In The News: At HBCUs, crushing student loan debt is a symptom of even bigger problems

June 11, 2019

By Dartunorro Clark

MSNBC News

When Michael Sorrell became president of Paul Quinn College 12 years ago, he assessed the dire situation his school was in and made a bold choice: No more football.

“I mean, we’re in Texas. We’re an HBCU in Texas,” Sorrell said. “I got a little flak for that, OK?”

But to him, eliminating the program was the only way the historically black college in Dallas, which was founded in 1872 by a group of preachers from the African Methodist Episcopal Church to educate freed slaves and their children, could get back on track.

Football had cost the school roughly $600,000 to $1 million a year, he said, and scholarships went mainly to the players. Meanwhile, other students struggled, faculty and staff members were leaving, and buildings had fallen into disrepair.

“We were roughly 18 months to 24 months away from closing. We had financial problems. We had academic problems. We had morale problems, and it was the prototypical scenario for an institution that had been struggling for a long time and the end of the road was coming,” he told NBC News in a phone interview.

The challenges Paul Quinn College faced are not unique, experts said, even if its solution was one of a kind.

Click link below to read more:

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/hbcus-crushing-student-loan-debt-symptom-even-bigger-problems-n1014171

 

In the News: Education company Chegg is helping pay down its employees’ student loan debt. ‘They are creating value for us’

June 7, 2019

— CNBC’s Annie Nova contributed to this report.

https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/06/06/chegg-is-helping-pay-down-its-employees-student-loan-debt.html

Chegg has a new plan to help its employees deal with their student loans.

And its CEO wants other companies to follow Chegg’s lead.

The student-connected learning platform announced a new program Thursday that will give its entry- through manager-level workers up to $5,000 a year, if they have been with the company at least two years. Director- or vice president-level employees can get up to $3,000 annually to help pay down their student loan debt.

“Corporations need to play a role here,” Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig told CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Thursday.

“We are the beneficiaries of those people who have gotten an education — doesn’t matter if it is four year or two year or even if they completed it,” he added. “If they borrowed money and they are creating value for us, we want to help them.”

Student loan debt has hit record levels, with borrowers owing a total of $1.5 trillion. About 7 in 10 college graduates have education debt.

“We are taking our most vulnerable, least financially stable and we’re creating a burden on them that is unsustainable.” -Dan Rosensweig, Chegg CEO

Many also are unable to find ways to pay their bills. More than 1 million borrowers go into default each year. By 2023, its projected that 40% of borrowers may default on their student loans.

Chegg’s latest benefit is in addition to the $1,000 cash that its employees with student debt already receive each year. To pay for the program, called Equity for Education, Chegg created an equity pool from its existing stock.

“We’ve got a mess and it’s probably the biggest economic crisis facing this country. And we don’t deal enough with it,” Rosensweig said.

The Santa Clara, California-based company certainly isn’t the only business helping workers with some sort of student loan debt assistance.

Student loan debt

Getty Images

Last year, Fidelity began to offer companies a way to contribute to their employees’ education debt with its Student Debt Employer Contribution program. It now has more than 65 companies that are offering, or in the process of offering, the benefit.

“A growing number of companies are increasingly aware that helping their employees take on the issue of student debt can help improve their overall financial wellness, which can in turn have a positive impact from a business perspective in a host of ways,” said Asha Srikantiah, head of Fidelity’s Student Debt Employer Contribution.

In fact, Fidelity has already seen an improvement in attracting and keeping top talent since it started offering the program to its own employees in 2016.

“For eligible Fidelity employees from 2016-2018, we’ve seen an approximate 75% reduction in turnover in the first year of program participation,” Srikantiah said. “And, according to a recent internal survey, it’s among the top two reasons people decided to join Fidelity.”

Still, the companies that offer this type of benefit remain the minority. About 4% did so in 2018, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Chegg’s CEO said his company thought long and hard about how to come up with a program that other companies can copy.

“We wanted to see if we could set an example and create a dialogue,” Rosensweig said.

He’s also hoping the government and colleges take notice of Chegg’s plan and do their part to help with the crisis.

“We are taking our most vulnerable, least financially stable and we’re creating a burden on them that is unsustainable,” Rosensweig said.

 

In The News: The average millennial has a net worth of $8,000. That’s far less than previous generations.

June 5, 2019
By Abha Bhattarai for Washington Post

Millennials are doing far worse financially than generations before them, with student loans, rising rents and higher health-care costs pushing the average net worth below $8,000, a new study shows.

The net worth of Americans aged 18 to 35 has dropped 34 percent since 1996, according to research released Thursday by Deloitte, the accounting and professional services giant. This demographic is paying more for education and such basics as food and transportation while incomes have largely flatlined.

“The vast majority of consumers are under tremendous financial pressure,” said Kasey M. Lobaugh, Deloitte’s chief retail innovation officer and lead author of the study. “That is particularly true for low-income Americans and millennials.”

The growing gap between the nation’s wealthiest residents and everybody else, he said, is affecting the way consumers spend…

Click link below to read more:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/05/31/millennials-have-an-average-net-worth-thats-significantly-less-than-previous-generations/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.269c9363005d

Preparing for Final Exams: $66,663.50 Paid, $18,644.57 Till Payoff

So final exams ended for me recently, THANK GOD! I’m satisfied with my final grades and can’t wait to destroy my summer class. Another thank you goes to my wife. Thanks for taking care of our baby boy, and entertaining our ornery 2-year old daughter. Below are tips that helped me meet my academic goals with family and a full-time job.

