Tuesday, March 31, 2009

College = Money

by D. Babbs

As I looked at the cost to attend SU next year, I still couldn’t believe tuition has increased every year since I first enrolled in Fall 2006. I can understand the higher costs if I knew actually what my tuition covered. I know it sure did not cover the $400 health center bill I received when the doctor took my temperature and gave me ginger ale. I strongly believe colleges and universities need to be more transparent in the costs and associated fees that make up a year’s tuition.

Ronald Ehrenberg, a professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University, stated “Improving facilities, teaching quality and research takes money, and while schools theoretically could "aggressively try to increase their efficiency, reduce costs and get better by substitution rather than by growing expenditures, they don't do this.”

Fortunately I am a student who receives a lot of financial aid, but for those who pay for college out the pocket, it can be overwhelming especially if come from a family where on paper you appear to have a large income but in actuality, your family has a lot of expenses that consumes most of that income.

Besides loans and scholarships, there are several forms of aid that college students can tap in to including free scholarship lotteries, federal and state government aid, college-controlled aid, and student profile-based aid. One just has to be willing to take the time and effort to research these options. I know when I was applying to colleges, websites like Fast Web, were very helpful and I sure there are many sites that focus on college aid.




You Hear It First!!!

by D. Babbs

Tim Crowley, Dean of Admissions at Centenary College, speaks with KTAL's Heidi York about issues affecting students as they consider applying to college.

Student loan handling

Copy and pasted by Po-cheng Huang

Monday, March 30, 2009

College debt

By Po-cheng Huang

Most top schools in the U.S. cost about 40,000 dollar per academic year while the average annual income of Americans are about 35,000 dollar. That number is even before living expenses, which means that the parents of the majority of American high school seniors will not be able to afford their children's college tuitions and if the child wish to go to college, he will need to get scholarship from the college or take a student loan, or both. And then that’s the start of the debt rolling life of the vast majority of Americans. According to a guest speaker at a conference I attended, she said that she was finally clear out from all of her debt at age 41 since she graduated from college, not to mention the cost of tuition today is much, much more than what it was 20 years ago. So what should the students do? I think the current U.S. government is coming up with student loans that will be much more “reasonable” than the current ones and those provided from the private sector, but fundamentally, students need to know how to manage their financial positions so that they can get out of debt as soon as possible after they join the workforce.


Getting a Loan Without Loan Payments

By Steven Muller

For all the scare stories this spring about how hard it was going to be for students to get loans, the loan season is ending quietly with money secured. But I have a different take on this story. Why are we glad that students and parents find it so easy to get further into hock? Students who borrow are graduating with a median $20,000 in education debt that schools know about (that doesn't count direct loans from other places where students borrow, like banks). Kids have no idea how tough it could be to repay or what might happen if they can't (for some horror stories, see studentloanjustice.org). Families starting to think about college should troll for places they can afford, while borrowing as little money as possible.

The colleges themselves know that loans are getting a bad name. Sixteen high-cost schools— including Amherst, Haverford, Lafayette, Oberlin and Stanford—provide financial aid entirely in the form of free grants, even to students with higher incomes. An additional 28 schools have adopted no-loan policies within certain loan or family-income limits.

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Applying to College For Parents

By Alcides Hoy Jr.

Many times parents need a little insight on how to help their children apply for college. This video should provide you with few tips to do so.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Are Private Schools Worth the Money?

By Daniel Powell

Tuition has been rising every year, typically higher than the rate of inflation. Annual charges at private four-year colleges are averaging more than $30,000 and top schools typically ask for over $40,000. The main reason colleges are able to get away with charging such outrageous prices is because students and their parents are willing to pay, even if this means sinking them into debt. However, we must think about if a state school is a better bargain altogether because they are typically a third of the cost of a private school.

While most people agree that education is a good investment, the real question lies on if higher tuition means a better education and a better salary. Reports do show that those in Ivy League colleges do make higher salaries but the extra money spent cuts greatly into their new incomes. When it came to analyzing the cost of school compared to return on the student's investment, public schools such as University of Georgia and Texas A&M topped the list. This fact really makes you wonder if private schools are really worth the extra money.

