Entries in College (27)


Survey: College Graduates Struggling to Find Work, Pay Loans

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.) -- Just a few years ago, new college graduates had little trouble finding a job within a year of finishing school.  Now, the outlook for those about to jump into the job market isn't so bright.

"It has been a challenge, it really has," says Madeline Rivera, who is about to graduate from Fordham University.  "I've heard that it's getting better out there and I'm sure that's true, but in reality a lot of my friends are still having trouble finding jobs."

A new survey out Thursday seems to affirm that sentiment.  Researchers at Rutgers University found that only half of recent college graduates are working full-time.  The poll was completed last month and included 444 graduates from the class of 2006 through 2011.


Of those who managed to snag a full-time position, the median salary earned was $28,000, making it difficult for recent graduates to pay off their student loans.  The survey found that 55 percent of students owed an average of $20,000 upon graduation.

As a result, graduates have had to resort to jobs outside of their fields to make ends meet.

"A lot of people have had to do that -- choose something else that will sustain them for now.  You have to pay off loans.  You do what you have to do," says Rivera.

Furthermore, graduates who have landed positions don't feel they are on the right track.  Only 20 percent saw their first job as being on their career path, according to the survey.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Student Loan Debt Continues to Soar

JupiterImages/Comstock Images(NEW YORK) -- Two out of three college students graduating this spring will have student loan debt, with the average loan amounting to nearly $25,000.  And as costs continue to rise, the amount owed is piling up, causing many borrowers to fall behind on their payments.

Almost every year, college tuition costs go up faster than inflation, making the bills tough to pay.

As Gerri Detweiler of notes, "Student loan debt is becoming a huge problem for so many Americans students and their parents."

She says student loan debt is approaching $1 trillion.

"It's larger than auto loans and it's larger than credit card debt," Detweiler explains.

And it can be hard to pay off.

"We have over five million Americans who are behind on payments on their student loans," she says.

Detweiler's advice to students?  Take out federal student loans not private ones.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Professors' Group Say US Faculty Salaries Not Driving Tuition Hikes

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Stagnant faculty salaries for teaching professionals across the U.S. belie the common belief that professors' incomes are driving increased costs of higher education, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) reported in a study released on Monday.

In a report called, "A Very Slow Recovery: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2011–12," the AAUP says the overall average salary for full-time faculty members, on average, rose 1.8 percent in the 2011 to 2012 academic year.

In the past decade at public two-year colleges, published tuition and fees, excluding scholarship aid and adjusted for inflation, have increased by 44.8 percent.  Faculty salaries, meanwhile, have decreased by 2.5 percent, according to the report.

Over the past decade at public four-year colleges and universities, tuition and fees have increased by 72 percent, the association said.

The cost of higher education continues to soar, rising 8.3 percent at four-year public colleges in the fall, the College Board reported.

Colleges and universities are also relying less on tenured faculty to teach classes and more on part-time faculty who may be paid as little as $2,000 to teach a course.  Over 60 percent of instructional staff in 2009 were either part-time faculty or graduate students.

The average salary is $82,556 for professors, many of whom have invested years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in their own education.

The gap between the pay of college presidents and professors widens meanwhile, said the AAUP, which has 47,000 members at colleges and universities in the U.S.  Between the 2006-2007 academic year and the 2010-2011 year, median presidential salaries increased 9.8 percent when adjusted for inflation.

With a three percent rate of inflation, faculty salaries actually fell by an average of 1.2 percent, the group said.  The average salary increase for faculty members who remained employed at the same institution -- 2.9 percent -- barely kept pace with inflation, the group said.

Saranna Thornton, professor of economics and department chair at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and chair of the AAUP's Committee on the Economic Status of the Profession, was the primary author of this year's report.  She said data for the last 10 academic years, 2001-2002 to 2011-2012, shows that, adjusted for inflation, the research "demonstrates unequivocally that faculty salaries are not driving up the costs of higher education."

John Curtis, director of research and public policy with the American Association of University Professors, said there are frequent assertions from legislators and others that say otherwise.

When a parent asked Vice President Joe Biden in January why college costs continue to rise, one of the reasons he pointed to was faculty pay, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

"Salaries for college professors have escalated significantly," Biden said during a town hall in Pennsylvania.  "They should be good, but they have escalated significantly."

