicted of:
      • a felony;
      • a significant misdemeanor (e.g., domestic violence, unlawful possession of a firearm, or a DUI/DWI);
      • three or more non-significant misdemeanors

Only the most recent version of Form I-821D will be accepted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when applying for renewal. Renewal requests that are received earlier than four months before the current deferment expires may be rejected, but the forms may be resubmitted at a date closer to expiration.

Meet Undocumented Student and Activist Carlos Rodriguez

Carlos Rodriguez is a graduate of Seattle University where he earned a B.A. in Public Affairs. As the former Student Body President, he has used his position to talk about issues related to immigration, affordable housing, and homelessness. He has been vocal about his status as an undocumented immigrant in hopes of bringing awareness to the complexity of immigration in the United States.

Can you tell us a little about your academic journey and the process you went through while applying to college?

I had a particularly difficult time in high school because of the recession and tough anti-immigrant laws that made it difficult for my parents to keep a steady income. As a result, I moved to three different states and went to five different high schools. As a first-generation student, my parents could not provide much guidance on the application process, so I had to rely on the help of my school counselors, teachers, and older brother.

In Georgia, undocumented students are prohibited from attending major public universities so I decided to research schools that were more friendly towards undocumented students. Sometimes I would call a university and ask about their acceptance policy towards undocumented students, which made it difficult for me when people didn’t know what an undocumented student was or rudely answered saying I could not apply. After some time, I looked into news articles and op-eds of university presidents that talked about helping undocumented students in higher education, which is how I ended up at Seattle U.

What are the three most important attributes or characteristics an undocumented student should consider when selecting a university experience and why? How important is the community and civic attitude (where the university is located) towards undocumented students when selecting a college to attend? What advice would you give to an undocumented student who is considering college? What was the financial aid process like compared to someone applying as a documented student? What are the ways a college should support undocumented students? Where can students go for help if an issue does arise? Were there things you were unable to do or activities you missed out on in college due to your immigration status? What are some of the things that an undocumented student has to think about in college that someone who has citizenship might not consider?

 

What has inspired you to speak out as an undocumented student? How has your life changed by doing so?

Applying for College

Here’s an encouraging fact that undocumented students should keep in mind when considering college: No federal law requires proof of citizenship for admission to U.S. colleges. Most institutions set their own admission policies. States that place restrictions on undocumented students, like Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Virginia, aren’t doing so to comply with any state or federal law. While it is true that undocumented status limits a student’s choices, it is possible to find a college or university that accepts undocumented students and provides enough funding to make attending feasible. However, students need to do a fair bit of research to determine if a school can accommodate them. Part of this research will involve directly contacting the school and asking questions about the school’s policy on undocumented students and, if it does recognize and accept them, the standard enrollment procedure.

Fear of Disclosure

Thanks to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, it is against the law for school officials to disclose a student’s immigration status without their express permission. Undocumented students should start their college search by asking their high school teachers and counselors for advice. Such mentors may be able to direct students to college admission counselors or pair them with other undocumented students who have either successfully enrolled in college or are aspiring to enroll.

Thanks to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, school officials cannot disclose immigration status about students without their express permission.

Strengthening Your Application

Other than immigration status, undocumented students are no different than any other student. There are some basic ways of helping to ensure they are accepted into a public college or university. Each school has different admissions requirements. Listed here are general things students can do to better their chances of getting into a school.

Work hard and do well in high school

Earning good grades and maintaining a good grade point average shows colleges that students are dedicated to their education.

Take Advanced Placement or college prep classes earn high scores on standardized tests, such as the ACT or SAT

 

Volunteer work and extracurricular activities

The Search for Schools

Because undocumented status renders students ineligible for federal financial aid, access to in-state tuition is a critical factor when it comes to affording education. A majority of America’s undocumented immigrants live in states with laws that permit undocumented high school graduates to pay in-state tuition at colleges and universities.

Some other states without such laws have also taken measures to make college more affordable to undocumented students. Rhode Island’s Board of Governors for Higher Education and the University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents allow in-state tuition at public colleges and universities to students who qualify. Board of Regents’ decisions has also allowed for similar policies in Michigan.

In addition to college opportunities that offer in-state tuition, it is important to start searching online for schools with special programs or student body organizations that support undocumented students. For instance, many of the schools in California, such as UCLA and UC Berkeley, have undocumented student programs that provide services, resources, and support. They also provide information on how students who are ineligible to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can fund their education. Many of the resources available online involve the states that grant in-state tuition rates to undocumented students. However, contacting the admissions offices of schools in other states could still lead to resources and assistance not explicitly offered on the schools’ websites.

Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Created by Title V of the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) program provides funding to not-for-profit colleges and universities where 25% or more of their full-time students identify as Hispanic. HSIs use these government grants to fund on-campus resources and support services that cater specifically to Hispanic students. The HSI program has been heavily promoted by the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU), an organization whose member institutions serve more than two-thirds of all Hispanic college students.

Since the inception of the HSI program, the number of schools so designated has increased along with the number of Hispanic college students in accredited programs. In 2005, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education recognized 245 HSIs. By 2015, the number of recognized HSIs had risen to 472 schools around the country.

Unsurprisingly, California boasts the most HSIs with 159. Texas, Florida, and New Mexico claim the next three spots, with 83, 27, and 23, respectively. In addition, Puerto Rico is home to 65 recognized HSIs.

Community Colleges & Dual-Credit Programs

Hundreds of community colleges around the U.S. allow students to enroll in classes for college credit before they even graduate from high school. Because these courses also count toward high school graduation requirements, they help students save both time and money.

Community colleges typically have the same admissions and tuition policies regarding undocumented students as other institutions in the state. If a state has its own version of the DREAM Act, qualified undocumented students can enroll in and pay for community college courses at in-state tuition rates. Otherwise, these students would be treated as international students and would pay out-of-state tuition.

