Unique Ways College Students Can Better Their Financial Situation

Programs like EAW’s tuition and financial aid program help increase the value of college students while also providing funding assistance at no cost to their new employee.

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“I had to take out quite a substantial amount of student loans, so much so that I maxed them out and I wasn’t sure if I was going to graduate.” – Andrew Bland, EAW student and Arizona State University graduate of computer sciences.

The student debt crisis is worse than it’s ever been before. According to the 2021 student loans report,, student debt has increased by 144% since 2007, causing the vast majority of graduates to enter the working world with several years’ worth of debt.

Adulthood is already tough enough, and entering this phase of life with massive bills doesn’t make it any easier. Student loans are a serious issue, but it’s something that’ll take a long time to amend.

Meanwhile, college students can’t afford to wait around for policy changes, which is why they must take the necessary steps to prepare themselves financially now.

Increase Individual Value

Everyone sees money as the end goal, especially when it comes to improving finances. However, as a college student, the goal shouldn’t just be to make money – it should be to increase individual value.

Getting good grades is great, but getting experience is worth its weight in gold. Building a portfolio and resume through job experience, internships, certifications, freelancing or volunteering will help students make leaps and bounds into their career.

Increasing individual value isn’t purely monetary, but it is possible to demonstrate skills while making money, helping in both the short and long term. Programs like EAW’s tuition and financial aid program help increase the value of college students while also providing funding assistance at no cost to their new employee.

“Landing my dream career is something I never thought possible, and it’s something I couldn’t have done without the help of Education at Work.” – Brittany Collier, EAW student and University of Cincinnati graduate of marketing. 

Showcasing skills and going beyond the classroom curriculum will better the chances of securing job opportunities.

Learn Financial Literacy

Unfortunately, the majority of high schools don’t teach financial literacy, even though it’s an essential life skill. Taking the time to learn about finances helps with budgeting, and understanding what makes up a credit score, the impact of inflation and tax increases, and how interest rates work will help students understand the real cost of living before they’re caught in the deep end.

Learning and sticking to a budget will allow anyone to improve their money management, which will decrease financial stress and help to avoid any further financial hardships.

Build Credit Now

Credit scores have a huge impact on a person’s ability to finance milestone purchases. Big investments, such as buying a home, have certain credit score requirements which can be hard to meet when a person doesn’t have enough credit.

Even purchases like rent, insurance, cell phones and buying a car are impacted by credit score. More often than not, the better the credit score, the lower the interest rate, and the lower the interest rate, the more money to spend and to save.

Ideally, people want to build credit as soon as they can, and if someone hasn’t started yet, the best thing to do is to start now. There are many ways to build credit from scratch, and the best way to establish healthy credit is by monitoring your credit score and paying off debts on time.

Save Some Money

Although it may seem obvious, saving money is essential to improving finances as a student. Start by creating a budget. Figure out fixed expenses and any interest rates, fees or taxes associated with them. Then, list out all variable expenses.

Underestimating or overestimating expenses won’t help to create a proper action plan, so try to be as accurate and detailed as possible when budgeting expenses.

After creating a budget, look for ways to save money without sacrificing quality of life. It’s surprising how many expenses can be cut down on in college.

“It’s really important to save at least a little bit in case of an emergency – like the pandemic – and having at least a savings account will be able to back you up.” – Nicholas Acciardo III, EAW student and Arizona State University graduate of Earth and environmental studies.

Saving bits of money here and there will pile up and save huge amounts in the long run.

Invest, Invest, Invest

Earning and saving money is important to financial success, but to really see finances grow, investing is key. One easy way to begin investing is to put money in a bank and earn interest, although it’s also good to set aside any extra money for additional investments, because while banking means easy access to funds, it’s also a very slow growth.

Retirement plans, such as 401(k)’s, use compound interest rates, putting only a couple of dollars into a retirement plan early on will help to grow a retirement fund immensely. Another option for those who would rather liquidate funds more easily is the stock market.

The average return on a stock investment is 10% per year, which is well beyond the interest rate of most savings accounts. However, this money isn’t guaranteed, so it’s important to research before making the leap. Ultimately, setting aside money for investments will allow growth in finances passively, creating opportunities for students to plan their retirement earlier than others.

Although the student debt crisis is an ongoing issue in need of attention, it’s important to always work on improving financial health. Life after college can be a challenging experience, but by practicing healthy money habits, any college student can get one step closer to financial freedom.

Mel Vance, Amy Price Join Leading Staffing Solutions Provider

Nonprofit Education at Work adds operations and call center experts to senior management team.

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Tempe, Ariz. — Education at Work, a U.S.-based provider of staffing solutions whose mission is to help high-achieving college students gain career-ready skills and financial stability, today announced that two industry veterans have joined its senior management team: Mel Vance as senior vice president of operations, and Amy Price as senior vice president of shared services. 

