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Archive | September, 2013

How Your Employer Can Help You Pay For School

How Your Employer Can Help You Pay For School

interviewCollege education is something that can get you in a lot of doors, but it is something that many people cannot afford. There are now employers that pay for the education of their employees, which can be something that will get you the education you need to be successful. If you work for a larger company, they may offer programs to help you further your education, but what can you do if the small business you work for does not have these programs? Will you still be able to convince your employer to pay for your education? This is something that is becoming a more common problem that people face, so let’s have a look at how you can get your boss to pay for your secondary education.

Study Programs With Companies That Pay For Secondary Education of Employees

If you work for a large company, you may be in luck. Many of these companies have good benefits, which may also include tuition for secondary education. This is something that was once very common with larger companies, but with the crisis and financial problems, companies have reduced these programs significantly. This does not mean that you do not have a chance to get your company to pay for your education; it means that you will have to work to convince your bosses that their investment in your education is a good investment for their business.

Stay Committed to Your Employers

One of the biggest things that will help you to get your work to pay for your education, is patience. Your bosses will want to know that you will be with them for the long term when they invest in your education. The longer that you are with a company, the more it will show that you are committed to the needs of the company, and your bosses will be able to see what they will get in return for helping you with your education.  You may also approach management with a guarantee that you will stay with them for several years after you have completed your education.

The Tax Benefits Your Company Will Receive

The tax benefits that a company receives for education of employees is something that you can use to help you with negotiating for your tuition for college. You may want to talk to your boss about the great tax benefits that they will get for helping you go to school. All the college tuition fees that they pay for you, are tax deductible, which means that they will pay less taxes for helping you go through college.

All businesses need to have tax deductions, and education is something that will provide them with the tax deductions that they need. Your education will help the business with tax returns, but it can also benefit the business when you are dedicated to the business that employs you. It is a way for the business to have fresh new talent with out the need to go outside of the business to recruit  talent. This is something that will benefit the company and you when you complete your education.

Approaching Your Employer About Education Issues

There are many ways that you can approach your job about the benefits of your education. Patience, is something that will be key in this. You will want to demonstrate to your employer that your education will be for the good of the business.  Businesses want to be able to get something in return for their investment in the education of their employees, which is something that you will have to demonstrate to your bosses when you approach them about paying for your education.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Joshua Turner. He is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to business. In this article, he explains how some companies will pay for employees to return to school and aims to encourage further study with a business degree from Marylhurst University.

Posted in Paying For College1 Comment

Dont Overlook These 10 Scholarships For Women

Dont Overlook These 10 Scholarships For Women

scholarshipmoneyIt should be no surprise that there are more and more women earning college degrees now-a-days. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Education, “more women have graduated with bachelor’s degrees in every year since 1982, and the same is true for all college degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctor’s degrees)”. Wow—this reality could mean there is an increased need for more scholarships for women.

Here are 10 scholarships you will want to check out:

 

As a woman, earning a scholarship might be a great way to help make college more affordable and ease the strain on your finances. Odds are, there is a scholarship that you may qualify for. It is probably just a matter of finding it and applying—by the required deadline.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Mandy Fricke. She is a student at Brooklyn College and works for Elearners.com; where she helps manage their online community for masters programs. In her free time she enjoys biking, traveling, and reading in coffee shops.

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Top Five Free Apps for Back-to-School Season

Top Five Free Apps for Back-to-School Season

With the new school season upon us, it’s time to accept the inevitable passing of summer vacation and start preparing for yet another semester in the classroom. And that means making sure that you have the right tools and resources at your disposal! Though your parents likely took this to mean ensuring they had pencils, text books, pens, and paper at hand – in the 21st century, students tend to take a different approach. With the FREE apps below, you can turn your tablet or smartphone into the educational resource that you need to succeed!mobileapps

Adobe Reader

If you want to view or read PDF documents on your smartphone or tablet, you’ll need Adobe Reader. Available for free, it allows not only the opening and viewing of PDF documents across mobile devices, but also makes it possible to search within a PDF document, select continuous scrolling or single-page view mode, and pinch zooming.

Google Drive

Going back to school means being inundated with new assignments and new study materials. There is perhaps no better way to keep track of and manage assignments than with Google Drive. This free, cloud-based storage service allows access across devices, and provides convenient, centralized hosting for a range of materials, including text documents, spreadsheets, photos, and more. And perhaps best of all, you can actually create content in Google Drive itself – it can act both as a word processor and as storage.

