The short supply of special education teachers

A child in a wheelchair at the park with his special education teacher

By the School of Education

Special education teachers ensure an equitable education to millions of students across the nation. With 14 percent of students needing some type of special education service, these teachers play a key role in making sure all students have a chance to thrive academically. General education teachers and students alike rely on special education teachers’ specialized knowledge in skills assessment and the development of learning activities with special needs and disabilities in mind. For this reason, the current special education teacher shortage is especially worrying. So, what’s causing this shortage, and how can leaders begin to address it?

Current and aspiring educators looking for a deeper analysis of the issue should consider American University’s Online School of Education, which offers students expert knowledge about special education challenges, preparing them to address the current shortage.

An Overview of the Current Special Education Teacher Shortage
Special education teacher shortages have persisted for years, putting the education of the country’s most vulnerable students in a precarious position. The Office of Special Education Programs currently lists the national shortage at 8 percent. This large and growing problem affects schools across the country, but the shortage pertains to more than just insufficient numbers of special education teachers.

The shortage also refers to inadequate numbers of properly trained special education teachers. In fact, many first-year special education teachers across the country have not completed special education preparation programs. In California for example, of the 8,470 new special education teachers hired in 2017-18, only 3,274 were fully credentialed.

To gain more insight into the special education teacher shortage, consider the following statistics:

  • Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia lack sufficient special education teachers.
  • Special education teachers leave teaching at almost double the rate of general education teachers.
  • More than half of all school districts struggle to staff well-qualified special education teachers.
  • Ninety percent of high-poverty school districts struggle to staff well-qualified special education teachers.
  • Up to 29 percent of vacated special education teacher positions are due to attrition.
  • Unequal Distributions of the Special Education Teacher Shortage

    While the special education teacher shortage affects schools across the spectrum, it tends to impact high-poverty schools most acutely. They face the greatest challenges when it comes to attracting properly trained and experienced special education teachers.

    In recent years, enrollment in all teacher preparation programs has dropped considerably, and the number of people completing special education programs has dropped 14 percent, meaning fewer credentialed teachers are available for a growing number of vacancies. Low-income and rural schools find it especially hard to attract and retain the dwindling number of special education teachers. The special education teachers these schools do manage to hire often have less experience than those hired by more affluent schools. For example, many special education teachers in urban and rural districts work with provisional licenses after meeting just a few requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree
  • Nine credit hours of coursework covering both general and special education
  • Successful completion of a basic skills exam
  • Typically, special education teachers at high-poverty schools have received less special education training and are more likely to hold certifications in areas other than special education compared with teachers at low-poverty schools.

    Attrition and the Consequences of the Special Education Teacher Shortage

    Data shows that teachers with limited preparation tend to drop out of the profession more frequently than those who finish traditional preparation programs. The reliance on provisional and alternative credentialing programs that send underprepared special education teachers into classrooms contributes to the high teacher turnover rate.

    This constant churn of losing and rebuilding teaching faculties comes at a price. Several studies have shown teacher attrition can lower student achievement in English language arts and math and hurt the overall effectiveness of teachers in a school. In addition to the academic price, teacher attrition has a huge financial price tag: the Learning Policy Institute estimates it costs approximately $8 billion dollars a year. As teachers cycle through the profession in increasing numbers, districts must funnel huge amounts of money into recruiting and training new educators to replace them.

    The public school system is based on equity. The reputations of the teaching profession and the system rest on their ability to provide stable learning environments to all students. As such, the ongoing special education teacher shortage compromises the entire public school system and tarnishes the profession’s reputation. It creates instability, limits students’ learning opportunities, and results in countless hours of lost instructional time. Additionally, the fact the shortages disproportionately affect marginalized students widens the achievement gap and raises questions of educational equity.

    A Look at the Reasons Behind the Special Education Teacher Shortage

    Several factors are driving the special education teacher shortage. As mentioned, steep enrollment declines in teacher education programs, alongside high attrition for special education teachers, contribute to the shortage. Working conditions, low pay, and insufficient training and support also factor heavily.

