Archive - October, 2015

Colleges Coddle Students, Too

Image result for images students on college campusGreat piece by Jeff Selingo. The opening:

An article in this week’s Washington Post nicely summarized a new book on the failings of helicopter parenting, especially when it comes to preparing kids for college.

But parents shouldn’t shoulder all the blame for why college students seem incapable of taking care of themselves these days. In the past decade, college campuses have turned into one big danger-free zone, where students live in a bubble and are asked to take few, if any, risks in their education.

Read the whole thing. It’s excellent. Students need objective, regular, and (when appropriate) constructively critical assessment–as do the rest of us. It’s how the real world operates, and it’s how we get better.

Repayments Rates are More Telling than Default Rates

Cohort Default Rate (CDR) is the federal government’s standard accountability metric for colleges. It refers to the percentage of a college’s graduates from a specific year who default on their student loans.

The problem is it’s a super-easy test to pass: As long as fewer than 40 percent of your alumni default on their student loans within three years of entering repayment, and as long as your CDR doesn’t go above 30 percent for three straight years, you’re good. That’s why only 11 colleges have been penalized in the last decade–even though almost 500 colleges had CDRs over 25 percent in 2014.

Failing to repay your student loans does not necessarily mean you’re in default on those loans. Repayment is a higher standard than merely not defaulting. Because it takes about a year of not making your regular payments to enter default–and that’s only if you don’t enter deference or forbearance first.

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Earnings Boost from Major, Not Choice of College

One of the myths I challenge in Beating the College Debt Trap is the notion that it’s worth taking on significant debt to attend a prestigious university because the extra earnings you’ll reap make it worth the huge price tag. Wrong. Nine times out of ten, that you go to college (and graduate) matters more than where you go to college. In fact, if future earnings were the sole criterion (not recommended), your choice of major makes a bigger difference than your choice of college.

That’s what a new study from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program concluded.

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Living With Your Parents: How to Make It Work

Boundless just published an article I wrote for them on living with parents as a young adult–the good, the bad, how to make it work. Here’s the opening:

So it happened. You thought you’d be on your own by now, but you’re not. Whether you’re trying to land a steady job, get out of debt, or finish college on the eight-year plan, if you’re living with your parents as a 20-something, you’re not alone. More than a third of 18 to 31 year olds are living with their parents, according to the Current Population Survey.

Maybe you can’t move out — and shouldn’t. Your parents’ health or finances are failing. They need you, and a wife or husband is non-existent. You know you’re doing a good thing, but it’s still awkward at times.

Regardless of the particulars, how do you make living with parents as an adult work? The good news is that it can be done. In fact, it can be a wonderful season.

Read the rest of it here.

Student debt traps parents and kids


Josh Boak’s Associated Press article on the multigenerational effects of high amounts of student debt is making the rounds, and for good reason. Here’s a sample of what Boak reports: