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Money in a jar for a college fund. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted February 23, 2017 by

17 strategies that can help you graduate from college debt free

 

College is expensive. And student loan debt is on the rise. While many believe the only way to graduate from college debt free is by receiving an academic or athletic scholarship, there are actually several strategies one can implement to graduate from college debt free – or with much less debt than the average college student graduates with – which is just over $30,000.

It’s not easy and it could make the path to graduation more challenging, but it can be done. It starts by planning in advance and digging deep to find ways to accomplish this goal.

“The days of going to college without any real pre-planning or self-evaluation are over,” says Bob LaBombard, retired CEO of GradStaff, a company that helps college students and recent college grads identify where there skills fit in the job force  “It’s just too costly and risky.”

Consider these facts: More than half of college students change their major at least once. Further, recent data shows that only about 56 percent of students entering college graduate within six years; almost half drop out.

“Clearly, lack of a clear-cut plan often causes students to waste time, precious tuition dollars and, ultimately, interest in completing a degree,” says LaBombard.

There are many strategies that can help college students cover the high costs of obtaining a college degree, and if done correctly, graduating debt free. We highlight those strategies here:

(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 November 11, 2015 by

Three tips for military service members enrolling in higher education

Three tips for military service members enrolling in higher education

Tracey Thomas, making a difference in military service members' lives  at UACCB since 2003

Tracey Thomas, making a difference in military service members’ lives at UACCB since 2003

Understanding VA Educational Benefits

Military service members are often on “information overload” after exiting the military, so they may bypass or misunderstand information given to them. The best thing veterans can do after discharge is talk to a School Certifying Official about the process of accessing VA (Veterans Affairs) Education Benefits. Understanding how to access their benefits, the rules and regulations required for maintaining their benefits and how their benefits payout will help eliminate any misunderstandings and stress. This also allows service members to make informed decisions when presented with options and when deciding how best to juggle school, family, employment, and finances. Active, Reserve, and National Guard members face these same challenges plus a few more because they may qualify for tuition assistance and/or a state funded benefit, so learning the regulations and processes of multiple VA Education Benefits can be especially overwhelming. Navigating this process is not something students should attempt alone.

Don’t rush the process

Trying to jump into school a few weeks after discharge may cause unnecessary stress. It takes time for the Department of Veteran Affairs to process a new application, as well as other types of financial aid, so this will cause a delay in receiving financial assistance. Sometimes it’s better to delay enrollment for one semester, allowing service members adequate time to submit all required documents for college admissions offices; this also ensures all available financial aid is in place when enrolling. This prevents undue stress and frustrations, so service members and veterans can fully concentrate on successfully completing their classes.

Overload of courses

Since VA Education Benefits are limited (36-48 months), some service members try to take an overload of courses to complete their programs quickly. About a month into the semester, service members realize they took on too much when trying to juggle employment, family, and school. If classes are dropped, this may lead to overpayments of financial aid and/or their VA Education Benefits. Service members need to remember it is better to take an extra semester to successfully complete all courses stress-free than to fail or drop courses due to overload and possibly end up in overpayment as well.

Above all, service members should keep in touch with their local School Certifying Official(s) to receive prompt answers to questions, to avoid miscommunication regarding benefits, and to receive support and encouragement while on campus. We’re here to help.

 

Tracey Thomas, Assistant Registrar/School Certifying Official at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (UACCB) since 2003, provides daily assistance to service members and their families in accessing their VA Education Benefits, informing them of VA requirements, certifying enrollment to the VA, providing academic advising, tracking attendance and progress, and offering a listening ear when they become frustrated or want to share their stories of success and accomplishment. Tracey also serves as a mentor for the School Certifying Officials in Arkansas. She says the best part of her job is helping service members and their families. “I feel we owe them for their sacrifices, so it’s important for me to give a little back.”

 

Posted April 14, 2015 by

Tips for Community College Engineers Trying to Transfer to University

Engineering professional with group of students in training

Engineering professional with group of students in training. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you are interested in a future in engineering but you are not sure how to transfer from a community college into a university, then you are not alone. Most of the time, candidates who have earned an associate’s degree in engineering are easily able to transfer into a four-year university program that culminates in a bachelor’s degree, and they can even go on to earn graduate degrees in various types of engineering science. (more…)

Posted April 03, 2015 by

5 Ways to Ease the Transition from Community College to University

Illustration depicting a roadsign with a future concept. White background.

Illustration depicting a roadsign with a future concept. White background. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

In recent years, students and parents have increasingly found the lower tuition costs associated with community colleges to be a big draw. For many families, the cost of a four-year university simply isn’t feasible and many students are not willing or able to borrow the student loans needed to cover the costs. With that being said, eventually students do have to make the transition from community college to a university, should they decide to continue pursuing a bachelor’s degree. (more…)

Posted February 23, 2015 by

How to Become a Certified Motor Vehicle Inspector

Young inspector, business man inspecting car, doing a checklist

Young inspector, business man inspecting car, doing a checklist. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Vehicle inspection agencies only hire qualified individuals. You need to have the right academic qualifications and enough experience. You must also have worked in a related field for at least 5 years. It is advisable to ensure that you have all the required qualifications prior to applying for any post.

The career road map of becoming a certified vehicle inspector requires you to attend various reputable educational and training institutions. You should consult experts in the field or friends who work in the same fields for the ideal leads. (more…)

Posted February 05, 2015 by

College or Entrepreneurship: The Pros and Cons

Taylor Johnson photo

Taylor Johnson

The Millennial generation is turning out to have a high entrepreneurial drive. According to an oDesk study, 72% of Millennials want to quit their jobs and strike out on their own, and 61% of them plan to do so within two years.

Who can blame them? The New York Times reports that “for the first time in modern memory, a whole generation might not prove wealthier than the one that preceded it.”

It’s no wonder why Millennials feel compelled to strike out as entrepreneurs. They feel a keen social and class awareness (we are the 99%!), watch movies like The Social Network, and know that their jobs won’t lead them to great wealth. Millennials know that entrepreneurship may be their only route to making a comfortable amount of money. (more…)

Posted June 16, 2014 by

Online Education vs Traditional Education

As online education continues to grow, will traditional education take a back seat?  I doubt it because the campus experience in college is important for some students.  However, having the option of a more flexible and convenient way getting an education does give you something to consider.  In the following infographic, online education and traditional education go head to head. (more…)

Posted May 13, 2014 by

Why Community College is a Wise Choice for Students

While prospective students are told about attending four year colleges, attending a community college just might be the best choice for getting a higher education.  In the following infographic, find out some reasons why students are attending these schools, and more. (more…)

Posted April 17, 2014 by

Four Costly Student Loan Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Gold image of graduate chained to debt

Gold image of graduate chained to debt. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re in a lot of student loan debt. In fact, as a country we’re in considerably more student loan debt than we are in credit card debt. However, student loan debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing especially if it helped or is helping to fund an education that will pay dividends for the next several decades in the form of a higher income. Having said (or written) that, there are several mistakes that students make regarding the use of student loans and they can be easily avoided. (more…)