I’m just going to put this here…

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US FINANCIAL AID: A GLOSSARY

I realized that I’ve been using a lot of rhetoric in my articles so here’s a run-down of everything that might need to be explained. For those who come from countries with free tuition, or US students who are filing for the first time, this list is for you.

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For the squeamish, just imagine the dripping as your tears cascading down the FAFSA homepage.
  • FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – Ohhh, the FAFSA. This cumbersome application is what any American student will need to complete before being eligible for any aid. Step one, file your taxes. Step two, file your FAFSA.
  • Grants – Federal grants are need-based and do not need to be repaid unless you withdraw from school.
  • Scholarships – You’re not going to get scholarships through the FAFSA directly, you need to apply for the thousands that are available elsewhere. Generally, scholarships do not need to be repaid, but if the conditions of the award are broken (e.g. your GPA slips, you change majors, you quit the same sport your entire scholarship was based on, etc), you run the risk of losing your scholarship(s).
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I’m not saying that student loans are predatory, but I’m definitely implying it.
  • Subsidized federal loans -A loan where the government pays the interest while a student remains enrolled in a qualified college or university. I know what you’re thinking:  “Why would the government even charge interest on student loans?” To which I respond, “That’s a great question. A great question indeed.”
  • Unsubsidised federal loans – Interest on the unsubsidized student loans starts to add up as soon as the loan is disbursed to the school.
  • [WATCH] More on federal or “DIRECT” loans.

  • EFC or Estimated Family Contribution – is the grand indicator of just how much aid a student is eligible to receive after submitting the FAFSA. High EFC = less aid, low EFC = more aid.
    • Students under the age of 24 with high income parents will have a higher EFC and less aid; even if parents refuse to contribute to the students educational finances.
    • The blow of EFC can be diminished in households with only one parent (e.g. divorce, death, estranged, etc), preferably the parent with lower income.
  • COA (Cost of Attendance) – the total amount it will cost you to go to college each year. This includes: tuition and fees, on-campus room and board (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students), and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, etc. It can also include other expenses like an allowance for the rental or purchase of a personal computer, costs related to a disability, or costs for eligible study-abroad programs.
  • Work-study – This is a part-time job that you’ll need to apply for while you are enrolled in school. The job typically only guarantees 10-15 hours per week and usually delivers paychecks monthly (instead of weekly or bi-weekly like “normal” jobs do). The upside of work study is that you get “on the job” training where you would not otherwise and the job is typically on-campus; the downside is that the hours are limited and the pay is typically minimum wage (plus or minus a few quarters per hour).
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Feel like begging for $1s on the stage? I don’t blame you.

COUNTRIES WITH THE MOST EXPENSIVE COLLEGES

So, who takes the cake in 2016? [Insert the proverbial, “the answer may surprise you!”]

BI writer, Lianna Brinded, reported on a study of top universities for the 2014-2015 academic year and the self-reported income data in 2013, “The list…shows that some parents are willing to spend over 90% of their income on a standard bachelor’s degree at public institutions for their kids.”

Essentially what this list comes down to is not necessarily “which country’s education costs more,” but rather, “which country’s education costs more in relation to income.”

Obviously, the US’s colleges cost more than the other countries’ listed, but because our EFC (estimated family contribution) is so high, our higher education does not, comparatively, burden us as much as it does for students living in Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Chile, and Malaysia.

HOW DID WE GET HERE: A HISTORY OF EDUCATIONAL FINANCES IN AMERICA

The student debt average is nearing $30,000 dollars, but where did it all begin? Let’s take a walk through time to see just how we arrived where we are today. From the state of education back in the 40s, to the debt crisis of today, this timeline covers it all.

Did you know that, historically, republicans are continuously anti-education?

http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/616940/History-of-Student-Debt-in-America/

LIVE STUDENT DEBT TOTAL

MarketWatch, a stock market tracker published by Dow Jones & Co., released a “ticker” that calculates the current total of student debt in America. The author of this calculator, Jillian Berman, said that the total student loan debt grows by an estimated $2,726.27 per second.

She compared the growth in student loan debt to a ticking time bomb ready to blow up the U.S. economy.

“Now you can watch it tick,” she said.

 

JOHN OLIVER TALKS STUDENT DEBT

If you don’t know already, John Oliver is the angry liberal that we’ve all been waiting for. He “tells it like it is” with the same vulgarity and gusto that certain hyper-conservative radio and Fox News hosts employ when they argue against why America shouldn’t be obliged to supply basic human rights. Recently, Oliver has gained traction following his wildly viral Donald Trump roast piece, but he covers topics that are so much more important than a man that resembles a heap of uncooked chicken.

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Photo courtesy of

The video below features Oliver tapping into the sources and ridiculousness of student debt in America. As always, he hits the nail square on the head both in facts and delivery so I’m sharing it with all of you in hopes that his explanation further demonstrates this issue. Enjoy.

 

 

Feature photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

HOW MUCH ARE YOU PAYING FOR COLLEGE (a survey)

This survey is much more detailed than the poll that was posted earlier. A majority of the respondents are between the ages of 19 and 25 yet they have already accumulated over 20 thousand dollars in student loans!

Please respond to this no-sign-up-required survey so that we might have more accurate results:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S7VJMK9

 

TOP 100 MOST EXPENSIVE COLLEGES IN THE US

Where in the great nation of the United States are all these expensive colleges coming from? Hopefully this map will help shed some light on the situation.

In all it’s glory, this mashup details the top 100 most expensive colleges in the US based on in-state tuition. All information was graciously compiled and provided by CollegeBoard.com.

Did your school make the list? I’m sure glad mine didn’t.

“I’m not hungry” THERESA’S STORY (PART 1)

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“Theresa” would prefer to remain anonymous, so here’s a stock photo of a sad woman from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

“Theresa” has always worked hard. She’s a full-time student at the University of Pittsburgh, she works part-time at a retail store, and she holds a second job on the weekends. Surely, Theresa is a model citizen and student, but she claims to have one fault:  “I don’t like to ask for anything,” she says this as we’re sitting in her third-floor apartment just outside of town.

“I’d like to live closer to school, but the cost is just too much,” she says.

Theresa had a rough time her first few years of college. Although Pitt is a public university, the costs were still overwhelming. As a non-traditional student, Theresa had little-to-no parental support and little hope of finding scholarships that would fit her situation.

“Oh, it was awful,” she says remembering the adjustment to a four-year university, “I clearly had no idea what I was getting myself into.”

The “what” in this situation is the cost of attendance. Collegedata.com states that the average monetary sum of a year at Pitt is upwards of $33 grand; that includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, and a category simply marked, “other expenses” (which totals $3,222).

“I was scared shit-less when I first got to school,” Theresa says cynically, “I refused to buy anything out of fear that I would need it to buy a book or a fucking pencil for Christ’s sake.”

She stops suddenly and looks up to the ceiling, imitating herself, “I remember laying in bed repeating the words, ‘I’m not hungry, I’m not hungry, I’m not hungry’ just to convince myself that I wasn’t [hungry].”

[End Part 1]