Curtis said the data in this year's report demonstrate that is not true.

"Over the course of a number of these annual reports, we've been making the case that the real issue is priorities," Curtis said. "Full-time faculty salaries have been stagnant, and an increasing proportion of instruction is being shifted to part-time faculty members who are poorly paid, not provided with benefits, and not provided with the support they need to do the jobs they are capable of."

As a result, he said, the proportion of higher-education spending that goes to instruction has been declining.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Tackles Rising College Costs

Shahar Azran/WireImage(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- At a campaign-style rally Thursday, President Obama told an energetic crowd of students that colleges have a responsibility to control tuition costs because a higher education, “is not a luxury; it’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.”

“We can’t just keep on subsidizing skyrocketing tuition,” the president argued as he announced a proposal to withhold federal aid from colleges and universities that fail to get their tuition costs under control.

“We are putting colleges on notice,” he said. “You can’t assume that you’ll just jack up tuition every single year. If you can’t stop tuition from going up, then the funding you get from taxpayers each year will go down. We should push colleges to do better. We should hold them accountable if they don’t.”

The president assured the 4,000 students packed into the University of Michigan Field House that he understands the financial burden they bear.

“Michelle and I can still remember how long it took us to pay back our student loans,” he said. “I just want all of you to understand, your president and your first lady were in your shoes not that long ago.”

Last year, graduates who took out a loan left college owing an average of $24,000, according to the White House.

Thursday’s event marked the end of the president’s three day State of the Union tour, which included stops in Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado, and was the largest by far.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UC Berkeley Launches Financial Aid Program for Middle Class

JupiterImages/Comstock Images(BERKELEY, Calif.) -- University of California, Berkeley, has launched a new financial aid program for middle-class families, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced Wednesday.

The new program, named Berkeley Middle Class Access Plan (MCAP), caps parental tuition contribution at 15 percent of annual earnings for families whose gross annual income is between $80,000 to $140,000.

The program is unprecedented -- no other college has implemented a financial aid program specifically targeted to the middle class.

The university is launching this initiative because of California’s high cost of living and the increase in tuition costs in recent years.

The current cost of attendance at UC Berkeley for non-California residents living on campus is estimated to average $55,512 per year for students living on campus. For California residents, that number is $32,634 per year.

“While our extraordinary commitment to financial aid has, in recent years, led to both an increasing number of lower income students on the Berkeley campus and a reduction in their net cost of attendance, we see early signs that middle-income families who cannot access existing assistance programs are straining to meet college costs. As a public institution we feel strongly that we need to sustain and expand access across the socio-economic spectrum. This plan is part of our commitment to ensuring that financial challenges do not prevent qualified students from attending one of the preeminent public universities in the nation,” said Birgeneau.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


How Can You Scale Back Student Loan Payments?

JupiterImages/Comstock Images(NEW YORK) -- President Obama announced his plan to help borrowers inundated with student loan debt on Wednesday, which coincided with the release of a new report from the College Board that showed how higher education had become even more expensive.

The College Board found that the average in-state tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose 8.3 percent this year.  Tuition rose more than 4 percent at private colleges -- all at a time when student borrowers and college grads struggle to keep up with payments in a weak economy that holds even weaker job prospects.

The president's plan includes capping federal loan payments at 10 percent of borrowers' discretionary income -- that limit is set at 15 percent now -- making loans forgivable after 20 years instead of 25, and provides the opportunity to reduce some federal loan interest payments.

If you're one of the 36 million saddled with student loans across the country, you could use some tips on how to lower your payments. Here are some tips from several industry watchdogs, including Lauren Ascher, president of the Institute for College Access and Success and its project on student debt:

1. Know Your Loan: There is a huge difference between federal and private student loans.  Federal loans, according to Ascher, offer a lot of options for staying out of default and keeping payments manageable, while private loans can leave borrowers at the mercy of their lenders.

2. Know Your Grace Period: All loans have varying grace periods.  It's six months for federal Stafford and federal Family Education loans, and nine months for federal Perkins loans, depending on when they were issued, according to the Project on Student Debt.