1. Go to Class-And Yes, On Time.
Resist the urge to skip class for non-emergencies. Don’t create excuses either, reflect on the lesson from ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ children’s story.

2. Stay Engaged-Use Different Methods.
Some of us learn through long lectures, others prefer instructors with engaging PowerPoints, while others must do something with their hands. Try taking notes with different colored pens, pencils, and highlighters to stay entertained during class.

3. Don’t Cram-Study Now.
Waiting until the night of a major exam can be disastrous for your GPA. Throughout the semester review your class notes daily before going to class and after class. This way you will retain more of the information through repetition.

4. Stop Procrastinating-Manage Your Time.
Organize your days by designating time for work, hanging out with friends, and study based on priority of deadlines.

5. Seek Support-Before Needing Help.
Remember, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken. We all go through stressful times, arrange to study with others in groups. Tackle challenges to learn material together, choose study mates wisely.

6. Quiz Yourself-Improve Your Knowledge.
Make flash cards or go digital with Quizlet’s online tool. Gauging your knowledge before exam time can prevent all-nighters.

7. Focus on Strengths-Not Weaknesses.
Are you most focused in morning or night? Consider your responsibilities at work and family obligations to allow time for rest.

8. Stay Positive-Visualize Success
If you tell yourself, “What’s the use? I’m going to fail anyway?” You will be 100% correct, 100% of the time. See yourself doing well on the final and determine steps necessary to make your dream a reality.

9. Rest-Don’t Stress.
According to Psychology Today, sleep is beneficial because 1) sleep protects new memories, lack of sleep makes you more irritable and forgetful 2) sleep consolidates memories according to their relative importance and the learner’s expectations for remembering.

10. Repeat Steps 1-9-Never Give Up.
Before you know it the semester will be over, you will log into student portal to review your semester grades and smile. You paid the price to win.

As usual, below is an update of my student loan balance. Until next time everyone! Stay strong, fight on, and have no debt but love!

Tuition Assistance Is Here! $65,596.78 Paid, $19,711.29 Till Payoff

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Just because you have “finished” college doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider going back. I know… I know… I’m still paying back my undergrad and grad school student loans. Remember, there are many ways to pay for school besides going into debt (Scholarships, Family, Grants, 529 Plans, and crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe®).

However, an often overlooked tuition assistance source is employers.

Work Hard, Learn More

That’s right! Your job may extend scholarships to you and your dependent children. You may also get a salary boost or stipend for earning your degree as an employee. Talk to your HR office about existing educational benefits for yourself and perhaps your dependents. With the rising cost of tuition, a dollar saved is a dollar earned; because tuition won’t cost you pennies. That’s for sure.

Colleges and universities also offer great staff/administrator educational benefits. I am fortunate to work in higher education, so my employer pays the costs of two classes each fall/spring/summer sessions regardless of credit hour and final grade earned. However, I am mindful that my boss reviews my midterm and final grades to justify spending on my educational endeavors.

Employers Need Skilled Workers

Did you know your state may offer tuition exemptions/waivers for certain occupations? For example, the state of Texas will cover the cost of tuition for Police Officers enrolled in Law Enforcement or Criminal Justice classes. Firefighters receive the same benefit as employees or active members of volunteer fire departments to take Fire Science courses.

Right now, I am completing accounting courses in route to a certification to further improve my financial literacy. I am blessed with the opportunity to share my student loan debt story with students daily. The Lord has placed other things on my heart to take this mission further. It’s rough at times but as Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers says, “Trust the Process”.

Life’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Here’s an update on my student loan progress below. Until next time everyone! Stay strong, fight on, and have no debt but love.

It’s Spring Break, Not Spring Broke: $63,971.03 Paid, $21,337.04 Till Payoff

Dear Parents, Friends, and Loved Ones,

Please pass this along to the college students in your life. Spring break is upon us, and they are being tempted to jump on planes and make it rain with tuition refunds.

Remind Them They Are Students:
Don’t ignore your college work over Spring Break. Use the week to relax from the regular grind, but stay in the habit of studying for school.

I think a lot of us dream of spending Spring Break on a beach with friends. Whatever your plans, use the time to continue being a student.

Encourage to Think Beyond Spring Break:
When I was a student, I found keeping this balance let me enjoy my break while also helping me stay caught up with the schoolwork to come. I was also less stressed when the break was over.

I’m not suggesting you lock yourself in your room and do nothing but school work. That will lead to burnout. Remember, balance is the key. Use the week to relax, but also keep up the routine of having study time:
• Continue doing classwork each day on your regular schedule.
• Schedule time to have fun and catch up with friends.

Prepare for The Next Academic Year & Career:
Besides the no-brainers of exercising and eating healthy, here are a few other things to do during Spring Break. The suggestions below will take time, so extend yourself some grace. For help, visit your college’s Career Services office when it reopens.
• Start working on a generic cover letter.
• Find a summer internship or job.
• Apply for scholarships.

Assess Your Finances:
If you can’t afford to jet set with classmates, just don’t go. Just imagine yourself in your career after graduation taking paid vacations from work. You will soon be a working professional who can afford multiple international trips a year-if you practice good money habits today.

Remind Them of Possible Financial Ruin:
For the last 7 years and 9 glorious months, I’ve been paying back student loans. Do you really want this in your future? Do yourself a favor, sacrifice what you want now for a future that’s a little more comfortable. Below is my balance update. Until next time everyone! Stay strong, fight on, and let’s help the youth have no debt but love.