ACADEMIC FRAUD?

#education #AcademicFraud #college #CollegeDebt
Only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading. Only 25 percent did so in math.
Yet, the high school graduation rate is better than 80 percent.
Columnist Walter E. Williams, who writes for Creators Syndicate, quoted these figures from the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ 2017 report, also known as The Nation’s Report Card. His column on the subject was also published April 25, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He also writes that not only do 80 percent of high school seniors graduate, 70 percent of white high school grads were admitted to college in 2016, as well as 58 percent of black high school grads. Here, he quotes the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Colleges, then, have to provide remedial courses, dumb down their courses so ill-prepared students can get passing grades and/or set up majors with “little analytical demands so as to accommodate students with analytical deficits,” Williams writes.
Williams’ conclusion: there is academic fraud being committed at all educational levels.
“How necessary is college anyway?” Williams asks. “One estimate is that 1 in 3 college graduates have a job historically performed by those with a high school diploma,” he writes.
We’ve all heard the stories, particularly in recent times, of students coming out of college and hitting the job market with degree in hand, college debt on his or her back and slim prospects not only to earn an income appropriate for his or her education level, but even to find a job at all – at least one in a field to match his or her education.
There is a teacher shortage, however not every college graduate is fit or prepared to teach. Besides, many of them might think that teaching doesn’t pay well enough for them to cover payments on their college debt, let alone any other life expenses. (Some loan programs allow college debt to be written off if the student goes into teaching for a certain number of years).
The pressure is on most children from grade school to go to college and get that degree, so they can get that good job. The pressure is so intense that families – ultimately, the students – go into debt to pay for that education.
They then spend some of their most productive work years paying that debt off, and probably delaying things like buying a house or saving for retirement. In the extreme, these graduates move back home with mom and dad and stay for several years, thus delaying their parents’ progression toward retirement.
As Williams points out, the cycle is that many students get through high school ill prepared for college academically, yet go to college anyway. They really can’t afford college, yet they view it as an investment into a great career. Again, as Williams asks, “How necessary is college anyway?”
First, if a student isn’t prepared to cut it academically in college, it’s perfectly OK not to send him or her, especially if you are going to saddle that student with a massive debt upon graduation – presuming he or she can get TO graduation.
Then, if they wind up waiting tables or doing some menial job that doesn’t require a college degree, what was the point of the education, or the debt?
Fortunately, for a student like that, he can take his menial job, work as many hours as he needs to and, in some of his off hours, pursue one of the many ways to earn money without taking a second W-2 job. Many such vehicles can eventually provide an income that could surpass any income from not just the menial job, but also from a job that would be appropriate for one with a college degree.
But, to pursue this, the student has to be willing to check out such a vehicle. If you’d like to examine one of the best, message me.
Otherwise, one could struggle to get through high school, get into college and take a lot of “gut” courses or major in something that will not have much value on the open market – and pay dearly to do it.
No education is really wasted, but one must have eyes wide open about the economic potential — and cost — of what one wants to study. Try to enjoy school at all levels, if you can, then look for ways to support yourself, and perhaps help others do the same.
Peter

