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Posted On: 2005-11-29
Length: 31:36

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Good Tuesday November 29, 2005. This is episode 126 of the Financial Aid Podcast and my name is Chris Penn and welcome aboard, welcome back. We have so much to talk about today, new information, some new numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics, we'll be talking about that in a bit, a scholarship update for $10,000 fellowship for people that are interested in Landscape, Architecture, interest rate update for the 91 day T-Bill and a new segment on Eye on the Economy, we are going to be looking at inflation and what it means for you as well as Podsafe music, Jill Par, Matthew Ebel and more. Let's kick it off right away with the news. Me telling you that college is getting more expensive would be a bit like me pointing out that the sky is blue. The question is how much more expensive? The National Center for Education Statistics which is a part of the Department of Education has produced a report called, "Changes and Patterns of Prices in Financial Aid, Post Secondary Descriptive Analysis Report," this just came out the other day. That is an extremely long title for a report but basically about financial aid and money, specifically how much money. The Statistics Report for the 2004-2005 academic year, public four year institutions and public two year institutions raised tuition in the 2004-2005 school year by 11% and 9% respectively, so a four year public schools 11% hike in tuition. Keep in mind this is the inflation rate for all of 2004 by the way was 3.3% and anything above 3.3% means that it is outpacing inflation. Average tuition and fees at public four year institutions rose to $5,132 and two year institutions $2,076 per year. At private not for profit four year institutions they also raised tuition in 2004-2005 by about 6% brining the average tuition there to just under $20, 100. I think the specific is $20,082. I don't know what they do with that extra 82, I don't know why they didn't round up but that's all right. This is the fourth year in a row that private not for profit four year institutions have increased tuition by at least 5%.

What's interesting is that all theses tuition increases out paced last year's inflation rate and we are going to talk about that in a little bit in Eye on the Economy later on but the inflation rate was essentially 3.3% for the 2004 calendar year. What that means, college is getting a lot more expensive. In the case of the four year public institutions colleges getting expensive at a rate that is pretty much almost 3.5 times faster than inflation. The expenses the additional costs for colleges are vastly outpacing inflation. Which means that not only is your education dollar buying less from inflation but it's now buying much less because of the cost increases. At the same time financial aid has not changed terribly much, the Stafford loan limits the Pell Grant limits, the Perkins loan limits and other grants and aid have not significantly changed in about eight years. What that means for students is that there is less and less Federal aid available because really when you look at the two side by side, aid availability is not increasing and prices are then the bottom line is less aid is available. This is something that the political in Washington kind of miss when they talk about not making cuts to financial aid. If financial aid does not keep up with tuition then it is a cut. That's basic mathematics right there, unfortunately it seems like a lot of politicians in Washington seem to have skipped out of-maybe they went to University High School who knows. Interesting statistics from the Department of Education; and hopefully added ammunition for students everywhere who are lobbying their politicians to continue not only to not cut education funding but to actually increase it to keep up with price increases. There is of course some talk investigating colleges as to why tuition is continuing to expand at a such a rapid clip compared to inflation, I think there is some merit in looking at that as well. All right let's kick off today like I said yesterday I love the song, I loved it yesterday and still love it today we're going to do Jill Parr, "Do You Hear What I Hear," from the Podsafe Music Network.


