Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Financial Aid 101

So let’s start here: The awarding of financial aid is a mix of science and art. For many Colleges and Universities financial aid is one of the key components in the annual bidding war for high school students.

The process begins with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as Fafsa. Once you do, the federal government determines your Expected Family Contribution, or E.F.C. The government gives away money in the form of Pell and other grants, but most people who have the ability to save a decent amount for college probably earn too much to qualify for those.

So that means you will be seeking grant money from the college itself, which may have its own additional forms for you to fill out and numbers it will run. It uses its own discretion in awarding its money. The E.F.C. formula is intricate and requires 35 pages for the federal government to explain, but the things it emphasizes are clear. Your income matters much more than your savings. The E.F.C. will suggest that you should devote a sliding amount up to 47 percent of your income to college expenses in any given year (birth control anyone), though it will count only up to 5.64 percent of your parent’s assets, like those in a 529 college savings plan.

According to 2013-14 estimates from the College Board, students and their families borrowed $106 billion during that period, compared with the $48 billion that schools gave away in grant money. (Lower-income students, veterans and others got another $49 billion in grants from the federal government.)

Your child will then need to win admission to the college even to have a shot at getting grants, and this is where things start to get more interesting, and also more unpredictable. Many colleges award something called “merit aid,” which has nothing to do with a family’s financial need. Instead, they hand out discounts to students who raise the profile of the entering class – the better to improve the college rankings that determine where so many people apply in the first place.

Finally, here is another factor: The private colleges (and public universities seeking out-of-state students) hope to sway families that wouldn’t pay $30,000 or $40,000 more each year than what their flagship state university costs but might pay $10,000 or $20,000 more, especially if the college identifies the student as especially meritorious.

The College Board affirmed today what college students are already feeling. College tuition prices went up again this school year. Tuition and fee prices rose roughly 3 percent across the higher education sectors this fall compared to last year, keeping pace at about the same rate as it has the last two years, the College Board said in its annual pricing trends report. These increases may seem modest, but do add up. It costs 40 percent more this year to attend a public four-year institution than 10 years ago; nearly 30 percent more to attend a two-year public school; and 26 percent more to go to a private nonprofit.

So what does it cost? On average, tuition and fees to attend a two-year public school for an in-district student are $3,435. For public, four-year schools, the average in-state student faces a $9,410 sticker price and an out-of-state student faces a $23,893 price tag. The average price tag is $32,405 to attend a private college and $15,610 to go to a for-profit one. Of course, posted prices are different than net prices that students pay after grant aid is considered. When grants are taken into account, typical prices went down from the 2005-2006 school year to the 2010-2011 one as federal aid expanded, but since then have been rising.

Also notable was a decline in student borrowing, the College Board says in a separate report focused on financial aid trends. It says that total education loan volume declined by 6 percent in 2014-2015 and was 14 percent lower than in 2010-2011. Average federal loan per undergraduate also declined by 6 percent. It's the fourth consecutive year that borrowing by student declined.

What does this all mean, have your son or daughter be the absolute best at hitting, catching, shooting, or running after a ball, puck, or the clock. OR, get all A’s and manage the local chapter of any charity organization.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – RACISM AND FOOTBALL IN MISSOURI : A boycott by 32 black football players at the University of Missouri - calling for the resignation or dismissal of the university's president - captivated national attention over the weekend and pushed a long-simmering campus debate into a full-blown crisis. Students have been campaigning against President Tim Wolfe for weeks, accusing him of failing to respond to a climate of racism. The athletic department is backing the football players, and on Sunday canceled practices until a student protester ends his hunger strike. Bowing out of next Saturday's game would cost the university more than $1 million. Sen. Claire McCaskill called for officials to make "an unqualified commitment to address racism on campus." Wolfe wasn't giving in Sunday to the calls for resignation, promising to "create the safe space for a meaningful conversation that promotes change."

The threat of a boycott by the Missouri football team dealt the highest-profile blow to the president, Timothy M. Wolfe, and the chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, but anger at the administration had been growing since August, when the university said it would stop paying for health insurance for graduate teaching and research assistants.

It reversed course, but not before the graduate assistants held demonstrations, threatened a walkout, took the first steps toward forming a union and joined forces with students demonstrating against racism. But it was charges of persistent racism, particularly complaints of racial epithets hurled at the student body president, who is black, that sparked the strongest reactions, along with complaints that the administration did not take the problem seriously enough.

Mr. Wolfe, 57, was hired in 2012 from the corporate world, an outsider brought in to cut costs in the four-campus system. That was no recipe for popularity, but the last three months left him particularly isolated. He announced his resignation just before a meeting of the university’s governing body, the Board of Curators, amid speculation that it might try to oust him.

Mr. Wolfe said he took responsibility for the anger and frustration on campus, asserting that conversations with community leaders, students, faculty, donors and others led him to his decision, more than just the football players’ threatened boycott.

MAKE THE GRADE - Colleges and universities have become one of the most effective lobbying forces in Washington, beating back dozens of government proposals to measure their successes and failures, including a federal ratings system. The higher-education industry employed more lobbyists last year than any other industries except drug manufacturing and technology. The political pressure is rooted in a simple but vexing question: Is the government getting a good return on the money it is pouring into the U.S. college system? There are few clear metrics to determine if schools are succeeding or failing, but colleges and their lobbyists say many of the proposed requirements they opposed would have made it more difficult for colleges to serve students of all different abilities and economic means.

POLITICS 101 - THE ROAD AHEAD: What's ahead in long grind: Nov. 14: The next Democratic debate, a Saturday night in Iowa ... Dec. 15: Republicans ... debate in Nevada ... Dec. 19: Another Saturday debate for the Democrats, in New Hampshire ... Jan. 17: The Democratic debaters, ... with the Congressional Black Caucus as one of the sponsors, in South Carolina. Two more Democratic matchups are expected in February and March. ...

Feb. 1: ... Iowa caucuses ... Feb. 9: ... New Hampshire primary ... Feb. 20: The Republican South Carolina primary ... and the Nevada Democratic caucuses. ... Feb. 23: Nevada Republican caucuses. ... Feb. 26: A planned Republican primary debate in Texas ... Feb. 27: Democratic South Carolina primary.

March 1: ... Super Tuesday [SEC Primary] ... contests ... in 13 states ... March 15: ... primaries in Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri and Florida. ... July 18-21: Republican National Convention, Cleveland ...July 25-28: ... Democrats, in Philadelphia ... Sept. 26: The first of three [nominee debates], in Ohio ... Oct. 4:The running mates debate, [at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., 3 hours from D.C.] ... Oct. 9: The second presidential debate, St. Louis. ... Oct. 19: The last presidential debate, Las Vegas. ... Nov. 8: Election Day.

TWO IN CHINA - China has said it would formally end its notorious one-child policy, which was intended to curb a surging population but has since been blamed for looming demographic problems. In a brief statement, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said all Chinese would be allowed to have two children. It didn’t provide a time frame or any other details.

FIRST DAY OF BUSINESS FOR HP SPINOFFS - After more than a year orchestrating a split, the two companies spun out from the old Hewlett-Packard begin their separate operations today. Former HP CEO Meg Whitman, now head of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, will kick off the occasion by ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange this past Monday morning (the new company will trade as HPE). That company will focus on tech for the business sector, offering IT services, cloud computing, data analytics and more. The other company, HP Inc., will be run by CEO Dion Weisler and contains the old company's printer and PC business. The old HP had a tough run on the stock market in recent years, but Whitman said in a statement that HPE "has the vision, financial resources and flexibility to help customers win while generating growth and long-term value for our shareholders."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Jane Alexander (76) New Rochelle, NY; Kate Capshaw (62) Montecito, CA; Michael Collins (85) Houston, TX; Tim Cook (55) Palo Alto, CA; Charlie Daniels (79) Irving, TX; Bill Gates (60) Redmond, WA; Bob Gibson (80) St. Louis, MO; Mary Hart (65) Malibu, CA; Carrie Lewis …famous philanthropist; Dennis Miller (62) New York, NY; Brian Doyle-Murray (70) Scarsdale, NY; Markie Post (65) Glendora, CA; Morley Safer (84) Huntington, NY.

CONGRATS TO UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE - Cool small school story about California’s University of La Verne winning its first league championship in 20 years and only its second playoff appearance in a century. The D3 program is one of the sweeter stories in college football this season and has received a boost from new Defensive Coordinator Oscar Rodriguez, who has beaten cancer twice in his life.

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 11/15, 5:30 PM NBC; Cincinnati Bengals (8-0) at Arizona Cardinals (6-2), Bengals will drop their first game; Cardinals 24 – 21. Season to date (4-5)

1). Patriots (8-0), 2). Bengals (8-0), 3). Panthers (8-0), 4). Broncos (7-1), 5). Packers (6-2),
6). Cardinals (6-2), 7). Seahawks (4-4), 8). Vikings (6-2), 9). Steelers (5-4), 10). Rams (4-4)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/14. 4:30 PM Fox; Oregon Ducks (6-3) at #7 Stanford Cardinal (8-1), Cardinal over the Ducks 38 – 30. Season to date (7-3)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/14, 12:00 PM HGTV; Cortland State Red Dragons (7-2) at Ithaca College Bombers (4-5), always a big game in the Southern Tier no matter the records. Red Dragons win 38 – 20. Season to date (9-1)


(SCIAC, Nov. 14) California Lutheran Kingsmen (4-4) at University of La Verne Leopards (7-1), onward to the playoffs for Coach Krich’s team: La Verne 38 Cal Lutheran 28.

Season to date (84-56)

MARKET WEEK – The bond market is booming again, a sign of investors' faith in the resilience of the U.S. economy. U.S. bond sales by companies with good credit ratings hit $103 billion in October, a record for the month, according to deal tracker Dealogic. Corporate-bond sales in the U.S. are on track for their fourth straight annual record, according to data from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. ... Many analysts say they expect bond sales to continue at a vigorous pace through the end of the year, reflecting steady economic growth ...

Microsoft Corp. sold $13 billion in new bonds on Thursday, a day after the Fed said it might raise rates this year for the first time since 2006. Earlier in the week, insurer ACE Ltd. sold $5.3 billion and NikeInc. sold $1 billion, its first debt sale in more than two years. Oil-field services giant Halliburton Co. is planning a large bond sale that could hit the market as early as this week.

On Wall Street, the blockbuster October jobs reporting showing a gain of 271,000 jobs means the Federal Reserve is almost certain to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade next month, potentially transforming the political landscape heading into the 2016 election in highly unpredictable ways. 'The votes are now there for Janet Yellen to raise interest rates whenever she is ready to pull the trigger," said David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors.

"Markets could take the first hike - likely to be just a quarter of a percentage point - as a vote of confidence in the American economy and react positively. That would benefit Democrats, especially presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton ... But the first rate hike since George W. Bush was in the White House and Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" was the top song in America could still cause chaos in markets accustomed - if not deeply addicted - to rock bottom rates and vast piles of cheap money.

REMEMBERING FRED THOMPSON - Thompson, a former U.S. senator from Tennessee, GOP presidential candidate, Watergate attorney and actor who starred on the television drama 'Law and Order,' died on Sunday in Nashville. He was 73. Mr. Thompson died after a recurrence of lymphoma ... Standing at least 6 feet, 5 inches with a booming voice, Mr. Thompson ... as an attorney ... helped lead to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Next week: Dear Rink Rats and Jack Ass of the Month.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
November 10, 2015

CARTOON OF THE WEEK – “High card gets to tell the students…”

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