The Application Process

Anyone seeking to attend a two- or four-year college or university is required to meet the school’s admission requirements. While these can differ from school to school, the application process typically consists of submitting:

  • an online application form;
  • a letter of intent or personal statement;
  • at least one supplemental essay (the topic is typically provided by the school);
  • two or more letters of recommendation from previous teachers;
  • high school transcripts;
  • standardized test scores;
  • application fees

Volunteer experience is essential for any student as it can set a student apart from their competition. For some schools, reporting volunteer work and extracurricular activities is part of the online application form. Other schools may require students to submit resumes that outline their non-academic experiences. Typically, personal essays are used to explain why students want to go to college and how they plan to put their education to use after graduation.

For more information, check out this list of the most common admission requirements, courtesy of The College Board.

Applying to College as a Non-English Speaker

Undocumented students who don’t speak English fluently might have concerns about understanding requirements fully or filling out paperwork properly. These individuals should seek assistance from their high school’s college counselor and/or ELL teachers. Additionally, local language tutors can help explain confusing application questions and documentation requirements. Translation services are also typically available online or at local community centers, but can be cost-prohibitive.

Application Form Concerns

To thoroughly and accurately complete a college application form, it’s likely that undocumented students will need to track down some amount of paperwork. This ranges from the standard recommendations, transcripts, and test scores to any particular requests of the school for evidence of how long the student has been in the U.S., schools they’ve attended, and places they’ve lived.

In some cases, due to geographic separation, undocumented students may be unable to receive help with applications from parents or other family members, the people in their lives who may be the best at directing them to required documentation. In these instances, the students should seek help from high school guidance counselors or even the admissions office at the school they’re hoping to apply to.

Because they are undocumented, it is important that these students be prepared to address two major issues on an application:

Country of citizenship: In California, for example, the option “No Selection” is the recommended response for undocumented applicants, including those with DACA status. The “No Selection” response allows undocumented students to skip other questions about permanent residency and visa status that are not applicable.

Social Security number: Simply skip this question. No other numbers, such as an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or an Alien Number gained with DACA status, can be substituted.

Talking About Undocumented Status

Students should never misrepresent their immigration status, and they need to think carefully about the best way to explain their situation when talking to college advisors and completing written applications. Choose Your Future, a resource for prospective high school and college students, provides a pros and cons list in its “Undocumented Students: DREAMer’s Pathway to College” article regarding how to discuss an undocumented status.

It is important for students to know that application advisors, admission officers, and financial aid counselors are not allowed by law to report undocumented students to the USCIS. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits schools from providing information on a student’s immigration status to federal immigration agents. What students tell their counselors and potential schools cannot typically serve as incriminating evidence against them, and their advisors may be able to point them to resources that will help them gain a temporary legal status through DACA.

Focusing on the Positive

An undocumented student will, justifiably, want to emphasize the challenges they have overcome in their applications as evidence of their character and perseverance. In many cases, admissions essays or interviews involve questions about these hardships. It’s important that students do not let their undocumented status be the factor that defines them. While discussions of their status may be used to illustrate how hardship was overcome, students should try to focus on their grades, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities as much as possible. It is important for students to shine as individuals when applying for college, and they should remember that being undocumented does not make them who they are.

Students may also want to inform admissions officials of their need for financial assistance, but they should avoid language that makes them sound like victims of an unjust system. Stating that finding financial aid for undocumented students is difficult should not become a rant against higher education. These concerns should be brought to a financial aid office or counselor who has the resources to help students find the funding they need.

Financing an Education

Victor C. Romero, an acclaimed law professor from Penn State recently wrote, “Undocumented status and poverty are mutually reinforcing obstacles to [educational] advancement.” In other words, undocumented college students can earn an education to help improve their financial situation, but they have to find a way to pay for that education first. That’s difficult for anyone, undocumented or not.

Almost a third of the undocumented individuals living in the U.S. are below the poverty line. Twice that many lack health insurance. Without a Social Security number, undocumented students cannot complete the FAFSA. Therefore, they aren’t eligible for any federally funded financial aid, like federal loans, grants, scholarships, or work-study money.

Without an SSN, undocumented students are ineligible for federal financial aid.

Any student who does have an SSN should complete a FAFSA.

How to Fill out the FAFSA as an Undocumented Student

  • The FAFSA does not require the citizenship status of the applicant’s parents but does request their SSNs. Applicants must write in “000-00-0000” as the SSN for any parent or legal guardian who is undocumented.
  • Applicants will encounter the following question: “Are you a U.S. citizen?” Undocumented students must check the box for “No, I am not a citizen or eligible noncitizen.”
  • The form also features questions about the “legal state of residence” for the applicant and their parents. The correct answer will vary, as each U.S. state has different requirements for legal state residency. Applicants should consult their high school career counselor before completing this section.
  • The online FAFSA form features an IRS Data Retrieval tool that allows applicants to submit their tax information and that of their parents. If the applicant or their parents did not file an income tax return during the previous year, then tax information may be entered manually.

In most states, undocumented college students are not eligible for state-funded financial aid, either. However, some states do grant eligibility for state financial aid to undocumented students who qualify for in-state tuition, including California, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington. Check out The College Board’s Repository of Resources for Undocumented Students for more information.

Additionally, there are other forms of financial assistance available to undocumented college students. These include private loans (which require a resident co-signer), institutional aid (only available in states with their own version of the DREAM Act), and private scholarships

Another potential financial recourse for undocumented students is an Individual Development Account (IDA). Available to low-income households, IDAs act as savings accounts where funds are matched by a variety of public and private sources. IDAs are a great way to build up savings without incurring debt or accruing interest.

Scholarships

Scholarships are the most common way that undocumented students are able to pay for college. Some private institutions, free to set their own financial aid policies, award scholarships and other forms of aid to undocumented students. Most private scholarship funds and foundations require applicants to be U.S. citizens or legal residents, but there are exceptions.

The best place to start searching for scholarships is through a high school counselor who can connect students with organizations that provide access to, and information on, scholarships geared towards undocumented students. These groups may also direct users to general scholarships that do not have a citizenship or residency requirement to qualify. Three examples of such organizations are described below:

Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF): This civil rights organization, which has fought for the rights of the Latino community since 1968, provides several scholarships for students who want to take up the cause.

Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC): Seeking to fill resource gaps for undocumented students, and to help them reach their educational, professional, and personal goals, E4FC provides frequently updated lists of scholarships for undocumented students at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

TheDream.US: Partnering with more than 75 colleges and universities around the country, TheDream.US works to promote access to higher education for DACA recipients and students with Temporary Protected Status by providing scholarships and other support services.

Schools in the states that offer in-state tuition to undocumented students may also have scholarships available. Though undocumented students are typically unable to submit the FAFSA, they should contact schools’ financial aid offices before applying to determine how much aid they can receive.

Once students find scholarship opportunities, they need to:

  • research the organizations carefully to understand who is eligible for scholarships;
  • take the time to complete applications correctly and thoroughly;
  • double- and triple-check that all the requirements are met and all the supporting documents are included with the application.

It is against the law for a school to report a student’s immigration status, so students should not let the fear of deportation stop them from pursuing higher education. Undocumented students who ask for assistance when they need it, do their due diligence on schools’ requirements and resources, and stay persistent in pursuit of their goals will find the academic success they seek.

Check out our guide to scholarships for Hispanic and Latino students for more information on financial aid opportunities including scholarships and grants.

Know Your Rights

To maximize their potential for academic success, all undocumented students should fully understand their legal rights and be aware of the resources available to them. Even without the passage of the federal DREAM Act, these students are entitled to certain protections and opportunities on their path to earning a degree.

Perhaps the most crucial fact for undocumented students to remember is that there is no federal law that requires proof of citizenship status for admission or matriculation at any U.S. college or university. Because of a common misconception to the contrary, millions of undocumented individuals are missing out on the opportunity to gain an education, improve their employment prospects, and contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy.

In addition to their rights under state mini-DREAM Acts and DACA, undocumented students have the right to block disclosure of their education records by schools (except in special circumstances) under FERPA. Under the law, any government authority seeking access to such information needs a court order or a warrant. Thanks to FERPA, students don’t have to worry about hiding their undocumented status from school officials — even during the application process.

Navigating the College Experience as an Undocumented Student

With all the research, forms, documentation, and procedures involved in choosing and applying to colleges, it can be surprisingly easy to neglect preparation for the actual college experience itself. Here, again, undocumented students must consider their special situation and ready themselves for potential challenges unique to their status.

Feelings of Anxiety and Isolation

First-time college students often experience anxiety living away from home in an unfamiliar environment. That anxiety can be exacerbated for undocumented students, who might fear deportation for themselves and their family members. To address this concern, schools around the country are enforcing protections for undocumented students by refusing to allow immigration agents on campus without a warrant and withholding students’ immigration status in the absence of a subpoena. Some “sanctuary campuses” even offer free legal services to undocumented students.

Additionally, it’s fairly common for undocumented students to feel a sense of separation from their classmates who don’t have to worry about things like the promised repeal of DACA or immigration raids. These feelings of isolation typically begin in adolescence, when undocumented teens can’t share core developmental experiences with their documented friends like earning their driver’s license, casting their first vote in a presidential election, or getting their first job. This divide can be reinforced in college, where undocumented students’ personal budgets — often stretched tight due to their inability to receive federal funding — can preclude them from joining expensive group activities.

Fortunately, several campuses across the U.S. feature groups for undocumented immigrants where these students can voice needs and concerns, advocate for their rights, and receive support from others who empathize with their situation. Columbia University’s Undocumented Students Initiative, for example, maintains an active Facebook page where members can contribute to a public dialogue and access information on internship opportunities and the like. United We Dream, an organization that supports and fosters higher education opportunities for undocumented students, puts on a “Coming out Day” in support of undocumented students. They encourage schools and professionals to pledge solidarity with these students in order to help them reach their full potential.

Activities, Events, and Opportunities On and Off-Campus

Although an SSN or U.S. citizenship usually isn’t required for the majority of student activities on and off a typical college campus, there are instances where undocumented students will find themselves disadvantaged or disallowed from participating.

Studying abroad as an undocumented student is possible through advanced parole options given by USCIS. When traveling abroad for school, this advanced parole is necessary to ensure there are no problems or delays when returning home.

Certain extracurricular activities may be unavailable to undocumented students. Although DACA students can receive work authorization, many internships and volunteering opportunities — particularly those funded by government grants — require an SSN or proof of citizenship. For all other opportunities, it’s important to note that employers cannot legally discriminate against applicants on the basis of their employment authorization.

Even more casual activities can create problems for undocumented students. While a documented student might not think twice about joining an on-campus protest or signing a petition, their undocumented peers hesitate before associating with political dissenters or putting their names on a list. Similarly, all kinds of forms — from scholarship applications to intake papers at the doctor’s office — ask for an SSN, leaving undocumented students wondering what to do.

Beyond academic and professional opportunities, undocumented students may also struggle in social endeavors. While typical students may fear getting busted for underage drinking, undocumented students have bigger problems to worry about when it comes to dealing with the police. In fact, any situation involving law enforcement — even simply being a victim or witness of a crime — can trigger feelings of trepidation for these students as soon as they’re asked for identification.

Additional Resources

College Resources for Undocumented Students

  • BigFuture: A comprehensive guide to college created by The College Board, this site offers resources specifically for undocumented students like articles, testimonials, and financial aid calculators.
  • Questions and Answers – Financial Aid and Undocumented Students: This site provides information from the U.S. Department of Education on various sources of financial aid available to undocumented students and their accompanying requirements.
  • United We Dream: United We Dream works to promote collaboration among immigrant students along with engagement in community efforts to improve educational opportunities for undocumented students.
  • “For Undocumented Students: Questions and Answers About Paying for College”: This FAQ-style page from The College Board answers common questions on financial aid for undocumented students and provides helpful advice on how to cut costs.
  • My Undocumented Life: This blog provides up-to-date information on resources and scholarships that pertain to undocumented immigrants. They strive to provide a sense of community for all of their readers.

