How student loan companies pretend to be your friend

Private lenders are using free movies and happy hours to entice people to refinance their student debt

Are you one of the 44 million Americans drowning in student loans you fear youll never pay back? Worried that youll be in the red for the rest of your life? Well, why not forget about your spiralling debt by kicking back and watching a movie!

This month, banking company Laurel Road announced that if you refinance your student loan with them, they will give you a years membership to MoviePass, the movie theater subscription service.

The partnership shines a light on the growing market for private student loans. Private lenders currently hold less than 10% of the $1.4tn in outstanding student loan debt but have been aggressively lobbying for legislation that would loosen the governments monopoly.

People
People mingle at a SoFi event in San Jose, California. Photograph: SoFi

 

Republican lawmakers have given them cause for optimism. Last year, congressional Republicans put forward the Prosper Act which would cap the federal loan amounts graduate students can receive. While private lenders often offer lower interest rates than the government, they dont come with the same consumer protections as federal loans. Some experts worry that federal loan caps would steer students into private loans that arent necessarily in their best interests.

In an effort to make themselves seem more attractive than federal options, some private lenders are branding themselves more like lifestyle companies. Theyre not just loaning you money, theyre your best friend!

The
The SoFi app lets you message people you have met at their events. Photograph: SoFi

 

Social Finance Inc (SoFi), one of the most high-profile private financial startups in the US, has led the charge in this regard. Since it launched in 2011 the company has attempted to differentiate itself by referring to its customers as members and inviting them to exclusive events like cocktail parties and cooking classes. In 2017, SoFi held 323 member events across the US (more than 60 cities), serving over 14,000 members. By the end of this year, the company says it will have organized more than 800 member events and hosted over 42,000 members in total. We dont think of ourselves as a finance company, we think of ourselves as money, career and relationships, the then CEO, Mike Cagney, said at a technology conference last May. Cagney stepped down from the company late last year after allegations of sexual harassment.

Before the Cagney controversy, SoFi floated the idea of launching a dating app, after seeing romances spring up between members at their events. While this idea was eventually scrapped the SoFi app does allow members who meet at events to message each other.

Laurel Roads partnership with MoviePass is more evidence of private lending companies trying to make student loan debt fun even as student debt per capita has doubled in the past decade and there has been a rise in the number of cases brought against federal lenders illegally harassing their customers. The student loan crisis is now so dire that a new gameshow, Paid Off with Michael Torpey, is giving students the chance to compete on TV to have their debt paid off. The series which premieres in July on TruTV, is aimed at starting a conversation about the student debt crisis, not trivializing it, an executive from TruTV told the Guardian.

Still, there is something inherently dystopian in the fact that America has reached a place where the only hope some people have for getting out of debt is winning a gameshow.

 

 

 

 

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/jun/04/student-loan-debt-relief-moviepass-sofi

Of course US birth rates are falling this is a harsh place to have a family

The US is one of only four countries in the world with no government-subsidized maternity leave while 36% of the workforce are contract laborers with no access to benefits

 

America’s birth rate has fallen to a 30-year low, let the hand-wringing and finger-pointing begin. It’s those selfish women, wanting careers before kids! Or, gasp, not wanting kids at all! It’s all those abortions! It’s Obamas fault!

 

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The reality is, for all its pro-family rhetoric, the US is a remarkably harsh place for families, and particularly for mothers. It’s a well-known fact, but one that bears repeating in this context, that the US is one of only four countries in the world with no government-subsidized maternity leave. The other three are Lesotho, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea, countries that the US doesn’t tend to view as its peer group.

This fact is met with shrugs from those who assume that companies provide maternity leave. Only 56% do, and of those, just 6% offer full pay during maternity leave. This assumption also ignores the fact that 36% of the American workforce, a number expected to surpass 50% in the next 10 years, are contract laborers with no access to such benefits. That gig economy you keep hearing so much about, with its flexible schedule and independence? Yeah, it sucks for mothers. That doesn’t stop companies and pundits from pushing it as a great way for working moms to balance children and career. As a gig-economy mother myself, I can tell you exactly how great and balanced it felt to go back to work two hours after giving birth.

If they return to work, mothers can look forward to an increasingly large pay gap for every child they have, plus fewer promotions. Who could resist?

The option for one parent to stay home with kids is increasingly not economically viable for American families, either. A data point that got far less attention than the falling birth rate was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last month: 71.1% of American mothers with children under 18 are in the workforce now. Its not just because they want to be (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but increasingly because they have to be in order to support the family.

