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Social Security Taxes Rise, Visa Fee Blocked, Online Charter Boom, Independent School Advantages

By Net Assets posted 10-16-2020 09:59 AM

  

(from Society for Human Resource Management) Starting Jan. 1, 2021, the maximum earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax will increase by $5,100, up from the $137,700 maximum for 2020 to $142,800 in 2021, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced Oct. 13. The SSA also posted a fact sheet summarizing the 2021 changes. The taxable wage cap is subject to an automatic cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) each year based on increases in the national average wage index, calculated annually by the SSA.

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(from Society for Human Resources Management) Hikes in immigration visa filing fees that were set to take effect Oct. 2 for employers of foreign national workers were temporarily halted last week by a U.S. federal judge. The judge ruled that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not follow rulemaking procedures or consider the impact on low-income workers, and that the acting secretary of DHS had been improperly elevated to his role at the time the rule was issued. The agency that handles the visas is fee-funded, and currently under-funded, so a fee hike may on the table in the future. 

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(from the 74 Million) Online charter schools, once seen as the bane of Ohio's publically funded school system, have seen an 8% jump in enrollment this year. Parents newly enrolled are looking for schools that have an established online program and can offer a consistent model, as opposed to the hybrid model some public schools in the state are offering. However, a 2019 study found that students at online charters are more likely to fall behind and have "dragged down" the state's overall performance. 

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(from Washingtonian) Independent schools are attracting new families in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic for more reasons than one -- it's not just offering in-person learning that has garnered interest. Other factors include:

  • Being mindful of students’ well-being, schools are building in counseling, frequent breaks, less screen time—and chances for kids to be together.
  • The time students do spend on screens is being rethought.
  • Private schools with spacious campuses are taking advantage of them, moving as much as possible outdoors.
  • Private schools are trying to replicate not just classes but the entire educational experience virtually—including phys ed and extracurricular activities.

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