I thought it would be best to just list the web address and those that want to read can go directly to the site. This article touches on the fact that in these tough economic times colleges are taking the initiative and getting students to stay in school if finances are the only obstacle. I would think that there will be very creative ways in the near future to keep students attending universities.
By ERIN CALANDRIELLO firstname.lastname@example.org For many college students, tuition rates keep rising along with the tough economy.
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission can offer those students some help -- but the application process needs to start now.
"More unfortunate victims of the economic crisis are college students unable to afford the spring semester," said Andrew Davis, executive director of the Student Assistance Commission. "Across the nation, we're hearing of students who simply cannot return to school in January because the cost of borrowing has soared even faster than the cost of tuition and textbooks."
Grants from the state adding up to nearly $10,000 are available to some, and the commission is urging students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid -- FAFSA -- forms as soon as possible.
"By submitting a FAFSA, you become eligible for up to $9,936 in grants -- depending on income -- from the state's Monetary Award Program and federal Pell grants," said Davis. "Make a resolution that's easy and could pay huge dividends."
The U.S. Department of Education began accepting FAFSA last week for the 2009-10 school year. The FAFSA is available online www.fafsa.ed.gov. It's also available in paper form, in both English and Spanish.
The form is the basic building block in creating a college financial aid package. The FAFSA determines eligibility for grants, scholarships, loans and work-study programs, and it is the first step in receiving financial aid from federal, state and private sources.
Filling out the form should take about an hour. Anyone having problems with it can call an ISAC counselor at 800-899-4722.
When it comes to helping your children become financially secure adults, Suze says there are five things every parent should know.
1. Start talking about money. "Open up the conversation," Suze says. "As we said earlier, kids do as you do. Not as you say. So for you, you now have to open up the conversation with your actual actions."
2. Teach your kids to value money. It's hard for kids to grasp how much you're actually paying for items when you do so with a credit or debit card, Suze says. Kids need to see something more concrete. "Start paying for things in cash. That's what you really need to do," Suze says.
3. Don't reward your children with money. An A on the report card doesn't equal $50, Suze says. "Love them. Spend time with them," she says. "[They'll say:] 'I got an A. I get to go out with Mommy and Daddy. I get to spend time.' Teach your children the value of a personal relationship -- not that everything comes down to money."
4. Be an example for your children. "Kids do as you do, not as you say. And don't think that they don't watch everything that you do," Suze says. "Don't tell them you can afford something when you can't. All kids want from you is honesty. All this world wants from you is honesty. And all you should want from yourself is honesty."
5. Teach your kids to prioritize. Sure, kids may want everything, but Suze advises to have them sit down and make a list of what they want the most. "If they still want it a month from then, let them come back to you, but prioritize. What is really important?" she says. "And Mom and Dad, help them prioritize -- what do you need versus what you want? And out of all the things you want, what's the most important thing that you want?"
My college student asked about a credit card... Wrong question !
Why? I recently took my college student to the bank to make some changes to the savings account that we opened when she was a baby. She now has a checking account with a debit card, a savings account, and a credit card with a fairly low limit. The plan is to use the debit card instead of carrying cash, and of course this involves keeping track of how much money is in the account.
The credit card is available for emergencies and to charge only when she will for sure be able to pay the balance when it is due. Chase offers a college student credit card that gives some sort of reward points for "good credit behavior" rather than for charging lots of $$.
For example, I have a card that gives me 1% cash back so I use this even when I could use cash. She will instead earn points for things such as making payments on time and making payment in full. This encourages good financial habits and starts her out with a good credit rating.
As college students face mounting college debt, leading education officials yesterday proposed a new kind of higher education institution that would offer a "low-cost, no frills" bachelor's degree.
No sports teams. No extracurriculars. No super gymnasium or plum dorm room.
No extras at all.
The schools instead would offer an accelerated, year-round program much like a community college, but they would offer four-year degrees as opposed to two-year associate degrees.
The State Board of Education yesterday approved the proposal, which would have to be funded in the state budget before such schools can open.
"Somewhere, there should be a no-frills option. Let's see if there's a market for a Yugo or a Ford," board chairman Joseph Torsella said.
"This is really just an idea. What form it takes hasn't been decided," said Jim Buckheit, the board's executive director.
The board sets policy for all colleges in the state system and community colleges.
The recommendation, along with nine others calling for more financial aid for students, additional and expanded community colleges and more money for state colleges, will be given to Gov. Rendell, the House and Senate for consideration, he said.
The state board also committed to remove costly and unnecessary mandates from colleges and regulate on-campus marketing by credit-card companies in an effort to help limit student debt.
The report follows a months-long look by the board's higher education council on college affordability. The council held public hearings around the state and heard from students about their struggles to pay for college and their desire for a lower-cost option.
Pennsylvania is the sixth-most-expensive state in the country to get a college education, a report released by the board in November showed.
