WBEZ | student loans http://www.wbez.org/tags/student-loans Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Paying for College in the Era of Soaring Student Debt http://www.wbez.org/news/paying-college-era-soaring-student-debt-113788 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1112_graduation-cap-624x416.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For many graduating high school students and their families, paying for college can be harder than getting in. From scholarships to sky-high tuition, financing high education seems like it&rsquo;s getting more complex every day.</p><p>As part of <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/tag/student-loan-debt-series" target="_blank">our series on student loan debt</a>,<em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/12/how-to-pay-for-college" target="_blank">&nbsp;Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s</a></em> Jeremy Hobson asks two counselors for tips on planning for &ndash; and paying for &ndash; college.</p><hr /><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Tips For Families Worried About College Costs</strong></span></p><p>By <a href="https://twitter.com/lisamicele" target="_blank">Lisa </a><a href="https://twitter.com/lisamicele" target="_blank">Micele</a></p><blockquote><p><strong>Save anything you can for college.&nbsp;</strong>Families often believe that saving will hurt them with financial aid. The penalty for saving (especially when in the parent&rsquo;s name) is very minimal.&nbsp;<a href="http://studentaid.gov/" target="_blank">StudentAid.gov</a>&nbsp;is a great place to start to learn about the federal student assistance programs and eligibility requirements.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Just do it! File the financial aid forms when applying to college and don&rsquo;t make assumptions.</strong>&nbsp;There are no income cut-offs. It is a formula that takes so many factors (other than income) into account.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Complete NET PRICE CALCULATORS early</strong>&nbsp;and have conversations about ability &amp; willingness to pay early as a family too. These calculators are found on each college/university website. You can also do EFC (Expected Family Contribution) calculators at the Big Future College Board&nbsp;<a href="https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/paying-your-share/expected-family-contribution-calculator" target="_blank">website</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Don&rsquo;t be afraid to call the financial aid office at a college and ask questions.</strong>&nbsp;Ask them how accurate their Net Price calculator is (some are better than others) and discuss your outcome from this calculator starting junior year of high school. Get the name of the financial aid officer and talk with the same person. They are there to help you and they appreciate early &amp; proactive conversations. In spring, when a senior is then making the final May 1st decision, any conversations about the aid package or a potential appeal will go thru the financial aid office. Now you will have someone specific to call, if needed.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Merit aid does still at exist at some colleges.</strong>&nbsp;Do your research.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.collegedata.com/" target="_blank">CollegeData.com</a>&nbsp;is a great site to use &mdash; under the &ldquo;Money Matters&rdquo; tab for each college.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cappex.com/" target="_blank">Cappex.com</a>&nbsp;also allows you to search for merit aid at colleges that reward students for grades, test scores, talents, leadership, etc. regardless of parents&rsquo; income. Use&nbsp;<a href="https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/" target="_blank">College Navigator</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/" target="_blank">College Scorecard</a>&nbsp;in your research for colleges as well.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Apply for scholarships using free se</strong><strong>arch engines</strong>&nbsp;&ndash; completing all of the optional questions and portals as thoroughly as possible. NEVER pay for scholarship search services. These portals listed here are free. Students should complete multiple search engines.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.studentscholarshipsearch.com/" target="_blank">StudentScholarshipSearch.com</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fastweb.com/" target="_blank">Fastweb.com</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/" target="_blank">BigFuture.Collegeboard.org</a>are great places to start &mdash; to name a few.