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High School and College Costs

Posted On: 2005-11-03Length: 23:04

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Hello there it is Thursday November 3, 2005 welcome to the Financial Aid Podcast episode No. 106, my name is Chris, I will be your host to day as I do everyday. We've got a lot to talk abut today, we've got a bucket of news of news to go over all sort of stuff. Let's just leap straight into that. Topping the news today. Activism around campuses. The spectator online at Seattle University and the University of Washington Seattle, both reporting that students are holding rallies, all sorts of press conferences and call in campaigns. Great stuff letting the House Representative know that $15 billion House of Education Work Force Committee vote on November 2 that was yesterday is not a good idea; at least not taking all the money out of Higher Education to subsidize other national priorities when in fact Higher Education is a national priority. Some interesting facts from these two articles First fact, according to the Department of Education's 2004 National Post Secondary Student Aids survey, say that 10 times fast, college students face more than $31 billion in unmet financial need last year. The report detailed the current financial need experienced by lower and middle income students on average, the lowest income student, being those who come from families who are in the bottom 25% of house hold income, face an average of $4,990 a year in unmet need. Now when you think about it, $31 billion in unmet need, they're what almost 7,000 colleges-let's do some math ere, I don't even know if my calculator will go that far, 31 million, no my calculator won't go that far, jeez I've got to use Google. Incidentally, if you didn't know it, again I really don't work for Google, if you didn't know it Google has a calculator ability that can handle stuff that your regular calculator can't, just type the mathematical expression in and Google will give you an answer; in this case I typed in $31 billion divided by 7,000 colleges equals $4.4 million per campus in unmet financial need. That is a stunning amount of money, absolutely astonishing how much money that is in terms of unmet financial needs. The Post Secondary Report clearly indicates that the Department of Education, rather than having money taken away from it, probably could use a little bit more. So if you want to get involved, let your representatives in the House and the Senate know that you don't want them voting for cuts to financial aid, cuts to the Department of Education. The websites for those two organizations are www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

In other Higher Education news the Lumina Foundation, a study on high schools and high college costs. The cost of Higher Education in America and it's a discussion panel about why costs are going up so much. At least according to this one panel, part of the reason is that more and more students are coming into college unprepared for college, especially when it comes to remedial mathematics or remedial English, your basic skills sets that you would expect high school graduates to have at high school levels of skill are coming in and having to basically take a ton course work to try and get up to speed. This has two effects according to the study, the first is that it discourages students which is why literally one out of two entering college will not graduate within six years. The second which is both a driver of cost and a driver of financial aid is that because the graduation rate for students is not great, 50% basically will graduate within six years, students are having to take out more and more financial aid because they are spending longer amounts of time in college. This has the net effect of effectively stretching already tight financial aid budgets because a lot of the aid that students receive from on an institutional level is in the former grants and scholarships and subsidized assistance. The more time you spend at college, the more you are drawing on assistance pool, which means less of it there is for everyone else. The panels recommendation is basically re-design American High Schools to improve student's readiness for college. Now reduce mediation costs and reduce the per student cost of providing a college degree.

The other thing that is of concern of the panel is that basically the whole "no child left behind" program has been, well in the education world it's not looked upon well effectively because it requires a minimum level of competence in terms of standardized testing and that standardized testing often means that teachers are teaching to test rather than teaching to a curriculum that is of their own design. There are a lot of conflicting views on that, one of which is-I kind of subscribe to; if this tests accurately measures the basic skills a student should have, to have the ability to do mathematics, have the ability to do reading comprehension and things like that then there is no reason you couldn't teach the test because you would effectively be teaching the same core skills sense that you are supposed to know anyways. One of the proposals that-one of the fears that the Lumina Foundation Panel representatives have is that if Higher Education costs continue to spiral out of control and if students coming out of Higher Education with a bachelors degree and what not are still coming out unprepared, that No Child Left Behind will be extended from just right into middle school through high school all the way into Higher Education having people basically be forced to take standardized testing when they are leaving the higher education institution to make sure that they've got the basic skills that the institution would expect them to have. When I went through college, there were expectations that would at least one mathematics course, one science course and so on and so forth. The fear of this panel is that because a lot of colleges already have kind of that recommendation in place, if the results aren't there, if America starts to fall behind in Higher Education, then the standardized testing will be imposed on the college students as well. To avoid that, their recommendations are basically are to fund the living day lights out of Higher Education to make sure that there-the short term fix is to provide the medial work but the longer term fix is to fix grad school and high school education in America, so that students who are going to college have all the tools that they need in order to be successful in college and beyond. That is the news for today, let's move on now to our scholarship update.