Think millennials are our problem, shirking their breeding responsibilities because they’re too busy taking selfies? Show me your all-time low birth rate and I will raise you an all-time high student debt load (it hit $1.4tn this year). Millennials have an average of $37,172 in student loans when they graduate, a fact that has been blamed for their record-breakingly low homeownership. Generation Z won’t be much help either, given that about 40% of them are expected to default on their college loans when they can’t find jobs, according to Brookings.

Let us see, what else is at an all-time high? Credit card debt. It hit $1tn in the US for the first time this year. Childcare costs are another record-breaker. According to the Economic Policy Institute, in 33 states and the District of Columbia, infant care costs exceed the average cost of in-state college tuition at public four-year institutions. The few companies that offer discounted, on-site daycare have found that it more than pays for itself in tax breaks and retention and recruitment boosts, but its still rare. In the Fortune 100, only 17 offer any sort of on-site daycare. The US has flirted with the idea of subsidized daycare a few times, but a longstanding cultural notion that there is something inherently shady about daycare has kept us from ever really doing it, except during the second world war when we needed women to work. Perhaps if the birth rate gets low enough, we can get over our collective daycare aversion.

Guess what else is at an all-time low? Pay raises. Despite economic growth, since the 1970s, the hourly inflation-adjusted wages received by the typical American worker have grown only 0.2% per year. Which is basically nothing. Guess what though? Worker productivity hit a three-year high in 2017.

In the midst of the harsh economic reality facing parents and would-be parents in America is a looming physical threat: climate change. As the president and his EPA head parrot talking points from the fossil fuel industry, pointing to volcanoes and natural temperature cycles as the culprits for warming temperatures, the global scientific community tells us that we have virtually run out of time to do anything about it. That any children we have will be at a higher risk of dying in a superstorm or a massive fire. That because a small handful of men decided that their own profits and comfort were more important than the rest of the world’s safety, any new humans that join the world will face more significant challenges than the generation that came before.

A few months ago, Paul Ryan asked Americans to have more children and said he had done his part by fathering three. I would argue that his piece is creating an America that’s genuinely family-friendly and he hasn’t done it at all.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/21/hat-looks-good-slug-birth-rates-us-falling-reasons-why-family-policies

Student loans ‘rising to trillion pounds’


                                            Image copyright Getty Images
Students are paying artificially high-interest rates, says a cross-party committee

The tuition fee system for England’s universities is ripping off students and giving taxpayers poor value for money, says a parliamentary committee.

The House of Lords economic affairs committee says it found evidence the student loan book would grow to over £1 trillion over the next 25 years.

The committee attacked a “deeply unfair” system of fees and loans.

But the Department for Education said its review of fees would “make sure students are getting value for money”.

This hard-hitting report accuses the government of using “accounting tricks” to conceal the real cost of higher education and to pile up huge debts for future generations.

It calls for “immediate reforms” – such as cutting interest rates on repayments and restoring grants for disadvantaged students.

‘Astonished’

Committee chairman and former Conservative minister, Lord Forsyth, said they had also been “quite astonished by the complete collapse in part-time education”.

The report warns of the lack of funding for vocational training – and claims that the apprenticeship system has been damaged by artificial targets invented to sound impressive for a manifesto promise.

The cross-party committee, with two former chancellors and two ex-chief secretaries to the Treasury, says the student loan system seems to have been used for a “fiscal illusion” to make the deficit look smaller.

“The thing that shocked me – and I thought I was pretty unshockable – was that I had not understood that by moving to a system of funding through loans, because of the accounting methods of the Treasury, it was possible for George Osborne [then chancellor] to appear to increase funding for higher education by £3bn but at the same time cut his deficit by £3.8bn,” says Lord Forsyth.

The cost of unpaid loans will not be included until they are officially written off after 30 years.

Lord Forsyth says a parliamentary question revealed how much student borrowing was really piling up for the future.

By 2044, when many of today’s students will still be paying off their loans, the student loan book will have grown to more than £1tn, rising to £1.2tn by 2049.

“The public argument for cutting the deficit was so that debt wasn’t handed on to the next generation.

“But for this generation, being asked to pay these loans, when they’ve eventually paid them off, they’ll suddenly find there’s a bill for £1.2tn.

“I hadn’t realized that was happening.”

