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Video: Takes A Special Kind Of Stupid To Try That

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More Universities Overseas Offer U.S. Federal Student Loans

Interested in studying for an MBA at INSEAD Business School in France, Dan Hauber applied and was surprised to learn that federal student loans could cover his costs overseas.

“I had no idea, really,” says Hauber, who now runs a New York City-based mattress company. “I got a handful of emails from INSEAD with a couple of loan options, and included in that was a link to the Department of Education’s website.”

Similar to the process of applying for financial aid at a U.S. school, Hauber filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to receive federal student loans for the France-based MBA program.

The now 36-year-old received his financial aid package from INSEAD’s admissions department – he was awarded $20,500 in Stafford loans and $80,000 in PLUS loans for the 12-month program in 2010-2011. The current tuition at the French institution costs 73,500 euros, roughly $80,000.
Of the three types of federal financial aid available – loans, grants and work-study – only the loan portion is available at international schools, financial aid experts say. The loans can come in the form of subsidized or unsubsidized Stafford loans or PLUS loans.

The list of international schools participating in the Department of Education’s federal student loan program continues to grow as more Americans seek full degrees in both undergraduate or graduate studies abroad, says Rajika Bhandari, deputy vice president of research and evaluation at the Institute of International Education, a New York-based nonprofit that promotes international education.

Bhandari says that while the majority of U.S. students seeking a degree abroad are graduate students, there’s a growing interest among American students pursuing an undergraduate degree overseas – usually in English-speaking countries, such as Canada and the U.K.
“The U.S. Department of Education is seeing certain institutions overseas as being credible where they see American students can study and obtain higher education credentials,” the IIE researcher says.

According to the most recent data from the Department of Education, 400 foreign universities across 38 countries are listed as “eligible” for dispersing federal student loans. More than half of the schools listed as eligible are located in the U.K. Canada tallies the second highest number of schools with 79 institutions listed.
“It’s an extensive list, and I’ve seen it grow over the years. There are so many universities to pick from,” says Kristen Moon, founder of Atlanta-based Moon Prep, a firm that helps prospective students and their families with the college admissions process.

Other institutions around the world participate in the U.S. loan program, such as the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, the University of Haifa in Israel and the University of Cape Town in South Africa – to name a few.
“In Germany, I worked with WHU – Otto Beisheim School – it’s a small private business school and I had a student go there and receive aid,” says Moon, who adds that students are looking at other countries other than the U.K. or Canada that offer programs in English.

When students study overseas, the process to disburse federal student loans is the same as when they study in the U.S., Moon says.

“Whether it goes to a U.S. school or international school, it goes through the same process – the funds go directly to the school’s designated bank account,” says the Moon Prep founder. “It’s anywhere from $5,500 to $20,000, and that’s for subsidized and unsubsidized loans in addition to the parent PLUS loans.”

From Moon’s experience counseling students seeking to go overseas for an undergraduate degree, she says the process seems more “smooth and seamless” in Germany and the U.K.

The Atlanta-based college adviser says it’s important for degree-seeking students to fill out the FAFSA, no matter where they plan to go.

Financial aid experts advise students interested in earning a degree abroad to check the Federal Student Aid website first for the list of international schools that partner with the federal student loan program. The list is updated regularly, government officials say.

“From the application to the loans to moving and everything else, it’s significantly harder to do all things in another country,” Hauber, the INSEAD graduate, says. “The process is a bit tricky, but in the long run it’s worth the effort.”
source usnews.co

Create a Portfolio for College Writing Scholarships

Plenty of scholarships ask for more than just a simple application when you apply. This could include essays, letters of recommendation or even a portfolio of your work.

If you are interested in scholarships that reward your writing skills, you may need to submit a writing portfolio with your application. It’s important that your portfolio is in top-notch shape when you submit it. Here are tips for creating a great writing portfolio.

Most of these sites are user-friendly and don’t require you to be a web expert to set up your online portfolio. Most also allow you to customize your pages to your own style and preferences, but be sure to keep your portfolio clean and professional.
• Choose a web platform: First, select a website to host your portfolio. There’s no right choice here – it will come down to personal preferences. However, be sure to choose a site that gives you a clean design and is easy to navigate.

The good news is that you do not have to pay to create an online portfolio. Many websites will host your portfolio at no charge, such as Clippings.me, Slideshare and Contently, although some also offer premium services for a fee.

• Post your biography: Once you’ve selected a platform for your portfolio, write your biography to add to the site. Some platforms may have a designated “About Me” section, while others may require you to create a separate biography page.

Use this section to discuss your accomplishments and plans for the future. Talk about any awards you may have received and your college plans, including your intended major.

And remember, although you are talking about your accomplishments, don’t come off as arrogant – make sure you are humble and approachable.
• Connect to social media: Use your biography to link to your social media channels. Use this time to also clean up each of your social media profiles before including them in your biography. Delete any inappropriate photos or posts with foul language.