Legal Resources for Undocumented Students

  • Immigrant Legal Resource Center: Promoting a society that respects the rights and welfare of all people, the ILRC works with immigrants, community organizations, and lawyers to advocate for the rights and education of undocumented individuals.
  • National Immigration Law Center: Since 1979, the NILC has advocated for the rights of low-income immigrants through litigation, policy analysis, and communication strategies. The organization also provides training, educational materials, and legal advice.
  • National Immigration Legal Services Directory: This site provides a search tool that allows users to locate free or low-cost legal services dealing with immigration in their area. The directory includes over 900 immigration lawyers in all 50 states.
  • United We Dream: This is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country.  They offer resources and programs to advocate for further higher education opportunities for undocumented students.
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Resume 101

What’s the Difference Between a Resume and CV?

CV stands for “curriculum vitae,” which translates to Latin for “course of life.” On the other hand, “resume” is French for “summary.” Job applicants submit these documents along with other materials to obtain an interview. The information they contain should reflect the candidate’s best skills and experiences, with emphasis on how these qualities make them the perfect person for the position in question. While some companies and organizations use “resume” and “CV” interchangeably, significant differences exist between these two terms.

Resumes and CVs differ in length, with the former ranging from 1-2 pages and the latter regularly exceeding two pages. Length ties in with content. A resume is short because it should contain only the academic history, professional history, and demonstrable skills relevant to the position. CVs provide more details because they reflect a professional’s full academic credentials, including their education, research experience, publications, and official accolades.

In general, candidates submit resumes for nonprofit, public, and industry work. They provide CVs when applying for academic careers, fellowships, and grants. These differences predominantly exist in the U.S. and Canada. Asian, European, and African companies operate using distinct standards that job seekers should confirm prior to sending in their application materials.

1. Check Out Samples Resumes and Cover Letters

Job seekers often find it challenging to create cohesive resumes and cover letters, a process made even more difficult if they have to stare at a blank page. Fortunately, online samples abound and provide a starting point that candidates can use to jump-start their own applications. Job listing and professional networking websites like Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn offer resume and cover letter samples for all career fields. In addition, college students can look to their university’s career center for examples of effective application materials. Candidates should also ask their network (like colleagues or fellow members of professional associations) for successful resume/cover letter samples.

Templates are useful for helping job seekers visualize the basic structures of resumes and cover letters and layout their own qualifications in a way that best emphasizes their strengths. This guide examines formatting in the next section.

Resume/cover letter templates also give job seekers a good understanding of industry-specific terminology. Recruiters often scan for these terms because they indicate a prospect’s hands-on experience in the field. Using the correct language can also assist with meeting the standards of a company’s applicant tracking system. Ultimately, templates help job seekers display information cogently. Professionals should still take the time to personalize their resumes and cover letters to the specifications of individual positions.

2. Explore Formatting Options

After job seekers explore available resume and CV types, they should pick formats that align with both their qualifications and the position in question. At best, these document types offer malleable frameworks that enable professionals to set themselves apart from other keen applicants. At worst, they are a crutch. Overreliance on a particular format or template can lead to a generic application that recruiters quickly toss aside.

Professionals should ensure resumes and CVs reflect their unique skills and experiences while maintaining a uniform visual appeal. In general, resumes offer more variability for structure and content than CVs. The following sections examines resume and CV formats and the differences between the two documents.

 

Dos and Don’ts

Do Don’t
  • Personalize the resume and cover letter for each application
  • Conduct thorough research on the position and company
  • Provide detailed but concise information
  • Proofread for grammar, spelling, and content
  • Use weak verbs, generic phrases, cliches, or jargon
  • Include too many colors, pictures, or complex/inconsistent formatting designs
  • Lie or otherwise provide misleading information
Kimberly Rowan No Comments

Student Buying Guide Entertainment

College students are inundated with routine expenses. From tuition payments and course materials to monthly rent and utility bills, the costs associated with higher education can be quite significant, and not very flexible where leisure and entertainment are concerned. According to 2013 data from Marketing Charts, discretionary spending accounted for roughly 28% of college student expenditures in 2013. The remaining 72% went toward expenses for education and maintaining a residence.

Students able to create an effective budget plan and maintain a frugal lifestyle will be able to spend their money on meals, movies, concerts, nice clothing, and other non-essential purchases. Thankfully, many companies help mitigate these costs even further by providing discounts exclusively for enrolled college students. This article features a comprehensive list of restaurant chains, clothing retailers, and other companies with special offers geared toward students on a budget.

Important Note: Some of the deals and promotions listed on this page will only be available at participating business locations.

Tips for Saving on Entertainment

Before we begin, here are a few tips for all college students who would like to save money on non-essential purchases:

  • Bring your student ID everywhere: As you’ll see from the list below, many discounts are contingent on the customer displaying a valid student identification card.
  • Plan leisurely activities carefully: Breakfast options in restaurants tend to be cheaper than dinners, while matinee performances are less expensive than evening shows. Magazine subscriptions, clothing items, and other purchases may also be cheaper during certain times of the year (such as the post-holiday months).
  • Sign up on a mailing list: Many companies will enable customers to register for email notifications about discounts, promotions, and other savings opportunities.
  • Visit online coupon sites: Groupon and Livingsocial are two of the most popular websites that provide deals on meals, live entertainment, and other leisurely activities. Additionally, StudentRate.com features deals and promotions reserved for enrolled college students.
  • Purchase a company discount card: The Student Advantage Card allows collegiate men and women to enjoy deals at dozens of different participating chains. The International Student Identity Card can be used at thousands of business locations located in more than 100 different countries (including the United States).

Food

College students spent roughly $42.1 billion on food in 2013, nearly double what they spent on clothing and entertainment. Although many students adhere to a strictly cost-effective diet of home-cooked meals, most young people relish the opportunity to enjoy a meal out with friends. Here are some of the nationwide restaurant chains that offer discounted dining options for college students.

