WBEZ | student financial aid http://www.wbez.org/tags/student-financial-aid Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Latino youths organize for control of Radio Arte http://www.wbez.org/story/latino-youths-organize-control-radio-arte-86809 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-19/Zavala1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some young radio producers are organizing for control of the Chicago area’s only noncommercial Latino broadcast outlet.</p><p>They’re upset about plans by the National Museum of Mexican Art to sell the building and license of WRTE-FM Chicago (90.5), a youth-run station known as Radio Arte that airs music and public affairs content in English and Spanish.</p><p>Transmitting at 73 watts from Little Village, Radio Arte reaches several other Latino neighborhoods of the city’s Southwest Side and some nearby suburbs.</p><p>The station also trains hundreds of volunteers a year and puts dozens on the air each week. Some have formed a group to try to keep the station in their community’s hands.</p><p>Many of these volunteers share a bond: They don’t have papers to be living in the United States.</p><p>“Radio Arte helped me learn to fight back,” said volunteer Adriana Velázquez, 20, who arrived in the Back of the Yards neighborhood from Mexico at age 11.</p><p>Velázquez graduated from Benito Juárez Community Academy in nearby Pilsen and dreamed of going to college. But her immigration status disqualified her from most financing.</p><p>“So I felt like all I had done all these years in high school — being a good student, a good member of the community — was not worth [anything] to people,” she said Thursday.</p><p>Velázquez said her life changed in 2008, when she started working on a Radio Arte show, <em>Salud: Healing Through the Arts</em>. “That summer was when I started really talking about my status and sharing that with other students who were also going through my situation,” she said.</p><p>“It was kind of a relief to feel [at] home somewhere, not feeling ashamed that I was undocumented,” said Velázquez, now a music-performance student at Northeastern Illinois University.</p><p>Velázquez and the other volunteers want control of Radio Arte’s name, license and transmitter. But they haven’t won over museum officials.</p><p>President Carlos Tortolero said the volunteers were making too much of the museum’s plans. “Radio, to a lot of funders, is old school,” he said. “And we can still do radio classes without a radio station. A lot of people are streaming now online and podcasting.”</p><p>Tortolero said selling the building and radio license would free up resources for projects in other media such as video and computer graphics.</p><p>The Radio Arte volunteers counter that terrestrial radio signals still reach much bigger audiences than web streaming and podcasting do. “That’s especially true in immigrant and low-income communities,” Velázquez said.</p><p>The license’s market value is not clear. Radio Arte staffers say the museum paid $12,000 for it in 1996.</p><p>Tortolero said the museum hasn’t received any offers yet but adds he’s talking with potential buyers, including DePaul University and California-based Radio Bilingüe. He has also met twice with Torey Malatia, chief of Chicago Public Media, the parent of WBEZ.</p><p>Interviewed Wednesday, Malatia said his organization would not have cash for the license at this point. But Chicago Public Media is preparing a proposal to “help with operations and costs,” he said.</p><p>“We deeply respect Radio Arte’s mission,” Malatia said. “If we get involved, we would keep the tradition alive.”</p><p>Malatia said Chicago Public Media would connect Radio Arte to WBEW-FM (89.5), a youth-oriented station known as Vocalo that transmits from Chesterton, Indiana. Vocalo Managing Director Silvia Rivera worked at Radio Arte for more than a decade, including three years as general manager.</p><p>If the Chicago Public Media proposal were accepted, Radio Arte likely would continue broadcasting student- and volunteer-run shows, while “primetime blocks would be simulcast” with Vocalo, according to Malatia.</p><p>“As this story gets out,” Malatia added, “it puts pressure on DePaul and [Radio Bilingüe] to close the deal, and probably will pull some religious buyers into the mix.”</p><p>The building, 1401 W. 18th St., houses Radio Arte’s offices and studios as well as Yollocalli Arts Reach, another youth program of the museum. The wedge-shaped structure has two stories and a partly finished basement. Tortolero said the space totals about 11,000 square feet.