    Stressful Working Conditions for Special Education Teachers

    Special education teachers often work in stressful environments. Just like general education teachers, they must deal with the challenges of student poverty, insufficient parental involvement, student absenteeism, and a lack of resources. However, they also must contend with excessive paperwork and overwhelming caseloads without the support they need.

    For example, special education teachers can find themselves in classrooms without aides trying to teach 20 students with different special needs who require customized instruction. On top of that, they may have a caseload of 20 students who require individualized education programs (IEPs), annual testing, and regular meetings with parents and other teachers. Additionally, failing to meet deadlines or submit necessary paperwork can constitute a federal offense, as IEPs are federally mandated, which puts further pressure on special education teachers.

    Click here to read the full article on the School of Education.

    The World’s First Astronaut with a Disability is Here

    Great Britain's John John McFall running in race with an artificial leg

    By Natalie Rodgers

    As the world prepares for the next chapter of space exploration, the European Space Agency (ESA) has introduced 17 new astronauts into their program, including the world’s first astronaut with a disability. Former British Paralympian John McFall has been chosen to be the first “parastronaut” in the history of space travel. His journey to the stars will be part of a feasibility project, looking for the most efficient ways for astronauts with disabilities to be included in space travel.

    “I thought, ‘Wow, this is a such a huge, interesting opportunity,’” McFall stated to the ESA. “I thought I would be a very good candidate to help ESA answer the question they were asking, ‘Can we get a person with a physical disability into space?’”

    A native of Frimley, Surrey, in England, John McFall is best known for his extensive athletic career as a Paralympian. At 19 years old, McFall was involved in a serious motorcycle crash in Thailand that resulted in the amputation of his right leg above the knee. After being fitted for a prosthetic in 2003, McFall decided to take up his former passion for running and quickly worked his way into becoming a professional athlete. He was selected to represent Great Britain at the International Paralympic Committee European Championships in 2005, where he mainly competed as a 100m and 200m dasher. McFall’s athleticism earned him five bronze medals, three silver medals and five gold medals over four years, with many penning him as one of the fastest men in the world.

    John McFall headshot
    John McFall appointed the first astronaut recruit with a physical disability, during a ceremony to unveil the European Space Agency new class of career astronauts.(Photo by Joël SAGET / AFP) (Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

    In addition to competing in the Paralympics, McFall spent his free time studying sports, exercise and medicine at several universities throughout Wales with the intent of becoming a doctor. After retiring from his running career, McFall became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, one of the most prestigious surgical institutions in the United Kingdom. He is currently a Trauma and Orthopedic Specialist Registrar, otherwise known as an orthopedic doctor.

    In 2021, a friend and consultant of McFall texted him that the ESA was looking to hire its first intake of astronauts in 13 years. The ESA was looking for a Paralympian to join the space program and aid in research for how to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities in space travel. In tandem with his medical degree, McFall noticed that he met all of the desired qualifications and decided to apply. Just shy of two years later, McFall was inducted into the astronaut class of 2022 and at the beginning of his journey to becoming the first astronaut with a physical disability to go to space.

    McFall will join 16 other newly recruited astronauts in the next year to complete training before he takes his first journey to space. While he has expressed his excitement to join the ESA and to make strides for the disability communities, McFall is also adamant that this endeavor is not about him:

    “I am slightly conscious that I am not representative of the entire disabled population,” McFall stated in an interview with ESPN. “I have a very straightforward, static disability; there are people out there with more complex disabilities. It’s important to recognize that this is a small step in addressing a larger question of inclusivity in all realms of employment of people with disabilities. So, this is not ‘The John Show,’ this is a stepping stone to push the envelope [to] get people talking about disability more because the more people talk about it, the less stigma it has, the more opportunities in life they will have.”

    Sources: ESPN, KSL TV, ESA, Wikipedia

    Autistic 11-year-old girl beats IQ scores of Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking

    adhara sanchez in classroom wearing baseball cap in front of chalkboard with math equations

    An autistic 11-year-old girl has completed her masters and will soon be receiving the degree. The prodigy belongs to Mexico City and has an impressive IQ of 162 — higher than the 160 of the greatest ever physicist of this generation, Stephen Hawking.