Clean Master

In order for your tablet to serve as an effective resource, it – like any computer – must be fast and must perform flawlessly. One of the best ways to ensure that your tablet is able to perform up to speed is by keeping it free of unnecessary data. Clean Master is a free app that allows you to clean cache files and residual files, as well as clear unwanted information, such as search, call, and text history.

Memory Master

It may seem counter-intuitive, but school can actually hinder your ability to stay mentally sharp and focused. This is because school – particularly at the high school and collegiate level – is often overwhelming. A simple yet fun way to keep your mental faculties “warmed up” is through gaming apps like Memory Master. By testing your short-term memory, this app allows you to focus and exercise your mind – something that should not be taken lightly!

Learn Spanish

There are a wide variety of language apps available for tablets and smartphones. Whether you are studying Spanish or Japanese, there is an app for your device that can help you learn the fundamentals of the language. As one of the most spoken languages in the United States, Spanish language apps can be particularly useful, whether you are formally studying the language or not. One such app, Learn Spanish with Bueno, entonces…, has been designed to teach not only the formal rules, but the basics of conversational Spanish as well. And the 68-page, online study guide is completely free!

Don’t Go Back to School Empty-handed

Load up your tablet with the apps above and you will be on your way to having the tools you need to tackle your upcoming semester. A tablet or smartphone is only as good as its apps, after all, and these apps can help you make your way through your schooling with ease.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Jessica Oaks. She is a freelance journalist who loves covering technology news and the ways that technology can make life easier. Follow her on Twitter @TechyJessy.

 

Posted in News Room1 Comment

$4K Cell Phone Donation Scholarship – DoSomething.org

$4K Cell Phone Donation Scholarship – DoSomething.org

Donate an old cell phone, and DoSomething.org will turn it into funding for domestic violence, and you’ll be entered to win a $4,000 scholarship. It doesn’t get any better than that!
 
500 million unused “junk phones” sit in peoples’ homes across the US. Turn yours into live-saving funding for domestic violence. Donate your old cell phone or collect phones in your home and community that nobody’s using. The cell phones you collect will be refurbished, sold, and turned into funds for domestic violence programs. For every phone you donate, you’ll be entered to win the $4,000 scholarship (eg. One donated phone gets you one entry for the scholarship. Three donated phones gets you three entries for the scholarship).
 
No minimum GPA. No essays required.
 
Start Date: 9/3/2013
Deadline: 11/21/2013
Amount: $4,000
Number of Scholarships: 1

 

Details can be found here: www.dosomething.org/survivors

 

Do_Something_logoAbout The Scholarship Sponsor:
DoSomething.org is the country’s largest not-for-profit for young people and social change. We have 2,215,655 members (and counting!) who kick a** on causes they care about. Bullying. Animal cruelty. Homelessness. Cancer. The list goes on. DoSomething.org spearheads national campaigns so 13- to 25-year-olds can make an impact – without ever needing money, an adult, or a car. Over 2.4 million people took action through DoSomething.org in 2012. Why? Because apathy sucks.

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Going to Law School Without Breaking The Bank

Going to Law School Without Breaking The Bank

It’s easy to get caught up in all the rankings hype when you decide to apply to law school. What’s the best program I can get into? How does US News rank my top 3 choices? Granted, these are reasonable questions to ask. As a general rule, employers are more likely to snap up a Stanford or Harvard Law graduate than most state-school equivalents. However, today’s students often miss an even more important question: which law school offers the most bang for your buck?

If you take a step back and really look at the law school data, you’ll find a series of hidden gems—schools with both cheap(er) tuition and reasonably solid rankings. The problem is that most applicants don’t take the time to do the extra math: they’ll go to the “best school they can get into” regardless of how expensive it is. This is a problem. Law school tuition rates are climbing, and the market is over-saturated with lawyers. If you can’t land a top-paying legal job, you can’t pay off your debts.

The advice here comes with one caveat: if you can get into one of the top 14 law schools in the nation, that’s probably still your best bet. Why? The top 14 law schools have a long history of high salaries and strong employment rates at the best firms. No school outside the top 14 has ever cracked that exclusive club, after over 20 years of ranking updates from US News. According to Anna Ivey, former dean of admissions at Chicago Law School, “In my opinion, you are much better off attending a top-14 school…a degree from a top-14 school will be portable nationally, so that degree would have value whether you ended up in the region you think you’ll prefer down the road or whether you end up someplace else entirely.”

