Posted On: 2005-09-30
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Good Morning and Happy Friday. It is Friday, September the 30th 2005, episode 79 of the Financial Aid Podcast. If you are tuning in for the first time, welcome aboard, glad to have you. Hope you'll enjoy the show. We've got a lot of good stuff today. Wanted to talk a little bit about podcasts and podcasting just for a few minutes just because I know a lot of people are kind of new to podcasting and not entirely sure what it is, how to describe it and things like that so, a very quick primer. Podcasting,I think of it like this: think if it as TiVo for radio of sorts; TiVo for Internet radio, I should be more specific because generally speaking, a lot of commercial radio stuff you won't hear on podcasts, and that's not a bad thing, because a lot of commercial radio is really kind of mass-marketed, mass-produced, you know, pretty generic stuff. Podcasts are really nothing more than mp3 files, which are delivered to you daily. So, pretty much, I guess you call it "Audio on Demand". You subscribe to it with these RSS feeds, using a Pod catcher like iTunes, the new version of iTunes or iPod any other of the numbers of pieces of software that can do, that can play these. And you listen to them when you want, where you want. If you have an iPod or another portable media player, chances are you can copy them right over; iTunes will do it for you automatically if you subscribe to the podcast. Then you have this Audio on Demand wherever you want to listen to it; wherever is most convenient. For example, in, in my iPod, I actually just take in the car and just use a little FM Radio transmitter and what that does is let me listen to my favorite podcasts on the way to and from work, which is important because I have a fairly long commute; you know, about 45 minutes each way. So, rather than listen to the same eight songs on that's being played on commercial radio, I can listen to you know, really great podcasts like Podcast 4-1-1, the Daily Source Code, Accident Hash, Skepticality; a whole bunch of really, really good shows that are out there. I actually listen to my own podcast too, just to make sure that I don't sound like a complete idiot. Podcasting is, it's free. And, one thing that I, one thing I think that kind of scares people off is that when you hear that you have to subscribe, it's a subscription, because of the way that the Web has been changing over the past few years, people associate subscription with, you know, pay. And, that's not true. Podcasts are free by nature. I don't think that anyone other than maybe Rush Limbaugh's figured a way how to monetize the podcast feed itself. But, you know podcasts are inherently free; they supported either by advertising, or in the case of the Financial Aid Podcast, by a corporation. The Student Loan Network, which basically, you know, underwrites the podcast as, in you know, in return for you know, shameless plugs like, "Get an alternative student loan from Act Education Loans at Act Education Loans Dot Com." You know, that kind of thing. Incidentally, the Act Education Loan is actually a really good student loan we offer through the Student Loan Network. Quick bit about myself: I've been working at the Student Loan Network as the Chief Technology Officer for a little more than two years now and this podcast actually started in April of this year. Podcasting itself is still very new. It's not even a year old yet. And this podcast started out, first as a sort of training tool, then, you know, kind of reaching out a little bit into the wider world and now there's a fair number of people who subscribe to it and listen to it, so welcome aboard. Alright, let's start off today with the news.