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Apply for as many local scholarships as you can.</strong>&nbsp;Talk to your high school Counseling Office about such scholarships; search online; talk with civic centers / volunteer agencies in your hometown. Parents &amp; guardians should inquire with their employers about scholarship opportunities as well.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Student</strong><strong> should plan for summer work to save for college and plan for a part-time job in college.&nbsp;</strong>12 hours or less while in college is very doable and data shows that having a job equates to better grades and time management.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>If you do borrow student loans,&nbsp;<strong>go for the federal loans first</strong>&nbsp;over private loans; use repayment estimators; talk with the financial aid office at the college you are attending to budget and plan ahead for repayment.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Use your community college</strong>.&nbsp;Summer classes that transfer to your college/university for credit can save you tuition dollars. Starting at your community college first may be the best fit for you as well.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Cut costs in college.&nbsp;<strong>Budget</strong>; make sacrifices now (yes &mdash; you can skip the latte); evaluate closely the meal / housing plan options in college. These are just a few examples. Search &ldquo;How to cut costs in college&rdquo; and many sites will offer you tips, budget templates, and words of wisdom from college graduates.</p></blockquote><p>Final words from Micele:&nbsp;Use these tools and tips to plan ahead, build a better college list, and put &ldquo;Financial Fit&rdquo; into your college discussions. You can do this! Good luck.</p></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 15:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/paying-college-era-soaring-student-debt-113788 Federal student loans expand to cover coding boot camps http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-student-loans-expand-cover-coding-boot-camps-113342 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/codebadges_slide-404b88653c2e946813a03792763f55c1d56a98f4-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res448571223" previewtitle="Merit badges for coders"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Merit badges for coders" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/14/codebadges_slide-404b88653c2e946813a03792763f55c1d56a98f4-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Merit badges for coders. (LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div></div><p>Starting today, students may be able to use federal loans to pay for some coding boot camps, the immersive web development courses that promise to make students into programming experts in just a few months.</p><p>The price tag can be as much as $20,000, but the allure of high paying tech jobs has an estimated 16,000 students this year alone. Enrollment in these programs is soaring, but the hefty cost means camps have been popular mostly among those privileged enough to afford the risk.</p><p>They&#39;re unaccredited, but the people behind them say the price is worth it. They say 90 percent or more of graduates are landing jobs. Now, a select group of programs approved by the government will be eligible for federally subsidized loans. While it may only be a few camps at first, it&#39;s a step toward making them more accessible.</p><p>What does this all mean? For that, take a look back to the work our own Anya Kamenetz has done on this unconventional form of higher education in the last year. She looked into the &quot;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/10/15/356199691/a-new-credential-for-the-tech-industry">microcredentials</a>&quot; boot camps began offering last October as a way for students to prove their new skills, and then took us into the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/12/20/370954988/twelve-weeks-to-a-six-figure-job">life of a student</a>&nbsp;enrolled in a camp in December. And last summer, she reported on an option for financing the fast-track programs: high-interest loans from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/07/14/421823701/new-student-loans-for-a-new-for-profit-education-sector">private lenders</a>.