College Finances

December 16, 2009 at 9:01 pm (Uncategorized)

After reading my article, I hope you are willing to share your college financial experiences. What has been your experience with college costs? Did you use fiancial aid? Is the long-term cost worth it for getting an education? Share your thoughts!

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Weekly Accomplishment Form

December 11, 2009 at 12:20 am (Uncategorized)

REPORTING AND EDITING WEEKLY ACCOMPLISHMENTS FORM:

Reporter’s name: Elise Sitzman

Editor’s name: Calandra  Szulgit

Time and date that the two of you last met: 12/10/09, 3 P.M.

What you accomplished at that meeting regarding affected people for your story:

Just work on picking the most important quotes from them for my broadcast story. I need to cut it down so it’s not 7:30 and a lot of the reason for that is “quote bloat.”

What you accomplished at that meeting regarding officials/experts for your story:

My editor said I had a good one and this part of my story is fine.

What you accomplished at that meeting regarding data/documents for your story:

Use more data/documents from the U.S. Department of Education’s web page. Maybe focus on data specific to the state of Wisconsin.

What you agreed to do before your next meeting regarding the affected people:

This is fine. Leave it alone.

What you agreed to do before your next meeting regarding the officials/experts:

Sane as affected people.

What you agreed to do before your next meeting regarding the data/documents:

Again, we talked about maybe finding more data specific to the state of Wisconsin regarding financial aid. It isn’t absolutely necessary, but it might help. What we talked about more than anything was getting the story on the P drive so she could look at it ASAP and tightening up the lengthy broadcast portion.

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Peer Story-Broadcast Edition

December 10, 2009 at 3:06 am (Uncategorized)

Housing, food, and laptops. Yes, tuition is not the only cost making attending college difficult these days. Sixty-six percent of undergraduate students received some sort of financial aid in the United States between 2007 and 2008, according to the 2007–08 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study by the U. S. Department of Education. The combined state of the economy and rising college costs are making financial hardships worse on college students..

Educational funding is getting somewhat of a boost under President Obama. On February 17,2009, President Obama signed the Education Recovery Act into law as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. According to a report by the U. S. Department of Education’s web page, as of November 2, 2009,  $16.5 billion has been appropriated for student financial assistance. Financial aid has helped many students get through college, but it has also put many in bad financial situations years after graduation.

Anne Betz, a 2008 UW-Eau Claire graduate, says she was on financial aid the entire four and a half years she was at UW-Eau Claire. She said the financial aid program at UW-Eau Claire was nice because there was a grace period after graduation and a flexible payment program.

“The nice thing about the program was that it gave me a six month grace period after I graduated where I didn’t have to pay anything,” Betz said. “Also, there are different levels of payment options. Since I didn’t have a job right away, I started with a payment that was about $18.50 a month, and every two years it would go up in price by a few dollars.”

Betz now is making a little more money and paying $50 a month and says that if she had stayed with the $18.50 a month plan it would have taken her 27 years to pay off her student loans.

While this sounds bad, there are things college students can do to avoid debt. Crystal Schmidt, a fifth year English literature major, suggests that college freshmen apply for jobs on campus to help deal with college costs. Scmidt suggests applying for a job on campus early, around July or August, and saving the money you earn from that job. She also says apply for more scholarships and don’t hesitate to ask your parents for help. Scmidt plans on going to graduate school and applying some of her college financial lessons, including learning to cook for herself, since she said food has been one of her biggest expenses.

Talia Steuding, an education major who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 2009, is still working on paying off her college loans as well. Right now, she says she is paying about $100 a month. She was on financial aid all four and a half years at UW-Eau Claire. Steuding also suggests applying for more scholarships. She also says not living in the dorms is another way to save money.

“I actually would not recommend living in the dorms, since that money would also have to be paid back, and it might even be more than living on your own, with the high cafeteria prices, meal plans, etc.,” Steuding said.

It should be noted that students get the same amount of financial aid whether they choose to live on or off-campus.