  • Arby’s: The nationwide sandwich chain (known for its roast beef offerings) awards a 10% discount to all students who present a valid student ID. More deals are available for customers who sign up for an Arby’s Insider membership.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings: Especially popular with sports fans, B-Dubs offers a 10% discount to college students with a valid student ID. Some participating stores offer additional deals, such as weekly discounts on boneless chicken tenders, wings, and other menu items.
  • Burger King: College students receive a 10% discount with valid student ID when they dine at Burger King. Certain food and beverage items are also offered at reduced rates on the BK Fresh Offers menu.
  • Chipotle: Students who present a valid ID at Chipotle locations will receive a complimentary drink with their food purchase.
  • Dairy Queen: Many DQ locations award a 10% discount to students with a valid ID. Other promos include the ‘$5 Lunch’ and deals available through the Blizzard Fan Club.
  • McDonald’s: College students who visit the Golden Arches will receive a 10% discount when they present a valid ID. The chain is known for numerous promotions and discounts that tend to rotate on a monthly basis.
  • Papa John’s: Students who register with the Papa Rewards program and earn enough points from food and beverage orders will receive a complimentary pizza.
  • Pizza Hut: Pizza Hut offers a rotating menu of discounts on various dinner options. Recent deals include a garlic parmesan pizza for $10, eight boneless chicken wings for $5, and a ‘Big Dinner Box’ (complete with two pizzas, breadsticks, and wings) for $19.99.
  • Qdoba: College students with a valid ID will receive a complimentary beverage with meal purchases. The Qdoba Rewards program also includes a free birthday entree and the chance to earn complimentary meals by accruing points from other purchases.
  • Subway: Students who visit Subway will receive a 10% discount by showing a valid student ID. The restaurant chain also features a floating ‘Simple $6’ menu, as well as a list of monthly discounts.

Entertainment

Although course attendance and studying will constitute the bulk of a college student’s regular schedule, many enjoy seeing movies, attending concerts, visiting museums, and engaging in other “entertaining” activities when they are away from campus. Here are a few entertainment companies and venues that award various discounts to enrolled college students.

  • AMC Theatres: Select AMC locations will award a discount on movie tickets for students with a valid ID who choose to see a show on Thursday evenings.
  • Cinemark: Participating in Cinemark theaters in 28 states award student discounts on movie showings (exact amounts will vary by location).
  • Harkins Theatres: Select Harkins locations throughout the U.S. Southwest offer discounts to student moviegoers who present a valid ID.
  • Regal: Select Regal Cinemas locations offer student discounts for all guests who present a valid ID, as well as military service members, veterans, children, and senior citizens.
  • Spotify: This advertisement-free, online music provider reduces the monthly premium for college students by 50%.
  • Museums and Performance Halls: In addition to nationwide chains, many individual entertainment venues offer discounted rates to the many college students that visit their establishments throughout the year. These include the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall performance venues in New York City, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, and the New England Aquarium. Please visit the websites of entertainment venues near you to learn more about student-friendly deals.

Clothing and Retail

For college students on a budget, there is a notable difference between essential clothing items and fashionable garments and accessories. Nonetheless, the following reputed brands offer discounted rates on certain items at participating locations for students. Additionally, students would be smart to keep an eye out for semi-annual sales and shipping promotions for online purchases.

  • Ann Taylor: By signing up for the ‘Style for Students‘ program at Ann Taylor, students who present a valid ID will receive a discount up to 20% on clothing items. This offer is not valid at Ann Taylor LOFT locations.
  • Banana Republic: Students and teachers can receive a discount on clothing purchases of up to 15% at select Banana Republic locations by signing up for the ‘Style with Class‘ promotion.
  • Club Monaco: A discount of up to 20% is available for men’s and women’s clothing at Club Monaco (both in-stores and online) for college students who sign up for the chain’s student promotion.
  • J.Crew: With the ‘J. Crew Teacher and College Student Discount‘ promotion, all customers who present a valid ID will receive a discount of up to 15% for in-store purchases.
  • Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores: High school and college students receive a discount of 10% on all Jo-Ann purchases. Eligible students will also receive two coupons that may be used to buy items in-store and/or online.
  • Madewell: Students who present a valid ID for in-store Madewell clothing purchases will receive a discount of 15%.
  • Medelita: One of the country’s largest suppliers of professional laboratory attire, Medelita offers a 15% discount on scrubs, lab coats, and other items for eligible students who complete the online form.

Subscriptions and Memberships

A number of magazines, online retailers, and other businesses offer memberships that include purchase deals, free shipping, and other perks. Some will sweeten the deal even further by discounting the member price for college students.

  • Amazon: The Amazon Student program is available to students who sign up after March 20, 2014, for a membership rate of $49. The program includes six months of free two-day shipping for all eligible Amazon.com purchases (including items bought through Amazon Prime).
  • The Economist: Students can receive a discounted subscription of this popular news magazine for $96 for all online and print articles, which equals roughly $1.88 per week. A standard one-year subscription without the discount comes to roughly $3.14 per week.
  • The New York Times: All print and digital articles from the NYT are available at half-price for currently enrolled college students.
  • Sam’s Club: College students who sign up for the Essential Savings program at Sam’s Club will receive a complimentary $15 gift card and access to various discounts and promotions throughout the year at participating locations.
  • The Wall Street Journal: Thanks to the ‘Student Journal‘ promotion, college students can gain access to print and digital articles from WSJ for only $1 per week.

Services

In addition to the leisure and entertainment-oriented expenses listed above, the following companies provide automotive care, moving vehicle rentals, Internet access, and other useful services at a discounted rate for college students.

  • AWeber Communications: This Internet and technology provider offers a 20% discount to all student clients with a valid college email address (i.e., one that ends with .edu or .ac).
  • Budget Truck Rental: Students with a valid ID will receive a 20% discount for local moves and a 15% discount for one-way long-distance relocations when they rent a moving truck from Budget. This offer is valid seven days a week.
  • Collegeboxes: This service from U-Haul allows current students to register online for free package pick-up and delivery, as well as discounts on different national and international storing and shipping options.
  • FedEx: Students who present a valid ID will receive a 30% discount on documents mailed through FedEx Pak and a 20% discount on packages shipped through FedEx IP service.
  • Penske Truck Rental: College students with a valid ID will receive not only a 10% discount when they rent a Penske truck for one-way moves but an additional 10% discount for booking the vehicle online, as well. No underage surcharges will be applied for individuals between the ages of 18 and 23, and all Penske vehicles are equipped for 24/7 roadside assistance.
Kimberly Rowan No Comments

Everything for Internships

Your Guide to Internships

As the global job market becomes increasingly competitive, employees need to acquire as many skills and as much experience as possible. Internships represent temporary positions that college students often pursue to set themselves apart from the rest of the job candidate pool. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reports that more than 91% of employers prefer applicants with work experience. Of this group, 56% state they prefer industry-specific internships over volunteer work.