MILLENNIALS’ FINANCIAL DITCH

#millennials #StudentLoans #CollegeDebt #FinancialSecurity
Some millennials find themselves in not just a financial hole, but a ditch, just as they start their adult lives.
They come out of college deep in debt, and wind up with a low-paying job, making it difficult, or impossible to keep up with their loan payments.
Tom Allison of the Young Invincibles, an advocacy group, discussed this in an article that was published May 1, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Allison talked about Siara Sellers, 28, who owes almost $13,000 in student loans. She’s working part time at a UPS warehouse near her Detroit home, making $11 an hour. She had to leave school in 2013 after her grades plummeted. Her older, now-retired husband became sick at that time, the article says.
“Young adults with college degrees and student debt, for example, find themselves looking at a median, negative net wealth of $1,900, based on research by the Young Invincibles. Simply put, they owe more than they own,” Allison writes.
“There’s no question it used to be much easier to build financial security 25 years ago with a college degree,” Allison says.
So what is a young person to do?
First, don’t let circumstances get you down. Learn to make the most of what you have, and appreciate what is good in your life.
Second, the employment picture is improving greatly. It was reported recently that there are about as many jobs as there are unemployed people, which is just about the best of both worlds. That could send wages and salaries higher.
If you have a marketable skill, find different ways to use that skill and, if you have enough ambition, a clean record etc., you should be able to find something suitable.
Once you get a job that suits you, pay down your debt at whatever speed is comfortable. Obviously, paying it down sooner rather than later is preferable. Then, once it is paid, use that payment, plus any income increases you may get, to put toward your retirement.
Easier said than done, you say? Well, there are many other ways out there to make money working part time in your off hours, without taking a second, W-2 job. If you are motivated and want to help others prosper, you can learn about one of the best such vehicles by messaging me.
Those who are older may want to be young again, but others who are older do not. What the young folks are going through is tough to watch. In fact, some older workers are “being retired” sooner than they want to.
In short, if you are young and considering college, think about what it will cost you, and what you will do with your education on the other side before deciding to go to college. Though all education is valuable, it may not be worth taking on what would seem like a lifetime of debt for a degree that won’t make it easy to pay off.
Just as you need, as a young person, to have the right attitude, you also need to make decisions that will be best for you in the long run. That may require opening your mind to things that may lurk outside your comfort zone.
Times are tough. But tough people get through them – even to the point of seeing prosperity.
Peter

COLLEGE DEBT CRUSHING MANY STUDENTS

#CollegeGraduates #CollegeDebt #CollegeStudents

One graduate has resorted to selling her eggs to help infertile women.

She is one of many college graduates who have huge college debt and not enough income to easily pay it off.

Her story and others were relayed by Kala Kachmar of the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press in an article also published in the May 8, 2016, edition of The Tennessean in Nashville as part of its USA Today supplement.

About $2 million borrowers bear a $1.3 trillion loan burden, the headline reads.

“Who wants to live at home at 29? I don’t. But, luckily, I can. … I shouldn’t be living paycheck to paycheck,” the article quotes Christyn Gionfriddo of Neptune, N.J.

Let’s examine what has happened. We have gotten constant messages for decades that to get a good job, one needs a good education – a college degree. Colleges and the government have made it easier for students of all income levels to get into college.

Some of the vehicles used to facilitate students getting into college involve loans that students are not obligated to begin repaying until after graduation.

In theory, this plan works if students can convert their educations into a good-paying job.

That doesn’t always happen.

Therefore, students are graduating with huge debt that may be difficult to repay, if their incomes can’t support it.

Some, in fact, will try to avoid repaying it.

What’s a young person to do?

First, determine in your high school years, whether college is right for you.

It’s certainly a nice goal to have EVERYONE get a college degree, but today’s economics require a more in-depth thought process for each student.

Ask yourself, if you go to college, what is the goal when you graduate? What kind of income will you be likely to earn with your degree? Will you need loans to get through school? What is the likelihood of you getting a job in your chosen field immediately after graduation? Will it be enough for you to live a decent life, and pay off your debt?

If you’ve determined that college is worthwhile enough to borrow money for, then watch your spending while in school. You may have to forgo some good times, get a part-time job and otherwise be somewhat miserly. Watch every dime you spend and make sure it is worthwhile.

If you determine that college may not be right for you, don’t fret. There are other ways to make an income without having to worry about what kind of job you have. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You’ll see people of all income and education levels spending less, and potentially earning enough to pay off any debt promptly.

In short, don’t view going to college as an automatic decision. Don’t view your education as an interlude to be young, boisterous and have a good time. Because, when you grow up, there could be a big debt welcoming you to adulthood.

Colleges don’t care what happens to you once you get out. But you should take that into account before deciding whether to go to college.

