Archive for the ‘Financial aid’ Category

Should we expand gambling in Georgia to bolster HOPE?

In talking to parents of young children, I find many fear that the HOPE Scholarship will dwindle away to pennies by the time their kids reach college age.

The changes to HOPE by Gov. Nathan Deal and the Legislature link the merit scholarship to available lottery funds, so the amount  will now vary year to year. It will likely never pay 100 percent of tuition again, given the growing demand on lottery proceeds.

Did you see the AJC interview with the father of HOPE,former Gov. Zell Miller? In a rare press interview, an ailing Miller told my colleague Jim Galloway, “I don’t think they had any other choice. We knew back in the ‘90s that there would be adjustments. This came as no surprise.”

Galloway reports that Miller is not alarmed at the decision by state lottery officials to approve the sale of tickets through the Internet.

“I’m okay with that. In fact, we wrote the lottery law so you could do that,” he said. But as for that plan to create a casino with machines …

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Feds: Sub-prime-style lenders burying college students in mountains of debt

Lots of reaction around the country to a damning report released today from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education on the shady tactics and misleading practices of the private student loan market.

According to the bureau, outstanding student loan debt topped $1 trillion in 2011 — $864 billion of federal student debt and approximately $150 billion of private student loan debt.

Among the findings in the report:

•Private student loans are riskier: Used appropriately, private student loans have a role to play in financing higher education. However, compared to federal student loans, private student loans often lack repayment flexibility and other protections when borrowers are struggling to make ends meet. Most private loans have few options for payment modification or forbearance. Federal loans have a fixed interest rate and most private loans have variable rates, making estimates about future debt payments difficult. …

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Students spending more, parents spending less on college

An old pal stayed with me this weekend. She lives on the Georgia coast but was in town so her 17-year-old daughter could tour UGA and Georgia Tech. Her daughter is a top student who wants to stay in the South for college, so I suggested that she might add Emory, Duke and Davidson to her list.

But the teen told me that she was concentrating on Georgia public colleges where she would receive the HOPE Scholarship.

Increasingly, families nationwide are factoring cost into school decisions, both due to the exorbitant tab for private schools and the erosion of U.S. household incomes. According to a new survey released today, parents are spending less on their children’s higher education. The students are shouldering most of the costs.

I have to admit that I am talking up UGA and Tech to my twins, who are five years away from college. I had encouraged my older two children to look at other regions of the country.  The result is that I will need that five years to replenish the …

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“In the end, college is not an investment. A college major is.”

Not all these students would be cheering at their college graduation if they understood the potential earning awaiting them depending on their degree.  (AJC/file photo)

Not all these college grads would be cheering if they understood their degree may not pay off. (AJC/file photo)

Happy July 4th.

Here is a thought-provoking essay on the value of  a college degree by James R. Harrigan, a fellow of the Institute of Political Economy at Utah State University, and Antony Davies, a professor of economics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and Senior Affiliated Scholar at the Mercatus Center.

By James R. Harrigan and Antony Davies

There is an amazing opportunity just waiting for you, and you can get in on the ground floor for only $120,000. If you act now you will be virtually guaranteed an income for the rest of your working life. There’s one small caveat: We can’t tell you how much you will actually earn in the 50 years or so after you make this investment, because, let’s face it, there are a lot of variables. But hey, it’s only $120,000. And you can’t put a price tag on your future, can you?

Anyone who would make this kind of …

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College: Expensive but worth the cost?

The News York Times has a good story today on the fact that even workers with jobs are struggling because they are underemployed. The story opens with an Atlanta woman at a job fair; she has a job but her hours and her pay has been cut and she can’t make ends meet.

But what is applicable to our discussions are these two points addressed in the news story: College tuition has been rising faster than inflation or salaries and college grads are still faring better in the job market that those without degrees.

According to the story:

Expenses like putting a child through college — where tuition has been rising faster than inflation or wages — can be a daunting task. When Morgan Woodward, 21, began her freshman year at the University of California, Berkeley, three years ago, her parents paid about $9,000 a year in tuition and fees. Now they pay closer to $13,000, and they are bracing for the possibility of another jump next year. With their incomes flat, though, they …

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Pressure mounting on Congress to keep down student loan interest

The pressure is mounting on the U.S. Congress to act to keep down interest rates on federal Stafford loans, which are helping  225,000 Georgia students attend college. A critical vote will be held Tuesday on the interest rate on those loans, which will double if Congress does not intervene.

