Education &amp; Training en-US 10 Places to Get Free Personal Finance Classes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-places-to-get-free-personal-finance-classes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="finance class" title="finance class" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people don't realize that well-structured personal finance classes are widely available for free. These classes are often provided by major universities like Yale and Purdue, and are usually available online via a free download; you just need to know where to look.</p> <p>Taking advantage of these resources can improve your ability to save money, budget, extend cash flow, and even get a handle on more advanced personal finance topics like investing and saving for your retirement. So, if you've been trying to get your finances in order but just aren't sure where to find the information you need to do so, this is your one-stop shop for the best available resources. (See also: <a href="">8 Cheap Ways to Continue Your Education Without Going Back to School</a>)</p> <p>Some of these courses address specialty areas (retirement, financial markets, etc.) while others are broader and handle personal finance in a more general sense. Whatever you need, you're likely to find a suitable course here.</p> <h2>1. MoneySKILL</h2> <p>Developed by the AFSA Education Foundation, <a href="">MoneySKILL</a> is a free resource geared towards helping young adults learn how to manage their money. You can read over the <a href="">different modules</a> as well as see a <a href="">demo</a> of the actual program.</p> <h2>2. CNN Money 101</h2> <p>The content is text-based, yet easy to read and follow. The course is given <a href="">in 23 different lessons</a>, covering everything from making a budget to managing your 401(k). Though you lose the course-feel without an instructor, the content is classroom-level quality and may even save you a little time by allowing you to focus on the bullet points. By the end of the 23 lessons you'll have covered everything from saving for college and controlling debt to estate planning, various insurance issues, and 401(k)s.</p> <h2>3. Principles of Microeconomics (MIT Open Courseware)</h2> <p>The <a href="">course</a> is actually based off of a textbook that you'll need to <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0130084611&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=EPV66FSPHDGMHUEU">buy on Amazon</a> (plenty of used copies for one penny), but the lecture notes, assignments, and course material are all available for download free of charge. The course is taught by a number of different professors and teaching assistants and covers the basics of supply and demand, market demand, pricing points, and monopolies, as well as a range of tax and government related topics.</p> <h2>4. Financial Markets Econ 252 From Yale University</h2> <p>Taught by author and Professor Robert Shiller, <a href="">Econ 252</a> covers the theory of finance, basic economic institutions, markets, and what we can expect them to look like in the future. Learning about the economic underpinnings of your personal finances can give you a more comprehensive understanding about how your money works and how it's impacted by the broader economic picture. Coursework is available for <a href="">download</a>, while video content is available via <a href="">iTunes U</a> or <a href=";feature=plcp">YouTube</a>.</p> <h2>5. Free Kindle Resources From Bob Lotich</h2> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JVO36I3FT22KERG2">Bob Lotich</a> is an award-winning blogger who has been writing about personal finance since 2007. He's published several books, many of which are available for free via Kindle. He focuses on getting out of debt, charitable giving, and budgeting for both personal and family life.</p> <h2>6. Family Finance From Utah State University</h2> <p><a href="">This course</a> focuses on financial planning from a family perspective and shows you how to establish values and goals for your family, then how to customize your financial plan to reach those goals. Practical exercises are included to learn things like buying a major appliance (dishwasher, dryer, etc.), taking home inventory, buying versus leasing, and comparing credit cards.</p> <h2>7. Money Management International</h2> <p><a href="">Money Management International</a> (MMI) offers a wealth of different resources for personal finance topics including frugal living, holiday spending, bankruptcy, debt, and budgeting. They also offer a series of webinars that you can take advantage of if you don't mind working around their schedule.</p> <h2>8. Planning a Secure Retirement From Purdue</h2> <p>The earlier you can start <a href="">planning and saving for your retirement</a>, the better off you'll be when it actually happens. This course sets the simple goal of helping you plan to do that. If retirement is something that you don't understand or that just scares you, this eight-module course is the ideal way to start educating yourself.</p> <h2>9. Personal Finance From Missouri State University (iTunes U)</h2> <p>Missouri State University offers a <a href="">full-scale personal finance course</a> via iTunes U that's presented in a video format. There are eight classes, ranging in time from 20 to 40 minutes and covering the basics of personal finance. It's a good generalized course that covers the basics of goal-setting, budgeting, credit, insurance, and even the time value of money.</p> <h2>10. Finance and Capital Markets from Khanacademy</h2> <p><a href="">Khanacademy</a> provides high-level information, which means they're going to cover functionality and broad concepts before they'll get down into the details. However, when it comes to personal finance, that kind of information is tremendously valuable. Khan's site provides it in four different categories; microeconomics, entrepreneurship, finances and capital markets, and macroeconomics. Each module is broken up into their own categories with somewhere between 10 to 20 lessons for each one.</p> <h2>No Reason Not to Learn</h2> <p>We have less reason than any other generation to be misinformed when it comes to our money and our personal finances. Yet it seems we may just be one of the worst when it comes to managing our assets.</p> <p>With so much material available to us, we should be rushing to take advantage of it. Because knowledge (particularly in this area) has a way of improving the quality of life. When it comes to our money, the more we know, the better off we'll be.</p> <p><em>What are some free personal finance courses that you've found to be helpful? Let me know in the comments section below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Places to Get Free Personal Finance Classes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Education & Training education money lessons personal finance classes personal finance education Tue, 29 Jul 2014 23:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1166922 at Best Money Tips Roundup: The Frugal Education Edition <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-roundup-the-frugal-education-edition" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="schoolboy" title="schoolboy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some of the best articles from around the web on keeping your education productive and frugal.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">17 Back to School Clothes Shopping Tips to Save Money on Kids</a> &mdash; Doing a clothing swap and having a budget can help you save when it comes to shopping for new clothes for back to school. [Money Crashers]</p> <p><a href="">12 Dozen Places To Educate Yourself Online For Free</a> &mdash; Intute Law and Lifewriting are just a couple places where you can educate yourself online for free. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="">7 Tips For Taking Out Student Loans Right Now</a> &mdash; If you plan on taking out a student loan, go to community college to cut the cost of college. [Lifehack]</p> <p><a href="">Preparing Your Child Financially for College</a> &mdash; To prepare your child financially for college, teach them to not spend more than they need to. [Sweating the Big Stuff]</p> <p><a href="">8 Key Ways to Save Money in College</a> &mdash; Choosing the right school and eating cheaply are a couple key ways to save in college. [One Cent at a Time]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">How to Go to College for Free</a> &mdash; If you want to go to college for free, try to attend college in high school or get your employer to pay for your classes. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <p><a href="">9 Money Tips Every College Student Should Know So They Don't Graduate Broke</a> &mdash; All college students should know to build good credit and to watch out for identity theft. [Good Financial Cents]</p> <p><a href="">21 Life &amp; Time Management Tips for New Grads</a> &mdash; Recent grads would be wise to remember to have goals and to write them down. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="">4 Places to Shop Before Dorm Move-In Day</a> &mdash; Warehouse stores are a great, frugal place to shop before dorm move-in day. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">3 Reasons to Consider Summer School</a> &mdash; Summer school can be a great option for your child if you are new in town. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips Roundup: The Frugal Education Edition" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training best money tips education school Wed, 16 Jul 2014 19:00:04 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1146780 at 3 Ways to Get a Legit Business Education Online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-to-get-a-legit-business-education-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="businessman computer" title="businessman computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Business majors are in demand. A recent survey by Millennial Branding and found that <a href="">18% of companies are interested in hiring business majors</a> &mdash; second only to the 27% of companies looking to hire engineering and computer majors.</p> <p>There's a need for people with business degrees, or at least business skills. And the Internet offers a dizzying number of flexible, low-cost options for learning the ways of business. (See also: <a href="">8 Cheap Ways to Continue Your Education Without Going Back to School</a>)</p> <p>Here are three approaches to getting a quality business education online.</p> <h2>1. Earn a Degree</h2> <p>A growing number of schools that offer traditional undergrad and graduate degrees in business now offer completely or mostly online options for obtaining a degree. Such programs typically have admissions requirements that are just as rigorous as their on-campus degree programs, although some offer open admissions, meaning all you need is a high school degree or a GED. Participating in a degree program is, by far, the most expensive route toward an online business education. Still, if it's an actual degree you're after, online programs are less expensive than on-campus programs.</p> <p>To help sort through the various online degree offerings, a few organizations list, rank, or help you search for programs that meet your needs or interests:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">U.S. News &amp; World Report</a> ranks online programs in general (not by program) and graduate business programs, using criteria such as faculty credentials, student services, and student engagement (opportunities for interaction with other students and teachers).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href=""></a> offers various online program rankings, from the 20 Best Online <a href="">Bachelor's in Business Management Degree</a> Programs to the 20 Best Online <a href="">Bachelor's in Marketing Degree</a> Programs. Its criteria includes academic excellence, return on investment, and &quot;incidental benefit&quot; (student satisfaction, graduation rates, campus safety, and more).</li> </ul> <p>Of course, if there's a particular school you're interested in, just search on the name of the school and &quot;online business degree&quot; to find out if it offers such a program.</p> <p>At the early stages, though, the below examples ought to give you a sense of how some school's online programs match up to there on-campus counterparts.</p> <h3>Penn State</h3> <p>Penn State offers numerous online undergrad and graduate business degrees through its <a href="">World Campus</a>. Tuition costs $518 to $559 per credit &mdash; almost 25% less than the in-state on-campus tuition. Compared to the out-of-state tuition, the online costs are less than half the price.</p> <h3>Indiana University</h3> <p>Indiana University's well-regarded <a href="">Kelley School of Business</a>, likewise, offers an online MBA (students need to spend one week on campus in Bloomington, IN for an &quot;intense introduction to the program&quot;). Tuition costs $1,175 per credit hour. With 51 credit hours required, that comes to nearly $60,000 plus about $100 per course for books and other course materials. By contrast, the school's on-campus two-year MBA program costs $104,000 for in-state students and $143,000 for out-of-state students, including tuition, fees, and room and board.