</p><p>The museum had a real-estate appraiser look over the building this month but Tortolero said his team has not yet set the asking price.</p><p>The building stands on the corner of Blue Island Avenue and 18th Street. The intersection includes a Mexican-themed plaza that serves as a cultural anchor of Pilsen, a neighborhood whose Latino population has been shrinking.</p><p>The volunteers say they won’t try to buy the building.</p></p> Fri, 20 May 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/latino-youths-organize-control-radio-arte-86809 College student debt grows. Is it worth it? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-15/college-student-debt-grows-it-worth-it-86652 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-17/kantrowitz-photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Part of a <a href="http://www.npr.org/series/136275928/money-counts-young-adults-and-financial-literacy">series</a> on young people and financial literacy</em></p><p>The amount of money Americans owe on student loans recently exceeded the nation's credit card debt. That may lead many to ask: Is it smart to borrow a lot of money to go to college? Student financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz says that college debt is OK — if you're careful.</p><p>"It's smart if it's enabling you to invest in your future," Kantrowitz tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "But if you borrow more than your expected starting salary after you graduate, you're going to struggle to pay your loans."</p><p>As an example, Kantrowitz says if you're going to borrow $10,000 a year for four years, you should hope that the field you've chosen has a starting salary of at least $40,000. If you are going to be borrowing more than that, he suggests looking for a less expensive school.</p><p>"I can see someone borrowing perhaps $10,000 a year if they're majoring in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, computer science or nursing," says Kantrowitz, the publisher of the <a href="http://www.finaid.org/">FinAid</a> and <a href="http://www.fastweb.com/">Fastweb</a> websites.</p><p>"But I can't see borrowing that amount of money for a degree in art, or humanities, or sociology, because the jobs just don't pay as well for those fields of study," he says.</p><p>That might make some people wince — especially those who focused on liberal arts in college. Kantrowitz says it's not that those majors are worthless, but that students have to face the reality of how they're going to pay back the money they've borrowed for their education.</p><p>So what are the most worthless degrees or, at least, the hardest to monetize later on in life? Kantrowitz says he often hears from religious studies and theater majors who have a hard time paying back their loans.</p><p>Ethnomusicology is another example. Kantrowitz describes one student who was thinking of borrowing more than $100,000 to pay for that degree. "There are only two main occupations for a degree in ethnomusicology," he says. "One is being a music librarian, which doesn't pay very well. The other is being [on the] university faculty, teaching other students about ethnomusicology."</p><p>Kantrowitz suggests thinking about a double major in a field that will allow you to pay back that debt.</p><p>"I'd be the last person to tell a student not to follow their dreams," he says. "You just need to enter into it with a dose of reality, so that rather than trying to figure out how you repay your loans after you graduate, you have that conversation before you incur the debt."</p><p>Kantrowitz, who is also the author of <em>Secrets to Winning a Scholarship, </em>says that to a large extent, debt is unavoidable, and two-thirds of students graduate with some amount of it.</p><p>Kantrowitz tells students, "Before you spend student loan money on anything, ask yourself if you would still pay for it at twice the price. Because by the time you've paid back that student loan, it's probably going to cost you about $2 for every dollar you've borrowed."</p><p>And that money adds up to a tidy sum: For students graduating this year, Kantrowitz estimates that their debt will be about $27,000. And if you throw parents' loans into the mix, he says, the average is going to be more like $34,000. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. </p> Sun, 15 May 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-15/college-student-debt-grows-it-worth-it-86652 Undocumented youths try to derail Senate hopeful Mark Kirk http://www.wbez.org/story/19th-ward/undocumented-youths-try-derail-senate-hopeful-mark-kirk <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-October/2010-10-29/Rogelio_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A requirement to vote in the United States is citizenship. But voting isn&rsquo;t the only way to affect a race&rsquo;s outcome. Some undocumented young people in the Chicago area are going all out against the Republican in Illinois&rsquo;s U.S. Senate election Tuesday.