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Kayley Loveridge

Student Loan Debt

Dealing with Student Loan Debt

The most recent data suggests that US student loan debt is soaring at a dizzying pace. This past year, figures have shown that it now currently sits at around $1.4 trillion—yes, trillion. Shockingly, college tuition fees have increased almost 400 percent in the last 30 years while the average household income growth certainly has not, says news site theatlantic.com. Yet, while the nation places great importance on college education for a sustainable and thriving economic future, yearly university fees are still climbing, forcing people to take out giant student loans and some would-be students to forget about college altogether. According to The Washington Post, some four in 10 people who have attended college in their lives have taken out a loan to facilitate their studies. A report by the College Board released in 2016 found that the average debt attributed to those who took out a student loan to complete a bachelor’s degree was $28,400, but the reality is often much higher for many students. What is even more egregious about this situation, is that it is largely students from the least affluent backgrounds who take on the most student loan debt. Around a fifth of people who have student loan debt are also “falling back” on their payments, incurring penalties and sky-rocketing interest rates on top of an already huge sum.

Some think tanks are now arguing that the US government should eliminate student loan debt completely, saying that, in the long-term, these crippling bills will do nothing to bolster the country’s economy later down the line, and may actually damage it. But, unless this happens and college is still your goal, it is key to take into account all of the financial options available to you to help keep costs down as much as possible throughout your studies. Financial aid in the form of scholarships or non-repayable grants can slash student loan debts down by a considerable amount, and there are also many universities across the country who offer significant financial aid packages which cover up to 100 percent in tuition fees.

Five colleges with great financial aid packages

There is a wealth of colleges throughout the US—including major Ivy League universities—who offer financial aid to those who need it the most.

  1. Columbia University

One of the most expensive schools in the states, Columbia University’s tuition and fees reach $55,056 per year. Thankfully, the college offers a very attractive financial aid package, which comes to an average of $55,521.

  1. Harvard University

Harvard University is considered one of the most elite schools in the world, and the privilege of attending is reflective of its mammoth yearly fees which reach $47,074. But, like Columbia, it offers a great financial aid page of $51,308 to cover this—and then some. 100 percent of students who were eligible for this package’s needs were met.

  1. Yale University

Annual tuition and fees at this Ivy League school reach $49,480. Yale offers an average of $52,894 in their financial aid package, and 100 percent of students who utilized the financial aid package’s needs were met.

  1. Princeton University

With annual tuition and fees costing $45,320, Princeton University offers an attractive financial aid package which sits at an average of $49,502.

  1. University of Richmond

While annual tuition fees for the University of Richmond are around $50,910, the university offers a financial aid package is $45,784, making the remaining $5,000 or so a lot easier to cope with when it comes to paying fees.

It’s safe to say that student loan debt may be an inevitable part of studying, but there are options available to help alleviate financial pressures during your school years. Make sure to research the universities you might like to attend before applying. Some schools may offer substantial non-repayable grants to help cover the ever-increasing fees attached.

Further reading: Applying for a Post-Graduate Degree

Travel Ban

Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban

On Tuesday 26 June, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of president Donald Trump’s travel ban after months of legal battles, which targets several Muslim-majority countries, coming as a massive shock to anti-discrimination advocates.

This ban, favored five to four, upholds the government’s position that the president has the authority to “suspend entry of aliens into the United States.”

Trump took to Twitter just hours after the ruling to hail his appreciation of the decision, tweeting: “SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!”

Of the decision, Trump stated, “The ruling shows that all the attacks from the media and the Democrat politicians were wrong, and they turned out to be very wrong.

“If you look at the European Union, they’re meeting right now to toughen up their immigration policies because they’ve been over-run, they’ve been over-run.

“And frankly, a lot of those countries are not the same places anymore.”

Despite the decision, criticism flooded in from chief justice John Roberts. “The president of the United States possesses an extraordinary power to speak to his fellow citizens and on their behalf,” he said. “Our presidents have frequently used that power to espouse the principles of religious freedom and tolerance on which this nation was founded.”

