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Should We Become a Cashless Society?

800px-Credit-cards.jpgConfession: I hate carrying and spending cash. Always have. I like the convenience of putting everything on one credit card, being able to have an instant record of my spending, and (of course) earning 1 percent cash back. I’m not prone to impulse purchases, and I’ve always paid my bill in full and on time. But Derek Thomas has a provocative article in The Atlantic on the downsides of our becoming a cashless society.

Thomas writes: “In the 1970s, fewer than 20 percent of the adult population owned a credit card. Today, between 70 and 80 percent of the adult population does.” So what? Thomas goes on to argue:

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Half of College Presidents Lack Long-term Confidence in Their Financial Model

The 2014 survey of college and university presidents, sponsored by Inside Higher Ed, has a few results that feed the narrative that while college has never been more expensive, many institutions are on unsustainable financial path (HT: the reference comes from chapter 4 of Jeff Selingo’s groundbreaking book College UnBound.)

Here are a few examples from the survey:

  • Nearly two-thirds of presidents are confident about the sustainability of their institution’s financial mode over the next five years — but that proportion falls to half over 10 years. Asked to rate the financial viability of various sectors of colleges, presidents were most pessimistic about non-wealthy private colleges, for-profit institutions, and non-flagship public universities.
  • Just 5 percent of all campus leaders strongly agree that the economic downturn that started in 2008 is effectively over at their institution.
  • Fewer than one in five presidents agree that assertions that a “significant number” of colleges face “existential financial crisis” are “overblown.”
You can freely download the entire survey (a 21 page PDF) by filling out a brief form.

Amazon is Temporarily Sold Out, But CBD and Others Have It

Amazon is temporarily out of inventory, but CBD has it, as does WTS Books, and others (including me, see the various widgets running down the right sidebar).

This is a good problem to have!  If you’ve not yet done so, consider checking out the book’s home page (which has been shared more times in two months than the Thriving at College page was shared in three years), reading an excerpt, watching the promo video, or reading a guest post I wrote for Desiring God or Bible Gateway.

Graduate-School Debt Is Raising Questions About Degrees’ Worth

Graduate-School Debt Is Raising Questions About Degrees’ Worth 1Great article in The Chronicle of Higher Education about rising debt loads for graduate students. Two highlights:

  • The average amount of education-related debt that doctoral-degree recipients said they accrued in graduate school increased to $14,479 in 2012, a 70-percent increase from a decade earlier, according to National Science Foundation data.
  • Three-quarters of master’s-degree recipients graduate with debt, with an average of $40,000, according to Debra W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. About two-thirds of Ph.D. recipients accumulate debt, with an average of $60,000. The proportion of graduate students carrying undergraduate debt into graduate school, Ms. Stewart said, has doubled, to 40 percent, from the mid-1990s.
Read the whole thing (which may require a subscription to The Chronicle).

Millennials spend 18 hours/day interacting with media

That figure includes media multitasking (taking in more than one form of media at a time):

Read more.

Related: My Desiring God article on the importance of intellectual development early in life.

The Probability of Becoming a Pro Athlete

I believe organized sports have the potential for developing character and maturity in teens. They are by no means the only channel through which that can happen, but they are a legitimate channel. And it’s fine for teen athletes to have dreams of getting to the pros.

But it’d be unwise for them to put all their eggs in that basket. Here’s a great table from the NCAA showing that the probability of a HS athlete getting to the pros is less than 0.1% in every sport except baseball (0.5%).  Continue Reading…

Why Do Young People Abandon the Faith?

http://www.plainsimplefaith.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/exit.jpgGreat post at the College Transition Initiative blog, gleaning wisdom from William Wilberforce’s book Real Christianity. Here are their four points (modified and generalized, and with my own commentary):

1. They succumb to temptations they haven’t faced before.

The draw of the party lifestyle is stronger when one is away from home and experiencing more freedom–and more loneliness–than ever before.

2. They never learned how to think. 

Discernment is crucial. They need to learn how to apply the faith in various circumstances. If the Christianity of a young adult is superficial, there’s a good chance its on its Continue Reading…

Student Loan Debt–a Marriage Problem?

Fascinating post by Joe Carter. Excerpt:

According to a study by sociologists at Rice University, college students whose parents are not married to each other face significantly heavier financial burdens for the simple reason that married parents, relative to other parents, contribute significantly more to their children’s college education:

Married parents not only contributed more in absolute terms to their children’s education than divorced parents ($4,700 median amount per year vs. $1,500 per year; p<.001) but also gave a larger proportion of their income to their children’s education (8 percent vs. 6 percent, p<.05). Married parents also outscored remarried parents in absolute ($4,700 per year vs. $2,490; p<.001) and proportional terms (8 percent of income vs. 5 percent; p<.001). Moreover, married parents covered a significantly greater proportion of their children’s financial needs, as defined by the cost of the college in which they are enrolled minus aid….

Read the whole thing.

College Prep Conference in Twin Cities, MN

If you’re in the area, you might consider attending the college preparation conference being put on by the Twin Cities Chinese Christian Church (TCCCC). I’ll be giving three sessions and a Q&A, and there will be a couple panels with other speakers. The conference is for teens and their parents. My first session is just for teens, the second is for teens and their parents, and the third is just for parents.

DATE: April 25-26

TIME: 7:30p Friday for grades 7-12 // 10a – 4p Saturday for parents and teens // Lunch provided

Registration Fee: $15 per person or $25 for family. (The conference invitation notes that scholarships are available.)

Register by April 1 and you get a free copy of Preparing your Teens for College (one per family).

Hope to meet some of you there!

Poorer families bearing the brunt of college price hikes

Good article on why net tuition (what students pay or borrow for college after grants and scholarships knock down the sticker price) has been declining for wealthier families and rising for lower income families. An excerpt:

…public and private colleges and universities are spending more of their financial-aid budgets trying to lure higher-income students, whose families earn much more than $30,000 a year, than on meeting the financial needs of low-income ones, according to a 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Education.

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