    The genius child, Adhara Pérez Sánchez, has an IQ that beats Albert Einstein — whose IQ is estimated to be around 160.

    Adhara finished her High School education at the very young age of seven. Mirror UK reports that the genius girl will soon be awarded a masters and is currently working with the Mexican Space Agency. She is helping the space agency promote space exploration among the younger generations.

    Her disciplines for the masters are also nothing short of impressive. She did a degree in systems and industrial engineering with a specialization in mathematics from the Technological University of Mexico. These technical credentials at a very young make her stand out from everyone else her age.

    Despite the impressive IQ and equally impressive credentials, Adhara faced bullying because of a speech disability.

    When she was three years old, Adhara was diagnosed with a developmental disability after her speech significantly regressed. Her mother, Nayeli Sánchez, told Marie Claire Mexico that Adhara had to switch schools three times and her old classroom staff and classmates remained apathetic to her achievements.

    “The teachers were not very empathetic, they told me that I wish she would finish an assignment – she began to exclude herself, she did not want to play with her classmates, she felt strange, different.”

    “She could be at school for a while but then she couldn’t, she fell asleep, she didn’t want to do things anymore,” she said and continued, “She was very depressed, people did not have empathy, they made fun of her.”

    The 11-year-old is studying hard to be an astronaut and hopes to colonise Mars.

    “I want to go to space and colonise Mars,” she said. “If you don’t like where you are, imagine where you want to be. I see myself at NASA, so it’s worth a try.”

    What’s more, last year the University of Arizona even offered the future space explorer a scholarship to study astrophysics. However, due to visa complications, she had to defer.

    Read the complete article and more news from WIO News here.

    Resumes that impress — no matter your background

    young latin woman working at home with laptop and documents

    When you’re looking for a job, your resume is a chance to sell yourself to a potential employer. Typical advice on writing a good resume is to describe your worth to prior companies. But instead of simply listing job duties, you should explain how you positively affected the bottom line. Show a prospective employer why you would be a valuable addition.

    But sometimes your positions don’t have the proof points to fit that mold. You may have to think outside the box to describe the impact of your experience without obvious benchmarks — like driving millions in profit.

    Design should dazzle

    If you don’t have a lot of experience or a huge list of accomplishments from your previous positions, a visually appealing design can showcase your experience in an eye-catching way so you stand out. You can hire a professional to craft a beautiful resume, but there are many free templates available online through resources like Canva.

    [Pro Tip: Know what to leave off your resume. Focus on your experience.]

    Describe your strengths

    Include an overview or profile section at the top packed with impactful words that describe what makes you different from and better than other candidates. Here are some examples:

    • Top-notch communications skills
    •  Skilled at handling sensitive information
    •  Incredible project manager
    •  Excellent at prioritization and organization

    Think about the unique skills you bring to the table that others might have.

    Demonstrate your impact 

    Maybe you didn’t personally lead the company in double-digit growth or create programs that led to millions in savings, but every employee has an impact. Think about the ways your work helped others — your manager or boss, your team, your department — plus improvements and achievements. Describe your abilities and how your work positively affected others, not just your duties. Get creative with your description while still being truthful about your duties.

    For example:

    Old: Kept the boss’s calendar, scheduled meetings.

    Bold: Optimized executive time through thoughtful calendar management. Balanced needs and confidential requests of executive’s direct reports with creative and fast-paced scheduling efficiencies.

    Customize it

    Slightly adjust and tailor your resume to target multiple types of jobs so that it directly relates to the position or industry. This can be tough if you are applying to a bunch of different positions, but you can create several types of resumes for various job titles or openings and then send the appropriate one when you apply.

    Add training, development, and volunteerism

    Certificates, training, and places you have volunteered all round you out as a potential candidate and help show the recruiter your personality. Be sure to include software programs you know, classes you’ve taken, and committee work.  If you volunteer in your community, include that as well. You never know what will make a difference to someone scanning your resume.

