How to Budget for New Student Loan Bills

June 6th, 2012 by admin

If you took out student loans while you were in college, you may think that you have to live like a pauper after graduation to repay them. Even with low monthly payments, it can be difficult to squeeze in a new financial obligation as a new college graduate. The following are some practical tips to make paying your monthly student loan bill easier. If you are really motivated, you may even be able to pay it off early.

Start by Looking at the Non-Essentials
Before your first student loan payment is due, sit down and create a list of expenses in your life that are expendable. In this age of downloadable movies and $1.00 movie rentals, cable TV is an expense that often can’t be justified in a tight budget. You may be able to uncover other unnecessary monthly expenditures just by walking around your home. After jotting down a few ideas, take a look at your billing history for the past several months. Does the cost doesn’t justify the benefits, consider eliminating these household expenses from your budget.

Eating Out: The Biggest Budget Killer
With the average fast-food meal costing $10.00, going out to lunch can quickly become expensive. Instead of handing over your hard-earned money for food that is likely to be unhealthy, spend 10 minutes each evening packing a lunch for the next workday instead. Your wallet and your waistline will be healthier as the result.

To save even more money, you may want to try growing some of your own food and using grocery store coupons whenever possible. It doesn’t take much more than a small garden plot to grow fresh vegetables for healthy and inexpensive eating. As for coupons, there are numerous online websites where you can download the coupons you want for free. The Sunday paper is another excellent resource.

Consider What You Spend on New Clothes
You can trim your clothing budget considerably by shopping at thrift stores or upscale boutiques instead of automatically buying new every time. Often times, the clothes donated to these stores are either overstocks that have not been worn at all or have only been worn a few times. Another option is to try buying clothes out of season when retail stores dramatically reduce the prices during clearance sales.

Making Savings a Part of Your Everyday Lifestyle
While food, clothing and household utility bills make up a good portion of your budget, you should make it a point to look for ways to save daily. Whether that is checking out a book at the library instead of buying it or taking the bus to avoid parking fees, savings opportunities are all around you.

Keep the Benefits in Mind
By following these tips, you will have extra money available to repay your student loan faster. Soon enough, your loan will be repaid and you can enjoy the small luxuries in life again. You may also find that you enjoy being thrifty so much that you are unable to return to your previous way of life.

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Weekly Education News Wrap-Up: Jan. 30th

January 30th, 2012 by admin

education-news-headlines-ts71086696
Obama outlines incentive plan to reduce college tuition costs
Washington Post
At a speech in Ann Arbor, Michigan, President Obama announced a plan to reduce higher education costs by increasing available federal grant money and tying it directly to colleges’ ability to reduce tuition costs. In front of 4,000 on the University of Michigan campus, Obama claimed that “we should hold [colleges] accountable.”

Baby boomers plan their retirement careers
U.S. News & World Report
Retirement is looking a bit different for future generations. Seventy-two percent of baby boomers plan to keep working in some capacity after they retire according to a 2010 survey, and while some are doing so to ward off boredom, for others it will be a financial necessity.

Student loan interest rates to double this July
Huffington Post
In 2007, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act was passed to cut interest rates on subsidized Stafford Loans, which make up almost half of federal education loans. This law is set to expire on July 1, 2012, which would double the interest rates back to a fixed 6.8 percent interest rate.

U.S. Youth Reluctant to Pursue STEM Careers, ASQ Survey Says
MarketWatch.com
Although students in an ASQ survey claim that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers offer the best future job opportunities, 67% of them who are interested in those careers are concerned about potential obstacles standing in their way. These obstacles include their grades not being good enough, the cost and time to get a STEM degree being too high, and the amount of work and studying required for a STEM degree being too high.

Sallie Mae unemployment penalty leads college grads to join campaign in protest
Huffington Post
A campaign on Change.org urging financial loan company Sallie Mae to do away with its $50 forbearance fee charged to unemployed borrowers has gained the support of over 70,000 signees. The petition was launched by Stef Gray, who was charged with the fee when she had to delay payment after she graduated and was unable to find employment.

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Weekly Education News Wrap-Up: Jan. 16th

January 16th, 2012 by admin

education-news-headlines-ts71086696
Education professionals say students need more technology skills
U.S. News & World Report
In a sign of the times, Catherine Groux takes a look at academic professionals like education writer Audrey Watters and Dead of Business and IT Victoria Ratliff who are arguing that all college degree seekers need greater familiarity with technology before entering the workforce.

