Holden Caulfield and the Passing of Howard Zinn

Posted on Feb. 1st 2010 by Amelia

With the passing of J.D. Salinger, for the first time in years I was reminded of the immortal teenager, Holden Caulfield. It had truly been a long time since the famous rebel occupied any of my conscious thoughts.

Apparently that was not true for others. The enormous outpouring of interest on the web gave clear indication that Holden is one of the most remembered characters in the history of America.

Unfortunately, timing being everything, there was another passing last week, one that drew far less attention. The passing of Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus at Boston University, flew largely under the radar.

For some, the death of Professor Zinn did not rise to the same level as a legendary and reclusive author’s passing. But for me, the passing of the longtime proponent of compassion over vengeance was far more notable.

Howard Zinn

An activist in every sense of the word, Howard Zinn is credited with being a key force in helping young people understand the importance of dissent to a democracy. The historian wrote one of the most important books of all time, A People’s History of the United States (1980). {Fans of “Good Will Hunting” might recall Will (Matt Damon) recommending the People’s History to his shrink Sean (Robin Williams)}.

Zinn served as bombardier during World War II, attaining the rank of second lieutenant. He entered New York University on the GI Bill at the ripe old age of 27. Working nights in a warehouse loading trucks, Zinn worked his way through school earning his bachelor’s degree from NYU, and later, master’s and doctoral degrees in history from Columbia University.

Zinn taught at Upsala, Brooklyn and Spelman colleges. Marian Wright Edelman and Alice Walker were two of his students at the historically black Spelman. During that time, Zinn became active in the civil rights movement and participated in numerous demonstrations. In 1964, Zinn became an associate professor of political science at BU and was later named a full professor in 1966. At that time his focus shifted to opposition of the Vietnam War.

History has it that Zinn ended his final class at BU 30 minutes early so that he could join a picket line. He also urged his 500 students in the lecture hall to join him – estimates indicate roughly one hundred did.

News accounts that spent time discussing this important man cited his autobiography, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train (1994). In it, Zinn wrote:

“From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than ‘objectivity’; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it. This, of course, was a recipe for trouble.”

Opposition to Afghanistan

In late September, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Zinn penned a piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education. As we consider the current issues facing our country, hemorrhaging money in Iraq and Afghanistan yet so deep in debt we are finding it near impossible to solve our own problems, Zinn’s thoughts in 2001 are particularly prescient:

The images on television have been heartbreaking. People on fire, leaping to their deaths. People in panic and fear. Terror in hijacked airplanes. The scenes, the images horrified and sickened me.

Then our political leaders came on television, and I was horrified and sickened again. They spoke of retaliation, of vengeance, of punishment. We are at war, they said. And I thought: They have learned nothing, absolutely nothing, from the history of the 20th century, from a hundred years of retaliation, vengeance, war, a hundred years of terrorism and counterterrorism, of violence met with violence, in an unending cycle of stupidity.

Will we now bomb Afghanistan? Then we will, inevitably, kill innocent people, because it is in the nature of bombing to be indiscriminate. Will we then be committing terrorism to “send a message” to terrorists? We have done that before. It is the old way of thinking, the old way of acting. It has never worked. Reagan bombed Libya, Bush made war on Iraq, and Clinton bombed Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, to “send a message” to terrorists. Isn’t it clear by now that sending “a message” to terrorists through violence only leads to more terrorism?

Haven’t we learned anything from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Car bombs planted by Palestinians bring air attacks and tanks from the Israeli government, and then there are more car bombs. That has been going on for years. It doesn’t work. And innocent people die on both sides.

We need to think about the resentment all over the world felt by people who have been the victims of American military action — in Vietnam, in Latin America, in Iraq. We need to think about the anger of Palestinians, who know that the weapons used against them are supplied by the United States. We need to understand how some of those people will go beyond quiet anger to acts of terrorism.

We need new ways of thinking. A $300-billion military budget has not given us security. Military bases all over the world, warships on every ocean, have not given us security. Land mines, a “missile-defense shield,” will not give us security. We need to stop sending weapons to countries that oppress other people or their own people. We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children. War is terrorism, magnified a hundred times.

Our security can only come by using our national wealth, not for guns, planes, and bombs, but for the health and welfare of our people, and for people suffering in other countries. Our first thoughts should be not of vengeance, but of compassion, not of violence, but of healing.

Change We Can Believe In?

Those of us who fell in love with the Obama campaign harbored hope that we were electing a man who might usher in a new way of thinking.

The loss of that hope is perhaps why I feel so disillusioned today just one year into this new president’s term.

We were looking for someone like Zinn, someone who could inspire a new way of viewing our current issues, someone who could help us create a transcendent America. Instead, we find ourselves stuck, unable to move forward.

One can’t help but wonder, would Holden be far more disillusioned were a young Salinger to pen such a famous work today?

In the meantime, we can’t help but wonder what it says about our current state of affairs when we pay more attention to a fictional teen and the passing of his reclusive creator than we do to the death of one of America’s truly great thinkers.

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Recession Could Mean Increased Financial Aid for Students

Posted on Dec. 29th 2009 by Amelia

As students and their respective families enter the 2010 financial aid application time period, those filling out applications should be reminded of a letter sent by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan last spring.

255px-DuncanArneAs just one aspect of President Barack Obama’s pledge to increase student participation in higher education, the U.S. Department of Education released what has been dubbed a “Dear Colleague” letter. That communication, dated May 8th, encouraged college financial-aid administrators to take into consideration any special circumstances that students and families have faced during the economic downturn.

The key aspect of the letter involves an effort to make families more aware of a concept referred to as professional judgment. However, while the letter sought to have schools take greater responsibility for making more families aware of their rights, those filling out application forms owe it to themselves to understand the concept and the current circumstances surrounding Duncan’s letter.

The Letter

First, The Chronicle of Higher Education describes the fundamental change that Duncan’s office was seeking. While families have always had the right to ask the financial-aid office to exercise professional judgment, many were unaware of this right. The Duncan letter went so far as to encourage “financial-aid administrators to reach out to students and families who may be in trouble.”

In addition, Duncan’s letter clarified the changing circumstances for which financial aid administrators should consider utilizing professional judgment.

“A changed circumstance certainly includes the loss of a job or a reduction in work hours or wages,” wrote Duncan, “but it also includes, for example, the income loss associated with a prospective student’s decision to leave the work force or to reduce work hours in order to return to school.”

The letter further indicated that professional judgment should be used on a case-by-case basis and requires colleges document the changed circumstances.

The Use of Professional Judgment

The idea of financial aid officers exercising professional judgment is simple to describe. According to The Chronicle:

Professional judgment allows aid officers “to adjust student aid to reflect a family’s financial circumstances not reflected on the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.”

In other words, schools are being asked to look beyond the numbers and examine a student’s and/or families’ immediate circumstances. For example, if the student or parent worked most of last year, the FAFSA form might call for a specific expected family contribution based on those earnings.

iStock_000005795312XSmallHowever, if the student or parent recently became unemployed or has seen a reduction in hours or hourly wage, then their ability to pay has been significantly altered. And for 2010, another adjustment involves families who took a hardship withdrawal from a retirement account to cover a medical bill. Normally such a withdrawal would be counted as income earned in that respective year but will not be for earnings in 2009.

The use of professional judgment was not something schools practiced liberally in the past. In fact, such a step previously held negative ramifications for institutions.

Previously, the Department of Education had used the professional judgment determination in its risk-based model to select schools for program reviews. The higher the percentage of students qualifying for professional judgment, the more likely the school could find itself in the review process.

The Duncan letter informed colleges that for both 2008-09 and 2009-10, the Department would make appropriate adjustments to its risk-based model.

Implication for Students

Students and families who have been impacted by the economic downturn need to understand their right to request that aid officers make adjustments even if such an adjustment is not offered. Such an adjustment could dramatically affect one’s status, creating a new-found eligibility for grants and other need-based student aid that a student may not have previously qualified for. Students might also qualify for additional federal loans and work study options.

The biggest benefactors would be those individuals who have been laid off or had hours/wage reductions yet are interested in returning to school to retrain. Those individuals could conceivably find themselves in a position to be eligible for significant levels of need-based financial aid based on their current employment status.

Previously, independent students who had been laid off had to report their unemployment benefits as income. The Duncan letter directs institutions to set that student’s earned income from work to zero for financial aid purposes.

But other benefactors could be current students who have had one or both parents lose wages. If a student or family has seen a recent paycheck change they should be sure to alert their respective financial aid office and seek adjustments accordingly. For greater clarity on who might be eligible, the Department of Education and the Department of Labor have collaborated on a web site that offers assistance to those recently unemployed.

Adding further optimism for students and families are a number of other positive aid developments. The maximum Pell Grant will be increasing to $5,350 for the 2009-2010 school year and to $5,550 for the 2010-2011 academic year. Those numbers are up from $4,731 a year ago.

In addition, the Hope Credit (now called the American opportunity tax credit) has risen to $2,500 for the 2009 and 2010 tax years (up from $1,800) and can be claimed for the first four years of post-secondary education (previously available for first two years only). The maximum income level for Hope eligibility is $90,000 for single filers and $180,000 for joint filers for 2009 and 2010.

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What Do You Really Need to Learn in College?

Posted on Dec. 17th 2009 by Amelia

William D. Coplin, Syracuse professor and author of more than 110 books and articles, discusses how students can use their college academic and non-academic experiences to prepare for a rewarding career.

Today, we offer readers some valuable insight from professor William D. Coplin, the director of the undergraduate public affairs program at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. A Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence recipient, Professor Coplin is also the founder of the Do Good Society and the Chairman of Board for the John Dau Sudan Foundation.

The author of many books and newspaper articles, Mr. Coplin is also a regular contributor to the USA Today. But our interest in the man who has directed the Public Affairs Program of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University since 1976 centered upon two specific books he had written:

* 25 Ways to Make College Pay Off: Advice for Anxious Parents from a Professor Who’s Seen It All
* 10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College

Professor Coplin is a strong proponent of reforming “both high school and college education to better meet the needs for the majority of students who see education as a path to better employment opportunities.” The 2000-2001 College of Arts and Sciences Award for Outstanding Faculty Advisor also is a strong proponent of internships as well as the other non-academic lessons that college can offer students.

Can you give us a brief overview of your philosophy regarding college studies?

My philosophy about college can be summarized in three statements I always make:

  • A college and a dollar will get you four quarters.
  • It’s the skills stupid.
  • A college education is four years of experience and not 120 credits.

So, are you a proponent of a general liberal arts education? Or do you think colleges should offer a more career-focused job preparation approach?

Students should get what they pay for and most want to improve their chances of finding and succeeding in a rewarding career. A general liberal arts education should provide the basic skills and experiences students need to find themselves on a good career path. However, most of the formal academic requirements are aimed at creating professional scholars. In that way, liberal arts colleges are actually more vocational and narrower than most professional schools.

The argument that liberal arts creates well-rounded, educated citizens is a cop-out for two reasons. First, 85% of the students are not looking for that in college. Second, the highly fragmented and theoretical nature of liberal arts courses today do not provide a broad based educational but just intellectual chaos. So I think the concept of a general education would be a good one if it were focused more on skills than on learning some body of stuff which no one agrees on.

My understanding is that you are a strong proponent of internships. Can you talk a little bit about why you value this concept so highly?

The real world is the best teacher. Any kind of fieldwork is the key to developing the skills and exploring careers that will lead students to the next step after college graduation. Internships will help students decide what careers they want to pursue and will hold them to a higher and more difficult standard than college coursework.

Moreover, many internships lead directly to a great job with the organization providing the internship. Even if it does not lead directly to a job, it provides a network for a job search. By September 2009, two of my seniors had a $45K+ job starting in June 2010 with a major financial institution where they had done internships the previous summer, and we all know what kind of job market there was at that time.

Your book, 25 Ways to Make College Pay Off, focuses on “Advice for Anxious Parents from a Professor Who’s Seen It All.” My understanding is that the book seeks to provide advice on how to maximize the college experience for both future financial and emotional success. Can you give us a brief overview of some of the steps students should be taking while in school to ensure future financial success?

The book tells parents what they should do to help their students get the skills employers want and explore careers while completing degree requirements. The most important thing for parents is to treat their children as they would treat an investment in a business.

Among other things, it means not doing their college application for them or writing their papers which parents do all the time and making their children pay at least 20% of their education. Work ethic, personal responsibility and a focus on skills and career exploration will help to ensure success. Parents can contribute to their success by keeping their distance or contribute to their failure by not practicing tough love.