3. Tax Deduction: All borrowers should take advantage of the student loan interest tax deduction, an above-the-line exclusion on a federal tax return of up to $2,500 in student loan interest.  You can claim the deduction even if you don't itemize your taxes.

4. Take Advantage of Automated Payments: Many lenders offer a small reduction in interest rates if borrowers sign up for automatic monthly payments.

5. Consolidation: Consolidating is similar to refinancing a loan, and allows borrowers to combine several (or one) loan into one payment -- the interest rate is an average of the interest rates on all the loans.  Consolidating will usually lower the monthly payment but isn't always a great idea, as it often extends the life of the loan and can result in more interest paid throughout its life.

6. Extended Repayment: Government loans allow some borrowers to extend the repayment period of their loans beyond 10 years, which can lower monthly payments.  The down side?  Extending your repayment terms can lead to paying much more interest over the years.

7. Income-Based Repayment: The Income-Based Repayment plan caps borrowers' monthly payments at 15 percent of their discretionary income, taking into account the borrower's income and family size.  Monthly payments are adjusted annually according to any changes in those figures.  The government then forgives any outstanding debt on the plan after 25 years.

8. Deferment: "There's an unemployment deferment for federal student loans, there's economic deferment and forbearances.  These are all useful for short-term debt management.  But on some loans, your interest will continue to accrue," Ascher said. Deferring on your loans means you can postpone making payments, but you are eligible only if you haven't defaulted.  Deferment is not an option with private loans.

9. Forbearance: There are positives and negatives to this option.  The positive?  You can temporarily postpone your loan payments.  The negative?  Interest on that loan will continue to accrue.  On federal loans, the option is available for 12-month intervals for a period up to three years.  Private lenders generally only offer it for one year, and they can charge fees, like popular lender Sallie Mae, in some cases.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Unveils New Student Loan Plan

John Moore/Getty Images(DENVER) -- President Obama formally announced his plan to lower college loan payments Wednesday, telling students in Denver that their education, and their ability to afford it, is essential to the future economic growth of the country.

“College isn't just one of the best investments you can make in your future, it's one of the best investments America can make in our future,” Obama said at the University of Colorado in Denver. “We want you in school.  But we shouldn't saddle you with debt when you're starting off.”

The new initiative would allow student borrowers to cap their loan repayments at 10 percent of their discretionary income starting next year, two years earlier than previously expected. The plan would also help students consolidate their loans at lower interest rates.

According to the president, the changes would help 1.6 million students lower their monthly payments by hundreds of dollars.

The president’s new student loan plan is part of a series of executive actions that he is taking to boost the economy while circumventing Republican lawmakers, who have blocked his $447 billion jobs bill in Congress.

“I intend to do everything in my power right now to act on behalf of the American people with or without Congress. We can't wait for Congress to do its job.  So where they won't act, I will,” Obama said.

The president’s speech Wednesday wrapped up his three-day Western trip, which also included stops in Nevada and California. In addition to promoting his “we won’t wait” campaign and announcing executive actions, the president also raised some serious campaign cash during the trip, delivering remarks at six campaign events.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Public College Costs Surge 8.3%

JupiterImages/Comstock Images(NEW YORK) -- The College Board reported Wednesday that average in-state tuition and fees at four-year public colleges surged 8.3 percent this fall, just as President Obama released details of his plan to help students deal with a debt burden that has expanded to more than $1 trillion.

“The national increase in tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities for the 2011-12 academic year was influenced substantially by the State of California,” the Princeton, N.J.-based group said in a statement Wednesday. “Nationally, the increase for the public four-year sector was 8.3 percent between 2010-11 and 2011-12 including California but only 7.0 percent excluding it. Similarly, the national increase for public two-year institutions was 8.7 percent including California and 7.4 percent excluding it.”

President Obama revealed his “Pay as You Earn” proposal Tuesday to reduce monthly student loan payments starting in 2014. Borrowers will be able to cut their monthly student loan payments to 10 percent of their discretionary income and the plan will forgive the balance of their debt after 20 years of payments.  Starting this January, an estimated 6 million students and recent college graduates will be able to consolidate their loans and reduce their interest rates.