‘Devastating consequences’

But Lord Forsyth says this system has had “devastating consequences”.

It has produced excessive interest rates, set to rise again to 6.3%, which the committee says should be no higher than the rate at which the government borrows, at present 1.5%.

Image copyright Getty Images

 The committee heard that some existing training had been re-badged as an apprenticeship

The conversion of means-tested grants into loans has meant that the poorest students end up graduating with the biggest debts, says Lord Forsyth.

And he warns that the current repayment system was more expensive for people in middle-income jobs such as nursing, rather than high-paid lawyers or financiers, who would pay off their debts more quickly.

“The people who get screwed by this are those in the middling jobs,” says Lord Forsyth.

“This was all done on the basis that it would create a market in higher education – and that has failed, there isn’t a market.”

Lord Forsyth says that there is no meaningful consumer choice or competition – and he dismissed the system for rating teaching quality in universities, the teaching excellence framework, as a “bit of a joke”.

“Because no-one ever turns up to look at the teaching,” says Lord Forsyth.

‘Quantity rather than quality’

The report says that the student finance system has failed to recognize the need to improve vocational skills and to help those wanting to re-train.

Part-time student numbers have fallen by about 60% over the past decade – with accusations that the funding system is based around school-leavers beginning full-time degree courses.

“There’s been a hugely distorting effect. It’s a huge mistake,” says the committee chair.

Lord Forsyth says there have been concerns about the apprenticeship policy – and the committee heard suggestions that the target for three million apprentices was not the result of any strategy, but was chosen as an impressive number for a manifesto promise.

The consequence of such target setting, he says, is to “encourage quantity rather than quality”.

It means more attention is paid to the numbers starting than completing and there were signs that some employers were re-badging existing training as “apprenticeships” as a way of getting funding.

“There is clear evidence that what the economy needs is more people with technical and vocational skills. But the way that the funding for fees and maintenance operates makes it pretty well impossible for us to meet that demand,” says Lord Forsyth.

Alice Barnard, chief executive of the Edge Foundation, which promotes vocational education, said the report “clearly highlights how the funding bias in our higher education system has favored universities at the expense of choice and opportunity for young people”.

The head of the MillionPlus group of new universities, Greg Walker, said the report had produced “robust evidence” to support the return of maintenance grants and to find ways to make universities more accessible to part-time students.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We agree that for too long young people have not had a genuine choice post-16 about where and what they wish to study.

“That is exactly why we have overhauled apprenticeships to focus on quality and why we are fundamentally transforming technical education, investing £500m a year in new T-levels that will provide a high quality, technical alternative to A-levels.

“On top of this, we are undertaking a major review of post-18 education and funding, to make sure students are getting value for money and the genuine choice between technical, vocational and academic routes.”

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-44433569

10 Things Millennials Should Do to Get Rid of Student Loan Debt

So here are my top 10 tips to get rid of student loan debt so you can get on to other important things in life (like traveling, inventing, and jamming).

1. Make friends (or at least amends) with your debt.

Student loan debt is currently hitting the US in a huge way (as in over a trillion owed). Being part of such an enormous sum can be weirdly uniting and comforting. It’s terrible, but it also means that you aren’t alone. But while it’s nice to share a certain camaraderie over your debt, it’s easy to spend more energy on feeling defeated than on actually paying it off. That’s why it’s essential to focus on your personal numbers and come to terms with what that means for you. Engage with your student loan debt, make peace with the fact that it’s a part of your life. That means opening bill statements and doing research that allows you to truly understand your options and how to pay off your debt even more quickly.

2. Understand the terms of your repayment plan.

Next up? Understanding what the heck is going on with your student loan debt repayment. I was (rightly) intrigued by all the federal loan repayment plans when I was in college. It seemed like they were there just for me… the low earner and high debtor! Under an income-based repayment (IBR) plan, 25 years of consistent on-time minimum payments meant the remaining balance is just forgiven. Plus I would get to push off repayment for a good year via grace period, forbearance, and deferment? Psh, that doesn’t seem too bad…said the 22-year-old with no real concept of time or how interest works.

Twenty five years is indeed a long time–I’ve since realized. And I’m not that interested in being chained to debt for quite that long if I can help it. It’s a lot of time for compounding interest (and not the good kind) to accumulate. I’m definitely not interested in paying tens of thousands of dollars in interest.

It’s not that these programs don’t make sense–anyone who’s struggling financially could (and does) benefit from any one of them. But they’re also not the end-all-be-all of your debt repayment. I went straight-shot to a plan where I paid the least amount each month because I thought it was my most feasible option. And honestly, at the time it was. But I didn’t really understand what my repayment should look like over time and I stuck to paying minimums even as I started to make more money. I was just happy to be following a plan! Unfortunately, it was one that put me on the slow track to debt free. Do some homework (ahhh, never thought I’d say that again!!) and carefully consider what each repayment plan means. Take into account the length of repayment, how you might accelerate your plan as you continue to increase earnings, and even just consider what it means to pay student loan debt for so many years.

3. Create a personalized repayment plan.

Once you’ve figured out exactly what repayment plan works best for your present (and your future) circumstances then it’s time to put your sweet college skills to good use! Creating your very own repayment plan will help you to keep track of your payments and ensure that you’re going about repayment in the most efficient way possible. Decide on your timeline, how much you can sensibly pay into your repayment plan, and how you want to go about paying off your student loan debt most effectively. Visuals that highlight your repayment timeline are particularly useful to help you really picture the trajectory of your repayment. When I first started using ReadyForZero, I was a bit appalled each time I saw my principal balance creep up on the graph when I was accumulating interest. It was motivating!

4. Make your payments work FOR you.

Micromanage your debt! There are so many sneaky tactics that could be keeping you in debt for longer than necessary. To pay off your student loan debt you’ll need to keep your wits about you–especially as you sort out your initial payment plan. Ultimately, you want to make sure that you’re paying off your higher interest rates first while paying minimums on the rest, and also that your payments are actually applied to the principal balance! Be diligent with your payments or the entire process will go on for longer than anyone would probably like.

5. Bi-weekly payments.

Making bi-weekly payments is a fun “trick” to share and it also happens to be an awesome way to accelerate your repayment plan. If you’ve never heard of bi-weekly payments before they essentially add an extra payment each year. It works like this… instead of making one single payment each month, you take your monthly payment and divide it by two. Then you pay two half payments every two weeks, instead of one full payment at the end of the month. Since there are 52 weeks in the year, that means you’ll have an extra payment on your debt repayment. It’s fairly simple and the result is pretty awesome. Punch in your numbers to see how it works for you using this calculator!

I know, it’s a crazy cool trick! And it’s not even magic.

6. Track your daily interest…

… because you will be traumatized into action. I remember the moment that I truly understood just how much interest I was accruing on a daily basis. Let me tell you, it was a doozy of a panic. The only thing worse was seeing how that translated into monthly interest charged, and then from there, the yearly interest.

Keeping track of interest paid is one of the most effective motivators when it comes to paying off your student loans. It hurts to see how much interest you’re paying on a daily basis, even if your loan is attached to a slight interest rate. Even years into repayment it pains me to see my daily interest charges. On the same token, these numbers have motivated me to throw more force into my repayment plan.

7. Pay above the minimums.

Yet another must for millennials who want to dig out from under student loan rubble… pay above the minimums! If you pay the suggested payments you will be stuck in the student loan payment wheel for a long time. Much longer than if you paid even a small amount above the minimum payments. That’s because minimum payments are often largely a representation of the interest accumulated over the previous month. It’s essential that you boost your payments above the minimums, even if it’s just $20 a week.

8. Tweak your spending habits (or create good habits that will help speed up your repayment).

One of my favorite tricks to connect with my spending is to preface every “extra” purchase with… “are you willing to buy this AND match the amount in your repayment?” So for instance, if I see something that I want, but don’t need I’ll challenge myself to match whatever I spend on that item and put it directly into my student loan debt payoff. Sometimes, that stops me from making the purchase. Other times, it incentivizes me to put more into my repayment plan. It’s a great way to add a bit of thought to my purchasing–especially since it’s so easy to swipe more than I intend to when I’m hungry at the grocery store.

9. Use accountability.

Talk about your student loan debt! Tell people about your student loan debt! Sharing is a great tool to help you stick to your repayment plan and stay accountable to your goals. I’m not saying you have to live-tweet, snapchat (I’m trying to sound hip by using these references), or paste your numbers on your resume, but sharing your student loan payments goals with someone you trust and who will kick your butt when you’re distracted is extremely valuable. And remember when I talked about the camaraderie over student loan debt in the beginning of this post? It can work for motivating each other’s repayment too!