Colleges and universities understand the value of relevant work experience to employers and graduate schools. They provide dedicated resources such as career counselors and internship placement programs and often require students to complete an internship as part of their degree plan. Internships offer invaluable hands-on training in a real-world setting and provide opportunities to build professional relationships with peers, industry experts, and potential employers.

This guide contains information to help you obtain and complete internships. You will gain insight into the application process and common intern responsibilities. The guide also provides strategies for maximizing the benefits of working as an intern.

You should begin your search early and use every resource to find the perfect internship. Seek the support of friends, peers, mentors, and family. Colleges and universities provide ample resources including counseling services and internship fairs. Websites represent another major source for internships, particularly remote positions and international opportunities. The following sections explore these internship search tools in greater detail.

Your College Career Center

Every college and university operates a career center that provides job counseling, application tips, and resources for internship seekers. By finding an internship through your school’s career center, you can rest assured the experience meets university standards for skill development and employee safety. You also stand a better chance of translating internship hours into course credit. Furthermore, by enlisting the assistance of an academic counselor, you can better negotiate compensation and flexible schedules.

Your Local Community

By completing internships locally, you not only save money on housing and travel but also cultivate lasting relationships with community associations and local employers. If you know the field of work or the kind of position you wish to pursue, inquire with relevant businesses, organizations, and government agencies. Some companies advertise internship positions on their websites while others prefer to offer work to candidates who seek them out. You can explore diverse possibilities by asking for the guidance of nonprofits and through public libraries.

Your Network

Be sure to talk to friends and family members with similar career interests for potential internship leads. Former employers, mentors, and coaches can also provide valuable advice since they know you on a professional level and can vouch for your character and work ethic. University faculty and departmental administrators often possess in-depth knowledge of the field you want to work in and can provide guidance and connections.

Online Resources

You can find internships that match your short- and long-term career goals through Internships.com and InternshipFinder. Websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and WayUp can help you find remote internships. You can search for government-sponsored positions through Go Government and internships centered on sustainability through Green America. Idealist.org publishes internship positions in the nonprofit sector. Learn4Good enables you to search for internships based on relevant academic majors. Websites like The Washington Center, SmartIntern China, GoAbroad, and International Internships LLC focus on opportunities in specific geographic regions.

Networking Events

Networking events, whether in-person or virtual, offer valuable opportunities for finding internships. Inquire with your school’s career center and academic departments about upcoming social gatherings and internship fairs. You can seek out events in your community through websites like Eventbrite and National Career Fairs. Academic associations (like honor societies) and professional organizations also facilitate networking events for members and, occasionally, the general public. You can learn how to cultivate relationships with colleagues and mentors by accessing this networking guide.

Internship Application Tips

As with any other job, acquiring an internship requires you to plan and navigate the application process carefully. The following four sections offer information on how and when to apply. You’ll also learn about strengthening your resume, cover letters, and professional portfolio by highlighting transferable skills and relevant accomplishments. These aspects are particularly important to first-time interns who may not possess industry-specific competencies and experiences. Lastly, you’ll gain insight into the interview process.

Apply Early and Widely

Apply early to a diverse array of positions — but only after you have clearly identified your internship goals and interests. While it may seem overwhelming to juggle numerous requirements and deadlines, a well-organized spreadsheet and automated email/SMS reminders go a long way in helping you manage this process.

April and May are the busiest months for internship applications because many candidates seek summer positions. If possible, submit your documents as soon as a position opens. Many organizations start accepting summer internship applications in the fall and notify candidates over winter break. Year-round internships with rolling admissions offer an alternative to the highly competitive summer positions.

Strengthen Your Resume and Cover Letter

Your resume and cover letter are essential components of a successful internship application. You can and should use templates to help craft these documents. However, be sure to personalize each resume and cover letter for the position to which you are applying. Employers often reject candidates if they spot generic application materials since this indicates a general lack of effort.

When writing your resume, place the most relevant skills and academic and professional experiences at the top. First-time interns should focus on transferable knowledge and skills, specific coursework, and extracurricular achievements that, although unrelated, nonetheless add value to the position and can facilitate organizational success. Expound on these points in your cover letter and during the interview. For additional tips, visit this resume and cover letter guide.

Attach a Portfolio (as Appropriate)

A portfolio is a collection of your projects and deliverables. Depending on your field of study, a portfolio may be a required component of an internship application. For example, graphic design interns are usually asked to present their best works in paper and digital formats. Companies may ask business-oriented students to present marketing campaigns, statistical research reports, and strategic plans. Journalism internships typically require candidates to submit articles or features. Even when not required by the organization, your portfolio should reflect your best work that relates to the internship.

Preparing for an Interview

One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to submit a detailed and honest resume. Employers who discover that a student lied on an application can justifiably end the interview or terminate a position.

Be sure you understand the dress code for the organization and industry, and dress appropriately for the interview. Research the position thoroughly. This will empower you to provide detailed answers and ask the right questions. Demonstrate your passion for and knowledge of the internship position; the company’s products, services, and mission; and pertinent trends in the industry. To gain additional insight into this step, visit the interview guide.

How to Succeed as an Intern

While internships should predominantly benefit students, the experience also needs to yield value for employers. The remaining sections delve into strategies you can implement to maximize your performance and build a foundation for future opportunities.

Before the internship begins in earnest, you should take advantage of the transition period to become familiar with company policy and culture. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Friendly competition exists in all work settings, but supervisors, personnel, and other interns typically welcome inquiries and offer guidance where they can.