The LRP is interesting thing. What am I talking about? Today's scholarship update is focusing on the National Institute of Health's Loan Repayment program. What is this? It's kind of like a scholarship but it's a post graduation scholarship. It's basically a loan repayment program. If you have garnered a student loans in pursuit of a doctorial degree and you are looking for essentially some debt relief for that, the National Institute of Health has set up five programs that will provide up to $35,000 annually towards any qualified education debt of health professionals pursuing careers in Bio-medical and Behavioral Research. They are going to pay back your loans up to $35,000 a year, so if you do these programs for a few years, you could effectively erase your college, your graduate school, and your MD or PHD degree costs that incurred in the form of student loans. The five programs that they are looking for right now are the Clinical Research program, the Disadvantaged Backgrounds program, the Contraception and Infertility Research program, Health Disparities, and Pediatric Research. The other one was Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds that was the whole title of that thing. They've got basically five different programs that they are going to be paying out an enormous amount of money, $225 million in loan repayments support. The goal of the program is to open doors for young scientists to launch careers in research without the burden of student loan debt. To qualify applicants must posses a doctorial level of degree, devote 50% or more of their time, 20 hours per week based on a 40 hour work week, to research funded by a domestic non-profit organization or government entity and have an educational loan debt equal to or exceeding 20% of their institutional base salary. Applicants must be U.S. citizen or permanent residents. The applications must be completed by 8p.m. Eastern Time December 1, 2005. Visit www.lrp.niah,gov and of course I will put a link in the show notes to that. It's just a terrific program, think about it, $225 million towards student loan repayment for medical professionals in these areas of research is a tremendous amount of money, a great program and it's a great way to get-to put a little fire in medical research especially in areas where people wouldn't necessarily want to work. For example, if you are doing Clinical Research fro Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds, you are basically that is a politically correct way of saying medicine for poor people. Which of course for a completely for profit environment, the medical companies, like pharmaceutical companies and things like that would have really no incentive to address the medical issues of poor people because they can't pay. If you can't pay then you can't make a profit and if you are a for profit institution obviously you are going to go where the money is. NIH are dong a great thing nearly 4,000 qualified health professionals have benefited from this program since 2002, it's a great way to get involved. Remember December 1, 2005 is the deadline and of course the website will be in the show notes as well. That is today's scholarship update a post graduation scholarship from NIH.

Let's move on now to our next topic, the Dooms Day forecast on the T-Bill. This is something that I was going to cover on Tuesday but I got side tracked by other stuff, the 91 day T-Bill closed at 3.983% on Monday October 31. What does this mean and why is that important? Well the 91 day T-Bill as we've mentioned on this podcast before, those are not coffee machine burps; the 91 day T-Bill is the interest rate on which Federal student loans are set at every year. The last auction in the month of May of every calendar year is the rate that the T-Bill is at is effectively-the way T-Bills are working is buying below face value and you redeem them at face value and the corresponding difference is the interest rate on it. Federal student loans are set based on that rate at the end of the last auction in May, with the rates to take effect July 1 of that year. So this past year, the 91 day T-Bill closed out at 3%, it was 2.997% but basically round up to 3%. As a result the margins for Stafford loan for example, for Stafford Loans in school is T-Bill plus 1.7%, so of course 4.7% for Stafford loans in school or in your grace period. Stafford loans in repayment, T-Bill plus 2.3% and PLUS loans, parent loans for undergraduate students T-Bill plus 3.1%. So if you have any of these loans, those are the rates that are set. Now since May, basically the T-Bill has added another .983%. If you continue on this rate increase which is basically 0.041% each week so 4/100th of a percent each week, then by the time you get out next May, you are looking at 5.261% or there abouts. That is a pretty strong jump 2.3% almost. The causes behind the T-Bill rate increase have a lot to do with basically a softening economy, the 91 day T-Bill as we have talked about in the past, when it's rate starts to really go up, it means the companies are starting to buy short term treasury securities, short term treasury bills to store their cash in rather than buying in long term ones. When the economy is great, they can sock away a lot of money at better rates in 10 bonds or 5 year bonds and things like that because they are fairly confident that the economy is going to do well enough that they won't need that immediate access to that cash. When the economy is not so much, then the companies tend to buy shorter term T-Bills because they may need that cash a lot sooner than 10 years for what ever corporate debt financing or just to stay a float. The 10 year bond has been flat, declining a little bit, the T-Bill has been rocketing up like a spaceship that is a pretty good indication that we're as an economy not doing as well as the media and the politicians would like to have you think.

What does this mean for you though, you with the Stafford loans that, in case you haven't gotten them from www.staffordloan.com, what does it mean for you, basically it means that if you have student loans and you've graduated especially then now is the time to consolidate them. You can do so at www.studentloanconsolidator.com Why is that important, because when you consolidate your Federal student loans you lock in today's rates and insulate yourself from further changes. If you project out this T-Bill increase, the 5.261% T-bill increase in next May, you are talking then about a 7.561 Stafford loan repayment rate if you have Federal Stafford loans. Let's say you own $20,000 in Federal Stafford loans, if you consolidated today you would have a monthly payment of approximately of $204 a month, if the rate increases as projected in a year from now, if you didn't consolidate your monthly payment will be about $357 a month, that is $153 a month extra that you don't have to pay, you wouldn't have to pay if you consolidated. Works out to $1836 a year, standard loan term on a Stafford loan 10 years of course if-it's a bad assumption to assume the rates are going to remain high but let's just say for giggles that it does. Then that is $18,000. I like our country and I'm sometimes like the Government, sometimes I don't; but when it comes to giving extra money to the Government that I don't have to, I've almost always choose not to. In this case, $1800 every year, I can think of a lot of good things to do with that money that not involves giving it to the Government. Consolidate your student loans, if you are still in school and you are graduating in this coming year, in 2006, you are graduating in the first half of 2006, keep www.studentloanconsolidator.com on a post it note somewhere near your desk as soon as the T-Bill rates are set for the year, the office will be advertising it like crazy.

Give us a call and we will get your stuff in and done before July 1 which is when the rate change takes affect. Also, anything that the Congress decides to do in terms of modifying student loan programs will not take affect until July 1. Anything that you wanted to get done, any of the students loans that you want to take out, any consolidations you wanted to do, you want to get it done well in advance of July 1, ideally if you've already graduated, there is no time like the present to do stuff like that. If you are looking for new student loans, couple of websites that I-Stafford Loans at www.staffordloan.com, parent PLUS loans at www.parentplusloan.com I would be remised if I didn't mention them. That is the Dooms Day forecast for the T-Bill. You can find a chart and our forecast and predictions and all that stuff in the math at www.studentloanconsolidator.com just look for interest rate info. And we'll keep that page updated because it's important. All right time for some Podsafe music, we are going to close today's show with a song by Matthew Ebel called "All I want is You." I listened to it this morning and wow! It's a really great song, with out further ado, Matthew Ebel.

(music)

Fantastic new music from Matthew Ebel, "All I want is You," from the Podsafe Music Network, definitely check out the rest of his stuff on the Podsafe Music Network or at his website, www.matthewebel.com, he has just got really such a great sound, it's terrific. That is the end of today's show, and always, if you are not subscribed to this podcast and you just happening to be listening to it as a direct MP3 file that you just downloaded from one of our websites, please subscribe to it and the directions are at www.financialaidpodcast.com it's very easy to subscribe and you will never miss a show. If you have any questions or comments, financialaidpodcast@gmail.com I will be more than happy to take a look at what's on your mind and answer any questions that you may have that we haven't already answered on the show before. Show notes are also at www.financialaidpodcast.com as well so go ahead and check those out, links to everything that we've discussed today plus links to the Podsafe music and everything all in the show notes, one stop shopping. Until next time, stay tuned, stay subscribed we'll see you soon take care.

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