“Students receive the same amount of financial aid whether they living in the dorms or living off-campus,” said Kathleen Sahlhoff, the Director of Financial Aid at UW-Eau Claire.  She says those living in university housing have those bills deducted from their financial aid at the beginning of the semester and those living off campus just have their tuition deducted from their financial aid. After tuition students are given any remaining balance to use for rent or food off-campus.

Sahlhoff also says that despite the state’s economy the financial aid program at UW-Eau Claire has seen no major cuts, outside of the state need grant program.  She says everyone was baking on an increase in the state need grant program to reflect rising increases tuition, but due to the state’s economy the legislature was unable to fund an increase in that program.

Sahlhoff said that the financial aid program has seen increases in what’s available in the federal programs. She also said everyone should apply for financial aid because it’s free, and every year many people are surprised to learn they qualify for it and how much aid they can receive. In addition, she suggests students have a budget at least by semester but having one by month is even better and that they should know what expenses they are going to have, the revenues you are going to have to meet those expenses, and how they plan on making up any differences.

The long-term effects of paying off loans are also daunting. Students with the added financial burden are cutting costs in all sorts of ways. Anne Betz, for example, had to move back home with her parents. She said that while it saved her money in the long run, she lost some of the independence she had living on her own.

Talia Steuding has had to cut costs not just on her everyday living expenses, but on her upcoming wedding as well.

Steuding says: “(My fiancée) and I have to have a small, small inexpensive wedding because I can barely afford to live.  I barely make rent every month.  I certainly can’t travel anywhere because I can’t afford it, and I have to watch every little purchase, right down to socks and bread.”

Schmidt has had to cut back on meals and has never taken a true winter or spring break.

Schmidt says: “I’ve never been able to take the stereotypical winter or spring break,” Schmidt said. “Frankly, I have no idea where college kids come up with $800 to fly to Florida and party. Rent and utilities take up over half my paycheck, and all I really can afford after that is food and the few odd items: a shirt on sale, shampoo, detergent, etc. I spend about $30-40 (on) groceries per week, which actually has proven too expensive for my budget, so I only eat about two meals a day to save money. Although, I enjoy eating out and my boyfriend cooks us meals sometimes, which really helps.”

Schmidt said the most upsetting part about her financial situation is that she cannot afford a car and has had to rely on getting rides from other people for the last five years. She also noted that with her college costs she will not be able to study abroad which she says she deeply regrets, but noted when she started college she didn’t know to save and was working a job that paid $5.85 an hour.

Sadly the burden of paying back student loans is not going away any time soon. Talia Steuding says she has about $12,000 dollars in loans to pay back. Scmidt has a $1,000 loan for a laptop she needs for her information’s systems classes to pay back. She did take out $3,000 in loans her first year, but said when her grandparents passed away her mother paid them off with the money they left her family.

While all of this may sound grim, it is not all bad news. Even as students struggle to pay back their loans, many would not have had any chance to go to college otherwise. Anne Betz said without them college would have been an impossibility given that her parents had to put her siblings through school as well.

Betz says: “Without financial aid, I probably wouldn’t have been able to go to school, especially with my parents trying to help three kids pay for tuition.”

The same can be said of Talia Steuding, who says that financial aid was a blessing because she would not have been able to go to college without it either.

The moral of the story is: budget, budget, budget so you don’t end up being part of the sixty-six percent of students having to receive financial aid.

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Peer Story Revised

December 10, 2009 at 3:06 am (Uncategorized)

Sixty-six. That is the percentage of undergraduate students who received some sort of financial aid in the United States between 2007 and 2008, according to the 2007–08 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study by the U. S. Department of Education. The combined state of the economy and rising college costs are making financial hardships worse on college students. Students are struggling not just with tuition but other costs as well, including housing and student loans.

Educational funding is getting somewhat of a boost under President Obama. On February 17,2009, President Obama signed the Education Recovery Act into law as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. According to a report by the U. S. Department of Education’s web page, as of November 2, 2009,  $16.5 billion has been appropriated for student financial assistance. Financial aid has helped many students get through college, but it has also put many in bad financial situations years after graduation.

