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Monday, April 21, 2014

University Education, a Wise Investment?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

For the past forty years, college has been a right of passage – a place to have fun, make friends, and grow up. In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s a college degree of any type opened the door to high quality employment and above average compensation.

 

Then technology began to change and K-12 education faltered. High school graduates no longer had the skills employers needed for many jobs. In an effort to fill job openings with skilled personnel, employers began to require college degrees for a wider range of assignments.

 

These new employment requirements caught many families off guard. They had not planned for post secondary education, but wanted to provide their children with reasonable job prospects. To fill the gap many families obtained loans to cover the cost of college education.

 

At first the loans made financial sense, because the cost of college was low compared to income potential. This meant graduates could pay back loans quickly after graduation.

 

However the increase in demand for college education led to tuition increases as colleges and universities rushed to add programs and facilities. As the cost of university education increased, the payback period for loans increased as well – moving from a few years to decades.

 

At about the same time technology was radically changing the workplace. Low cost computer and communication technologies reduced the number of people required for most jobs and made it possible for companies to fill openings with lower cost workers from overseas. Most high quality job openings now require strong math and science skills, weak areas for most U.S. citizens.

 

U.S. colleges and universities have been slow to adjust to the new workplace demands. Many schools are still offering degrees that are useless in the 21st Century. This means students are graduating with poor job prospects and high debt.

 

According to Clayton Christianson, Harvard University Professor and expert on disruptive change, this is an equation for disaster. He predicts that over half of the colleges and universities in the U.S. will fail within the next 15 years because they are not offering a useful product.

 

Parents and students need to take proactive steps to avoid problems. Young people should be completely proficient in international level math and science by the end of grade 12. Parents need to confirm a college is financially stable before their child enrolls. Then young people need to select degrees that include advanced math and science and build strong communication skills.

 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Making a financial stretch is key to saving for college

Reuters – Liz Weston

“Parents who aren’t saving for college could learn a lesson or two from low-income parents who do.”(more)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Paying Off Student Loans Puts A Dent In Wallets, And The Economy

NPR – Staff Writer

“Weighing in at more than $1 trillion, student loan debt is now larger than total credit card debt. Morning Edition recently asked young adults about their biggest concerns, and more than two-thirds of respondents mentioned college debt.”(more)

What You Don’t Know About Financial Aid (but Should)

The New York Times – Richard Perez-Pena

“In fact, consumers have more tools than ever to decipher college prices and financial aid. College websites are required by law to have net-price calculators, to help people estimate what they would really pay, rather than relying on inflated sticker prices.”(more)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Some Common Misconceptions About Paying For College

NPR – Eric Westervelt

“In reporting on students of college costs and financial aid, I kept running into misconceptions about paying for a degree. Here are some of the most common ones.”(more)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

FINANCIAL LITERACY: Push For More Education

WHO TV – Dan Winters

“During his Condition of the State address, Governor Branstad praised a financial education course for freshmen at the University of Northern Iowa. He gave it credit for reducing the amount of debt students carry when they graduate.”(more)

Monday, February 10, 2014

How asking for aid could hurt your college chances

Reuters – Liz Weston

“Filling out the federal financial aid form known as the FAFSA “is one of the first and most important steps” to getting a college education, First Lady Michelle Obama told a group of parents and students attending a FAFSA workshop at a Virginia high school on Wednesday.”(more)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The great college aid game: Ways students can avoid full sticker price

The Christian Science Monitor – Barbara Kantrowitz

“For five New Rochelle High School seniors who have applied to colleges, January has been spent facing a new pile of forms – for financial aid. Most students never pay full tuition, but it takes savvy help to make that happen.”(more)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Column: ‘Saving for college hurts financial aid,’ and other myths

Reuters – Liz Weston

“Saving for college, applying for admittance and getting financial aid can all be complicated processes, so it’s not surprising that many myths have sprung up about paying for education.”(more)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

World Bank Provides $390 Million More to Education Projects in Bangladesh

Education News – M. Nadeem

“The World Bank has approved a total of $390 million in additional financing for two ongoing projects to improve education in Bangladesh…“Investing in education is investing in a country’s future”, said Johannes Zutt, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Nepal.”(more)