This is also a great opportunity to sign up for LinkedIn, if you haven’t already. LinkedIn allows you to show off your achievements and market yourself professionally. It can also provide the opportunity for you to connect with companies offering scholarships.

• Fill your portfolio: Now that you’ve customized your portfolio, select the writing pieces you wish to spotlight. You should aim to include a minimum of five to 10 pieces in your portfolio. These should be the pieces you are most proud of, such as papers you received an A on or articles featured in the school newspaper.
Try to select pieces you’ve written in different styles and that are focused on different subjects. It’s important to demonstrate for scholarship providers that you are versatile.

• Apply for scholarships: With your portfolio in hand, your final step is to apply for scholarships. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, for example, offer college-bound high school seniors with an art or writing portfolio a variety of scholarships to apply to.

There are two levels of awards – the high-dollar Gold Medal Portfolio and the Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolio.

The $10,000 Gold Medal Portfolio awards are given to 16 students, half of which are writers. Recipients are those whose work best exemplifies the Scholastic Awards’ core criteria, which are technical skill, originality and the emergence of a personal vision or voice. Applicants must submit eight pieces, which may fall into 10 different categories, including humor, journalism and poetry.
The Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolio awards are presented to 30 students every year, and applicants should submit entries in the same categories as the Gold Medal Portfolio. Silver medal scholarship winners receive $1,000.

If one of your portfolio pieces is a short story or even a novel, consider applying for the Unpublished Writer Award, which Go On Girl! Book Club awards to aspiring novelists. Applicants must submit an unpublished short story or excerpt of a novel up to 2,000 words, double spaced.

Winners receive $1,000 and an invitation to attend the awards ceremony. They will also have their work published in the Magajournal and quarterly newsletter.

Other scholarships are available that allow you to demonstrate your writing skills on specific topics. For example, the Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest provides the opportunity to win one of five $1,000 scholarships by writing an essay on a predetermined Signet Classics novel.

The contest is open to high school juniors and seniors attending school in the U.S. and to home-school students who are U.S. residents. An English teacher must verify the essay and submit it on the applicant’s behalf.

Submitting a writing portfolio with a scholarship application gives scholarship providers more insight into who you are as both a person and a writer. And be sure to keep your portfolio updated – it could even help you land an internship or a job in the future.
source usnews.co

Tuition Hikes in Store at Some State Universities

Appointed by the California governor, 21-year-old Maggie White, a student trustee for the California State University system, spends her time traveling across the state to talk with legislators and students about the system’s proposed tuition hike for in-state students.
“Ideally what I’d like to see is another freeze like what we’ve had for the past few years,” says White, a graduate student at California State University—Stanislaus who represents more than 470,000 students across Cal State’s 23 campuses and eight off-campus centers.
Squeezed to pay for an increasing number of students, the University of California and California State University systems are considering a tuition increase for in-state students for the first time in six years. The hike would mean an extra $270 for Cal State students and an additional $280 at UC annually, officials say. “In California, there’s been pushback on the method of using out-of-state enrollment for shoring up their budget,” says Benjamin Barrett, a senior policy analyst at think-tank New America in the District of Columbia. Barrett says many states use out-of-state student enrollment to make ends meet since “they obviously pay more in tuition.”
At the University of California—Berkeley, for example, in-state tuition and fees for 2016-2017 is $13,509 compared with a $40,191 price for out of state – which is nearly triple the price of in-state tuition, U.S. News data show.
San Diego resident Kristyn Gomes, whose 19-year-old daughter attends the University of California—San Diego, says the proposed tuition increase seems like a bit of a “double charge” since they’re asking residents to pay more to make sure there are more spots for California students. “We’re fortunate that our son is graduating from San Diego State University later this month, so we will only be impacted by the fee increase in terms of our daughter’s education,” Gomes says.
Most states, similar to California, are now spending less on students in higher education compared with levels before the Great Recession, according to a recent report by the District of Columbia-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The report found that only Montana, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming have increased spending since 2008. Spending cuts at the state level are driving many public colleges and universities across the country to increase tuition, experts say.
Here are a couple takeaways for students and parents about tuition hikes at public institutions.
• In-state tuition hikes tend to be modest. For the 2016-2017 school year, in-state students at four-year state schools experienced an increase in tuition and fees by an average of nearly 2 percent compared with 3 percent for out-of-state students, according to data reported to U.S. News.
In fact, the proposed in-state rate hike for UC and CSU undergraduate students in California is around 2 percent. The proposed increase in out-of-state tuition is 5 percent.
“There’s definitely a higher incentive to keep in-state tuition low and there’s not much accountability on out-of-state students on the prices they pay,” says Barrett from New America.
Another example is Iowa, where the state’s regents voted this month to raise in-state tuition by 2 percent for all three of Iowa’s four-year public institutions for the 2017-2018 school year.
For parents and students who are making a school selection based on a set anticipated price for four years, Barrett recommends to look at laws requiring schools to publish four-year prices. “That school locks in rates upfront, so you’re not stuck with the price shock for your sophomore,” he says. These tuition freezes, experts say, usually only apply to in-state undergraduates.
• Public institutions target out-of-state students for higher tuition increases. Policy analysts say out-of-state students aren’t as price sensitive when it comes to rate hikes since these students tend to be more affluent.
“If it’s only a couple thousand dollars a year, it’s really not going to make a difference for them,” says Kristen Moon, an educational consultant at Atlanta-based Moon Prep, which provides college advising services. “They’re looking at it as a bargain even though they’re paying $40,000 a year. Compare that to an Ivy League with $60,000-plus.”
In turn, many states continue to look to out-of-state students to pay higher tuition bills – often increasing rates annually – to offset state budgetary cuts, experts say.
Most recently, the board of regents for the University of Wisconsin system voted to raise out-of-state tuition at its public universities. The University of Wisconsin—Madison, one of the six schools in the state to increase rates for nonresidents, will raise its out-of-state undergraduate tuition by nearly 13 percent over the next two years from $31,523 in 2016-2017 to $35,523 in 2018-2019.The board also voted to continue a tuition freeze for resident undergraduates into 2017-2018.
“The mission that some of these state schools have is they’re really focused on serving their own students, and there’s not the same mission component for students that don’t live in the state,” says Kim Dancy, a policy analyst at New America.
source usnews.com

