Is There a Higher Education “Bubble”?

Is There a Higher Education “Bubble”?

At the height of the recent housing bubble experienced in the United States, that helped precipitate the so-called “Great Recession” in that country and possibly elsewhere, there were several signs that have been recognized in hindsight. These signs were behaviors engaged in by buyers and sellers in the market that with perspective are clearly unrealistic. One was overconsumption: The building and purchase of oversize homes far larger than the families in question could realistically use. The other was immense debt loads, often with skyrocketing interest rates that could only be borne if the market continued to expand. The moment the market came tumbling down, the news was filled with stories about adjustable rates and interest-only loans that no one in their right minds would ever have agreed to unless they fully expected to sell the properties at a profit in a short time.

Today, we’re seeing similar behavior, say some experts, and a new bubble is forming that has even greater implications than the housing bubble: A higher education bubble.

Fits the Profile

Consider the indications: Higher Education is more expensive than ever, and the focus for many middle-class families is over-consumption – taking on tuition and related costs far beyond their capabilities, all for the prestige of a degree from certain institutions. Student loan interest rates are rising, are no longer kept low by government subsidy, and are one of the few forms of debt in the USA that cannot be handled via the mechanism of bankruptcy. In other words, many advanced degrees are incredibly expensive and the financing is murderous, yet people work very hard to avoid less-expensive degree programs in favor of a small number of elite programs.

What will really define whether or not this is some sort of “bubble” will be the simple question of whether the educations provided are considered worth the investment.

The Payoff

Even an incredibly expensive education to an Ivy League school is theoretically worth the investment and the years of crushing debt because it will pay off with career and earning options that would otherwise be out of reach – or so the logic goes. Graduating Harvard after four years in tens of thousands of dollars of highly-leveraged debt only makes sense if your degree gets your foot in the door in an industry where you can expect to earn a high salary, and into a network of other professionals or decision-makers who can in turn help your career.

If that ever ceases to be the case – if the proverbial “Harvard Law Degree Managing a Starbucks” becomes prevalent – the bubble will burst. If the elite schools no longer guarantee a better life, there will be no reason to attend them for most people.

The fact is, higher education is an investment. People may talk about the social benefits, the personal growth, but in the end what people expect from their degree programs is a better life, in the form of higher salaries, more stable and interesting work, and everything that comes with it. At the moment, most would agree that this is still the case, for the most part: People with Ivy League degrees do have access to resources people with degrees from lesser schools lack, and people with advanced degrees do better than people with just high school diplomas.

But no one is able to measure how much the degree matters versus how much the networking of an elite school matters. As tuition continues to rise across the board, people would do well to ask themselves how much their educational investment is getting for them in return.

How to Reduce Your College Tuition Bill

College costs are rising faster than the rate of inflation. For many families a college education for their child may be out of reach. The national average cost of a state public institution is over $15,000, a private college is over $33,000 and an elite private is well over $50,000. With the cost of college being so expensive families are looking for some tuition relief. Here are some ways families can save money on their tuition bill.

AP Courses – Good scores (3 or higher) on AP exams allow you to obtain college credit for courses. Your student may be required to take fewer general education courses. This saves you time and money and in some cases helps students graduate in four years. The average college graduation rate is 5.8 years.

Community College – Most community colleges permit high school students to take college courses concurrently. If the course is college transferrable he or she may be able to earn college credit, thus reducing the number of undergraduate courses required. Community colleges are also great lower cost places to start studies and then finish at a four year university. Special note: due to the economic downturn and overcrowding at the community college level it may take your student longer to transfer.

In-State tuition – In most states colleges require students to meet residency requirements for in-state tuition. It has become harder for out of state students to claim residency to get a discount on their education. Attending an in-state college or university may reduce your tuition costs. If the state has a grant program and your family qualifies you can save even more money.

CLEP Exams – Some colleges may let you take the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) to receive college credit. These general subject exams in English composition, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences and social sciences/history measure your student’s familiarity with material covered in courses taken during the first two years of college to meet the general education or liberal arts requirements.

These are just some of the strategies families can use to save thousands of dollars off their college tuition bill. A combination of two or more of these strategies can save you even more money. A College Planning Professional offers numerous academic, financial and tax planning strategies to save you money on college costs as well. Families that want to save time and money always use an expert – you can too.

High School Graduation Requirements In This Country – Shocking Differences, Especially With Math

For several months now, I have been writing articles mentioning a rapidly rising trend to requiring four years of math at and above Algebra for graduation from high school. Here in Colorado, in the school districts near me, this has already been adopted or is being seriously discussed. I decided today, to do some research into the requirements for different states. I was very surprised by what I found.

First, I need to point out that public education is considered to be a grass-roots process. Small areas elect school boards and the school boards are theoretically totally in charge of their own schools. I say “theoretically” because, while this is supposed to be how public education functions, we all know just from No Child Left Behind that the Federal Government has much to say about public education. While the government cannot set policy for the individual schools, it can and does use the loss of federal tax dollars as a method of control on some issues. But, for now, graduation requirements is not yet an area the federal government controls.

The individual states each have a Department of Education, yet the states do not set graduation requirements for its schools. What the states do have is a statement of “minimum requirements.” Actual graduation requirements are established by individual school boards and apply only to the schools within that school district. Here in Colorado Springs and near surrounding areas, we have seven different school districts all within a few miles of each other. Each has its own school board and each has its own graduation requirements. I don’t believe that any two districts have exactly the same requirements.

My first shock came when I looked up Colorado’s graduation requirements: 4 years in English Language Arts, 3 years in math, 2 years in social studies, 2 years in science, one semester in physical education, and one semester in fine arts. That’s all. I seriously overestimated what our “minimum” requirements would be. This is pretty pathetic considering we supposedly have a great educational system here. Fortunately, these numbers mean nothing since each student must meet the requirements of the school district–not the state.

After seeing what I consider to be rather weak requirements here, I decided to look at other states. As is true for every state, the listed requirements are state minimums, but the variation was unbelievable-especially with respect to mathematics. Some states suggest only 2 years of math with no specification of what courses those two years must be. Other state indicated 2 years, but must include Algebra 1. Some indicated 3 years and must include Algebra 1. Others indicated 3 years and must include Algebra 1 and Geometry. Many states included higher requirements for future graduating classes, and some states noted the intention to increase requirements–especially for math and science; but what exists at this moment in time as state minimums is truly minimal!

A look at various school districts within Colorado brought much-needed assurance that there is hope for higher educational standards. Every district I checked (this does not mean every district in the state–I didn’t check every one) had higher requirements for math, science, social studies, and P.E., and included requirements for health, humanities, computer education, economics, and practical arts. Some included foreign language requirements.

There has been an argument raging for years now about whether American education is declining. With such minimal expectations as set by each state, it is not surprising that results are disappointing. In all aspects of life, we tend to get what we expect to get. We seriously need to raise our educational expectations in this country!

Just an additional thought based on the fact that Ft. Carson, just outside Colorado Springs, provides a constant source of soldiers to our war efforts. One of the ramifications of this is that Fountain/Ft. Carson School District has very high turnover rates-sometimes over 100%. We need to consider that many students, all over this country, move from state to state in very short periods of time. With such wide variation in graduation requirements, I have to think some students get caught in difficult situations with respect to graduation. Maybe we need to consider some state cooperation to equalize graduation requirements.

Should You Get A College Education

As the cost of receiving a college education continues to rise every year you have to ask yourself whether a college education is necessary and what are the benefits of actually getting it. Here are some of the facts about people who get a college degree.

1. You want to view your college education as an investment. With any investment you want to see a return. It is a fact that a person who does not get a college degree of any kind will earn on average $1.2 million dollars in their lifetime. Getting an associates degree increases that to an average of $1.6 million, an increase of over $400,000 for 2 years of college.