"Do You Hear What I Hear," by Jill Parr from the Podsafe Music Network, you can find out more information about Jill, look in our show notes at or just go to www.jillparr.com really terrific song. I just cant' get over how good that sounds. Enough ranting about that. Scholarship update time let's talk about the Landscape Architecture Foundation Dangermon's Scholarship. These are three $10,000 scholarships awarded each year to graduate students in United States. Let's take a look here at www.studentscholarshipsearch.com where you will find this information. Recipients are also awarded a computer an ESRI, which is Environmental Systems Research Institute, a software, technical training access, and travel costs to conferences. The deadline is February 15 of each year. The Landscape Architecture Foundation, ESRI and the American Society of Landscape Architecture jointly sponsored the Dangermon Fellowship, a National fellowship for graduate students of Landscape Architecture. The purpose of the fellowship is to promote and facilitate the integration of art, science, method and technology in the study and profession of Landscape Architecture and to encourage the use of Geographic Information Systems, GIS systems as a framework for exploring integrated approaches to landscaping assessment and intervention. GIS of course is tied somewhat to the technology of GPS looking at how you can use mapping software as a means of understanding how the land looks and how things are laid out. It's fascinating stuff and this is a really terrific scholarship for being able to really dig into it and learn the specifics of it. Even if you eventually choose not to take a career in Landscape Architecture, by pursuing this scholarship this fellowship and digging into it, you'll actually learn a ton about just how the GIS software and the GIS community works and that will lead to jobs and unlikely places like police and fire departments which are now beginning to use GIS software to understand high risk areas for crimes and high risk area for medical issues, high risk areas for poor response time in fire planning. Anytime you need to look at Geographic distribution of data, GIS systems are kind of becoming the hot thing. The Landscape Architecture Foundation, Dangermon Scholarship maybe your ticket in. It's open to graduate students in the United States, three $10,000 scholarships, deadline is February 15. You can find more information about this scholarship on our website at www.studentscholarshipsearch.com and with that let's move into our second piece of Podsafe music, kind of kick up the temp a little bit, it's kind of hard after Jill Parr and we'll do Matthew Ebel "Drive Away."


"Drive Away," by Matthew Ebel from the Podsafe Music Network at www.podsafemusicnetwork.com a terrific song, love that song. All right let's talk some economic stuff here, first thing up the interest rate update. The 91day T-Bill lost some ground yesterday at the weekly auction down to 3.994%. Dropped from last weeks high of 4.034%, this is good news anytime the T-Bill drops it is good news for students because it is the rate at which the Federal Student loans will eventually be set at next May. Any decrease good things for us students, we don't know what it's going to look like in May but every indication fortunately indicates that are continuing to rise especially on short term yield rates. Hopefully the rise can be somewhat cooled down, this is almost a full percentage point over where it was this past May and it essentially for every 1% increase on an average balance of $20,000 in loans you are talking about an additional $5,000 or $6,000 in interest paid over the lifetime of the loans. We want to keep those interest rates going down as opposed to going up because really it doesn't benefit students and when it comes to student loan companies like the Student Loan Network and the other big names. High interest rates don't benefit us either because we don't make any more money on loans than we do at low interest rates and in fact when rates are low, people are more likely to do things like consolidate their loans than when rates are high. There is very little benefit for anyone for higher interest rates, unfortunately that is just one of the realities, and it's a business cycle.

Speaking of business cycles, let's talk about Eye on the Economy. This segment today, I wanted to talk a little bit about inflation, what inflation is and what's been going on with inflation because you hear about it a lot. Inflation is basically the rate at which more money buys things. It's what a dollar buys. Inflation increases when there is more money than there are generated products or services. That means the Government is pumping more money into the system. Inflation decreases when more goods than services appear than there are dollars. It's a pretty simple relationship of supply and demand. An example of inflation of course is that in 1975, you could have bought a loaf of white bread for approximately I think it was a 28 cents, today of course that same loaf of white bread can cost you anywhere from $1.29 to $2.50 depending on where you shop. has increased so essentially the same dollar if you had it in 1975 would buy you a lot more bread than a $1 would today. Today it wouldn't even buy you a full loaf. Inflation increases at a rate, really the grandfather measure of inflation the gold standard is called the Consume Price Index, and it's an index of 400 different consumer goods. Everything from tires to gasoline to bread and checking the prices of those on a routine basis how inflation is moving; this year has been a very bad year for inflation. Remember that the faster inflation increases the less your money is worth. That's why things like student loan consolidation are important because-anything that you can do to get more money in your pocket today as opposed to tomorrow is a good thing. More money in your pocket today, means that you can spend it today while your purchasing power is greater. In the last 40 years or so I don't believe there has been any significant period where inflation has decreased and your purchasing power has increased. Inflation is always increasing or it seems that way. The more money you have in your pocket today, the better off you are with it, the more you can do with it, the more you can invest it, spend it, save it what ever, it's got more power today than it will tomorrow. During the first 10month's of 2005 the Consumer Price Index rose at a very fast 4.9% seasonally adjusted rate. Compare this with last year's 3.3% inflation rate, it's generally accepted that inflation is about 3% so a 5% inflation rate is extremely high. It means that the Federal Government either has been pumping a lot of money into the economy or goods and services are not being produced.