Peter

TUNE IN: DON’T DROP OUT

We’ve all heard about students getting through college, not finding jobs and facing mounds of debt.
Was the education worth it?
But what happens to students who start college, don’t finish, and still have lots of debt?
Ben Casselman, writing for The Wall Street Journal, says these dropouts’ job prospects are a whole lot worse than those for kids who finish college.
Casselman’s article presumes the student’s decision to drop out was his. But, in fact, many parents are pulling their kids out of school for financial reasons.
It brings to mind the financial services ad on TV, in which the father, worried about losing his job, feels pressure to pull his daughter out of school for a semester or two. He knows his daughter is enjoying her college experience. Then, dad gets word that his daughter has made the dean’s list. He then decides to work with his financial adviser to figure out a way to keep her in school.
Let’s take a look at this situation. First, if a student is already in school, and doing well, even though debt is being accumulated, would there be a great difference between paying off a $10,000 debt with reduced job prospects, and paying off a $40,000 debt, with better job prospects?
As a parent, did you and your child talk long and hard BEFORE the student went to school, about how his or her education would be paid for? Did you and your child discuss what would happen if dad, mom or both lost jobs? Would they drain their retirement account(s) –probably not a wise decision –to pay for their child’s education?
Would the student assume ALL the debt for his education, or does the student expect help from his or her parents to cover that? A student may get his or her first lesson in responsibility if he or she KNOWS he or she owns that debt. He or she may think twice about what they study in school, how hard they will work at school, whether they will get a part-time job while in school and what other sacrifices he or she will make.
NOT ALL COLLEGE DEGREES ARE CREATED EQUAL
If a student wants to major in, say, the liberal arts – students are urged to follow their passion – is there a discussion among student, parents, high school or college counselors and other trusted adults about realistic career options? If the realistic career options are few, and the student still wants to study, say, music or drama, is there a discussion about what the student will do to earn a living after college, while he or she pursues his or her passion?
There are oodles of options for any of these situations. First, discuss the student’s hobbies, to see whether there are possibilities of earning money with them. For example, is the student gifted in music, but also likes to tinker with cars? Perhaps the hobby will help the student make a living, until the student’s passion becomes monetized.
Second, there are many ways to make money regardless of education. To check out one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Having a financial Plan B early in one’s career may give a student time freedom, and financial freedom to pursue his or her passion sooner rather than later, and also pay for his or her liberal arts education. This may also be a great option for the student who has already dropped out, and is saddled with debt. It may not matter how dismal that former student’s job prospects are, if the former student sees the program and diligently works it.
Most importantly, it’s paramount to make decisions on how to deal with all eventualities BEFORE the student starts college. If the student, for some reason, doesn’t do well in school and has to leave, plan early for what will happen next. Parents, meanwhile, have to decide how their child’s education would be paid for – regardless of what happens to their job(s).
The moral: plan early. Don’t force a situation no one wants, without some backup plan. Not all college educations are created equal. Passions don’t always produce incomes. It’s always better to plan your life, and make your income work around it, as opposed to planning your income, and working your life in around it. Sometimes, though, you plan your income and eventually gain your financial freedom.
Plan for surprises. They are sure to come.
Peter

CLASS OF 2013: FEAR THE DEBT REAPER

It’s early, but Kyle Wingfield, columnist with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, thinks it’s time to address graduates.
His October 2012 column suggests that graduates – mainly high school graduates – think about their options before going to college.
Wingfield suggests that they not end up like Katie Brotherton, a young Cincinnati woman who is $190,000 in debt from college and graduate school. She’s living in her parents’ basement.
Brotherton is “looking for answers.” As Wingfield points out, it started with her decision to go to college with borrowed money.
You can envision a pattern: a person goes to college, thinking she would get a good job when she got out. She doesn’t. So, she decides to go to graduate school, thinking it might broaden her qualifications and buy her time for the job market to improve. Meanwhile, she’s incurring more debt.
She gets out of graduate school with no good job and lots of debt. She moves back home. She doesn’t want to be living at home, but she has no choice. Her debt and lack of employment leave her unable to afford to live on her own. Her parents sympathize with her plight, but they, too, would rather see her out on her own.
A few decades ago, we were told to go to the best college we could possibly get into. The best schools would open more doors, we were told. The best schools, often, were usually the most expensive. But if those schools opened more doors, you’d be able to pay back your education fairly quickly with a good job.
Many of the “good” jobs that students thought would be there are not. In fact, they may have disappeared permanently.
As Wingfield points out, education inflation is rampant. There could even be an education “bubble” getting bigger by the day. We all know what happened with the housing “bubble.” It’s not that students should not get an education, it’s that some education does not provide a great return on investment, in terms of career opportunities.
Certainly, there is nothing wrong with getting a degree in history, literature or some of the other liberal arts. No education is really wasted. But students have to evaluate whether that education is worth the debt incurred, or, worth the sacrifices your family might make to provide it.
ARTS, HISTORY MAJORS: YOU HAVE OPTIONS
If you love history, the arts or psychology, you can still pursue them. But you can do so at less expensive schools close to home. You may be able to parlay those degrees into a good career, but you have to understand that most people with such backgrounds cannot convert them to real dollars.
All is not lost, however. You can get one of those degrees without using it as an income producer. There are many excellent ways to produce income outside your educational background. To check out one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau.
Even if you have a degree in engineering, the sciences, technology, mathematics or other fields in great demand, you might want to have a Plan B if your career plans don’t turn out the way you want them to. There are excellent income streams that can get you out of your parents’ home as an adult.
So, as Wingfield addresses the class of 2013, he suggests that they not lower ambitions, just understand the reality. Not all college degrees are the same. Most college degrees can be obtained from schools that are not cripplingly expensive. Remember that as you get older and proceed in your career, or life, where you went to school becomes less important in terms of whether you get hired. A degree is a degree. You will succeed largely on your experience.
Success comes in many forms. Being a great historian may not produce lots of income, but it may produce great successes. Just realize that you may have to find another way to make a living, or create wealth for yourself.
Educational institutions need to be aware of the “bubble.” It could burst, and they could find themselves with great, expensive programs, and no students that can afford them. Students need to be aware that there are ways to make an income regardless of education. You just have to be willing to check them out.
Peter