</p> <h3>Northwestern University</h3> <p>At Northwestern University, you can't get an online MBA, but you can get an online Master's Degree in <a href="">Integrated Marketing Communications</a>. It costs $3,744 per class (13 classes required), $115 technology fee per class, and a $500 deposit for a total of a bit over $50,000. By comparison, the five-term, full-time on-campus Integrated Marketing Communications program costs over $130,000, including tuition, room and board, health insurance, books, and everything else.</p> <h3>University of Phoenix</h3> <p>And finally, a lower cost option is to obtain a degree from the <a href="">University of Phoenix</a>, which has been providing online learning for 20 years and is the nation's largest for-profit college. Beware, though, according to <a href="">an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education</a>, this school came under fire last year over questions about retention and graduation rates, some of its educational processes, and other issues. Ultimately, it was re-accredited, but told that it needs to make certain improvements.</p> <h2>2. Earn a Credential</h2> <p>If you don't need a full-fledged degree, but still want some type of credential to show for your efforts, there are several options.</p> <h3>Harvard CORe</h3> <p>Harvard just introduced a $1,500 online <a href="">HBX CORe program</a> (Credential of Readiness) consisting of three business courses: business analytics, economics for managers, and financial accounting. It's designed for undergrad students who want some business knowledge, non-business grad students, and those early in their careers. Right now, the program is limited to students who live in Massachusetts, but eventually the school plans to introduce additional business classes and make them available to students worldwide.</p> <h3>Extension Programs</h3> <p>Many schools offer certificate programs through their extension or continuing education programs. For example, <a href="">UCLA</a> offers numerous online business certificate programs, such as a Business Administration Certificate With Concentration in Finance for a total of just under $11,000.</p> <h3>MOOCs</h3> <p>Online platforms such as <a href="">Coursera</a>, <a href="">NovoEd</a>, <a href="">edX</a>, the Open University on <a href="">iTunes U</a>, and <a href="">Udacity</a> offer a huge number business classes, some of which offer the option to obtain a certificate for an additional fee.</p> <p>The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania now makes its first-year MBA classes, such as <a href="">An Introduction to Financial Accounting</a>, available for free through Coursera, including a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor and issued by Coursera.</p> <p>Coursera and other online platforms also offer higher-level certificates that are issued by the platform and the partner university. For example, you can take a class from Vanderbilt through Coursera called <a href="">Leading Strategic Innovation in Organizations</a>. The course may be taken for free. Or, if you want a Verified Certificate, that costs $49. While such certificates don't represent college credit, they may provide stronger proof that you successfully completed the course, a bit more prestige, and perhaps more help in obtaining tuition reimbursement from an employer.</p> <h2>3. Gain Some Knowledge</h2> <p>MIT's <a href="">OpenCourseWare</a> site offers MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) content from over 2,000 of the school's courses, including many undergrad and graduate classes from the Sloan School of Management. While you can't get a degree from completing the courses, they are all free. You can download lecture notes, assignments, exams, and in some cases, video lectures.</p> <p>Many other universities, such as <a href="">Stanford</a>, make many of their courses available in similar fashion.</p> <p>One of the more innovative uses of these free online courses can be seen in the experience of Laurie Pickard. From her home in Rwanda, where she works for the United States Agency for International Development, she's working through a handpicked assortment of free online grad school classes from some of the world's best business schools. While she won't receive an official MBA, she'll have what she considers to be the equivalent. She's chronicling her experience at an appropriately named <a href="">No Pay MBA</a> blog.</p> <p>You'll find countless free online non-credit classes on the platforms mentioned earlier: Coursera, NovoEd, edX, iTunes U, Udacity, and others.</p> <h2>No Shortage of Online Learning Options</h2> <p>Online education is a fast-growing space, with a lot of experimentation going on among schools and platforms. Many questions are emerging along with that growth, such as how much value employers will place on an online degree versus a traditional degree, and how resume-worthy are non-credit or certificate classes. But for students looking for flexible, low-cost learning opportunities, there have never been so many options to choose from.</p> <p><em>Have you taken an online university class? What's been your experience?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="3 Ways to Get a Legit Business Education Online" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Matt Bell</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training Personal Development business education education MBA online classes online college Thu, 26 Jun 2014 21:00:04 +0000 Matt Bell 1149172 at Best Money Tips: Save on the Cost of College <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-save-on-the-cost-of-college" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="college money" title="college money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some amazing articles on saving on the cost of college, how to hide resume flaws, and things you must know about your future spouse's finances.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">7 Ways to Save on the Cost of College</a> &mdash; To save on the cost of college, apply for scholarships and graduate quickly. [Cash The Checks]</p> <p><a href="">6 Big Resume Flaws &mdash; and How to Hide Them</a> &mdash; If your college education doesn't match the job you are applying for, make sure your resume focuses on your experience. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="">10 Things You Must Know About Your Future Spouse's Finances</a> &mdash; You should make sure you know about your future spouse's debts and health insurance coverage. [Personal Dividends]</p> <p><a href="">5 Tips to Save on Dry-Cleaning</a> &mdash; Dry-cleaning at home can help you save on your dry-cleaning bill. [POPSUGAR Smart living]</p> <p><a href="">Homeowners: Could This Save You Thousands in Just a Few Hours?</a> &mdash; Did you know challenging your home's tax assessment could save you thousands? [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">21 Ways to Potentially Reduce Your Taxes</a> &mdash; If you want to reduce your taxes, try making charitable donations or deducting relocation costs. [Find Your Balance]</p> <p><a href=";utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MoneyQandA+%28Money+Q%26A%29">5 Wealth Concepts You Need to Teach Your Children</a> &mdash; It is important to teach your children delayed gratification and to live within their means. [Money Q&amp;A]</p> <p><a href="">How To Get Ahead In This Economy</a> &mdash; Becoming invaluable is one way to get ahead in this economy. [20's Finances]</p> <p><a href="">The 6 Best Apps For Your Smartphone</a> &mdash; Do you have Tip Calculator or Mint on your smartphone? [Stack The Chips]</p> <p><a href="">How to Actually Get Sunscreen on Your Children (Without the Fighting)</a> &mdash; To get sunscreen on your child without fighting, try sunscreen sticks or spray. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Save on the Cost of College" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training best money tips college education save Fri, 20 Jun 2014 19:00:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1145901 at 20+ Freebies for College Students <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-freebies-for-college-students" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="college food" title="college food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="174" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;This is the worst possible year to graduate from college in history.&quot;</p> <p>I heard this exact same phrase back in 2002, then again in 2007, and yet again in 2009 as I completed my university studies in those years. Yet, I found that there was no need to be so gloomy. (See also: <a href="">8 Financial To-Dos for College Freshmen</a>)</p> <p>Yes, college costs are still on the rise. But college life is full of exciting opportunities and, more importantly, full of savings. You just have to look in the right places. Here are 25 ways to take advantage of those savings.</p> <h2>Entertainment</h2> <p style="font-size: 13px;">All work and no play makes Jack a dull student. Start off with these fun freebies.</p> <h3>1. Lunch and Dinner</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Getting a cheap meal doesn't mean limiting yourself to tuna sandwiches and ramen noodles for your entire school life. By joining on-campus clubs and organizations, you may be able to score free lunches and dinners several times a week. Even if you just attend one club meeting a week, you could save as much as $50 a month in food. Another way to get free meals is to volunteer for alumni association events and attend student club evening mixers.</p> <h3>2. Free Soda</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Several fast food chains, such as Chipotle and Chick-Fil-A, offer free sodas to customers that show a valid student ID. Don't hesitate to ask before making your purchase.</p> <h3>3. Washington Post</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">If you enjoy reading the Washington Post with your morning coffee, then get&nbsp;<a href="">free digital access</a>&nbsp;with your .edu email.</p> <h3>4. Movies</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Student campuses across America host free movie nights during nights at quads or campus centers. Check the campus events calendar for movie listings and enjoy a night out with your friends. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">You Never Need to Pay to Watch Movies</a>)</p> <h3>5. Museum Admission</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Several museums offer free admission to exhibit halls to holders of a valid university ID on certain days. Some examples are the&nbsp;<a href="">Boston Museum of Fine Art</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="">Philadelphia Museum of Art</a>. Make sure to check the website of your local museums for specific days and times.</p> <h3>6. Sporting Event Tickets</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Several universities, such as my&nbsp;<em>alma mater</em>, the&nbsp;<a href="">University of Hawaii</a>, offer free sports tickets to current students with valid student IDs. My school even offers free bus rides to the football stadium and back to the campus.&nbsp;Make sure to check if you qualify for free tickets and get them early because they go fast.</p> <h2>School Supplies and Tools</h2> <p>You spend enough money as it is on books and supplies &mdash; here is how to stretch those dollars.</p> <h3>7. Amazon Student</h3> <p>Free for the first six months, <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=SAM2O7RD2U33ON3D">Amazon Student</a> provides free two-day shipping on millions items. Also, Amazon rewards you with a $10 credit for every friend that you refer to this program. There is no cap on the amount of credits you can get, so become the big man on campus by spreading the word to your buddies about Amazon Student. After the six-month free trial, you get the chance to sign up for Amazon Prime at 50% off.</p> <h3>8. Printing</h3> <p>There are two ways to spend the least possible on printing. The first one is to check with your instructor if you can submit your files digitally. The second one is to take advantage of the technology fee that you are most likely already paying. Check with your student union to find out which computer labs allow you to print for free and what the daily limits on free printing are</p> <h3>9. Autodesk Software</h3> <p>Engineering, architecture, animation, and design students rejoice. There is no need to get illegal copies anymore &mdash; you can get free Autodesk software with your valid .edu email. The <a href="">list of free 57 Autodesk programs</a> includes the very popular 3ds Max, AutoCAD, Inventor Professional, Maya, Revit, and Fusion 360.</p> <h3>10. Microsoft Software</h3> <p>Microsoft is giving away its Windows operating system and other <a href="">premium software</a>, such as <a href="">Visual Studio Professional suite</a>, at no cost to university students with a valid .edu email. If you are in the field of computer programming, you can use some of that free software to submit your entry to <a href="">Microsoft's ImagineCup</a>, a global student technology competition. The prizes start at $1,000 and, if your team makes to the finals, include a trip to Seattle and a chance for a private meeting with Bill Gates.</p> <h3>11. Welcome Back Events</h3> <p>College bookstores often host these events during the first week of the fall semester to welcome returning students and freshmen. These events are great for scoring goodies ranging from notebooks to highlighters to pens. Stock up on free school supplies that you can use throughout the semester.</p> <h2>Money Matters</h2> <p>From insurance to banking to tax preparation, here are some freebies that college students can get.</p> <h3>12. Checking Accounts</h3> <p>On your first week on campus, you have to find out whether your university has a credit union. University credit unions often offer free checking and savings accounts without any monthly fees to students. Some even provide free debit cards and online bill pay. By setting up your checking account at your local credit union, you can be in your way to building a strong financial foundation and be eligible for a line of credit in the near future.</p> <h3>13. Health Insurance</h3> <p>Even if you are attending school and financially independent from your parents, as long as you are <a href="">younger than 26 years old</a>, you can be kept on your parent's health insurance policy.</p> <h3>14. Bitcoin</h3> <p>Students with a valid .edu email may be eligible for a <a href="">free $10 in bitcoin</a>. The offer is from Coinbase, one of the most popular bitcoin wallets in the U.S. By signing up for a new Coinbase account with your .edu email, you get $10 worth in bitcoin and $1 for each person referred. Some of the students that have taken advantage of this offer include those from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Texas at Austin, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. With the current market value of a single bitcoin in the upper $600's, you could see a nice return on those free coins. Just keep an eye on the <a href="">tax rules when using a cryptocurrency</a>.</p> <h3>15. International Travel Insurance</h3> <p>If you already own an <a href="">International Student Identity Card</a> issued in the U.S., then you already have <a href="">basic travel insurance</a> that covers you while abroad. This is very helpful to meet the travel insurance requirement from some universities and consulates. Some of the benefits include trip and baggage delay, repatriation of remains, and accident and sickness medical expense coverage.</p> <h3>16. Taxes</h3> <p>If you are a U.S. nonresident and you are receiving scholarship or fellowship grants, you may be able to adjust your taxable gross income. When all or most of your grant monies are spent on tuition, books, and university fees, then you can include an Attachment to Form 1042-S to make those grant monies exempt from taxes. Additionally, some countries, such as China and India, have <a href="">tax treaties with the U.S.</a> that allow students from those countries additional tax breaks.</p> <h3>17. Tax Preparation</h3> <p>During tax season, many universities offer free tax preparation services for students. Don't forget to check the requirements for eligibility, such as a maximum gross income.</p> <h3>18. Tuition</h3> <p>Yes, you are reading that right. While on-campus student jobs may not offer much per hour, several offer tuition waivers. Contact your local student union or student center and ask how you can look for on-campus jobs that offer tuition waivers. Some of them may be available online, but other ones may be only available through that office. Ask around!</p> <h2>Miscellaneous Items</h2> <p>These items don't fall into a specific category, but that doesn't mean that they are less free!</p> <h3>19. Condoms</h3> <p>Drop by your school's health center and stock up on many as you want. Just make sure to check the expiration date on the packaging, if available. Stay safe on the cheap.</p> <h3>20. Counseling and Stress Management Services</h3> <p>If this is your first time away from home, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Combat those student blues with help from on-site professionals at no cost. Some schools are even offering <a href="">biofeedback centers</a> to their students to help them measure and handle all levels of stress. The cost of counseling and stress management services is quite expensive outside of school, so if you need it, take advantage of these free on-campus services.</p> <h3>21. Social Media Freebies</h3> <p>Turn your social media influence into freebies. New York-based startup Sumpto has a reward system for students with a valid .edu email and Facebook account. The higher your <a href="">Sumpto score</a>, the better your rewards. If you are very active on Twitter and Facebook, you'll start getting free stuff in no time. Some of the companies that have provided freebies include Party City, Kraft, Chobani, Red Bull, and Office Depot.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite freebies for college students? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="20+ Freebies for College Students " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living Education & Training budget college freebies school student Wed, 11 Jun 2014 13:00:52 +0000 Damian Davila 1142125 at 7 Things You Need to Know Before Taking Online Classes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-taking-online-classes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="homework" title="homework" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="155" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Online classes are all the rage, and with good reason: The <a href="">cost of higher education</a> has skyrocketed. Those unwilling (or unable) to take on a mountain of student loan debt are forced to seek alternatives, and for many, that means earning a degree online. (See also: <a href="">8 Cheap Ways to Continue Your Education Without Going Back to School</a>)</p> <p>Advocates of distance learning programs tout advantages like flexibility and reduced cost, but is that really true? Listed below are some unexpected ways going to school online could cost you in the long run.</p> <h2>1. Lack of Human Interaction</h2> <p>The obvious difference between attending traditional classes and taking them online is the lack of people. No face-to-face teacher time, no sharing notes with your peers, no group projects. Often the discussion and debate that takes place in the classroom is what leads to true learning, and distance learners miss it completely. Not to mention that restricting oneself to only electronic messages leaves the door wide open for miscommunication.</p> <h2>2. You May Still Have to Commute</h2> <p>To combat the problems that arise when students and teachers never meet, some programs take a hybrid approach and require that virtual students come to campus several times throughout the course of their degree. If you choose an online program based out of state, or have limited resources for commuting, this will be costly and possibly take time away from work and family.</p> <h2>3. Hidden Fees</h2> <p>If you're attracted to online classes because of the flexibility, you might want to investigate how much it's going to cost you. Some online universities penalize students who just want to take one or two classes at a time. In addition, according to US News, &quot;prospective students should also keep an eye out for assessment fees, graduation fees and yes, <a href="">even parking fees</a> when shopping around for an online degree program.&quot;</p> <h2>4. No FAFSA</h2> <p>If you're depending on Federal Student Loans to pay for your online education, be very careful when researching potential programs. An online school must be accredited by an authorized agency in order to participate in the federal financial aid program. Be on the lookout for fake &quot;accreditors&quot; whose fraudulent names sound real, but will get you rejected from FAFSA.</p> <h2>5. Less Experienced Teachers</h2> <p>Not everyone that has an advanced degree is cut out to be a teacher. Even fewer are cut out to be good teachers in an online environment. To qualify for online teaching positions, most schools only require a Master's degree, and in some cases, proof that the would-be teacher has taken a cluster of advanced coursework in the area they wish to teach. (See also: <a href="">Could Online Teaching Be for You?</a>)</p> <h2>6. No Extra-Curricular Activities</h2> <p>Ready for a shock? Often the most valuable college experiences happen outside the classroom and traditional coursework. <a href="">Internships</a>, apprenticeships, student government positions, summer research projects, Greek organizations, and academic clubs &mdash; these are the places you gain real job skills, and network with people who can help you later in life. They're also much harder to access if you're an online student. (See also: <a href="">Is Taking Online Classes Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>7. You're More Likely to Fail</h2> <p>Schools that offer online classes love to promise how much easier it will be than traditional college. What they don't tell you is that unless you're incredibly disciplined, you're more likely to fail out of distance learning courses, thus wasting a ton of money. According to the New York Times, &quot;...[S]tudent <a href=";">attrition rates</a> &mdash; around 90% for some huge online courses &mdash; appear to be a problem even in small-scale online courses when compared with traditional face-to-face classes&hellip; Courses delivered solely online may be fine for highly skilled, highly motivated people, but they are inappropriate for struggling students who make up a significant portion of college enrollment and who need close contact with instructors to succeed.&quot;</p> <p>Learn more about the hidden costs of online classes in the infographic below:<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img width="605" height="1517" border="0" alt="Online Courses Cost" src="" /></a><br /> Source: <a href=""></a></p> <p><em>Have you taken college course online? What was your experience like?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Things You Need to Know Before Taking Online Classes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Beth Buczynski</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training college online classes online college online education Mon, 09 Jun 2014 13:00:34 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1141976 at 5 Master's Degrees That Will Drastically Increase Your Earning Power <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-masters-degrees-that-will-drastically-increase-your-earning-power" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="student" title="student" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="182" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Deciding whether to pursue an advanced degree is a big decision. Money, time, and pay-off on your investment are all important considerations when weighing the pros and cons of additional schooling. Lucky for you, we've got a list of the five master's degrees that will give you the biggest bang for your buck.</p> <h2>1. Master's in Business Administration</h2> <p>Last year, MBA grads were the hottest thing in the job market. Seventy-five percent of businesses worldwide said they planned to hire at least one, according to the 2013 <a href="">Corporate Recruiters Survey</a>. If that alone doesn't pique your interest in earning an MBA, consider this: Last year's employment rate for the MBA grad was <a href="">a near-perfect 95%</a>. Now that's a good investment.</p> <p>The MBA is so desirable, experts say, because it equips grads with the adaptability and savvy they need to put out fires while keeping a business running in an organized, forward-moving direction. And in this period of high unemployment, companies who might otherwise post job that are &quot;MBA-preferred&quot; have the luxury of making the MBA a flat-out requirement.</p> <p>An MBA is also an advanced degree that will make you highly resilient. MBA grads are needed in a wide variety of workplaces, including boutique businesses, the non-profit world, Silicon Valley, and Wall Street. If there's an industry crash in the field where you land, you can always hop aboard another venture.</p> <p>Potential Careers: Investment banker, human resources manager, marketing analyst, product manager, venture capitalist.</p> <p>Drawback: An <a href="">MBA can cost as much as a house</a>. Top-tier private schools like University of Pennsylvania and New York University charge nearly $120,000 for two-year tuition, which doesn't include rent, living expenses, and lost potential income.</p> <h2>2. Master's in Management</h2> <p>The desirability of an advanced degree in management is skyrocketing. More than 40% of businesses interviewed in GMAC's study last year said they planned to hire grads with a master's in management. That's up from 18% in 2010. The technology, manufacturing, nonprofit, and government sectors are particularly interested in hiring MIM grads, according to the report.</p> <p>Experts say this rapid rise in demand for employees with MIM degrees is likely to continue. That's because MIM grads are equipped with the know-how to help a company realize money and time savings &mdash; two qualities that are very highly valued by every business, particularly in this shaky economy. Efficient asset, people, and time management is especially important for those businesses just starting up or looking to grow. That's why this degree is also optimal for entrepreneurs looking to start up and manage their own company.</p> <p>The MIM is a great alternative to the MBA for those who are scared off by the MBA's big price tag. It's also a better choice for <a href="">job-seekers short on professional work experience</a>. Most MIM candidates are younger and therefore have shorter resumes than the average MBA candidates, making the MIM a great option for recent grads.</p> <p>Potential Careers: Entrepreneur, health services manager, consultant, media manager, human resources manager, product manager.</p> <p>Drawback: Employers hire more MBA grads than MIM grads, and often these degree-holders are going after the same gigs.</p> <h2>3. Master's in Finance</h2> <p>After a rough few years due to the housing crash that set off an economic recession, experts say job opportunities in the <a href="">finance sector are on the rebound</a>. More than 40% of businesses planned to hire a graduate with a master's in finance last year, according to GMAC's report. Supporting this upward trend is the fact that over half of all businesses are now actively seeking to grow their customer base, GMAC found.</p> <p>Finance is money &mdash; and money is the basis of business. Just about every company under the sun employs a financial expert responsible for its fiscal health. It's a robust and important role. And it can be a lucrative one. For example, the <a href="">average salary of a finance director</a> exceeds $150,000.</p> <p>Another trend that bodes well for this degree holder? The baby boomer generation is reaching retirement age, which means many of them are in the market for a financial advisor to help manage their assets.</p> <p>Potential Careers: Financial analyst, actuary, insurance underwriter, credit risk management analyst, portfolio manager.</p> <p>Drawback: Long hours are to be expected by finance job-seekers. Additionally, some companies require employees to go the extra mile and obtain <a href="">specialized licensure</a> from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority on top of their schooling.</p> <h2>4. Master's in Accounting</h2> <p>The <a href="">demand for accountants</a> is on the rise. Jobs in this field are predicted to increase by 18% over the 10-year period ending in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And last year, 38% of businesses surveyed by GMAC planned to hire accountants. Accounting may not be the sexiest career, but it certainly offers stability.</p> <p>A master's in accounting makes sense <a href="">if you're looking for a competitive edge</a> or desire a higher salary. Accountants with a master's degree are more likely to obtain those highly coveted, top-paying positions in the field than those applicants with only a bachelor's degree.</p> <p>Depending on the program, pursuing higher-level coursework in accounting can also help you prepare for the CPA exam. In fact, many programs are tailored specifically to help students meet the requirements of this rigorous exam.</p> <p>Potential Careers: Bookkeeper, accountant, accounting clerk, certified public accountant.</p> <p>Drawback: Most accounting jobs do not require a master's degree. Rather than pay for additional schooling, you could obtain the same knowledge and skills more cheaply by working two or three years in an entry or lower-level position.</p> <h2>5. Master's in Education Administration</h2> <p>Careers in education administration come with big paychecks and the rewarding opportunity to influence directly how well students learn. And experts say demand for employees these degrees is on the rise as municipalities begin to work toward adapting to <a href="">new national education reform standards</a> and baby boomers head for retirement. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for education administrators will jump by 8% over the course of the 10-year period ending in 2018, making now a better time than ever to pursue a degree in this field.</p> <p>The potential for advancement with this degree is great. There is ample opportunity for administrators to progress by moving up to a larger school or working their way up the ranks to <a href="">top leadership jobs</a> like director of curriculum or superintendent.</p> <p>Potential Careers: Principal, superintendent, director of curriculum, dean of students, staff development director.</p> <p>Drawback: Jobs in education administration tend to be high-stress. And while a master's degree will qualify applicants for most jobs in in the field, those with doctorate have <a href="">a huge advantage</a>.</p> <p><em>Have you considered pursuing a Master's degree? In what field? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Master&#039;s Degrees That Will Drastically Increase Your Earning Power" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training Personal Development education graduate school master's degree post grad Mon, 12 May 2014 08:00:24 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1138732 at 8 Colleges With the Best Programs to Get You Jobs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-colleges-with-the-best-programs-to-get-you-jobs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="students" title="students" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over spring break, my youngest son and I went on college visits. We were most intrigued by the major-specific sessions, where we learned about not only various departments within each college, but also ways to get real-world experience before graduation.</p> <p>Cooperative work/study programs and paid internships, in particular, appealed to me as I envisioned financial benefits while he was in college and job placement afterwards. My son especially liked the prospect of getting paid experience to fund his tuition while maintaining his status as a college student. When exploring your choices, consider how colleges and universities such as these introduce you to the working world. (See also: <a href="">How Much College Can Your Kid Afford?</a>)</p> <h2>1. University of Maryland</h2> <p>Aspiring student entrepreneurs and innovators can find <a href="">resources at the University of Maryland</a> to connect them and their ideas to the outside world. Opportunities for strategic planning, development, and funding for business and social ventures include weekly meetings with successful entrepreneurs; competitions relating to business plans, clean energy, and social impact; intellectual property legal resources; and access to an angel investor network.</p> <p><strong>Elsewhere</strong>: If you are an inventor or entrepreneur, check out programs that bridge the gap between campus and the community. These may be offered through traditional means such as your career center as well as broader university and area resources such as speaker events, commercialization labs, and business-plan or innovation competitions.</p> <h2>2. Rice University</h2> <p>Rice University Center for Career Development office has set up a <a href="">Career Mentor Network on LinkedIn</a>. Students are encouraged to initiate and participate in career-related discussions with alumni online. This arrangement is similar to informational interviewing, but done via social media rather than phone and face-to-face sessions. Like an <a href="">informational interview</a>, the purpose is to get better understanding of real-world activities, not ask for a job.</p> <p><strong>Elsewhere</strong>: Many universities offer mentoring or networking programs that connect students with alumni. Take advantage of whatever contacts you can make while in school or upon graduation.</p> <h2>3. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh</h2> <p>Students earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations through clinical rotations in various healthcare settings. Uniquely, the university arranges <a href="">clinical experiences for online students</a>. Eligibility is limited to those in special programs, designed for RNs who hold an associate degree in nursing and graduates with a bachelor's degree in another field.</p> <p><strong>Elsewhere</strong>: Most nursing programs, and many healthcare related disciplines, contain a clinical component that connects students to the working world. Look for arrangements that will fit your work-life needs, and enable you to get desirable clinical experience with targeted employers.</p> <h2>4. Shelton State Community College</h2> <p>Alabama's Shelton State Community College is involved in a <a href="">joint venture with a major employer</a> that aligns technical education with specific needs in the working world. Training provided by the college prepares students for work at the Mercedes production plant.</p> <p><strong>Elsewhere</strong>: Many community colleges have the mission of preparing students for opportunities in industry. But often the facilities at a college are out of sync with current technologies and business needs. Look for programs that match training with in-demand skills and facilitate hands-on experiences with area employers.</p> <h2>5. Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD)</h2> <p>Art and design internships are available in a variety of disciplines, such as Animation, Filmmaking, and Sculpture. Students may work with local organizations as well as those that are known nationally and internationally. They contribute to <a href="">real-world projects</a>, developing skills in working with people and bringing ideas to life while building their portfolios. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Elsewhere</strong>: Find ways to expand your portfolio, which should naturally lead to professional connections. Plus, such projects can give you insights into methods of channeling your creativity to community and business needs.</p> <h2>6. The University of Texas at Austin</h2> <p>Undergraduate students earning a BBA degree (Bachelor of Business Administration) from the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business are <a href="">required to complete an internship</a>. The BBA Career Services team provides support in landing internships, which are eligible for course credit. These experiences enable students to make professional contacts while giving them insights into how their studies prepare them for specific assignments in the working world.</p> <p><strong>Elsewhere</strong>: Locate and secure internships through your own research or under the guidance of career centers at your college or university. Note that some opportunities are paid while others are unpaid or even require payment for your participation.</p> <h2>7. Drexel University</h2> <p>Over 90% of eligible undergraduate students participate in a co-op program at <a href="">Drexel University</a>. Students work one or three semesters, depending on opportunities in their majors and whether they want to graduate in four or five years.</p> <p>Co-op positions are available for a wide variety of majors, including Anthropology, Design and Merchandising, Film and Video, Marketing, Sociology, and Sport Management.</p> <p><strong>Elsewhere</strong>: When evaluating a school, ask about cooperation education opportunities offered through collaborations among the college or department of your intended major, the university's career center, and employers.</p> <h2>8. Monmouth University</h2> <p>An introduction to the working world for education majors begins early at Monmouth University. Field experiences start in the <a href="">sophomore year</a>, continue in the junior year, and culminate in a semester of student teaching in the student's senior year of college.</p> <p><strong>Elsewhere</strong>: Nearly all aspiring teachers complete a student-teaching component before graduation. Getting real-world experience early is wise, either through a formal program or arrangements you make yourself with individual schools. More observation and hands-on experience can help you 1) decide whether to pursue classroom teaching as a career and 2) better prepare you to manage classroom activities.</p> <p><em>How were you introduced to the working world while earning your degree? </em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Colleges With the Best Programs to Get You Jobs" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Julie Rains</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building Education & Training college internships work experience Fri, 09 May 2014 08:12:33 +0000 Julie Rains 1138262 at Best Money Tips: Tips to Start Saving for Your Child's College <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-tips-to-start-saving-for-your-childs-college" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread&#39;s <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on saving for your child&#39;s college, moves to make at work this year, and ways money slips through your fingers.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">6 Tips to Start Saving for Your Child&#39;s College</a> &mdash; Starting early and remembering that nothing is too small can help you save for your child&#39;s college. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="">50 Small and Big Moves to Make at Work this Year</a> &mdash; Recording your achievements and setting monthly goals are two good things to do at work this year. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">18 Ways Money Slips Through Your Fingers</a> &mdash; If you aren&#39;t using coupons or gift cards, you may be letting money slip through your fingers. []</p> <p><a href="">Debt and Marriage: What You Should Know Before the Wedding</a> &mdash; Before you get married, know the financial behaviors of your future spouse. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="">How to Save Half Your Income</a> &mdash; To save half of your income, pay off your most painful debt first. [Frugal Portland]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">7 Signs That You&#39;re Turning Frugal Into a Dirty Word</a> &mdash; You may be turning frugal into a dirty word if you never give to others. [And Then We Saved]</p> <p><a href="">5 Frugal Mini-Projects to Contain Cabin Fever this Winter</a> &mdash; To contain your cabin fever this winter, make cake pops. [Frugal Confessions]</p> <p><a href="">How to Invest in Dividend Stocks for as Little as $10</a> &mdash; If you want to invest in dividend stocks, consider a direct stock purchase plan. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="">Cold Weather Spiking Your Heating Bill?</a> &mdash; Did you know bubble wrap can lower your heating bill while keeping you warm? [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <p><a href="">What it Took to Quit My Job and Work for Myself in 6 Months</a> &mdash; Learning to give, get organized, and connect&nbsp;is&nbsp;essential when trying to work for yourself. [Careful Cents]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Tips to Start Saving for Your Child&#039;s College" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training best money tips child college saving Tue, 14 Jan 2014 11:00:15 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1111157 at Can Borrowers Still Pay Off Their Student Loans in 10 Years? <p>Absolutely. Not only is paying your student loan debt off in 10 years possible, I&rsquo;ll show you how to do it.</p> <h2>Putting Your Student Loan Debt in Perspective</h2> <p>First of all, let&rsquo;s discuss student loan debt in general. The average amount of student loan debt in America is $27,000. That might seem huge. But in fact, that amount is pretty manageable &mdash; especially when you consider that, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average starting salary of 2013 graduates is $44,928.</p> <p>Let&rsquo;s look at a hypothetical. Let&#39;s say that your career field has a lower starting salary than the national average, and you&rsquo;re only making $31,000 a year. If you were to make even payments for 10 years on $27,000 in federal student loans with the average interest rate of 6.8 percent, your payment would be about $310 per month. That&#39;s 1% of your annual income, and it&#39;s also the equivalent of a car payment &mdash; something that millions of Americans manage to budget for.</p> <h2>Remember, You Don&rsquo;t <em>Have</em> to Pay Your Loans Off in 10 Years</h2> <p>If that $310 a month still feels impossibly expensive &mdash; or your student loans are much larger than the $27,000 average &mdash; don&rsquo;t worry. The federal government offers several repayment options based on your income and student debt-to-income ratio. Whether you are unemployed, have a large salary but a large amount of debt to go with it, or otherwise have a difficult time paying your loans, these government programs should be able to help you out. See what you qualify for by visiting the Office of Federal Student Aid&rsquo;s <a href="">income-driven repayment plans page</a>.</p> <h2>How to Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt in 10 Years</h2> <p>So, what to do if you don&rsquo;t qualify for income-driven repayment, or you just want your student loans to be gone in 10 years? Follow these steps, and you&rsquo;ll be more likely to have your loans paid off within 10 years &mdash; or possibly sooner.</p> <p><strong>Track Your Spending and Make a Budget</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s difficult to know how much money you can put towards your student loans if you don&rsquo;t know how much space you have in your budget. That&rsquo;s why need to track what you spend &mdash; and then, set a monthly budget so you can keep your spending under control. You can use a spreadsheet or pencil and paper, but I recommend making it easy on yourself &mdash; use a budgeting site like <a href="">Mint</a> or <a href="">You Need a Budget</a>, which automatically track your spending for you.</p> <p>When you&rsquo;re making your budget, make sure you designate some money for fun every month, such as a couple of dinners out with friends or tickets to a concert. One sure-fire way to fail when budgeting is to not allow yourself funds for anything enjoyable &mdash; if you do that, you&rsquo;re more likely to break your budget and over-splurge (and be generally miserable).</p> <p><strong>Find More Money</strong></p> <p>Whether you don&rsquo;t have enough money free in your budget to make those $310 a month payments or you want to pay your loans off faster (because the longer you stretch those payments out, the more you&rsquo;ll pay in interest), reducing your monthly expenses and making more money can help.</p> <p>If you look up ways to save money, you&rsquo;ll see a lot of examples telling you to do this or that &mdash; cut your cable, get a roommate, etc. But here&rsquo;s the most important advice on cutting your expenses: Make a list of things that are truly important to you, and cut expenses elsewhere so you can afford those things. If you love watching sports, maybe you don&rsquo;t want to cut your cable &mdash; but you won&rsquo;t mind dining out less. Maybe having your own place without roommates matters to you, but you&rsquo;re willing to take public transit or ride a bike instead of owning a car.</p> <p>There are other ways to spend less too that don&#39;t require any lifestyle changes. Always make sure to turn off the lights when you leave the room, for example, so you&#39;re saving on electricity. Or if the price for your cable or internet jumps, call customer service and ask if there are any deals you can take advantage of &ndash; they&#39;ll almost always put you back on an introductory rate.</p> <p>Also consider looking for ways to earn more &mdash; after all, there are limits to how much you can cut your expenses, but you can always make more money. Get some <a href="">ideas for side jobs here</a>.</p> <p>Finally, check out of list of ways to <a href="">pay off your student loans off faster</a> &mdash; it has lots of ideas on how to reduce expenses, earn more money, and become debt-free.</p> <p><strong>Utilize Public Service Loan Forgiveness</strong></p> <p>There&rsquo;s another way to get rid of your student loans within 10 years &mdash; utilize the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. If you work in a qualified public service job and make on-time student loan payments, the federal government will forgive the remainder of your loans after 10 years. To learn more about the program and see if you qualify, check out our PSLF article (LINK TO THAT WHEN IT IS UP).</p> <p><em>Are you planning to pay off your loans within 10 years?</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This article is part of our <a href="">New Graduate Help Center</a> &mdash; a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads. This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section:</p> <div class="newgrads-related"> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />Why You Shouldn&#39;t Panic About Your Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />3 Things You Must Know About Repaying Your Private Student Loans</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />What Recent Grads Must Know to Repay Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-borrowers-still-pay-off-their-student-loans-in-10-years" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The answer is YES and we&#039;ll show you how to do it. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Debt Management Education & Training Fri, 03 Jan 2014 11:37:06 +0000 Reyna Gobel 1102581 at 5 Easy Ways to Avoid Common Spelling and Grammatical Errors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-ways-to-avoid-common-spelling-and-grammatical-errors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman reading" title="woman reading" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="181" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It doesn&#39;t matter who you are or what you do for a living, writing is an integral part of everything we do. Think of how many times a day you have to write an email, or a letter, or write the content for a presentation. Even a simple thank you card should be grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. As a writer and former teacher, I have used my experience to put together five quick and easy ways to avoid common spelling and grammatical mistakes. (See also: <a href="">20+ Reasons to Write a Letter</a>)</p> <h2>1. Proofread Tomorrow and Find a Good Editor</h2> <p>Anyone can miss a typo or make grammatical errors under a strict deadline. But even if you aren&#39;t a professional writer typing quickly to meet a deadline, a second pair of eyes on your work is essential. You can&#39;t stare at the same document for hours at a time and then expect to find spelling errors or awkward wording on your own.</p> <p>The reason for this is that we read our own work with a certain expectation about what we <em>meant</em> to write, so it&#39;s very easy to miss a word or a word that isn&#39;t spelled correctly. Always step away from whatever you are working on for at least a few hours (24 hours is ideal) so that you can see it with a fresh pair of eyes. Read it several times, but not so many that you start to over think it (I am guilty of this one). Once you make your own revisions, find an editor.</p> <p>You don&#39;t have to hire an editor, unless you are writing a book. However, if you are writing something important, such as a cover letter for a job, find a savvy friend or family member who can read it for grammatical errors and help you organize your ideas. Never deliver a cover letter, resume, or any important document without having someone else look at it first. (See also: <a href="">How to Improve Your Resume</a>)</p> <h2>2. Don&#39;t Rely on Spellcheck</h2> <p>Relying solely on a spelling and grammar checking program is one of the most common mistakes made by people writing at any level. The grammar check is particularly tricky, because it isn&#39;t always 100% correct. For instance, what if you spell &quot;there&quot; when you really meant &quot;their,&quot; or &quot;wood&quot; instead of &quot;would&quot;? While some grammar checking programs will catch these errors, most of them are not as accurate as a human editor.</p> <p>I do use it as a tool to help me edit more quickly, but I don&#39;t rely on it for all my edits. I also don&#39;t accept any changes that appear questionable to me or that I know are wrong. But I have an English degree, and I taught Writing Composition to college students. What if you don&#39;t know all the rules? That&#39;s why I&#39;ve included tip number three.</p> <h2>3. Keep a Reliable Resource on Hand</h2> <p>Whether you are using an online tool, or a hard copy of a writing manual, such as Diana Hacker&#39;s <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0312647360&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Rules for Writers</a>, you need to have some type of resource to help you check your grammar and spelling. These are also excellent tools for answering any grammatical questions you may have.</p> <p>If you are looking for an answer fast, I highly recommend<a href=""> Grammar Girl&#39;s website</a>. No, that isn&#39;t Phoebe from &quot;Friends.&quot; She&#39;s actually a knowledgeable writer with a comprehensive website. I can almost guarantee that she will have an answer for any grammatical question you may have.</p> <p>In addition to Hacker&#39;s &quot;Rules for Writers,&quot; which was the handbook I assigned when I taught composition, I also recommend <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0767903099&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Sin and Syntax</a> by Constance Hale and <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0767910435&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Bryson&#39;s Dictionary of Troublesome Words</a> by Bill Bryson (this book is highly entertaining, too).</p> <p>Lastly on this subject, get a good dictionary. I&#39;m an American Heritage kind of gal, but no matter which one you choose, don&#39;t forget to use it! This helps you remember how to spell words instead of just relying on spellcheck or Googling a word when you don&#39;t know how to spell it.</p> <h2>4. Make a List of Your Frequent Mistakes</h2> <p>Keep a list of mistakes that you know you make consistently. I have a friend who can never remember to put the apostrophe in &quot;it&#39;s&quot; when it is appropriate, even though she knows the difference between &quot;it&#39;s&quot; and &quot;its.&quot; I suggested that she keep a list of words that give her trouble saved in a Word document on her desktop, and then she can quickly refer to it whenever she&#39;s writing. (See also: <a href="">How to Learn From Your Mistakes</a>)</p> <h2>5. Use Easy-to-Remember Shortcuts</h2> <p>One of my coworkers can never remember when to use &quot;affect&quot; or &quot;effect.&quot; Affect is always used as a verb, as in &quot;Your lateness affects everyone at the office.&quot; Effect is a noun, as in &quot;There are no known adverse side effects to this drug.&quot; One easy way to remember this is to think of a word or phrase that includes the troublesome word. (See also: <a href="">How to Improve Your Memory</a>)</p> <p>I told my coworker to always think of &quot;greenhouse effect,&quot; because you can see that it is a noun. Also, most people know how to spell it because it is in the news and in print all the time. For any words or rules you have trouble remembering, find a similar way to trick your brain into remembering it forever.</p> <p><em>What are some of the ways that you avoid spelling and grammar errors in your writing. Please share your tips with us in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Easy Ways to Avoid Common Spelling and Grammatical Errors" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Watson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training grammar typos writing Thu, 26 Dec 2013 10:37:36 +0000 Ashley Watson 1102865 at 25% Fed Student Loan Borrowers Qualify for Loan Forgiveness — Do You? <p>There is a federal program that, after 10 years of on-time payments, forgives the rest of borrowers&rsquo; student loan debt. That&rsquo;s right &mdash; you can have any balance remaining on your student loan debt, and poof! It&rsquo;ll be gone. Moreover, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates that <em>one in four</em> federal student borrowers qualify for this program &mdash; but many don&rsquo;t know about or don&rsquo;t take advantage of the plan.<span style="line-height: 1.6em;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>The plan is called Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Yes, it requires that you work a public service job &mdash; but many more jobs qualify for this program than you might expect. Read on to learn if you qualify, and, if so, how to take advantage of the program and potentially have your student loan debt forgiven.</p> <h2>How the Plan Works</h2> <p>The PSLF program was created to encourage recent college grads to enter the public service sector. In order to qualify, you must meet the following requirements:</p> <ul> <li>Work full-time at a qualifying public service job</li> <li>Work in public service for 10 years (but not necessarily 10 consecutive years or 10 years at the same public service job)</li> <li>Make your loan payments on time and in full every month while employed full time in a public service position</li> <li>Choose a qualifying repayment plan, which includes Income-Based Repayment Plan, Pay As You Earn, Income-Contingent Repayment Plan, 10-Year Standard Repayment Plan, or any other repayment plan where your monthly payment equals or exceeds what you would pay under a 10-Year Standard Repayment Plan.</li> </ul> <p>In exchange, the federal government will forgive the rest of participants&rsquo; student loan debt after 10 years of service.</p> <p>Even better, this plan works in conjunction with the various repayment programs where payments may be adjusted based on the borrower&rsquo;s income and the student-debt-to-income ratio, such as <a href="">Pay as You Earn</a>. One common misconception is that you have to be earning very little to use these plans and PSLF, but there is no income cap. To see if you qualify, login to and <a href="">use their repayment estimator</a>.</p> <p>You also have to have federal direct loans (Stafford, PLUS, or Consolidation). Federal loans that do not qualify include FFEL and Perkins loans.</p> <p>However, if you consolidate FFEL or Perkins loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, that loan does qualify.</p> <h2>Qualifying Jobs</h2> <p>Here is the most important thing to know about jobs that qualify for PSLF &mdash; it&rsquo;s not what you do for work that matters, it&rsquo;s who you work for. So, basically, you can do almost any job you can imagine, and as long as you do it for a qualifying organization. And, moreover, many more organizations qualify for PSLF than you might imagine.</p> <p>There are three main employer categories that qualify for PSLF: government agencies, organizations, and entities; 501(c)3 organizations; and other jobs that are public service, but don&rsquo;t fall into the two previous categories. I&rsquo;ve included more about each area below.</p> <p><strong>Government</strong></p> <p>This includes jobs in all federal, state, local, and tribal government positions and agencies (except elected members of the U.S. Congress). At the state and local levels alone, there are 18 million government positions in the United States. This includes federal agencies ranging from FEMA to the IRS to the Department of Health and Human Services to the National Endowment for the Arts. To get a full sense of how much this category covers, take a look at this massive <a href="">official list of federal agencies</a>.</p> <p><strong>501(c)3 Organizations</strong></p> <p>501(c)3 is the federal designation for an officially recognized nonprofit &mdash; and there are over one million of them &mdash; most charities and nonprofits are covered under the 501(c)3 umbrella. If you want to get an idea of what&rsquo;s in your area, browse around a site like <a href="">Great Nonprofits</a>, which can give you information on different organizations based on your area of interest.</p> <p><strong>Other Public Service Organizations</strong></p> <p>These organizations might not be official 501(c)3 groups, but they provide services to the public. The Federal Office of Student Loans defines these organizations as:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;">...emergency management, military service, public safety, or law enforcement services; public health services; public education or public library services; school library and other school-based services; public interest law services; early childhood education; public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly.</p> <p><strong>A Small Sampling of Jobs That Qualify</strong></p> <p>To give you an idea of just how many kinds of jobs qualify for PSLF, here are just a few. This list is far from all-inclusive, but it gives you an idea of the wide variety of positions that can lead to loan forgiveness:</p> <ul> <li>Teachers</li> <li>College professors</li> <li>Doctors or lawyers working for any organization in one of the categories listed above</li> <li>Employees at any level of federal, state, local, or tribal government</li> <li>Members of the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps</li> <li>Military personnel</li> <li>Law enforcement</li> <li>Any kind of creative working at a qualifying organization, including designers, writers, and performers</li> <li>Emergency services personnel</li> <li>Public health workers</li> <li>Public librarians</li> <li>Any type of engineer or technician working for a qualifying organization</li> <li>Support staff employed by any qualifying organization</li> </ul> <p>Even President Obama would qualify, if he still had unpaid student loans and fit the other criteria.</p> <h2>How to Find Public Service Jobs</h2> <p>Many nonprofits post jobs on traditional job-search sites, such as Craigslist. In addition, here are some sites that cater specifically to non-profits:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Idealist</a></li> <li><a href="">The NonProfit Times</a></li> <li><a href="">Public Service Careers</a></li> <li><a href="">Opportunity Knocks</a></li> <li><a href="">Chronicle of Philanthropy</a></li> </ul> <p>As for government jobs, do an Internet search for your state, county, or city name with the word &ldquo;jobs&rdquo; to find the official site for your area, or visit the <a href="">federal government&rsquo;s jobs site</a>.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re not sure if the organization you&rsquo;re interested in working at qualifies, the best way to find out is to fill out the employer certification form or call the public service loan forgiveness servicer and ask &mdash; more on that below!</p> <h2>How to Utilize the PSLF Program</h2> <p>Think PSLF is right for you? Here&rsquo;s how to get started.</p> <p><strong>1. Make Sure You Have the Right Type of Loans</strong></p> <p>Only federal direct loans qualify for PSLF. But if you have FFEL or Perkins loans and you consolidate them into a direct consolidation loan, that loan does qualify.</p> <p><strong>2. Fill Out the PSLF Application Form With Your Employer</strong></p> <p>Fill out the <a href="">Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness </a>form. Do it as soon as you start working with your employer to get your paper trail started. If you aren&rsquo;t sure if your employer will qualify, call the public service loan servicer at 855-265-4038 to find out if your new employer will help you earn public service loan forgiveness.</p> <p><strong>3. Work Full-Time</strong></p> <p>Only full-time employment qualifies for PSLF. In this case, full-time is described as at least 30 hours a week. If you work a job that has you work full-time for most of the year and then take a few months off &mdash; like teaching &mdash; that still counts for a full year in terms of PSLF.</p> <p><strong>4. Make On-Time, Complete Payments</strong></p> <p>You only qualify for PSLF if you make full, on-time payments every month. But PSLF works with the various income-aware repayment plans, so if you feel like your loans are too expensive, check with your loan servicer to see if you qualify for another payment option with a lower monthly cost.</p> <p><strong>5. Fill Out the Employer Certification Form Again If You Get a New Job</strong></p> <p>Remember, you don&rsquo;t have to stay in the same job or with the same employer for the full 10 years &mdash; in fact, your qualifying public service work doesn&rsquo;t even need to be completed 10 years in a row. If you work in public service for five years, at a for-profit company for two years, and at another public service job for five years after that, you could qualify to have your loans forgiven after 12 years. So whenever you start a new job, fill out the employer certification form again to help keep track.</p> <p><em>Are you planning to use PSLF?</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This article is part of our <a href="">New Graduate Help Center</a> &mdash; a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads. This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section:</p> <div class="newgrads-related"> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />Why You Shouldn&#39;t Panic About Your Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />3 Things You Must Know About Repaying Your Private Student Loans</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />What Recent Grads Must Know to Repay Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-fed-student-loan-borrowers-qualify-for-loan-forgiveness-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> It is the best kept secret in student loans. Read on to see if you quality. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building Education & Training Wed, 25 Dec 2013 11:30:18 +0000 Reyna Gobel 1102492 at The Definitive Guide to Pay As You Earn — A Federal Student Loan Repayment Plan <p>In the past few years, the federal government introduced several new student loan payback plans that base payment amounts on borrowers&rsquo; income, aimed at helping these borrowers pay back their loans without being crushed by debt. Perhaps the most enticing of these is the Pay As You Earn plan, which, for many borrowers, provides the lowest monthly payments of any plan &mdash; and, if you qualify, you can even have the remainder of your loans forgiven after 20 years.</p> <p>There are some criteria for qualifying. Unlike the other income-sensitive plans, Pay As You Earn borrowers had to be student-loan free as of October 1, 2007 and had disbursement of loans on or after October 1, 2011. You also have to demonstrate a &ldquo;partial financial hardship&rdquo; &mdash; but, as you&rsquo;ll learn below, that doesn&rsquo;t necessarily mean that you can&rsquo;t qualify for Pay As You Earn if you have a job &mdash; even a high-paying one.</p> <p>Read on to learn about the pros and cons of the plan, discover if it&rsquo;s right for you, and find out how to apply.</p> <ul> <li><a href="#whatispayasyouearn">What is Pay As You Earn?</a></li> <li><a href="#benefitsofpayasyouearn">Benefits of Pay As You Earn</a></li> <li><a href="#howtofigureout">How to Figure Out if Pay As You Earn Works For You</a></li> <li><a href="#estimatingyourpayments">Estimating Your Payments and How to Apply</a></li> <li><a href="#pros">Pros to Pay As You Earn</a></li> <li><a href="#cons">Cons to Pay As You Earn</a></li> <li><a href="#howpayasyouearncompares">How Pay As You Earn Compares to Other Repayment Plans That Consider Income</a></li> <li><a href="#whatyoushouldknow">What You Should Know After You&rsquo;ve Signed Up for Pay As You Earn</a></li> </ul> <h2><a id="whatispayasyouearn" name="whatispayasyouearn"></a>What Is Pay As You Earn?</h2> <p>Pay As You Earn is a federal student loan repayment plan that reduces your federal student loan payments based on financial hardship. The plan was developed as a way to help those struggling with sizeable student loan payments, and it went into effect December 21, 2012.</p> <h2><a id="benefitsofpayasyouearn" name="benefitsofpayasyouearn"></a>Benefits of Pay As You Earn</h2> <p>There are several benefits to the Pay As You Earn repayment plan.</p> <p><strong>How Much You Pay</strong></p> <p>For many people with federal student loans, Pay As You Earn is the payment plan with the lowest monthly payments. When you&rsquo;re on this plan, your payments are calculated as 10% of your discretionary income divided by 12. (More on how that discretionary income is calculated a bit later.)</p> <p><strong>Interest Subsidies and Capitalization Breaks</strong></p> <p>In addition to lowering your monthly payments, the Pay As You Earn plan also has other benefits. First of all, if you had subsidized federal loans (the kind where the government pays your loan interest for you when you&rsquo;re in school), for the first three years that you&rsquo;re on the Pay As You Earn plan, the government will continue providing an interest subsidy. They won&rsquo;t pay for all of your interest, but if the amount you pay each month doesn&rsquo;t cover all of the interest your loans are earning, the federal government will pay any leftover interest.</p> <p>Also, according to the government, when you have a partial financial hardship, &ldquo;...interest that accrues but is not covered by your loan payments will not be capitalized, even if interest accrues during a deferment or forbearance.&rdquo; Basically, this means that any interest accrued will not be added to the principal of the loan, and thus you won&rsquo;t be charged interest on the interest. And, furthermore, &ldquo;the total amount of interest that capitalizes while you are repaying your loans under the Pay As You Earn plan is limited to 10% of your original principal balance when you begin paying under Pay As You Earn.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Loan Forgiveness</strong></p> <p>If you always pay in full and on time and have a partial financial hardship every year, you can have the balance of your loan forgiven after 20 years. And if you work full-time in public service, you may qualify for the <a href="">Public Service Loan Forgiveness program</a>, where the balance of your loans can be forgiven after just 10 years.</p> <h2><a id="howtofigureout" name="howtofigureout"></a>How to Figure Out if Pay As You Earn Works for You</h2> <p>Unfortunately, not everyone can use the Pay As You Earn plan. Here&rsquo;s how to figure out if you qualify.</p> <p><strong>Do You Demonstrate a &ldquo;Partial Financial Hardship&rdquo;?</strong></p> <p>In order to qualify for Pay As You Earn, you need to have what the federal government calls a &ldquo;partial financial hardship.&rdquo; The Office of Federal Student Aid defines this as:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;">You have a partial financial hardship if the monthly amount you would be required to pay on your eligible federal student loans under a 10-year <a href="">Standard Repayment Plan</a> is higher than the monthly amount you would be required to repay under Pay As You Earn.</p> <p>That definition doesn&rsquo;t really say anything about what the payment would be. So, let&rsquo;s dig a little deeper.</p> <p>As I mentioned earlier, Pay As You Earn is 10% of your discretionary income. You might be familiar with the idea of &ldquo;discretionary income&rdquo; as the money you have leftover when you&rsquo;re done paying your monthly bills. In the case of Pay As You Earn, it&rsquo;s a similar concept, but the government calculates your discretionary income as your income minus 150% of the poverty guidelines for your family size.</p> <p>Even if you think you might not qualify by reading that definition, you might &mdash; because your debt-to-income ratio also matters. For example, if you make $100,000 a year but owe $200,000 in loans, you can qualify for income-based repayment.</p> <p>The best way to figure out if your income and debt-to-income ratio allow to apply for the plan is to plug your information into <a href="">this calculator</a>.</p> <p><strong>Do You Have the Right Kind of Loans?</strong></p> <p>Like all federal loan repayment plans, this program only applies to federal student loans. Specifically:</p> <ul> <li>Direct Subsidized Loans</li> <li>Direct Unsubsidized Loans</li> <li>Direct PLUS Loans made to graduate or professional students</li> <li>Direct Consolidation Loans without underlying PLUS loans made to parents</li> </ul> <p>And the following loans cannot be repaid with the Pay As You Earn plan:</p> <ul> <li>Direct PLUS Loans made to parents</li> <li>Direct Consolidation Loans that repaid PLUS loans (Direct or FFEL) made to parents</li> <li>FFEL Program loans</li> <li>Private education loans</li> </ul> <p>An additional note on FFEL loans &mdash; if you have FFEL loans, which are provided through a federal program but by private banks, the loans cannot be paid back with the Pay As You Earn program. But if you also have Direct Loans you&rsquo;d like to use the Pay As You Earn plan for, the amount of your FFEL loans can be taken into account when figuring out if you have a partial financial hardship. Moreover, FFEL loans <em>can</em> be consolidated with direct loans. When this happens, the new combined direct loan can be repaid under Pay As You Earn (provided the underlying FFEL and direct loans were disbursed on or after October 1, 2007).</p> <p><strong>Did You Get Your Loans During the Right Time Period?</strong></p> <p>In addition to the above criteria, your loans also have to fall within specific time constraints. You must:</p> <ul> <li>Be a new borrower (i.e., have no outstanding student loan balances) as of October 1, 2007</li> <li>Have received loan disbursement on or after October 1, 2011 (meaning that your loan funds were provided to your school on or after that date)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Are Your Loans Properly Consolidated?</strong></p> <p>If you consolidated loans that do qualify with Parent PLUS loans, which don&rsquo;t, this consolidated loan is not eligible for the Pay As You Earn plan.</p> <h2><a id="estimatingyourpayments" name="estimatingyourpayments"></a>Estimating Your Payments and Applying</h2> <p>If you fit all of the criteria listed above, visit the Office of Federal Student Aid&rsquo;s <a href="">Pay As You Earn payment calculator</a> to find out how much you would owe each month. Then, if you have any questions before signing up, contact your student loan servicer. Finally, when you&rsquo;re ready to apply, you can do so by logging in at <a href=""></a>.</p> <h2><a id="pros" name="pros"></a>Pros to Pay As You Earn</h2> <p>To recap what we&rsquo;ve discussed so far, if you qualify, there are several great reasons to consider the Pay As You Earn plan:</p> <ul> <li>Depending on your income, your payments might be less than any other payment plan &mdash; and, at the very least, they&rsquo;ll never be more than they would be on the standard 10-year repayment plan.</li> <li>You can have the remainder of your loan forgiven after 20 years of on-time payments, or after 10 years with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.</li> <li>If you have a subsidized loan, you will continue to get interest subsidies for three years if your monthly payments do not cover all of the interest you owe.</li> </ul> <h2><a id="cons" name="cons"></a>Cons to Pay As You Earn</h2> <p>There are some downsides to the plan.</p> <ul> <li>Pay As You Earn won&rsquo;t work for everyone. If you can&rsquo;t demonstrate a partial financial hardship as defined by the Office of Federal Student Aid, you can&rsquo;t qualify.</li> <li>You have to provide updated income and family size information every year to confirm that you still demonstrate a partial financial hardship.</li> <li>If you no longer demonstrate a partial financial hardship, you can choose the standard repayment plan and still potentially qualify for some loan forgiveness if you still have a balance after 20 years of combined Pay As You Earn and standard payments.</li> <li>Even if your loan is forgiven after 20 years, you may have to pay taxes on the amount that was forgiven. At this time, it is unclear whether or not congress will create an exception to this before any borrower has to pay these taxes.</li> <li>Since paying less per month could mean you&rsquo;ll extend the life of the loan, you could also owe more in interest. If you continue to qualify for Pay As You Earn, this is not a problem. But if you reach a point where you don&rsquo;t qualify, your interest will capitalize, and you could end up paying more overall than you would with a standard repayment plan.</li> </ul> <p>About that last point &ndash; here&rsquo;s an example of what I mean. Say that borrower named Joanne has $30,000 of unsubsidized student loan debt with an interest rate of 6.8%. Her income for the first three years out of college helps her qualify for a Pay As You Earn payment of $60 a month, which doesn&rsquo;t even cover interest. Since she doesn&rsquo;t have subsidized loans, the government doesn&rsquo;t pay the additional interest, and she still has her $30,000 student loan debt left. Now, in addition to that initial debt, she has to pay another approximately another $3,000 in interest accumulated. If her income increases enough, she will never be able to have loan forgiveness, because she&rsquo;ll pay off her loan well before 20 years.</p> <h2><a id="howpayasyouearncompares" name="howpayasyouearncompares"></a>How Pay As You Earn Compares to Other Repayment Plans That Consider Income</h2> <p>Pay As You Earn isn&rsquo;t the only option for paying back your student loans. There are also other income-related plans to consider. One of the biggest differences with all of these plans is that, while you&rsquo;ll almost certainly pay less on Pay As You Earn, these plans work for loans no matter when you got them. So, for example, if you received disbursement of loans before October 1, 2011, those loans would not qualify for Pay As You Earn, but could qualify for the plans below.</p> <p><strong>Income-Based Repayment (IBR)</strong></p> <p>Under IBR, you also need to demonstrate a partial financial hardship. Your payments are locked in as 15% of your discretionary income (compared to Pay As You Earn&rsquo;s 10%), and you can qualify for loan forgiveness after 25 years.</p> <p><strong>Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)</strong></p> <p>Payments under ICR are based on your gross annual income, family size, and loan amount; and they change accordingly each year. Loan forgiveness is available after 25 years.</p> <p><strong>Income-Sensitive Repayment (ISR)</strong></p> <p>In this plan, your loan amount is based on your income. The plan is only available for 10 years, and there is no loan forgiveness.</p> <h2><a id="whatyoushouldknow" name="whatyoushouldknow"></a>What You Should Know After You&rsquo;ve Signed Up for Pay As You Earn</h2> <p>There are a few things to be aware of after you&rsquo;ve signed up for Pay As You Earn.</p> <p><strong>You Must Make Your Payments Every Month and on Time</strong></p> <p>If not, you risk defaulting and not being eligible for loan forgiveness.</p> <p><strong>You Have to Reapply Every Year</strong></p> <p>And, if you no longer demonstrate partial financial hardship, your monthly payment will change to a &ldquo;standard&rdquo; payment amount.</p> <p><strong>Any Questions?</strong></p> <p>If you have any questions, ask your loan servicer, or feel free to get in touch with me &mdash; I&rsquo;m only a tweet away at @<a href="">reynagobel</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This article is part of our <a href="">New Graduate Help Center</a> &mdash; a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads. This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section:</p> <div class="newgrads-related"> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />Why You Shouldn't Panic About Your Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />3 Things You Must Know About Repaying Your Private Student Loans</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />What Recent Grads Must Know to Repay Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> For many, this plan offers the lowest monthly payments and even forgives your student loan after 20 years. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Debt Management Education & Training Tue, 17 Dec 2013 11:31:01 +0000 Reyna Gobel 1100564 at How to Practice Making Student Loan Payments <p>Remember how scared you felt when you first got behind the wheel to drive a car? You were probably oozing with anxiety &mdash; it&#39;s a good thing you had a learner&#39;s permit and had to practice under the guidance of an experienced teacher before you could really drive on your own. &nbsp;</p> <p>In some ways, repaying student loans isn&rsquo;t much different &mdash; it might be intimidating, but after a little practice and guidance, it&#39;ll feel natural. That&#39;s why I&#39;m going to teach you how to make practice student loan payments. When you&#39;re still in your grace period, these fake &ldquo;payments&rdquo; to your savings account will help make paying off your loan second habit &mdash; and help you build some savings. Here&#39;s what to do.</p> <h2>Find Out the Date Your First Payment Is Due</h2> <p>Call your loan servicer or servicers and find out when your first payment is due. You can find contact information for your servicer(s) on the National Student Loan Data System. While you&rsquo;ve got your servicer on the phone, ask if you can get estimated payment amounts for different payment plans, including income-based repayment, standard 10-year repayment, and extended repayment.</p> <p>Not all loan servicers will be able to give you the exact amount of your first payment months ahead of schedule, but that shouldn&#39;t stop you from making practice payments. If you can&rsquo;t get estimates directly from your servicers, go to our <a href="">resources section</a> to find links to repayment calculators that will help you estimate your payment amounts on your own. Try several different variables. For example, if considering utilizing the Pay as You Earn option, enter your current income, and then recalculate the amount if you land a great new job.</p> <p>After you&rsquo;ve gotten estimates for different payment plans, pick one that you feel like is manageable with your budget.</p> <h2>Review Your Budget</h2> <p>Creating a budget is the first step to managing your finances when you&#39;re in repayment. If you currently track your expenses, great! You should have a good idea of how much you can afford for payments. If not, do you know much money you have left at the end of the month after you pay your bills? Do you have enough to pay any of the student loan payments your servicer calculated for you? If not, don&#39;t worry &mdash; we&#39;ll make room for your payment in the next step.</p> <h2>Make Room for Your Payment</h2> <p>If you&#39;re feeling cash-strapped, the good news is there&#39;s a lot you can do to change that. For instance, when I first moved to Manhattan, I&rsquo;d take long walks. Inevitably, with what seems like 50 restaurants per half block, I bought a lot of snacks along the way. After all, who doesn&rsquo;t want to buy pudding from a place so good that they survive by <em>only</em> making pudding? During my snack-filled walks, I managed to not lose an ounce from my body but hundreds from my bank account. So, I decided I needed to make a change &mdash; I moved to Brooklyn where there were less restaurants per block, and I lost 40 pounds while keeping my bank account intact.</p> <p>So ask yourself some similar questions. Could you eat out less? Are you buying too many groceries, and some of them are spoiling before you&#39;re able to eat them? Can you turn the lights off when you&rsquo;re not home? Find ways to cut your budget at least enough to afford the smallest payment calculated by your student loan servicer.</p> <p>If what&#39;s spoiling your budget isn&#39;t obvious, use free financial tools such to compare what you think you&rsquo;re spending in different categories with what you are spending.</p> <h2>Transfer Your Practice Student Loan Payment to a Savings Account</h2> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve established which payment you can afford, start transferring this amount into a savings account on a monthly basis until your first payment is due. This is also a great way to start building a stash of emergency cash. If you have five months until you really have to start paying and are able to put away $200 per month, you&rsquo;ll accumulate $1,000 bucks.</p> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have a savings account, find out if your bank is offering a special for opening one. You might get an extra $25 to $50 courtesy of your bank. I got $50 from mine.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you have more than one month before your payments have to start, you can also go back to step one, pick a different payment plan, and then practice that one the next month. So if during the first month of practice you realize you can afford $100 easily, try setting aside $200 the second month.</p> <h2>Adjust Payment Plans as Needed</h2> <p>You may decide to change your repayment plan in the future or simply add to your current payments to pay off your loan faster. Since federal student loans allow changes to repayment plans once per year, you should practice the new payment for at least two months before officially changing your plan. After all, you don&rsquo;t want to ask for a change and then find out you can&rsquo;t afford the payment. To practice when you&#39;re actually in repayment, transfer the difference between your current payment and the one into your savings account until you&rsquo;re ready to make the change.</p> <p>And if you experience a financial setback and need to change your plan, don&#39;t worry &mdash; even the most experienced drivers get lost every now and then, but they always get back on track.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This article is part of our <a href="">New Graduate Help Center</a> &mdash; a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads. This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section:</p> <div class="newgrads-related"> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />Why You Shouldn't Panic About Your Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />3 Things You Must Know About Repaying Your Private Student Loans</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />What Recent Grads Must Know to Repay Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" />15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-practice-making-student-loan-payments" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Developing a great payment habit may help you save thousands in the long run. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Education & Training Fri, 22 Nov 2013 11:32:47 +0000 Reyna Gobel 1098709 at Why You Shouldn't Panic About Your Federal Student Loans <p>Dear Not-Yet-In-Trouble Federal Student Loan Borrower,</p> <p>You might have heard that the Department of Education will be sending out letters to millions of student loans borrowers. The letters target borrowers whose grace periods are ending, as well as borrowers who exhibit signs of trouble that could lead to defaulting on their loans.&nbsp;If you haven&rsquo;t started repayment yet but are fretting about how you&rsquo;re going to possibly repay all that money &mdash; stop worrying.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m writing you this letter to not only give you important details about student loan repayment, but also to help you be aware of potential issues well before trouble starts.</p> <h2>I Defaulted &mdash; Here&rsquo;s How to Avoid My Mistakes</h2> <p>I defaulted on a federal student loan simply because I didn&rsquo;t know it existed. I had over a dozen student loans from different lenders; I forgot about one loan and went into default. It&rsquo;s easy to do, but it&rsquo;s also easy to avoid. Just log in to the <a href="">National Student Loan Data System</a>. You&rsquo;ll see all your federal student loans on this site, along with contact information. Either arrange to pay each individually, or consolidate them into one loan. This is also a great time to get a free credit report &ndash; it can alert you to any problems you might have, like having missed a loan or bill payment.</p> <p>Then, know yourself. If you can&rsquo;t keep track of each individual loan, you really need to consolidate them into one loan to streamline payments (ask your loan servicer about consolidation options). Once consolidated, you can still choose a plan where payments are based on income, such as Pay as You Earn. And if you&rsquo;re interested in the public service loan forgiveness program, know that it&rsquo;s only available through loans originated by or consolidated with Federal Direct Loans.</p> <h2>Realize That Even With the Pay as You Earn Plan, You Might Have Payment Problems</h2> <p>The income-based Pay as You Earn repayment plan bases payments on your income and family size, but it doesn&rsquo;t fully consider your expenses if your circumstances change. For example, at some point, you may have to help support a sick parent or child. You could also have bought a home when your income was higher. After a pay cut, a majority of your income could go towards your mortgage.</p> <p>If you experience a financial setback, you have three options:</p> <ul> <li>Call your servicer and see if your Pay as You Earn payment amount can be adjusted. You have to supply your income annually, and you may have forgotten to do so this year, causing your payments to set based a higher income level.</li> <li>Ask for a deferment or forbearance, which are temporary payment breaks. Taking a break should only be done if the situation isn&rsquo;t permanent. Always take a deferment when possible over a forbearance when any of your student loans are subsidized. The government pays the interest on subsidized student loans during periods of deferment.</li> <li>If your income is lower because you took family leave for six months, you may not want to change your plan. However, for long-term pay cuts where your income-based repayment is too high for your budget, you should ask your servicer to also calculate payment options and see which payment option offers the lowest monthly payment.</li> </ul> <h2>Don&rsquo;t Feel Embarrassed If You Don&rsquo;t Know Something About Student Loans</h2> <p>I wrote two editions of a 240-page book on student loans, and I still don&rsquo;t know everything about them. I read articles and play with the student loan repayment calculators every day. There&rsquo;s always something new to learn. For instance, the public service loan forgiveness employer verification form wasn&rsquo;t created until after the first edition was released. Now, thanks to that form, you can find out if you qualify for the public service loan forgiveness program right away and register for it right after you start working <em>or</em> after you&rsquo;ve already started repayment &mdash; the choice is up to you. Never be afraid to ask your servicer questions about any of these programs.</p> <h2>Talk to Your Friends Who Are or Will Be in Repayment Soon</h2> <p>I&rsquo;m not the only person who has experience with and advice about student loans. Talking to your friends can help you figure out repayment options and possibly pick better ones based on their choices and experiences. Just remember, they might have different circumstances than you, such as income level, children, or other debt that impacted their choices. Therefore, you shouldn&rsquo;t copy their decisions. But you&rsquo;ll be more informed and learn questions to ask your servicer. Plus, they may have missed payments, recovered, and now have advice about that. Learn from others&rsquo; student loan mistakes and victories.</p> <h2>The Most Important Part of This Letter?</h2> <p>The help you get doesn&rsquo;t end here. You can tweet me anytime &mdash; <a href="">@ReynaGobel</a> &mdash; and ask questions. My articles will be posted here every week. You can ask me questions in my <a href="">CollegeWeekLive</a> web chats or get more helpful advice in my book <a href=""><em>CliffsNotes Graduation Debt</em></a>.</p> <p>Finally, remember you never want to receive a &ldquo;dear troubled borrower&rdquo; letter. The second you think you might miss a payment, talk to your servicer about options for a payment break or new repayment plan. With federal student loans, that one call will likely save your credit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="newgrads-related"> <div class="newgrads-node-disclaimer"> This article is part of our <a href="">New Graduate Help Center</a> &mdash; a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads. This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section: </div> <table boder="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td class="related" id="related-1"> <a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" /><span class="related-title">What Recent Grads Must Know to Repay Federal Student Loans</span><br /> </a></td> <td class="related" id="related-2"> <a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" /><span class="related-title">3 Things You Must Know About Repaying Your Private Student Loans</span><br /> </a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="related" id="related-3"> <a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" /><span class="related-title">Resources for Students and New Grads</span><br /> </a></td> <td class="related" id="related-4"> <a href=""><img class="related-image" src="" /><span class="related-title">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</span><br /> </a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-shouldnt-panic-about-your-federal-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Follow these simple steps to avoid defaulting on your federal student loans. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Education & Training Fri, 08 Nov 2013 11:36:03 +0000 Reyna Gobel 1083924 at