DeVry University, ITT Technical Institute, Kaplan University, University of Phoenix. You’ve probably seen the advertisements for these schools, but did you know that they are all for-profit institutions? They are in the education business, and they are doing so at a profit to their investors. But do students benefit too?
• A two-year associate’s degree at a for-profit school costs an average of $35,000.
• A two-year associate’s degree at a comparable community college costs an average of $8,300.
• The average student who graduates from a for-profit school has median debt of $32,700.
• The average student who graduates from a private, non-profit has median debt of $24,600.
• The average student who graduates from a public college or university has median debt of $20,000.
• 96% of students at for-profit schools take out student loans.
• 57% of students in four-year, private, non-profit colleges take out student loans.
• Students who attended for-profit colleges were responsible for 47% of all federal student loan defaults in 2008 and 2009.
• 22% of students enrolled in a for-profit college defaulted on their student loans within three years of beginning repayment.
The disparity between for-profit and non-profit schools is clear – for-profit schools are much more costly and require more financial aid. What isn’t clear is whether for-profit schools are good for you or good for them. The answer depends on who you ask. For-profit schools will tell you that they offer programs for nontraditional students, have unique courses of study and can adapt more quickly to meet their students’ changing needs. After all, they answer to their investors, not to a board of trustees.
Let’s look at the flip side. According to a study done in 2011 on trends in higher education, the completion rate for bachelor’s degrees at for-profit schools was significantly lower than those of non-profit schools.
So students at for-profit colleges pay more for tuition, borrow more money, default on their student loans at a rate of 22% and their graduation rate is lower than a public, four-year college. You’ll have to judge for yourself, but to me, for-profit colleges seem to be in it for themselves.
If you haven’t been scared off yet, evaluate your educational and financial options for both types of schools carefully. Compare the following:
• Annual tuition cost
• Available financial aid (grants and scholarships vs. loans)
• Quality of the curriculum
• Accreditation of the schools you’re considering
• Post-graduation job placement
Any school you’re considering, including for-profits, should have this information readily available so you can make an informed decision.
Figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life can be difficult. Especially, if you consider that you will work for more than 40 years and it's important to find a job you like, a job that pays well, and a job that will not be obsolete in ten years. So, to guide you toward a bright future we have laid out which 5 jobs are growing the fastest and which are declining rapidly.
Fastest Growing Jobs:
1. Personal Care Aides 70.5%
2. Home Health Aides 69.4%
3. Biomedical Engineers 61.7%
4. Helpers (Brickmason, Blockmason, Stonemason etc.) 60.1%
5. Helpers (Carpenter) 55.7%
Fastest Declining Jobs
1. Shoe Machine Operator and Tender -53.4%
2. Postal Service Mail Sorter, Processor -48.5%
3. Postal Service Clerks -48.2%
4. Fabric and Apparel Pattern Maker -35.6%
5. Postmasters and Mail Superintendent -27.8%
Judging from the statistics it would be wise to start a career in health care, as many of the jobs associated with health care are still growing and will not be obsolete at any time in the near future. However, if you were thinking of working for the postal service or in fashion it's wise to think again because those jobs are rapidly declining.
Unless you’ve just won the lottery, you are looking for the best deal when shopping for a new or used car. Understanding how to get the best deal is essential to making sure you don’t break the bank.
Pay with Cash
As the old saying “cash is king” goes, cash has its perks, including when you decide to purchase a car. According to LifeandMyFinances.com, paying in cash increases your chances of getting your car for less than the asking price. Cash gives you a lot of purchasing leverage because the seller doesn’t have to wait for payment. Cash buyers will also save money because they don’t have to worry about paying interest on a car loan.
Invoice v. List Price
According to the Houston Chronicle, the list price is what you see when you look at cars on the lot or ask the salesperson and the invoice price is what the car dealer paid the car’s manufacturer. Based on their findings, room to negotiate can be 10 to 20 percent off the list price. Do your homework for the car’s make and model – information is readily available on the internet.
Go Beyond the Dealer
According to MyMoneyBlog.com purchasing a car from someone other than a car dealer has some benefits. Using Craigslist enables car buyers to find a good used car for a good deal. The website says that you have to use your judgment and ensure you get a good car. It recommends doing a thorough interview with the car’s owner, asking for maintenance records and giving the vehicle a test drive. Another ways to reduce your risk is to get a CARFAX report.