Given how fast things are being created in terms of products and stuff like that there's probably no indication that consumer's are slowing down their consumption of goods, which means the Federal Government is pumping more money into the Government. Why are they doing that? Not quite sure yet, might have some answers for that. The big increases are of course in energy, this has been a bad year for energy, last year was a bad year for energy, and next year will probably be a bad year for energy. How bad? The Index for Energy which increased 16.6% in 2004 so you are talking there almost six times the regular rate inflation, advanced at 37.1% during the first ten months in 2005, so now we are talking about slightly more than 10 times the rate of everything else. Petroleum based energy costs increased at 51.6% annual rate and charges for energy services rose at a 20.7% annual rate. What does that mean for you? High energy bills, there is no other way to put it. Your energy bills-my energy bills, like I said yesterday I got my first energy bills for November and just the amount I'm paying for a very small house is absolutely astonishing. What does that mean for you? As much as you can, as quickly as you can, try and find ways of cutting back on energy consumption because it is the fastest growing part of inflation which means that your dollar-really at 51% annual rate increase. It's like saying your dollar today will be worth 50 cents tomorrow. That is astonishing how fast that's rising. Anything that you can do whether you are a student, whether you are a parent, whether you are just somebody who is not even involved education and just listening to this podcast; anything that you can do cut down or cut back your energy consumption is going to save you a lot of money. The energy efficient light bulbs, they look expensive in the store, they will save you a ton of money, substitute all your regular light bulbs for energy efficient light bulbs. If you have a house and you're responsible for heating or cooling it or whatever, set the thermostat low in the winter, high in the summer, if you don't have good insulation, put in good insulation, particularly if you have spaces in your house that are easily accessible, when it comes to gasoline check out our website at www.financialaidnews.com we have a section on there on gas saving tips. I know gasoline prices have been marching backwards, they were at a high around $3.25 or so in September during the height of hurricane season but it doesn't meant that $2 gasoline is any better. You can continue to save energy by optimizing a car, checking your tire pressure, doing everything and anything that you can do to cut back on energy usage, because you are just going to pay more for it. At this rate of increase, it doesn't look like its going to slow down or even reverse itself any time soon. Now what's going on with the energy companies in terms of the profits they are making don't know, in a lot of ways, I don't really care, because the net affect whether they are making a profit or not is still that the bills are going to be really high and anything that you can do to cut back. One thing that is important-energy vampires; you've heard about this probably in some conservation stuff. These are the things that draw a small amount of energy whether they are being used or not. A classic example is my Sony stereo at home which is a piece of garbage that I bought-you thought it was a product endorsement but it's not. This thing has a flashing LED display and whether it's on or off, and when it's off it's making all sorts of dancing patterns and basically advertising Sony stuff even when it's off, when it's not playing music. Its consuming energy, it takes energy to power that sucker. In order to keep it still available but not having draw power I put in a surge strip and flip off the surge strip and cut the circuit so that the box gets no power what so ever. DVD players do this, VCR's do this, even some televisions do this, if you have the opportunity to do, put in some surge strips, some power strips and use those to control the power and you'll save anywhere from 5% to 15% on your energy bill just by doing that one quick step. It's important, it's useful, and it's really easy to do. That is the most important thing is do the things that are easy to do first that way you'll see the savings immediately and you won't feel like you have to make huge sacrifices in order to have a good quality of life and a lower energy bill. So that's Eye on the Economy and let's move onto our last piece of Podsafe music, "Morning," from the Butterfly Catchers.


"Morning," from the Butterfly Catcher's from the Podsafe Music Network at www.podsafemusicnetwork.com all right folks that is going to do it for today's show, hope you enjoyed it, hope you found some useful things here for saving more money immediately and saving more money in the long term. Reminders show notes are at www.financialaidpodcast.com if you have comments or questions you can e-mail me at financialaidpodcast@gmail.com and I will more than happy to take a look at what you have to say. The Ipod Nano drawing two more day, you've got two more days until that drawing so make sure that if you haven't already applied for it, you are in the running for it, it's Ipod Nano plus the Lanier Headphones or $300 student loan payment. Either one will be okay. I think that's going to do it because I can't think of anything else that immediately comes to mind, so until next time stay tuned, stay subscribed, if you're not subscribed and you are just listening to this on a website or something get subscribed its very easy there is directions on our website www.financialaidpodcast.com that way you won't miss an episode, you won't miss a thing. All right folks, until next time take care.

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