Your Start Smart Questions, Answered

Start Smart salary negotiation workshops provide college women who are approaching the job market the knowledge and skills to negotiate salaries and benefits. Organizing a workshop on a new campus can be a challenge, which is why we’re here to help! Below are some of our most frequently asked questions about Start Smart.

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Why is Start Smart necessary? Aren’t today’s women graduates paid the same as their male peers?

In 2013, full-time, year-round working women were paid 78 percent of what men were paid. That number rose just 1 percent since 2012 — a change that is not significantly different. Unfortunately, the pay gap is worse for women of color. African American women now make 64 percent of what men were paid down from 69 percent and Hispanic women make 54 percent, down from 57 percent. Asian American women’s salaries show the smallest gender pay gap, at 90 percent of white men’s earnings. We encourage you to refer to AAUW’s Graduating to a Pay Gap and The Simple Truth as they succinctly address these issues by going beyond the widely reported 78 percent statistic. You can also get pay gap numbers for your state and congressional district here.

What topics does a Start Smart workshop cover?

The workshop explains the consequences of the gender wage gap for young women and teaches personal budgeting, compensation benchmarking, and skills for negotiating salary and benefits.

How long is the workshop?

An effective workshop takes about three hours, including time for questions and role playing.

How is Start Smart different from the typical programming and services offered by college and university career centers?

Start Smart workshops focus on the details of salary negotiation. After visiting almost 300 campuses, AAUW has not encountered any other campus program that offers such detailed skill building.

What is the fee to present a Start Smart campus workshop?

The fee for the use and development of Start Smart materials for the inaugural workshop at a collegeor university is $650. There is a $350 charge for every subsequent workshop. You are also responsible for facilitator travel expenses if more than 25 miles of travel is necessary.

What if I want to offer Start Smart workshops on a regular basis?

A license is available for colleges and universities that want to provide unlimited workshops for three academic years at a cost of $1,750. The campus receives unlimited access to materials for the workshops and becomes part of a growing community of other three-year license holders. Additionally, three staff members or colleagues will be trained as workshop facilitators at no charge.

Is there a cancellation fee?

If, for any reason, the Start Smart workshop is canceled less than 30 days before the scheduled date, the workshop sponsor will be charged $300 for costs incurred in preparation for the workshop.

How much is facilitator training?

There is a $100 fee to attend a Start Smart facilitator training. This fee covers the cost of the training itself, the facilitator guide and related materials, and ongoing coaching by AAUW. Trained Start Smart facilitators receive a $50 refund once they recruit or facilitate their first workshop.

What are the responsibilities of a Start Smart facilitator?

Start Smart facilitators are volunteers who coordinate and present Start Smart salary negotiation workshops or help recruit campuses to host the workshops. AAUW members, other community members, and college or university staff may attend Start Smart facilitator trainings to learn how to lead Start Smart workshops. To date, more than 700 individuals have been trained as facilitators, two-thirds of whom are AAUW members.

Can the Start Smart workshop be customized to reflect the unique characteristics of the students at a specific college or university?

Absolutely! The workshops are customized for each presentation site. The campus contact, Start Smart facilitator, and AAUW will work together to customize materials for the campus audience.

How can I be involved in Start Smart as an AAUW member?

As an AAUW member, you have multiple ways to get involved in the Start Smart initiative:

  • Recruit a campus to hold a Start Smart workshop.
  • Get trained to be a Start Smart facilitator and deliver programs on local campuses.
  • Encourage your branch or community to sponsor a Start Smart facilitator training.
  • Become a Start Smart leader in your state by encouraging and coordinating promotion of the facilitator trainings.
  • Recruit other AAUW members to become trained Start Smart facilitators.

As an AAUW member, how can I use this program to build connections with colleges, universities, and students?

While recruiting campuses to host a Start Smart campus workshop, you can encourage them to join AAUW as college/university partner members. By bringing this workshop to a campus or by becoming a Start Smart facilitator yourself, you can also build connections with individual students and tell them how to get involved with AAUW.

If I am an AAUW member, whom should I contact at a college or university to get started?

Consider recruiting campuses in your community that are already AAUW college/university partner members. Each C/U member has a campus representative who can be your first point of contact. To obtain the contact information for this campus representative, please e-mail or call 800.326.AAUW. Other potential campus contacts for this program might include the women’s center, the student affairs department, the student life center, and the career center.

How accurate is the data used in the workshop?, which supplies Start Smart’s salary information, updates its data every month with information provided by employers for a specific job title, making the data accurate and timely.

How do I get started?

If you are interested in bringing Start Smart to a college or university or in becoming a facilitator, please review our how-to guide.