Another thing to remember when trying to find out if private schools are worth the extra money is that financial aid provided by private institutions rose over 135 percent from 1993-2004. Many people also believe that the better and more prestigious insitution you go to means the smaller the class sizes and the more direct interaction with professors you have. It has also been shown that it may be harder to get the courses you need in a public school which could extend your time to graduate. One last key point to remember when trying to make the decision if a private education is worth it to you is to see what kind of deal you get. The "sticker price" may not be what you pay due to help from financial aid. Some people will have the luxury of realizing that with the help of aid, private institutions and public ones are not that far off in cost.

Are top-tier private colleges worth the price of admission?
Is Private College Worth It?
Weighing the Costs in Public vs. Private Colleges

The 4 Rules of Paying for College in a Recession

Post By: Dana Sunderlin

Luckily, we've put together advice from financial aid experts—including lots of parents who managed to pay tuition without going bankrupt. A basic primer to financial aid can be found here.

While every student and family is unique, there are four principles that apply to everybody:

1. Grades matter more than ever. The better the student, the more college options the student will have and the more likely it is the student will receive scholarships or win admission to a low-cost school. Students in states such as Georgia, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Florida, with grade-based scholarships, particularly stand to benefit. Parents wanting to motivate their sophomores and juniors can direct them to college websites such as this one, this one, or here. Each of these sites clearly shows the reality that the better the grades and test scores, the bigger the scholarship. Spend a few extra hours studying, bring your grade point average up a point or two, and it could pay off in tens of thousands of dollars.

2. Early birds will get more scholarship worms . Next fall's high school seniors need to start applying for scholarships AND admission to low-cost schools in the early autumn—before November 30. And they need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid as soon as possible each January, because some aid is handed out on a first-come, first-served basis.

How to Earn a Degree Without Going Broke

Copied and Pasted by Daniel Powell

Kim Clark is the expert on paying for college at U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges. And even though the rate of increase is declining, a college education can still cost you an arm, a leg and many other body parts. She speaks with NPR about how to pay for college without growing broke. So how bad is the increase?

The price of a year of college is up about 6 percent this year. That's one of the lowest rates of increase in several years, but it's still rising faster than wages, inflation and financial aid. Even the net price that people paid after all kinds of tax breaks and grants is still rising 2 to 3 percent a year after inflation. College is just becoming less and less affordable.
And there are other reasons why a degree costs more.

The average public university student now takes more than six years to graduate. It's not clear why. Some of it is that more students need remedial courses that don't count toward a degree. Students are also working more. They're changing majors. Some programs like engineering are just going to take five years. The federal and state governments have added lots of requirements for teachers, so they pretty much need five years. Also, a lot of university administrators talk about "credit creep." For example, to major in English or journalism, many schools have actually increased the number of courses you have to take because they want to make the program more rigorous. That makes it harder to graduate in four years. Penn State, for example, is trying to reduce the number of courses needed for many majors to counteract the trend and make it easier for students to graduate in four years.

The original article in its entirety can be seen HERE

Paying for College

By: Jeremy Radnor

CBS explores unique scholarships to help pay for school during tough economic times.


Universities Respond Differently During Recession

By: Jeremy Radnor

In life today, it is still extremely important to receive an education.  Unfortunately, with todays current economic situtation, it is becoming increasingly difficult to pay for one.  It is no suprise that the Federal Student Aid has seen a surge in applications.  As of February of 2009, the Federal Student Aid had already processed nearly three million applicants for financial aid.  This is a 20% increase compared to the previous year.  In addition, the government's direct student-loan program is up to more than $7 billion this academic year and the Federal Family Education Loan program has seen an increase by $6.2 million.

Not only scholarships have been forced to adjust to the current economic  situation.  Universities all across the country are responding differently in order to cope.  The University of Maryland has started the Keep Me Maryland campaign.  This is a donation based campiagn to raise money for additional scholarships.  UMD has already raised an additional $80,000 for scholarship funds in just one month.  This initiative feeds into the general goal to raise $350 million for scholarships and $1 billion for the university overall.  

Other universities have not been fortunate enough and are being forced to cut scholarship programs in order to maintain academic programs.  Miami University of Ohio is anticpating cutting 1,100 scholarships next year .  This would be a 25% reduction overall.  


