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Fall 2013
Vol. 57, Number 3
Grab bag
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Finding volunteer opportunities

Volunteering is a large part of many people's lives. High school students often need a certain number of service hours in order to graduate, college students want hands-on experience before entering the job market, and people of all ages like to get involved in their communities. VolunteerMatch can help all these groups find opportunities.

Through VolunteerMatch, prospective volunteers can find local and online opportunities from among thousands available at participating organizations. In addition to searching by geographic area, results can be narrowed by keyword, cause, and other variables, or by setting up an account to receive recommendations.

To learn more or to find a volunteering opportunity, visit

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Scholarships for specialized careers

Are you a college sophomore or junior focused on a career related to the environment, tribal public policy, or American Indian healthcare? If so, you may be eligible for a scholarship worth up to $5,000.

The Udall Foundation will award 50 scholarships for tuition, fees, and room and board for the 2014–15 academic year. There are three different scholarship categories:

  • For students who show a commitment to environmental public service in fields including engineering, urban planning, business, public policy, sustainability, and the natural sciences.
  • For American Indian or Alaska Native students committed to careers in tribal public policy, including natural resource management, American Indian education and justice, and cultural preservation.
  • For American Indian or Alaska Native students demonstrating their commitment to serving these populations through careers in healthcare, including social work, dentistry, and counseling.

Applicants should clearly demonstrate leadership, public service, and commitment to their field. American Indian applicants must also demonstrate a commitment to serving their tribe or Indian country in general. There is no grade-point average (GPA) requirement, but strong applicants will have earned a 3.0 or higher GPA. Applicants must have completed three semesters of full-time study toward an associate's or bachelor's degree and must commit to full time study during the award year (2014– 15).

Students wishing to apply must be nominated by the Udall faculty representative at their college or university. Scholarship applications will become available October 1, 2013, and are due by March 5, 2014.

In addition to awarding scholarships, the Udall Foundation also hosts the Native American Congressional Internship Program, a 10-week summer internship in Washington, D.C., for American Indian and Alaska Native juniors and seniors in college, graduate and law students, and recent graduates. The deadline for the internship program will be around the end of January 2014.

For more information about scholarships or internships, including application requirements and a list of Udall faculty representatives, or to learn more about the foundation, visit

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School dropout rates continue to decline

The disparity between the haves and have-nots often seems to be growing. But it's shrinking in at least one area: school dropout rates.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the gap in the status dropout rate between students from high-income families and low-income families narrowed between 1975 and 2011, markedly since 1990. Status dropout rate is defined as the percentage of 16- through 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and have not earned a high school diploma or its equivalent.

As the chart shows, there was no measurable difference in the status dropout rate for students from high-income families, while the rates declined substantially for students from families in other income groups. For example, the status dropout rate for students from families in the lowest income group fell from nearly 29 percent in 1975 to 13 percent in 2011.

These estimates are from a National Center for Education Statistics report, The Condition of Education 2013, using data from both the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey. For more information, including a link to the report, visit

Status dropout rate by family income quartile, 1975–2011

Note: Because of changes in data collection procedures, data for years prior to 1992 may not be comparable with those after 1992.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey; and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey (CPS).

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Online resource for school counselors

During middle school and high school, students should be considering their future. But it's not always easy for school counselors to get students thinking about life beyond a diploma. Mapping Your Future has resources online to help counselors with this task.

Sponsored by several state agencies and nonprofit organizations, the Mapping Your Future website provides free information and services for counselors helping students make decisions about college, careers, and finances. Counselors can create an account to access resources, such as an online program for teaching students about life after high school. Links to other resources are available directly from the site.

The website's information for middle school and high school counselors is one of many focus areas. Other areas include undergraduate students, student loan borrowers, and parents. To explore the site, visit

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: November 6, 2013