All Articles Tagged "college"
As the end of spring dawns and summer approaches, many high school students proudly wear their caps and gowns while crossing the stage with their sights set on college. Hoping for a brighter future it seems almost inevitable to acquire debt to finance your college education. The Chronicle of Higher Education estimates that over 60 percent of the 20 million students who attend college each year borrow money annually to help cover costs.
US student loan debt is now looming at over $1 trillion, and we are forced to evaluate the role student loan debt is playing in our quality of life. A study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that 30-year-olds with student loans are less likely to have debts like home mortgages than 30-year-olds without student loans and the same is true for 25-year-olds and car loans. In addition, Pew Research Center found that the measure of debt to income for households under the age of 35 has ballooned to 1.5-to-1 in 2010 from about 1-to-1 in 2001. Meaning that most people carry more debt than the annual income they bring in.
Student debt is even having an impact on graduates getting married. A survey conducted by the American Institute of CPAs showed that 15 percent of respondents opted to postpone getting married as a result of their student loan debt.
The growing reliance on student loans along with the lagging economy and job market is creating a new breed of thirty-something that bet big on their college education and subsequently don’t have enough cash to make investments in assets that can appreciate in value. To make matters worse there is a debate on Capitol Hill about whether or not the interest rates for government-issued student loans will double this July. The 3.4 percent federal student loan rate is expected to go up to 6.8 percent later this summer. Students and graduates with existing student loans would not be impacted, just those applying for future federal loans. With borrowing rates for banks so low, it’s a wonder why student loans are expected to be issued at a premium.
On the bright side, the President along with members of congress are discussing ideas to keep rates down. However, most of the ideas are based on linking student loan rates to market rates like the treasury rate, which would mean student loans could fluctuate up to as much as 10.5 percent, considerably more than the aforementioned 6.8 percent. Some have even proposed allowing rates to be adjustable for the life of the loan, similar to the adjustable rate mortgages that aided in the financial crisis.
The uncertainty over interest rates and the swelling debt being accumulated by current and prospective graduates is having a direct impact on household spending and an impact on the overall economy. Kevin Carey, the director of Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation, a research group in Washington says it best in The New York Times, “It is a new thing, a big social experiment that we’ve accidentally decided to engage in. Let’s send a whole class of people out into their professional lives with a negative net worth. Not starting at zero, but starting at a minus that is often measured in the tens of thousands of dollars. Those minus signs have psychological impact, I suspect. They might have a dollars-and-cents impact in what you can afford, too.”
Now more than even is it important to teach our high schoolers and prospective college students the importance of finding ways beyond loans to finance education. Students may also want to consider going to state schools or community colleges to keeps costs low, or opting for the less prestigious school offering financial support rather than an Ivy League school that won’t give a dime.
We took a look at what we should be teaching our girls about financial literacy. What should we be doing to manage the student loan crisis we’re falling into?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 21.6 million students were enrolled in American colleges and universities in 2012. With today’s youth constantly texting, tweeting, Tumblring, posting statuses on Facebook and updating Instagram, among other social networking sites at a rapid pace, schools need to engage with applicants and current students regularly. It’s clear the days of shiny brochures, flashy websites and in-person campus visits are no longer enough to attract high-caliber students.
Colleges and universities should embrace social media as a means to build relationships and create emotional connections with prospective students.
Black Enterprise looks at four ways that colleges and universities can improve their digital game. With this new option, it’s definitely something that higher education is exploring.
At the beginning of the year, USA Today asked if college degrees were still worth it in this economy. The sight of fresh graduates moving back in with mommy and daddy or settling into service industry gigs makes it easy to question whether higher education is the smart route to take. Even a law degree isn’t a guarantee of a job these days.
But studies show that a college degree still makes a difference in your career. Jobless rates and wage drops are still higher for workers with only a high school diploma. “Degree inflation,” a trend where employers change minimum job requirements to include degrees for positions that once upon at time only needed a diploma plays a part in this.
A college degree doesn’t get you as much as it once did, but it still gives you an advantage over your less credentialed competition.
So, what degrees give you the highest return on your investment? US News & World Report cross-referenced degree programs with starting salaries to find out. We picked out the common specialty areas from the list and added a few from Forbes’ research here.
According to a new study, the number of minority professors is increasing in business schools, allbeit slowly. More African Americans are seeking a higher education, but in front of the classroom, there is a dearth of African- American professors teaching in universities and colleges nationwide.