In other words, if you don’t have a 3.9 undergraduate GPA and a 170+ score on the LSAT (approximately what it takes to get into a top 14 school), you should seriously consider picking your school by the price tag first, and then by the rank.

Still, you shouldn’t simply attend the law school with the cheapest tuition of the lot. Quality and prestige still matter: the trick is finding the right balance. Take employment, for instance. The American Bar Association releases data every year on the percentage of students employed at graduation. This tuition vs. employment graph gives a good summary of the cost-effective gems versus money-sucking duds. (Note that the “top 14″ are rather nicely clumped up in the top-right. They’re extremely expensive, but their employment rates are all above 95%.

law_school_employment_annotated

A few standouts include:

 

George Mason School of Law

Resident tuition: $23,720; Nonresident: $38,112

Employed at graduation: 96.5%

National Rank Range: 30 – 40

Brigham Young University (J. Reuben Clark Law School)

Resident tuition: $10,600; Nonresident: $21,200

Employed at graduation: 93.3%

National Rank Range: 40 – 50

University of New Mexico School of Law

Resident tuition: $14,532; Nonresident: $32,661

Employed at graduation: 92.0%

National Rank Range: 50 – 60

University of Kentucky College of Law

Resident tuition: $18,306; Nonresident: $31,716

Employed at graduation: 94.0%

National Rank Range: 60 – 70

 

All of these schools are within the top 70 in the nation, have employment rates over 90%, and have reasonable tuition rates to boot. For state residents, attending any of these schools will cost you between three and five times less than the most expensive programs. Other high-value options include the University of Tennessee College of Law, University of Maryland School of Law, and William & Mary Law School.

Compare those figures to these:

 

Emory University School of Law

Resident tuition: $45,098; Nonresident: $45,098

Employed at graduation: 83.8%

National Rank Range: 20 – 30

Yeshiva University (Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law)

Resident tuition: $48,370; Nonresident: $48,370

Employed at graduation: 88.1%

National Rank Range: 50 – 60

Brooklyn Law School

Resident tuition: $48,441; Nonresident: $48,441

Employed at graduation: 84.2%

National Rank Range: 70 – 80

American University

Resident tuition: $45,096; Nonresident: $45,096

Employed at graduation: 82.2%

National Rank Range: 50 – 60

 

Not only do these schools cost twice as much (for in-state students): they’re employment rates are a full five to ten percentage points lower.

Surely, you ask, this is simply a matter of the better schools costing more money? Not so. Take a look at this Smart Rating vs. Tuition graph of every law school in the nation (each school’s national rank has been converted to a score out of 100 called the Smart Rating). If you take out the top 14 law schools, there really isn’t all that strong a correlation between a law school’s national prestige and its cost. The lesson: you can pay less for the same quality.

law_school_cost_smart_rating_annotated

Finally, what about Bar Exam pass rates? You can’t practice law without passing the Bar, after all. Here’s a scatterplot comparing tuition costs to students passing the Bar on their first try. By now, the pattern should be obvious. With the exception of the top 14 law schools, the distribution is just about even. Students from inexpensive law schools pass the bar just as frequently as their pricey law school peers.

bar_exam_employment_annotated

So next time you’re about to browse the newest release of law school rankings, review the latest tuition rates first. Over three years, you just might save a full year’s worth of fees.

Posted in Paying For College1 Comment

4 Things to Know and Consider Before Accepting a Student Loan

4 Things to Know and Consider Before Accepting a Student Loan

Education budgetWith tuition costs rising just as quickly as the cost of living, it’s no wonder many college students turn to student loans to help them with their education expenses. But, not all student loans are the same in terms of repayment and interest. So, before you cash in that student loan check, here are just a few factors to consider.

1. There’s Free Money Available

Before you commit to student loans, interest rates, and repayment plans, you should first research what types of grants and scholarships are available. Although these forms of financial aid are a bit more difficult to attain than common student loans, they also don’t require repayment.

There are different kinds of grants available for need-based students, exceptionally talented students, specific areas of study, and industry sponsored grants for students with certain degree types. Likewise, there are state-funded scholarships available that cover tuition for students that keep a certain GPA during high school.

2. Loan Types

If student loans are the financial path you’re heading towards, then it’s important to keep in mind what types of loans are available. Generally, there are two types of student loans: federal and private.

Managed through the U.S. government, federal loans are the best option for students. They give the fairest rates and terms and are also federally regulated and backed by the government.