Student loans and bankruptcy – The debate continues
Forbes
Peter J. Reilly’s follow-up to his column from a few weeks ago tackles the counter arguments against student loans being dischargeable and bankruptcy and why his position on the matter still stands.

Lightening the financial load
LoanSafe.org
Moe Bedard highlights San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif., and a new initiative cropping up there that might help mitigate college costs. Namely, the Delta student bookstore is making expensive textbooks available to rent instead of buy.

Nelnet, ex-employee drop lawsuits
Lincoln Journal Star
Student finance company Nelnet and former employee Rudy Vigil filed a joint stipulation for dismissal last Tuesday, which was approved by a judge, essentially dismissing all claims from either party with prejudice. Nelnet sued Vigil in November for a 2007 lawsuit that they claim breached a settlement agreement. Vigil then countersued.

Student loans may be issue in president race
TheRepublic.com
Bartholomew Sullivan makes the very likely prediction that student loans will be a point of contention in the presidential election this year, especially as student loan debt continues to grow and be a major cornerstone of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

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The Heaviest Price Tags in Higher Education

January 10th, 2012 by admin


Via InforgraphicsLibrary.com

The cost of higher education is, obviously, a big topic and one that’s been appearing in the headlines quite often throughout 2011 and into 2012. Everything has become a topic – from the rise in tuition to the cost difference between different types of schools, from the competition between schools to the gross overpayment of coaches and athletic departments. It’s all fair game, and it’s all covered in the infographic above.

Of course, the things that aren’t covered in here are ways that the higher education industry is changing that will affect costs in the future. For example, how you can cut out worry about rising dorm room and dining hall expenses by looking into online colleges. Or how many people are now questioning the high-priced undergraduate educations of places like Sarah Lawrence College and Georgetown University in favor of more career-focused training that gets down in the dirt and prepares people for jobs.

The numbers on this education infographic are just plain excessive in many cases, and the only way off of this trajectory is to start challenging higher education’s old-fashioned norms and thinking of it in new and fresh ways.

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Weekly Education News Wrap-Up: Jan. 9th

January 9th, 2012 by admin

education-news-headlines-ts71086696
The career of the future doesn’t include a 20-year plan. It’s more like four.
Fast Company
The magazine profiles a handful of millennials and analyzes how career plans have changed since the ‘50s, ‘60s and’70s. With the average tenure at a job at only 4.4 years, the “company man” is long gone, replaced by flexible U.S. workers who jump jobs and fields and keep tacking on new skills.

Should I cash out my 401(k) to pay off my student loans?
CNN Money
Walecia Konrad fields an anonymous question from someone who is looking at student loan repayments of $628 a month and is wondering about cashing in their retirement funds from a previous job to wipe out the debt all at once. Konrad covers the dangers behind this plan and offers alternative solutions.

10 schools with least 2010 graduate debt
U.S. News & World Report
Taking the 1,009 institutions who submitted undergraduate student debt data, U.S. News made a list of the 10 schools who averaged the lowest debt upon graduation. Alice Lloyd College, which covers tuition for all full-time students who hail from the central Appalachian counties, tops the list, followed by Princeton University and College of the Ozarks, both of which also offer unique financial aid initiatives.

Columbia offers ‘Occupy 101’
New York Post
Dr. Hannah Appel, an activist in Occupy Wall Street and professor at Columbia University, will be teaching a new type of anthropology class this semester. Called “Occupy the Field: Global Finance, Inequality, social Movement,” students will get full course credit for fieldwork in the OWS movement. Appel claims that, despite her connection to OWS, she will be able to be an objective teacher.

John Backus: Ending the college crush
Washington Post
Venture capitalist and chairman of Northern Virginia Technology Council John Backus presents his bold ideas on how to break down the growing student loan crisis. He challenges people to consider requiring students to take more STEM classes, making colleges share in student loan defaults and more.

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Weekly Education News Wrap-Up: Jan. 2nd

January 2nd, 2012 by admin

education-news-headlines-ts71086696Happy 2012, everyone! We’ll have a whole piece tomorrow on the predictions of hot careers/majors for the new year.

Middle-aged borrowers piling on student debt
Reuters
While education borrowing is up across the board, a new study by Reuters shows that the student debt burden is growing fastest for those in the 35 to 49 age group. While people aged 26 to 29 still carry the largest overall debt load, the study shows a 47 percent increase in middle-aged people’s student debt, primarily because a weak economy has pushed many into mid-career training programs.