The College Board said the tuition increases stemmed from a weakened economy and state funding that has not kept pace with the growth in college enrollments. “For the fifth consecutive year, the percentage increase in average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities was higher than the percentage increase at private nonprofit four-year colleges. While national data provide an important snapshot of overall college prices, this year’s data also reveal substantial state-to-state pricing variations underlying the national averages,” the group said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Could College Dorm Rooms Hold the Key to Half a Million New US Jobs?

ABC News(DALLAS) -- Move-in day on college campuses is filled with a lot boxes, sweat, farewells and a few tears. But for incoming freshman Monica Resendiz at Southern Methodist University in Texas, hers was filled with a mission.

Inspired by World News, "Made in America" series she set out to outfit her new dorm room with only "Made in America" products. Unable to find any she tweeted the World News team for help.

"I haven't been able to find any #MadeInAmerica products to fill my dorm, suggestions," she wrote.

World News' Sharyn Alfonsi responded and found Resendiz in a bare room in need of everything from bedding to bath towels.

"No lamp ... nothing on your walls, your walls look sad," Alfonsi joked.

Resendiz's roommate, Michaela Starling, was already moved in and looked perfectly at home by the time World News arrived. Starling had bought most of her stuff from a catalog that is sent to all incoming freshman over the summer. The catalog, produced by On Campus Marketing, has similar deals with 850 schools across the country and sells dorm room staples like comforters, sheets, pillows and lamps.

Starling may have been all moved in, but her side of the room was foreign-made, with many of the products coming from China and Bangladesh.

It may not seem like bedspreads can spur an economic recovery, but consider this, the average U.S. back to college shopper was expected to spend more than $800 this season -- $46 billion in total. If all of that was spent on U.S.-made goods, economists say, that could result in almost a half-million new jobs.

But a majority of that back to school money is being spent overseas because of deals catalogue companies like On Campus Marketing have made. These companies give financial incentives to the schools who send their catalogues to the hundreds of thousands of incoming students. In turn students and their families are then using these as a one-stop shopping guide to college, despite the fact that none of the products are made in America.

So Resendiz and World News set out to see if they could find the made in America items being left out of these popular college catalogues. After hitting the campus bookstore and local department stores they were able to find little things like tape and a shower basket, but had no quick luck with necessities like comforters, sheets and lamps.

However after some serious online searching Resendiz was able to find everything she needed to stock up her dorm room entirely with American-made products.

But did the "Made in America" goods cost a premium or could a penny pinching college student afford them? World News compared the "Made in America" products to the ones from the catalog Starling used found that while the American-made bed sheet were $3 more and the American-made lamp was more expensive, overall Resendiz's American-made dorm room was $92 cheaper than the foreign-made room.

So if the American-made stuff was cheaper would the more than 800 universities that use On Campus Marketing's catalog be willing to make a switch and offer American-made items?

World News asked SMU if they would make the switch. The school told ABC News that the catalog company locks schools into contracts, but as soon as theirs was up in two years, they would seek out "Made in America" products.

It turns out dozens of universities are locked into contracts with the company, so World News asked On Campus Marketing if they'd start selling American goods.

The company said yes, as long as the American goods matched the quality and cost of the foreign-made products.

World News introduced On Campus Marketing to Celia Rachel in Mohican Mills, N.C., a company that makes bedding at the same price as its foreign competitors. Celia Rachel boasts that its sheets are not only the same price, but last three times as long as the ones On Campus Marketing is selling right now.

According to economists, if every year, the more than three million incoming college freshman decided to buy sheets from American manufacturers, companies like Celia Rachel could quadruple their workforce and hire more than 1,300 new employees.

Most college students just create messes with their dorm rooms, but an entire generation is capable of creating thousands of jobs with theirs.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Day Care Now Costs More than College, Study Finds

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- Parents of newborn children are likely dreading the prospect of sending their kids to college, figuring the cost in 2029 will be astronomical.

But they better start saving their pennies now, because day care costs are exceeding the tuition of some four-year colleges.

According to a study by the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, one year of infant day care exceeds the cost of public colleges in 36 states and the District of Columbia, where it's a whopping $18,200.

Putting kids in Mississippi day care centers is a relative bargain at around $4,650 annually.

Parents better start shopping around for bargains where they can find them because the cost of day care goes up every year, not down.  It increased 1.9 percent on average nationally over the past year because of the rising price of food and labor.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio