Education Column

Your education is your #1 asset. Benjamin Franklin once said: “Genius without education is like silver in the mine.” It doesn’t matter whether other people think you’re smart or not, education is what sharpens the mind and magnifies the innate skills you were born with.


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 Education, Family 
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How to Financially Prepare for Having a Baby

Some may say that there is no way to completely prepare for having a baby, but there is plenty you can do to make the path as smooth as possible financially for baby’s arrival. (I can’t help you with the sleepless nights except to tell you that eventually, though not as soon as you would like, you will be able to sleep through the night again!)

According to the USDA, a child born in 2010 will cost $226,920 to raise to the age of 17. That number doesn’t even include college expenses! Even if you take measures to cut costs, raising a child is still an expensive proposition. Ideally, your preparation should begin before baby is even conceived.

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 Education 
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5 Things Your College Student Doesn’t Need this Fall

StudentBack to school is well underway, and some college students are on campus and ready to get on with the semester. As you send your college student off, it is tempting to provide him or her with everything necessary to live comfortably. Indeed, it’s easy to go overboard with what you buy for your college student.

Before you shell out for your student’s needs, consider these 5 items he or she won’t actually need this fall:

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 Education 
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Save Money on School: Start at a Community College

College GraduationFor many parents and students, the cost of college is one of the most daunting expenditures likely to be faced. The cost of a four-year degree keeps rising, and if the student goes on to graduate school, the expenses continue to pile up even higher.

One way to reduce the cost of an education is to start out at a less expensive school. Community colleges offer a number of advantages that can help you get a good start on your education, while costing you less.

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 Education 
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College Saving Tips: Interview with Peter Mazareas Part One

Peter Mazareas, College Savings FoundationLast week, we discussed the topic of college savings with Gary Hoover and Warren Smith. Today, we also have the pleasure of speaking with Peter Mazareas, Chairman Emeritus of the College Savings Foundation. The College Savings Foundation is a not for profit organization that is helping American families achieve their education goals by working with policy makers, media, and the financial services industry in support of education savings programs. As Chairman Emeritus, Peter had unique insight into the full scope of educational savings opportunities, and this first part of our chat I had the pleasure of asking him a few questions on how families can best save for college and what families can do today to improve their chances.

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 Education 
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Senate Bill to Extend Low Interest Rates for Student Loans Fails

In a vote of 52 to 45, the Senate failed to pass a motion to begin debate on a Democratic bill that would have frozen student loan interest rates before they are set to increase on July 1st. The Senate needs 60 votes to begin debate on a bill and Republicans planned to filibuster the bill over how the bill would be funded. The cost to freeze interest rates would be about $6 billion and Democrats planned to offset that with increased Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes on high earners.

Who is affected by this increase? Any students taking out subsidized Stafford loans after July 1st. The current rate, set by a law in 2007, is a mere 3.4%. Holders of existing subsidized Stafford loans are not affected.

Personally, I’m of the mindset that subsidized funding for education is important but we’re in a very troubling time. The cost of one year at my alma mater is nearly $60,000 a year – which is nearly double what I paid. Well, technically I got Stafford loans and some grants, but the top line number was “only” $30,000. There’s no doubt that college is expensive but higher education is like any profit – it’s price is in part dictated by supply and demand. As more cheap money is available to student borrowers, colleges can pay more because the student offsets higher prices with cheap funding.

This is especially true when you look at the for profit education space, where for profit universities are happy to charge less exorbitant sums knowing full well that their students aren’t going to be getting a positive ROI out of the investment. I’ve heard plenty of “non profit” (I think all universities are for profit) horror stories of people with six figure debts for low paying entry level liberal arts degrees too, so it’s not a “profit vs. not-for-profit” issue.

That said, I don’t know what the solution is but I don’t think increasing interest rates will help us as a whole.

 Education 
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Free Online College Education Classes & Resources

Odyssey of the Mind HomepageThe debate over the usefulness of a college degree continues, but it is worth noting that you don’t need to go to college in order to get an education. Indeed, there are a number of opportunities for you to learn all around. Not only can you learn from experience, but you can also learn from free online lectures.

Thanks to technology, it’s possible to get access to free education resources online. You can expand your knowledge base, and continue to grow. If you are looking to improve your mind, and learn something new, here are some great educational resources you can use:

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 Career, Education 
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How Higher Education is Responding to Higher Costs

college campusOne of the big subjects of debate right now is whether or not student loans and education will account for the next economic bubble. Not too long ago, outstanding student loan debt surpassed $1 trillion, and student loan debt is now larger than credit card debt. The rising cost of higher education has caused many to pause and wonder if a college degree is really worth it.

Many parents, anxious about the cost of college, are looking for ways to prepare. It’s smart to prepare for college, of course, but some think that there are some things the higher education industry could be doing to help bring college costs back into the realm of affordability. Sure, it’s important for parents and kids to save for college, but shouldn’t schools be looking for solutions to the rising cost of college as well? Luckily, according to CNN Money, some are beginning to respond to concerns, and are offering options that can save college students money:

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 Education 
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Kids & Money: When to Start Saving for Your Child’s College Education

College GraduationOne of the questions that many anxious parents ask themselves is this: When should I start saving for my child’s college education?

The answer, as it is for so many questions related to saving, is, “as soon as possible.” It’s never too early to begin saving for your child’s college education. Indeed, the sooner you start, the more time you will have for compound interest to work on your child’s behalf.

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