How you fund Investigations – and how much funding is required – depends upon how Investigations is offered in your college or university.
If Investigations is offered as a credit-bearing course, then it may be funded like any other course. Students purchase the workbooks, and facilitators are paid from tuition, tax funds, and other revenue as are faculty. However, it is important to remember that you will need to budget for two facilitators, since it is recommended to conduct the course with both a facilitator and co-facilitator.
If Investigations is offered as a noncredit course, then we recommend budgeting as if you were a community agency offering a Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World course. This means that you budget to pay investigators to participate. Most Getting Ahead sites pay $25 per 2 ½-hour session, which is less than a self-sufficient wage in most cities, but higher than many hourly wage jobs. Typically, this stipend is paid in the form of gift cards to purchase groceries or gas.
Why pay for participation?
- Investigators have valuable information to share about the nature of poverty in your community as well as the barriers to success for under-resourced students in your institution. They should be paid for their work in Investigations in the same way that consultants are paid for their expertise.
- People who live in poverty are living in the concrete and in the moment. The problems investigators face require immediate action, and when a person is overwhelmed by the need to act, he or she likely won’t be able or willing to learn. Thus, a $15-25 grocery or gas card each week solves an immediate problem.
- The gift card, as a solution to immediate problems, also offers immediate rewards and therefore an incentive for participation. At least one community college found that investigators may attend the first few sessions for the gift card, after which they often realize the value of the information, which becomes an even greater incentive.
It is not necessary to pay investigators who are participating in Investigations as a for-credit course because they are receiving college credit, although stipends and other incentives may be offered as the college desires.
To read more about the philosophy of paying investigators, see pages 16-17 of the Facilitator Notes for Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World or page 115 of the Facilitator Notes for Investigations into Economic Class in America.
Budgets for noncredit Investigations courses vary depending upon a number of factors. One cardinal rule when offering Investigations as a noncredit course is that investigators should not be asked to pay for anything. Here is a sample budget with items you should consider as you are planning for your noncredit Investigations course:
- Training Facilitators
- Recruiting Participants
- Launching Investigations
- Providing Follow-Up Support
To find out what others say about Investigations and their experiences with the curriculum, click on these links:
Ready to get started? Have a few more questions? Call (800) 424-9484 or request more information.