Vance joins Education at Work (EAW), an affiliate of Strada Education Network from National Asset Managers, LLC, where he most recently led the company’s business development, asset management, sales, and marketing strategy. In his new role, Vance will oversee operations and implement cost-effective systems for EAW clients and its home base while building workplace efficiency and a high-performing culture.

Vance’s approach to operational leadership stems from a 25-year career managing customer experience for global companies including FedEx, TeleTech, and Sitel. He also understands the needs of today’s adult learners through his time educating students as an adjunct business instructor at the University of Phoenix. 

“Education at Work’s organizational model is the perfect blend of responsible sourcing for business solutions,” Vance said. “I’m proud to be part of a forward-thinking leadership team, focused on building a best-in-class operations mindset, delivering value for our clients, and contributing to reducing the burden of student debt.” 

Price joins EAW from PharMerica, where she was the director of customer service, supporting the frontline medical needs for 71 pharmacies and more than 1,100 long-term care facilities nationwide. Price brings more than two decades of contact center, global consumer products, project management, and analytics experience to her new role.

She will be responsible for leading a diverse team to advance EAW’s growth in the Business Process Outsourcing industry in the newly created role of senior vice president of shared services. Building on a career spanning multiple sectors, focused on metrics and employee development, she is poised to deliver on the organization’s bold strategies to attract and retain talent to support EAW’s objective of expanding its client base over the next 18—24 months. 

“Leading shared services, supporting college student success, and accomplishing business goals is an ideal day at the office,” Price said. “As a 20-year veteran in customer experience, global consumer products, it is rare to take a bottom-line driven industry and pair it with a mission-driven organization. I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to work in my chosen industry, supporting young professionals at my alma mater (Arizona State University) and working with an esteemed and experienced leadership team at EAW. I am looking forward to what we are positioned to accomplish in the future.”

“Both Amy and Mel are leaders in the BPO space, holistically leading in-house call centers and outsourced contact centers,” said EAW President Jaime Nunez. “Our leadership team has the talent, knowledge, skill, and ability to drive performance and build a culture of belonging and engagement.”

“We are in a unique position,” Nunez said. “Our organization is at the table with major employers, universities, and funders [thanks in part to our nonprofit status]. This position creates an advantage as we understand the real-time needs of the workforce and the connection between education and employment. It makes our sourcing solutions a formidable choice — and stands out in the BPO industry. Our teams have the chance to highlight and promote our operational rigor, business intelligence, and pulse on the next generation of workers. Ultimately, these strengths lead to growing our mission and expanding corporate social responsibility of our clients.”

How EAW Supervisors Approach Mentoring

Supervisors at Education at Work strive to help, encourage, mentor and be a support system for Education at Work students.

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By Kelvin Mejia, EAW Student Digital Reporter

Supervisors at Education at Work strive to help, encourage, mentor and be a support system for Education at Work students who are working on our campus centers or within our client’s customer service centers. Each supervisor takes a different approach to their job. Our student digital reporter in Utah spoke to three supervisors to gain insight into how they mentor students on a daily basis.

Tyler McKinney, a supervisor for Education at Work’s Utah site has been working with students for two years. As a supervisor, Tyler ensures that each student is successful, comfortable and can rely on their own personal skills while working with customers.

“My goal is for students is to understand that there are always improvements that can be made even if there is nothing wrong,” says Tyler.

Tyler McKinney
Tyler McKinney

If Tyler sees someone who is stressed during their chat he will sit down and help them by discussing the importance of soft skills. He also gives students tips and best practices on how to bond and make a personal connection with the customer during a chat to improve performance and make each call the best experience it can be for the customer. Tyler will often pull an example of an exceptional chat and one that needed improvement to show a student, with real-life examples, how he or she could do better in certain areas to improve their next chat. For example, Tyler will show a student chat agent how a chat was opened, to display how the student communicated with the customer. Tyler also adds that he likes to go over what a student is doing well during a chat to act as a positive reinforcement.

Mason Stanford, another supervisor, helps students in a different way. Mason keeps a positive environment on the floor during calls. This positively allows students to move calls forward to completion while confidently maintaining the flow of conversation in order to get the customer where they need to go. Most of the calls on the floor Mason works consist of leaving voicemails. Mason says he cares about the student’s performance and would do anything he can to ensure students are successful in this environment. He does this by taking an interest in students’ lives outside of work, because, as he see it, if they are doing poorly at school that will also affect their performance at work.

“Despite being a supervisor and wanting them to succeed, they can’t perform their best if they aren’t performing well outside of work,” says Mason. “By asking the student, ‘How are you doing at work? How are your classes?’ I can help them with professional and personal development if needed.”