Of 10 states in the study, students in Pennsylvania graduated with the second-highest debt on average - $19,047. Only in New Jersey was the average debt higher: $19,294.
The issue also has attracted the attention of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, which will release a report today warning that the state suffers from an underprepared workforce that can't afford a college education.
The state board's focus on affordability comes in part because of the worsening economy, but that economy also has caused the state this year to cut funding to the 14 state universities, including West Chester and Cheyney, and the four state-related schools, including Temple, Penn State and Lincoln.
Rendell has not yet said whether he will increase funding for higher education in his budget address, to be given the first week of February.
"The affordability of higher education is certainly a concern for the governor. He is constrained by the fiscal reality in which he finds the commonwealth," said Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo. "But having said that, he will certainly take a look at the report and try to determine what response, if any, is merited."
Both minority and majority chairs of the House and Senate education committee serve on the state board and participated in yesterday's discussion, Buckheit noted.
Area college officials offered little input on the idea for a "no-frills" college, saying they wanted to hear more about it. On the issue of cost, they defended their schools' tuition rates.
"Temple remains a great value among leading urban research institutions in this country," said Kenneth Lawrence Jr., senior vice president for government, community and public affairs.
Response to report Kenn Marshall, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education that oversees the 14 state-owned schools, said the report is misleading.
The 14 state-system schools have had the lowest cost increases of any state system in the country over the last five years, he said, citing a study out of Washington state. Over a five-year period concluding in 2007-08, costs went up 21.8 percent, much lower than the national average of 47.8 percent, he said. Tuition, fees, room and board and textbook costs currently total about $13,500 annually.
"We certainly believe we are doing everything we can, given our resources, to keep the cost of education as low as possible," Marshall said.
Heavy debt load But debt continues to plague students, a survey released by the state board yesterday showed.
Nearly three-fourths of students said they felt "overly burdened" by their student debt. Nearly two-thirds of graduates said the same. But few - only 5 percent - reported defaulting on their loans.
Current students reported that they had borrowed on average $22,807, while graduates said they had taken out $33,833. More than 20 percent used credit cards as a form of borrowing.
Families of current students borrowed $19,485 on average, while families of graduates took out $33,788.
About 5,100 college students and 1,600 graduates were surveyed. Nearly half were at the state-owned universities, 29 percent at the state-related institutions, 16 percent at community colleges, and the rest at private universities and other schools.
Contact staff writer Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693 or email@example.com. The State Board of Education is proposing a new type of "no frills" college that would feature the following:
No athletic programs, extracurriculars or other extras. SOURCE: Pennsylvania State Board of Education
Right now about 80% of the federal Stafford (student) and PLUS (parent) loans for college are doled out through third-party lenders via the FFELP program, with the Federal Direct Loan Program handling just 20% or so of loan volume.
The FFELP program is now on the endangered species list.
President Obama’s new budget proposes for 100% of college loan shopping to come in-house. Under the administration proposal third-party FFELP lenders would be cut out of the mix and all Stafford and PLUS loans would be originated through Uncle Sam’s Federal Direct Loan Program.
The Obama bean-counters estimate that moving the entire program in-house would save about $4 billion a year, and $47.5 billion in the first 10 years. The bulk of the savings comes from the elimination of federal subsidies to FFELP lenders.
Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of the finaid.org website says this move would be “a death blow to the student lending industry.” If so, it’s just the final punch.
Let’s remember that this is the same student loan industry that was rocked in 2007 when New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo revealed kick-back schemes where lenders offered financial aid offices incentives for steering potential clients in their direction. That scandal no doubt played a roll in Congress pushing through a big college lending reform bill later that year that severely cut back federal subsidies paid to the third-party lenders through FFELP.
Certainly not having to shop around various FFELP lenders for a Stafford or PLUS will be a boost to students and parents, but it will remain to be seen if the actual cost to borrowers will be lower (taxpayers are another matter.) Many FFELP lenders offered small rate-reductions and discounts to qualified borrowers, under the Federal Direct Loan Program those discounts may not be available.
Stay tuned as this budget item is sure to get plenty of air-time in Capitol Hill debates. That said, there’s still no official plan for fixing the really big headache in the college loan process: the insanely difficult FAFSA form that is required to obtain financial aid.
Angeli Pagayucan was turned down when she applied to enter the spring semester nursing program at Elgin Community College, though her grades were good and she could pay the tuition.
The problem was that the college's facilities are too small. Elgin accepts only 40 students in its nursing program for the spring semester and 80 in the fall.
Pagayucan, 27, who wants to be a labor and delivery room nurse, is one of about 250 people on a waiting list.
"There is just a lack of room," she said. "There are not enough instructors or clinical sites. We need more equipment, lab room, and we certainly need more computers and computer rooms for testing."
College officials hope that voters understand the need for more and better facilities. The college is seeking approval for a $178 million bond issue in a referendum question on the April 7 ballot. Early voting begins March 16.