Anne Betz, a 2008 UW-Eau Claire graduate, is still paying off her student loans today. Betz says she was on financial aid the entire four and a half years she was at UW-Eau Claire. She said the financial aid program at UW-Eau Claire was nice because there was a grace period after graduation and a flexible payment program.

“The nice thing about the program was that it gave me a six month grace period after I graduated where I didn’t have to pay anything,” Betz said. “Also, there are different levels of payment options. Since I didn’t have a job right away, I started with a payment that was about $18.50 a month, and every two years it would go up in price by a few dollars.”

Betz noted that now she is making a little more money and paying $50 a month. She also said, if she had stuck to her $18.50 a month plan, it would have taken her 27 years to pay off her student loans.

The financial realities are harsh in college, and there are things college students can do to avoid debt. Crystal Schmidt, a fifth year English literature major, suggests that college freshmen apply for jobs on campus to help deal with college costs.

“Apply for a job on campus (because) that’s the easiest place to work, and it’s definitely the most convenient,” Schmidt said. “Start applying to jobs on campus before you get to school, probably in the summer like July or August. … Take all the money you earn from that and start saving it.”

Schmidt also suggests applying for more scholarships and not being afraid to ask your parents for help. She also plans on going to graduate school and applying her college financial lessons there. Among other things, she said she plans on saving money by learning to cook for herself because, she said, food was one of her largest college expenses.

Talia Steuding, an education major who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 2009, is one of many students still paying off college loans. Steuding said, right now, she is paying about $100 a month to pay off her student loans. She was on financial aid all four and a half years at UW-Eau Claire. Steuding echoes Schmidt’s sentiment that students should apply for more scholarships. Steuding also suggests not living in the dorms as another way to save money.

“I actually would not recommend living in the dorms, since that money would also have to be paid back, and it might even be more than living on your own, with the high cafeteria prices, meal plans, etc.,” Steuding said.

It should be noted that students get the same amount of financial aid whether they choose to live on or off-campus.

“Students receive the same amount of financial aid whether they living in the dorms or living off-campus,” said Kathleen Sahlhoff, the Director of Financial Aid at UW-Eau Claire. “If they are living in university housing, the dorms, their housing bills are deducted from their financial aid at the beginning of the semester. If they live off-campus, their tuition is all that is deducted from their financial aid, and they are given any balance after tuition to use for rent and food off-campus.”

With the economy being what it is, there are budget cuts everywhere, but not really any major budget cuts at the UW-Eau Claire financial aid office, said Sahlhoff.

“The only real cut we had in financial aid (was) in the state need grant program for Wisconsin,” Sahlhoff said. “Essentially, everybody in the state was hoping for a projected increase in the state need grant to reflect the increase in tuition. … Unfortunately, with the state’s economy, the legislature wasn’t able to fund that. So, what we had was a state need grant that was held completely even with what we had the year before, even though our costs had increased.”

Sahlhoff said that the financial aid program has seen increases in what’s available in the federal programs. She also said everyone should apply for financial aid because it’s free, and every year many people are surprised to learn they qualify for it and how much aid they can receive. In addition, she suggests students keep a budget. Sahlhoff says you should know at least by semester –by month would be even better– what expenses you are going to have, the revenues you are going to have to meet those expenses, and how you plan on making up any differences.

The long-term effects of paying off loans are also daunting. Students with the added financial burden are cutting costs in all sorts of ways. Anne Betz, for example, had to move back home with her parents.

“The main thing is that I had to move back home because of my financial situation. Granted in the long run, living at home saves me a lot of money, but I lost a bit of independence that I had living on my own,” Betz said.

Talia Steuding has had to cut costs not just on her everyday living expenses, but on her upcoming wedding as well.

“(My fiancée) and I have to have a small, small inexpensive wedding because I can barely afford to live.  I barely make rent every month.  I certainly can’t travel anywhere because I can’t afford it, and I have to watch every little purchase, right down to socks and bread,” Talia said.