A person who receives a bachelors degree will earn $2.1 million or almost $900,000 more for going to college for 4 years. That is the return you get on investing your time and money in a college education.

2. Getting a college education offers a variety of degrees which determine the amount of time and money you will spend. A technical degree can be obtained in as little as 6 months and for as low as a few thousand dollars. Going to a 4 year state university is going to cost an average of $40,000 or more in total expenses including tuition, books, living expenses, food, etc.

You can certainly control those costs by living at home. In Colorado, for example, living at home and attending Metro State University will save a college student close to $10,000 in total expenses versus attending the University Of Northern Colorado.

No matter how you do it you are going to spend time to get a degree. Many students enroll in college and change their major 1, 2, 3 times or more. This can add additional years in getting the degree for the major you do settle on. Another problem with attending colleges is that they require general education courses for things such as history, or math, for a music major as example. This adds to your cost while offering virtually no relevance to what you will do for a living.

Statistics have proven that the more education you receive the more you will earn. Getting a college education in a field that interests you has shown that people are healthier and happier as well. This leads to a longer career and an improved lifestyle with friends and family. You have to personally weigh the costs associated with a college education, with your own career goals and plans.

Deciding On Where To Attend College

One of the more important decisions that you must make in your lifetime is where you’re going to get your education. This is something that you will probably think about for many years before the day arrives when you must make that decision. There may also be times when you are not going to have an extended amount of time to make a decision such as this. For example, you may already be employed and want to further your education to give yourself an opportunity to advance in your career. What are some of the things that you can do which will help you to make a wise decision as to which college you attend?

One of the first things that you should do is to analyze why you are going to be attending college in the first place. This can have a considerable bearing on which college you attend. This can be seen in the specific type of career that you plan on pursuing. If you’re going to be pursuing an engineering career, quite obviously, you would want to attend a school that offered the best engineering degree programs that were available. The same is also true for those that would like to pursue an architectural career as they may need to attend architecture schools instead of attending a general college.

You should also consider the possibility that attending a smaller college is going to give you the education that you need. Many students feel as if they need to attend the larger college but in reality, many community colleges would suffice for your education. Even if it is necessary for you to attend the larger college at some time in the future, you may be able to start at a community college to get some of your credits. These are things that can be discussed with your guidance counselor who will assist you in making a decision that will be right for you.

If you are graduating from high school and you have not yet made a decision as to what major you want to pursue, that does not necessarily limit you from making a choice as to which college you will attend. It may be possible for you to begin attending the college to get some general credit that you can apply it towards your overall education. Don’t rush into a decision in this regard; it is something that you are going to have to live with for the rest of your life.

Finally, make sure that you educate yourself about the various choices that are available before you make a decision. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, either to the counselor at your school or directly to the college. It may also help if you tour the campus to see if it is going to be a comfortable fit for you. The more research you do, the more likely it is going to be that you will make a sound decision and attend the college that is going to benefit you for the rest of your life.

Importance of High School

There are certain milestones in your life that you would like to preserve for years to come. The senior year of high school is one of those times. There are many wonderful events that happen during this time period some of which are a really big deal and some are not as important. All seniors look forward to graduating from high school and the many parties to attend celebrating this special event in their lives. Many students, particularly females enjoy having their senior pictures taken. It is a time when you can choose an outfit or many outfits, get your hair and makeup done to look your best for the photographs. Selecting the right Cincinnati Photography studio is necessary to capture the perfect photo. This time can also be very difficult for many students having to decide what they want to do with their lives after high school graduation such as choosing a college, maintaining your grade point average among many other things. There are counselors to help you make some important decisions such as college planning and graduation.

High school events may not seem as important at this very moment, but when you look back in time it will be those moments that you always remember. A yearbook is great collection of senior memories. Academic achievements, athletic competitions, proms, theater, etc. are moments in your history that you will want to stand out, as will graduation. Being a senior is a huge responsibility, you are a role model to underclassmen as well as anyone that looks up to you.