If approved, the bond issue would pay for construction of a new $60 million Health Care Career Center of Excellence, a 20-room building that would house all health-care programs.
Also planned are a new library, renovation of the existing library for use as classrooms and offices and a $15 million public-safety training facility with a burn tower that would be used by police, firefighters and other emergency personnel.
"Community colleges are increasingly becoming the college of first choice, and we want to make sure it remains [true] here in Elgin," said college president David Sam. "We want to make sure we have spaces for those students."
But some officials say that asking voters to support a tax increase during a recession is a tough sell.
"I am not saying this is a bad idea; it is just bad timing, said David Kaptain, an Elgin City Council member. "It is just a very, very difficult time to raise funds."
Elgin Community College, which was started in 1949, has waiting lists in various technical and occupational programs because its facilities are outdated and not big enough, officials said.
If approved, the bond issue would increase property taxes about $23 a year on a home with a market value of $200,000.
The projects that would be paid for by the bond issue are included in a $387 million master plan intended to update facilities by 2030. College officials said they hope the remaining funds will come from the state.
They note that the 40-year-old library was opened when enrollment was about 1,000 students. Enrollment now is more than 10,000.
Programs for emergency personnel are scattered throughout the campus. The proposed public-safety facility would consolidate them, said Sharon Konny, the college's vice president of business and finance.
"Fire and police [now] have to go elsewhere to get more experience and training," Konny said.
The college also plans to buy a new off-campus site to accommodate more basic adult education courses.
Other projects include installation of energy-efficient windows, sprinkler systems and reconfiguring and resurfacing roads and parking lots.
The decision to seek voter approval came after an effort by officials to explain the college's needs to residents of the 360-square-mile district.
Pagayucan of Elgin said while she waits to enroll in the four-semester nursing program, she continues to work part time as a clerk and typist at the college and take classes that she can use toward her nursing degree. She carries a 2.8 grade-point average on a 4-point scale. A GPA of 2.0 is required to enter the nursing program.
"Times are really, really tough right now," Pagayucan said. "I chose nursing because it is practical, pays good money and I think [labor and delivery] nurses really make a big impact in a patient's life."
Strapped for cash? Want someone to pay for your way through college? These pitches made by military recruiters seem to be working, since each of the military service academies has seen a sharp rise in applications this year — ranging from a 9% increase at West Point to a 40% jump at the U.S. Naval Academy.
While I’d like to think that the sudden interest reflects a renewed pride in patriotism and interest in national defense, it’s more likely that the draw of free tuition is an increasingly powerful lure. Students at the academies receive an all-expenses-paid undergraduate education in return for the promise of serving in the military after graduation. And reducing college education expenses is high on everyone’s mind these days, boosting enrollment in community colleges and spikes in applications for financial aid at four-year schools.
American flagThe military’s financial support is particularly attractive at a time when the costs of higher education are skyrocketing, with no end in sight. The average college endowment — the main pool for funding financial aid at private institutions — dropped 25-30% in the last year. Although tuition fees have grown more slowly this year, the savings are still a pittance. Public colleges are no longer the affordable fallback plan either, as noted in the June issue of MONEY. As options for high education seem bleak, the newest crop of students seem willing to take risk of serving in the military in the return for the promise of some financial stability.
Even if a student’s family can navigate through the expenses of an elite private or public college, after all, the prospect of economic payoff from a degree feels more at risk. Consider that the unemployment rate for new graduates, at 11%, is higher than the national average. After adding the burden of student debts to that mix, pursuing an undergraduate degree through the traditional path doesn’t feel like an ideal investment.
In addition to avoiding accrued debt, graduates of military academies may have another advantage in entering the workforce after service. An undergraduate education at a military academy is comparable to an education at an elite civilian university; the leadership skills, discipline and technical skills honed in the military’s core curriculum make these veterans unique candidates. General Electric, for one, offers veteran officers a special management training program with the explanation, “Your service made you a leader and a disciplined, strategic thinker with a level of loyalty that is unmatched.”
Obviously the volatility of the labor market still make job placement uncertain for veterans. Another downside may be that the years of required active duty fall during the prime career-building period when civilian peers are creating their early job history. Returning veterans may find themselves behind in making connections that are crucial to long-term success — although they may have their own network of military colleagues to draw upon.
The financial stability provided by the government is a necessary payment for the unparalleled risks faced by members of the armed forces. Serving is no joke, but neither is managing student debt for decades after graduation.
My Daughter got recruited by the Army Medical Corps. The pitch was that she would be a 2nd Lt and non-deployable while in PA School. They would pay her 2nd Lt pay while in school. and then after school if she signed a 3 yr reserve commitment they would pay off 50k of her loans.
She is checking into it. Her uncle (My brother) a USAF Acadamey Grad and a Col. at the Pentagon checked it out and it seems to be good deal. They appear to have filled all the spots this year, but maybe next year....we will see....
Sanity- Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can borrow mine.