One of the lawyers who voted against the ruling, Neal Katyal, tweeted “Disappointed by the decision, but proud to be part of a judicial process that closely reviews and checks presidential overreach. Americans don’t exclude b/c of nationality or religion. POTUS shouldn’t take ruling as approval to continue attacking our constitution. I will always fight it.”

The travel ban currently affects travelers coming in from Syria, Iran, Libya, Yemen and Somalia—predominantly Muslim areas of the world.

President Trump controversially implemented the first travel ban just a week after his internment into office in January 2017.

Further reading: Trump to Host Video Game Violence Meeting

Bo Turnham Eighth Grade

Bo Burnham on Eighth Grade

Comedian, musician, actor and writer Bo Burnham talks with College News about the upcoming release of his directorial debut Eighth Grade, anxiety and life as a comedian.

College News: Let’s talk about your directorial debut, Eighth Grade. What has the response been so far?

Bo Burnham: The response has been really lovely so far. We’ve only shown it at a few festivals, but it feels like it’s connecting with people which is very, very nice and relieving.

CN: Eighth Grade centres around shy 13-year-old Kayla. You have spoken often about the character being the vessel with which to voice your own thoughts and feelings on the world. Were there any challenges you faced when it came to writing her character and how did your initial character ideas evolve as you wrote the film?

BB: The challenge was always trying to capture this voice authentically. My disconnect from her was two-fold: I was never a 13 year-old girl, and I was never 13 years old right now. And I knew both of those things lent themselves to a specific experience that I couldn’t fully understand. And the answer was just to research—and Generation Z is very easy to research. They post literally everything about themselves in real time online. As far as the ideas evolving, it all evolved once Elsie Fisher [actress who stars as Kayla in Eighth Grade] got involved—I told her every day that I wanted this movie to come to her and not the other way around. Once real kids got involved I deferred to them for the sort of nuts and bolts “truth” of the thing.

CN: When conceptualizing and writing the screenplay for Eighth Grade, what themes and topics were you keen on portraying through the characters and the plot?

BB: I wanted to talk about the internet and about anxiety. I have struggled with anxiety a lot in my life and have felt that my anxiety has deep ties to the internet in some way. And this story felt like the best way to explore it. I think the internet makes eighth graders out of us all.

CN: There is a pivotal, sexually awkward scene during the film that sees Kayla apologise to older character Riley for not being intimate with him. Was this scene written with the current political/social climate and #MeToo movement that’s currently engulfing Hollywood in mind?

BB: Definitely not. This was written two years ago and shot last summer—but I’m happy that people see that scene as in alignment with the values and concerns of the #MeToo movement—as I think it’s a vital and insanely overdue public conversation. And we still have a long way to go, especially with young people, in educating them on consent and sexual behaviour.

CN: You have had an extensive and thriving career as a comedian. How would you describe your comedic style?

BB: Trying very, very hard. Effortful!

 “I have struggled with anxiety a lot in my life and have felt that my anxiety has deep ties to the internet in some way”—Bo Burnham

CN: A common reaction that comedians and comediennes receive is backlash and criticism for using un-PC language or satirising socially sensitive topics. Has there been a particularly standout moment where this has happened to you? How do you deal with that kind of backlash personally?

BB: Oh sure I’ve dealt with backlash for things I said, especially when I was younger, 17 or 18 years old just trying to say the most offensive things because that’s what I thought comedy was. I tend to only look back on that stuff cringing at myself, not at the people objecting to it. I feel like comedians get to express themselves all the time, so they shouldn’t start complaining when the audience wants to express back.

CN: Can you tell our readers about how you got your break in the industry and how your career evolved into the realm of film and television?

BB: [I] started posting videos on YouTube and those sort of took off. And then it was just a sort of long, weird journey of performing stand up everywhere and quietly writing scripts in my free time. And then when it felt like I had gotten enough momentum in the comedy world to justify getting a small budget for a movie, I dropped stand up and started working on this movie. And here we are! And death next, I think!

CN: Writing is very much central to your career having written for your own comedy performances, television shows and now film. Can you tell us a little bit about the writing process for you? How do your ideas emerge and manifest into full-rounded projects?

BB: Honestly, they are often not full-rounded until the very end—if they get there at all! The initial point for me, usually, it just reading books or watching movies and just getting excited about things I like. And then trying to daydream and find any sort of ledge I can grab onto to start climbing towards something. My ideas usually start very specifically with an image or a scene or a moment—not with a THEME or some BIG SWEEPING IDEA. I like to start from a moment or image that I really love and then work outward. Because it’s really the moments that I’m going to be working on, and it’s the moments that people will experience, so if a moment can’t work out the gate, it feels not worth the time. That may make no sense.

CN: What three key pieces of advice would you give to budding young comedians, actors and writers that you wish you had been given yourself when you were starting out?

BB: I would say relax and enjoy it. I do believe that the best part of the creative process is available to everyone—just doing it. Just starting the process of picturing things and making things and seeing how they turn out and editing and making yourself better. Just start and jump in and don’t worry if you suck out the gate. This is what I try to remind myself of all the time. Just focus on what you can control which is your work and your ability to get better by your own standards. Just do the work and enjoy it. The whole reason to do creative things is to be able to do something interesting and enjoyable and the interest and enjoyment is available right away!

CN: Do you have any new and exciting projects on the horizon for 2018 and early 2019 that our readers should keep an eye out for?

BB: Just Eighth Grade. Hopefully in the next few months I’ll bang my head against a wall and something will fall out. But I’m only seeing tumbleweeds at the moment. Help!

> Watch Eighth Grade at cinemas from July 2018.

Further reading: Summer Blockbusters 2018

Summer Blockbusters

Summer Blockbusters 2018

So far, 2018 has been a stonker of a year for film—read on for the most anticipated upcoming summer blockbusters releases this year.

Major production companies and indie production houses across the board have already presented cinema-goers with an incredible slate of films so far this year. Marvel’s Black Panther alone served to be one of the highest grossing movies of all time, racking up over $1 billion at box office. So, what does summer 2018 have in store?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom 

Dinosaur fans rejoice! The second in the Jurassic World franchise, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, will hit theaters come June 22. This time around, the story follows Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) on a mission to rescue dinosaurs from Isla Nublar under the false impression that they will be saved from extinction. It’s not until later on that they learn that scientists want to genetically mutate these rare creatures in order to turn them into living weapons.

Hereditary 

Set the be the scariest film of the year, Hereditary first debuted at Sundance festival in January of this year and has received major critical acclaim at advanced screenings ever since. When the grandmother of the troubled Graham family passes away, dark family secrets slowly unravel. Starring Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne and Alex Wolff, Hereditary is set to hit theaters June 8.

Sorry to Bother You 

Starring Lakieth Stanfield from the wildly successful Get Out (2017), Sorry to Bother You is a comedy that follows telemarketer Cassius Green, who discovers that sounding ‘white’ over the phone is the secret to his success. A film with a stark underlying comment on one of the biggest political discourses in America today, this film is likely to become one of the biggest summer blockbusters to date. See it in cinemas from July 6.

Eighth Grade

Eighth Grade is comedian Bo Burnham’s first foray into directing, and will hit the big screen from 13 July. This slice-of-life movie follows teenager Kayla (Elsie Fisher) as she tries to survive the last week of an abysmal eighth grade year before finally heading off to high school. Already causing a stir in the movie scene, this highly anticipated film is a wonderfully frank look at the life, anxieties and worries of a 13-year-old in the internet age.

Crazy Rich Asians

Based on a novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians follows economics professor Rachel Chu as she accompanies her partner to Singapore to attend his best friend’s wedding. It is not until she lands in Singapore that she discovers her boyfriend comes from an extremely wealthy family and she is unwittingly thrust into the world of Asia’s rich and finest. This romantic comedy will be released in America August 17.

Further reading: Ocean’s Eight Confirmed for Release This Summer

Animal Fur

Faux Real: End of Animal Fur

Historically, animal fur has been synonymous with the world of luxury fashion. But, in an until recently unprecedented stand, some major luxury fashion brands have pledged to ban fur from their lines once and for all.

The relationship between high-end luxury fashion brands and animal ethics groups has been fraught for decades. However, recent years have seen a rise in major fashion houses and designers denouncing the use of animal fur, marking a monumental victory for animal rights. Some American cities are also taking an independent stand to diminish the retail of the product. San Francisco voted to ban all sales of fur within its limits in March of this year. An historical moment for the city, this new legislation will go into effect January 2019. 

A worldwide stand against animal fur

There is no doubt that fur as clothing is drenched in the glitz of showbiz history. Adorning Hollywood starlets and wealthy clientele alike, female glamour was once defined by a mink coat. If recent years are anything to go by, however, this antiquated approach to style is getting the overhaul animals deserve, and its effects can be seen around the globe.

Norway, which was once the world’s largest producer of fox fur, has committed to phasing out the country’s fur farms by 2025. The Nordic country follows in the footsteps of the UK, Germany, Austria and Croatia, who have all prohibited fur farms. What’s more, according to the Financial Times, 850 retailers globally are now registered as Fur Free Retailers.

“Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right”—Donatella Versace

High time, high fashion

The Versace family’s eponymous brand joined the ever-growing list of fashion houses to eradicate fur products from its lines. Head of the family Donatella Versace said earlier this year, “Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.” We’re with you there, Donatella.

Major Italian fashion house Gucci announced its move to eliminate animal fur from its label back in 2017 from its Spring 2018 line onwards. Any remaining fur stock, they said, would be auctioned with proceeds given to animal welfare charities. “Being socially responsible is one of Gucci’s core values, and we will continue to strive to do better for the environment and animals,” said Gucci president and CEO Marco Bizzarri at the London College of Fashion in October 2017. “Gucci is excited to take this next step and hopes it will help inspire innovation and raise awareness, changing the luxury fashion industry for the better,” he added.

According to the Financial Times, fur products in Gucci’s line account for just €10 million of their €6.21 billion worth. A change in consumer behavior also prompted the fashion titan to change course. With the rise of vegetarianism and veganism among millennials (the brand’s main consumer base), sales for animal products were likely to decrease anyway.

Not long ago, accessible luxury fashion brand Michael Kors also hopped onto the faux fur bandwagon. “Due to technological advances in fabrications, we now have the ability to create a luxe aesthetic using non-animal fur,” said Kors himself, following a statement that the company would join others in cutting the use of animal fur from its brand.

John D. Idol, chairman and chief executive at Michael Kors, said in a statement, “This decision marks a new chapter as our company continues to evolve its use of innovative materials.”

Is the future faux?

The concept of replacing animal fur with fake fur has been met with mixed reactions. While it undoubtedly eliminates the possibility of animal slaughter, some have argued that the material’s production is harmful to the environment and not as sustainable as we’d like to think. The principal materials used to make faux fur—including acrylic and polyesters—are made from non-renewable products such as coal and petroleum which deplete the Earth’s natural resources. Mark Oaten, CEO of the Fur Trade Association, said, “Fake fur requires the extraction and fractionating of petroleum, as well as the subsequent conversion into fibers and mass manufacturing into products. These are not only incredibly energy-intensive but also produce a lot of extremely unpleasant chemical compounds.” But is this argument against faux alternatives enough to slow the momentum gained to banish animal fur and encourage fur-aesthetic lovers to buy real?

While commitments to a fur-free future have made a powerful political statement, fur farming is still a major cash cow with the global fur industry estimated to be worth a staggering $40 billion. For now, though, the formidable solidarity between fashion houses renowned for their lavish excess, independent boutiques and countries around the world who are stepping into a cruelty-free future together shows that compassionate fashion is—for want of a better word—“in”.

$200m

is the value of mink fur industry each year

Source: truthaboutfur.com

Further reading: Making a Fashion Statement

one-of-a-kind beach accessory

One-of-a-kind Beach Accessory

As you head to the beach this summer, do you find yourself irritated at times by the thought of the sand? Have you ever wondered what freedom from the sand would look like? Well, why get frustrated by the sand when, now, you can have freedom from it!

With finals over, so are the days of hiding your drink under your chair, placing your phone under your towel or storing your reading material behind your head. A seamless solution in the form of a one-of-a-kind beach accessory has arrived to resolve a common problem we all experience when we’re at the beach—where to keep your essentials on the beach?

Shore Shelf, an award-winning, one-of-a-kind beach accessory, is here to enhance your beach, pool or outdoor experience by keeping your essentials (drink, phone, book, suntan lotion, etc.) in one central place, within reach and never touching the ground.

Founded on frustration and built for relaxation, Shore Shelf will have you ready to relax in minutes. In three simple steps, the dual-position clamp of this one-of-a-kind beach accessory allows you to securely attach and position Shore Shelf to any side of your lounge chair. Regardless of where you vacation, this carefully crafted, patent-pending clamp connection accommodates most round or rectangular chair frames.

Most importantly, whether you’re right or left-handed, you’ll be able to find the perfect tray position to reach your beverage, sunglasses or phone. This extension of space will instantly provide comfort and convenience at your fingertips.

The exceptionally high standard of engineering along with the durable construction allows you to place up to five pounds of your key essentials (phone, sunglasses, beverage, suntan lotion, book, etc) on the tray. Fun fact: the weight limit for this one-of-a-kind beach accessory was intended to hold your essentials, not your body weight so please do not lean, sit or use as a lift to get out of your seat.

On a tropical note, Shore Shelf’s eye-catching signature look is a perfect complement with your beach towel, water bottle and necessities. As your day heats up and you soak up the sun, their reflective, vibrant yellow tray easily withstands the intensity of the sun’s rays allowing Shore Shelf to remain cool to the touch. Who knew?!

What’s never cool though, are your phones overheating. So, did you know that Shore Shelf’s drink koozies are just the right size for you to store your phones and keep them safe from the sun? Interesting and even better is that the lightweight, compact design effortlessly folds-up to store in your travel bag—they’ve made it so light, you won’t even notice it’s there. With functionality like this, it makes you wonder how you ever managed without it.

Shore Shelf are family-owned, proud to be American-made and recently recognized with a Gold Medal in the outdoor category for new product invention at the prestigious INPEX show in Pittsburgh, PA.  Shore Shelf will modernize the way you deserve to be pampered at the beach and is guaranteed to transform your next outdoor experience.

This summer, take Shore Shelf with you on your next vacation getaway or outdoor adventure.  Although Shore Shelf was built for the beach, it is also great to take on cruise ships, to the pool, on boats, camping, sporting events, and wherever your imagination takes you! Take it with you anywhere, at any time to any destination.

Before you head to your next getaway, treat yourself and make a vacation statement with Shore Shelf. This must-have beach accessory is only available at ShoreShelf.com.

Free yourself from the sand and order Shore Shelf today!

Noonday Dream

Ben Howard North America Tour Confirmed to Promote Noonday Dream

British musician Ben Howard has confirmed dates for his headline North American tour. The announcement comes following the success of Howard’s hugely triumphant sold out UK European tour. The tour, set to begin this Fall, will promote his new album Noonday Dream which is due to be released June 1 2018 via Republic Records.

Howard wrote and produced the tracks that will feature on Noonday Dream, with contributions from the musician’s bandmate and regular collaborator, Mickey Smith. Noonday Dream was recorded over a two-year time frame in studios throughout Europe.

The first track to be released from Noonday Dream, is Nica Libres at Dusk and the album has already started to gain widespread acclaim. “A Boat to an Island on the Wall is a sprawling, mesmerising track that shifts restlessly, rocking back and forth like that small boat on the waves, with the familiar sound of Howard;s low, gruff vocals,” said UK news outlet The Independent.

Since the release of his debut album back in 2011, Howard has seen unbridled success with major chart toppers and global critical acclaim to boot. Every Kingdom (2011) sold more than one million copies worldwide. The album, which features favorites including Black Flies and Old Pine, received a Mercury Music Prize nomination and led to a win of two prestigious BRIT awards in 2012 for best British Breakthrough and best British Solo Male Album.

The artist’s second album I Forget Where We Were (2014) reached similar levels of success. Alongside a track featured on AMC’s The Walking Dead (2010-present) and receiving a nomination for the Ivor Novello Award, the album topped the charts in the UK.

At the time of writing, Howard’s music has racked up over half a billion digital streams.

Noonday Dream tracklist:

  1. Nica Libres at Dusk
  2. Towing the Line
  3. A Boat to an Island on the Wall
  4. What the Moon Does
  5. Someone in the Doorway
  6. All Down the Mines (Interlude)
  7. The Defeat
  8. A Boat to an Island Part II Agatha’s Song
  9. There’s Your Man
  10. Murmurations

Howard’s North American tour will begin September 20 in Burnaby, BC.

Further reading: Years & Years Announce New Album Palo Santo

Aggravated Indecent Assault

Bill Cosby Found Guilty of Aggravated Indecent Assault

In one of the most high-profile sexual assault cases to be reported, Bill Cosby, former actor and star of hit 80s and 90s sitcom The Cosby Show, has been found guilty of three count of aggravated indecent assault for the drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand in 2004.

Thursday’s verdict, which came after the case’s initial previous mistrial one year ago, was reached by a new jury who came to the decision just 14 hours after the trial.

Cosby, who had remained silent during the hearing and throughout the scandal, did not testify for himself and did not react verbally when the verdict was given. Minutes after, however, Cosby erupted. The prosecutors asked the judge to revoke bail because they deemed Cosby a flight risk as he had his own plane. Cosby responded by shouting, “He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole.”

As the prosecutors sought to establish a behavioural pattern in Cosby’s misconduct, five other women took to the stand to testify against Cosby during the trial. The women recounted similar experiences to that of Constand, alleging that the former actor had drugged and assaulted them decades ago.

Cosby’s team launched an aggressive defence attack. They brought Constand’s credibility into question and accused the woman of seeking the actor’s fortune, describing her as a ‘con-artist’.

Yet, even with very little forensic evidence, Constand’s team made a monumental win. Gloria Allred, an attorney who has represented some of the women who have accused Cosby of indecent assault, welcomed the conviction, saying, “We are so happy that finally we can say, women are believed. And not only on #MeToo but in a court of law where they are under oath, where they are testified truthfully, where they are attacked.

“After all is said and done, women were finally believed.”

This verdict comes as a particular victory in the wake of the #MeToo movement, and Cosby could spend the rest of his life in prison for the conviction of aggravated indecent assault.

Montgomery County District attorney Kevin Steele told reporters after the trial, “What was revealed through this investigation was a man who had spent decades preying on women that he drugged and sexually assaulted, and a man who evaded this moment right here far too long.

“He used his celebrity, he used his wealth, he used his network of supporters to help him conceal his crimes.”

Tom Mesereau, Cosby’s attorney told reporters that they would be appealing the guilty verdict of aggravated indecent assault. “We are very disappointed by the verdict. We don’t think Mr Cosby’s guilty of anything and the fight is not over,” he said.

Further reading: Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Retrial to Begin