10. Have common sense (AKA, hone in on your inner Kali).

I’m not stretching in the least when I say that Kali is one of most inspiring millennial financial bloggers I’ve come across. She’s done an amazing job at securing her finances by using a powerful, but simple tool: common sense. And even better–she’s spreading this common sense and sharing tips that are simple and easy to implement. By making good financial habits widely applicable, she’s shown that this is not something that people have to struggle with alone and that much of financial wisdom can be boiled down to making informed and sensible decisions.

She’s a smart cookie – I’d listen to her.

Bonus: Open up a retirement account

OK, I know I said 10. But here’s a “bonus” tip, if you will…

If you don’t already have a retirement account, get thee to a computer/bank/financial advisor/friend and go about opening one!! I was practically forced to open up a Roth IRA and it was one of the best decisions of my young life. Not only did I start to build up savings for my eventual retirement kingdom, the biggest benefit came around tax time when I realized that I qualified for the savers credit! $500 into my retirement savings and then $500 returned at tax time. Millennials are winning in one area… we’re young enough to benefit from compounding interest in our retirement accounts. Start today!

Student loan debt can carry a stigma, but finance is a part of life. It isn’t something that you have to turn into a dry, boring topic as evidenced by some of Kali’s creative posts. There are tons of resources available to help you out. If you want to optimize your life and happiness you’ll need to lock-down your repayment so that you can free up more of your attention and funding to pursue personal goals. Get your student loan repayment together and you’ll be all the closer to your dream job of traveling the world while spearheading your own startup! Or, in my case traveling to New Zealand to take the Lord of the Rings movie tour.

Reference

 

Retrieved from https://www.levo.com/posts/10-things-millennials-should-do-to-get-rid-of-student-loan-debt

World War II veteran, 96, receives college degree more than 60 years after his last class, report says

Several decades after last attending class, a 96-year-old World War II veteran on Saturday reportedly received his college diploma.

Bob Barger, who piloted Navy planes during the war, received his associate’s degree from the University of Toledo in Ohio to a standing ovation, according to The Associated Press. Dressed in the classic cap and gown, Barger beamed as he looked at his diploma.

Barger graduated on Saturday, more than 60 years since he last attended classes.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

 

The degree came more than 60 years after Barger last took a class. But when his records from the late 1940’s were recently looked at again, they indicated that he’d finished enough credits to receive the two-year degree, which hadn’t been an option when he was attending the university.

WORLD WAR II VETERAN, 96, TO GET DIPLOMA AFTER LEAVING COLLEGE DECADES AGO

After Barger learned that he would be graduating, he told The Associated Press that it “was something I never dreamed of.”

“I’m going to be proud to hang that diploma on the wall and think about the friends behind it,” he previously said. “I found out without friends, this old world wouldn’t be worth living in.”

After serving in World War II, Barger returned to Toledo, Ohio and enrolled in college. But working and raising a family consumed his time and he ultimately didn’t finish his degree.

90-YEAR-OLD NASCAR GREAT HERSCHEL MCGRIFF RETURNS TO RACING

The decision to pull up his records came after Barger became friends with Haraz Ghanbari, the school’s director of military and veteran affairs. The pair met five years ago when Ghanbari, a Navy Reserve officer, asked Barger to officiate his promotion to lieutenant.

He soon learned that the veteran never graduated, despite taking a full course load from 1947 to 1950.

Barger, assisted by Ghanbari, greeted school officials at the University of Toledo graduation on Saturday.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

 

Ghanbari was present at Saturday’s commencement ceremony, sitting with the 96-year-old and escorting him from the stage as Barger shook hands with school officials after receiving his diploma.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/05/05/world-war-ii-veteran-96-receives-college-degree-more-than-60-years-after-his-last-class-report-says.html

How student loan companies pretend to be your friend

Private lenders are using free movies and happy hours to entice people to refinance their student debt

Are you one of the 44 million Americans drowning in student loans you fear you’ll never pay back? Worried that you’ll be in the red for the rest of your life? Well, why not forget about your spiraling debt by kicking back and watching a movie!

This month, banking company Laurel Road announced that if you refinance your student loan with them, they will give you a years membership to MoviePass, the movie theater subscription service.

The partnership shines a light on the growing market for private student loans. Private lenders currently hold less than 10% of the $1.4tn in outstanding student loan debt but have been aggressively lobbying for legislation that would loosen the government’s monopoly.