Schmidt says she has had to cut back on meals and has never taken a true winter or spring break.

“I’ve never been able to take the stereotypical winter or spring break,” Schmidt said. “Frankly, I have no idea where college kids come up with $800 to fly to Florida and party. Rent and utilities take up over half my paycheck, and all I really can afford after that is food and the few odd items: a shirt on sale, shampoo, detergent, etc. I spend about $30-40 (on) groceries per week, which actually has proven too expensive for my budget, so I only eat about two meals a day to save money. Although, I enjoy eating out and my boyfriend cooks us meals sometimes, which really helps.”

Schmidt said the most upsetting part about her financial situation is that she cannot afford a car and has had to rely on getting rides from other people for the last five years. She also noted that with her college costs she will not be able to study abroad which she says she deeply regrets, but noted when she started college she didn’t know to save and was working a job that paid $5.85 an hour.

All three students are likely to be paying their college cots back for a while. Steuding says she has about $12,000 dollars in loans to pay back and is paying roughly $100 a month right now. Scmidt has a $1,000 loan for a laptop she needs for her information’s systems classes to pay back. She did take out $3,000 in loans her first year, but said when her grandparents passed away her mother paid them off with the money they left her family. Betz is still paying back her loans in $50 a month payment plan.

While all of this may sound grim, it is not all bad news. Even as students struggle to pay back their loans, many would not have had any chance to go to college otherwise. Anne Betz said without them college would have been an impossibility given that her parents had to put her siblings through school as well.

“Without financial aid, I probably wouldn’t have been able to go to school, especially with my parents trying to help three kids pay for tuition,” Betz said.

Steuding says student loans were also the only way she could afford to go to college.

“I would definitely not have been able to go to college without financial aid.  In that respect, it was a blessing,” Steuding said.

The moral of the story is: budget, budget, budget so you don’t end up being part of the sixty-six percent of students having to receive financial aid.

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Weekly Accomplishment Form

December 7, 2009 at 4:29 am (Uncategorized)

REPORTING AND EDITING WEEKLY ACCOMPLISHMENTS FORM:

Reporter’s name: Elise Sitzman

Editor’s name: Calandra Szulgit

Time and date that the two of you last met: met online 12-03 – 12-06*

Thursday was the only day we were going to be able to meet in person, but that day my editor was very ill so we could not meet face-to-face. Instead we went back and forth by e-mail and I posted my revision and passed along the suggestions you gave me when we met to her. It was the best we could do under the circumstances.

What you accomplished at that meeting regarding affected people for your story:

She said I had plenty of affected people.

What you accomplished at that meeting regarding officials/experts for your story:

Again, I have a good source for this. Nothing more is needed.

What you accomplished at that meeting regarding data/documents for your story:

She did send me links to a few web pages specific to what Obama is doing for education. As an example she did direct me to the following: http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/CollegeAffordabilityFactSheet.pdf

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/education/ .

What you agreed to do before your next meeting regarding the affected people:

Just get more specific data from them if there is any more.

What you agreed to do before your next meeting regarding the officials/experts:

That part of the story is fine. The quotes may need to be edited a bit.

What you agreed to do before your next meeting regarding the data/documents:

This is the part I probably need to work the most on. I have been looking specifically at the report by the U. S. Department of Education detailing where the money from the Recovery Act is going regarding education found here: http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/recovery/spending/arra-program-summary.pdf . The other part we agreed I needed to work on was the whole aspect of how the new presidential administration is affecting this issue. I have some of that in my latest revision which is posted on my blog.

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Peer Story: Take 3

December 7, 2009 at 4:16 am (Uncategorized)

Sixty-six. That is the percentage of undergraduate students who received some sort of financial aid in the United States between 2007 and 2008, according to the 2007–08 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study by the U. S. Department of Education. The combined state of the economy and rising college costs are making financial hardships worse on college students. Students are struggling not just with tuition but other costs as well, including housing and student loans.

