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Today’s question comes in light of the upcoming 2012 presidential election:
For those voting in the upcoming 2012 presidential election,
how important is the issue of higher education?
Is there a candidate currently in the running you think is
better or worse for higher education?
Have a thought or an answer? Leave a reply below.
We’ve also asked our @Cappex Twitter followers to chime in! Here’s what people are saying on Twitter:
Michigan students who are planning to fill out college applications could be in for some good news. According to Fox News, lawmakers in Michigan are expected to announce a proposal that would provide free tuition for students in need.
Known as the Michigan 20-20 Bill, the proposal could provide free college tuition for students who spend their K-12 years in schools throughout the state. The bill is expected to cover the full median cost of tuition, or up to $9,500 per year. Officials in Michigan acknowledged the importance of education to the future of the state and the country.
"We can find the $1.7 billion to pay for kids to go to college because we know education is economic development and they did it in Minnesota and Kalamazoo and we can replicate that here," Senator Gretchen Whitmer told the news source.
According to WLNS News, the bill – which is sponsored by Democratic senators in the state – still has to pass approval by Republican lawmakers before it is passed. Senators have recommended that certain tax loopholes be closed in order to free up the money needed to fund the plans.
Even if you're not from Michigan, there may still be financial aid available to help you pay for college, such as scholarships. Talk to your college admissions adviser about which programs you might be eligible for.
Filling out college applications and earning a degree can be a real investment in your future – but it's never been more expensive, either. Millions of students rely on financial aid packages such as student loans to help them pay for school, but who's borrowing them? New data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reveals who is borrowing, how much they are taking on, and how many people are making their payments.
According to the data, almost 40 percent of the 37 million student loan borrowers in the U.S. are under 30 years of age. This works out at just over 33 percent of the $870 billion total outstanding loan balance. Approximately 43 percent of students borrowed up to $10,000, with an additional 29 percent taking out loans of between $10,000 and $25,000.
Despite an uncertain economy, many students are keeping on top of their repayments. The data suggests that almost 40 percent of borrowers had no past-due payments, and their balances were smaller in the third quarter of 2011 than the second. For students thinking of filling out college applications and taking out a student loan, this could be encouraging.
College-bound students can use the savings calculator at studentloans.gov to get a better idea of how much they need to put away to make their repayments. If you're considering going to school, talk to your college admissions adviser about the various types of financial aid that are available before you commit to any decisions. According to the website, the government provides more than $150 billion per year in scholarships, student loans, grants and other financial aid packages to students who want to earn their degrees
Another option that can help you pay for academic costs are work-study programs. These initiatives provide undergraduate students with part-time jobs that help them pay for educational expenses. Students are paid by the hour, and many schools offer individuals jobs on-campus to make it easier to balance their studies with part-time work. Some colleges might have arrangements with private companies, too. If this is something you're interested in, talk to your school's financial aid officer.
Financial aid, student loans and paying for college can be daunting. However, with some careful planning and help from your college admissions adviser, it doesn't have to be. When you're doing a college search, think carefully about how the cost of earning your degree will affect you further down the road.
Despite proposals to cut higher education funding in Pennsylvania, many senators and education officials have spoken out against the reductions, reports The Citizens Voice.
In his budget for fiscal 2012-2013, Governor Tom Corbett suggested that funding to Pennsylvania State University be cut by 30 percent, and that state-owned colleges should have funding reduced by 20 percent. Corbett's budget also planned to cut money to community colleges by 5 percent.
However, several senators have spoken out against the plans, including Jake Corman, the Senate appropriations chairman, who said education funding should not be cut at all. Democratic Senator John Yudichak also voiced his concerns over the proposals.
"There's definitely a consensus, Republican and Democrat, who want to see those cuts minimized," said Yudichak, as quoted by the news source. "If you are going to win the jobs race, you have to win the education race."
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Susan Gobreski, executive director of Education Voters of Pennsylvania, has called on students, parents and taxpayers to contact their state representatives to urge them to maintain education funding.