What are some of the critical elements students should focus on to ensure future emotional success?

I have two simple little charts I tell students to fill out to decide what kind of career they might want to pursue. The first gets at the three areas of work activities. Most jobs are some combination of the three.

CHART 1: Skill/Preference Matrix

Please rate each skill as High, Medium or Low, according to two separate elements, whether you are “Good At” the skill and whether or not you “Like to Do” that skill. The three skills are:


The second chart helps students think about quality of life consideration. Students should put an x where they would like to be on each dimension and then use it as a guide and look for consistency.

CHART 2: The Career Field

Place an “x’ on the line which indicates where you want to be when you are 30.

Average Salary_______________________________ Top 5%

Work No More than 40hrs per week__________________________80 hrs

Do Good Field _______________________________Money-Making

Near to Where You Now Live ______________________________Far Away

Little Traveling_______________________________ Lots of Traveling

Economically Risky ________________________________Not Risky

Orderly _______________________________Chaotic

Graduate Education __________________________ 4 year Degree Only

What research process did you use (and which companies did you contact) to determine the list that makes up the 10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College?

Most of it is based on my experience with students when I give them assignments in many of my hands-on courses. In addition, there are many lists around. The one most instructive was developed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) which is referred to in the book.

I also work with career services on campus and talk with many employers, some of whom are my alumni. I developed a major at Syracuse built around the skills, and my students are very successful in obtaining employment initially and go on to have successful careers. The Public Affairs Program website has testimonials from them that support the view that general skills are the key.

Reviewers have said of the book, it “teaches you to solve complex problems, influence people, and detect BS—real-world know-how your textbooks don’t teach you.” Can you briefly talk about the real-world know-how that forms the basis of the book that is often not part of the college curriculum?

The vast majority of degree programs in almost all fields in college are top heavy with theory and textbook learning. Theories are just the opinions of scholars that may or may not have application. Having students do community service or a research program for a community agency or participating in a summer internship gives them practice in the skills that are essential like solving complex problems, influencing people and detecting BS. They can develop their own theories, informed but not determined by what they learned in the classroom.

The range of activities students can undertake in college to get these experiences is unlimited. Some like coop programs generate academic credit but most do not. Students can learn a great deal by being a Resident Advisor, President of a Sorority, telemarketer for the alumni fund of the college, research or teaching assistant or managing a snack bar. In these positions, they will learn all about problem-solving and working with people as well as detecting BS.

Can you give us a bit of an explanation as to what you mean by “detecting BS”?

College is a great place to develop the ability to detect BS because there is plenty of it around ranging from what you friends tell you to what glossy college and program brochures tell you.

To detect BS, students need to assess what people say for accuracy. They can do this by checking factual statements through research.

Did the person present the facts selectively, omitting all basic information? Students should always ask what the purpose of the writer or person making a statement is. Is it to convince or to sell you on something they want you to do or believe? Or is it offered as information through which listeners can reach their own conclusions?

Finally, does what an individual say or write correspond with what they actually do? This is especially important in looking for a job because employers might not be completely honest. It is also important on a job where supervisors and co-workers may be trying to get you to do something they want you to do but you may think is not a good idea. You may not challenge them but you should know it is BS and act strategically.

Some of the listed items are extremely clear from the titles of each section of the book: the concept of work ethic, speaking and writing well, and the ability to think critically and problem solve. But please talk about three others you note as important: teamwork, influencing people and number-crunching. How do students go about gaining these critical skills?

Teamwork – More and more classes have teamwork components. Students tend to avoid these because “they hate working in teams; they would rather do it themselves.” However, they should bite the bullet and take those classes. In addition, they will learn teamwork in most jobs whether it is serving food or fund-raising for a charity.

Influencing People – What I said about teamwork goes for this also. Most students and college graduates will tell you getting along with roommates was a very big challenge. That experience will have much more impact than taking Introductory Psychology on their people skills. I also am a big advocate of Dale Carnegie. I make students practice the principles in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People and give speeches demonstrating how a principle worked for them. You would be surprised how many students learn to avoid arguments with their roommates and convince the police not to give them a ticket by applying the principles.

Number-crunching – All students should learn Excel and make tables and graphs using Excel. Almost every internship and job requires it. Taking a course may work but in my experience unless there are practical applications the students will not be very good at it. Continuous practice of Excel and using percentages and statistics are crucial. I usually have students do a cash-flow projection using Excel based on what will happen when they graduate from college. Taking a statistics course offered by Mathematicians will usually be useful; taking a course in which students have to collect and present data to outside clients will always be useful in developing number-crunching skills.

Today’s job market is the toughest in recent memory and will continue to be as such for the next couple of years at least. What additional advice would you give current juniors and seniors that you think would most help position them to be one of the lucky ones to secure employment at graduation?

My students get jobs because they have the experience and the skills employers are looking for. As for additional advice:

  • Minimize debt because the larger the debt, the less choice you have in finding a job.
  • Graduate as early as you can because the faster you get into the real world, the faster you will be on a career track.
  • Don’t go to graduate school unless you have job experience first.
  • If you run into a dead end, take a job offered by a staffing or temp agency – it will lead to a full time job if you have the skills.
  • Understand that all starting jobs are not a lot of fun.
  • Finally, don’t turn your nose up at sales jobs -everyone eventually becomes a salesperson and it is a way to get ahead quickly if you pick the right company.
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Lincoln University Drops Obesity Requirement – Fitness for Life

Posted on Dec. 8th 2009 by Amelia

Inside Higher Ed suggested that ‘Fitness for Life’ may well have been “the most discussed college course around” in recent weeks. But almost as soon as the course made national news, it has become a footnote in internet lore.

iStock_000007842986XSmallAdopted in 2006 by Lincoln University, the course was to be a graduation requirement for a select group of students: those seniors with a body mass index score of above 30. This year’s seniors were the first to be affected by the requirement: either lose weight or complete the Fitness for Life course by the time they graduated.

Amidst Outrage, Other Colleges Express Interest

According to newspaper sources, Lincoln faculty, concerned with the negative publicity surrounding the requirement, met on Friday and made the course voluntary in a near-unanimous vote. The policy will be one that encourages students who are obese to take the course, but the school has ended “the stipulation that these students enroll in the class as a graduation requirement if they don’t lose weight.”