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/10/14/448570520/federal-student-loans-for-coding-boot-camps?ft=nprml&amp;f=448570520" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 14 Oct 2015 13:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-student-loans-expand-cover-coding-boot-camps-113342 Student loan debt hurdle for Chicago's wanna-be homebuyers http://www.wbez.org/news/student-loan-debt-hurdle-chicagos-wanna-be-homebuyers-110340 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/michelle-tim-student-loans_0.jpg" style="height: 373px; width: 280px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: left;" title="Michelle Skinner and Tim Johnson have been married for almost a year, and were hoping to buy a house, but they’re struggling to save because of their student loan debt. Johnson has $27,000 from UIC, and though Skinner is getting her pHD at the University of Chicago, her $70,000 in loans from UIC will begin to slowly come out of deferment next year. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" />There&rsquo;s one room in his Bridgeport apartment that Tim Johnson likes to make special note of when giving a grand tour. The bright, sunny space used to be the landlord&#39;s bedroom, but now it functions as a living room for him and his wife Michelle Skinner.</p><p>But that&rsquo;s not what makes it special.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really proud of this room because we didn&rsquo;t pay for anything in it,&rdquo; Johnson announces. &ldquo;Everything came from family members or we found it somewhere. Except for the credenza, we had to buy that because nothing else fit.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s easy to see that Johnson prides himself in his penny-pinching skills. He says he even tracks his credit score like some others might track their favorite sports team.</p><p>But even with his meticulous financial planning, the newlyweds say that buying a home is out of the question - thanks to their student loan debt.</p><p>Johnson, 27, has about $27,000 in student loans from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He says his payments are manageable for now, but as Skinner, 23, continues through her PhD program at the University of Chicago, her $70,000 in undergraduate loans will slowly come out of deferment -- making it almost impossible for them to save enough for things like a downpayment or closing costs, no matter how badly they want more room for a baby one day.</p><p>&ldquo;We try to save Tim&rsquo;s bonuses for it,&rdquo; Skinner said. &ldquo;But the market prices have been increasing - or at least what we need has been increasing at a proportion to which we can&rsquo;t save.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve given up on it for like five years,&rdquo; Johnson said. &ldquo;Once Michelle gets out of school and gets a full-time position then we can start to look. And what has me worried is, (whether) we&rsquo;ll have a down payment by that point.&rdquo;</p><p>You don&rsquo;t have to look far to find another example of hopeful home-buyers struggling to get out from under their student debt. Just a few blocks away, Martin Gleason and Shannon Glass are also doing the math to see whether they can buy a home with all their student loan debt.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/marty-shannon-student-loans_0.jpg" style="height: 240px; width: 320px; float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Marty Gleason and Shannon Glass have been living in their Bridgeport apartment for the last three years. They’d love to buy a bigger place, but with his $96,000 worth of student debt, and her soon to be $25,000 in student debt, they don’t think they can afford it. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" />They&rsquo;ve been married since 2009, and have been living in Bridgeport for the last three years. Gleason has around $96,000 in student debt from both undergrad and graduate school -- he&rsquo;s currently a Juvenile Court Probation officer, but is making a career switch to IT. Shannon, his wife, is currently going back to school, and even though her job at Time Magazine reimburses about half of her tuition, she&rsquo;ll still need about $25,000 in loans.</p><p>&ldquo;To be fair, it&rsquo;s not unbearable,&rdquo; Gleason said. &ldquo;But it&rsquo;s also like we&rsquo;re treading water.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s hard to know just how many other Chicagoans are in a similar situation, as research or housing data only really keeps track of the people who end up buying a place. For example, the <a href="http://economistsoutlook.blogs.realtor.org/2014/06/05/nar-survey-data-student-debt-and-saving-for-downpayment-among-successful-home-buyers/">National Association of Realtors</a> found that 54 percent of first-time homebuyers reported that student debt delayed saving for the purchase of a home, but they can&rsquo;t count how many didn&rsquo;t buy, or couldn&rsquo;t buy, because of student debt.</p><p>But local realtors and lenders will tell you, they see this all the time.