What U.S. Student Loan Repayment Budget Estimates Mean to Borrowers

Last week’s higher education headlines were packed with stories about a federal report on the projected cost of forgiveness under income-driven repayment plans. Currently, certain income-driven repayment plans require payment on federal student loans for 20 to 25 years – 10 years if the borrower works in public service – and then the federal government forgives any remaining balance, although the forgiven amount is taxed as income. The report was critical of the Department of Education’s approach to estimating the amount projected to be forgiven for all federal student loans borrowed between 1995 and 2017, in particular because the department’s latest projections doubled the anticipated amount from the original estimates for at least some of the loans in question. Oddly, the report claims that the original projections for loans made prior to 2009 were not available.
The report stated that 40 percent of all outstanding direct loan dollars are currently being paid under an income-driven plan, which works out to almost a quarter of all borrowers – more than twice the number enrolled in the plans just three years ago. This significant increase can be attributed to the substantial amount of outreach the Department of Education and even the White House have initiated. The Student Loan Ranger supports these initiatives because they have helped ensure that borrowers are aware of their options for relief if they find their loan debt overwhelming.
However, the GAO report states that the subsidy cost to federal taxpayers for the direct loan program now lies at an average cost of $21 for every $100 disbursed under the program. With such a high cost, especially for a program that is often touted as a profit maker for the federal government, the fear has become that the new Congress or administration will cut these income-driven repayment plans. This has thrown some consumers with existing education debt – especially those with higher student debt compared with their incomes – into a bit of a panic. Cutting these programs would leave many borrowers with unaffordable student loan payments and no options for relief.
However, you do not need to worry – that’s almost certainly not going to happen. First and probably most importantly, in our entire careers in the student loan industry, the Student Loan Ranger has never seen Congress retroactively remove a benefit from an existing borrower. Any changes made that affect borrower benefits are always effective for loans borrowed on or after the date the legislation is signed. Could Congress or the administration handle legislation differently? Maybe – but considering the political backlash of doing so, we’re confident they won’t. Instead, we could expect a cap on forgiveness amounts or a consolidation of the various income-driven plans to a single plan. Again, these changes would almost certainly only affect students who took out loans after the date the new legislation was signed.
The second reason not to panic is that the report, by the Government Accountability Office, heavily criticized the Department of Education for what it called flawed estimates. For example, according to the report, the Department of Education’s estimates did not assume that any borrowers utilizing an income-driven plan would enjoy an increase in salary or leave the plans at some point. Clearly both are faulty. The GAO made its own estimates and included cost-of-living increases for borrower wages.
This small adjustment alone results in a reduction in subsidy costs of almost 25 percent. So, the real point of this report wasn’t that these plans cost double original estimates, but that we truly don’t know what they actually will cost. Many students today are borrowing for college with the assumption they’ll be able to make payments based on income in the future and maybe even obtain some loan forgiveness. While the concept of income-driven repayment plans in general has bipartisan support and the new administration has proposed streamlining these plans into one, this new data, at first glance, may give policymakers pause.
We hope the government makes an effort to truly understand the impact these plans have on taxpayers and borrowers and to ensure that any legislative changes do not increase student debt struggles. However, as always, consumers should borrow with the assumption that they’ll have to repay every cent of their student debt, because most will. Finally, if you believe that Public Service Loan Forgiveness and income-based repayment programs are important societal benefits, let your government representatives know.
source usnews.com

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