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Ag Teachers,

First, THANK YOU to each teacher who helped FFA members submit American FFA Degree applications this spring. Our goal was to have 150 applications submitted. As usual, you and your students really stepped up big. You submitted 183 American Degree applications for consideration in 2019!!! That is incredible, and I am so grateful for the work that you and your students put in.

Since you submitted the applications we have been slowly reviewing them, and some of you either have, or soon will, receive feedback on some revisions that will need to take place in order for your students American Degree application to be approved. Please look this information over carefully and try to be pro-active about this.

Can a student's application require revision even if the entire checklist showed "MET"?
Yes. A student can have all "MET" on the checklist, but still have issues with their American Degree application that could require revision in order to approve. The most common causes for review are listed below.

Description of SAE
Give details - Each applicant should give specific detail as to the work/responsibilities of their SAE in the SAE description boxes. A student who just lists "Labor" or "Intern" as their SAE will have their application returned for revision. List specifically what the SAE responsibilities were.

Keep the A in SAE - While the formulas within the application can detect if hours and money are sufficient to be "MET," the SAE must actually be an SAE in order for the student to qualify. If a student lists something that is a job, but not a true SAE that is agriculturally based, their application will be returned for revision.

CDEs and Officer duties are NOT SAEs - A student who list the hours that they spend preparing for career development events and/or serving as a chapter office as part of their SAE will have their application returned for revision. Preparing for and competing in CDEs and serving as chapter/Area/State officers are great opportunities, but they are not SAEs. Hours listed in the SAE that come from these activities will not be allowed to count.

Community Service
Many students will have their American Degree application returned for revision due to poorly described community service activities. Even though a student may qualify with money and hours, if those 50 hours of community service are not actually community service, the student's American Degree application will not be accepted. Please pay attention to the following...

Other activities beyond FFA that the student is involved in are NOT considered community service - Just because the student is a member of the Student Council, Key Club, Young Farmers, BETA club, etc...that involvement is not community service. Participating in your own church is not community service.

Just because the student volunteers their time and is not being paid for their effort does not qualify the event as community service - If your student lists volunteer at county livestock show, that will be rejected. The student is not providing a service to someone in need, they are volunteering at a county event. If a student assists with a fundraiser in which the funds exclusively benefit the organization hosting the fundraiser, that is NOT community service. Example - if an FFA member sells porkchop plates to help their local YF chapter raise money, that is NOT community service if that money is going to benefit the YF chapter. Likewise, if a student mows the grass of their neighbor for free, that is NOT community service!

So what is community service? - In order for the hours to count as community service, the student must be meeting a need of someone/some group who is less fortunate. Raising money for Relay for life (cancer research), food drives, clothing drives, highway cleanups, and other projects where people/groups who are in a difficult spot are being benefited is the expectation.

If you hear back from me or someone from your Region office with feedback about your student's application, please make it a point to review the application with the student and fix the issue right away. Please call me if you/your student have any questions about the feedback you receive. I'm here to help you.

Final Steps
To make the revisions requested, your student (or you) should follow these steps.
1. Login to your MyFFA account and access the application manager and American Degree application
2. Go to the page(s) that need revising and make the revisions
3. In the left side menu bar scroll down to the "Complete/Print Your Application" link and select it.
4. You will see a button to Complete and generate a PDF file of the application. I encourage you to do that.
You DO NOT have to resubmit another hard copy of the application. Simply complete and generate a PDF online. I will then have access to the most revised version of the application.
5. Email me to let me know that your student's application(s) have been revised so that I can confirm the changes.

Finally, please know that all changes to American Degree applications need to be made by Monday, June 10.  If you have questions, call me. Thanks.

Ben Lastly
Executive Secretary
Georgia FFA Association
316 Poultry Science - UGA
Athens, GA 30602
Email: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Office: (706) 552-4456
Mobile: (706) 410-4604