People
People mingle at a SoFi event in San Jose, California. Photograph: SoFi

Republican lawmakers have given them cause for optimism. Last year, congressional Republicans put forward the Prosper Act which would cap the federal loan amounts graduate students can receive. While private lenders often offer lower interest rates than the government, they don’t come with the same consumer protections as federal loans. Some experts worry that federal loan caps would steer students into private loans that aren’t necessarily in their best interests.

In an effort to make themselves seem more attractive than federal options, some private lenders are branding themselves more like lifestyle companies. They’re not just loaning you money, they’re your best friend!

The
The SoFi app lets you message people you have met at their events. Photograph: SoFi

Social Finance Inc (SoFi), one of the most high-profile private financial startups in the US, has led the charge in this regard. Since it launched in 2011 the company has attempted to differentiate itself by referring to its customers as members and inviting them to exclusive events like cocktail parties and cooking classes. In 2017, SoFi held 323 member events across the US (more than 60 cities), serving over 14,000 members. By the end of this year, the company says it will have organized more than 800 member events and hosted over 42,000 members in total. We don’t think of ourselves as a finance company, we think of ourselves as money, career, and relationships, the then CEO, Mike Cagney, said at a technology conference last May. Cagney stepped down from the company late last year after allegations of sexual harassment.

Before the Cagney controversy, SoFi floated the idea of launching a dating app, after seeing romances spring up between members at their events. While this idea was eventually scrapped the SoFi app does allow members who meet at events to message each other.

Laurel Roads partnership with MoviePass is more evidence of private lending companies trying to make student loan debt fun even as student debt per capita has doubled in the past decade and there has been a rise in the number of cases brought against federal lenders illegally harassing their customers. The student loan crisis is now so dire that a new game show, Paid Off with Michael Torpey, is giving students the chance to compete on TV to have their debt paid off. The series which premieres in July on TruTV is aimed at starting a conversation about the student debt crisis, not trivializing it, an executive from TruTV told the Guardian.

Still, there is something inherently dystopian in the fact that America has reached a place where the only hope some people have for getting out of debt is winning a game show.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/jun/04/student-loan-debt-relief-moviepass-sofi

Was it worth getting a student loan?

I started this blog to document my thoughts and to do research about paying off my student loans.  I search frequently on the internet and other media resources for stories of why and how other people have successfully paid off student loans.  As a teacher, the amount of education decides how much you can earn each year.   When the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 defines highly qualified as a teacher with a Master’s Degree this was a determining factor during the economic collapse of 2007-2008 whether or not you kept your job as a teacher.  Between 2004 and 2017 I earned 3 graduate degrees and my annual pay never decreased because I was constantly column jumping because of my graduate degree progress.  There were also tax advantages because of the school tuition deductions and interest accumulations.  So was it worth it?

Pay Difference

In the current school district with a BA, my pay would have been frozen at $51, 952 after five years of service.  But with almost 15 years of service and a doctorate, the annual salary is approximately $93,000 for 186 days of work during the school year.  Currently, a doctorate earns an additional $91 dollars a month which doesn’t help much for repaying the student loans.  So while I am working everything is just fine.  But looking forward to retirement with a student loan does not look so good at all.  If I die then the wife does not have to worry about the debt under current statues.  But the current administration presents some worries that prompt this former student to look at ways of paying off the debt in seven years.

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Teacher Loan Forgiveness

As a math teacher, I was anticipating getting my loans partly forgiven.  After completing my Masters I submitted for loan forgiveness and was denied because my school district had opted out of Title I status.  No Title I no loan forgiveness at least that is what I was told.  The only other way of loan forbearance is to become a lifetime learner.  If you stay in school you never make any payments and I know of quite a few teachers who were turned down for forgiveness just enrolled back into school to delay paying.  But this is only a delay because he or she can NEVER retire.  Lesson learned is to not trust anyone but make plans to pay off the loan somehow and someway.

Paying Off Your Student Loans

Debt can feel like a weight pressing down on you, but ignoring it doesn’t make things any better. To chart a path out of debt, the first step is figuring out how much you owe. Most people have a vague idea of how many loans they have, but many avoid facing the total head on.

The only way to get control over your finances is to take a full inventory. Add up all of your student loans, credit card balances, car loan balances, lines of credit, overdue bills, and other debts. The grand total can come as a shock, but once you know exactly what you’re dealing with, you have several avenues to explore — increasing your income, cutting back your spending, and decreasing the sum that you owe.