Private Lenders ready to fight for student-loan role

Written by Robert Tomsho
Posted by Amina Isakovic

With the Obama administration proposing to cut private lenders out of the federal student-loan business, financial companies are intensifying efforts preserve their role.

Private lenders in the so-called Federal Family Education Loan Program, or FFELP, have lent more than $56 billion in the current school year. The federal government has lent about $20 billion directly. In his budget, President Obama says the government, which pays billions of dollars of subsidies to FFELP lenders, would save money by eliminating the program using private companies.

The latest skirmish in the contentious political battle erupted Thursday when the U.S. Department of Education released preliminary data comparing FFELP loan-default rates with those in the federal direct loan program.

The data indicated a 5.3% default rate in the direct lending program for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2007, compared with a 7.3% default rate for FFELP, which has been the primary source of college financial aid since it was launched in the Johnson administration during the 1960s.

Click here to read more.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Different Strategy to Paying for College

By Lara Turner

Paying for college can be a huge stress on students and parents, but there are some tips that can help make the process a little easier that people do not always think of. The first thing is just to manage your money. If a student has trouble keeping up with their credit card payments make sure they become a member of a bank right around campus that caters to students. Drinking is also a huge factor when it comes to saving the money you are trying to save to pay for school. The first tip is to not drink and go out a lot, but if that is not possible buy cheap alcohol and buy in bulk. When it comes to buying books, first double check to make sure someone you know does not already have it, but if that is not the case buy used books because they will be cheaper. Anther tip to take into account is spending money on food. If you have a meal plan, use it and if you buy coffee every morning realize that in the end that adds up to a couple hundred dollars by the end of the school year. Instead, buy a coffee machine and make your own. It is also not necessary to tip everyone who serves you something, or you feel guilty and have to tip, do not over tip. Another helpful hint is instead of paying a cable bill or buying a stereo, watch movies and listen to music on your computer. When most people think of paying for college they think of how to make money, not how to save it, so if you are struggling to pay for school, take some time to think about what you could cut back on.




Being Creative When Paying for College

Posted By Lara Turner

Searching for Colleges: A New Equation

By C. Brown

ISAAC: A week ago Friday was "Pink Friday" in California, the day when teachers across the state received pink slips as a result of the budget crisis. My high school was lit up with talk of teacher layoffs and which programs are going on the cutting block. I couldn't stop thinking about what these budget cuts would mean for my high school next year after I've graduated.
Then I realized: With colleges getting hit hard by the recession, I may experience the same kinds of cutbacks next year -- to programs that I consider essential.

The ailing economy, it seems, has added a whole new dimension to my college search, threatening to change the nature of the education I had been counting on.
When I was searching for colleges in the fall, all the colleges would have pamphlets and admission officers pitching why they were the best choice. They flaunted their study-abroad programs, their broad range of courses, their small class sizes and their well-funded student organizations.
But times have changed since then. Many of the qualities that schools advertised when I was putting together my short list may be reduced significantly or cut altogether. Will some of the very things that made a school appeal to me in the first place be gone? What if they cut funding for their radio stations, for example? What if they cut back the English department?
Recently, for instance, I found out that the endowment of one of my top college prospects has been cut by about a quarter. But this is where it gets tricky. It's a mystery to me, and I assume to all other applicants, how exactly this will change the quality of the school in the years to come. While some schools may choose to cut their building projects and research programs, others will cut professors or financial-aid funds -- and some will have no choice but to cut all of the above.

To Read More Click Here:

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Vocab Lesson on Repaying Student Loans

Article by Anya Kamenetz
Posted by Kaitlin Lanier

Studies show that only one in five student borrowers make all of their monthly payments on time in the first three years of repayment. Yes, that loan can sneak up on you after that six-month grace period. And almost everyone I've spoken with who has taken out a student loan fails to fully consider the bite they're going to take in the long run.

But forget any regrets you might have. You've taken out those loans, and the thing to do now is come up with a doable plan to close them out and get on with your life. Here are 10 terms you need to know to become a wizard-level repayment master.

Is your child headed to college next fall?

Posted by Jen Lynch

By Brian Smith

Even if you’ve planned relatively well for your future college student’s expenses, the credit crunch and downturn in investment income for colleges have changed the game for financial aid at many schools. That means both parents and students need to approach the college financial aid scene with unprecedented caution.

Harvard University, the world’s richest school, announced in February that it was slashing 25 percent of its investment staff after its $36.9 billion endowment lost 22 percent of its value in the previous four months and could decline as much as 30 percent by the end of June. In two separate surveys released in January, the Commonfund Institute and TIAA-CREF, in a survey done for the National Association of College and University Business Officers, reported that college endowments fell on average 23 percent in the five months ended Nov. 30, 2008.

To read full article Click Here

Good news and bad news, which do you want first?

By Jen Lynch

Many Americans have been weighing out the positives and negatives of a college education, how to finance for it and how to adapt to the overall cost in today's struggling economy. Although most only see negatives and increasing costs in the future, there are some positive changes and opportunities concerning tuition, financial aid from colleges, private loans, federal loans, and government grants. 

Every year tuition expenses seem to increase, and more people struggle to meet the costs. State budgets will most likely be forced to trim some college funding, putting more pressure on student tuition, the institution itself and government. However, the stimulus bill should help relieve some of this added pressure by aiding in necessary costs while colleges work to cut spending.

In regards to universities themselves, the average endowment is down one-fourth. Can you imagine how much money that is at an institution like Harvard? Not saying its endowment is down that much, but... you get the picture. A drastic drop in contributions, most of which supplied scholarships for incoming students. The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities recently surveyed about 200 institutions and found they planned average tuition increases of 4 percent but aid increases of 9.8 percent. So it seems like state universities will be offering more aid, and only increasing costs slightly, while private institutions may not be receiving as much help from state budgets may be increasing tuition more. 

Hopefully the stimulus package will give enough financial aid to colleges so that they can provide more government assistance to incoming students. However, increased limits for federal programs such as Stafford loans have lessened students’ need for private ones. Government loan programs are usually more concentrated in four-year public universities with lower default rates, while private lenders cater to a higher percentage of private schools with higher default rates. Reasons for default on loans is clear, the economy is slow, and students aren't getting hired after graduation because there aren't any jobs. According to the Project on Student Debt, the average debts of students graduating with loans rose from $18,796 in 2006 to $20,098 in 2007. 

The federal government has bought student loan securities worth approximately $25 billion, in the past year, in order to provide lenders with capital for new college loans. This is to work against the high number of lenders who have left the market, unable to continue to support and supply college loans successfully. The government is also working to increase college aid, especially for low-income students who have been hit hardest by the economy. On July 1, 2010-2011 the maximum Pell Grant will rise from $4,731 to $5,350. Although it doesn't seem like much, it is a large improvement and will help about 800,000 students annually will paying for college. Affording college is difficult, but the government is taking steps to try and help students and families afford the pursuit of higher education.

College Financing, A mix of Good and Bad
Glimmer of hope for student aid in a bad economy

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Repayment on Student Loans

Posted by Jenny Sutton

Federal Perkins Loan

by Jenny Sutton

The Federal Perkins loan is one that can be obtained from your own school. It has a low interest rate and is available for both undergraduate and graduate students. This particular loan is from your school, but it comes from government funding.

Undergraduates are able to borrow $4,000 per year of study, with a maximum of $20,000 during their undergraduate career. Graduates are allowed to borrow $6,000 per year. The maximum a graduate student can borrow is $40,000. For some students, they will have both undergraduate and graduate Federal Perkin Loans.

There are a few different ways of repayment, but it is crucial to understand some of the details. Federal Perkin Loans do not require repayment until after nine months past graduation. Although you have nine months, it is only for students going to school more than half time. Details are important to pay attention to so no monthly payments are missed.

Federal Perkin Loans are useful for students needing extra financial aid. Being a government loan, there is a low interest rate in order for students to reach their educational goals.