Independent banks manage private loans, so they aren’t subject to federal rules and regulations. What this means for the borrower is variable interest rates and non-flexible, strict repayment plans and harsh penalties. Therefore, private loans aren’t recommended unless necessary.

3. Interest Rates

Federal loans come in two different interest categories — subsidized and unsubsidized. For subsidized loans, the government pays your interest while you’re enrolled in school. With unsubsidized loans, you pay the interest throughout the length of the loan from the first day of classes to the last day of repayment.

And, with interest rates ranging anywhere from 3.8% to 6.4% for federal loans, the interest that accumulates over the life of the loan could end up being more than the loan itself. If the accumulated interest does take you by surprise when it comes time for repayment, get in touch with Fisher Investments Private Client Group for a little financial help.

4. Repayment Plans

After you have your diploma in hand and your college years are behind you, it’s time to start repaying your student loans. Luckily, federal loans offer flexible repayment plans tailored to your post-graduate income.

Most federal loans are based on a ten-year repayment plan, with the possibility of extending the repayments to thirty years. And, another benefit of federal repayment plans is the fact there are no penalties when switching your repayment options, which is not the case with private loan repayment plans.

Likewise, federal repayment plans offer income-based payments and deferments for borrowers experiencing financial hardship. Keep in mind that whether it’s a federal or private repayment plan, the interest continues to gain for the life of the loan.

So, when it comes to covering the cost of college, it’s a good idea to keep the above student loan facts in mind.

 

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Overview of the Financial Aid Process (video)

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5 Best Practices For Completing The FAFSA

5 Best Practices For Completing The FAFSA

FAFSA-formStudent loan debt is now the second highest ranked consumer loan debt, next to mortgages, according to the New York Federal Reserve, with the amount of outstanding student loan debt exceeding $1 trillion in March of 2012.

Given this shocking number, it has become increasingly important to seek alternative or additional means of financing for a college education. Fortunately, financial aid is also available to students in the form of scholarships and grants. This is where the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) comes in. You need to complete and submit the FAFSA in order to be considered for financial aid such as the Pell Grant and various other scholarship programs. If any questions arise along the way, make sure to turn to a resource that can answer your important FAFSA questions.

While the FAFSA can be the key to receiving the financial aid you need, it is a lengthy form that requires a lot of detailed information, which makes it more likely you might fill something out incorrectly along the way. Unfortunately, one mistake could spell the difference between aid and no aid. Don’t allow your child to miss out on a valuable scholarship or grant because of a preventable error. Make sure to follow step-by-step instructions when filling out the FAFSA to avoid making a mistake.

Here are five important tips in completing the FAFSA:

  1. Plan your assets. A good type of asset to own when applying for financial aid is a retirement account such as an IRA or 401(k). These qualified retirement accounts, whether owned by you or by your child, are not counted at all in determining federal financial aid. Use caution, however, when withdrawing money from your IRA (or any retirement account) to pay for college. Though the tax law now allows penalty-free withdrawals from a traditional or Roth IRA to pay for qualified college costs, doing so could jeopardize financial aid in the following year. The entire withdrawal, principal and earnings, counts as income on the following year’s aid application.
  2. Move savings out of your child’s account. The idea here is that you really have to understand how the FAFSA formula works. The formula counts 2.6%-5.6% of a parent’s assets as being available to pay for college expenses and 20% of a student’s assets as an available financial resource. Basically, this means that assets belonging to the student result in a greater reduction in financial aid. By moving a child’s assets into an account that is not in their name, it will reduce the amount you have to report on the FAFSA.
  3. Submit your form early. Filling up the forms can be tedious but you shouldn’t put it off.  There are a lot of applicants seeking the same financial assistance as you. Therefore, it’s a good idea to submit your application as early as you can. If possible, submit before the deadline. This is not a good time to dally, because you might just lose out to the students who submitted ahead of you.
  4. Write a letter. Since the form itself is quite rigid, some families who experienced special circumstances can add a letter to talk about their situation (like the death of a parent or sudden job loss, for example). Back up the letter with proof and other documents to support it. A lot of colleges will consider what you have to say when deciding on your child’s financial aid package.
  5. Check and double check before submitting the form. It’s very easy to make a mistake when you’re filling out a complicated form. Have someone else check your form, too, in case you missed anything. It’s the easiest way to ensure that you got all the important details—and even the minor ones—correct.

Today’s guest article comes from the Student Financial Literacy team at iGrad.com.

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