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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

Staying Safe on Vacation

Bon Voyage! Staying Safe on Vacation

With nature beginning to bloom and the sun bright in the sky, summer is quickly approaching. Summer fills our minds with dreams of vacation on the crystal-clear, white beaches of Cancun, in the snow-peaked mountains of Switzerland or in the mind-blowing skyscrapers of New York. Many people have already planned vacations or are beginning to do so, but in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, many forget the most crucial ways to stay safe on vacation and traveling. For those of you lucky enough to turn those vacation dreams into reality, here are our top tips for staying safe on vacation:

Before arriving at your destination

Before heading out on that trip you’ve been planning for months, don’t forget to pack all of your important documents like passports or IDs in a waterproof container (especially if you’re headed to those crystal-clear beaches in Cancun!) or somewhere they won’t get lost or left behind.

Do some research before you book that cheaper hotel. Read the reviews online and ask around about the area where the hotel is located before making a decision.

Before leaving home for your trip, notify your bank that you will be vacationing in another state or country. Save yourself the anguish of trying to make a purchase while abroad before realizing the bank froze your debit card due to “fraud”.

Arriving at your destination

When you travel somewhere unknown, stay together with the people you are traveling with to ensure you are staying safe on vacation. Getting lost is way easier than it sounds, even with our modern GPS in hand. The number of times a phone dies exactly when you most need it is astounding.

While you may be itching to explore your holiday spot’s nightlife, remember: You’re in a strange, unfamiliar place, so think twice before hopping into whatever taxi appears first. Tourists tend to stick out to natives, making you an easy target for theft. Only use well-known transportation methods like Uber or Lyft. These companies perform background checks on their drivers, making them a safer option.

If you are traveling in your own vehicle, make sure to complete a full inspection on the car before heading to your vacation destination. There’s nothing worse than getting a flat tire 200 miles from home and realizing you don’t have a spare.

While out & about

Nothing goes better together than drinks and fun while on vacation. Remember to watch those drinks like you would with any other outing with friends. Don’t accept drinks from strangers if they’re open or if you didn’t watch them pour it.

If you’re in a sunny climate, don’t pass on the sunscreen. Those UV rays are hitting you hard even though you’re having too much fun to feel it. If, on the other hand, you traveled to those beautiful mountains in Switzerland, remember to keep Chapstick and lotion handy so your skin doesn’t dry up from the cold.

Watch out for pickpockets in big cities by keeping your phone and wallet in your front pockets. With the old habit of putting your phone in your back pocket, you may think someone is squeezing past you, but they might be taking your phone or cash.

Wherever life takes you this summer, make sure to enjoy yourself by staying safe on vacation. You want to make safe, happy memories—not an experience you’ll regret!

Further reading: 6 Surprising Travel Destinations for 2018

 

College Experience

How to Learn More from Your College Experience

College isn’t just a stepping stone towards the start of a fulfilling career, it can be one of the most exciting times of your life. During your time there, you’re given multiple opportunities to cultivate a deeper understanding of an area of study as well as explore additional interests, meet interesting new people, and get to know yourself a little bit more—but you need to actually take those opportunities in order to make the most out of college.

This is how to learn more from your college experience:

Drop by events and seminars on campus

Guest speakers are always invited to college campuses, and a majority of the time they talk about some pretty thought-provoking topics! Whether a speaker is giving a lecture or an informative seminar about a social cause, you will unquestionably walk away from their event having learned something new and enlightening. Professors often offer extra credit for attending seminars as well, giving you the chance to boost your grade, too.

Study abroad if you have the chance

You can read a thousand books on a different country and come to learn everything about it, but doing so can never compare to the enriching experience of actually living there. Not only do you get to embrace a different culture when studying abroad, you can learn a new language, become more open-minded to another society, and even leave with a pen pal or two. Furthermore, living in a different country forces you to be independent and adapt to unexpected challenges, which can be very rewarding for your personal development.

Take classes you’re curious about

Besides dedicating most of your time to major studies, take classes that ignite your curiosity or simply sound fun. College is a time of self-exploration and discovery, and doing so through classes outside your major is a great start. You never know what might become a favorite new passion or an area of study that perfectly complements your major. Who knows, you might even switch to an entirely different major!

Talk to professors during office hours

A professor can be one of the coolest people you meet during college. You would be surprised at what life knowledge they can share besides helping you out with last week’s lecture. These people were once students like you and can offer insight on how to tackle the college years and even direct you to possible internships and professional opportunities. If you’re beginning to network, start with building the foundation of it with your professors.

Interact with different groups of people outside your social circle

Your main social circle shouldn’t be the only group of people you hang out with during college. Don’t be afraid to become friends with foreign exchange students, join campus groups who share your same interests, and network with classmates – these are individuals who can become your lifelong friends, teach you important lessons, or help you take steps forward in your career.

Act responsibly

Parties are going to be a big thing in college, and they may become events you attend every other weekend or so. Have fun by all means! But act responsibly and aware during your time at one. Watch your alcohol intake if you’ll be drinking, be cautious when exposed to drugs, and keep an eye out for your friends if you get separated. What matters the most at a party is the fact that you are safe, comfortable, and having a great time! By acting responsibly during a party, you learn how to take care of yourself, watch out for your friends, and develop good judgment skills.

During college, you will meet an incredible diversity of people and learn about their different backgrounds, be given endless opportunities to learn more about this world, and come closer to knowing who you are. At the end of the day, you are the one who determines whether or not college can be an amazing experience – so make it count!

Further reading: Exploring Campus

Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer, currently writing on behalf of Ohio Addiction Recovery Center. He’s written a variety of education, travel, health, and lifestyle articles to share his experiences with the world. In his free time, you can find him playing his guitar or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.
Type of Learner

What Type of Learner Are You?

Have you ever tried to process a new piece of information but find that you simply can’t get a grasp on understanding it? You may need to approach it with a different method.

Everyone learns differently—some people will want things shown to them, while other people need information written down. Some people like to listen to explanations while others will need to physically study it in order to soak it in. Schools tend to apply different methods of teaching during classes in order to accommodate all kinds of learners, but when you’re studying at home, it may be beneficial for you to figure out what type of learner you are and apply it to your personal work.

Reader/writer

Reading and writing is a combo that makes up a very traditional style of learning. If you are a reading or writing type of learner, then you will be able to learn best by reading text and rewriting it. For example, if you were learning a language, you would find it easiest to study the vocabulary by reading the words on a page, then copying them out yourself.

Visual

Graphs, infographics and dioramas are a visual learner’s bread and butter. It helps this type of learner to see the information in context and be able to visualize it in their mind. If you are a visual learner, then you’ll find colors helpful. When trying to remember a point, you will try to form an image of it in your head. When learning a language, creating charts and maps to link vocabulary and learn conjugations is hugely helpful to visual learners.

Auditory

Auditory learners will flourish when they are able to listen to information in order to learn it. If you’re an auditory type of learner, you will be a whizz at learning in lectures and will find podcasts incredibly useful. Auditory learners tend to process information by repeating it to themselves either out loud or in their heads. They will be the ones to be able to commit language to memory by listening to others speak it.

Kinesthetic

A more tactile approach is favoured by kinesthetic learners when studying. This type of learner will enjoy reading the information aloud, acting through problems and practical work. A kinesthetic learner tends to prefer picking up a language by conversing with native speakers.

Don’t try to punish yourself by studying in “traditional” ways. Everybody learns differently and at different paces, so try different methods to find one that works for you.

Further reading: Writing an Essay: The Process