With the job market as it is, a lot of people are considering some sort of graduate degree program – largely because, as the jobs do start opening back up, hiring will rebound earlier for advanced degree holders. Even though you are pursuing your education online, you are still pursuing a college degree. Just like any significant change in your life, you should talk with your family about your online education. Here are five points you might consider when helping your family and friends (and perhaps a skeptical interviewer) understand your endeavor.
1. Why College/Grad School?: Talk with your family about your decision to go back to school. When you do this, make sure you include specific, concrete reasons. Is there a particular job you hope to get with your degree? Will your degree help you make a better salary? Will your improved job or job security help your family in tangible ways?
2. Why Online?: Discuss your decision to pursue your degree online. Help your family understand the unique benefits of distance degrees, including convenience and flexibility. Tell them how you came to your decision, and acknowledge hesitations you might have had. Then explain your research into your school and program, and how the online aspect is most suitable for your needs.
3. How expensive?: Talk openly about the expense of your online degree, and how it will affect your family. Let them know about government aid, or your employer’s tuition reimbursement.
4. How can they help?: Give your family some idea about how they can assist you with your online degree. When will you need your own, quiet study time? Make a regular schedule that everyone understands. Enforce the schedule, sticking with your study times, until all of you become accustomed to the change.
5. How long?: Try to give your family a timeline, and to set goals. A big change like this can seem overwhelming if it is left open-ended. Perhaps you can find ways to celebrate the completion of a course, or of a semester, as a family.
Overall, just remember to keep the conversation honest, and to be patient. This is a big decision, and a big change, for you and for them. By including them from the beginning, your online degree will be an exciting endeavor for your family as a whole.
#CancelMyDebt Trends On Twitter As Debtors Urge Student Loan Default
#CancelMyDebt trends on Twitter as emotional student loan debtors took to the popular micro-blogging website their frustrations on the debts they are still paying and urged the government to pay off their student loans.
Twitter erupts with poignant posts of Americans paying off their student loans and how their debts affected their lives following their graduation. The angered netizens expressed their opinions on the tax plan that granted America’s 1% with a $1.5 trillion tax cuts while the government turns blind eyes over the student loan problem that the youth has been facing.
The apparent hashtag came after U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren encouraged students and graduates to share their stories using the #CancelMyVote hashtag to support her plan to cancel student loan debts of 95% of Americans currently paying for it. Warren’s policy to cover the student loan repayment from an additional tax on top of the top 0.1%.
“I paid off my student loans after 10 years, but it took me getting a six-figure book deal to do it. Folks shouldn’t have to hope for the equivalent of winning the lottery to have a future. #CancelMyDebt” wrote @nkjemisin on Twitter.
President Donald Trump signed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” into law on December 2017 and have brought significant tax reforms. “For the wealthy, banks and other corporations, the tax reform package can be considered a lopsided victory given its significant and permanent tax cuts to corporate profits, investment income, estate tax, and more. Financial services companies stand to see huge gains based on the new, lower corporate rate (21%) as well as preferential tax treatment of pass-through companies. Some banks have said that their effective tax rate will drop under 21%.,” Investopedia explained.
As the current tax plan consistently accommodates the rich, student loan debtors remain in limbo as the increasing interest rates and the piling debt are crippling their financial presents and even their futures. Student loans are a form of financial aid used to help students access higher education. Student loan debt in the United States has been snowballing since 2006, rising to nearly $1.56 trillion by 2019. Shockingly, the entire total loan debt of American equals 7.5% of the country’s GDP.
There are approximately 45 million Americans who have an outstanding student loan of $37,172 on average at the time of graduation. On top of that, student loan also appears not to be evenly distributed and is disproportionately concentrated on the for-profit college sector.
Now, student loan debtors are calling for the government to default their debts. They argue that as the outstanding student loan debt totals 1.5 trillion and the tax cut equals the same, the government can afford to pay off all of student loan debts.
People tweeting #CancelMyDebt clarifies, however, that they are not asking for a loan default because they did not owe anything. They said that call was intended for the government to take actions to destroy the systems that allow student loan companies to exploit people with dreams.
“My reality is paying $1200 a month for my student debt ALONE and working 7 days a week over 4 different jobs. I’m not asking for a “hand out,” I’m asking that we as a country address the insane cost those who are not wealthy have to pay to get higher education #CancelMyDebt,” said @steeltoejilly on a Twitter post.
Another Twitter user also chimed in saying that interest hikes have ballooned her student loan debt even if she’s paying them religiously. “I have four jobs in the education field right now. I graduated in 2005 with $100,000 in student loans. After a decade of payments, undergrad debt is over $200,000 bc of interest rates. I can’t lease a car to get to work, so I walk. I don’t own a bed. #cancelmydebt.”
However, sentiments are polarized. A huge chunk of posts bearing the hashtag talks about their disagreement to Warren’s plans. Most of them argued that student loans are student’s decisions, and the government should not be burdened to pay for their obligations.
“#CancelMyDebt? Uh, no. Nobody forced you to take out student loans. Nobody forced you to major in something that won’t land you a good job. Nobody else is responsible for your debt. It’s your debt; it’s your responsibility.” Joe Walsh tweeted Wednesday.
Kurt Schlichter, a veteran, chimed in saying that Americans can serve in the military and reap the benefits of GI Bill as he did. “Well, you could have served your country and earned GI Bill benefits like I did. But you didn’t. So I’m kind of unclear why you think I owe you anything.#CancelMyDebt? Nah. How about you #PayYourOwnDebt?” /apr
William Rick Singer’s Three Easy Ways To Get Into Great Universities; The College Admission Scheme
The wealthy continue to define the line between them and the less fortunate because, apparently, even the most selective universities in the country can be bought—one way or the other.