Interestingly, according to school administration, once the story hit the national news, phone calls began coming in from other colleges seeking information about how to set up programs to help obese students. While those inquiring might have had a different idea about making course requirements, apparently many schools are concerned with the issue.

Still, many staff at Lincoln, the first historically black college created in the United States, were reportedly upset by the school’s sudden, new-found fame. Instead of the university with “the fat class,” Lincoln’s faculty and alumni preferred a return to the days when the school was known for the likes of Thurgood Marshall and Langston Hughes.

Though the faculty chose to end the requirement, James L. DeBoy, chair of Lincoln’s health, physical education and recreation department, continuously held fast to the idea. Prior to the meeting, DeBoy published a document urging staff to ‘stay the course’ and not dwell on the outside criticism:

“As educators we must be honest with our students and inform them when behavior, attitude, knowledge bases, or habits of mind are not what we, the faculty, deem as acceptable,” wrote DeBoy. “Any factor/trait/characteristic that we believe will hinder students’ maximum development and full realization of life goals must be: (1) brought to their attention; (2) substantiated as being detrimental; and (3) adequately redressed.”

After the vote, Inside Higher Ed noted DeBoy “was not distressed because of the continued commitment to the course and to raising the issues involved.”

Though Legality Unanswered, Students Pleased

The vote left the legality of the requirement up in the air. Many had called the initial requirement discriminatory since it required only certain students complete the course. But school officials insisted that legal concerns were not a critical component of the decision.

Students however, seemed pleased with the results. They also seemingly had an impact on the final vote since several were in attendance at the meeting.

One of the students present at the meeting, junior Sharifa Riley, was unequivocal in her pronouncement when discussing the topic with Philly.com. “It’s discrimination if they tell one group, ‘You’re too fat, you have to take this course,’ and they tell another group, ‘You’re OK, you don’t have to take it,'” Riley was quoted. “If everyone had to take the course, that would have been better.”

And fellow junior Lakeishia Fleet, 20, called the new policy “a good idea; it gives us a choice. Now we can get back to worrying about finals, not a weight class.”

According to reports Lincoln University had been the only college outside the nation’s military academies to invoke some form of physical fitness requirement for graduation.

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Obesity – Lincoln University Seeks to Address Specific Health Care Concern

Posted on Dec. 1st 2009 by Amelia

It was about two weeks ago we saw the alarming headline:

Report says 75 percent of Americans unfit to serve in military.

Calling it another threat to our national-security, the report, Ready, Willing and Unable to Serve (pdf) , indicated that 75 percent of Americans ages 17 to 24 do not qualify for military service because they are either physically unfit, they failed to finish high school or they have a criminal record.

On the education front, about one in four in the 17-to-24 age group lacks a high school diploma. That statistic has Education Secretary Arne Duncan pressing Congress to approve the Early Learning Challenge Fund, a 10-year initiative to improve childhood development programs.

Übergewicht / OverweightAccording to MercuryNews.com, roughly one third of all Americans in the age range would be disqualified for a wide variety of health related issues including asthma or for taking pills for depression or attention disorders. And another 27 percent of all young Americans would be disqualified by obesity alone.

New College Requirement

With that as a backdrop, we turn to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania where the school has enacted a physical fitness course requirement. The graduation condition is causing a major fuss because the course is not necessarily a requirement for all students.

Instead, the mandate exists for students with a body mass index of 30 and above, a BMI deemed as obese. Those students in that category must take and pass a fitness course that meets three times a week.

And if they are assigned to the class but do not pass, there is no diploma.

The requirement went into effect in the fall of 2006 but is only now making national waves as the time approaches for the first set of graduating students to be affected by the policy. And one should not be too surprised to learn that the school is now facing criticism from both students and the greater public.

Most articulate that the unfairness comes from the fact that not all students are being held to the same standard. James DeBoy, chairman of the school’s Department of Health and Physical Education, offers quite a strong rebuttal to that assertion.

He likens the requirement to other remedial courses that some students need to take to improve their reading or math proficiency levels. He also went so far as to offer this rather candid assessment:

“We, as educators, must tell students when we believe, in our heart of hearts, when certain factors, certain behaviors, attitudes, whatever, are going to hinder that student from achieving and maximizing their life goals.

“Obesity is going to rob you of your quality and quantity of life,” he went on to add. “We believe that this is unconscionable.”

Lincoln, an historically black college named after the “Great Emancipator,” might be a bit more cognizant of the general issue, since roughly four out of five African-American women over the age of 20 are overweight or obese according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. When summarizing the situation, the folks at CNN added: “Obesity increases a person’s risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, some cancers and other ailments.”

But the same report offers this assessment from the legal perspective:

iStock_000001461930XSmall“The school’s requirement seems ‘paternalistic’ and ‘intrusive,’ David Kairys, professor of law at Temple University Law School in Philadelphia, Pa., offered. ‘The part that seems excessive is forcing them to take this course, or to exercise three hours a week, which isn’t a bad idea for them, but should be their choice.’”

Addressing a Problem

We began by reminding folks of the recent military assessment of Americans ages 17-24 and noted the push for early childhood education to potentially address the 25% of this age group that did not graduate from high school. Of course, while no one questions the overall goal, many will question whether the funding of early childhood will be the answer.

Likewise, with 27% of that age group deemed obese, there should be a call to action to address this alarming trend. It of course has long term ramifications that transcend the military concerns and gets to one critical element of the healthcare debate, the idea of taking personal responsibility for one’s physical well-being.

And there will no doubt be those who insist that the Lincoln requirement, or any such similar expectation at the collegiate or high school level, will do nothing to address the issue.

But then again, there is little doubt that the first step to solving a major issue is to educate the public on that issue. Lincoln appears to be doing just that.

The school even goes one step further. It takes those bright and hard-working students nearing graduation that are most in need of addressing this specific concern and mandates they be educated on the issue.

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Six Steps to Making the Dean’s List

Posted on Nov. 18th 2009 by Amelia

When asked as to how you did last semester, nothing can top the sound of that simple four-word explanation:

Made the Dean’s List.

iStock_000010938758XSmallIt certainly has a positive connotation to it. It also carries a special sense of pride, whether you are talking to your parents, grandparents, or one of your former high school teachers. And most importantly, it is a great thing to be able to place on your resume.

When you say “I made the dean’s list” it means one simple thing – you can handle the expectations associated with the rigors of college.

We know you want to be part of the select group that is able to make that claim and here is our six step method to making it happen.

1. Be Organized

Almost all college courses follow a troubling pattern – front loading information and back loading assignments. Too many courses begin with lots of reading and little in the way of written work only to end with major projects and papers due just as semester exams approach.

The most important step for academic success is to create a master schedule/calendar of your courses and the assignments due for the semester. It does not matter which format you use, digital or traditional, you just need to create a master with all pertinent information.

That means taking the entire syllabus for each course and plotting all written assignments, projects, papers and exams on one master calendar. Be sure and highlight any extra credit work options that are noted or add them to the calendar when the professor makes them known.

Once complete, to ensure you have a complete sense of the demands ahead, spend 30 minutes each Sunday evening reviewing the upcoming week and the two weeks that follow. Look carefully at that work and then plan your study time for the week. In the early going, when less written work is required, make a commitment to doing more than the required reading. A good goal is to work towards being at least a week ahead at the end of the first five weeks of the semester.

Second, organize all materials into folders and notebooks. There are way too many expectations to have you wasting time searching for some paper or papers you have misplaced. Such materials include all the original class handouts, the additional materials provided by the professor during the semester and your returned assignments, quizzes and tests. Don’t forget, those returned papers can be extremely helpful when it comes time for final exam preparation.

2. Find a Quiet Place to Study

One of the most critical aspects of college success is to be able to place the social scene on hold so as to be able to focus on the task at hand. While most think of the need to limit such time to the weekend, the reality is that the dormitory is often a social scene, one that can be a constant source of disruption. Limiting the time you spend in your dorm room is the only way to eliminate those distractions.

Girl in a LibraryIt is imperative that whenever you are reading challenging materials or preparing for an exam you have a quiet place where you can truly disappear. It might be the back stacks at the library, the basement lounge at your dorm or a study area in one of your campus classroom buildings. Ultimately, you must utilize this place whenever you need to find some real quiet time.

3. Attend and Participate in All Classes

It goes without saying that it is extremely important that you go to all of your classes every week. Your professor will not only spend class time on the subject matter, he or she will also help you identify how class projects and homework assignments will be graded and what you will need to know for tests.

In addition, some college professors make class participation a component of the overall grade. In such instances, they expect the students to be more than just present, they want to see you ask questions and contribute your thoughts to class discussions.

Obviously you cannot participate if you are not present. And you cannot participate in a meaningful way if you are not prepared.

And even if there is no grade for attending or participating, your presence and your participation can be extremely helpful. Your presence and participation will indicate to your professor that you are interested in the material and that you are committed to your responsibilities.

Such a step cannot hurt when that prof is about to provide that final grade for the semester and you are right on the line between a B+ and an A-.

Lastly, remember – taking notes is also a form of participation. Jot down everything that appears relevant, especially the information presented in overheads, in power points or written on the board. And if you are not good at note taking, get a tape recorder and record the class.

4. Implement the 15-Minute Review

To ensure you make the most of each class, arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled starting time and implement the 15-Minute Review.

At that point, instead of seeking out others to socialize, take the time to review two items briefly but as thoroughly as you can. First, review your notes from the prior class to remind yourself of what was being discussed and where the class ended. Then, quickly glance through the required reading in your text so as to have a sense as to where the professor will go during the class.

Doing these two tasks in a focused manner will not only ensure that you are in a proper mindset for the class when the professor begins, it means you will have a much better sense as to how the material the professor is presenting connects to the prior learning. Those two things will ensure your class is extremely productive.

To maximize the benefit of this concept, begin by implementing the review the evening before. If you have three classes the following day, take 45 minutes and break that time into three segments where you review your notes from the prior class and the reading material. Doing so the night before, then repeating just prior to class will again make class attendance far more productive. It will also greatly reduce your need for last minute study time when exams loom.

5. Limit the Social Scene

College offers enormous academic and social opportunities. It goes without saying that the social opps are far more enjoyable.

iStock_000003511925XSmallAt the same time, all experts concur, that taking some time from studies is critical to maintain an emotional balance. But there is a difference between an occasional recharging of batteries on the weekend and shortchanging your responsibilities during the week. If you do not remind yourself of the task at hand, it is all too easy to get pulled away by your classmates at times when you really should be focused on completing some critical assignments.

Ultimately, you must remember why it is that you are attending college – that the academics must come first. The failure to do so is the undoing of far too many students – in some cases it is the difference between that A or B grade and a C. Sadly, in other instances, it is the basis for why so many are forced to drop out, their C’s having fallen to F’s.

There will be people around you who are taking a less rigorous academic program and thus can spend more time socializing/partying. There will be even more people around you who have forgotten why they are attending college.

You cannot forget, not if you want your name on that magic list.

6. Study

Yes, it does come down to the fact that you will need to study. But when it comes to studying, forget those stories about the all-night cram sessions, the weekend in a motel room with nothing but your books, some Ramen noodles and your hot water pot.

Simply stated, cramming sucks, from an emotional standpoint and from an academic preparation standpoint.

In college it is truly the story of the tortoise and the hare. You need to be a turtle, slow and steady with an emphasis on the word steady. The key is to do a small amount of work every day.

Unlike high school, when you are not in class, your time will be yours. There are no study halls and no required places to be. If you have a one hour class at eight, another at eleven and a third at three, it can be very easy to waste away the time from nine to eleven, or from one to three.

iStock_000003967948XSmallThis is where your calendar comes in – you need to schedule that time, assigning a specific chapter to read or constructing an aspect of a paper or writing up those math problems. If you are not careful, you will find ways to fill that time with other things that seem more enjoyable yet do not match up with the reason you are actually attending college, the idea of earning a diploma.

And scheduling that time means time and location – where are you going to go so as to ensure you do the work you set out to do.

Making the Dean’s List

We must add that taking care of your physical health is also critical. You need to eat right, get to bed at a decent hour and find some way to exercise consistently. Such steps are critical to remain physically and mentally healthy.

In addition, select the right courses, those that you have the required prerequisites and background for, and be sure not to overload yourself with too many reading-based courses, too many lab based courses, etc. Five classes can be too many if each course expects hundreds of pages of reading between each class. Think through your schedule carefully to ensure you have a reasonable and balanced workload.

All in all, getting good grades in college is not beyond the realm of the serious student who displays the proper attitude.  If you attend class, work hard, and stay on top of the expectations, at the end of the semester you will be one of the select few, the proud, the student who can offer a humble shrug as you answer that question as to how you did last semester.

Made the Dean’s List.

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Seven Steps to Surviving a Lousy Roommate

Posted on Oct. 19th 2009 by Amelia

You went off to college with great expectations yet now the excitement is definitely waning.

Perhaps you were barely ten days into the school year when the pile of dirty clothes began resembling the dormitory equivalent of Mt. Olympus? Another ten days later, not only did you note an odor beginning to emerge from the pile but you soon noticed other not so rich smells?

iStockThat each time your roomie entered the room you recalled the smell you generally associate with a large dumpster? Was it at that point that you realized he seemed completely unaware of where the shower was located?

Or was the issue less stomach-churning yet equally troubling. The constant stream of visitors or the CD player burning incredibly hot as it unceasingly blared rap music that would even cause Eminem to want to find some quiet time?

Perhaps it was even less insidious but just as onerous; as in the loudest snoring you have ever witnessed? That last snort always sounding as if your roomie might actually be drawing his very last breath.

Did your first call home to express your outrageous horror only result in Dad being, well…, Dad? The usual minimizing of the negatives and the suggestion that this could be a good thing, that it will help you get out of the room more and develop other friendships? Not to mention help you develop greater resiliency and even teach you to take a look at your own actions?

Surviving the Roommate from Hell

Rooming with another person is a great challenge, especially when two people have very different tastes and personal practices. Living in a very small space such as a dorm room involves compromise from both parties.

While it is easy to place heaps of blame on the person in the other bed, it could well be that you might just be getting on your roommate’s nerves just as much as he or she is getting on your’s. Still, just what is a person to do when, well, they seem to have been assigned the roommate from hell?

Dealing with Serious Concerns

DO: If you have concerns, it is imperative that you begin by discussing the specific issues directly with your roommate. In doing so, you must confront each issue head on but you also must do everything in your power to remove all emotion from the discussion. Politely note what you are witnessing, and why this is an issue for you. As you do so, to keep the emotions down, be sure to focus on the behavior and not the person. It is imperative that you not be seen as rendering personal judgment. Therefore, it is very helpful to begin the process by noting that you will let him or her express any possible concerns they might have with your actions!

DON’T: Whatever you do, don’t wimp out and leave a note. They never work and most times, they usually backfire. Also remember that bringing in outsiders generally only adds fuel to minor issues, especially if it begins with you making sarcastic comments that somehow manage to get back to your roomie. So don’t bring in the Resident Assistant before you have at least made a minimal level of effort to confront this particular issue yourself first.

Dealing with the Odor Queen or King

DO: This is a legitimate issue that falls under the first step noted above. You must confront your roomie with the specific issue. Most importantly, to help them make progress you must be ready to offer concrete suggestions and even some much-needed help. iStock_000006409009XSmallIf the issue is a monstrous pile of smelly clothes, it just might mean that you will need to explain the concept of a laundry bag. Maybe even offer to have him or her accompany you on your next excursion to the laundry area. If it is about BO, it may be helpful to offer access to specific body products like shampoo and deodorant, perhaps even purchasing a few extra items and make them available.

DON’T: Whatever you do, don’t belittle him or her in the process. If you make your roommate feel too small, your words will fall on deaf ears. They will be angry and see you as simply being hypercritical. The magic words most definitely include, “I am telling you this for your own good – as your roommate I feel I must make you aware of this issue so that it does not interfere with your ability to make friends. I just know that if you knew this was a problem you would want to take care of the issue.”

Dealing with the Aspiring MTV DJ

DO: Again, take this issue into your own hands. The bottom line is your room must provide you with a place to sleep and to store your personal items. Be sure to create a schedule with your roommate’s input that preserves these basic elements. That said, in an effort to fight battles worth fighting, it must be noted that your dorm room does not necessarily need to be your place to study. If your roomie insists on music blaring and you need solitude to work your academic magic, you must find a quiet place on-campus to study and do your related work.

DON’T: While it is easy to give in on the study time schedule, don’t let the issue interfere with your sleep needs. While you can let him or her blare that rap music afternoon and early evening, there comes a point when it must be turned off so that you can sleep. As part of the negotiations process, let your roomie know you will allow him to get his music fix as much as you can reasonably manage but come 9:00 P.M. (9:30 or 10:00, whatever makes sense for you) you need the room to be quiet.

Dealing with the 24/7 Hostess

DO: As with the DJ, this is an issue that can be minimized to a certain extent. It begins with a discussion of a reasonable schedule, when it is appropriate for visitors to stop by. It then also involves requesting the common courtesy of knowing when someone is stopping over. That way you can plan accordingly and make your way to your study sanctuary if need be.

DON’T: Whatever you do, don’t waver in your expectations regarding having a quiet room for those moments you want it quiet. That means no visitors after a specific time. And don’t be afraid to declare specific items off base, as in no visitors plopping down on your bed or somehow managing to paw through your personal items. Offer your desk chair as one place to sit but otherwise you would expect visitors to be parked on your roomie’s bed, in their desk chair or seated on the floor.

Dealing with Rip-Snorting Snorer

DO:This actually may be the toughest to deal with – such issues represent breathing problems often brought on by weight or other physical ailments. It could be that your roomie is not aware that his nighttime breathing is so contorted it is causing the blinds to rustle. Noting this behavior just might be the impetus to his getting the issue examined. After all, he may not even be aware of what is taking place. A set of earplugs could be helpful if your roommate is not ferociously loud. But of course with such items in your ears it might prove tough to hear that alarm clock come morning.

DON’T: Don’t ignore this issue if it is keeping you awake at night. To be productive, you must get your sleep on a regular basis. Again, this can be one of the most challenging of issues to actually solve and could well be the one where you quickly enlist the help of the RA or HR.

Dealing with Candidates for the University of San Quentin

iStockDO: When in high school, we develop a sort of notion that we must not rat out the behavior of classmates. But when it comes to such behavior occurring in your dorm room, it is imperative that you challenge illegal activity and emphatically insist you will not tolerate it in your room. If it involves drugs or other related behaviors that can result in a criminal record, it cannot be ignored. In too many instances, the failure to confront this problem results in you being painted with the same brush that your roommate is painted with. That may not be too disconcerting with certain peer groups but it certainly is when the persons addressing the issue represent law enforcement.