Educational funding is getting somewhat of a boost under President Obama. On February 17,2009, President Obama signed the Education Recovery Act into law as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. According to a report by the U. S. Department of Education’s web page, as of November 2, 2009,  $16.5 billion has been appropriated for student financial assistance. Financial aid has helped many students get through college, but it has also put many in bad financial situations years after graduation.

Anne Betz, a 2008 UW-Eau Claire graduate, is still paying off her student loans today. Betz says she was on financial aid the entire four and a half years she was at UW-Eau Claire. She said the financial aid program at UW-Eau Claire was nice because there was a grace period after graduation and a flexible payment program.

“The nice thing about the program was that it gave me a six month grace period after I graduated where I didn’t have to pay anything,” Betz said. “Also, there are different levels of payment options. Since I didn’t have a job right away, I started with a payment that was about $18.50 a month, and every two years would go up in price by a few dollars.”

Betz noted that now she is making a little more money and paying $50 a month. She also said, if she had stuck to her $18.50 a month plan, it would have taken her 27 years to pay off her student loans.

The financial realities are harsh in college, and there are things college students can do to avoid debt. Crystal Schmidt, a fifth year English literature major, suggests that college freshmen apply for jobs on campus to help deal with college costs.

“Apply for a job on campus (because) that’s the easiest place to work, and it’s definitely the most convenient,” Schmidt said. “Start applying to jobs on campus before you get to school, probably in the summer like July or August. … Take all the money you earn from that and start saving it.”

Schmidt also suggests applying for more scholarships and not being afraid to ask your parents for help. She also plans on going to graduate school and applying her college financial lessons there. Among other things, she said she plans on saving money by learning to cook for herself because, she said, food was one of her largest college expenses.

Talia Steuding, an education major who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 2009, is one of many students still paying off college loans. Steuding said, right now, she is paying $100 a month to pay off her student loans. She was on financial aid all four and a half years at UW-Eau Claire. Steuding echoes Schmidt’s sentiment that students should apply for more scholarships. Steuding also suggests not living in the dorms as another way to save money.

“I actually would not recommend living in the dorms, since that money would also have to be paid back, and it might even be more than living on your own, with the high cafeteria prices, meal plans, etc.,” Steuding said.

It should be noted that students get the same amount of financial aid whether they choose to live on or off-campus.

“Students receive the same amount of financial aid whether they living in the dorms or living off-campus,” said Kathleen Sahlhoff, the Director of Financial Aid at UW-Eau Claire. “If they are living in university housing, the dorms, their housing bills are deducted from their financial aid at the beginning of the semester. If they live off-campus, their tuition is all that is deducted from their financial aid, and they are given any balance after tuition to use for rent and food off-campus.”

With the economy being what it is, there are budget cuts everywhere, but not really any major budget cuts at the UW-Eau Claire financial aid office, said Sahlhoff.

“The only real cut we had in financial aid (was) in the state need grant program for Wisconsin,” Sahlhoff said. “Essentially, everybody in the state was hoping for a projected increase in the state need grant to reflect the increase in tuition. … Unfortunately, with the state’s economy, the legislature wasn’t able to fund that. So, what we had was a state need grant that was held completely even with what we had the year before, even though our costs had increased.”

Sahlhoff said that the financial aid program has seen increases in what’s available in the federal programs. She also said everyone should apply for financial aid because it’s free, and every year, many people are surprised to learn they qualify for it and how much aid they can receive. In addition, she suggests students keep a budget. Sahlhoff says you should know at least by semester –by month would be even better– what expenses you are going to have, the revenues you are going to have to meet those expenses, and how you plan on making up any differences.

The long-term effects of paying off loans are also daunting. Students with the added financial burden are cutting costs in all sorts of ways. Anne Betz, for example, had to move back home with her parents.

“The main thing is that I had to move back home because of my financial situation. Granted in the long run, living at home saves me a lot of money, but I lost a bit of independence that I had living on my own,” Betz said.

