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Posted October 11, 2019 by

Why employers should offer 529 college savings and tuition reimbursement plans

The cost of higher education is exponentially higher for the Millennials who recently graduated and Gen Zers who are currently enrolled in one-, two-, and four-year colleges and universities. A Baby Boomer may have paid $10,000 for tuition, room, and board in the 1960s. By the 1980s, the same would have cost a Gen Xer about $50,000. Today, the same will cost a Gen Zer $250,000. A very small percentage of students don’t face that kind of sticker shock as they’re extremely affluent and pay for that out-of-pocket, perhaps with savings, or they’re amongst those with the lowest income but qualify for the largest merit scholarships. For the vast majority of students, financing hundreds of thousands of dollars for their education is the reality. 

It is pretty common for student loans to carry interest rates of 6.25 percent, so about double what home mortgages cost, despite the student loans being of lower risk than home mortgages as you can’t discharge student loan debt through bankruptcy. Also normal is a 20-year repayment period. The cost of a $250,000 loan with an interest rate of 6.25 percent and a length of 20 years results in a monthly payment of $1,827.32, which is about $2,500 before tax. In other words, just to cover your student loans, you need to earn $30,000 a year. Even if your cost of education is half of that, you need to earn about $15,000 a year just to cover your student loans. 

Employers that create 529 education savings and tuition reimbursement plans effectively give their participating employees a substantial raise without it costing the employer anything. Money contributed to a 529 plan is tax-deductible, so if the employee contributes $10,000 a year, they’re going to save about $2,500 a year in taxes. That employee has therefore just effectively been given a $2,500 raise by their employer, without that raise costing the employer anything. Even more dramatic is tuition reimbursement, as that doesn’t cost the employee anything. At College Recruiter, we offer tuition reimbursement of $1,500 per year. If the employee’s tax bracket is 25 percent, that’s worth $2,000 to them. We are, effectively, giving those employees a $2,000 per year raise.

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Posted April 17, 2019 by

Why are your interns and new grad hires so strapped for cash?

The student debt that Millennials and now Gen Z have and are incurring is crippling and, long-term, could financially devastate an entire generation.

Those who went to college in the 1980’s or earlier simply can’t relate as the cost to attend college then could be covered by working part-time as a waiter or bartender and any debt they graduated with could be repaid within a handful of years working at a job that paid well but not even great.
Today’s students are often attending schools which charge $25,000 or more per year plus another $15,000 in related costs such as traveling to and from school each semester, rent, food, and books. A four-year degree, therefore, often costs $160,000.

Part-time jobs typically pay about $10 per hour. At 20-hours a week, that’s $41,600 over four years, so about $120,000 needs to be financed. Student loans often carry interest rates of eight percent or more, so over 20-years the average student is going to see about half of their gross wages disappear to repay the principal plus interest on their student debt.

The end results is that the average graduate of a four-year college or university is effectively being asked to live on about $25,000 per year. If they run into any unexpected, significant expenses like the need to replace a car or have surgery, then there is a very real possibility of them falling into delinquency. Many of the student loans then charge huge penalties, including significantly higher interest rates. So if you miss a payment one or two times, your already exorbitant interest rate of eight can easily escalate to 16 percent and then 24 percent. Before you know it, you’re paying 24 percent interest on a six figure loan that is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy.

If that’s not a recipe for financial disaster, I don’t know what is.

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Posted March 13, 2019 by

How does the admissions cheating scandal impact students deciding on what college to attend?

One of the biggest stories of the week is the alleged college admissions scheme apparently perpetrated by dozens of wealthy and well-connected Americans which, if true, are guilty of defrauding the schools and perhaps the federal government.

According to CNN, actress Lori Loughlin — who starred in the hit sitcom Full House, “surrendered Wednesday morning to federal authorities in Los Angeles, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said, as fallout from the college admissions scandal continues to spread. Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to designate their two daughters as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, even though they did not participate in crew, according to court documents released Tuesday.”

“Fifty people — from Hollywood stars and top industry CEOs to college coaches and standardized test administrators — stand accused of participating in a scheme to cheat on admissions tests and admit to students to leading institutions as athletes regardless of their abilities, prosecutors revealed Tuesday in a federal indictment. The scandal is being called the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted.”

If true, the scam brings to light the dirty, dark, not-so-secret truth that America has never been a meritocracy and has always suffered from crony capitalism, which devalues the hard work and effort expended by the vast majority of the population.

Although Americans have been brought up to believe that if you work hard and play by the rules that you can be anything you want to be, that has only been the case for some and not for most. Until JFK, all presidents were white, male, land-owning, Protestants. Until Barack Obama, all were male, land-owning, Christians. A look at the C-suite of the Fortune 1,000 reveals that the lack of diversity and inclusion is not limited to the White House. In short, meritocracy existed only for a small minority of the population.

Parents and students remain obsessed with getting into the “best” college or university largely for status reasons but also for rational, economic reasons. Somehow, if your kid gets into an elite university, that makes you a better parent in the eyes of some, but that’s truly unfortunate has allowed the banks and higher education industries to redistribute to themselves and their shareholders enormous amounts of wealth from the middle class. 

However, there are good, rational, economic reasons to enroll in and graduate from an elite college: your chances are higher of landing a well-paying job with a well known and respected employer. Most of the best known and respected employers recruit the bulk of their professional, entry-level talent from colleges and universities and for decades they’ve done so largely by sending recruiters and hiring managers to interview on college campuses.

Fortunately, an increasing minority of employers are looking at their outcomes data — which employees are the most productive — and are finding that there is a weak and sometimes negative correlation between the perceived quality of the school and productivity of the employee. That is leading these employees to become school agnostic, meaning that they are being more inclusive in their hiring by reducing or eliminating their on-campus hiring efforts in favor of hiring through job boards such as College Recruiter and other Internet sites. 

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Posted January 09, 2019 by

What colleges don’t want high school students and parents to consider during the application process

A friend of mine recently posted to Facebook that the guidance counselor at the high school her kids attend recently indicated that “most” colleges require at least three years of a second language in order to consider the student for possible admission. I called b.s. on that statement and then outlined some additional information that high school guidance counselors and college admissions representatives often either don’t know or, for whatever reason, often fail to communicate:

I know you and I are on the same page, but the guidance counselor is providing terrible guidance and needs to be more careful about accurately guiding her students. 

There are 8 Ivy League schools. There are 3,000, four-year colleges. There are another 4,300 one- and two-year colleges. 

Ivys represent 0.267 percent of four-year colleges. Hardly representative.

More important words of advice: Talk openly and honestly with your kids about the financial impact of college. 

Here is the reality: if a family is wealthy and can pay out of pocket — including savings — then the cost isn’t as important.  (more…)

Posted September 05, 2018 by

Furthering your education might be more possible with your employer’s help

 

Some employers offer tuition reimbursement or even scholarships that help their employees pay for school. For all the students who work part-time to help pay their tuition, this kind of additional assistance can be the difference between staying in school or dropping out. And for employees who are intimidated by the decision to balance work with school, it could help to ask your employer what kind of support they offer that would allow you to further your education. We connected with Jason Bilotti, Owner-Operator of West Paces Ferry Chick-fil-A in Atlanta. Chick-fil-A awards scholarships to thousands of employees, this year totaling $14.5 million, to help them further their education. Bilotti shares here about why he thinks it’s so important for employees at the retail level to further their education.

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Posted February 08, 2018 by

Strategies to address the tech skills gap and plan your future workforce

 

We wanted to know how employers are addressing the tech skills gap and learning to prepare their future workforce pipeline. We met with Parvathi Sivaraman and Maan Hamdan from Education Unbound, which was formed to build up STEAM in education. By supporting education, they also help reduce the expected tech skills gap and mitigate some of the negative impact automation will have on many traditional jobs. (more…)

Posted December 05, 2016 by

Value of vocational degrees: Preparing the workforce for all occupations

College or vocational degreeContributing writer Ted Bauer

Recently, we have heard a lot of arguments that the college degree is essentially the new high school degree. (Some even believe that, within 5-10 years, a graduate degree will be the new college degree.) As more people pursue four-year degrees, they’re accruing debt. As they do so, they enter a job market where wages aren’t rising that much.  

Student loans have become a crisis in some respects, and this is happening at a time when many wages are stagnant or falling. As such, there’s been an increased focus on the value of vocational and technical degrees. In fact, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner appeared at a ReCode event in late November and said the U.S. cares too much about four-year degrees. He adds:   (more…)

Posted June 30, 2016 by

Limitless career opportunities: Indian Health Service

Opportunity. Adventure. Purpose.

IHS_REC_Blog_730x150_GrtPlains_Horses_MAY_ColRecrThe Indian Health Service (IHS) Great Plains Area is one of the best-kept secrets in the world of health care employment opportunities today. With clinical opportunities in more than 15 health profession disciplines, the sky truly is the limit for clinicians hoping to practice in the Great Plains Area.

Offering health professionals opportunities to provide comprehensive health care to more than 122,000 American Indians and Alaskan Natives in hospitals, clinics, and outreach programs throughout the Great Plains Area, Indian Health Service provides clinicians with three distinct career path options. Each option offers comprehensive salary and benefits. Indian health professionals are also eligible to apply for up to $20,000 per year in loan repayment of their qualified health profession education loans.

That’s not all. An Indian health career within the Great Plains offers clinicians a unique work/life balance, including ample opportunity for recreational pursuits throughout North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. Known for its awe-inspiring natural attractions and landmarks, the Great Plains Area boasts world-class fishing, hunting, hiking, skiing, and more.

In addition to opportunities for health professionals, Indian Health Service lays the foundation for the education of future Indian Health Service leaders through three levels of scholarship assistance for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Since its inception in 1977, the IHS Scholarship Program has provided thousands of scholarship recipients with financial support in their educational pursuits leading to careers in health care.

IHS_REC_Blog_300x200_GrtPlains_Phys_MAY_ColRecrWhat’s more, the IHS Extern Program allows health profession students a chance to receive hands-on instruction while working alongside Indian health professionals. Externships are available for 30 to 120 days during non-academic periods. Externs become familiar with Native communities as well; this cultural experience is invaluable in today’s diverse workplace.

Visit ihs.gov/careeropps for more information about the limitless Indian health opportunities available for recent graduates and health profession students within the Great Plains Area.

Want to learn more about other great employers and career options? Keep reading our blog and register to search College Recruiter’s website for great internship and job opportunities, and find the right fit for you. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

 

Posted April 23, 2016 by

Financial aid secrets for college students

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With graduation season looming, high school seniors throughout the country are receiving their college acceptance letters and celebrating their impending sense of freedom. At the same time, parents are studying financial aid options and scratching their heads trying to figure out how to pay for the upcoming four (or more) years.

As the costs of attending college rise, it’s important to consider scholarships, grants, and student loans to assist with the hefty fees. There are also some innovative tricks that can help reduce this cost. Here are some insights gleaned from real university financial aid employees, parents, and former college students all high school seniors and their families should know.

Use your FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an important financial aid document college students shouldn’t skip. Even if they don’t think they’ll qualify for any money, it’s important to fill this form out annually. This is how the federal government and schools determine what type of aid to give students. There are many subtle things that can impact the grants offered, many of which are unknown to the average person, and may change the amount a family qualifies for.

Attend class

Many universities have strict attendance and truancy policies to prevent abuse of the grants offered. If a student withdraws from a class due to non-attendance in the first few classes or consistent unexplained absences, their course load may drop below the mandatory credits needed to qualify for certain grants. If you have a scholarship or grant already, make sure you know the terms and what’s expected from your end.

Become a Resident Advisor (RA)

Aside from tuition, room and board are the most expensive costs incurred during college. With the average college student paying $8,535 a year just for a place to stay, it makes sense to try to skimp on this fee. Students who work as a Resident Advisor often wind up with free or significantly reduced room and board in exchange for their services, making this one of the most lucrative student jobs available.

Learn to cook

While Top Ramen may be students best friend those first few months, anything prepared at home is bound to be more affordable than college meal plans and eating out at restaurants. Even if a student’s cooking skills need some brushing up, this is one of the easiest ways to save money. Don’t be afraid of the kitchen.

Find freebies

So much of an average college student’s budget is spent on personal expenses, which often includes entertainment. Seek free options available through the university instead. Campuses are loaded with free amenities, from swimming pools and libraries to dorm dinners, guest lecture speakers, and student clubs.

Join a credit union

Since credit unions are run as cooperatives, they can afford giving customers extra perks that wind up saving them a lot of money. They typically feature lower credit card interest rates, higher interest rates paid out on savings accounts, and reduced-fee ATMs and online banking services.

While the term “starving student” has origins in truth, it doesn’t need to be a reality for all. Instead, research financial aid opportunities and spend wisely to save money and stick to a good budget throughout your academic career.

If you’re interested in more information on financial aid, please visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Brooke Chaplan, guest writer

Brooke Chaplan, guest writer

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information on first time budgeting, see what a Bountiful Utah Credit Union might recommend. Brooke is available via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Posted February 13, 2016 by

Balancing academics and work as a college student

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Anthony Taylor, guest writer

Students go off to college, but it’s not the rosy life they see in the movies. There are bills to pay, tuition to afford, books to buy, and honestly, balancing finances at a young age is hard. Studying in college and concentrating on getting good grades is tough enough without throwing in a job into the mix. But the money has to flow in to either support the family or to support getting an education. Whatever the reason, here are a few tips to help college students juggle their working and studying lives.