In a conference call today, Georgia PIRG said the doubling of the interest rate from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on new student loans — students have to reapply every year for the loans — will push up the college loan debt load, which already exceeds credit card debt in the United States.

The average Georgia student could see an additional $913 in repayment costs if the federal loans carry an interest of 6.8 percent. The average Georgia student graduates with nearly $19,000 in debt now.  (That is less than the national average, which is $25,000.)

“We see students every day with financial need who keep struggling over how they are meeting college expenses,” said Philip E. Hawkins , …

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Tomorrow is D-day for seniors: Deciding which college to attend

Most metro Atlanta seniors must make their college choices tomorrow. (AP Images.)

Most metro Atlanta seniors must make their college choices tomorrow. (AP Images.)

My niece from New Jersey is on a plane now flying south for a one day visit to a college that accepted her into its prestigious pharmacy program. She had been planning on attending a college closer to home but had last-minute doubts and decided to make this trip since she had not seen this one last school.

The reason for her rushed visit: Like thousands of students in metro Atlanta, she has to commit tomorrow to the college of her choice.

I would love to see her come South, although I have no idea whether the college is a match for her.

I feel for my brother who was scurrying yesterday to find low-cost flights to Charlotte, but I think it’s important to see a college at least once. Two years ago, my oldest son spent the last weekend of April ricocheting from a college in New York to one in Ohio, neither of which he had visited before applying but both of which had a lot of the elements he wanted …

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Obama at Fort Stewart: Many for-profit colleges “are trying to swindle and hoodwink you.”

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are now speaking at Fort Stewart, Ga., about abuses in the for-profit college sector, which is getting an increasing share of veteran education dollars, often through deceptive marketing.

Obama described one for-profit college recruiter who visited brain-injured Marines at Camp Lejeune and enrolled them in courses.

“They are trying to swindle and hoodwink you,” said Obama. “Here at Fort Stewart, we are putting an end to it.”

He then outlined the content of an executive order that will require more disclosure from the colleges

Here is a good AP story on the issue from AJC.com:

The Obama administration wants to trademark the term “GI Bill” in an effort to shield veterans and military families being swindled or misled by schools that target their federal education benefits.

President Barack Obama is signing a wide-ranging order on Friday that partially addresses growing complaints about fraudulent marketing and recruiting practices …

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Could a modified Dream Act pass GOP muster in an election year?

Many students around the country have marched for the Dream Act, which remains in limbo. (AP Photo)

Many students around the country have marched for the Dream Act, which remains in limbo. (AP Photo)

A modified version of the Dream Act is being pushed by a Republican senator from Florida who’s been mentioned as a possible candidate for vice president. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio wants to break the logjam around the controversial legislation that would give children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

The bill faces resistance from the GOP, but it is an election year and the Hispanic vote may be critical.

According to The New York Times:

The compromise would grant students who are the children of illegal immigrants a new kind of nonimmigrant visa that would let them live in this country legally for a period of time. They could work, drive and pay taxes. He would also grant nonimmigrant visas to the graduates of colleges and trade schools, enabling them to stay here and work.

The proposal would not grant them green cards, giving them permanent residency, which sets it …

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President Obama: “In America, higher education cannot be a luxury.”

President Obama said for the first time Americans owe more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards.

President Obama said for the first time Americans owe more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards.

I thought I would share President Obama’s weekly address as it deals with college education and student debt.

This week, I got the chance to sit down with some impressive students at Lorain County Community College in Ohio. One of them was a woman named Andrea Ashley. Two years ago, Andrea lost her job as an HR analyst. Today, she’s getting certified in the fast-growing field of electronic medical records. Before enrolling at Lorain, Andrea told me she was looking everywhere trying to find a new job. But without a degree, she said that nobody would hire her.

Andrea’s story isn’t unique. I’ve met so many Americans who are out there pounding the pavement looking for work only to discover that they need new skills. And I’ve met a lot of employers who are looking for workers, but can’t find ones with the skills they’re looking for.

So we …

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