Private loan borrowers need increased protections
U.S. News & World Report
The organization Equal Justice Works takes a stand on the confusion inherent in the student loan system, especially when it comes to private lenders, and calls for the return of borrower protections like the Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2011 and the related Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2011.

Should student loans be dischargeable in bankruptcy?
Forbes
Piling on to the previous story, Forbes makes its own statement on student loans in the form of an opinion column by Peter J. Reilly. Reilly takes a look at some of the questionable politics that helped create the mess that is our current student loan system and outlines details on the steps Congress can take now to right the current wrongs and give some modicum of power back to the borrowers.

How to land a new job in 2012
U.S. News & World Report
Ben Baden compiles the top tips from six experts in job hunting, careers and hiring to help readers in their search for a new position in the new year. Tips include positioning yourself as a thought leader, letting the job come to you and bringing questions to all of your interviews.

Grad school math: Which degrees are worth the debt
Daily Finance
As many flee the tough job market by heading to grad school, Bruce Watson breaks down the numbers and weighs the costs and benefits of graduate degrees. Some surprising losers of this equation include a number of engineering degrees – like petroleum and computer engineering – and pharmaceutical sciences. Winners of the debt-to-grad-prospect ratio include social sciences and many hard sciences like biology and chemistry.

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Weekly Education News Wrap-Up: Dec. 5

December 5th, 2011 by ErinS

education-news-headlines-ts71086696
Official Calls for Urgency on College Costs
The New York Times
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at a Las Vegas conference of college financial aid workers, calling for higher education officials to think creatively and “with much greater urgency” about how to correct the issues of rising costs and student debt.

Meet 5 Big Lenders Profiting from the $1 Trillion Student Debt Bubble
AlterNet.com
With students and recent graduates across the nation drowning under an average of $25,000 in student loan debt, who are the big private lenders who are raking in the profits? AlterNet takes a look at the top five and how they’re using their cash flow to impact the political future of student loan reform.

Wells Fargo Slashes Student Loan Rates
Bloomberg Businessweek
Wells Fargo & Co. announced that it’s lowering interest rates on student loans, dropping its fixed interest rates on their basic undergraduate loans from 7.75% to 7.24%. However, this lower rate will not be available for everyone, and interest rates will still be calculated based on borrowers’ credit scores.

The Federal Role in Pricing
Inside Higher Ed
Arthur Hauptman discusses the role of the federal government when it comes to controlling college prices and spending and how the symbolic calls by President Obama’s administration for institutions to reduce tuition and costs aren’t likely to affect much change over the long term.

On Campuses, the Income Gap Widens at the Top
The Chronicle of Higher Education
As a follow-up to their look at the compensation of presidents at public colleges and universities, The Chronicle of Higher Education has now released their assessment of private college and university presidents and how they’re compensated in comparison to their total budgets and their full-time professors. And they found that Wall Street is the only place with economic disparities at the top.

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Weekly Education News Wrap-Up: Nov. 28

November 28th, 2011 by admin

education-news-headlines-ts71086696The other student loan problem: too little debt
San Francisco Chronicle
Jesse Yeh uses the University of California-Berkeley library instead of buying textbooks. He scrounges for free food at campus events and occasionally skips meals. He’s stopped exercising and sleeps five to six hours per night so he can take 21 credits — a course load so heavy he had to get special permission from a dean. The only thing he won’t do: take out a student loan.

Big expansion, big questions for Teach for America
Tuscaloosa News
In a distressed neighborhood north of Miami’s gleaming downtown, a group of enthusiastic but inexperienced instructors from Teach for America is trying to make progress where more veteran teachers have had difficulty: raising students’ reading and math scores. “These are the lowest performing schools, so we need the strongest performing teachers,” said Julian Davenport, an assistant principal at Holmes Elementary, where three-fifths of the staff this year are Teach for America corps members or graduates of the program.

Deficit Supercommittee’s Failure Triggers Steep Cuts for Education and Research
The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Congressional supercommittee charged with cutting $1.2-trillion from the federal budget conceded defeat Monday, after its members reached an impasse over taxes and entitlement spending. The panel’s failure to produce a deficit-reduction plan triggers across-the-board cuts of roughly $1-trillion in discretionary spending over nine years, starting in the 2013 fiscal year.

An educational aid at your fingertips
Standard-Examiner
Click. Click. Tap.Technology is amazing, isn’t it? In a matter of decades, we go from computers the size of rooms to ones that fit inside our rooms. Now, we can put computers on our laps and type emails, surf the Web or do homework.And since we can do homework with them, wouldn’t it make sense to take our laptops to school? Turns out, that’s actually a controversial idea. Both sides have their reasons for and against, and they both put up a good argument.

