The New York Times – Charlie Jarvis
“The high cost of college makes financial aid unavoidable for most students. And this means undertaking the lengthy and often complicated process of filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as Fafsa. The form can be confusing — so much so that each year about 25 percent of Fafsa forms are abandoned mid-process, leaving billions in federal aid unclaimed. And aside from going digital in 1997, it hasn’t changed much since it was first made available in the 1970s. The form is written in a slightly counterintuitive way, to be filled out by the student rather than a parent or guardian. And there are many moving parts.”(more)
USA Today – Kellie Ell
“More than half of students read less than 25% of their student loan documents, according to a new study. Many skipped reading them altogether. Those are the results of the 2017 State of Student Loan Debt in America survey, which polled current college students and their parents on their attitudes about managing student loan debt and found that most of America’s college students are flummoxed by the lengthy student loan process.”(more)
USA Today – Kathleen Elkins
“According to a new survey from Personal Capital, 70% of Millennial parents say they would prioritize their kid’s college education over their own retirement. Most financial advisers would call that a big mistake. You don’t want to “derail your retirement for your child’s college education when they can get a loan or scholarships,” certified financial planner Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz tells CNBC.”(more)
USA Today – Susan Tompor
“Here’s something student loan borrowers don’t want to hear: The Equifax data breach now could cast a shadow on applying for some college loans, too. After the Equifax data breach hit in early September, many consumer watchdogs —including the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. PIRG — advocated that consumers consider putting a freeze on their credit report if they felt their Social Security number and other data had been compromised.”(more)
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
In a few weeks tens of thousands of young Americans will leave home and begin the “college experience”. As they descend on campuses across the country, they will be greeted by impressive buildings, acclaimed alumni, elaborate social functions, and luxury hotel-like accommodations. In addition to getting used to their new “homes”, these newly minted adults will be asked to select majors that prepare them for post college employment.
Interestingly, the university structure and incentives may not always be aligned with what is best for students.
Universities are broken into departments. Each department is responsible for running a profitable business or demonstrating that there is enough demand for its offerings that it would be foolish for the university to close the department. Departments like engineering generally have large research budgets, so they are less concerned about student enrollment than departments like the humanities and social sciences that have fewer research dollars.
As might be expected, the departments with fewest research dollars generally work hardest to convince students to select majors within their purview. Until 15-20 years ago, this model worked well, because it was possible to obtain high quality employment with a wide variety of university degrees.
Technology has improved access to information so much that many jobs related to compiling, organizing, and disseminating information have already been or are being eliminated. Careers that have been hardest hit are law, social sciences, and the humanities.
Since there are fewer job opportunities for people with these degrees, many college graduates find it difficult to procure jobs that pay a premium over what was available to them before they attended college.
This shift creates a dilemma for the parents of a child who did not develop a proclivity for math in high school. Does the parent have the resources to send the child to college so he/she can graduate without debt and go on to a job that he/she most likely could have obtained without attending college? Is it better to consider a high paying trade like plumbing or electricity, rather than expending money on college? Or is it wiser to encourage the child to go to a community college and learn math, so he/she has the skills to obtain a college degree with higher earning potential?
It is a tough decision, but is something that should be discussed before a family blindly spends large sums of money on a college education that does little to improve a child’s long term earning potential.
The New York Times – Ann Carrns
“Whether the speaker at your college graduation is the Apple chief executive Tim Cook (M.I.T.) or the actress Eva Longoria (Knox College), the event signals the end of your undergraduate career — and moves you that much closer to having to repay your student loans. Most federal student loans come with at least a six-month grace period, a time during which you don’t have to make monthly payments. For spring graduates, that means repayment is likely to begin sometime in November or December. That gives new graduates some breathing room — to find a job, rent or buy an apartment, or buy a car — before starting to make payments. But many borrowers, despite studying hard to earn a degree, are uneducated about the type of loan they have, how long it will take to repay, what their monthly payment is likely to be and other important details, according to research from Prudential Financial. So they may be caught off guard when it comes time to begin repayment.”(more)