State funding is used to provide scholarships to students in need. When you're doing a college search, ask your admissions adviser about scholarships and other need-based financial aid.
Under budget proposals from Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey's higher education budget could be increased by as much as 6 percent next year, reports NJSpotlight.com.
Governor Christie's budget would mean that colleges and universities across the state would receive $80 million more in fiscal 2013 than this year, totaling $1.4 billion. Financial aid programs for students would be increased by 8 percent, and funding for the state's Tuition Aid Grants would go up more than 10 percent.
"Funding of state aid programs for students with the greatest financial need is significantly increased," said Michael Klein, executive director of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, as quoted by the news source. "This will keep New Jersey among the top states in providing grants to students with limited means."
According to the Star-Ledger, Governor Christie also proposed the new Governor's Urban Scholarship Program, which aims to enable students from poorer areas who are in the top 5 percent of their class to receive extra help with college tuition.
Don't forget to research financial aid packages such as scholarships when you're filling out college applications. These programs can really help offset the cost of earning your degree.
Although tuition hikes and decreasing federal funding tend to make bigger headlines, officials in Illinois hope to reverse this trend by investing more than $50 million back into higher education, according to WREX.
The money will be used to increase the Monetary Assistance Program, which helps students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds with tuition fees and other educational expenses. Governor Pat Quinn said education was an important part of the state's future.
"This budget invests more in education. From birth to university, I believe jobs follow brainpower," Quinn said, as quoted by the news outlet. "At a time when student loan debt is more than credit card debt, too many deserving Illinois students are denied access to high education because they cannot afford it."
According to the Chicago Tribune, Governor Quinn wants part of Illinois' education budget for next year to include additional funding for merit-based financial aid packages such as scholarships.
Although earning a degree can be expensive, make sure to look into scholarship programs when you're doing a college search. Many high school seniors don't realize how many financial aid programs are out there.
Affirmative action had major forays in the news about 9 years ago when the Supreme Court allowed public colleges and universities to take account of race in admission decisions. And now, with another big legal decision looming, it’s back in the news again.
What is affirmative action?
Higher education institutions that uphold affirmative action take positive steps to increase the representation of minorities among their student bodies. Affirmative action was instituted to increase populations among the student body that have been historically excluded, namely African-American and Latino students.
Why is affirmative action so controversial?
There are those who believe that affirmative action leads to preferential selection by race or ethnicity. Just being of a certain race accounts for points on certain college applications. In 2003, the United States Supreme Court upheld the decision in Grutter v. Bollinger that ruled that the University of Michigan Law School had a compelling interest in promoting class diversity and that its “plus” system did not amount to a quota system that would have been unconstitutional under Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (which set aside 16 of the 100 seats for African American students).
What’s happening now?
Now we’re back to arguing over it again. According to the New York Times, when the Supreme Court agreed to hear a major case involving race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas, both supporters and opponents of affirmative action said they saw the announcement as a signal that the court’s five more conservative members–since 2003–might be prepared to do away with racial preferences in higher education.
A reversal of the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision would make it so that public colleges and universities would not be able to use a point system to increase minority enrollment. Defenders of affirmative action believe the court’s backpedaling of the 2003 decision could seriously affect the building of a more integrated, diverse, and just education system in the United States. Minorities such as African-Americans and Latinos often, unfortunately, land disproportionately in the bottom half of the socio-economic gap. This leads not only to an economic divide, but an educational one as these students are generally not exposed to the same opportunities in education.
So how did this topic makes its way back into the ring once more? In Texas, students in the top 10 percent of high schools are automatically admitted to the public university system. The top 10% policy was created to side-step considering race but simultaneously increase racial diversity in part because so many high schools are racially homogenous. A Texas student who did not make the cut, Abigail Fisher, just missed that cutoff at her high school in Sugar Land, Tex., and then became part of a separate pool of applicants who were to be admitted through a complicated system in which race plays an unquantified but significant role. Ms. Fisher then sued in 2008 on the grounds that, according to the Project on Fair Representation, she and thousands of past applicants have been unfairly denied admission to the University of Texas based upon its unconstitutional use of racial preferences.