The number of minority (African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native American) professors at U.S. business schools with a doctoral degree has quadrupled since 1994. The increase can be attributed, at least in part, to the efforts of The PhD Project, a program aimed at increasing diversity in America’s business management ranks.
Much has changed since The PhD Project began in 1994, the program says. Then, there were only 294 minority professors in business schools across the country with a doctorate, according to Hispanically Speaking News.
Just two years ago the stats were bleak. “Forty-two percent of African Americans who attended a predominantly white university never had a single black professor during four years of college,” found a 2011 study. And, reports Clutch magazine, nearly 74 percent of these students said they had only one black professor in a field outside of African-American studies.
According to The PhD Project website, its mission is “to increase the diversity of corporate America by increasing the diversity of business school faculty.”
College students have been finding innovative ways to make money since the birth of higher education. From waitressing weekends, to setting up salons in dorm rooms, hustling is just as much a part of the college experience as the classes themselves. Current students like University of Kansas senior, Jacque Amadi, are giving that hustler’s spirit a tech upgrade.
A psychology major and business minor, Jacque doesn’t have a resume that screams fashion. She dabbled in fashion blogging, but never thought to pursue it professionally. Her online boutique, Lioness, started as a celebration of her hobbies and interests, one she hoped would ease the financial woes that come with a college education.
“I would sell clothes on eBay whenever I needed money,” says Jacque. “And I love thrifting, even if I don’t keep what I find. With blogging and taking pictures – I loved doing it, but I was broke. So, I wanted to do all these things that I love in a way that could make me money.”
There’s one extra twist. Lioness is a digital time machine where the dial is always set to 1995. Jacque may be too young to remember the top news stories of the decade, but the images she saw as a child made a big impression on her.
“At first I was selling any vintage clothes I found, but then I decided to focus on the 90s because I felt that time period was the best time period for African Americans in terms of our exposure and our reach on television,” Jacque said.
From The Grio
Thousands of students couldn’t afford to go to college this school year because the U.S. Department of Education made changes to a popular loan program.
The agency is putting more scrutiny on the PLUS loan program as part of an effort to more closely align government lending programs with industry standards and decrease default rates.
Read more at TheGrio.com.
Seven years ago the California State University decided to make an effort to attract more African-American students. And now it has paid off, reports The Los Angeles Times. “About 17,663 African American students applied for fall 2013, up from 16, 588 in 2012 — a 6% gain,” writes the paper. According to school officials, African American applicants have risen steadily over the last 10 years, in part due to an outreach initiative dubbed Super Sunday.
Super Sunday, which started in 2006, includes campus presidents and top university officials speaking to African American church congregations. During these visits, officials give out guides listing classes that students should take beginning in the sixth grade to qualify for Cal State. The school even offers mentoring help and tips for applying for financial aid. This year there are visits planned to more than 100 predominantly black churches in Northern, Central and Southern California, which is estimated to reach more than 100,000 churchgoers.
“One of the key things is trying to get students prepared for college, but also the idea is to have students and people who influence students like parents and grandparents join together in a voice that says you can go to college, that is a goal you can reach,” Cal State spokesman Erik Fallis told the Times.
Not only is it paying off for the Cal State system, but for the students as well. Since the launch of Super Sunday, the number of degrees awarded to African Americans has increased by 30 percent. “African American and other underrepresented students still suffer a significant gap in graduation rates, however,” notes the newspaper.
Cal State embarked on this effort because given the “demographic shifts in California, colleges have to work harder to attract African American, Latino and other underrepresented students, especially to such fields as math, engineering, science and technology,” said Cal State L.A. President James M. Rosser, to the Times.
Cal State has also launched similar outreach programs for Latino, Asian and Native American students, veterans, and foster youths.
Super Sunday sounds like an initiative perhaps the HBCUs might want to try.
At this point in your life, graduate school might look pretty appealing. But not every reason is the right reason to enroll.
Black Enterprise takes a look at four reasons why you shouldn’t go back to school, and why you won’t get your money’s worth if you do.
“You’re unsure of the career path you want to pursue, so you go to graduate school instead. Hey, you might get lucky and really enjoy your graduate school courses and find your way as a result,” writes Jamie Harrison. But you could end up with a lot of college credits and little else.
If graduate school might be in your future, you ought to make sure you’re in the right frame of mind before you make the commitment of time and money. Click through to read more at BlackEnterprise.com.
The answer to this question is no. I’d dare to say you don’t need a college degree to wait tables, deliver pizzas, mop floors or answer phones. However, according to CNN and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, college graduates of various backgrounds are finding themselves working all sorts of gigs just to make ends meet.
