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Fall 2002 Vol. 46, Number 3

Grab Bag

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Salaries dip for college grads-but not in all fields

The slowing economy meant lower starting salaries for many of this year’s college graduates, according to surveys by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. But salaries for bachelor’s degree recipients in some majors, such as chemical engineering, have held steady. And salaries in others, such as history and performing arts, have risen. Even with decreases, 2002 starting salaries for those in several fields remain higher than they were in 2000. (See below.)

For more information about the Association’s surveys, write NACE, 62 Highland Ave., Bethlehem, PA 18017; call 1 (800) 544-5272; or visit

Regardless of declines in 2002 starting salaries, however, college graduates usually earn more than their non-college-educated counterparts. For more details about earnings for college graduates, see "College at work: Outlook and earnings for college graduates" elsewhere in this issue of the OOQ.

Selected bachelor’s degree majors Average 2002 starting salary, September through July Change from 2001 starting salary, September through July (percent)
Accounting $ 39,768  +0.9
Business administration 36,429  –5.3
Chemical engineering 51,417  –0.7
Civil engineering 41,317  +1.7
Computer engineering 51,587  –4.3
Computer science 49,596  –5.9
Electrical engineering 50,123  –3.4
English 28,488  –9.6
History 31,201  +2.7
Logistics or materials management 39,407  –9.1
Management information systems  42,705  –6.3
Nursing 38,459  +4.8
Political science  28,397  –13.4
Psychology  26,456 –12.8
Visual and performing arts  27,575   +4.5
Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers Salary Survey Summer Edition
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Federal Government Scholarships

Need cash for college? You probably already know that the Federal Government offers financial aid through the U.S. Department of Education. But there are many other sources of Federal funds, especially for students interested in working for Uncle Sam.

The best way to uncover money for school is to contact Government agencies that are related to the subject you are studying. A few examples follow: 
National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship program offers up to $20,000 annually to low-income or disadvantaged students studying biomedical, behavioral, or health science. Recipients work for the Institutes each summer and after graduation for 1 year for each year they received money. Contact: National Institutes of Health, Office of Loan Repayment and Scholarship, 2 Center Dr., MSC 0230, Bethesda, MD 20892-0230; 1 (800) 528-7689;

Students of veterinary science and biomedicine may apply for $5,000 undergraduate or $10,000 graduate scholarships from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Recipients work for the Federal Government during summers while they are in school and after graduation for 1 year for each year they received aid. Contact: Saul T. Wilson, Jr. Scholarship, USDA, APHIS, Human Resources, 4700 River Rd., Unit 21, Riverdale, MD 20737-1230.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

The National Ocean Service offers up to $32,000 annually to graduate students—particularly women and minorities—working toward advanced degrees in oceanography, marine biology, or maritime archeology. This award, the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship, has no service requirement. Contact: Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program, Office of Assistant Administration, 13th Floor, National Ocean Service, 1305 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910; (301) 713-3074;

National Security Agency

Undergraduates majoring in languages, mathematics, engineering, computer science, political science, or history can apply for tuition, expenses, and a year-round salary from the National Security Agency. Recipients work for the agency during the summers and after graduation for 1½ times the length of study. Contact: NSA, Attn: Undergraduate Training Program, Office of Recruitment and Hiring, Suite 6779, 9800 Savage Rd., Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755-6779; 1 (800) 669-0703;

The Truman Scholarship is available to college juniors who are studying nearly any subject and who plan to attend graduate school and work in government, education, or public-service related nonprofits. Scholarship recipients get $3,000 for their final undergraduate year and $27,000 toward graduate education. Contact: Truman Scholarship Foundation, 712 Jackson Pl. NW., Washington, DC 20006; (202) 395-4831;

Those planning to teach middle or high school can apply for the James Madison Memorial Fellowship, established by Congress. The fellowship offers up to $24,000 toward a master’s degree in government, history, or education. Recipients teach government or history for 1 year for each year of the fellowship. Contact: James Madison Foundation, PO Box 4030, 2201 N. Dodge St., Iowa City, Iowa 52243-4030; 1 (800) 525-6928;

Seal of the President of the United States

High school students who serve their communities can qualify for $1,000 Presidential Freedom Scholarships. One-half of the money comes from the Corporation for National and Community Service; the other half is gathered by the student’s high school from local sources. To qualify, students must write a brief essay and must have volunteered at least 1,000 hours in the year preceding application. Contact: Presidential Freedom Scholarships, 1150 Connecticut Ave. NW., Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036; 1 (866) 291-7700 (toll free) or (202) 742-5390;


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Technology in Special education

If you’re planning to teach the disabled, you’ll need to be technologically savvy. Use of assistive technology—which includes screen readers for blind students to navigate the Internet and dictating software for students unable to use their hands—has been increasing, and special education teachers help students with these devices. Currently, the availability of assistive technology varies, depending on school budgets and teacher training.

In 1997, Congress passed a law mandating that assistive technology be considered for every student who receives special education services. Last year, the Instructional Materials Accessibility Act established a national electronic file format for textbooks; this will ease the conversion of textbooks to Braille, digital, or other versions. And this year, the U.S. Department of Education is offering grants for programs that train special education teachers to use technology.

Learning to use assistive technology is only part of what special educators do. Special education teachers, whose employment BLS projects will increase faster than the average for all occupations through 2010, perform a variety of other duties tailored to their students’ needs. To find out more about the occupation’s job duties, training requirements, outlook, and earnings, consult the 2002-03 Occupational Outlook Handbook. It is available in most libraries and career counselors’ offices and on the Internet; the link for special education teachers is

More information also is available on assistive technology in special education. Research summaries from the Education Resources Information Center describe current technology and its effects on student success. For a copy of these summaries and information on training grants, call the Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education at 1 (800) 328-0272 or visit online at 

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Work at home

Homework doesn’t always end after graduation, according to statistics from a survey by BLS and the Census Bureau. In May 2001, more than 19 million people—15 percent of all workers—did some work at home at least once a week and as part of their primary job.

Half of these workers took work home informally, on an unpaid basis; 17 percent had formal, paid arrangements with their employers; and 30 percent were self-employed.

Of those with formal arrangements, 1 in 6, or about half a million workers, logged 35 or more hours at home.

Which occupations were the most likely to include home work? Teachers topped the list, with about 60 percent of college and university teachers and 52 percent of other teachers doing work at home. Lawyers and judges came next, with 46 percent. Sales representatives also often worked at home: about 40 percent of nonretail sales representatives and 38 percent of finance sales representatives did some work at home. Of administrative support workers, financial records processing workers were most likely to work at home, with about 14 percent doing so.

To learn more about the survey, including the demographics of home workers and reasons for working from home, call (202) 691-6378 or see an online summary at

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: March 04, 2003