Perkins Loans

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ways to invest while you are in College. Part 2

Posted by Yoshikuni Asaba

Zecco have no commission fee involved when you trading. Scottrade has good customer service, and actually the office is located at city of Syracuse, so that if you have problem, you can easily contact with them. Firstrade, if you are international student and either not having SSN or Chinese Citizen, maybe the final choice. But still, the commission fee is bet lower than others, and first 20 trades will be free if you are invited by someone who has account. Opening account will take several days to complete. You can open the account but if you don’t have income at all, you will not able to use Sell Short, or Buy to Cover option when trading. Since those financial firms have fewer commission fee, you will not use extremely better Real streaming stock track system like Bloomberg we have in SOM. So you might need to track with Yahoo finance, Google finance, Bloomberg, CNBC, and other might be helpful. Sometimes, Google finance’s threads could be helpful and interesting to read other people’s prospects. But please remember all of the risk is on you. So careful when you are trading, and don’t put all your eggs to one basket.


Ways to invest while you are in College

Posted by Yoshikuni Asaba

Under the current economic situation, most of the time we hear in the news, article, or even in the class “it is good time to invest.” Thus, I decided to write ways to choose the financial firms for private investors while you are in college. Especially, investing even in small amount of money boost your interest into the real financial world, and the make financial class even more fun than ever! (maybe) However, please remember that all the risk involved in investing is on you. Don’t blame me or Obama that you lost money because of somebody else. It is you that investing, and taking all risk.
First, you have to choose which financial firm you want to put money on. Maybe most of people hear about Ameritrade or E-trade right? We are not going to use those because of higher commission fee. My recommendation will be Zecco (http://www.zecco.com/Default.aspx), Scottrade (http://www.scottrade.com/), or Firstrade (http://www.firstrade.com/). If you are US citizen, or have SSN, you have no problem opening account at those. If you don’t and you are international students, you might need to contact the operator. (by the way, if you are Chinese citizen, you can easily open account at Scottrade.)


Colleges Cutting Costs

Posted By:Asim Mohammed

With the economy in a recession, even universities are trying to find ways to cut costs. Financial aid officials at Miami University in Ohio estimate that roughly 1,100 scholarships may be cut back next year, the result of a 25 percent reduction in funds. The school says that students who have already received scholarships will continue to receive their aid but for those students who have not received anything, it will be harder for them to find grants, etc. At the University of Arizona, nursing students will expect a $2,000 fee increase next year. This will raise tuition for instate students to $7,700, almost doubling the cost. A small reduction in library hours at the University of Connecticut, although minimal will affect students and at the same time save the university around $40,000. At the University of Virginia they are planning to shut down they’re public computer labs by 2011 in order to cut budget. University officials, after conducted survey’s last fall, said that since students bring their own laptops to campus the usage of the computer labs have been reduced dramatically. Not only are students and families being affected personally through the recession, but large institutions are also feeling the affects.




Leaving Home Leads to a Reality Check

By Lara Turner

When kids get to college it is an entirely new world with abundant freedoms but, one consequence that comes with these freedoms is that most kids loose track of how much they are spending. College students yield an average spending power of approximately $182 billion a year and their credit card debt is around $2,000 a year. That is a huge amount of money that could be saved to do a lot of other more important things. College kids just have to realize that all the little purchases add up in the end and that just because swiping a credit card is fine for the moment, at the end of the month a huge bill has to be paid. Here are some helpful hints that college students, especially freshman, may find helpful. One, cut back on eating out, two be smart when buying textbooks and only buy them if you really need them, three apply for scholarships after you get to college, four do not over decorate your room, five you do not have too buy too nice of a computer, six try not to over eat on your meal plan, seven buying a whole new wardrobe before the start of the year is not necessary, and eight carpool home on breaks so you do not have to pay money for gas. These are just some ideas on how to save money, but as long as kids keep track of how much they are spending they should be fine. 




All You Need to Know about Credit Score

By Shu Zheng

Do you know what your credit score means? To be a wise consumer, it is important that you know your score and what it means to you, because it has a large influence on your finance.
The range of credit score is mainly divided as following:
• 800-850+: It is basically flawless. Some consumers may have 800 credit scores the minute their credit profile is established, but without supporting credit history, the score will mean very little to banks and lenders. The range represents approximately 13% of population.
• 720-799: Great credit. It will typically result in interest rates and approval rates that a credit score in the range of 800-850+ would yield. Roughly 27% of the population has this score range.
• 680-719: Good or OK credit. You may see some restrictions and fewer approvals when attempting to get a loan, lease, or a mortgage. It should be wise to evaluate your score and work to improve it.
• 580-619: Ok or bad credit. You will have a difficult time securing a loan, or applying for a credit card. Higher interest rates are applied for the lower scores. You need to work with bad credit banks and lenders to secure financing.
• 500-579: Flat or ugly credit. It is due to some derogatory marks on your credit reports such as collection, charge-off, mortgage late, foreclosure, or bankruptcy. It will impact your life for years.
• Below 500: Worst of the worst. Start educating yourself immediately to alleviate your problem.

