How Do Americans Pay For College?

The latest national study on how Americans pay for college is out from Sallie Mae and Ipsos. The 2014 breakdown:

Student borrowing and parent borrowing were at 18% and 9%, respectively, in 2013–so that’s a pretty big decline in borrowing. Other key findings:

Mark Kantrowitz on The Value of College, Student Loans, and More

Mark Kantrowitz is the publisher of Edvisors.com and the co-author of Filing the FAFSA. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us on the cost and value of college, students loans, and other related issues. Readers may recall that I’ve previously interviewed Anya Kamenetz, David Wilezol, and Robert Archibald. Consider this another installment in the series.

Could you tell us about the work of edvisors.com, and your role?

Edvisors.com is a comprehensive, up-to-date web site about planning and paying for college. It launched in June with coverage of more than 400 topics, including college savings, financial aid application forms, scholarships and grants, student employment, military student aid, student loans and education tax benefits. The web site has the largest glossary of financial aid and college admissions terminology.

I am publisher of Edvisors.com. Together with David Levy, editor of Edvisors.com, I act as a gatekeeper on the quality of the content on the web site. The seven Cs of Edvisors content quality are: clear, concise, correct, complete, current, consistent and context-sensitive.

We wrote a bestselling book entitled Filing the FAFSA. This book is available as a free download (in multiple formats). It is also available on Amazon.com in paperback format. Amazon.com has reduced the list price for the 2015-2016 edition, will be available by January 1, by over 60% to $9.45.

It seems that people are increasingly questioning the value of college. What’s your take?

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Are College Students Borrowing Blindly?

A new report from the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings finds that “about half of all first-year students…seriously underestimate how much student debt they have, and less than one-third provide an accurate estimate within a reasonable margin of error.”

Respondents estimates vs. actual levels of debt

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Eric Garner Was Unjustly Killed By Police

I stayed mostly silent on the Ferguson matter, which was murky because of the forensic evidence and the divergent accounts from witnesses. But this Eric Garner situation looks unambiguous to me. I’m happy to stand corrected (Prov. 18:17), but I can discern no reason whatsoever why an NYPD officer who put a man in a chokehold–in violation of NYPD protocol–and resulting in the man losing his life–should not be indicted on manslaughter charges. An indictment is not a conviction. It just creates the context in which a trial can go forward and/or a plea can be submitted.

Sean Davis makes the case:

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College Debt & College Earnings in One Graph

Painful, but this says it all:

Though you can read more.

John Piper Answers: Do You Regret Partnering with Mark Driscoll?

John Piper draws eight lessons learned from his partnering with Mark Driscoll.

I think Pastor John is being too hard on himself when he expresses regret over not being a better friend to Driscoll. Piper’s efforts were noble, sincere, and enduring, and anyone hearing this audio can tell that Piper’s heart goes out to Mr. Driscoll in a desire to help him today.

But I respectfully disagree with Pastor John’s decision to have Driscoll speak at Desiring God national conferences in 2006 and 2008. It’s not that I think it was wrong for Piper to befriend Driscoll–I was, and am, for that. Private, redemptive engagement is worthwhile. It’s that I believe Driscoll’s readily discernible character flaws should have precluded putting him forward on the platform at a DG national event, however accurate his theology and however helpful his teaching. I agree that eventually a man’s books (his message) can be separated from the man. But not while that man is on a stage giving the message. At that moment they are inseparable. So the cons, including the additional elevation of Driscoll, simply outweighed any pros in my estimation. It may also be that the public affirmation of Driscoll somehow worked to at least partially undermine Piper’s private efforts of correction and admonition.

The No. 1 Reason Teens Keeps the Faith as Young Adults

David Briggs, writing for the Huffington Post:

Mothers and fathers who practice what they preach and preach what they practice are far and away the major influence related to adolescents keeping the faith into their 20s, according to new findings from a landmark study of youth and religion.

Just 1 percent of teens ages 15 to 17 raised by parents who attached little importance to religion were highly religious in their mid-to-late 20s.

In contrast, 82 percent of children raised by parents who talked about faith at home, attached great importance to their beliefs and were active in their congregations were themselves religiously active as young adults, according to data from the latest wave of the National Study of Youth and Religion.

Read the whole thing.

HT: @BrettKunkle

Alex & Brett Harris (Still) Doing Hard Things

Freelance writer Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra has an excellent article/interview about what Alex and Brett Harris are doing these days. Six years ago these brothers co-authors the best-selling book Do Hard Things (over 450,000 copies have sold). Today, they’re both still doing hard things, but in very different ways. Alex is in his third year of law school and Brett is caring for an ailing wife.

Both comment extensively in the article about how their background and the do-hard-things mentality prepared them for their current challenges.

“Doing hard things in one season prepares you to step into the next with momentum and purpose,” Alex said.

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How should we vote as Christians whose citizenship is ultimately in heaven?

In an excellent article for election day, John Piper takes five points from 1 Cor. 7:29–31, applying each of them to voting. These are helpful reminders, especially for those of us who get absorbed with politics at this time of year. I’ve greatly summarized his commentary here–be sure to read the whole thing.

1. “Let those who have wives live as though they had none.”

The outcomes of voting “do not give us the greatest joy when they go our way, and they do not demoralize us when they don’t.”

2. “Let those who mourn [do so] as though they were not mourning.”

“We vote and we lose, or we vote and we win.” In either case, “our expectations and frustrations should be modest.”

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How Do We Fix Our Schools?

Joel Klein is the former chancellor of New York City schools. So he has a unique vantage point from which to assess the state of K-12 education in America. Today he has an article in the WSJ about raising the quality of teachers. Looking at Finland, which 40 years ago ranked near the bottom in Europe but today boasts a high school graduation rate of 93 percent, Klein writes:

The Finnish model suggests that, if we are serious about improving the quality of the people who go into teaching, we must begin by asking more of the education schools that train our teachers. Far too many of these schools function as indiscriminate revenue sources for universities and colleges, accepting underqualified students and their tuition dollars for programs that are academically weak.

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