    Make it letter-perfect

    No matter how many times we look over our work, it’s easy to miss typos, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors. Use trusted methods to double-check your resume for mistakes. Consider asking a friend to review it — you may be surprised at what they find. Or, get professional resume review assistance through programs like Resume Services by Indeed.

    Source: Glassdoor


    Navigating Interviews When You Have a Disability

    women sitting in a wheelchair at work giving a high-five to a coworker

    As employers have ramped up hiring following the pandemic, they’ve increasingly added workers with disabilities to their payroll. The latest Current Population Survey, from the U.S. Census Bureau, shows that the share of disabled adults who are working has risen much quicker than the rate for people without disabilities over the past two years.

    This applies to people with both visible and hidden disabilities—so if you have a disability and are looking to find a new job, it’s a great time to start researching employers in your area, networking and sending out your resume. Then take a look at the following tips for acing your interviews.

    How do I explain recent gaps in my work history because of my disability?

    While there is not a perfect answer, this is an opportunity to talk about what you have been doing, and how it may relate to the position. Have you volunteered, overcome a hardship, provided care for children or a parent, gone to school? If you disclose your disability to answer this question, focus on how you have dealt with challenges in a positive manner, are ready to move forward and are able to do the job.

    Can an employer require a medical examination?

    An employer cannot require you to take a medical examination before you are offered a job. Once an offer is made, they can require that you pass a medical examination, if all entering employees for the job category have to take it.

    Are there questions an interviewer should not ask?

    Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an interviewer cannot ask about a disability or the nature or severity of a disability. An employer may ask questions about your ability to perform specific job functions and may ask you to describe or demonstrate how you would perform a specific function. They may also ask whether you can meet their attendance requirements.

    What if the interviewer asks an illegal question?

    You do not have to answer it. However, how you handle it may affect the impression you make. Rather than confronting the interviewer directly, you can explain that you are not comfortable answering the question, or you can ask for the underlying reason for the question and address that. For example, “I understand you may be concerned about my low vision, but I am able to read screens using a device, and I’m able to participate fully in all activities of the job.” Recognize that an interviewer may make mistakes, but this does not necessarily have anything to do with your being hired.

    Are you required to tell an employer about your disability?

    No. Disclosure of a disability is not required. But job candidates should be aware that once disclosure of a disability or an accommodation request is made, employers may ask the employee about the limitations related to the job and are permitted to make medical inquiries.

    When is the best time to disclose a disability?

    If you have a visible disability, you may want to anticipate the concerns of the employer. Consider taking charge during the first interview to talk about your disability and how you would handle any impact on the job. You may want to describe any accommodation you use, how it helps your performance, or demonstrate how you would perform difficult functions.

    What should I say?

    Many experts suggest disclosing before a job offer in order to communicate self-confidence and refocus the employer’s attention on your ability to do the job. Some people with non-visible disabilities may choose not to disclose their disability at all.

    Share examples of the strategies you use to do your work. For example, a candidate with low vision might say: “In my previous work, I was responsible for maintaining our inventory. I created a labeling system with a good color contrast that I could see easily. It turns out that this was a benefit for others as well.”

    Let the interviewer know that you would be glad to answer any questions they might have about how you would do your work and the accommodations you use. Being open and direct about your disability will help put the interviewer at ease, which is a critical factor in whether you receive a call for a second interview.

    Source: CareerOneStop

    Cerebral Palsy Doesn’t Hold Back White Sox Announcer

    Jason Benetti sitting in announcers booth smiling with baseball field in background

    by Molly DeVore, The Times/TNS

    VALPARAISO, Ind. — If life is one big March Madness bracket, Jason Benetti jokes, he was born a 13 seed. The White Sox play-by-play broadcaster was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which impacts his balance and mobility, at a young age.

    “I was born an underdog,” Benetti told attendees during a recent presentation at Ivy Tech Community College in Valparaiso.

    Even as a kid, Benetti always had an affinity for the NCAA basketball tournament, especially when a long-shot team would pull off an upset.

    “It never really hit me why it mattered so much to me until last year,” he said.