If you see your score under 619, there are 5 steps you can take to beef your score:
• Pay your bill on time.
• Pay down your debts – and consider charging less.
• Don’t close old, paid-off accounts.
• Don’t be afraid of credit counseling.
• Stay out of bankruptcy if you can.

1. http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/YourCreditRating/BeefUpYourCreditScoreIn5steps.aspx?page=2
2. http://www.thetruthaboutcreditcards.com/credit-score-range/
3. http://www.debtguru.com/articles/credit-score.html

Tips On Getting A Scholarship

Written by Craig Rozelle

Getting a scholarship can be a huge boost to your financial situation is a whole lot easier than working to pay your way through college. The first thing to do is to asses your qualifications and remember that there are a lot of people with the same grades as you have that think they are just as qualified. The key is to make yourself different and stand out. There has to be different experiences and leadership skills that you have that make you different from the rest of the applicants. Make sure that you go over your resume multiple times and that you do not leave anything out every last thing that you have achieved could put you ahead of the people you are competing against. While grades are not be all end all, they are very important. Make sure that you keep your GPA up and try and improve it any time you can. As well as if you are applying for a sport based scholarship make sure you keep working on your sport and improving your abilities to be the best that you can be. One of the benefits of a merit based scholarship is that even if your parents have the money to pay for college you can still get the scholarship. This can lead to added independence from your parents and possibly extra money in your pocket. It is also important to decide what type of scholarships to apply for. There are different kinds of scholarships from individuals and from organizations.


How to pay for Grad School

Posted By: Asim Mohammed

During these tough economic times, one of the best things to do is to go back to school. However the costs of the grad school might deter people from enrolling. Kevin Murphy, a professor at the University of Chicago who has studied the economic benefits of higher education, says that money shouldn't deter people from higher levels of education. Educated people do a lot better in life, in various aspects while improving your life. Those who finish their grad degrees also tend to earn bigger paychecks. For example, the average worker with a college degree earns about $42,000 a year, with a master’s degree; recipients earn an average of $52,000, while Ph.D.’s earn an average of about $71,000 a year. There are numerous programs to getting aid and in some cases free money to pay for grad school. Some ways are, tracking down and applying to charities and government agencies that fund graduate study in their fields. This is a great option for those in the sciences, education, and languages, getting their employers to contribute to their education. This is a great option: At least half of all workers receive education benefits from their employers. Another way is to deduct your tuition expenses from your taxes.




Job Scams Are on the Rise

posted by Shu Zheng

As unemployment reaches levels not seen in decades, job and business-opportunity scams are flourishing.

Consumer-protection and law-enforcement groups and better-business bureaus are reporting a growing number of phony job-recruitment and work-at-home schemes targeting desperate Americans looking for a way to pay the bills.

"In these times of despair, people who have been laid off, including executives, make desperate decisions, and the predators are out there," says Michael Galvin, vice president of communications at the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida and the Caribbean, in West Palm Beach, Fla.

More Complaints

The Federal Trade Commission, the consumer-protection agency, received nearly 6,000 complaints against employment agencies and job-counseling services in 2007. The numbers of complaints are almost certain to rise along with the unemployment figures.

Click to read more

When Students' Money Goes

posted by Shu Zheng

Many students think the Associated Students involves student government and the occasional event happening on campus.

In reality, it's more complicated than that.

There are two sides to A.S.: the student government side - the one that advocates for student issues, holds elections for its officers and portions out money to various clubs and organizations on campus; and A.S. business - a college-founded, nonprofit corporation with a larger budget than the towns of Biggs and Paradise combined, and more than a third of Chico's budget.

While it receives no state funding, the A.S. budget is more than $30 million for the current fiscal year.

Click to read more