YOUNG, ANGRY, VIOLENT

The violence in the Middle East is attributed to lots of things – inflammatory movies or other media, ruthless dictators etc.
But, in the Middle East, the center of the trouble, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and other experts have said, is angry young men who are fairly well educated, but have no job to go to, and are otherwise inhibited from using their talents most profitably.
In the U.S., we also have many young people who feel left out of the process. They see a few people making lots of money, but don’t see a way to break into the action so they can do the same.
They see that they’ve gotten an education, and all they have to show for it is a big debt and, at the moment, no way to pay it. Perhaps they engaged in a field of study that is not in demand, or cannot be converted to a job that pays well.
Perhaps they grew up in an atmosphere in which competition was de-emphasized. Everyone got something, just for joining the club, or just for showing up. The real world is teaching them that showing up – or getting a good education – may not be enough. The parents have no way to bail them out, except by allowing them to live at home as adults.
We can find much to blame for this predicament. But, let’s not waste a lot of energy blaming someone or something. Let’s focus on where we go from here.
No one wants to see thousands, or even millions, of young people saddled with college debt and no job to pay for it. So, let’s try to solve that problem first.
The best way for a young person to get out of debt is to set up a business that he or she can work. For a look at one good possibility, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. This and other vehicles can help young people start to build their fortunes. The good news about this is that ANYONE can do it. No special background or requirements needed. The person just needs the drive to get it going, and get his or her friends in the same predicament to do the same. It can happen overnight, but typically it takes time and diligence. If things go well, you’ll whittle down that college debt in a very short time. You’ll have ups and downs, but just stay with it.
Remember, when the economy picks up, or when the young person finds work in the regular job market, he or she can take that job, and work their business with whatever other time they have. If they work at it consistently, having a regular job might be unnecessary.
If you are a young person not yet in college, you and your parents need to think not just about what college to go to, but also whether college is right for the student. There are many ways to make money that don’t require education (see above). Think about the job possibilities in the field you want to study. Would it be worth incurring the debt to study that, and risk not having an income to pay for it?
Think of the reverse. Make your money first, then go to college to pursue your interests. You’ll have the money to pay for it and whether you can make a living with it won’t matter.
Don’t get angry. Don’t do things that will set you up to fail. If you are already in a difficult situation, work diligently to get out of it. It didn’t happen overnight, and it probably was not your fault, even though others will blame you. It’s not about how you got there, it’s about how you are going to get out of there.
The alternatives for making money don’t involve government. They are not for the lazy or the impatient. The ambitious young people are just broke. They can fix that with energy, diligence, time and the right vehicle. The lazy and impatient will end up poor, unless they change.
Protests solve nothing and hurt innocent people. Some of the alternatives available to us in the U.S. may not be available to the young folks in the Middle East. In those countries, it may be more about breaking down barriers to success.
There are no barriers in the U.S. There is no need to protest. Use your energy to get out of trouble, or avoid trouble, rather than to blame those you feel got you in trouble.
Peter