Why Write Another Book for College Students?

BeatingCollegeDebtTrap_finalCover.inddAfter writing Thriving at College, why write another book for students? How does Beating the College Debt Trap differ from Thriving at College?

Thriving at College is about making the most of the college years, about using that season in life as a launching pad into all that’s associated with responsible Christian adulthood. But while I briefly addressed money management skills, the whole idea of paying for college is more or less assumed.

In the four years since I wrote Thriving at College, the economics of college have continued to evolve. In 2013, a majority of families (57 percent) reported a student living at home or with a relative, up from 43 percent in 2010. Online education is increasingly popular. “Non-traditional” college students (i.e., not 18-23 year olds enrolled full-time) have become increasingly numerous. And, of course, a greater Continue Reading…

Why So Few Syrian Christian Refugees?

Jonathan Witt, writing for Stream:

So dangerous are the camps for Syrian Christians that they mostly avoid them. And the UN does its refugee head-counting in the refugee camps. If the Christians aren’t there to be counted, desperate as they are, then they don’t end up on the asylum lists the U.S. State Department uses for vetting potential refugees.

So, why doesn’t the White House take steps to find and include persecuted Syrian Christian in numbers at least proportionate to their slice of the Syrian population? Maybe the Obama administration just doesn’t care, but even if they cared a little, doing something serious about it would risk annoying the Muslim leaders of the Muslim-dominated countries in the Middle East.

As bad off as the Muslim refugees are, they aren’t without politically well-connected advocates in the Middle East. Many Muslim powerbrokers are happy to see Europe and America seeded with Muslim immigrants, and would surely condemn any U.S. action that appeared to prefer Christian over Muslim refugees, even if the effort were completely justified. By and large, they support Muslim immigration to the West and have little interest in seeing Christian refugees filling up any spaces that might have been filled by Muslim refugees.

The deck, in other words, is heavily stacked against the Christian refugees. The White House has been utterly feckless before the Muslim power structure in the Middle East that is doing the stacking, and has tried to sell that fecklessness to the American people as a bold stand for a religion-blind treatment of potential refugees —religion tests are un-American! It’s a smokescreen.

Read the whole thing.

(Photo credit: Breaking Christian News)

The Empty-Headedness of the Million Student March

I have an article in today’s Stream about the recent Million Student March. Here’s the opening:

Amidst the recent potpourri of petulant pouting on college campuses around the country, in “safe spaces” and elsewhere, you’ll be forgiven if you missed the news of a Million Student March. On November 12, these student marchers took to their respective campuses and communities with three specific demands:

1.Tuition-Free Public College

2. Cancellation of All Student Debt

3. $15 Minimum Wage for All Campus Workers

Their arguments were not new. As the group’s website reads: “The United States is the richest country in the world, yet students have to take on crippling debt in order to get a college education.” In other words, if the rich would only pay their fair share, students could attend college for free. After all, public high school is already free. If college is now essential for accessing the jobs of tomorrow, why not put that on the public coffers too?

Read the rest of it. And check out my new book, Beating the College Debt Trap. Those who pre-order it get a free 130 page e-book.

Grade-Changing Dean at Texas Tech Resigns

DeanLanceNailMoral of the story? Don’t mess with the professor’s assigned grade. Scott Jaschik, with Inside Higher Ed, writes:

Jay Conover, a professor of mathematics and statistics at Texas Tech University, got quite a surprise when he learned three of his former students graduated from the business school’s graduate program this year. He was surprised because he had given the students grades so low he thought they wouldn’t be able to graduate.

It turns out the Business School’s Dean, Lance Nail, had gone behind Conover’s back to get another prof to set up an alternate exam for a group of five students who complained Continue Reading…

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.

Continue Reading…

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.

Continue Reading…

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:

When Success Leads to Failure

Jessica Lahey’s new book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, looks superb. It’s a theme I tried to hit hard in my preparing teens for college book. An excerpt of Lahey’s book recently appeared in the pages of The Atlantic. Here’s an excerpt of the excerpt:

The truth—for this parent and so many others—is this: Her child has sacrificed her natural curiosity and love of learning at the altar of achievement, and it’s our fault. Marianna’s parents, her teachers, society at large—we are all implicated in this crime against learning. From her first day of school, we pointed her toward that altar and trained her to measure her progress by means of points, scores, and awards. We taught Marianna that her potential is tied to her intellect, and that her intellect is more important than her character. We taught her to come home proudly bearing As, championship trophies, and college acceptances, and we inadvertently taught her that we don’t really care how she obtains them. We taught her to protect her academic and extracurricular perfection at all costs and that it’s better to quit when things get challenging rather than risk marring that perfect record. Above all else, we taught her to fear failure. That fear is what has destroyed her love of learning.

Check out the rest, or pick up the book.

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