1. Find a job with flexible hours: Let’s face it; students are in college now. There will be coursework and assignments with tight deadlines, and studying should always be a priority. An education will serve as the building blocks for the future so students shouldn’t push it in the backburner. They should find jobs where they can easily accommodate their studies, too, so neither one suffers. These jobs could be within the college campus, as those kinds of jobs understand the balance between work and study, and they can help college students manage their homework.

2. Manage time wisely: With so much on the line, it is wise to have a good time management schedule. College students should know where they spend their time. Many successful people plan nearly each moment of their day to get the most out of their 24 hours. Many times we end up wasting time and not realizing it when we could be putting it to good use. Use lunch breaks to catch up on math homework, or grab a few hours of work during a long lunch break in college. Those few hours can add up during the week. Students need to keep checking in to see if they’re on track per their schedules to know they’re not overcommitting themselves or falling short of their goals. If students know they function better in the mornings, they should get evening jobs so they can do coursework or assignments when they’re fresh and vice versa.

3. Have family support: This goes without saying; without a support system, college students will find it very hard to adjust both lives alone. Students should inform their managers at work, friends, or family to support them in this decision, and help them both personally and professionally. This kind of support will help students infinitely when they feel the pressure is too much, or they need help with managing homework.

4. Know what they want: College students should choose jobs wisely if they can. Students should think about how what they do now could benefit them in the future. Remember, everything can be added to their portfolios. If working in a store, think of inventory – managing time and stock. All of this could and should be interpreted as work experience, and this could boost entry into the working world by gaining experience, references, professional growth, and of course, the money.

5. Be creative in getting homework done: By having a job, college students are effectively cutting down on their study hours. Students must be smart about juggling their time, and try listening to lectures while working. They should also keep their managers in the loop so they get that support system. This way, students can learn, revise, and perhaps even do homework during work hours, which don’t require much brain activity like sorting mail, etc.

6. Take a mental break: It is important to have some time out from studies. Always having studies/ homework on the mind will stress students out, especially if they know they can’t do it during work hours. Allow a study free zone while at work. Know there is nothing students can do about it, so they should give themselves permission to relax. Many times we block ourselves, and take on more stress over things we cannot control. Those moments students are not thinking about studies could benefit them in the long run. This way, they can approach their assignments with a fresh mind.

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7. Stay focused on the end goal: The end goal should be graduating. Many times, once students start working, they find it hard to stay focused on education. It becomes easy to forget about studies and think about short term benefits, such as getting paid. This spending power lets many people forget about graduating. College students must find ways to motivate themselves. Keep pictures of graduates at their ceremonies or photos of people who managed to reach the pinnacle of their careers to have an aim and a goal to reach.

8. Research on future courses: Students should find courses relevant to them and their future interests. Don’t choose a random course because friends are taking it, or because somebody else has a strong opinion about it. Students need to discover what they are passionate about and what they see themselves doing in the future. Doing some research on courses will help them achieve their future goals.

9. Be smart financially: Money can flow through college students’ fingers like water if they’re not careful. Keep track on spending and where the money has to be allocated. If there are bills to pay, keep that money aside, or pay off debts before doing anything else. This helps students become more financially independent. This not involves their weekly paycheck, but also their tuition. Most colleges have hefty fees so be sure to enroll in a program where there are future benefits. Don’t get a job and go into debt due to careless spending, as this will cause a downward spiral.

10. Be passionate: Happiness can only come from within. College students should be passionate about the courses they will be taking; passion will get them through tough times. If students truly do something they love, they will excel in it. Be happy at the workplace. Find a job that is mentally stimulating or has a good work team. This makes a huge difference in students’ mental health and happiness, and when they’re young and balancing their work and study lives, this is very important.

The balance for managing studies and work can be a fine line, and one that should be carefully monitored so college students don’t end up suffering by their decision to work. This has become a recent trend, as many young students have bills to pay, and this enables them to gain work experience while also getting homework help and inspiration from their coworkers or family.

Need more tips for college students, check out College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Anthony Taylor is a writer, student and editor on student’s writing website. He loves reading, writing motivational stories and spending the time with his family. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+ for more interesting stories.