Shawnee Mission school district: No apology to Brownback required from student
The Wichita Eagle
The Shawnee Mission School District says student Emma Sullivan will not be required to apologize for a tweet critical of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. A statement from the district says officials have reviewed the facts surrounding Sullivan’s tweet last week. During a visit as part of a student government program Sullivan tweeted comments critical of Brownback.

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Weekly Education News Wrap-Up: Nov. 21

November 21st, 2011 by admin

education-news-headlines-ts71086696A Lazy River Ride to a Higher Ed Crisis
Huffington Post
As debates about the state of U.S. higher education continue to heat up, Andrew S. Rosen takes a stand on the current priorities of private and public universities alike, claiming that the focus needs to switch from resort-like campus amenities back to faculty, quality education and affordable degrees.

Five Myths about Student Loans
Washington Post
Do you think you know all there is to know about student loans and the education debt crisis? Mark Kantrowitz debunks five myths about the debate that might affect how you view the situation, including that student loan forgiveness will stimulate the economy, all education debt is good debt, student loans go away with bankruptcy, widespread student loan defaults will worsen the national deficit, and the federal government should get out of the student loan business.

How to Kick Off Your Student Loan Repayments
U.S. News & Word Report
If you graduated from college this past May, your six-month post-grad breather time before student loan repayment begins is already over, and you need to start thinking about how to begin paying back your education debts. If you didn’t get a good rundown on this from your counselors before you left school, U.S. News & World Report has advice on how to buckle down and get started.

Have Big-Time Sports Distorted Higher Education?
Chicago Tribune
In the wake of the Penn State scandal that has rocked the U.S., former university professor Ron Grossman takes a look at the elite culture that has developed around university sports and the potential negative effects it has on the development of U.S. higher education.

For-Profit Schools Look Abroad for Growth
CNBC
Major for-profit school groups are looking at expansion opportunities overseas, particularly markets in Latin America and India. Devry, Apollo Group, Kaplan, Capella and ITT have all expressed interest in opening international campuses that could provide opportunities for areas where a rising middle class, growing college participation rates and a young population are increasing demand for postsecondary education.

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Weekly Education News Wrap-Up: Nov. 14

November 14th, 2011 by rebeccac

news-headlines-ts71086696We’re introducing a new series on US College Search. Beginning today and continuing every Monday, we will post our top 5 education-related news and headlines from the past week, filtering out the junk so you can access the most informative and most helpful stories that affect you. Enjoy and happy Monday!

Strayer Buys Management School Started by Former GE Executive Jack Welch
Washington Post
Strayer Education, parent company of Strayer University, is buying out the Jack Welch Management Institute from current host Chancellor University for the reported price of about $7 million. The institute was founded in 2009 to offer online executive MBA and certificate programs and includes weekly lectures by Welch himself. The deal is expected to close by the end of this year, and Strayer plans to start offering the programs in their winter term.

Candidates Seek to Limit Federal Role in Education
The Associated Press
Republican presidential candidates continue to speak out on their positions about the role of federal government in education, and while the extent of their comments differs, they do all seem to agree that the federal powers should butt out and leave education to the states. The claims range from Herman Cain declaring that they should get out of the business of offering student loans to Ron Paul and Rick Perry wanting to abolish the Department of Education altogether.

New Student Loan Plan: Who Qualifies and How to Enroll
FOXBusiness
Some relief was felt by many in-debt graduates after President Obama announced his plan to alleviate student loan debts, but there was also confusion as to who qualifies for what. Many graduates – especially the middle-class – may not qualify for these loan relief plans. FOXBusiness breaks down who’s eligible, how to apply and things that all students need to know.

What Hedge Funds Can Teach College Students
Wall Street Journal
Hedge fund manager Daniel Ades, whose investments give him a unique perspective on the student loan situation, offers some advice for those looking at college. These days, he calls law school a “sucker’s bet” and claims technical colleges, with their low cost relative to wage outcomes, might be the best bet. “We’re in a skills-based economy and what we need is more computer programmers, more [nurses],” he said. “It’s less glamorous but it’s what we need.”

A Sensible Solution to Student Loan Debt
LA Times
Op-ed writer Richard Lee Colvin praises President Obama’s student loan reforms but claims that they don’t go far enough. Colvin votes for simplifying the loan repayment process and making them directly income-contingent, even linking them to borrowers’ Social Security numbers and having payments be withdrawn automatically from paychecks like taxes.

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