Be Professional

Treat your internships, whether paid or unpaid, as actual jobs with expectations for professional conduct and personal behavior. Dress appropriately and show up on time. During work hours, maintain a friendly, professional demeanor. Greet co-workers and engage in conversation, but avoid gossip and office politics.

In the age of social media, where individuals face backlash and lose jobs over incendiary tweets, you must cultivate a businesslike online presence. Clean up your Facebook and Twitter profiles and update your LinkedIn information. Being professional also means staying off your phone while on the job, unless a task explicitly requires it.

Fulfill Your Responsibilities … and Go Beyond

In return for valuable training and real-world experiences, companies expect interns to perform menial tasks. Successful interns handle grunt work with enthusiasm. By demonstrating that they can successfully complete the most basic duties, interns gain access to more important responsibilities.

To cultivate work relationships, you should go out of your way to assist colleagues. Ask your supervisor to schedule regular meetings to clarify expectations and confirm deadlines. Volunteer for additional work within reason, but be sure to complete assignments correctly and on time. Lastly, the best interns ask for feedback from superiors and colleagues. Receive any criticism with grace and apply the lessons in future assignments.

Soak Up Knowledge

Internships are learning experiences that allow students to soak up as much knowledge and practical skills as they can. You should not shy away from asking specific and appropriate questions of your colleagues and supervisors. They may not always provide helpful answers, but at the very least, the act of asking signals to the company’s leaders that an intern possesses the drive to grow and succeed.

Effective interns cultivate skills and knowledge beyond their immediate role. They keep updated on industry trends by exploring online platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Reddit. Students can also learn about pertinent issues in their field by reading professional magazines and research journals.

Socialize and Network

In addition to engaging informal introductions, you should socialize as appropriate with your colleagues to build camaraderie. Work friendships can help you succeed in your internship and build the groundwork for career entry and advancement later on. You can forge work friendships by completing your own tasks and assisting others with their duties. At the same time, you’ll be viewed by co-workers as helpful, hardworking, and trustworthy.

Try to attend every social and networking event your organization facilitates. Pursue mentorships, which often grow out of the working relationships between interns and their colleagues/supervisors. Focus your attention on the individuals who take a concerted interest in your success. Ask potential mentors out for coffee or lunch (while maintaining workplace propriety). For more tips on cultivating a lasting mentorship, check out this networking guide.

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Clarifying the California Department of Education (CDE) Athletic Teams Health Coverage Requirements; Education Code § 32221

A Closer Look At Your School District’s Athletic Teams’ Health Care Obligations

Education Code § 32221 Student Insurance

SUMMARY

There currently are a variety of regulations and programs (i.e., Medi-Cal, Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare, and other government sponsored health insurance plans) which must be considered and must be coordinated in compliance with § 32221 et seq. of the Education Code. The following is intended to provide you (County, District Superintendents, Charter School Counselors, State Special School Administrators, Presidents, Chancellors, Athletic Directors, Athletic Trainers, Campus Health Center Personnel, and anyone responsible for the processing of claims for injuries under Education Code § 32221) with helpful guidance and clarification of many of the recent changes in State and Federal laws which have a direct impact on Education Code § 32221.

In California, the Medicaid program is known as Medi-Cal and is jointly financed by federal and state funds. It’s our goal to make our clients aware of Medi-Cal benefits for students and athletes who sustain injuries which are covered under the college’s accident insurance program. The college’s accident insurance plan is secondary to all available individual insurance, unless the individual policy is Medi-Cal, Medicaid, Medicare, Tri-care and any other government-sponsored insurance plan.

What does the law say exactly?

The law is very clear that when a beneficiary is eligible for Medi-Cal and another insurance policy, the other insurance policy pays before Medi-Cal and that ‘other insurance policy’, includes the district/college’s accident insurance.

Education Code § 32221 Requirement

Education Code § 32221 requires that athletic team insurance must be provided at the expense of the school districts (1) only in the event that a student does not otherwise have insurance or a reasonable equivalent of health benefits coverage, and (2) only if the student cannot afford such insurance or health benefits coverage. If this is the case, then the school district must pay for the insurance from district or student body funds.

California Education Code § 32221:
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=EDC&sectionNum=32221

California Education Code § 32221 and California Insurance Code § 10493

Mandate protection for medical and hospital expenses resulting from accidental bodily injuries for your athletes and members of athletic teams who are engaged in or are preparing for an athletic event promoted under the sponsorship of the school or community college districts.

California Education Code § 32221:
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=EDC&sectionNum=32221

California Insurance Code § 10493:
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=INS&sectionNum=10493

We must become knowledgeable about the law

Below are pertinent additional resources and extracts to help guide you on what the law says about our responsibility:

1. The following is an extract from California Code of Regulations § 50769. Department Responsibility – Other Health Care Coverage.

California Code of Regulations § 50769 dictates the responsibilities of the Department regarding other health care coverage: § 50769 (a) On the Medi-Cal card of beneficiaries who have other health care coverage, the Department shall place an indicator code to give notice to providers and beneficiaries that other health care coverage must be utilized prior to billing the Medi-Cal program, and § 50769 (c) when Medi-Cal payment has been made before the other health care coverage has been identified, the Department shall recover payments from the parties having a legal obligation.

Authority Cited:
https://govt.westlaw.com/calregs/Document/IB2107EB0D4B811DE8879F88E8B0DAAAE?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default)

2. The following is an extract from California Code, Welfare and Institutions Code – WIC § 14023.7.

Any applicant for coverage under this chapter who at the time of application has any other contractual or legal entitlement to any health care service defined in Section 14053, and who willfully fails at that time to disclose the fact of such other entitlement, or falsely represents that he or she does not have such other entitlement, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Any person eligible under this chapter who, subsequent to the date of application for such assistance or coverage under this chapter, acquires any other contractual or legal entitlement to any health care service, and willfully fails or refuses to give notice thereof to his county welfare department within 10 days of such acquisition, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Any person eligible under this chapter who has any other contractual or legal entitlement to any health care service defined in § 14053, and who knowing that he or she must use such entitlement first, obtains any such service under Medi-Cal without first having utilized and exhausted his or her other contractual or legal entitlement thereto or therefor, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Any applicant shall by virtue of becoming eligible under this chapter to have irrevocably assigned the benefits of any contractual or legal entitlement for health care to the State Director of Health Services to the extent that the services were paid for under this chapter.