    The 39-year-old said he finally realized that it’s because he can relate.

    “I totally get where they’re coming from,” Benetti said. “I’m the underdog. … I walk around the world, and people assume something about me.”

    Despite being born an underdog, Benetti said, it was the people around him, the people who saw his potential and pushed him to do more, that helped him pull off his own metaphorical upset.

    First it was his third grade teacher, who would let him grade papers after school while he waited for his grandma. Then it was the middle school basketball coach who made him assistant coach, and then the high school band instructor who put Benetti behind a microphone and had him announce the upcoming sets.

    “Every step of the way, there was somebody who said, ‘You’re more than just a really cool story; you’re more than somebody we just want to give something to,’” Benetti said. “They tried to find things that would make me whole, make me fulfilled.”

    Benetti has also had to navigate plenty of less-than-fulfilling situations. Having a visible disability, Benetti said passersby often make assumptions about him, constantly offering help he doesn’t need and talking down to him.

    To bring awareness to these interactions, Benetti partnered with the Cerebral Palsy Foundation for an animated video series called “Awkward Moments with Jason Benetti.” The short clips highlight some of the misconceptions people with disabilities deal with on a daily basis.

    “Having a disability is a constant hum that spikes in volume whenever we encounter somebody who hasn’t encountered it very much,” Benetti explained.

    The Ivy Tech presentation was one of several events organized as part of Valparaiso’s recognition of March as Disability Awareness Month.

    “One in four people has a disability,” Mayor Matt Murphy said. “These people are our friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers. We intend to continue listening and working to improve programs and services better serving our entire community.”

    Benetti noted that despite making up 25% of the population, there are very few people with disabilities on TV.

    “There are artists out there, there are actors out there, there are comedians out there, there are people who know how to do great stuff and they just get weeded out because nobody encourages (them),” Benetti said. “Go be that person who asks for more of the person with a disability.”

    Photo Credit: Ron Vesely

    Read the original article posted on Disability Scoop here.

    Kickstart Your Career With Public Health AmeriCorps

    A desk covered in work essentials and a notepad with the words

    As communities across the country work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and build a healthier, more resilient future, there is an urgent need to grow our nation’s public health workforce.

    Our communities also need innovative solutions to help break down barriers to good health and improve health equity. That’s why AmeriCorps and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are teaming up through Public Health AmeriCorps, a new program that supports the recruitment, training and development of a new generation of diverse public health leaders.

    Opportunities Are Now Available Near You

    AmeriCorps is recruiting thousands of people to serve in public health roles at health departments, government agencies, community-based organizations, schools and other settings across the U.S. Adults of all ages and educational backgrounds are eligible to join Public Health AmeriCorps, which aims to recruit members who reflect the communities where they serve.

    “Public Health AmeriCorps members add much needed capacity and support for local organizations and help address critical public health issues — like health equity, mental health and substance use disorders, COVID-19 recovery and more,” said Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO. “This program will not only meet urgent public health needs, but also help fill the shortages in the public health workforce with thousands of Public Health AmeriCorps alumni who represent the rich diversity of the communities they serve.”

    Depending on the organization’s and community’s needs, some common roles include:

    • Health education and training
    • Community outreach and engagement
    • System navigation, referrals and linkage to care
    • Research, data collection, analysis and assessment
    • And more!

    For example, AmeriCorps members have helped more than 2.5 million people at COVID-19 vaccination sites and conducted 1.7 million wellness checks. Members have also served as recovery coaches to help individuals overcome opioid addiction by providing substance use prevention, education, screenings and assessments.

    Why Serve with Public Health AmeriCorps?

    For many AmeriCorps members, serving is a way to gain valuable, first-hand experience to help further or transition their careers. Members receive on-site experience in a public health setting and have access to a comprehensive training program. Serving is also a great way to help make a difference in communities and give back. In addition, members receive benefits including:

    • Professional development opportunities: Gain transferable skills employers value including leadership, teamwork and problem-solving.
    • Living allowance: Receive a living allowance to cover basic expenses during your service term.
    • Money for college and trade school: Individuals who complete a term of service will receive an education award which can be used for a range of educational expenses.
    • Loan deferment and interest forbearance: AmeriCorps members are eligible for forbearance for most federally guaranteed student loans. In addition, interest payments that accrue during service may be eligible for repayment by AmeriCorps.
    • Access to the national AmeriCorps alumni network: Be part of a network of like-minded leaders who are passionate about improving communities. AmeriCorps alumni receive access to unique benefits and resources.

    Learn More & Apply

    Is this a good fit for you? Visit for a complete list of opportunities to serve and guidance on how to apply. Part-time and full-time roles are available in rural and urban locations across nearly every state, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico. You can also subscribe to AmeriCorps’ newsletter ( and contact with any questions.

    The Mentor Match – Would You Be Swiped Left?

    A woman using her iphone

    By Allison Struber

    Recently, a friend shared with me she was meeting a lot of great people by swiping right. I was a bit taken aback because she is, what appears to be, happily married. My response caused her to grin and clarify she was not looking for romance. She was using a new app to find mom-friends. It has similar features to the infamous Tinder dating app, but the purpose is to narrow down the vast number of moms in an area to those who share similar interests.

    As she further explained how the app worked and her success, my opinion of this swipe left/swipe right function began to change. With correct intentions, the technology could be helpful.


    Consider all of the factors that go into choosing a mentor or mentee. It would be great to quickly swipe through professional profiles to find a good match. I would look for things like: integrity, honesty, enthusiasm, skills and experience. I would want someone who was passionate about growing new leaders and committed to investing the time it takes to do so. But just like the popular dating app, a swipe right on a mentor’s professional profile would not mean a match. My profile would also need to reflect good mentee status.

    If you were seeking a mentor, here are a few things you would need to get swiped right.


    Good mentors and good mentees use their time intentionally. It can be difficult to find coordinating availability, so be accommodating. Make this opportunity a priority and accept the meeting time offered.

    Prepared questions

    Good mentors have a wealth of knowledge, and a good mentee is going to pull out that great information. Think about what you admire in this mentor and ask questions to discover how he/she developed that skill or ability.


    Nothing is worse than a person who ‘knows it all’ except a person wanting to be mentored who ‘knows it all.’ If the conversation turns to a topic you feel confident about, pivot the discussion to something else with a new question or ask for feedback about a time you have utilized that specific knowledge.


    It is ok and important to open up and share about yourself, but give your mentor the chance to lead the conversation. If you are doing most of the talking at every meeting, the balance is off.

    Willing to take advice

    No mentor is perfect, but there is an assumption their role has been given because he/she has been successful in an area. There is no expectation that a mentee must mirror the mentor’s experience, however, if instruction/advice/guidance is continually being disregarded, you will be right on track to find yourself without a mentor.

    Willing to be a mentor

    A good mentor has a goal to inspire and teach others. It is a reward to see the investment of their time multiplied by their mentee becoming a mentor. Honor your mentor and give yourself the joy of pouring into someone else. Swipe right on your own mentee.

    Source: ClearanceJobs

    14 of Financial Aid’s Biggest Myths Debunked

    fafsa home page on screen of computer

    The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid provides around $112 billion in federal student aid annually. Yet Student Aid’s FY 2021 Annual Report found that only about 61% of high school students applied for financial aid.

    Here are the top 14 myths about student aid, debunked:

    Myth 1: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form costs money. 

    FACT: Nope! The FAFSA form is free. The quickest and best way to fill it out is on Don’t complete your FAFSA form on websites that charge fees.

    Myth 2: My family’s income is too high for me to qualify for financial aid. 

    FACT: That’s one of the most common financial aid myths, but there’s no income cutoff. Most people qualify for some type of financial aid, which range from grants and scholarships to loans and work-study programs. Many factors besides income — such as your family size and your year in school — are considered to create your financial aid package.

    When you submit the FAFSA form, you’re also automatically applying for state funds and possibly financial aid from your school, including grants and scholarships. In fact, some schools won’t even consider you for their scholarships (including academic scholarships) until you’ve submitted a FAFSA form. And you can’t know how much financial aid you’ll get until you fill it out.

    Myth 3: The FAFSA form is really hard to fill out. 

    FACT: Most people can complete their first FAFSA form in less than an hour. If it’s a renewal or you’re an independent student who doesn’t need to provide parents’ information, it can take even less time. Online, you’re asked only the questions relevant to you. And if you’ve filed your taxes, you can transfer your tax return data into your FAFSA form automatically.

    Myth 4: I’m not eligible for financial aid because of my ethnicity or age. 

    FACT: Absolutely not. While schools have their own eligibility requirements, federal student aid eligibility requirements do not exclude based on ethnicity or age.

    Myth 5: The FAFSA form is only for federal student loans. 

    FACT: Not at all. In fact, the FAFSA form is one of the most widely used tools to access student aid: one application for multiple types of funding. When you complete the FAFSA form, you’re automatically applying for everything from grants and scholarships to work-study funds and loans from federal, state, and school sources. States and schools can also determine scholarships and grants using your FAFSA information. And the funding can be substantial.

    Myth 6: The FAFSA form kicks off on Jan. 1, and you have to submit it by June.  

    FACT: Nope! You have more time than you think. The FAFSA form is available on Oct. 1 for the next school year and there are three FAFSA deadlines: federal, state, and school. But the sooner you submit your FAFSA form, the more likely you are to get aid.

    Remember, too, that when you submit the FAFSA form, you’re also automatically applying for grants, scholarships and loans from states and schools, which may have earlier deadlines than the federal deadline. If you’re applying to multiple schools, check their deadlines and apply by the earliest one.

    Myth 7: I need to file my 2022 taxes before completing the FAFSA form. 

    FACT: No, you’ll use your 2021 tax information to apply for student aid for the 2023-24 award year. You do not need to update your FAFSA form after filing your 2022 taxes because only the 2021 information is required. If your financial situation has changed in the last year, you should still complete the FAFSA form with the 2021 information, submit your FAFSA form and contact the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend to discuss how your financial situation has changed.

    Myth 8: You have to have good grades to get a financial aid package. 

    FACT: Applying for admission into school is different from applying for financial aid. Good grades may help with academic scholarships, but most federal student aid programs don’t consider grades for your first FAFSA form. In subsequent years, you’ll have to meet certain academic standards defined by your school (also known as satisfactory academic progress) to continue receiving financial aid.

    Myth 9: Since I’m self-supporting, I don’t have to include my parents on the FAFSA form. 

    FACT: Not necessarily. You need to know how the FAFSA form defines a dependent student. The form asks questions to determine your dependency status. You’ll also need to learn who is defined as a parent for FAFSA purposes. Requirements for being considered an independent student go beyond living on your own and supporting yourself.

    Myth 10: I should not fill out the FAFSA form until I’m accepted to school. 

    FACT: That’s another widespread FAFSA misconception. Do it as soon as possible. To receive your information, the FAFSA form requires you to list at least one school, but you should list any schools you’re thinking about, even if you haven’t applied or been accepted. And don’t worry ― schools can see only their own information; they will not be able to see other schools on your FAFSA form.

    Myth 11: I only need to submit the FAFSA form once.  

    FACT: You have to fill out the FAFSA form every year you’re in school to stay eligible for federal student aid, but filling out the renewal FAFSA form takes less time.

    Myth 12: I should contact the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid to find out how much financial aid I’m getting and when.

    FACT: No, the financial aid office at your school is the source for that information. The U.S. Department of Education’s office does not award or disburse your aid. Remember — each school awards financial aid on its own schedule.

    Myth 13: The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount you have to pay for school. 

    FACT: The EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college, and it is not the amount of federal student aid you will receive. The EFC is a number your school uses to calculate how much financial aid you are eligible to receive. Other factors ― the largest being the cost of your school ― contribute to determining both the amount and type of aid you receive.

    Myth 14: I can share my FSA ID with my parent(s).  

    FACT: Nope. If you’re a dependent student, you will need your own FSA ID to sign your FAFSA form online, and so will one of your parents. An FSA ID is an account username and password that you use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. If you share your FSA ID, you’re risking identity theft and your FAFSA form could be delayed.