Underemployment has plagued the US over the past few years and although the unemployment rate is getting better the underemployment rate seems to be getting worse. We hear about the US unemployment rate of around eight percent (for the end of 2012), and don’t highlight the number of underemployed working jobs that in no way relate to what they have studied in college and have racked up debt for.
To put things in perspective, BLS data says about 15 percent or more taxi drivers have a college degree compared to one percent in the 1970s. They have also documented that 1 in 6 bartenders, 1 in 5 telemarketers, and 1 in 4 retail workers have a college degree in their back pocket.
A study released by The Center for College Affordability and Productivity says that about 37 percent of employed U.S. college graduates are working jobs that require no more than a high school diploma. Yes, you read that correctly!
After, going through undergraduate school and/or graduate school we all walk across the stage on commencement day with thoughts of a bright future and a great job. But given this economy, it might take a little longer to get to the higher rungs on that ladder.
We discussed the issue of colleges meeting the needs of an evolved student body and the modern day jobs landscape. Students should also take time to think about the career path they’d like to take and how best to craft an educational experience that will get them there.
Colleges and universities are standalone institutions. When you graduate, your diploma says you went to one particular school. But colleges also tend to fall into categories that group them into a special place in higher education. For example, the party schools. The liberal arts schools. The Ivy League. The colleges with great sports programs.
And the HBCUs.
Last week, we tweeted this NPR interview between John Silvanus Wilson, the new president of Morehouse, and “Tell Me More” host Michel Martin. The interview covered a wide range of topics — from the financial struggles that HBCUs face to the low level of alumni giving to the need for operational improvement at black colleges where the financial aid office gets the most criticism from alums.
But the big question is this: Do we still need HBCUs?
A former executive director for an Obama initiative on historically black colleges and universities, Wilson said this about the continued need for these institutions: “They continue to serve a special function. We have a better time graduating students. It is a more nurturing environment, in some cases.”
But, he said, “It is because, as many people are recognizing across higher education, black and white, the value proposition and the financial model, particularly for liberal arts institutions – they are under a lot of stress.”
HBCUs at one point provided an opportunity for African Americans to go to college when other schools wouldn’t allow it. Now that the options are broad, students still choose the HBCUs for the unique experience they offer.
But, according to Wilson, HBCUs haven’t done, what women’s colleges have done. Women’s colleges, at one point,offered opportunity to a group that wouldn’t otherwise have had a chance at a college education. But today women’s colleges are thriving where HBCUs struggle.
“So you see Wellesley and Smith and Mount Holyoke doing major capital campaigns, just like … the more sophisticated institutions in higher education,” said Wilson. “You have to remain sophisticated, and you have to remain up-to-date with the current definition of institutional strength in higher education. That has not happened to the same degree with HBCUs, and I would say that with the all-male institutions we lag in that respect as well.”
According to one reader, Tiarra Currie, who talked with us on Twitter about this topic, she chose Syracuse and Columbia’s Teacher’s College, in part, because what she heard from HBCU alumni convinced her it wasn’t the right environment for her.
“When I hear tales from HBCU students, the most common commentary is unorganized, lack of financial aid, and homecoming,” she told us in an email.
As a women’s college grad, my personal experience was one that was, to use Wilson’s word, current. The roles and needs of women have evolved, both individually and in society. Women’s colleges, in my experience, have tried and — in many ways — succeeded in keeping up with that.
If you went to an HBCU, I’d be curious to hear if you think black colleges have done a good job of keeping up with their evolving student body.
But by no means, does that imply that women’s colleges, or any college, for that matter, has it figured out completely. The New York Times reported just a few days ago that colleges and higher education associations are making it a “priority” to better meet the needs of a student population that’s a little older and more interested in part-time coursework, online classes, and other untraditional options. By taking these steps, they hope that graduation rates will rise.
Moreover, the job market is making a college education seem extraneous. New Labor Department research shows that nearly half — 48 percent — of people with a four-year degree are doing a job that doesn’t require one. However, The Christian Science Monitor points out that people who have a college degree make more money.
“At the same time, the story of economic progress is one of continuous development of new tools and the skills to use them – and good jobs will flow to nations that can keep pushing further down this path,” writes the article.
So the issue isn’t whether we need higher education. It’s whether that education is meeting modern needs. Which has less to do with HBCUs or women’s colleges or party schools. It’s a transformation that all schools of every stripe have to make to meet the challenges of the modern world.