California Welfare and Institutions Code § 14023.7 places the responsibility on the provider of services as well. Any provider of service seeking payment for health care services for a person eligible for these services under this chapter shall first seek to obtain payment from any private or public health insurance coverage to which the person is entitled, where the provider is aware of this coverage, and to the extent the coverage extends to these services, prior to submitting a claim to the department for the payment of any unpaid balance for these services.

Authority Cited:
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=WIC&sectionNum=14023.7

3. See California Welfare and Institutions § 14124.90.

It is the intent of the Legislature to comply with federal law requiring that when a beneficiary has third-party health coverage or insurance, the State Department of Health Services shall be the payer of last resort.

Authority Cited:
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=WIC&sectionNum=14124.90

4. See California Welfare and Institutions § 14014.

Any person receiving health care for which he or she was not eligible on the basis of false declarations as to his or her eligibility or any person making false declarations as to eligibility on behalf of any other person receiving health care for which that other person was not eligible shall be liable for repayment and shall be guilty of a misdemeanor or felony depending on the amount paid on his or her behalf for which he or she was not eligible, as specified in Section 487 of the Penal Code § 14014 (b)(1) Any person who willfully and knowingly counsels or encourages any individual to make false statements or otherwise causes false statements to be made on an application, in order to receive health care services to which the applicant is not entitled, shall be liable to the Medi-Cal program for damages incurred for the cost of services rendered to the applicant.

Authority Cited:
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=14014.&lawCode=WIC

https://1.next.westlaw.com/Link/Document/FullText?findType=L&originatingContext=document&transitionType=DocumentItem&pubNum=1000217&refType=LQ&originatingDoc=I4725f12002c211e883d5f22cfebbc0ca&cite=CAPES487&contextData=%28sc.Default%29

5. See California Welfare and Institutions § 14107.

Any person, including any applicant or provider as defined in Section 14043.1, or billing agent, who engages in any of the activities identified in subdivision (b) is punishable by imprisonment as set forth in subdivisions (c), (d), and (e), by a fine not exceeding three times the amount of the fraud or improper reimbursement or value of the scheme or artifice, or by both this fine and imprisonment.

Authority Cited:
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=14107.&lawCode=WIC

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What are our obligations under California Code of Education Code § 32221 for beneficiaries of Medi-Cal, etc?

Education Code § 32221 Covered California Declaration under penalty of perjury

Figure 1. Declaration and signature, Covered California. https://www.coveredca.com/

A common practice in student athletics is to have students sign a waiver or release prior to allowing the student-athlete to participate. When a Medi-Cal applicant completes an application for benefits, he/she must sign a Declaration under penalty of perjury, see Figure 1 from the Covered California website.

Education Code § 32221.5 Required Notice Language

A school district that elects to operate an interscholastic athletic team or teams shall include the following statement, printed in boldface type of prominent size, in offers of insurance coverage that are sent to members of school athletic teams:

“Under state law, school districts are required to ensure that all members of school athletic teams have accidental injury insurance that covers medical and hospital expenses. This insurance requirement can be met by the school district offering insurance or other health benefits that cover medical and hospital expenses…”

Assembly Bill No. 2684 Notification

Assembly Bill 2684 (Chapter 108, Statutes of 2006), which enacted Education Code § 32221.5, requires Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) operating interscholastic teams to inform parents via a prescribed statement that students participating in sports activities may qualify to enroll in no-cost or low-cost insurance programs. (Like other school district notices sent to parents, if 15% or more of the pupils enrolled in the school speak a primary language other than English, the notification must be translated into the primary language, pursuant to Education Code § 48985.)

Authority Cited:
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB2684

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=48985.&lawCode=EDC

What is being done at the Student Insurance level?

As you know, the federal government is also a paying participant to the Medi-Cal program; hence, we must abide not only by California State law, we must be mindful not to violate the rules and regulations of the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well.

Guidelines for remaining compliant:

Send an annual California Department of Education (EDC) letter with the Education Code § 32221.5 required language.

Provide Student Insurance for athletic team members. Contact Student Insurance for compliant insurance solutions.

Be on the alert and always be aware! It’s a fact that since the ACA (Affordable Care Act) many of the students/athletes enrolled at the community colleges are eligible for Medi-Cal.

When a Medi-Cal applicant completes an application for benefits, ensure he/she signs a Declaration under penalty of perjury.

What is the Risk of Doing Nothing?

  • Beware of HIPAA Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Audits.
  • Fines and settlements can be hefty. See our citations to Penal Code § 653f, California Welfare and Institutions Code § 14107, and § 14043.1.
  • The cost of defending claims and the claims could increase premiums for all.

Suggested Risk Approaches

Insuring your athletes for accident medical insurance is the law. Insuring the student population is a sound business decision. Paying the medical expenses for injuries sustained by a student under the college’s accident insurance policy very often prevents lawsuits which would prove to be far more costly to settle than the cost of the premium for the accident insurance.

  • Be mindful of the law. The law is very clear when a beneficiary is eligible for Medi-Cal and another insurance policy (your institution accident insurance is other insurance), the other insurance policy pays before Medi-Cal and that ‘other insurance policy’, includes the district/college’s accident insurance.
  • Notify the parents/guardians of athletic team members.
  • Inquire about other insurance, and if applicable obtain the information, prior to the beginning of the sports season.

We want all California Community College athletes and students to dedicate themselves to the successful completion of their studies, ensuring they don’t encounter any legal difficulties during their academic career or at any time thereafter as well as, ultimately reducing potential liability to our schools, colleges, and universities.

Student Insurance is happy to assist athletic departments and campus health center personnel with any completion of claim forms and any code regulations.

For more information about these health insurance obligations, or students that may be qualified for no-cost, low-cost, state and federally sponsored programs contact us or Covered California directly.

Author:

Marie Rosa Martinelli
President
marie@studentinsuranceusa.com
Tel: 310.826.5688