<br /><br />Their motivation is a federal bill called the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. The DREAM Act, as it&rsquo;s known, would provide legal status to many college students and service members who&rsquo;ve grown up in the United States.<br /><br />The undocumented youths are upset that Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) isn&rsquo;t supporting the legislation. They&rsquo;re trying to derail his U.S. Senate campaign and get in his face.<br /><br />Ambi: DREAM Act? Yeah, yeah, yeah! Mark Kirk? No, no, no!<br /><br />About a dozen undocumented students have donned graduation gowns and caps outside a Republican office on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side. Three others are staging a sit-in inside. They include this 23-year-old.<br /><br />UNZUETA: My name is Irere Unzueta.<br /><br />Unzueta says her parents brought her to Chicago from Mexico at age 6. She&rsquo;s graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Now she wants a master&rsquo;s in engineering. But she&rsquo;s not a legal resident so doesn&rsquo;t qualify for most financial aid.<br /><br />Unzueta says she and the others aren&rsquo;t leaving the Republican office until Kirk agrees to meet with them.<br /><br />UNZUETA: Him saying that he is going to want to push for a lot more border security -- border enforcement -- before anything positive is really passed, I just think, is a really bad idea.<br /><br />Unzueta says her group isn&rsquo;t endorsing the race&rsquo;s Democrat, Alexi Giannoulias. She says they just want Kirk defeated.<br /><br />After four hours inside the office, police show up and the students leave. But about 10 miles away, some other undocumented youths keep at it.<br /><br />Ambi: Walking through fallen leaves.<br /><br />MITCHELL: I&rsquo;m going door to door through a Latino neighborhood of west-suburban Melrose Park. A 22-year-old named Rogelio is leading a crew of volunteer canvassers that&rsquo;s reminding folks to vote on Tuesday.<br />Ambi: Knocking.<br />ROGELIO: Here we come. (Door opens.) Hola buenas noches. Cómo estás? Se encuentra el señor... <br />MITCHELL: He asked us not to broadcast his last name because he&rsquo;s undocumented. Rogelio says he&rsquo;s lived in the area since his parents brought him from Mexico City at age 6. After graduating from a high school in Northlake, he says he fell into a depression as he realized how hard it would be to go to college or find a decent job without papers.<br />ROGELIO: This is crazy because I&rsquo;m undocumented and I&rsquo;m doing this. And people are thanking me. Even though I can&rsquo;t vote, the people are thanking us for doing this.<br />MITCHELL: Rogelio&rsquo;s not telling anyone how to vote. But he is handing out some yellow fliers comparing the immigration stands of the U.S. Senate candidates. That flier suggests a big difference between Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias on the DREAM Act.<br />ROGELIO: I really enjoy doing this. It gets me out of my depression. It gets me out from where I was at two years ago, just there home doing nothing, like a loser. And I&rsquo;m not a loser. We&rsquo;re not losers, we&rsquo;re winners. And I feel like a winner right now, doing this, just getting out there and just informing the community.<br /><br />We left messages this morning to see what the Kirk campaign and the Illinois Republican Party think about undocumented youths working against the Senate candidate. They didn&rsquo;t get back to us.<br /><br />But a local Tea Party activist says the young people are hurting their own cause.<br /><br />WOJTOWICZ: They&rsquo;re helping Mark Kirk with this.<br /><br />Catherina Wojtowicz lives on Chicago&rsquo;s Southwest Side.<br /><br />WOJTOWICZ: They&rsquo;re strategy is completely skewed. Mark Kirk&rsquo;s weak base is with the conservative movement. If they want to come to the Southwest Side, I&rsquo;ll give them a donation.<br />MITCHELL: Why?<br />WOJTOWICZ: It&rsquo;ll help me. And Worth Township and the 19th Ward are Democratic bastions.<br /><br />The undocumented youths may not have a good shot at winning over Wojtowicz&rsquo;s part of town. But they still think can defeat Kirk.</p></p> Fri, 29 Oct 2010 22:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/19th-ward/undocumented-youths-try-derail-senate-hopeful-mark-kirk