The last is the one that people overlook most often. But some debts, like medical bills, can be negotiated down. High-interest credit card balances can often be transferred to a new card with a 0% introductory APR. And student loans can often be refinanced or consolidated, saving thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

8 Tips to Help You Pay Off Student Loans Faster

Paying off student loans isn’t easy, but the following strategies can help you get out from under your debt faster.

1. Refinance for a better rate

Don’t pay more interest than necessary. Refinancing or consolidating your loans could cut hundreds of dollars off of your monthly payments and save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Most federal student loans charge everyone the same percentage, a one-size-fits-all interest rate that is often higher than what private lenders offer, because it has to account for high-risk applicants who are more likely to default or not finish their degrees. People who have built up their credit in the years since graduation are often better off getting a new loan on their own merits. A recent review by the National Student Loan Union found that people who refinanced saved an average of $259 a month and $19,231 over the life of the loan. Some borrowers saved more, and some less, depending on the size of their debt and their credit histories. But the average amounts were pretty staggering.

2. Make extra payments any time you can

With most lenders, there is no penalty for paying early. So any time you have extra money – for example, if you get a tax refund, a bonus at work, or have a month with a third paycheck – it’s smart to make an extra loan payment. Someone with $35,000 of student loans and an interest rate of 6.8% would typically have to pay about $400 a month for 10 years to get out of debt. Adding an extra $100 a month would cut the payoff time by about 2½ years and save $3,583 in interest.

To get the most benefit from your extra payments, be sure to put them toward your highest interest loans first. Start by logging in to the Federal Student Aid website to find out your federal loan interest rates. If you have private loans, contact your student loan servicer to find out your rates. Rank them accordingly and put extra money toward the highest rate loans first.

3. Make a 3- to 5-year plan

It’s easier to make budget sacrifices when you know that it’s temporary. Focus on the end date of your loan, and consider doing things like living with a roommate or keeping an older vehicle until then. Returning to the nest, eating Ramen noodles, and embracing the college lifestyle for a bit longer might not sound that appealing, but committing to your goal will make it all worthwhile.

4. Set up autopay

You’re less likely to overspend if you schedule your loan payments to be debited as soon as you get paid. You won’t miss the money as much if you “take it off the top” and don’t see it in your account. Also, most lenders will give you a 0.25% interest rate discount when you sign up for automatic debit.

5. Explore freelance and “side hustle” opportunities

Doing freelance or part-time work can help keep debt down during and after college. Whether it’s photography, dog-walking, web design, or catering – anything you can do to earn extra money will get you out of debt faster.  Sites like UpworkiFreelance, and Project4hire have a wide range of short-term and long-term projects. You can also participate in the sharing economy with companies like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit. Earning an extra $500 a month could cut your payoff time by 5 years or more, depending on how much you owe.

6. Use the buddy system

The buddy system is not just helpful for exercising or losing weight. A lot of people find paying off student loans easier if they have an “accountability partner” who shares the same goals. Things like shopping or going to happy hours can sabotage your financial plans. A buddy can help you stay motivated to cook at home, pursue extra income, decorate with “upcycled” thrift finds, travel cheaply, and avoid splurges. With a little creativity, it can also be fun. You can also read debt success stories and subscribe to couponing and savings blogs.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for a raise

If you’ve been at your job for a while, you’ve been giving 100 percent, and especially if you have an annual review coming up, consider asking for a raise. Start by keeping track of ways you’ve helped your company save money or make money. Do some research about salaries in your industry and how yours compares. A week or so before your review, schedule time with your boss to discuss your goals with the company and make your case for a raise. They might say no. But if they say yes, you will get a bigger paycheck.

8. Monitor your credit score

Paying your student loans on time each month helps you establish a good credit history. It’s smart to monitor your FICO score for a variety of reasons like buying a car or home, and protecting yourself against identity theft. But as your score rises, you also might qualify for lower interest rates on your outstanding balance – particularly once your score gets above 700. Everyone is entitled to a free credit report every 12 months. You can check yours at https://www.annualcreditreport.com.

Reference

https://www.cometfi.com/paying-off-student-loans

 

 

Supermarket Censors Teen’s ‘Summa Cum Laude’ Graduation Cake

A cake celebrating a South Carolina teen’s high school graduation turned into a not-so-sweet surprise when a Publix supermarket censored the inscription “summa cum laude.”