DON’T: Don’t waiver – once you are witness to such behavior, give your warning that you will not tolerate illegal activities in your room, that if they occur again you will report them to the Resident Assistant and/or Head Resident. Then if he or she calls your bluff, you must act.

Moving Out

Of course, one method for dealing with the roommate from hell is to move out. This of course requires an option that may or may not be available, another place to move to. But when it comes to making the decision that you simply cannot get along with the person you have been assigned, you must understand the room is half his or hers. So if there is to be a separation and that separation is your choice, then you will be the one moving.

To be able to make such a request to your RA or HR, you must be able to communicate why your moving out is the needed solution. Their willingness to help you find new digs (if there are any available) will be predicated on your being able to explain the steps you have taken to try to make things work. If after discussing schedules and talking about basic personal needs, you still are not managing, then you might have some ammunition to request a change.

Just remember, the grass always tends to look a whole lot greener on your neighbor’s lawn. Be sure that roommate you are struggling with is beyond making it work – because, ultimately, you may not have really seen anything yet, you may be simply switching one set of issues for another.

Because, Hell is a truly relevant term.

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An Update on the Twitter Scholarship

Posted on Oct. 17th 2009 by Amelia

When we initially announced the Twitter Scholarship we announced a rather large prize and promoted it quite aggressively by…

  • making a custom logo for it
  • promoting it across hundreds of pages on our widely read site
  • mentioning it on our blog
  • pinging some of our contacts in the industry and emailed a few bloggers about it
  • promoting it on Twitter
  • and we even went as far as buying Google AdWords ads to help get the word out

…but none of it worked 🙁

I am not sure if it was bad timing, if the submission was too complex, or if students have become more jaded about scholarship offers due lots of fake scholarship offers advertised by affiliate marketers who are doing lead generation – who never actually send out scholarship money.

Each year we do award students with $10,000+ in scholarship program awards, and have done so for the past 4 years now. We were anticipating getting thousands to 10,000’s of entries for the Twitter Scholarship, but so far we have been underwhelmed by the quantity (and to a lesser degree, quality) of the submissions. We have therefore decided to adjust the Twitter scholarship awards to

  • winner – $1,400
  • first runner up – $140
  • second runner up – $140

We will distribute the additional funds we had earmarked for this scholarship throughout the upcoming year by launching more new scholarships.

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Announcing the Twitter Scholarship

Posted on Oct. 14th 2009 by Amelia

I am proud to announce our latest scholarship: the 140 Scholarship, which offers students the opportunity to win over $14,000 in Awards by submitting their application via a Tweet.

Full details are available on the official scholarship page.

Twitter Scholarship.

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Student Loan Changes – Just What Exactly Is Congress Proposing?

Posted on Sep. 30th 2009 by Amelia

The recent enactment of H.R.3221 The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 by Congress has many students wondering what impact the new changes will have on them and their student loans.

According to the Seattle Times, “Congress’ overhaul of the college student-loan system offers welcome relief to students at risk of drowning in debt.”

But, while many are applauding the proposed changes, others are taking a more skeptical view. Today we offer readers a Q & A with Tara Payne of the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation. Ms. Payne currently serves as the Vice President of Corporate Communications for the NHHEAF Network Organizations.

nhhf oneThe New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF) was established in 1962 to guarantee student loans. Since 1965, it has been the designated guarantor for the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) in New Hampshire.

As one major function, NHHEAF is responsible for the initial application, disbursement of funds, default prevention, default collections, and oversight of the federal loan programs. For fiscal year 2008, NHHEAF guaranteed over $213 million in federal loans and the agency continues to rank among guarantors recording the nation’s lowest default rates.

Yet under the proposed legislation, NHHEAF, one of those so-called ‘middlemen’ in the loan process, might no longer exist. Such a scenario led us to the agency to try and gather additional perspective on the legislation.

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to pose a number of very specific questions to a person with more than a decade of experience at the organization. Ms. Payne offers a wealth of perspective having helped construct the organization’s Center for College Planning department. Today, that department reaches almost 30,000 New Hampshire students and parents each year, offering free college planning, financial literacy and financial aid expertise via presentations, materials and websites.

Can you explain in brief terms exactly what Congress is debating and the rationale for the debate? What is meant by the phrase, the new loan process will “cut out the middle man?”

The President’s budget proposal includes the elimination of the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). As a FFELP provider, the NHHEAF Network Organizations (NHHEAF) is involved in funding, originating, disbursing and servicing student loans for New Hampshire students from our New Hampshire office. The Presidents budget eliminates the local role in the student loan process. The government’s language about “middlemen” implies that agencies like ours are a “cog in the wheel”, not a major source of community support for families, schools and citizens of our state.

New Hampshire’s program is managed by a nonprofit FFELP provider. This means that proceeds from the loan program are reinvested in our community. We reinvest into strong financial literacy programs, early college awareness and financial aid preparation for students and their families at K-12 schools.

We employ 200 New Hampshire residents who are truly dedicated to supporting student loan borrowers. Our success is evident in NHHEAF having among the lowest default rates in the nation. When these local services go away, students suffer.

Our focus is on increasing aspirations, providing funding and best-in-class service. No government program can replace this local resource. As a school counselor who utilizes our programs shared recently, “NHHEAF is the best thing to happen to higher education since I started teaching in 1974.”

In what ways would students and parents be positively impacted by this legislation? Are there any potential negatives?

The legislation includes several positive aspects including increased Pell Grant funding for the lowest income students and increased funding and support for community colleges. Supporting New Hampshire’s low income students is essential to our mission. We fully support any effort to provide additional funding to the neediest students.

However, under current legislation, FFELP would be eliminated and yet Pell would still not be an entitlement. “Eliminating subsidies to lenders” is a politically-charged cry for support. The public hears this and reacts with unbridled support … assuming that those subsidies will go into making the program less expensive for them.

As Bill Spiers, the Financial Aid Director of Tallahassee Community College described, “While the media has focused on the profitability in the FFELP program, little has been said about the fact that the federal government must fund Federal Pell Grant Program increases off the backs of student borrowers.

The government borrows money at very low rates, much lower than those available to lenders, yet the government would continue to charge the same interest rates as FFEL lenders. Under the current proposal the “federal government isn’t providing any breaks to the students and is actually making more off the program than lenders ever could”

While most student borrowers pay a fixed 6.8% interest rate on federal student loans and parent borrowers 8.5%, lenders in the FFELP are required to pay back the difference between what borrowers pay and today’s lower market yield to the federal government.