Consider a Repossessed Car
Purchasing a repossessed car can also save you money. With the prolonged economic downturn there is a greater selection of repossessed cars. Many of these vehicles are in great shape. Purchasing a vehicle this way could save you thousands of dollars, but there is a risk of improperly maintained vehicles. USA Today points out that there are dealers that specialize in repossessed only sales, which are a much safer way to have a vehicle inspected and available with some sort of warranty.
However you decide to purchase your next new or used car, you can save money by using this knowledge and applying it to your individual situation.
Trying to create an airtight class schedule is hard enough—forget about throwing any type of work schedule into the mix. Without spending hours staring at a computer screen signing up for classes as new spots open and dropping classes with less-accommodating schedules, we can’t hope to have a remotely attractive class schedule—unless we experiment with online courses.
Online classes are completely different animals than traditional classes. Succeeding in an online class is easy for some personalities, yet extremely difficult for others. Regardless of your personality type or learning preference, following these five steps will help you dominate your next online class.
• Read the syllabus. Then, read it again—and again. Become so familiar with the syllabus that you start dreaming in assignment descriptions and deadlines. Often, online classes are structured to leave you with a feeling of independent study. And, since this is college, no one is going to hold your hand and remind you of critical deadlines.
• Make a schedule. Sometimes class syllabi have ideal schedules listed in them, but you know yourself better than a generic schedule does. Look at the assignments to anticipate which ones will take you the most time—and which should take you no time at all. Then, make a schedule for the semester that will give you the time you need and make sure you meet course deadlines.
• Get to know the instructor. Instructors and TA’s for online classes are often just as eager to help you as those for traditional classes—if not more. Send the instructor a quick introduction email to share your background, interests, and learning preferences. Then, be comfortable emailing the instructor your questions as the semester progresses (just make sure the questions you ask aren’t already answered in the syllabus—that would be embarrassing).
• Interact with classmates. Sure, an online class might not sound like the easiest place to make friends and build your network, but that doesn’t mean doing either is impossible. Just like traditional classes have the “smartest kid,” online classes attract students from a variety of backgrounds. Maybe you can arrange a study time with a group of classmates to make the online class more manageable. The point here? Make sure you take advantage of all of the resources available to you.
• Study. An eLearning format might be much different than what you’re used to, but it’s a college class nonetheless. Study just as much for your online class as you would for any other—maybe more. Do the assignments, ace the tests, and kick your semester to the curb.
Moving away from home and not knowing anyone in your new college town can be daunting. Luckily, the rest of the incoming students will feel the exact same way.
If you live on campus it’s easy to make friends with the people in your dorm, but if you like to meet people with similar interests it’s important to venture out. Joining a club can be a great way to meet new people with similar interests.
Here are five other reasons why you should join a club.
1. It looks great on résumés.
When potential employers look at résumés, it’s good to have activities on there that have something to do with your career. Taking interest in a club in your field of study will show employers that you didn’t just sit in a classroom, but you gained real-world experience.
You’ll get to meet the people who will be interviewing you, and entering the job market with you. It’s great to get to know people in the business before you enter the workforce. It could lead to job opportunities before you even finish college.
If you’re struggling in a particular subject it’s possible that members of the club will be able to tutor you. They can also be there for mental support during times when you need it most, such as midterms or finals week.
Being part of a group in high school or college will allow you to serve in a role and gain working experience. Applying for specific jobs within a club can be your way to stand out from a crowd. Creating your own jobs might be necessary to really gain the experience you want.
5. It’s good for your grades
According to a government study, students who participate in extracurricular activities perform better academically, have better attendance and have higher aspiration.
Instead of sponging off your friends for pizza, try these ways to get some cash fast.
Sell a skill. Think about what you do well. Perhaps you can tutor struggling students in your top subject or proofread papers. (note: don't ever write another student's paper) Think outside of the classroom as well. Are you good at cutting hair, washing and folding laundry, cleaning, or changing oil? Market your specific skills to your peers by promising them a great service for a discounted price. Price your work under the going rate, but make it worth your while. (Make sure the rate covers the cost of any materials involved.)
Sell your stuff. Of course, eBay and Craigslistare easy ways to unload used clothing, furniture, books and electronics, but don't overlook old school means of selling (like posting flyers in your dorm or in other areas on campus). Selling locally is faster and buyers tend to trust more. Remember, pictures and detailed descriptions sell stuff faster. You could even sell on consignment (you can find tons of free forms online that lay out fair terms for you and the owner of the stuff). Charge less than half of the retail price, unless this is a high-demand item.