</p><p>&ldquo;The thing that&rsquo;s really sad about this is that we are, particularly in the Chicago market, at an all-time high of affordability. Interest rates are so low, that you&rsquo;re able to buy much more of a house,&rdquo; said <a href="http://www.atproperties.com/agents/4064/david-zwarycz">David &nbsp;Zwarycz</a>, broker associate at @properties. &quot;However, if your available funds are being depleted because you&rsquo;re servicing student debt, you&rsquo;re losing out on this opportunity.&rdquo;</p><p>But even if wanna-be buyers with student debt can cobble together enough for that down payment, there&rsquo;s still another hurdle that&rsquo;s hitting them particularly hard. It&rsquo;s called the debt-to-income ratio, and it means pretty much just that.</p><p>You add up all your monthly debt payments -- like student loans, car loans, credit card debt -- and divide it by your monthly income. Some experts say rent is also included in the calculation, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau contends it&rsquo;s included in a separate equation.</p><p>New <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb/1791/what-debt-income-ratio-why-43-debt-income-ratio-important.html">Consumer Financial Protection Bureau</a> rules that started in January maintain that 43 percent is the highest ratio a borrower can have and still get a qualified mortgage from a lender. So if you&rsquo;re bringing home $3500 a month, that only gives you about $1500 to pay all of your bills and come in at 43 percent.</p><p>And with Illinois <a href="http://projectonstudentdebt.org/state_by_state-view2013.php?area=IL">graduates </a>carrying an average of $28,000 in student loan debt, 43 percent can be a tough number to avoid, so a lot of hopeful young buyers are getting turned down.</p><p>Dan Gjeldum, senior vice president of mortgage lending at Guaranteed Rate, says they deal with this often. They&rsquo;ve also seen a lot of parents coming in recently to co-sign to try and help the cause.</p><p>&ldquo;There are more and more people who have student debt for sure,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The increase in cost of college education, as a father with four kids - three in elementary school and one in preschool - I don&rsquo;t freak out daily about it, but whenever I think about it, I get nervous.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know if the industry could have planned ahead for it, or viewed it any differently because the debt is real, and the debt has to be paid back, I think it&rsquo;s a problem that&rsquo;s going to move into the future because of the rising cost of education.&rdquo;</p><p>For those who just squeak in under the debt-to-income-ratio, Zwarycz says their debt still matters, as the more they carry, the weaker their buying power. And he says that&rsquo;s been causing a slowdown in Chicago&rsquo;s entry level market.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s this large amount of inventory particularly in the city&rsquo;s smaller condominiums that are typically first-time homebuyer properties. If an individual can&rsquo;t sell their first-time home property that they bought five years ago, they can&rsquo;t move up to the upgrade property. And that has sort of a ripple effect through the entire market,&rdquo; Zwarycz said.</p><p>But there&rsquo;s a reason these restrictions were put into place in the first place.</p><p>&ldquo;At the end of the day, I&rsquo;d rather us be complaining about lending being too strict, that it being too loose,&quot; said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac VP.</p><p>Blomquist said he&rsquo;s worried about all this too, but experiencing another big crash like 2008 is a much bigger concern.</p><p>&ldquo;Too loose lending got us into the housing bubble, so it&rsquo;s the lesser of two evils, I would say, to have us have tough lending and it is keeping things in check,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>&ldquo;We can&rsquo;t wave a magic wand and make that student loan debt not be a factor in loan qualification, and even if we did have that magic wand, we shouldn&rsquo;t use it because it would have hugely negative impacts on the housing market.&rdquo;</p><p>David Zwarycz&rsquo;s partner <a href="http://debradobbs.com/">Debra Dobbs</a> says she&rsquo;s constantly talking to colleagues about finding a way around this problem.</p><p>She says maybe lenders could start dealing with student debt differently in the ratio than say credit card debt from big clothing purchases or an auto loan for a fancy car.</p><p>She&rsquo;s tired of seeing clients like a married couple - both doctors - who have so much student debt that their combined salaries still weren&rsquo;t enough to get a loan the first time.