In the US, student loan debt is a women’s issue. Here’s why.

When it comes to higher education in the US, women are doing so at a rate that surpasses men.In 2019, they earn 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees. They represented 56 percent of those enrolled in American colleges and universities in fall 2016. The significance of these achievements is amplified considering the number of women with college degrees in the 1980s was only less than half of what it is today.With all the above going for them, you would expect women to be graduating into the same, if not better, job opportunities than their male peers. However, according to a new report, this isn’t the case.Financial gender parity is not keeping up with these gains in educational attainment. Instead, more women than ever before are graduating from college but they are doing so with an unprecedented level of debt, said the American Association of University Women (AAUW).Women are graduating with US$2,739 more in student loan debt than their male peers while Black women graduating with a bachelor’s degree hold the most debt (US$30,366). This is followed by white women (US$21,993), Hispanic women ($17,369) and Asian women (US$12,580).

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Education Technology, Online Education

Stiegler EdTech Announces Grant from Live Oak Bank to Expand its Newly Launched Varsity Esports & STEM League to Eastern NC

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

Stiegler EdTech announced today that its latest Charlotte-based technology workforce program Varsity Esports & STEM League (VESL) is expanding to Eastern NC thanks to the leadership and continued support of Live Oak Bank and its philanthropic commitment to education and workforce development. "We are thrilled to support the continued expansion of VESL across North Carolina," said Kate Groat, Live Oak Bank's Director of Corporate Philanthropy. "This program provides students with workforce-ready skills while keeping them engaged in learning. We are proud to empower youth in our community to further their education and career potential." VESL aims to teach valuable coding and technology skills to meet the talent needs of the tech industry in North Carolina. All North Carolina high school students are eligible to participate in VESL where they will be given the opportunity to learn critical STEM skills while participating in Esports & STEM competitions through their schools. Thanks to the grant funding from Live Oak, more students in Eastern NC will be able to gain access to scholarships, earn needs-based aid, and support additional financial incentives and opportunities to pursue higher education and technology careers. "This partnership offers our community a competitive advantage both in terms of the impact VESL will make directly with New Hanover County students as well as the long-term confidence it will provide employers who invest in North Carolina that there will indeed be great technology talent to hire locally moving forward," adds Luke Waddell, Wilmington City Council Member. "Live Oak Bank's commitment to the region through programs like VESL is an exciting investment in the next generation of tech talent in Eastern NC." The funding supports events such as regional tournaments, including one planned in Wilmington this winter, following the success of a state-wide championship tournament held in Charlotte last year, which brought together thousands of students and fans. "Americans are underskilled and employers have to be a part of the solution," says Tariq Bokhari, Charlotte City Council Member and Chairman of Stiegler EdTech. "Vital funding like Live Oak's grant gives us the ability to empower young minds to learn highly sought after skills and think innovatively about real-world problems that directly impact our future. This means better students, better outcomes, and more opportunities for our next generation."

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Online Education, Continuing Education

W. P. Carey School of Business, Televerde Foundation expand prison education program

PR Newswire | January 08, 2024

The ASU W. P. Carey School of Business and Televerde Foundation have worked alongside community partners to offer a unique PATHS program for women as they transition out of prison. PATHS, an acronym for Prepare, Achieve, and Transform for Healthy Success, teaches skills in personal wellness, workplace readiness, employment strategies, mentoring, financial literacy, and lifelong learning. The program begins while the women are still incarcerated and continues through their reentry and transition back into society. "We are thrilled to expand our partnership with the ASU W. P. Carey School of Business, further empowering women through education," said Michelle Cirocco, executive director of Televerde Foundation. "Our PATHS program goes beyond just providing skills; it's about transforming lives. This expansion marks a significant step toward reducing recidivism and opening new opportunities for women from all walks of life to rewrite their narratives. It also underscores our belief in education as a crucial driver of personal growth and societal advancement. We are committed to helping these women become positive role models in their communities and building a brighter, more secure future for themselves and their families." Julia LaRosa, clinical associate professor, and Kostas Voutsas, assistant teaching professor, from the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, are two members of the W. P. Carey community who teach in the program. They focus on workplace readiness skills through college-level business fundamentals, business communication, and professional development courses. As of fall 2023, women who complete the Career PATHS coursework earning a C or better have the opportunity to turn their completed work into college credit through ASU's Universal Learner program. The associated fees are currently covered by Televerde Foundation, with future iterations also being funded by the generosity of donors through the ASU Foundation. "Turning time in prison into a college education experience is truly inspiring," says Voutsas, who teaches the Effective Communication for Career Success class. "It is a practical course that empowers students to communicate as leaders, embrace diversity and inclusion, build positive relationships, and maximize efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace. It explores both verbal and nonverbal communication, cross-cultural communication, customer service, the writing process, writing mechanics, interviewing and resume techniques, as well as delivering presentations with confidence." Since the program's inception in 2020, the results have been truly remarkable. Of the 161 students who have completed the program, the recidivism rate is zero compared with the expected 40% to 60% rate. According to the Televerde Foundation, graduates' salaries are also 61% to 75% higher than their less prepared counterparts. While the quantitative outcomes are extraordinary, the qualitative impacts are equally important. Mary Montemorra, a PATHS graduate, explains, "Televerde Foundation and PATHS have given me the ability to fit into a community that once felt so far away. Remember, being sent to prison means the society you once were part of decided to remove you from its communities physically. PATHS gave that community back to me." One benefit of the Universal Learner program is the connection it helps non-traditional students form with ASU. "At W. P. Carey, we are prioritizing access in the communities we serve," says Raghu Santanam, senior associate dean for Executive Education, Corporate Partnerships, and Lifelong Learning. "Connecting PATHS to ASU as a for-credit course legitimizes the hard work these women are undertaking and makes it easier for them to transition into college in the future." Higher education is indeed more within reach for individuals involved in the justice system. As of July 1, 2023, the FAFSA Simplification Act provisions make PELL grants available to all qualified incarcerated people to further pursue post-secondary education through approved Prison Education Programs (PEPs). "A mere vision has blossomed into a sustainable program," says LaRosa. PATHS is "dedicated to aiding incarcerated women in reshaping the course of their lives and those of their families. Witnessing the transformative impact of a college education unfolding within our community is truly remarkable and the high point of my career."