Make stuff to sell. Look for a need you can meet. For example, if the bleachers at your school are really hard and the campus store doesn't sell any stadium cushions make up a few in your school colors with some original art, mark them up for a sufficient profit and get busy selling. If you are in need of some other good ideas, check out Etsy for DIY projects.
Sell a little of yourself. Search online for "plasma bank" to see if there's one near your campus. Typically, blood banks accept only freely offered blood. Visit bloodbanker.com/banks to find paying blood banks.
While none of these gigs is going to pay your tuition, you can still use them to score a little money for a night out with friends. So get busy and see how easy it is to earn a few quick bucks.
I grew up in the Netherlands and, like most other European children, I had to learn multiple languages from an early age. I learned Dutch, English, French, and German in school. Unfortunately, when I came to the United States to attend college none of this really seemed to matter and I was told that I had to take two years of a foreign language to complete my bachelor's degree.
"But I am foreign," was my response, to the very unhelpful lady in the admissions office who told me to learn a foreign language. My foreign-ness didn't seem to matter to the university.
It wasn't until I spoke to an adviser in the German language department that I was told that I could take a placement test to get me into a higher level German course. (My university didn't offer courses in Dutch.) The test cost $80 and took about an hour. After the test I was told I would have to take only one more term of German, instead of six. This means that by taking this one hour test I saved around $3,500.
After my test I had to pleasure of going back to the admissions office and smugly handing my results over to the same woman.
Schools often have placement tests for students who are enrolling in college for the first time. The main subjects are usually reading, writing and math, not specific department courses. However, apparently, this woman didn't get the memo that in reality many departments do offer tests for students with transfer degrees or experience from universities in other states, and they are often willing to let students take these tests for a small fee.
By testing out of subjects you learned in high school, or at a different college, it is possible to save thousands of dollars on tuition and fees. Even if you don't do very well on the test in the first go around, most universities will let you retake the test. Make sure that you do study for the placement tests though, because there is often a limit on the amount of times you will able to retake these.
Even though it may cost you a little bit of money up front, take it from someone who saved $10,000 on her education by taking placement tests: it's absolutely worth studying for.
My roommates' argument for renting a house instead of our apartment was a convincing one: We'd be more autonomous, we could make keys for our trusted friends, we wouldn't have to live with obnoxious neighbors on the other side of the wall, we would have free parking. Against my initial reluctance, I agreed.
A year later, we're all back in apartments, and we may not rent a house again for a long time.
There are good reasons to rent a house, but it's far different from apartment life. There was a lot we didn't foresee about renting a house, and the benefits don't always outweigh the drawbacks.
I learned that lesson the hard way--so you don't have to.
First, the benefits:
Space. In our apartment, you had two options: The one common area or your bedroom. In a house, there were two yards, a porch, the upstairs living area, the downstairs living area, the kitchen and a few other nooks and crannies. If you need your space, a house can be a blessing, and it was for us.
Autonomy. Our apartment building had strict rules about copying keys and required an electronic fob to get in the front door, measures not uncommon among apartment buildings. That made having friends over a hassle. At our house, we could let someone in the front door and make keys for people we trusted.
For us, that was where the advantages ended. Onto the rough parts, and what to watch for:
Cost. We knew a house would cost more, since our landlord wasn't paying heat or hot water, but we figured it couldn't be too bad. After a few $300 heating and electric bills, ant traps, weather-proofing supplies and basic home repairs, we figured we had figured wrong.
Lesson: Find out how much non-rent costs will be by getting utility estimates and talking to local homeowners about maintenance. Be liberal with your estimates so there are no surprises.
Security. I know I was all excited way back two paragraphs ago about the easy access to our front door, but that didn't come without risks. We had to buy a locking mailbox after we had checks worth hundreds of dollars stolen, and we had more than one bar patron get too close for comfort.
Lesson: Talk to your landlord about secure mail options, and be diligent about locking down when you're not expecting anyone. If you ever feel unsafe, call the police.
Landlords. We should have seen the red flags from a mile away, but we were so excited that we missed them. In an apartment, you have your fellow tenants as stakeholders. When it was us against our landlord, it was our word against theirs, and he had a relationship with our city. We had more than one rodent living in our walls, and that wasn't the worst of our problems.
Lesson: Research your landlord beforehand. If you can, learn from our mistake. The next time I rent a house, I'll pick someone who lives locally and works with a rental company, instead of a single person who owns a single property. If there are problems, document them and seek legal help.
I'm soured on the experience for now, but if I can find a place that I don't have to share with bats, rats, and squirrels, I may rent a house again.
Searching for an apartment can be overwhelming, and trying to find a nice place to call home while sticking to a budget can get tricky. Before you begin your search, consider these tips for determining how much your apartment will really cost you and how to find the best place without going broke:
Do your homework.
Before you even begin your apartment search, make a list of everything you are looking for in an apartment. This way you'll know what questions to ask the landlord while you're checking the place out. The next assignment is researching your prospective area. Know the average rent prices so you know what to expect. You might find that the next town or neighborhood just a few minutes away has significantly lower rent.
Consider the amenities.
Many apartments offer amenities that could end up saving you money. For example, an on-site gym can save you hundreds per year on a pricey gym membership. A business center can save you the cost of paying for Internet, a printer, ink, and paper. Some apartment communities offer discounts at local businesses, free events for residents, and much more.
Know all of the costs.
While your apartment's amenities may help you save, the extra costs can do some damage. First, know what utilities are included, if any. If they aren't, ask your landlord what the average price is for a unit your size so you can determine what your monthly bill will be. Parking may also become an expense, especially if you're moving to a large city.
Factor in location.
The location you choose for your apartment can severely affect your cost of living. For starters, how close are you to your job? If you are choosing to live further away, you'll have to include the costs of gas and transportation. If that's the case, you might choose an apartment near public transportation to save on commuting. How close are you to affordable activities and entertainment?
When I rented my first apartment, I opted for a second bedroom because I thought I'd really need the extra space. I soon realized that while it was great for occasional company, it was not worth the extra money each month. I much would have rather had a little smaller space but an extra $200 a month to save or go out and have fun around my area.
Look for a deal.
Before you sign the lease, look for a deal. Rental websites like Apartments.com and ApartmentGuide.com often offer move-in deals if you say you found that apartment through their website. They may waive your first month's rent, give $100, or even throw in a new TV.
Compare many different apartments during your search to see what's out there and to see what various places offer. While rent may be cheaper at one place, once you factor in these above issues, it may not be the best place after all. Be flexible, but also be sure you're getting what you want so you'll be happy in your new home.
Motivated college students have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience, earn dollars, and grab the all-important connection through campus employment. With a little guidance through the varied landscape of on-campus jobs, it's possible to build a resume and build out a skill set in four years of working upward through campus positions. If you're among the 40% of full-time students who are employed while in school, read on.
Start small, build up
Scanning through the hundreds of work study or student-focused job openings on a large university campus can be staggering. Every school, department, building, and affiliate entity needs student staff to help run day-to-day operations, with jobs related to customer service, data entry, office assistance, research, teaching, or marketing.
For the first-year student, some positions are out of reach. But don't fret your first-year head. Aim for an office or department that is relevant to your major or interest areas, and apply for related positions. Planning to major in marketing? Look for a listing--any listing--in the campus marketing office or journalism school. That first position is a way to meet the people who work in the office, and a potential step to future employment as a writing or public relations assistant. Students who work the system can leave campus in four years with a degree, and a four-year-long career path.
Work those connections
Key to finding employment after graduation, a healthy list of references who can speak to your specific work record are a chief benefit of student employment. Focus on establishing treasured workplace attributes--dedication, follow-through, time management, and organization--in daily duties at every campus position. With those pieces in place, more responsibility and a handy job reference could be coming your way.
Finding the balance
Hours-per-week commitments vary widely across different kinds of campus employment.
Class schedules, departmental budgets and work-study standards frequently cap student positions between 10 and 15 hours. Additional employment, student involvement, and maintaining a semblance of a social life throw up additional impediments to turning in a full time card.
Find the balance between scheduling commitments up front, and avoid late-semester academic and work-life headaches. For students taking a heavier workload, keep in mind:
- Schedule everything, including free time. Carve out time for class, work, homework, sleep, and fun in your schedule each week, and stick to it.
- Work ahead. Though they are the bread-and-butter of many a student, last-minute paper writing and study sessions can undo a busier schedule.
- Take some time. Always leave a little room to actually enjoy being a college student.
In addition to fleshing out an academic resume with real-world working skills--you don't want to be that person who thinks the copier is broken when it is in fact just not turned on--campus employment can give you a network full of professional (or soon-to-be so) people who can vouch for you when you're looking to land a post-graduation gig.