The difference between the cost of funds and the borrower rate of interest is even greater in the Direct Loan program, so much that the proposed record increase in Pell Grants would be largely funded from the interest rate spread the Department of Education will enjoy from student and parent borrowers paying a far higher rate of interest on their federal education loans than the federal government is paying on its borrowing costs. Enacted legislation required that loans made on or after July 1, 2006 carry a higher fixed rate for students and parents that is not market driven. Had interest rates remained variable, Stafford loans today would have been an extremely favorable 1.88% (in school and grace) interest rate (2.48% repayment rate), and PLUS loans would be at 3.28% in the current low interest rate environment.

Will these changes have any impact on the FAFSA application process?

nhhf twoThe CEO of our agency, Mr. Rene Drouin, actually sits on the Federal Advisory Committee for Financial Assistance and has been an advocate for these changes which simplify the financial aid process for students. By reducing the number of questions and simplifying the FAFSA form, families may not be as intimidated. Still, while shortening the form may help for those already committed to going to college, it will not increase college aspirations.

When our staff visits schools in communities like Colebrook and Nashua and Portsmouth and Keene, we offer consistent support which encourages education beyond high school and personalized assistance filing the forms and understanding the award letters for free. Ninety-three percent of New Hampshire high schools invite our full-time college counselors to their schools to educate their students and families throughout the academic year.

Which types of loans will be impacted: Stafford, Plus Loans, Consolidated Loans?

All federal student loans.

How will the legislation impact colleges and universities?

It is important to note that the Direct Loan program has been around since the Clinton administration. To offer some perspective on the use of Direct Loans in New Hampshire, consider that in fiscal year 2008, FFELP loan volume was at $409 million for 89,000 borrowers. Federal Direct Loan volume was only $13 million for fewer than 3,000 borrowers.

Nationally, 70% of post-secondary schools chose to work with FFELP because of the strong technological, programmatic and financial literacy programs it offers. Now, they will have no choice. And, they will have no local support.

Right now, NHHEAF has a full-time staff which provides a hotline, technical support and regular visits to schools for financial literacy activities for their students. NHHEAF also has a strong Compliance Department which ensures that schools have local support for any regulatory or student-eligibility questions that might arise. Both departments also provide in person training and webinars on a range of professional topics.

Supporting the financial aid professionals goes hand-in-hand with supporting the student borrowers on their campuses. Further, the proposal assumes that the government can effectively and efficiently run a program this large. It is estimated that 4,400 schools will be forced to convert from FFELP, their program of choice, to the Direct Loan program on July 1, 2010.

The U.S. Department of Education will be tasked with converting an average of nearly 500 schools a month over the course of a nine month period. Since the Direct Loan program’s inception in 1993, roughly 1,600 schools have been converted over a 16 year timeframe. For schools currently in the FFEL program, this would mean investing staff, time and money to change systems and processes at a time where budgets have been cut to the core. It’s realistic to imagine that those costs may have to be absorbed through increased tuition and student fees.

nhhf three Will anyone theoretically be hurt by these changes? If private banks lose this source of revenue, what negative impact might it have on their role as lending institutions within the community?

Minimally, 40,000 jobs are at stake across the nation. For agencies like ours, student loans are the only source of revenue. It would be devastating. And, the impact on the local economies would be brutal. Consider that in NH alone, NHHEAF spent $6.8 million on local vendors and contributed $5.1 million in charitable spending. Multiply that by all of the agencies like ours across the country and it is severe. And, again, at the end of the day, will most college-bound families experience any significant savings? It is unlikely.

The amount that could be saved by the Federal Government is projected to be in the billions of dollars – based on the current legislation as proposed what is the plan for this money? Will it be used to attack the current federal deficit or will the funds be rolled into further funding support for students?

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) indicates that, under the President’s budget proposals, which include the switch to 100-percent Direct Lending, debt held in the Government’s various Direct Loan accounts is expected to rise from $632 billion in FY 2009 to $1.58 Trillion in FY 2019, an increase of more than $900 billion. Nationalizing the education loan programs will add substantially to the national debt over the next decade and the beneficiaries of student loans will have to pay interest twice: first, the interest they’ll owe on their loan as a student borrower and second on the interest they’ll owe as a taxpayer via the national debt.

Corporations exist to earn and distribute business earnings to shareholders, while nonprofit agencies like NHHEAF exist to provide programs and services that are of public benefit. Often these programs and services are not otherwise provided by local, state, or federal entities. Particularly in a state with low levels of state aid, high public tuition costs and high debt burdens, promotion of college opportunities, financial aid and affordability is even more critical in order to get students to think realistically about higher education.

Can you briefly explain why the legislation is seen so differently by Republicans (opposed to these changes) and Democrats (support for the changes)?

I couldn’t speculate on this except to offer that many legislators want to support the President’s budget proposal for its supposed savings while many others doubt the savings purported will materialize. Originally, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that savings from the President’s proposal would total $94 billion.

In June, the costs savings were estimated at $87 billion. Senator Judd Gregg urged CBO to recalculate its projection to incorporate market risk cost. The CBO then revealed that the proposal to replace new guaranteed loans with direct loans would lead to estimated savings of about $47 billion over the 2010–2019 period. Most recently, the OMB predicted that the savings from the proposed transition to 100-percent Direct Lending will be $41.4 billion over the same time period. And, many legislators question the role of government in taking over a public-private program that has supported students and schools successfully for decades.

Still, it is important to note that some do see that there is a role for nonprofits in the student loan process. In fact, Representative Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) worked tirelessly to ensure that nonprofit student loan servicers would not be shut out of future Government contracts. Note that Under the Sense of Congress from the FY10 Concurrent Budget Resolution, sec. 605, it reads, “any reform of the federal student loan programs to ensure that students have reliable and efficient access to federal loans should include some future role for the currently involved private and non-profit entities, including state non-profits with 100% FFEL lending in the State, and capitalize on the current infrastructure provided by private and non-profit entities, in order both to provide employment to many Americans during this time of economic distress and to maintain valuable services that make post-secondary education more accessible and attainable for many Americans; and therefore, pursuant to any changes to the student loan programs, loan processing, administration, and servicing should continue to be performed, as needed, by for-profit and non-profit entities.”

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