Student Issues Work Group Report From Kelly Johnson To PennAEYC board and leaders Date: May 2009 I. Introduction and Objectives Currently, students pay $45 in PA - The chapters get $12 per student and PennAEYC gets $8, as opposed to $20 each per regular and comprehensive members. NAEYC does not offer a student discount; they get $25 each from regular and student members. Currently, about 15% of PennAEYC members are paying the student rate (about 800 of 5300). According to the customer service survey that NAEYC had an independent research company conduct last year: “Students are the only area of NAEYC membership that is growing.” Gwen Simmons says that the student category is the only one that has shown „consistent growth over time.‟ When you join through the website, you are asked to enter an ID number and name of university. No definition is given for „student‟ on that page of the website. On another page, student membership is defined as: "Available only to students currently enrolled in professional preparation programs (CDA, associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degree) only." One concern that is driving this issue is that currently there is no system to verify that people who choose the student rate actually are students. Another is that students generally receive the same benefits as other members - providing those services costs the same but the chapters collect less money for them. NAEYC has been working on developing a new membership structure, in which one option they were considering was no longer a 'student' option, rather there was a category that new members could choose, for a limited number of years, before having to pay the full rate. NAEYC has not determined how they are going to change this yet, so most likely for the upcoming year, they will still use the old categories. Our overarching question is whether PennAEYC and the local chapters should continue to offer a discount on membership rates for students; a secondary question is whether they should receive a different benefit package than regular and comprehensive members. Work Group: I recruited two faculty (Sandi Waite-Stupiansky from Edinboro and past PennAEYC president; Barbara Alpert from Penn College) and four students (Nicole Mead, president of the new Edinboro AEYC student group and three students who attended the 2008 PennAEYC retreat - Robyn Tedder, intern/Pittsburgh AEYC, and Felicia and Jennifer from HACC) who agreed to participate in the work group. Jodi also participated, as well as Drisana Lashley, DVAEYC staffperson working with student groups. sWe communicated by email and had three conference calls. Objectives: -do research including a survey of students and a survey of higher ed faculty to collect data on the following issues: student membership discount; student benefits; ideas for recruiting students; student groups. -based on the research results, come up with a recommendation or options for the PennAEYC board to consider prior to the June 6 board meeting/vote on dues II. Initial Research Student dues rates in other states: -student rates range from $25 in Maryland to $90 in Texas -only 8 states charge students $60 or more -13 states do not offer a student discount – most of these are at either the high or low end of the dues range ($35 - $100 is the overall range for regular memberships) -student discounts range from $5 to $30, with most being in the $15-$20 range -the two states with the highest number of student members are CA and NY, both of which charge only $35 for students. Several states have 500 -1000 student members and the student rate in those states ranges from $35 to $65. Interestingly, OH has almost 700 student members, who pay $65 (no discount is offered). Survey of Staff from other states: Houston Area AEYC: We do offer a discounted rate for students, but normally we offer online registration, but students have to mail in a hard copy with some evidence of being a student. (copy of student id or proof of classes being taken.) We are moving towards offering some trainings for them at the colleges. Student AEYC groups are in the works, but the cost for membership for Texas is very high ($135). So we work with them, but don't push being a member. We use facebook and currently have 21 members. Not a bad start, and it reaches the 18-35 year old group. Please check us out Houston Area Association for the Education of Young Children. Florida: 237 students. We do not give any financial break to those who join as students. SECA also does not give any financial break. In Florida, we give students the financial break to come to our conference. They can attend the conference at half price with submission of a transcript showing they are in school for at least 9 credit hours. We have tried to open student groups at the colleges and universities and find that the president joins and the others pay their $10 fee to be a local member, which we know is illegal. Most instructors say our dues of $75 are too expensive for students. In one university, the student group has a representative on the local affiliate board. That affiliate gives a $5 reduction in membership fee by reimbursing the student members $5. Our Board does not want us on social networking sites. Nebraska: We have 3 student chapters - 2 at community colleges and one at a university. One held a small conference on campus once - Nebraska AEYC provided door prizes and speakers. We have a student discount for student members. We have also provided funds to send students to regional conferences. We've paid for 2 registrations to help with their costs. We invite a student representative to our annual planning retreat. We do have Facebook. We were hoping to begin some discussions about both accreditation and student chapters, but don't really have the time to spend to have it be really effective. I'm looking for a student to work on the student chapter part. We also provide a small grant for WOYC activities ($250). Student chapters have received these in the past, and we have two student group applications for this year's grants. Their past projects are on the website, complete with photos. III. Student and Faculty Surveys Student Survey Results -77 responses (47 members) -time and money biggest factors in joining and participating -majority would like to be connected to local programs/professionals and participate in WOYC -prefer to pay $25/year or less -about 1/2 currently belong to a student group for ece -most currently pay $20 or less per year to belong -time and location main factors for participating -'to be a better professional' and 'to learn more about ece' were the main reasons to join -40% of respondents are over 30 years old -11 master's students and 11 assoc's students -36 different schools represented -over half want to teach 3 year olds – 4th grade; only 7 respondents intend to teach inf/toddlers -22 want to receive the PennAEYC e-news -Daniel randomly selected firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a free 1 year student membership Faculty Survey Results: --34 responses --all members --1/2 currently have a student group --76% value AEYC membership for students; 76% value student group membership for students; 55% value other org. --most think time and cost are very important factors for students in deciding to join --most think financial incentives are the best thing to offer to get students to join --23 are interested in communicating with other faculty regularly --13 are interested in developing/strengthening a student AEYC group --15 are interested in promoting AEYC membership at their school --5 want to get the PennAEYC e-news --at least 25 different colleges/ campuses represented --there are many different student groups for ece already – clubs, honor societies, future teachers orgs, PSEA, ACEI, CDC, SACC, Christian groups, CEGs, and more Discussion: --traditional students rarely value professional involvement unless someone is „in their face‟ about it . . . and many of them can join a student club/group for $10 or less --we did not ask how many members would NOT renew if their dues increased (but we do know attrition is already a problem) --non-traditional students who are or have been practicing in the field are more likely to value membership --students can access Young Children at their libraries so it may not be a valued benefit or reason to join --Student Governments generally require student groups to offer membership to anyone without additional fees, so student ec groups may not be able to require AEYC membership --college teachers have the best chance for recruiting student AEYC members --NAEYC does not offer a student discount, possibly because their costs are the same for students as regular members, so they don‟t have any incentive to verify student status --could we offer insurance for student teachers as part of our benefit package? IV. Additional Research Budget Impact Analysis Currently, PennAEYC receives $8 per student and chapters receive $12 per student. If we drop the discount chapters and PennAEYC would each receive $20 per student member. The attrition rate throughout the organization is high, making it difficult to accurately gauge the overall impact of changes. With 864 students, PennAEYC would receive about $6900. If no students joined at that rate, PennAEYC would potentially lose about $7000. But if ½ of that number renew or join, PennAEYC would receive about $8650. DVAEYC, with 311 students, would receive about $3700. If ½ joined at the full rate, DVAEYC would receive $3100. Additional Information from Other States: North Carolina: 421 student members. Those are people who self-identify as being full-time students and pay our reduced student rate. (We do ask them to send a copy of their student id card with their membership application.) There may be other members who are students but who join paying the regular or comprehensive rates. Currently, we have 3367 total members, so our student members are 12.5% of our total. Chicago Metro AEYC: We currently have 314 student members. I expect this number to change significantly in the next couple of months. We have numerous meetings with student groups on college campuses. Not all students have applied for their memberships, yet. Historically, we asked students to name their college/ university on the application form. It is not something we took time to verify. Now, since we have put a formal program in place to go out to colleges/universities and recruit - we have them fill out the applications for membership on the spot or have their professors do it with their groups after we leave and send it to us. California AEYC: Here in California, student members receive all the same member benefits as our regular members but for a greatly reduced price. For our Annual Conference we do offer a reduced rate for students but they have to submit a copy of their official course schedule or similar document to prove their student status. So far, it has worked well. We do have a number of registrations that come in without the backup data that "upgrade" to non-student registrations when we ask for the documentation. Which, leads me to believe that a number of our "student" memberships really aren't students at all. From Gwen Simmons, NAEYC Affiliate Services: SECA - Southern Early Childhood Association is a separate non profit membership association with their own dues structure in place. The dues rate for students is $20. In "dual" states such as Florida, Virginia and Georgia, a member who joins becomes a member of the local affiliate (if available), the state affiliate and SECA all at the same time. SECA sets dues independently of NAEYC. My office has hired Dr. Strader as a consultant through the annual TA plan. We have 10 affiliates who selected a 5 hour consultation package. New toolkits, surveys and other strategies will be developed by the end of the Summer with panel presentations at Annual. Bill's work with the affiliates will be completed by July. He will join us at the Affiliate Council meeting on the 13th. All tools and information will be made available to all Affiliates upon completion. During a recent conversation, Gwen indicated that dues categories are going to be changed – models will be presented for affiliate feedback in the next couple of months, with an update on national dues structure in June. From Bill Strader (Student Issues Forum/ Consultant for NAEYC): From my understanding, there is quite a lot of variability in what AEYC's are doing regarding student membership fees. It is also interesting that students are an ever increasing number of our national membership! Yikes! I've known that for a while! ;-) Anyway...I think that confirming the students school, student ID, etc. year of graduation is a good way to go in order to "track" our student populations. I'm sure you and may affiliate already do this! I like the idea of doing the upfront fee and then providing the students with a rebate. I would also suggest that your Membership person might like to "survey" (ask them!) about their thoughts and ideas. I was very surprised a student from Missouri stated that she loved the idea of the three year membership option. This way she didn't have to "re-up" each year. And NY State has some scholarship options for their students. That might be something PennAEYC might like to look into too. I also know that some EC Clubs on campus have been inventive in their own fund raising and some of those funds have gone to support or help defer costs of full membership. (They kick in half, the student kicks in half). My EC Club used to make sure that all of the officers were student members and that the President was always made a Comprehensive Member. We kept a EC Club Library for the EC Club...this way the journals, and annual publications were always available to the EC Club members! A little "NAEYC Publications Lending Library". Let me also see what I can gather for you in a quick survey of the 10 states I'm working with right now! V. Options Discussed: Should PennAEYC and/or local chapters invest financially in students and/or student groups? If so, who, how, and how much? NO - Our membership nationally is already highly educated and at the higher end of the pay scale – maybe we catch them later in their careers and getting them as students isn‟t so important? Maybe we need to focus on recruiting practicing teachers who are less educated. YES - OPTION ONE: keep things the way they are for now, and reconsider a change after NAEYC makes their announcements regarding dues categories and rates Pros – we avoid the risk of even higher dues rates or the possibility that one or more new categories will make the student category obsolete Cons – people can continue to take advantage of the discount even if they are not students OPTION TWO: keep the same dues discount and establish a system to verify student status Pros – students still get a discount; non-students get „caught‟ Cons – too much time to track; we can‟t “take away” memberships so we‟d have to bill individual students for the amount due = too much work! OPTION THREE: partially increase student dues – either PennAEYC or local or both – this option was not seriously considered OPTION FOUR: stop offering a student discount and instead provide equivalent financial assistance or other incentives directly to student AEYC groups (other student EC groups) Pros – we would define who receives funds and how funds could be used; we would be supporting students who are active professionally Cons – defining student groups; oversight of how funds are used; student AEYC groups have to be linked to a chapter, so for the at-large area, we would have to determine how they would be linked – possibly to PennAEYC. OPTION FIVE: charge students the full rate and instead offer some type of student scholarship, rebate, or other discount Pros – we would define and verify who qualifies as a student Cons – management system would need to be set up and maintained VI: Chapter Feedback Chapter presidents/executive staff were asked to complete the following 7-question survey. 6 responded as follows: 1. Are you currently linked with or working with any student groups? If so, please give details - who they are, how you work together, etc. Yes: 1 No: 3 Not formally: 2 2. Are you considering or interested in developing relations with student groups? Yes: 6 3. Do you know how many student members you currently have? Yes: 3 No: 1 Do you offer different benefits to student members than to regular members? No difference in benefits: 5 4. Do you have any higher ed faculty or students on your chapter Board? Yes: 5 No: 1 5. If you had to choose, would you rather financially support students or student groups? Students: 0 Student groups: 4 Don‟t know: 2 6. If we continue to offer a student dues discount, what type of student do you think should qualify? (ie full- time, part-time, 4 year, 2 year, CDA, etc.) -All!!!! -Anyone who is enrolled as a student at a college or university should qualify. -Any, we do not know the financial burden of individuals---there was a time when I considered enrolling as a student due to financial burdens, yet I still wanted to be a member---we need to trust that people will become a member at the level they are comfortable with and not judge them if they join as a student even though we think they can afford a higher level of membership. -Anyone furthering their education from CDA to master‟s -All, there is no difference. A student is a student. -We are torn on this as a board. It makes sense for it to be only full-time, but do want to support CDA candidates in their professionalism. (They are the lowest paid in the field.) 7. If we discontinue the dues discount, do you think your chapter would be willing to offer $20 scholarships to students? -If we can support it. -We would but we would add a service clause. -We already offer scholarships to anyone who is willing to apply. I think a student scholarship would be appropriate to offer. - I don't think it would happen unless there could be some requirement regarding their being an "active member" willing to attend meeting and participate in Chapter activities. -Absolutely VII: Recommendations: As a result of our surveys, PennAEYC will be offering an online communication system specifically for faculty who teach ec courses. We also recommend setting up a PennAEYC facebook page. Our work group generally agreed that students should not have to pay full price and that the system should be changed so that it can‟t be misused. Because NAEYC is potentially going to change both the dues categories and the dues amounts, most of us thought the PennAEYC decision should either be postponed until NAEYC finalizes their portion of the structure. A decision could also be made pending the NAEYC announcement – for example “we approve this change in our structure as long as NAEYC does not increase their rates,” thus allowing the decision to be in effect this Fall if NAEYC‟s changes do not resolve the problem. After reviewing and discussing all of our research, we agreed that the following option would be most efficient and fair: Get rid of the discount rate and instead give the chapters the opportunity to receive a refund from state dues of $12 per student to be used for student and/or student group recruitment/support/activities. PROS: No one could misuse the student discount. Chapters would have the flexibility to decide who to support and how and would be responsible for implementing their choice. Chapters with few students would have minimal work, while chapters with more students would have more flexibility and accountability in use of funds. Jodi would have minimal work once the system was in place. CONS: PennAEYC/Jodi would have to figure out how to offer the $12 per student to at-large area students or student AEYC groups. State and/or local strategies would have to be created to publicize and promote the new system.
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