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her</em> <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></p><p><em>This story was edited June 16, 2014, to clarify what factors are included in the debt-to-income ratio.</em></p></p> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 07:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/student-loan-debt-hurdle-chicagos-wanna-be-homebuyers-110340 Parents put off retirement to pay for kids' college http://www.wbez.org/news/parents-put-retirement-pay-kids-college-106079 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Patty.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Patty Halajian is a seamstress in Lake Zurich, Ill. Mostly she sews costumes for local theater shows. She&rsquo;s never been rich, but always made ends meet.</p><p>Halajian has two daughters. Her husband died of a heart attack right before their oldest daughter graduated high school. When it came time to pick a college, her daughter was still mourning. So when she got in to Butler university, everyone was relieved to have some good news.</p><p>But her daughter&#39;s student loans couldn&rsquo;t cover the cost. So Halajian borrowed $14,000.</p><p>&ldquo;I mean you&rsquo;ve nurtured them their whole life,&quot; Halajian said. &quot;They get to the goal line it&rsquo;s finally they are going to graduate from H.S. and go to a great college. And you know if you do this for them they are going to have a great life. You do it. You just do it.&rdquo;</p><p>The loan Halajian took out is called a <a href="http://www.parentplusloan.com/">PLUS loan</a>.&nbsp; Nearly a million parents took out these loans last year. On average, they borrowed $12,000.</p><p>The loan is federally distributed, but has higher interest than a student loan: 7.9 percent.&nbsp;</p><p>Parents can borrow an enormous amount of money--up to the full amount of tuition--with no regard to for income or other debts. So it&rsquo;s easy to get in over your head.</p><p>Often these decisions are the last hoop to jump through to get to college. The decision is fast. And often no one is there to explain the consequences.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t understand it all,&quot; Halajian said. &quot;I was adrift at sea.&rdquo;</p><p>Jason Delisle is the director of the Federal Education Budget Project, a non-partisan organization that provides research on education spending.</p><p>&ldquo;I call it predatory lending,&quot; Delisle said. &quot;You got someone in a vulnerable situation. They don&rsquo;t want to say no. You just sign on the dotted line&quot;</p><p>PLUS loans were put in place to help poor and working class kids go to college. Student aid advocates have pushed for a long time to make loans simpler and easier to get. But now advocates say these PLUS loans may be hurting the people they intended to help.</p><p>&ldquo;These are essentially sub prime loans,&quot; Delisle said. &quot;Only it&rsquo;s not the government that&rsquo;s being predatory, it&rsquo;s the institution of higher learning.&quot;</p><p>AARP recently examined data on people between age 50 and 65. They don&rsquo;t know exactly how many of them had PLUS loans, but one in 10 still had some sort of education debt. The average amount was just over $28,000.</p><p>That education debt is nearly impossible to erase through bankruptcy, and can be garnished from social security payments. PLUS loans can&#39;t be turned over to the student, making a parent responsible until it&#39;s paid off.</p><p>That&rsquo;s forcing some parents like Halijian to put off retirement. She is 60 and still working as a seamstress. She owes $8,000 dollars on a PLUS loan and will likely still be making payments into her 70s or 80s.</p><p>&ldquo;I am just going to sew until I can&rsquo;t sew anymore,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>She never expects to retire, but Halijian doesn&rsquo;t regret taking out the loan.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d do it again,&quot; she said. &quot;If she needed college I would have walked through fire for her.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Explore PLUS loans in Illinois</strong><br />(Data via <a href="http://chronicle.com/article/The-Parent-Plus-Trap/134844">Chronicle for Higher Education</a>)</p><script type="text/javascript" src="http://public.tableausoftware.com/javascripts/api/viz_v1.js"></script><div class="tableauPlaceholder" style="width:654px; height:489px;"><span id="cke_bm_406E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_405E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_404E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><noscript><a href="#"><img alt="Dashboard 1 " src="http:&#47;&#47;public.tableausoftware.com&#47;static&#47;images&#47;Pa&#47;ParenteducationdebtIllinois&#47;Dashboard1&#47;1_rss.png" style="border: none" /></a></noscript><object class="tableauViz" height="489" style="display:none;" width="620"><param name="host_url" value="http%3A%2F%2Fpublic.tableausoftware.com%2F" /><param name="site_root" value="" /><param name="name" value="ParenteducationdebtIllinois/Dashboard1" /><param name="tabs" value="no" /><param name="toolbar" value="yes" /><param name="static_image" value="http://public.tableausoftware.com/static/images/Pa/ParenteducationdebtIllinois/Dashboard1/1.png" /><param name="animate_transition" value="yes" /><param name="display_static_image" value="yes" /><param name="display_spinner" value="yes" /><param name="display_overlay" value="yes" /><param name="display_count" value="yes" /></object></div><div style="width:620px;height:22px;padding:0px 10px 0px 0px;color:black;font:normal 8pt verdana,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><div style="float:right; padding-right:8px;"><a href="http://www.tableausoftware.com/public?ref=http://public.tableausoftware.com/views/ParenteducationdebtIllinois/Dashboard1" target="_blank">Powered by Tableau</a></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 13 Mar 2013 15:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/parents-put-retirement-pay-kids-college-106079 What's a liberal arts degree worth nowadays? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/whats-liberal-arts-degree-worth-nowadays-101179 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS3682_Cap and Gown_Flickr_Sea Turtle_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Doomsayers be damned: America&rsquo;s higher-education model, and its price tag, ain&rsquo;t broke. So says Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro. In a <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-adv-glassnerschapiro-education-college-20120703,0,7560066,print.story" target="_blank">recent op-ed</a> for the <em>L.A. Times</em>, Schapiro and Lewis &amp; Clark College President Barry Glassner argue that the college premium &mdash; the ratio of college earnings to high school earnings &mdash; justifies the investment in higher education. Individuals with a college degree now make almost 85 percent more over a lifetime than those with only a high school diploma.</p><p>But statistics are tricky &mdash; while one economist opts to focus on the long-term returns, another is focused on the immediate future, which, for many recent college graduates, is bleak. More than 50 percent of bachelor&rsquo;s degree-holders under the age of 25 were jobless or underemployed in the last year. So if and when a college graduate gets a job, he&rsquo;s likely to earn, on average, $20,000 more annually than a person with a high school diploma. But when the average student is graduating with $25,000 in student-loan debt, he or she might be a bit more focused on getting <em>a</em> paycheck, any paycheck.</p><p>This might explain why, as Ohio University economics professor <a href="http://www.ohio.edu/economics/faculty_staff/vedder.html" target="_blank">Richard Vedder</a> is quick to point out, there are 80,000 bartenders and 115,000 janitors with bachelor&rsquo;s degrees.</p><p>It&#39;s true, some majors pay more than others. <a href="http://www.payscale.com/best-colleges/degrees.asp" target="_blank">PayScale</a> did a salary survey of the top college majors that lead to high salaries. You won&rsquo;t find liberal arts in the top 10 below &mdash; the classic course of study is about 75 down from the top of the list.</p><div><a href="http://www.payscale.com/best-colleges/degrees.asp" style="font-weight: bold; color: #333333; font-family: Verdana,Arial,Tahoma,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 18px; text-decoration: none">Best Undergrad College Degrees By Salary</a></div><table><tbody><tr><td style="vertical-align:top"><a href="http://www.payscale.com/best-colleges/degrees.asp"><img alt="Degrees" src="http://www.payscale.com/staticdatachart.aspx?mode=Chart&amp;dataset=Pay You Back.2011&amp;title=Best Undergrad College Degrees By Salary" style="border: medium none; width: 465px; height: 372px;" /></a></td><td style="vertical-align:top"><img alt="Degrees" src="http://www.payscale.com/staticdatachart.aspx?mode=Legend&amp;dataset=Pay You Back.2011" /><br /><b>Methodology</b><br />Annual pay for Bachelors graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting graduates have 2 years of experience; mid-career have 15 years. See <a href="http://www.payscale.com/best-colleges/salary-report.asp">full methodology</a> for more.</td></tr></tbody></table><p>The median starting salary for a liberal arts major is just under $38,000. And the mid-career average is just over $63,000 &mdash; so is a liberal arts education worth it? President Schapiro and Professor Vedder help provide a cost-benefit analysis on <em>Afternoon Shift</em>.</p><p>So what do you think: What&rsquo;s the value of a liberal arts education? Call <strong>(312) 923-9239</strong> or join the conversation on Twitter at #AfternoonShift.</p></p> Wed, 25 Jul 2012 13:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/whats-liberal-arts-degree-worth-nowadays-101179 ‘Nothing is Free’: College students and their debt http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/%E2%80%98nothing-free%E2%80%99-college-students-and-their-debt-99456 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Luther College Photos.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 499px; " title="(Flickr/Luther College Photos)" /></div><p>A few months ago, my dad sent me an email.</p><p>&ldquo;RE: loans - i hope you understand your loans,&rdquo; he wrote. The body of the email consisted only of a <em>Bloomberg&nbsp;</em>article titled, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-21/student-borrowers-lack-understanding-of-loan-terms-study-shows.html">Student Borrowers Lack Understanding of Loan Terms, Study Shows</a>.&rdquo; I didn&rsquo;t respond to his email (I know, I know) and here&rsquo;s why: I don&rsquo;t really understand my loans. In fact, I was on the phone with my university&rsquo;s financial aid office just the other day talking about consolidating my student loans, Perkins and Stafford, subsidized and non. The counselor was trying to explain to me when I would have to begin making payments when I interrupted her to ask, &ldquo;To whom?&rdquo;<br /><br />While my dad will likely be aghast upon hearing this story, <em>New York Times</em> correspondent Andrew Martin would not be surprised. Martin is the one of the lead authors of<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/business/student-loans-weighing-down-a-generation-with-heavy-debt.html?pagewanted=all"> <em>Degrees of Debt</em></a>, an ongoing <em>Times </em>series about student loans and the debt load graduates are left with afterward. Most students have around $23,000 &ndash; about what I have &ndash; but it&rsquo;s easy to find students with between $40,000 and $50,000 in debt, Martin says. Fully two-thirds of today&rsquo;s undergraduates borrowed money in order to afford their education, but Martin says he still found plenty who feel like no one warned them about what they were getting themselves into.<br /><br />The question is, who is supposed to be responsible for making sure students understand what they&rsquo;re signing? My dad, who pays my tuition and guided me through the loan process, is in finance, so I assumed it was his job. Not once did I stop and think about what I would actually owe when I graduated.<br /><br />When it comes to figuring out how we ended up with $1 trillion in outstanding student loans, Martin points a finger at the marketers. Universities are raising tuition costs much faster than wages are increasing and states are spending less on students, but its the loan providers &ndash; the banks and the federal government &ndash; that intentionally make student loans seem high on benefit and low on risk. &ldquo;For-profits get beaten up for their marketing, but public schools aren&rsquo;t that different,&rdquo; Martin told WBEZ. &ldquo;The idea that no one pays the sticker price has become a slogan for marketers.&rdquo;<br /><br />My dad, who loves to haggle, would be among the first to tell you that some people do end up paying the asking price.<br /><br />When the housing market crashed in 2007, many people were angry with homeowners who took out loans they knew they couldn&rsquo;t afford to keep up with. For their ignorant risk-taking, the entire global economy would suffer. As with the mortgage crisis, some are unsympathetic to students who say they can&rsquo;t afford to repay their loans.</p><p>Martin, however, is cautious about a comparison of student debt and homeowner debt on the national level. The majority of student loans are held by the government, so they could never have the domino effect that mortgages did. Martin does say, however, that the scenarios are similar in that credit was easily available &ndash; maybe too easily &ndash; to people who were being told by marketers that the loans were low risk.<br /><br />When the next <em>Degrees of Debt</em> installment comes out, myself and my fellow graduates will be six weeks closer to the day when we have to start writing checks. When the day comes, some of us will defer the payments due to unemployment, others will get loan forgiveness through government programs, and the lucky ones with jobs will begin making payments.</p><p>Most of my peers, though, aren&rsquo;t resentful. &ldquo;As many economists and many parents say,&rdquo; Martin writes, &ldquo;the only thing worse than graduating with lots of debt is not going to college at all.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><em>Caroline O&#39;Donovan is the </em>Eight Forty-Eight<em> intern. She graduates from the University of Chicago in June. </em></span></p></p> Wed, 23 May 2012 08:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/%E2%80%98nothing-free%E2%80%99-college-students-and-their-debt-99456 The Student Loan Crisis as Seen by the Guy who Hangs Out on Campus but Doesn’t Actually Go There http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-05/student-loan-crisis-seen-guy-who-hangs-out-campus-doesn%E2%80%99t-actually-go <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6219725962_ea2398eec3_z.jpg" style="float: left; width: 300px; height: 200px; " title="For some, student loans are a weight dragging them down. (Flickr/Andrew Bossi)" />&quot;If you&#39;re worried about student loan debt, what it means for graduating seniors and for the future of our nation, congratulations. That means you&#39;re paying attention,&quot;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/time-solve-student-loan-crisis/story?id=16330700#.T7UlwOiJe68"> wrote Adam Levin on ABC.com</a>&nbsp;on Sunday.</p><p>Performer Chris Hauser is more than paying attention: he&#39;s satirizing the situation at <em>The Paper Machete</em>. Read an excerpt below or listen above.</p><blockquote><p><em>Good day to you ladies&hellip;bros&hellip;</em></p><p><em>I&rsquo;m here unofficially on behalf of my fellow students. I&rsquo;m not technically a student but I consider myself a Student of Life. You could say that I have a degree in Teasing the Mind &ndash; an associates in Listening to the Moon &ndash; and an Externship in Awesome&hellip; and I was in jail for 2 &frac12; years, but that&rsquo;s neither here nor there. You may have seen me around campus. Any given campus &ndash; I go to them all. You can catch me at UIC every morning at 6:45 in front of the TBH asking for change. Then I make my way over to Columbia to see if any of the film students need a leading man (they never do). Lunchtime, I wrap my shirt around my neck and play pan flute by the Richardson Library. Then I end the day at Northwestern, just&hellip;dreaming&hellip;and asking for change. But Fridays, I shake things up. Around three in the afternoon I visit high school parking lots and ask if anyone needs a ride. I don&rsquo;t have a car, it&rsquo;s just a little joke I play &ndash; the perfect preamble to asking for change.</em></p><p><em>Starting to get the picture? I&rsquo;m with the students. I know their minds. Sure, maybe I don&rsquo;t sit in a classroom and listen to the man tell me what&rsquo;s going on out there in the world. That&rsquo;s because the world is my classroom. The birds are my teachers. The flowers are my textbooks. The streets are my hallways. So you tell </em>I <em>who&rsquo;s educated.</em></p><p><em>You can imagine then that I have a very particular insight into the financial woes of the common student. And I don&rsquo;t like it. University used to be fun, man. No one worried about money or &ldquo;The Future.&rdquo; No one cared what the interest rate of a subsidized loan was. It used to be about drinking strawberry wine and reading each other passages from &ldquo;The Naked Ape&rdquo; and discovering ones&rsquo; sexuality in the back seat of a policeman&rsquo;s cruiser at the tip of a baton. I remember the first time I secretly followed a group of fraternity brothers to the Dean&rsquo;s lodgings. Those Phi Beta Kappa boys covered his front door with maple syrup swastikas and dingleberries and I laughed so hard that all my clothes fell off and I collapsed into the Dean&rsquo;s bed and went to sleep.</em></p><p><em>It&rsquo;s not like that anymore. The eyes of the academic are hungry, not for randy escapades, but for financial security. Let me lay it out for you. How much debt do you have to get yourself into so you have the skills you need to get a job that compensates you well enough to pay off said debt? That&rsquo;s a fundamental query. How do you suppress an erection while you hand out paper mache figurines of yourself during freshman orientation? You just can&rsquo;t know until you&rsquo;re in the midst of it. I pity their plight.</em></p></blockquote><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a><em>&nbsp;is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It&#39;s always at 3 p.m., it&#39;s always on Saturday, and it&#39;s always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine&nbsp;<em>needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/paper-machete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 18 May 2012 10:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-05/student-loan-crisis-seen-guy-who-hangs-out-campus-doesn%E2%80%99t-actually-go