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.

Student Loans Are Stressful!/I’m Going Bald: $60,548.56 Paid, $24,759.51 Till Payoff

We have all read the nightmare stories of student loans wreaking havoc on the personal finances of the young and old.  Here’s another thing student loans may cause… HAIR LOSS! DUN-DUN-DUUUUN!!! Haha.  Life isn’t meant to be lived seriously all the time, so I decided to post about my male patterned baldness haha.

Going bald is a pain for me, as I have placed a bit of my identity in the strength of my hairline.  Yeah… kind of silly.   This past November, I stressed tremendously about my son starting daycare with his sister.  I was on paternity leave at the time and the stress wasn’t about missing my son per se… it was the pressure to provide for two kids in daycare lol.

Yet the Lord provided and continues to provide.  My nights became sleepless as I wondered how we would make it with my student loans, regular monthly expenses, and now daycare for 2.  I was prepared to reduce my student loan payment to make things work.  I grew frustrated thinking about all the progress made in reducing the debt to only watch it creep back up.

I was literally going bald at the top of my head due to stress, check out the picture.  

The elders in my family with wrinkly, low-hanging, bubbled lips would say, “Boy, the Lord is never surprised”.  To which I would immediately exhale audibly and roll my eyes.

Soon everything became too much, I broke down and decided to challenge the Lord with Psalm 127:3-5 (NIV), “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them”.

I didn’t feel blessed at the time. After I decided to relinquish control as Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight”.

My family follows a strict budget and my wife isn’t too thrilled about it.  However, there is more than enough every month.  The provision doesn’t make any sense, as we should be in the negative.  We may not have always have we want, but we always have what we need.

My hair even grew back, check out the waves HAHA.  Hair is a trivial matter in the grand outlook of life, my razor is ready to “Come On Home” and join the pantheon of bald greats-Dwayne Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Vin Diesel

Below is an update on my student loan balance.  I have no choice but to give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!  His faithful love endures forever. -Psalm 136:1

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! $57,650.35 Paid, $27,657.72 Till Pay Off

My son just made 2 months recently and I am excited to watch him learn how to express himself. My boy is one happy baby as evidenced by the dimpled smiles, the coos, and flailing arms and legs. My 2-year old is very protective of her brother. Each morning she runs into our bedroom shouting, “I want to hold little man!” or “That’s my baby!”; and is ready to plant kisses all over her brother’s face.

With that said, my wife and I are pleased to announce our family is adjusting well to the new baby. There is so much to be thankful for with Christmas around the corner and recently celebrating Thanksgiving.

First off, I am thankful to have a job that offers paternity leave. My job allows 6 weeks of paid time off to tend to births/adoptions. HOORAY! Also, I have 6 weeks of vacation time that can be applied in addition to paternity leave. It would be a challenge to stay home with a baby for that long lol. Cabin fever will ensue.

However, I am using 2 weeks of vacation to be at home with our new little guy for a total of 8 weeks.

Second, I am grateful for my son’s health. My wife was exhausted after the long (4 hour) delivery, but our son has since grown to a 12-pound baby champ. No amount of money can ever buy good health, even with the best doctors and medicine available. Poor health touches the rich and poor alike.

Third, I am grateful for my wife’s recovery. She is back exercising and is already contemplating a third child lol. I humbly ask she pumps the brakes. Thank you for accepting the challenge of being married to me babe. “I am honored to have the opportunity for you and me to exclusively form a little community of chocolate babies with proper raising.” -Tobe Nwigwe, “Wavy” I can’t take credit for those words. HAHA!

Okay, enough of that. Back to the reason for this blog, the tracking of my student loan repayment progress. Which leaves me with the fourth and final thing I am grateful for. As 2018 comes to a close, I have paid off $11,279.58 in principal. Check out the loan balance updates below.

I will give myself a Christmas present in the form of a student loan payment. The payment amount will be $400. It sucks to think about student loans over the holidays, but this will be $400 closer to debt freedom. The goal to live out Romans 13:8 doesn’t take holiday breaks. Until next time folks, have no debt but love!

The Case for Community Colleges: $55,645.14 Paid, $29,662.93 Till Pay Off

Lively lobbies, Silent Offices

I started my career in academia as a community college Admissions Specialist and later, Academic Advisor. I remember the numbers of students and their families huddled like cattle in lobbies, waiting to discuss class registration.

Once inside my office, scowl-wearing parents with arms crossed, stood directly behind students plopped in chairs with faces buried in their hands.

Too often, community colleges are students’ backup plan for the following reasons:

  1. Not getting into college of choice
  2. Unable to afford college of choice.
  3. Failed out of college of choice.
  4. Not knowing what to do in life.

Universities offer their share of many advantages, the purpose of the blog entry is to help cash-strapped students/families to make informed decisions, and avoid big student loan debt as I incurred.

 

The Case for Community Colleges

  1. The community college offers a smaller class setting. I remember my first class in a university lecture hall of 150 students, it was intimidating.
  • The largest class size at my place of employment, a community college, is maxed at 47.
  • Although many universities may boast this same benefit, these institutions will cost students more.

With smaller class sizes, teachers are able to respond to the needs of students faster. Universities rely heavily on TAs (teacher’s assistant), who are highly competent, but are students themselves with their own academic stresses.

  1. In the wise words of Warren Buffett, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get”. Lately, people in high student loan debt don’t view the price paid for education as highly valuable.
  • As of 2018-2019, a local community college in my area of residence costs $59 per credit hour. Therefore, a 3 and 4 credit hour course will cost $177 and $236 respectively.
  • A university in my state will cost you $1,338 per credit hour this academic year; making 3 and 4 credit hour courses cost $4,014 and $5,352 respectively.

Oh yeah… this doesn’t include prices for books, food, lodging, and transportation. God bless you if you are able to meet this educational request without debt. This is blog is for those who may find this request challenging. Haha!

  1. Universities don’t grow legs and walk away. They will still be there once you complete your desired school’s “Basics”.
  • Basics are classes required for all students regardless of major (English, History, Political Science, Mathematics, Natural and Social Sciences courses). If your student is unsure about their career, basics are a great place to start versus changing majors frequently.
  • Academic advisors have transfer guides needed to transfer work towards your university degree.

Furthermore, bachelor’s degrees are usually 120 credit hours and take 4 years to complete. Community colleges have articulation agreements which allow students to complete 45-60 credit hours, which is equal to the first 2 years of a bachelor’s degree. Therefore, community colleges allow students to complete half of their university requirements at a fraction of the cost.

  1. Scholarships abound for students transferring from community colleges to universities.
  • Hidden gems on community college campuses are the honor societies such as “The National Society of Collegiate Scholars” and “Phi Theta Kappa”.
  • For more information and eligibility criteria:
    https://nscs.org/member-eligibility/

  https://www.ptk.org/About/Membership/Eligibility.aspx

Feel free to visit the “Scholarship Resources” tab of this blog to view other great college funding opportunities.  The first link features resources for my home state, “The Lone Star State”-Texas. Other resources are links to legitimate scholarship search engines and honor societies.

 

Exciting Updates

Below is my student loans update. I am blessed to see the light getting brighter and closer at the end of tunnel. Thank you Jesus Christ for always providing for me in seasons of employment and unemployment, and I am confident you will continue to do so.