Both parents and students alike are enraged after the turn of events involving 46 people on the most prominent college admissions cheating scheme in the country.
Those arrested include two SAT/ACT administrators, one exam proctor, nine coaches from elite schools, one college administrator and 33 parents.
These wealthy parents are not sparing a penny to get their children to good universities, as a report says that the elaborate scheme amounted to around $25 million.
“This is not a case where parents were acting in the best interests of their children. This is a case where parents flaunted their wealth, sparing no expense to cheat the system, so they can set their children up for success with the best education money can buy, literally,” said Joseph Bonavolonta, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge, at a press conference.
Dubbed as the FBI’s “Operation Varsity Blues,” the college admissions scheme worked in two ways.
At the center of it all was William Rick Singer, founder of Edge College & Career Network a for-profit college prepper. Mr. Singer is also known as “The Key.”
Singer’s elaborate scam, allegedly, only needed three ways to get the undeserving rich into great universities.
The first is through cheating.
Getting high scores on standardized SAT and ACT examinations are one of the sure ways of sealing a spot at admission even in the most selective universities.
In the case of Singer’s clients, he was the one ensuring the candidates get high scores. Parents would be advised to let their children take the examination on a given date so another person, who’s a lot smarter, can take the test for them. In some cases, the children’s answer sheets would be replaced with ones that have higher results.
In instances that the student cannot take the exam themselves, one merely
Academy Award nominee, Felicity Huffman had Singer’s people arrange her daughter’s exam, which gained a significant 400 points higher than her practice exam the previous year only for $15,000.
Huffman allegedly wanted to do the same for her younger daughter but decided to back away.
How did they get away with this? By bribing the proctors.
Bribes function a lot in Singer’s admissions scheme. Like in the case of the third way, students get into prestigious universities.
Students pretend to be athletes.
If students’ SAT and ACT scores won’t help them make the cut, Singer turns average students into competitive athletes.
Some practices even went great lengths to the extent of photoshopping their children’s photos into stock photos of athletes to make it seem more realistic.
Singer would bribe university coaches to let Singer’s clients in the university by making a play that they are athletes that the university can benefit from.
However, coaches didn’t have the power to admit students, but they did have the capability to recommend students. So they did with the right push, and it’s not a student’s talents or skills.
This was the case with Lori Loughlin’s two daughters.
Loughlin, famous with her role in Full House between 1988 and 1995, paid a total of $500,000 for Singer’s services to get her two daughters—Isabella, 20, and Olivia, 19—to participate in the University of Southern California’s Crew team. However, both of Loughlin’s daughters never participated in crew, competitively or otherwise.
All of these were transacted through Singer’s nonprofit, Key Worldwide Foundation—a charity that supposedly functions as an educational prepper for underprivileged children who wants to get into colleges and universities.
Parents would easily siphon their payments, without tax, for Singer’s services by giving a hefty donation for the underserved kids in the foundation.
This crooked system has been going on since 2011 and may have produced graduates from prestigious universities during that time. This may not be the only system of college admission schemes, but let this sensationalized conspiracy serve as a warning to whoever wishes to cheat their way through life.
The arrest and the case made against the cheating, lying and the rich who try to curb their future through unjust and unlawful means is a reminder the hard work pays off, and not everything can be bought.
Open Field Program Reawakens Black Academia In Chester County, South Carolina
Brainerd Institute in Chester, South Carolina was the first and only school in the county for freed slaves and their children and was one of the largest and oldest institutions for Black students in the United States. It closed in 1939 and was up for sale. Actress Phylicia Rashad, daughter of a Brainerd’s alumni, purchased what remained of Brainerd Institute- Kulmer Hall.
Brainerd Institute started in 1866 as a school for freedman and was later named when Rev. Samuel Loomis established churches and schools among blacks near Chester on the Board of Missions of the Presbyterian Church’s order. Started as an elementary school, Brainerd soon expanded to ten grades by 1913 and was a four-year-high-school in the 1930s. When high school admission began to decline, it became Brainerd Junior College.
Public education later expanded in South Carolina, so opportunities for black student admission increased. The shift convinced the Presbyterian Church that Brainerd was no longer a necessity to the community. Reduction of entries and limited funds forced Brainerd to close in 1939.
With only Kulmer Hall as the only remaining building in the state, the property was up for sale. In the late 1990s, a local group was interested in preserving the school. Actress Phylicia Rashad and her sister, dancer Debbie Allen answered the call for support. They bought the only remaining building left of Brainerd in honor of their mother, Vivian Ayers Allen.
Not only Ayers Allen is an alumna of Brainerd’s final graduating class of 1939, but both of her parents were from Brainerd Institute as well. Allen grew up across the street from the school. On numerous occasions, she would bring her daughters to her childhood neighborhood, where they would spend their evenings dancing on the campus grounds. It’s no doubt why Brainerd Institute is very close to the family’s heart.
When Ayers Allen learned that her Alma Mater was on sale and could be redeveloped into apartment complexes, she felt like “someone has to do something.” And so her daughters, Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen bought the remaining Kumler Hall and had both hosted fundraising events for the restoration of the hall.
While Kumler Hall is currently under reconstruction, Ayers Allen and her daughters are using the campus’ green spaces for the Open Field Program. The program was first launched in Houston until it was brought to Brainerd. It started in 2017 as the first summer literacy workshop, held on the school’s fields and will continue in summer 2018. The program allows preschoolers to explore its interactive curriculum. Moreover, it offers lessons, workshops, and guest speakers that make students feel more like they are at camp than at school.
Ayers Allen and her daughters are committed to restoring Chester’s tradition of providing education to those in need. The three women will continue to restore Kumler Hall so someday, the Open Fields will become a year-long program that preserves and shares Brainerd Institute’s academic, artistic, and cultural contributions within the community.
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