A study in the journal of, studies on alcohol reveals that 76,000 college students found that most overestimate how much their peers drink and that getting students to have a more accurate perception of peer drinking can be a major factor in decreasing alcohol abuse. This is in stark contrast to yesterday's news item where Sienna College is barring anyone from carrying an open container of anything. So, I guess that school, the perception is because everyone has to have, you know, run around with brown bags that everyone is drinking. So kind of, kind of counter-intuitive. So, the guys over at Sienna College, you might want to think about that. In the big news, prices increases are sharpest at public colleges. A new study by the, who did this study? The U.S. Department of Education. Ha, what do you know? Post-secondary institutions in the United States fall 2004 in degrees and other awards confer 2003-2004. The annual study released by the National Center for Education Statistics, which I guess is apart of the Department of Education, revealed that cost of attending a public four-year institution rose by 33% between 2004-2005. That is astonishing. That's, that's huge. It's basically marking up, your, your tuition by one-third in one year. The, according to the study, the expense, tuition increase, the large tuition increases are driven largely by the significant cut backs in state general fund expenditures on higher education during the early part of the decade. Public four-year colleges saw the biggest increases in student charges from, in this past year. Private four-year colleges, non-profit and for profit, were more expensive for students, but public schools saw the biggest change in tuition. Among other findings of the study, of the 6,383 institutions in the United States, 2,027 were public institutions, 1,875 were private, non-profit and 2,481 were for-profit. Of the 200, of the 2.2 million degrees awarded last year by four-year institutions, six year, 6% were associate degrees, 63% were bachelors degrees, 25% were master's degrees, 2% were doctoral degrees and 4% were first professional degrees. So, it's an interesting study when you think about it. The majority of colleges are you know, if you look at the public institutions and private/non-profit institutions, there's more public institutions. So when you have major tuition increases, you know, more students are being affected. Particularly, because public institutions tend to be very large. Take a look at the University of Massachusetts, U. Mass; gigantic school system, campuses all over the state. The same is true in, you know, the state that I grew up in, New Jersey, Ruckers University, huge, huge, huge system. So, when the schools are experiencing, you know, major tuition hikes, it's affecting a lot of people. You know, hundreds of thousands of students. And the reason for this? Like these studies said are cut backs, lots and lots and lots of cut backs, at the federal level, of course. And also the state level; states ran into a lot of financial trouble, you know, when the Dot Com boom because the Dot Com bust, basically and the economy kind of took a nosedive. A lot of states found themselves with shortfalls. And unfortunately, as we've discussed on previous podcasts, it seems that education is first on the chopping block, which is unfortunate because it, you know, especially when it comes to public institutions, I would bet you, oh, I don't know, a donut, Dunkin Donuts, the chocolate-dipped kind, that students who go to state schools, generally, I would say statistically probably remain in-state residents after school. It's just a guess. You know, I don't have any hard data to back it up. But, it's sort of a, a hunch I have a feeling about. That just seems to be true in general. You know, a lot of students who go to college in the state that they grew up in tend to stay in that state, the geographic area. When a state cuts back on education, it's really shooting itself in the foot, over a long period of time. If you have students who are not getting the best quality education out of their public institution and they're going to public institutions, usually because they are less expensive than private institutions although that's not always the case because a lot of public institutions are very, very good schools. But in general, they're the general reason for going to a public institution tends to be towards the price factor. So, if you haven't, if you're cutting back on education funding for public institutions, you're basically depriving citizens of your state, either temporarily, or you know, on an on-going basis, if they continue to live there after school, from the highest quality education they can get. That, in turn makes them less qualified for jobs, less talented, with fewer skills or skills not as well-developed as they could be if you have fully funded their education as much as possible. And that in turn goes on to harm states tax receipts. If, if you get a lower quality education, it reduces your financial success after school. That means, you, you make less money, you pay less taxes. So, it, really if a state is cutting back on education spending, whether it's a K-12 or higher education, it doesn't really matter, if a state is cutting back on higher education, on education spending, it is just cutting itself off at the knees. So, again, as I always say when we're talking about politics and education, if you are interesting in making a difference, if you wanna let the people in your, your state's capital, know what you think, get on the horn and yell at them. Email, fax, phone, check out your state, almost every state seems to have a general website. So, it's like www dot, you know your two-letter state abbreviation dot US is, is the general format So for us it would be www.state.ma.us; the state, the state of Massachusetts. And you find things like the Department of Education. Let your state's governor know. Let your state legislature know. They need to get on the ball. They need to get funding to education in order to keep your state growing, you know, vital, have good quality jobs because obviously, the more people who have low quality jobs in a state, the more companies will see that state as, you know, not particularly a state to do a lot of advanced business in. You know, it may be like a manufacturing state or something as opposed to a research and development state. So, the number of jobs will not be as good. So, if you want to help your state and your community grow, let your politicians know, they need to get on the ball when it comes to funding education. If there's a question between, you know, education dollars and somewhere else other than basic necessities, you might want to think about the education dollars because it will pay back in the long run; not just for the residents of the state, not just for the individual students, but for the state as a whole and the community as a whole. Alright, let's move on to some Podsafe Music. We're gonna start off today with a new selection from Natalie Brown of the Podsafe Network, "You Gotta Believe".