The grad’s mom, Cara Koscinski, said she ordered a cake online from her local Publix for a graduation party for her 18-year-old son, Jacob. The store allows customers to customize cake orders with a personalized inscription.

 

Koscinski said she ordered a cake the words: “Congrats Jacob! Summa Cum Laude Class of 2018.”

 

Instead, supermarket bakers wrote: “Congrats Jacob! Summa – – – Laude Class of 2018.”

Incredulous, Koscinski shared pictures of the censored cake on Facebook. “I seriously couldn’t make this crap up!!!!” she wrote. “Funny, not funny.”

The Washington Post, which did a deeper dive on the Publix website, reported that the online box where customers enter cake inscriptions is extremely temperamental, and filters “profane/special characters.” “Cum,” despite its use as a preposition meaning “with” in the Latin phrase summa cum laude “with the highest distinction” was rendered profane.

 

Koscinski told the newspaper that she “explained that Summa Cum Laude was a Latin term for high academic honor and was not profane” in the “special instructions” box on the Publix website, and included a link that defined the phrase.

 

She said she was busy with party preparations and didn’t notice the cake’s messed up message until it was time for dessert. The dashed-out message, she said, was humiliating for her teenage son.

 

“It was unbelievable. I ordered the special graduation edition cake. I can’t believe I’m the first one to ever write ‘Summa Cum Laude’ on a cake,” Koscinski told the Post.

Publix offered to make another cake, but Koscinski said she declined because Jacob would “only graduate once.” She said the store refunded $70 for the cake and gave her a store gift card.

 

Koscinski told HuffPost that she and her son “think it’s overwhelming and crazy.”

“But we are laughing about it,” she said, adding that she’ll “probably avoid” Publix “for now.”

 

Publix told HuffPost in a statement that satisfying customers is the “top priority” of the chain, which has locations in the Southeast.

 

“You can feel confident that this situation has been addressed, and the appropriate business areas and leaders are involved,” the statement said.

 

HuffPost spoke to Jeanne Neumann, a professor in the classics department at Davidson College, who shared this saucy tidbit about cakes and Latin over email: “A cake celebrating the end of a war of a simpler time might have proclaimed Gladii Omnes in vaginas recondantur! (May all swords be sheathed! (or) All swords should be put in their sheaths).” Neumann noted that “vagina” in Latin means “sheath for a sword.”

That might have passed the Publix censors, but what about words that might not have?

“The commands ‘tell me’ (dic) and ‘do it’ (fac) sound a bit like ‘dick’ and ‘fuck’ when pronounced. Just a bit, but enough to get students laughing,” said Neumann.

This article has been updated to include a statement from Publix and comment from Neumann.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/publix-censors-teens-summa-cum-laude-graduation-cake_us_5b042efbe4b003dc7e46a54a

Navy mom surprises daughter in Texas after 7-month long deployment

A third-grade student at an elementary school in Texas got a special surprise Tuesday during lunchtime when her mother was brought home a day early after a seven-month deployment with the Navy.

The Hutto Independent School District organized the reunion for Navy Chief Petty Officer Marqueta Grant and her daughter, Christina Zamora.

“I know my baby so well. I know her so well. I just knew she would cry, and the arms would fly up. I anticipated it,” Grant told FOX7.

QUADRUPLETS TO SERVE IN DIFFERENT BRANCHES OF MILITARY AFTER HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION

Grant, who has been in the Navy for 22 years, said she loves her job.

Navy Chief Petty Officer Marqueta Grant surprised her third grade daughter at her elementary school in Texas.  (FOX7)

“It teaches life lessons people don’t normally get,” she said.

But the deployments have become more difficult, especially leaving her family.

“It’s hard to be away from the family but I know what I’m doing serves a purpose,” Grant told FOX7.

Zamora said the deployments make her “really miss” her mom.

“I feel like she’s never coming home and it’s really emotional to think about her not coming home,” she said.

ARIZONA COLLEGE PLANTS 10K FLAGS TO HONOR THE FALLEN FOR MEMORIAL DAY

Grant will spend two weeks at home, then deploy for the very last time before returning home for good in August. Her 22 years of service is something her family told FOX7 they are thankful for.

“She told me to be brave sometimes when she’s overseas and to think about something else instead of crying,” Zamora told FOX7.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/05/23/navy-mom-surprises-daughter-in-texas-after-7-month-long-deployment.html