The high school years goes very quickly so make sure you make the best of it. You can do this by making sure that you receive the best education, establish good friendships, and have a good yet responsible time. If you do not get the best grades that you possibly can, you will have a hard time getting into college. Colleges cannot see what you are capable of; they only see what you have shown you can do in previous years. It is best if the best you can do and what you have done are the same.

High school friendships and relationships may seem unimportant. Even though it may seem this way, these relationships can be the best of your life. They are the ones that will stay with you forever. You will always remember the people you meet in school. High School is one of the most influential times of your life. There is no reason not to make the best of it.

It does not matter how big the event is, it will stay with you forever. Senior year is the last year of your schooling where you do not have to worry about other stresses of life. Once you get into college you have no one to rely on besides yourself. If you fail in high school people will be there to help you try again, in college you do not have that kind of support. That is why living your high school career to the fullest is a great idea. The little experiences count almost as much as the bigger ones do.

10 Things Top Colleges Are Looking For

The Top Ten Strengths and Experiences Colleges look for in High School Students is a survey of independent college consultants that changes every time it’s compiled, an event that occurs every few years. The rigor of your high school curriculum (#1), your grades (#2), and your SAT and ACT test scores (#3) still top the list. But there are also some changes from prior years.

Guess what? The importance of the application essay has moved up in the list to #6! Part of the reason for this is that many colleges have begun to make the SAT and ACT optional with “test optional” policies. The admissions essay continues to be more important to private liberal arts colleges than it is at large state universities, so if you are targeting Ivy League and other top private schools, put some focused attention on the essay part of your application.

It’s hard to write a good essay without good material. Not surprisingly, half of the listed factors are all essay-related as well. “Passionate involvement in a few activities, demonstrating leadership and initiative” (#4) gives you great essay material. “Special talents or experiences” (#7) is also fodder for an outstanding essay, as is “demonstrated leadership in activities” (#8).

It is crystal clear from this list that schools are not looking for well-rounded students – they are looking for leaders. It is much more important to get deeply involved in a few activities than to do a little of everything. And you’ll have a lot more to write about in your college application essay if you take on leadership positions that require you to manage people, organize big projects and events, and grow as a person.

Note that succeeding in these areas requires some planning ahead. If you are not a harp player already by the time you are entering your senior year of high school, it is unlikely that you will become one. If you haven’t been deeply involved in a student organization, it might be difficult to take on leadership suddenly. It’s more important than ever to find your passion early and follow it. That way you can naturally demonstrate “intellectual curiosity through reading, school, leisure pursuits, and more” (#9).

Take the factor “demonstrated enthusiasm to attend” (#10) under advisement as you write your college essay. You would do well to write something about why you want to attend a particular school, especially if it’s your first or second choice. Just make sure to send the correct essay to each school, mentioning the school you’re applying to and not another school! Mixing this one up is a great way to get yourself into the “no” pile (and it happens all the time).

Thankfully, you have a lot of guidance about how to get into the “yes” pile. Determine where you will most stand out as an interesting candidate with leadership abilities, and write a great essay about it.

You may have noticed that #5 has not yet been revealed: It is Letters of Recommendation “that give evidence of integrity, special skills, positive character traits, and an interest in learning.” You simply can’t make this one up at the last minute. Be a serious, involved, committed and ethical student from the get-go and you will demonstrate characteristics to your teachers that they will be proud to share with an admissions committee.

Push the Limits of Education Grants for Schools

Education is an important aspect of life that allows people to achieve their dreams. Many people, students and parents alike, however, are having a hard time finding funds to sustain their educational expenses. Some of them, if not many, have even gone to the point of giving up their dreams due to high costs of living despite low incomes.

This situation should not have occurred for the reason that there are in fact education grants for schools that may be available to apply for, especially for those who are having economic difficulties at a certain point of their lives.