    Your first career move, powered by Netflix

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    Netflix is partnering with Formation to build a world where people from every walk of life have a seat at the table in tech.

    Our program will be completely free of charge for students accepted. It is designed to unlock your engineering potential with personalized training and world-class mentorship from the best engineers across the tech industry.

    The below information will be required, and adding why you want to land a New Grad Engineering role at Netflix.

    The application requires:

    Info about your experience, education, and background

    Info regarding your eligibility for the program

    A one minute video telling us about yourself

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    Application deadline is March 5, 2023.

    Tips for Every Stage of the Interview Process

    woman hiring manager reviewing resume

    Interviewing is a critical part of the job selection process and allows you to discuss your experience, education and training. It is also a chance for you to gain a better understanding of the organization and the position. As important as resumes and applications are, it is essential to remember that hiring managers are the ones who do the hiring, and this is your chance to connect with them.

    The job interview is a two-way discussion between you and the interviewer. The interviewer is attempting to determine if you have the skills the position requires, and you are trying to decide whether you will accept the position if the job is offered.

    Both of you are trying to gain as much information as possible to make an informed decision.

    Preparing for the Interview:

    • Research the position and organization (e.g., mission, goals, etc.) prior to the interview. Familiarize yourself with the duties, responsibilities and requirements of the position. Don’t assume you know everything about the organization, even if you have experience with the organization. Always do your research.
    • Review your application and resume and be prepared to support past accomplishments with specific information targeted towards the position requirements. Be sure that you focus on your paid and non-paid experience. Consider that the interviewer doesn’t know everything about you.
    • Practice interviewing. Take the time to research and review typical interview questions to help give you a framework for your responses.
    • Be flexible with scheduling and allow sufficient time for the interview. Be sure to ask for specifics regarding the time, location, point of contact (POC) and any other logistical details.
    • Ask whether there will be one or multiple interviewers.

    During the Interview:

    • Plan to arrive early. Check with the POC regarding appropriate arrival times, check-in procedures and logistics. Keep in mind that security/access requirements and time to get on the site may vary by location. Remember, you get one chance to make a first impression.
    • Be prepared to summarize your experience in about 30 seconds and describe what you bring to the position.
    • Listen carefully to each question asked. Answer questions as directly as possible. Focus on your achievements relevant to the position using examples of how your knowledge, skills and abilities fit the job. Be sure to ask the interviewer to restate a question if further clarification is needed.
    • Remain positive and avoid negative comments about past employers.
    • Be aware of your body language and tone of voice. Remain engaged by giving your full attention to the interviewer.
    • Take limited notes, if desired.
    • Be sure to ask any final questions about the organization or the position. Also, ask about the next steps in the selection process, including timeframes. Request POC information should you have any follow-up questions.
    • Reinforce your interest in the position and thank the interviewer(s) for the opportunity to interview.

    Note: Conversations regarding salary, benefits and other human resources (HR) matters should be addressed with the servicing HR POC listed on the job opportunity announcement.

    After the Interview:

    • Provide any additional requested information as soon as possible.
    • Be patient. Remember, the hiring process takes time. You can follow up with your POC if you have not been contacted within the established timeframe.

    The hiring official is looking for the right person with the right skills to fill the vacant position. During the interview, it is up to you to demonstrate that you are that person.

    Remember, you will not get a job offer for every interview you attend, which is okay. Just keep your head up and know that you are qualified and will find your future career.

    Source: Department of Labor


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    Upcoming Events

    1. City Career Fairs Schedule for 2023
      June 6, 2023 - December 12, 2023
    2. Small Business Expo 2023 Business Networking & Educational Events Schedule
      June 23, 2023 - February 22, 2024
    3. Chicago Abilities Expo 2023
      June 23, 2023 - June 25, 2023
    4. B3 2023 Conference + Expo: Register Today!
      June 29, 2023
    5. 2023 Strategic ERG Leadership Summit
      August 3, 2023 - August 4, 2023