Mason Stanford
Mason Stanford

Amber Richens has been a supervisor for two years and devotes her time ensuring each student is successful in their chats. She has high expectations for her team and takes the time to give them constructive criticism and helpful feedback. “I look at their behaviors on how they approach people on chats, I am always holding myself accountable for what happens,” says Amber. “I want them to have a good understanding of the situation and I let them know why I asked these questions.”

Amber says she wants everyone on her team to succeed during their time at EAW whether it’s with work, school or in their hobbies.

Education at Work is honored to have amazing supervisors who ensure that our students’ journey with EAW goes well.

Amber Richens

Amber Richens

Student Earns a Top-Tier Internship Position

Madelyn Sugg, an Education at Work employee worked hard to get into a prestigious internship offered by one of our clients.

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Madelyn Sugg, a student attending Arizona State University, majoring in business communications and an Education at Work employee since 2017 worked hard to get herself into a 10-week prestigious internship offered by one of our financial service clients. This internship opportunity allowed Madelyn to take a step further in achieving her career goals, provided her exposure to the technical and business side of the financial service company, gave her the chance to network and increased her confidence. Our client offers top-tier students this competitive 10-week paid internship with the possibility of a full-time job offer starting in an Operations Leadership Program after graduation.

We spoke to Madelyn about her experience during the competitive, all-inclusive 10-week internship. Here is what she had to say:

How did you hear about this internship opportunity?

I saw a flyer posted. The internship sounded cool but the information was vague. An EAW supervisor came to me and basically said, “You're applying.” My supervisors at EAW were really encouraging and offered me all kinds of advice and information. After going through an interview process that was about two months long, I received a call that I was accepted into the internship.

What did you learn from this internship experience?

The experience was amazing. I learned more about the company culture, took on more projects and learned how I work best in a corporate setting. During the internship I took classes and invested time in my leadership skills. The projects I worked on were very self-lead but I also had a mentor to coach me. My mentor was very involved, discussing the industry with me, giving me books that were valuable and talking to me about my plans and goals. Everyone at the internship really cared about your success and wanted to see you grow and flourish as people. Everything I worked on during the internship was a great learning experience. I know that I went into this experience hesitant about networking. The projects I worked on involved interviewing people and I had to set meetings up with people which made me learn to network, go for it and see if people were available to talk. After this experience, I know I can make a connection happen and I feel more confident in my networking skills.

What have you learned at Education at Work?

Being here [at EAW] has taught me not to be afraid to ask for something and make something happen. There are a lot of chances to improve your work experiences - to seek opportunities and to understand how to make your voice heard.

What would you tell other students about the internship and the opportunities it provided you?

It’s an amazing experience for anyone who will be working in the corporate world. The skills you develop, the things you learn and the connections you make are invaluable.

Looking Back: The First Education At Work Customer Service Call

We thought we’d take a look back at the history of EAW and see what the first student employee to take a customer service call was up to today.

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In August we celebrated seven years of Education at Work so we thought we’d take a look back at the history of Education at Work and see what the first student employee to take a customer service call at EAW was up to today.

DeAnte Judkins was that first student employee. He worked at EAW for about two years and graduated from the University of Cincinnati with his undergraduate degree in chemistry.

Now DeAnte is in grad school at the University of Cincinnati for chemistry and is studying to be a photo chemist. After DeAnte earns his graduate degree he hopes to start his own industrial company generating chemical products for industrial application.

DeAnte says he had previous call center experience which helped him feel more comfortable when taking the first customer service call at EAW but says that he was still nervous because the amount of people staring at him.

Tuition assistance and the ability to work around his class schedule impacted DeAnte the most. “EAW helped me to pay for school. Before EAW I would have to leave a job and find a new job that would fluctuate around my school schedule because my schedule changed every semester. It was agitation.”

While DeAnte was at EAW he says didn’t have to worry about work interfering with his class schedule.

When asked what he would tell undergrads about Education at Work DeAnte says, “This is a great opportunity for students who have never had any previous work experience because it gives them experience in a professional work environment and helps them learn how to work with others.”

Students Learn From Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Recently, a select few EAW employees at our Utah site received a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit an EAW partner in Washington.

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Recently, a select few Education at Work student employees at our Utah site received a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit an EAW partner and global technology company’s headquarters in Washington. Each student chosen earned their ‘Golden Ticket’ through hard work and dedication. The following eight University of Utah students and EAW employees were chosen to attend the ‘Golden Ticket’ trip: Austin Gibbons, a computer science major and senior; Taysha Tiatia, an economics major going into her fourth year; Arielle Lupo, a biomedical engineering major going into her fourth year; Tayler Looney, a biology/pre-med major and a junior; Yulissa Garcia, an operations management and supply chain major going into her fourth year; Freddy Lafoou, an entrepreneurship major in his junior year; Jace Wilko, a marketing major who will be entering his sophomore year this fall and Peter Sullivan a marketing major going into his junior year. During the trip, students saw the sights in Seattle, Washington and were given a tour of the global technology company’s headquarters by several members of staff. During their experience each student spoke to employees at the Fortune 500 to understand how they got to where they are and to learn more about the company.

“It was really awesome and a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn about your role at EAW and to learn from the staff at a Fortune 500 and to really understand their mission statement,” said Taysha. “We talked to the head of Customer Service Support and she inspired us to think about the reason behind a 6-star customer experience.”

Staff and engineers at the site were extremely open to networking and encouraged students to connect on LinkedIn.

“After seeing everything, it gave me a greater sense of direction on how to tackle school and actually made me feel like a job at a Fortune 500 is more obtainable,” said Jace. “It’s great seeing their passion and it even developed my own.”

Students were able to see what the engineers are currently developing and learned about their creative process.

Tayler Looney, a biology/pre-med major, shared that one of the best things on the trip, for her, was to sit down with the engineers and interns and talk to them on a personal level. Tayler said that hearing from the interns, their experiences and how they got into the program was a great experience.

This trip is just one example of what Education at Work does to help students build their networking skills and gain real-world experience. We are proud to have a helping hand in building brighter futures.

2018 Annual Report

EAW achieved another year of strong growth and realization of its mission to help college students graduate less debt.

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Education at Work achieved another great year of strong growth and realization of its mission to help college students graduate with more professional skills and less student debt. With the support of our client and university partners, we invest in the future of our students, they are the heart and soul of what we do. Last year we set ambitious goals aimed at improving our mission values to our student employees and expanding our offering so more students than ever could benefit and succeed within higher education. For the year in review click the link below to view our 2018 Annual Report.

The Mission Grows

EAW opened a new 17,000-square-foot facility in collaboration with Arizona State University and a Fortune 500 company.

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Our commitment to grow our mission continued in 2018, in August Education at Work opened a new 17,000-square-foot facility in collaboration with Arizona State University and a Fortune 500 company. We have incredible partnerships that believe in our mission to prepare college students for a better future and our unique model at fulfilling a business need by creating a talent platform to hire our tech savvy student’s post-graduation. Click link below to read more….


The Permanent Detour Of College Grads

Strada Education Network, in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies has recently published an in-depth report.

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Our parent company Strada Education Network, in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies has recently published an in-depth report titled "The Permanent Detour: Underemployment's Long-Term Effects on the Careers of College Grads." The report details findings from a longitudinal study by Burning Glass of 4 million unique resumes, examining the employment status of college graduates.

Key findings include:

    • Nearly half of college grads are underemployed in their first job, and most students who start out underemployed remain underemployed five and ten years out.


    • There are exceptions to the underemployed finding, but they are mostly in STEM fields, such as computer science and engineering, as well as communications.


    • Women are more likely to be caught in this trap than men. Almost half (47 percent) of female college graduates are initially underemployed, compared to about one of every three (37 percent) male graduates. This is true regardless of a woman's college major.


This report reinforces the EAW mission to help college students graduate with little to no debt and the skills they need to earn the right first job, as well as opportunities to work fulltime in career jobs with the same client that employed them as an undergraduate.

To see the full report click here! - https://www.burning-glass.com/research-project/underemployment/

Mission Impact A Year In Review

We laughed, we cried and we celebrated another year of growth at Education at Work.

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Another great year has past with several exciting developments - including our newly announced partnerships with the University of Utah and a major global technology organization.

We laughed, we cried and we celebrated another year of growth at Education at Work. In 2017 we welcomed hundreds of students to our
network, grew our professional staff, awarded millions in tuition assistance and wages, plus celebrated the opening of a new EAW center
that grew our footprint in the Western United States. Here is a closer look at the numbers:

  • 429 students and 24 professional staff members were hired nationally
  • Student-employees earned $3,600,000 in wages and $1,100,000 in tuition assistance
  • 7 student-employees were hired on full-time by EAW business clients post-graduation
  • We supported students from 17 universities nationwide
  • Our latest partnership at the University of Utah was signed and launched in October 2017

Our organization has come a long way since our inception in 2012. We started with one center based out of Cincinnati, OH that employed students from a few universities in the region to now operating four campus affiliated locations across the nation in Arizona, Utah, Kentucky
and Ohio. Throughout the past five years we have partnered with Fortune 500 companies from industries including retail, financial services, technology and telecommunications. To-date we have employed over 3,000 students and awarded $21,200,000 million in wages and tuition assistance to our student-employees.

With the support of our parent company, Strada Education Network, we will continue pursuing our ultimate goal to reduce $1.3 billion in
student debt annually through employing over 100,000 college students by 2025.