Opponents of affirmative action believe that it’s a form of discrimination and whether it’s “for or against”, discrimination is wrong. Hans von Spakovsky, a legal fellow at conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation, said, “The idea that [my daughter] might be discriminated against and not be admitted because of her race is incredible to me.”
What’s to come?
If the Supreme Court forbids the use of race in admission at public universities, it’s possible that it would bar the use at private ones as well under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 2003 decision to allow for affirmative action was made to create a day 25 years down the line where, as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who was the on the court in 2003, said, “the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary” to create diversity in higher education. That day might just be approaching a decade early, and depending on which side you take, the timing’s right, or we ended it too early.
What is your opinion on affirmative action? We’d to hear your opinions and create an open, but respectful, dialogue. Share in the comment section below.
When it comes time to fill out college applications, most students don't think much further than getting into their dream schools. However, according to a recent article in The New York Times, freshmen should consider the possibility that tuition may go up after they're accepted.
Students attending San Francisco State University (SFSU) were shocked recently by announcements that tuition was increasing again. The news took some freshmen by surprise, and could force many students to take on an extra job to make ends meet. University officials say that although such increases are regrettable, students should try to plan ahead for tuition hikes to avoid nasty surprises.
"The students planned for college and got here on one set of financial assumptions, only to find out that the game changes every year," Shawn Whalen, deputy chief of SFSU, told the newspaper. "I think one of the biggest shocks is when students come in as freshmen and a semester later there’s a fee increase."
SFSU isn't the only school considering raising its tuition. According to the Bryan-College Station Eagle, Texas A&M University is thinking about hiking its fees by more than 3 percent next semester.
When you're filling out college applications, don't forget to think about how tuition increases will affect your financial situation. Although there's no guarantee that your school's fees will go up, planning ahead could help you avoid surprises down the road.
SallieMae, one of the largest lenders of student loans in the U.S., recently offered students some advice on how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Officials at SallieMae said that 20 percent of students and their families did not submit FAFSA paperwork last year because they thought they wouldn't be eligible for financial aid or weren't aware of the support that is available.
"Sallie Mae recommends a ‘1-2-3 approach’ to help families pay for college," Martha Holler, senior vice president of the organization, said in a statement. "First, take advantage of free money such as grants and scholarships, second, explore federal loans, and, third, fill the gap with affordable private loans."
Students at some schools, such as the University of Northern Iowa, can fill out their FAFSA in as little as 10 minutes, according to the college's student newspaper. Now, students filling out college applications for the university can submit their parents' tax information online, eliminating the need to wait for lengthy paperwork processes to be completed.
Financial aid like Stafford loans and Pell Grants, which may be received by filling out the FAFSA, can really help offset the cost of your degree. Talk to your college adviser to ask which programs you might be eligible for.
Doing a college search and finding the right university for you can be exciting. However, even after you've found the perfect school and submitted a college application, you shouldn't wait before sending off your financial aid paperwork, according to the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune.
Many college admissions experts say that the sooner you fill out financial aid paperwork, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the better. Mary Jo Green, financial aid supervisor at Mid State Technical College in Wisconsin, told the news source that many students who complete financial aid paperwork sooner are awarded money to help them pay for college.
"Every student who fills out the FAFSA could at least be eligible for the federal unsubsidized Stafford loan," Green told the newspaper. "Unless you apply, you don't know what resources are out there from the federal government or the state to help you access college."
According to an article in the Huffington Post, after you've submitted your FAFSA, you'll be told what your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is. This is how much a college will expect you and your family to pay toward the cost of your degree. Most schools will use the EFC to calculate how much financial aid you're eligible for.
Don't wait to submit your financial aid paperwork. Do it as soon as you've filled out your college application.
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