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Continuing Education

Collaborative Classroom and FluentSeeds Merge to Expand Impact from Birth Through Grade 8

PR Newswire | January 09, 2024

Today, Collaborative Classroom and FluentSeeds announce a merger into a single nonprofit organization to serve educators and other adults responsible for nurturing children's language, literacy, and social and emotional learning from birth through grade 8. With this merger, Collaborative Classroom is uniquely positioned to provide seamless support for children from birth through early childhood and beyond, ensuring kindergarten readiness and long-term academic success. Collaborative Classroom's evidence-based literacy and social and emotional learning programs and wraparound professional learning serve students and educators in grades K–8, with some programs extending through grades 9–12. Collaborative Classroom is one of the largest education nonprofits in the country, supporting educators in all 50 states in over 1,000 school districts. FluentSeeds supports adults, including parents, family and community members, child care providers, and other educators, with ©SEEDS of Learning, a rigorously-researched and proven set of literacy and social and emotional frameworks for children from birth through age 5. FluentSeeds currently serves more than 4,000 adults and 30,000 children in a variety of environments including home, community child care, pre-kindergarten, transitional kindergarten, and K–2. On a daily basis, this newly merged organization already impacts nearly 2 million children across the nation. Collaborative Classroom President and CEO Kelly Stuart says, "Bringing FluentSeeds into the Collaborative Classroom family of programs is especially exciting because it allows us to support children throughout their earliest years—a long-term goal of our organization. We know how crucial the first five years are for children's social, emotional, and early literacy development. FluentSeeds' expertise and offerings perfectly position us to serve even more children." Stuart adds, "Collaborative Classroom's and FluentSeeds' instructionally aligned and consistent, research-based frameworks are already used together with great success in schools and districts across the country. Recently, The Oakland REACH released a study on the impact of their tutoring programs that utilize SEEDS and our SIPPS® program. We are confident this merger will impact children from the beginning of their literacy journey and ensure their success as confident, fluent readers." FluentSeeds Executive Director Kate Horst says, "The gift of SEEDS and its impact on early literacy and social-emotional development will continue to spread in an ever-widening circle, thanks to Collaborative Classroom's mission, people, programs, and professional learning. Their deep literacy expertise and commitments to evidence and impact align with our strong foundations of birth to kindergarten professional development and SEEDS quality interactions. We are delighted to bring our FluentSeeds staff, friends, and partnerships into Collaborative Classroom's excellent programming and far-reaching impact." The new organization will operate under the banner of Collaborative Classroom, and Kelly Stuart will continue to serve as President and CEO. FluentSeeds' Executive Director, Kate Horst, will serve as both a senior advisor and a member of the Collaborative Classroom Board of Trustees. Susan Wally, Chair of the Collaborative Classroom Board of Trustees, says, "On behalf of the entire board, I want to welcome Kate Horst to our board and share our excitement and optimism as Collaborative Classroom expands its ability to support young learners through this merger with FluentSeeds. These two extraordinary organizations share a commitment to helping all those who teach and support young learners to access high-impact, evidence-based strategies and quality resources. We look forward to using our combined expertise and expanded scale to build vital literacy and social-emotional skills for our youngest children, as well as those who have already begun their K–12 journey."

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