Talia Steuding has had to cut costs not just on her everyday living expenses, but on her upcoming wedding as well.

“(My fiancée) and I have to have a small, small inexpensive wedding because I can barely afford to live.  I barely make rent every month.  I certainly can’t travel anywhere because I can’t afford it, and I have to watch every little purchase, right down to socks and bread,” Talia said.

Schmidt says she has had to cut back on meals and has never taken a true winter or spring break.

“I’ve never been able to take the stereotypical winter or spring break,” Schmidt said. “Frankly, I have no idea where college kids come up with $800 to fly to Florida and party. Rent and utilities take up over half my paycheck, and all I really can afford after that is food and the few odd items: a shirt on sale, shampoo, detergent, etc. I spend about $30-40 (on) groceries per week, which actually has proven too expensive for my budget, so I only eat about two meals a day to save money. Although, I enjoy eating out and my boyfriend cooks us meals sometimes, which really helps.”

Schmidt said the most upsetting part about her financial situation is that she cannot afford a car and has had to rely on getting rides from other people for the last five years. She also noted that with her college costs she will not be able to study abroad which she says she deeply regrets, but noted when she started college she didn’t know to save and was working a job that paid $5.85 an hour.

All three students are likely to be paying their college cots back for a while. Steuding says she has about $12,000 dollars in loans to pay back and is paying roughly $98 a month right now. Scmidt has a $1,000 loan for a laptop she needs for her information’s systems classes to pay back. She did take out $3,000 in loans her first year, but said when her grandparents passed away her mother paid them off with the money they left her family. Betz is still paying back her loans in $50 a month payment plan.

While all of this may sound grim, it is not all bad news. Even as students struggle to pay back their loans, many would not have had any chance to go to college otherwise. Anne Betz said without them college would have been an impossibility given that her parents had to put her siblings through school as well.

“Without financial aid, I probably wouldn’t have been able to go to school, especially with my parents trying to help three kids pay for tuition,” Betz said.

Steuding says student loans were also the only way she could afford to go to college.

“I would definitely not have been able to go to college without financial aid.  In that respect, it was a blessing,” Steuding said.

The moral of the story is: budget, budget, budget so you don’t end up being part of the sixty-six percent of students having to receive financial aid.

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Chapter 11 Discussion Director

December 6, 2009 at 4:02 am (Uncategorized)

Reading Groups – Discussion Director

Name: Elise Sitzman

Discussion Date: 12/7/09

Chapter read to prepare for discussion:10

As the discussion director, it is your job to write down some questions you think your group would like to talk about based on the assigned readings. List a minimum of three, original, thought-provoking questions below:

  1. Chapter 11 notes that in the “golden age” of newspapers that the people running them had two long-term goals. One was to dominate their respective market and to do that they had to provide more quality than their competition. Do you see any examples of this today? Also, do you think in the future quality will win out or will we as consumers continue to consume whatever is out there because we are too lazy to demand better quality journalism? Why?
  2. In chapter 11 Meyer states that those in journalism with news-editorial backgrounds are uncomfortable with the rhetoric of the business side of newspapers and also notes that people on the business side see it consumers of newspapers as more of a “market.” Do you think that people not on the business side will ever be comfortable with the “market” element of newspapers? Why or why not? Also, would newspapers improve if journalists saw their job as part of a business or would it be better to remain semi-ignorant to that dimension and remain more focused on being public servants? Why?
  3. Chapter 11 also mentions that newspapers would be better if we had the “philosopher kings of publishing,” but also that waiting for their return would be like “Waiting for Godot” (they will never come). Meyer also notes that journalism’s new saviors will be different. What do you see as qualities necessary for new “journalism saviors?” Why?

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Peer Story Revision

December 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm (Uncategorized)

Sixty-six. That is the percentage of undergraduate students who received some sort of financial aid in the United States between 2007 and 2008, according to the 2007–08 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study by the U. S. Department of Education. The combined state of the economy and rising college costs are making financial hardships worse on college students. Students are struggling not just with tuition but other costs as well, including housing and student loans.