Some serious chops. That was Natalie Brown from the Podsafe Music Network at Podsafe Music Network Dot Com. Alright, let's do us a scholarship update. As opposed to the normal update where we give you a specific scholarship or a set of scholarships to look at, today we're going to do an audio supplement; a very quick one, to the Scholarship Secrets Searchings Guide. If you have not subscribed to our podcast, you really need to. You can subscribe by the RSS feed. It's very easy to do that. There are instructions on our website. Financial Aid Podcast Dot Com. But, I can go through them really, really quickly. Number one, download and install the latest version of iTunes from Apple Computer at www.itunes.com. It's probably the fastest way to get that. Number two, in iTunes, once you got it set up, installed and running, go to the Advanced Menu and click "Subscribe to Podcast". Number three, go ahead and type in the URL, Feeds Dot Feedburner Dot Com forward slash Student Financial Aid News. And what that will do, what will subscribe you to our RSS Feed and that, in that feed you'll find two PDFs. The first is a "What is a Podcast?" kind of thing, but the second is the Scholarships Secrets Searching Guide. And it's a ten-page e-book that I wrote, I want to say about a month and a half ago, basically detailing how you can use search engines as free resources on the Internet to find scholarships so that if you find that you have a lot of time, and you don't want to spend a lot of money, you can go ahead and hunt down scholarships. There's millions and millions and millions of them out there. Conversely, the book also talks about if you don't have the time but you have the money you can pay for a premium service, like the Financial Aid Officer Premium Scholarships Search Service, that is the exact opposite. So, everyone else is doing the research for you and then you go ahead and pick the ones that you like. Today's scholarship update is an audio update to the e-book so it is a quick, new thing. If you are looking using our search tips, the new key phrase to use, and I would suggest using it in quotes; that way you get more targeted results, is "Scholarships Directory". And this is something that I was just playing around with earlier today. Yahoo has a really great scholarship directory that's on their website under Yahoo Education Directories so if you just go to Yahoo Dot Com, surf down through education through financial aid to scholarship programs that's one of the programs that came when I did the big search. And there's about, you know around 82 scholarships in there, all sorts of stuff. Some we've talked about in the past, some are brand new; maybe I'll cover them individually. But Scholarship Directory is a really great search result for pulling out information about; a lot of directories online have scholarships in them. Some of them, yes are gonna be a little on the spam-like side, some of them are not going to be really high quality, but when it's free, you know, you really can't argue with it. And there's gonna be some directories out there that are really, really good. So, today's scholarship update is the Scholarship Directory key phrase, update to scholarship searching secrets. Download the e-book and give it a read if you haven't. If you like it or you don't like it, let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org. That's the way to, to get in touch with me. If you wanna leave audio feedback, that's a great place to do it too. Alright, let's move on to our next piece of Podsafe Music today. We're going to do a selection from Whirl called, "Palm Reader". I think we did a version of this way, way, way back in June or so but this one just appeared on the Podsafe Music Network so I'm guessing it's probably going to be a cleaned up version a little bit so here we go.