Why the need?

Many schools across the country are having financial problems at some point of their existence. From then until now, managements of these schools have been maintaining relations with various funding sources so they can be able to pay for operating costs, as well as the compensation of the administration and teaching staff.

Education grants for schools are an important option. The request for funding by various academic institutions and non-profit organizations can be for anything such as tuition, books, school supplies, pieces of equipment, or additional facilities, such as library and classrooms to accommodate a growing student population.

Sometimes, foundations and other funding institutions provide financial aids for organizing out-of-town trips and school events. Some of these funding programs are also offered as in-kind instead of money, such as land, buildings, or some kind of capitalization.

Federal and state funding

For individual fund seekers, federal funding for college are available for those who will apply for it. To qualify, they need to fill a report for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

This report is meant to highlight why they are in urgent need by stating the family’s current financial status through a section called Expected Family Contribution. Filling this form strictly requires honest and accurate entry of information into the form in order to produce a true and correct report.

Federal funding available include the Pell grant that is intended for undergraduate students, Academic Competitiveness that is designed for freshmen and sophomores with exceptional leadership and academic performances, the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent that caters to students who wish to study computer science, engineering, and mathematics, among others.

There are also various state funding opportunities available to individual students who are interested and passionate about their studies, designed to be utilized by those who apply for it and who need them most. These programs are often for specific purposes and are usually offered to a wide range of organizations.

Proposal writing: a good start

Preparation is the key to writing proposals. Since it is about proposing a project, fund seekers need to know what they are going to say in written form to potential funders.

Know the Factors – How to Get Educational Grants

The current cost of education is going nowhere but up. To continue their education, many students and their families are looking for loans, scholarships, grants, and other types of financial aid. How can you find the money you need to pay for your college degree?

What is an Educational Grant?

It is a money used to pay educational expenses to support the students’ learning requirements. Compared to scholarships that are awarded based on the students’ merits, educational funding assistance are usually awarded by the funding source based on an urgent financial need.

Since grants can vary in size depending on the program, it is always advisable to apply for every opportunity that arises. It would also help if you apply with multiple funders to increase your chances of getting funded for your education.

Financial assistance is actually given by the funder with an understanding that the money will be used solely for tuition and other educational purposes. The recipient is expected to complete the educational program and consequently build a better future for themselves and others as well.

Getting the Fund: Know How

Every student is bothered by one question: how to get educational grants. Getting a study grant involves knowing the giving cycle of various donors such as federal government, state and city governments, community-based organizations, private companies, non-profit organizations, employers, colleges, and universities. You should also understand the various educational funding they offer from time to time.

Since there are so many applicants than the amount of money allotted for the program, funding institutions often narrow down their targets to include low-income students, students with disabilities, minority students, or students who intend to enroll in certain programs such as music, engineering, or healthcare.

Meanwhile, the United States government runs programs such as the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant or FSEOG, the Academic Competitiveness Grant, and the so-called Pell Grant. Moreover, federal funding for students who intend to pursue degrees in teaching, science, math, and engineering are also available.

Getting what you Need

Working on how to get educational grants can be done anytime and anywhere. As long as you are aware of the requirements of the program and its submission deadlines, you can easily manage the giving guidelines.

Apart from knowing the giving bodies, there are other things that grant seekers need to know.

First of all, any application should be properly made through a proposal or form issued by the donor. Take note that you should use the latest version of the application forms since they are being updated from time to time.

Secondly, be sure to submit supporting documents stated in the application guidelines. Incomplete documents can be a reason not to be considered for the giving cycle.

Upon receipt of all the information requested from the fund seeker, the application papers will then be submitted to the next meeting of the review committee for possible consideration. The committee will then decide whether to approve a request or not.

When will you hear about your application’s progress? All applicants will be informed of the result of the review panel’s decision through a letterrather than a phone call. Results would usually be known within a prescribed period of days.