Anne Betz, a 2008 UW-Eau Claire graduate, is still paying off her student loans today. Betz says she was on financial aid the entire four and a half years she was at UW-Eau Claire. She said the financial aid program at UW-Eau Claire was nice because there was a grace period after graduation and a flexible payment program.

“The nice thing about the program was that it gave me a six month grace period after I graduated where I didn’t have to pay anything,” Betz said. “Also, there are different levels of payment options. Since I didn’t have a job right away, I started with a payment that was about $18.50 a month, and every two years would go up in price by a few dollars.”

Betz noted that now she is making a little more money and paying $50 a month. She also said, if she had stuck to her $18.50 a month plan, it would have taken her 27 years to pay off her student loans.

The financial realities are harsh in college, and there are things college students can do to avoid debt. Crystal Schmidt, a fifth year English literature major, suggests that college freshmen apply for jobs on campus to help deal with college costs.

“Apply for a job on campus (because) that’s the easiest place to work, and it’s definitely the most convenient,” Schmidt said. “Start applying to jobs on campus before you get to school, probably in the summer like July or August. … Take all the money you earn from that and start saving it.”

Schmidt also suggests applying for more scholarships and not being afraid to ask your parents for help. She also plans on going to graduate school and applying for college financial lessons there. (“Financial lessons or financial aid?”) Among other things, she said she plans on saving money by learning to cook for herself because, she said, food was one of her largest college expenses.

Talia Steuding, an education major who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 2009, is one of many students still paying off college loans. Steuding said, right now, she is paying $100 a month to pay off her student loans. She was on financial aid all four and a half years at UW-Eau Claire. Steuding echoes Schmidt’s sentiment that students should apply for more scholarships. Steuding also suggests not living in the dorms as another way to save money.

“I actually would not recommend living in the dorms, since that money would also have to be paid back, and it might even be more than living on your own, with the high cafeteria prices, meal plans, etc.,” Steuding said.

It should be noted that students get the same amount of financial aid whether they choose to live on or off-campus.

“Students receive the same amount of financial aid whether they living in the dorms or living off-campus,” said Kathleen Sahlhoff, the Director of Financial Aid at UW-Eau Claire. “If they are living in university housing, the dorms, their housing bills are deducted from their financial aid at the beginning of the semester. If they live off-campus, their tuition is all that is deducted from their financial aid, and they are given any balance after tuition to use for rent and food off-campus.”

With the economy being what it is, there are budget cuts everywhere, but not really any major budget cuts at the UW-Eau Claire financial aid office, said Sahlhoff.

“The only real cut we had in financial aid (was) in the state need grant program for Wisconsin,” Sahlhoff said. “Essentially, everybody in the state was hoping for a projected increase in the state need grant to reflect the increase in tuition. … Unfortunately, with the state’s economy, the legislature wasn’t able to fund that. So, what we had was a state need grant that was held completely even with what we had the year before, even though our costs had increased.”

Sahlhoff said that the financial aid program has seen increases in what’s available in the federal programs. She also said everyone should apply for financial aid because it’s free, and every year, many people are surprised to learn they qualify for it and how much aid they can receive. In addition, she suggests students keep a budget. Sahlhoff says you should know at least by semester –by month would be even better– what expenses you are going to have, the revenues you are going to have to meet those expenses, and how you plan on making up any differences.

The long-term effects of paying off loans are also daunting. Students with the added financial burden are cutting costs in all sorts of ways. Anne Betz, for example, had to move back home with her parents.

“The main thing is that I had to move back home because of my financial situation. Granted in the long run, living at home saves me a lot of money, but I lost a bit of independence that I had living on my own,” Betz said.

Talia Steuding has had to cut costs not just on her everyday living expenses, but on her upcoming wedding as well.

“[My fiancée] and I have to have a small small, small inexpensive wedding because I can barely afford to live.  I barely make rent every month.  I certainly can’t travel anywhere because I can’t afford it, and I have to watch every little purchase, right down to socks and bread,” Talia said.