I liked that song in the early days of the podcast when I first heard it. It's a really nice song. It's very, very pretty. Very well put together and well produced song. Glad to see it's on the Podsafe Music Network, glad that's it out there. If you are an artist, if you are a musician who is looking to promote your work, go ahead and check out the Podsafe Music Network. The reason why I, I want to be very clear, I have no affiliation with the Podsafe Music Network other than as a podcaster. I don't work for them; I certainly don't get paid by them. But, the reason why I like them so much and the reason why I'm always talking about it is because it does such a good job of the whole you know, licensing and contractual issues between artists and musicians. So that, you know, I don't have to ask permission from every artist to play every single song. One, when you put up as a musician on the Podsafe Music Network, it's assumed that you are giving consent to any podcaster to pick it up and play it. Likewise, you know based on my feedback from, from reporting when I play a song how popular your song is getting, so it's a very helpful utility. Alright, let's move on to the mailbag and I'm actually going to omit, I think I'm going to continue omitting the special effects from the show because they don't really do anything for me anymore. I'm really tired of listening to Tom Cruise. Alright, within the mailbag today, I had a question from an international student I do apologize. I can't pronounce your name. It's a, I just can't do it. It's, it's I'm sure that if you spoke it, it would be very, very easy to understand. But, the student from Tanzania asks, "What options are there for international students to get financial aid?" That is a very good question. It's, it's a question that comes up a lot. I can understand that because, you know people who want to come study in America or Americans who want to study abroad, international education is an important aspect of education. It's good to see what life is like somewhere other than where you live. Especially in another country where the society is different; you know, the people are different, the rules are different, and the culture's different, so very, very good things but it costs money to do it. Education in general costs money but even more so for international students because generally speaking, they don't qualify for financial aid in the country they're visiting; in the host country. So, the options for them are really limited to, you know, private student loans, and, and scholarships. If you're looking for private student loans, by the way, for international students, check out Study Abroad Loans Dot Com and it's a very, very good website. Again, you know, part of the Student Loan Network, full disclosure there, but we have a very good loan program for international students who want to study abroad. I, I guess that's kind of redundant but it out. There's a whole bunch of things that you, one thing is if you're gonna take out one of these loans is you will need a US citizen or permanent resident as a co-signer. That is required. It's not optional. The reason for that is if the loan doesn't get paid, hey, basically we need to have someone's door we can knock on and someone's credit rating that we can, you know, go after. But only if you don't, you know, don't pay the loan. Alright, the resource in terms of financial aid for scholarships comes from the International Student Network, which is separate from the Student Loan Network but with all a part of the same parent company, the Advisors Network, which is all very confusing, you probably didn't need to know that. Anyway, from the International Student Network, check out www.iefa.org. And, I'll put a link in the show notes, of course. I.E.F.A: International Education Financial Aid is a website that's been around a long time; 1997 is when I think it was first put together. And, it's basically a scholarships directory for international students. It just got redone. It just got tidied up and the, the search mechanism works so much better now. The design, the layout makes more sense. Kudos to the developers here, in house. You know, Ross Mason and Chris Bader for putting together this really, really incredible search tool. You can find, just about anything, very, very quickly in there; thinks there's about 1000 words in there for students all over the planet. So, check it out. It's free to register, it's free to sign up, and it's free to apply for or get in contact with the schools or the organizations that are offering the scholarships. So, www.iefa.org. And, of course, the link is in the show notes. They're will also be a link to study of our loans there as well. Alright, let's finish off today with one last piece of Podsafe Music. A new artist; one I found on My Space who subsequently joined the Podsafe Music Network: Amy Ayers with "Away from You" and I have to say when I listen to her songs, you know, I screen them when I go home. She's has a really, really nice sound; kind of reminiscent somewhere between Tori Amos and Jewel. So, hope you enjoy it. "Away from You".
Alright folks, that's gonna do it for today's show. It has been a good show. Hope you enjoyed it. If you have any feedback, please send it to me: email@example.com. Again, if you're not subscribed to our RSS feed, definitely do get subscribed. You'll find some goodies in there that you won't find on the website or in the show notes. Show notes are not Financial Aid News Dot Com forward slash blog or on the home page at www.financialaidpodcast.com. Until next time, stay tuned, stay subscribed, we'll see you soon. Take care.