Crystal Schmidt says she has had to cut back on meals and has never taken a true winter or spring break.

“I’ve never been able to take the stereotypical winter or spring break. Frankly, I have no idea where college kids come up with $800 to fly to Florida and party. Rent and utilities take up over half my paycheck, and all I really can afford after that is food and the few odd items (a shirt on sale, shampoo, detergent, etc.). I spend about $30-40 [on] groceries per week, which actually has proven too expensive for my budget, so I only eat about two meals a day to save money. Although, I enjoy eating out and my boyfriend cooks us meals sometimes, which really helps,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said the most upsetting part about her financial situation is that she cannot afford a car and has had to rely on getting rides from other people for the last five years. She also noted that with her college costs she will not be able to study abroad which she says she deeply regrets, but noted when she started college she didn’t know to save and was working a job that paid $5.85 an hour.

All three students are likely to be paying their college cots back for a while. Steuding says she has about $12,000 dollars in loans to pay back and is paying roughly $98 a month right now. Scmidt has a $1,000 loan for a laptop she needs for her information’s systems classes to pay back. She did take out $3,000 in loans her first year, but said when her grandparents passed away her mother paid them off with the money they left her family. Betz is still paying back her loans in $50 a month payment plan.

While all of this may sound grim, it is not all bad news. Even as students struggle to pay back their loans, many would not have had any chance to go to college otherwise. Anne Betz said without them college would have been an impossibility given that her parents had to put her siblings through school as well.

“Without financial aid, I probably wouldn’t have been able to go to school, especially with my parents trying to help three kids pay for tuition,” Betz said.

Steuding says student loans were also the only way she could afford to go to college.

“I would definitely not have been able to go to college without financial aid.  In that respect, it was a blessing,” Steuding said.

The moral of the story is: budget, budget, budget so you don’t end up being part of the sixty-six percent of students having to receive financial aid.

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Chapter 10 Group 3 Discussion Director

November 30, 2009 at 3:14 pm (Uncategorized)

Reading Groups – Discussion Director

 

Name: Elise Sitzman

Discussion Date: 11/30/09

Chapter read to prepare for discussion:10

 

As the discussion director, it is your job to write down some questions you think your group would like to talk about based on the assigned readings. List a minimum of three, original, thought-provoking questions below:

  1. If a newspaper “goes public” as chapter 10 puts it, what steps would you suggest they take to maintain their journalistic integrity and not just be beholden to their stockholders?
  2. Chapter 10 mentions in the relationship of newspaper to Wall Street that “Wall Street’s preoccupation with quarterly earnings growth [is] not all bad.” Do you think so? Why or why not? Finally, what lessons if any do you think people at newspapers should learn from Wall Street in terms of money management?

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Weekly Accomplishment Form

November 25, 2009 at 4:10 pm (Uncategorized)

REPORTING AND EDITING WEEKLY ACCOMPLISHMENTS FORM:

Reporter’s name: Elise Sitzman

Editor’s name: Calandra  Szulgit

Time and date that the two of you last met: 11/25/09, 10 A.M.

What you accomplished at that meeting regarding affected people for your story:

She said I had plenty, including the students who had graduated and the one who is still in school as a super senior.

 

 

What you accomplished at that meeting regarding officials/experts for your story:

My editor said I had a good one and I used good quotes from her.

 

 

What you accomplished at that meeting regarding data/documents for your story:

I have the one statistic from the U.S. Department of Education as well as data from the students and experts/officials.

 

 

What you agreed to do before your next meeting regarding the affected people:

Nothing, she said it looked good.

 

 

What you agreed to do before your next meeting regarding the officials/experts:

Sane as affected people.

 

 

What you agreed to do before your next meeting regarding the data/documents:

Again, same as affected people. I was concerned it was not triangulated enough from that point. I said I may go and see if I can find more data and documents that enhance the story, but my primary focus will be looking at the line edits she gave me (I had the rough draft posted early to give her a chance to look over it before we met).

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