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7 lessons for saving money while you’re in college

College can be expensive, even apart from the high tuition bills. You’ll need money for food, books, activities, transportation and other essentials. Follow these steps to make college affordable without giving up any of the benefits of attending a university.
Controlling your spending in college can require some creative thinking, but it is an attainable goal. Taking as many steps as you can to save money will help you manage your budget, and you may even be able to put some savings aside. With discipline and desire, it is possible to get an education without going broke.

College can be expensive, even apart from the high tuition bills. You’ll need money for food, books, activities, transportation and other essentials. Follow these steps to make college affordable without giving up any of the benefits of attending a university.
1. Limit the fast food visits

If you’re living on campus, chances are you’ve got a meal plan that allows you to eat at the dining hall. Because you’ve already paid for your meals, don’t let that money go to waste. Eating on campus instead of going to restaurants can save you lots of money in the long run. Stock up on snacks like fruit, nuts, granola bars and trail mix so that when you’re looking for a late-night snack you won’t be tempted to order out. If you live off campus or have a limited meal plan, learn how to cook. It can really pay off. Not only will it save you money, but it is also a valuable life skill that can serve you well long after graduation.

2. Avoid the shiny new textbooks

You may love the look and feel of a brand new book, but a new textbook carries a steep sticker price. Instead of splurging on new books, scour used book sales and shop online retailers to find used books available at a fraction of the cost. Still want to cut down on the high cost of books? Borrow from a friend or see if you can check the books you need out from the library.

3. Choose credit cards wisely

Overspending on credit cards is easy to do but can get you in trouble fast. Remember: If you don’t have money for the charges you rack up today, you’ll have to pay for them with tomorrow’s earnings. If you do decide to get a credit card, make sure to compare benefits and interest rates, and pay off the balance in full each month. If the balance accrues, the interest penalties can be significant. The key to using a credit card is to treat it like cash and spend only what you can afford.

4. Buy a coffee maker

If you’re a caffeine addict, a coffee maker is one purchase you should make. A daily visit to the coffee shop quickly adds up. An inexpensive coffee machine will pay for itself in no time, and if you want to make the purchase go even further, share the coffee maker with a roommate or friend and split the cost.

5. Ditch the cable subscription

Cable is expensive, and as a student you should ask yourself how much time you’re really going to spend watching TV. Chances are, the high cost of cable just isn’t worth it. Instead, opt for an online streaming subscription to watch your favorite shows.

6. Ask about student discounts

Many restaurants, retailers and vendors offer discounts to anyone with a student ID. It can’t hurt to ask if discounts are available before making a purchase. Plus, taking advantage of discounts at places like museums or theaters can be a great way to enjoy low-cost entertainment.

7. Sell your car

If you’re making car payments and don’t absolutely need a car on campus, consider selling your vehicle. Even if your car is paid off, you’ll have to pay for gas, insurance, parking and maintenance fees, all of which can really add up. Instead, utilize public transportation (or a friend with a car) to get where you need to go.

Controlling your spending in college can require some creative thinking, but it is an attainable goal. Taking as many steps as you can to save money will help you manage your budget, and you may even be able to put some savings aside. With discipline and desire, it is possible to get an education without going broke.

Full article here.

posted in: Blogging, California, Florida, Georgia, Graduation, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, News, North Carolina, Personal, Wisconsin

Americans with disabilities still can’t land jobs

Before the Americans with Disabilities Act, the country was a very different place for people with disabilities, who had to navigate hurdles such as inaccessible public buildings. Yet when it comes to the workforce, the hurdles may not look much different than they did 27 years ago.

The share of adults with disabilities who are working by some measures hasn’t improved since the ADA was passed in July 1990. When the law was signed, about half of disabled Americans were employed, a share that declined to 41 percent by 2010, according to Census data.

Before the Americans with Disabilities Act, the country was a very different place for people with disabilities, who had to navigate hurdles such as inaccessible public buildings. Yet when it comes to the workforce, the hurdles may not look much different than they did 27 years ago.

The share of adults with disabilities who are working by some measures hasn’t improved since the ADA was passed in July 1990. When the law was signed, about half of disabled Americans were employed, a share that declined to 41 percent by 2010, according to Census data.

Ironically, some economists suggest the ADA may have made it less likely for employers to hire people with disabilities because of the costs they might incur for providing accommodations. Yet disability advocates point out that Americans with disabilities face a host of complex issues such as stigmas, typically lower education rates and higher rates of poverty, which add to the difficulties of finding a job while disabled.

Full article here.

posted in: Blogging, California, Diversity, EmployerNews, Florida, Georgia, Graduation, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, News, North Carolina, Personal, Wisconsin

Want a job when you graduate? Major in these areas

Until college graduation, students spend their whole lives preparing for one thing: a job.

Fortunately, unemployment among college graduates has been on the decline in the last decade, but many graduates still struggle to find well-paying jobs to start their new lives in the workforce.

College graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher are currently facing an unemployment rate of only 2.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compare that to the average unemployment rate of the working population of the U.S., which is almost twice that, at 4.4 percent — clearly, getting a degree makes you more marketable.

Until college graduation, students spend their whole lives preparing for one thing: a job.

Fortunately, unemployment among college graduates has been on the decline in the last decade, but many graduates still struggle to find well-paying jobs to start their new lives in the workforce.

College graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher are currently facing an unemployment rate of only 2.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compare that to the average unemployment rate of the working population of the U.S., which is almost twice that, at 4.4 percent — clearly, getting a degree makes you more marketable.

Full article here.

posted in: Blogging, California, Diversity, EmployerNews, Florida, Georgia, Graduation, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, News, North Carolina, Personal, Wisconsin

The 9 most in-demand jobs that pay more than $100,000

A six-figure job is often seen as the hallmark of success, but how difficult is it to find one?

Workers in certain high-paying professions are likely to face a tougher time securing a job, based on a combination of demand, skills and industry trends. Many of the six-figure jobs that are in most demand don’t require advanced degrees, which may also explain their appeal to job-seekers, according to a new survey from Glassdoor.

A six-figure job is often seen as the hallmark of success, but how difficult is it to find one?

Workers in certain high-paying professions are likely to face a tougher time securing a job, based on a combination of demand, skills and industry trends. Many of the six-figure jobs that are in most demand don’t require advanced degrees, which may also explain their appeal to job-seekers, according to a new survey from Glassdoor.

Prospective employees in these professions should put extra time into their job search, resumes and interview prep to make sure they stand out, the employment site said. Given that median income for U.S. households stands at slightly more than $56,000, scoring a job that pays almost twice that level can be provide a significant income bump. While they may not require graduate degrees, these occupations generally require training and special skills.

The most in-demand, high-paying jobs “can attract people with an undergraduate degree and relevant work experience, which is a much bigger pool of people, in most cases, than those holding a specific advanced degree,” said Scott Dobroski, community expert at Glassdoor.

He added, “In other words, if there is high competition for an open role, this translates into more people hitting that apply button online, which means it will be harder for job-seekers to get the attention of a hiring manager and potentially score an interview.”Full article here.

posted in: Blogging, California, Diversity, EmployerNews, Florida, Georgia, Graduation, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, News, North Carolina, Personal, Wisconsin

Compare Nonprofit, For-Profit Online Degree Programs

While there’s still a stigma against for-profits, the quality of education varies widely within the sector, experts say.

To some students, a for-profit online degree program seems like a risky option.

“I’ve seen a lot of reports for a lot of years about how for-profit schools have pretty much based their incomes on the ability for students to get federal financial aid,” says 30-year-old Matt Warner, a cybersecurity and information assurance master’s student at the nonprofit, online Western Governors University.

Though he’s personally hesitant about for-profits, he suggests prospective students focus more on factors such as cost and the degrees offered.

For California resident Carlos Ramirez, enrolling in an online doctoral program in health administration at the for-profit University of Phoenix was a no-brainer. Ramirez previously earned his bachelor’s and master’s at the school and was satisfied with its flexibility and student support.

Experts say in online education, a school’s classification as a for-profit versus nonprofit tells prospective online students little about overall quality.

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“I think it’s less about the sector and more on how attentive the institution is to meeting the needs of students, to understanding best practices, to preparing their faculty for this robust learning experience,” says Karen Pedersen, chief knowledge officer for the Online Learning Consortium, an organization aiming to improve online higher education.

For-profit institutions have faced criticism in recent years for questionable recruitment practices, low graduation rates and high student debt. Though employers today are becoming more receptive to accepting candidates with for-profit, online degrees, there’s still a stigma around them, experts say.

[Discover how employers view for-profit online bachelor’s degrees.]

“It’s a distinction that has gotten a lot of press over the last many years, and I’m not sure that it’s warranted,” says Betty Vandenbosch, president of the for-profit Kaplan University, which delivers many degrees online.

When for-profit online degree programs started becoming more prevalent around 1999, they accepted almost anybody who applied, including those who weren’t sufficiently prepared for college, says Kathleen Ives, OLC’s CEO and executive director, who has served as faculty for both for-profits and nonprofits. That, she says, contributed to low graduation rates and high debt for those who dropped out.

That initial focus primarily on corporate profits “has tainted much of the for-profit sector. And not fairly, because the for-profit institutions are just as diverse as the nonprofit institutions,” says David Schejbal, dean of continuing education, outreach and e-learning at the University of Wisconsin—Extension, which coordinates continuing education and online programs across 26 statewide campuses.

Read full article here.

posted in: Blogging, California, Diversity, EmployerNews, Florida, Georgia, Graduation, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, News, North Carolina, Personal, Wisconsin

Veterans Services Office stands ready to help

Veterans Services is the smallest of Henderson County’s 26 departments but one of the most important in regards to the services it provides.

The purpose of this department is to advise local veterans and their dependents of their entitlement under various federal and state laws, counsel them and actively assist them in obtaining federal and state veterans benefits. Shortly after World War II, Veterans Services became a county department.

Veterans Services Officer Mike Murdock has been overseeing this office since September 2003.

It is his job to educate and assist veterans and their families in obtaining U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, N.C. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense benefits.

He most commonly assists veterans and their families in claims for service connected with disabilities, which are claims for medical/physical problems which are the result of military service.

Since 2009 there has been a drastic increase in requests for assistance. The volume of requests for assistance increased by approximately 30 percent from 2008 to 2009, and 2009 to 2010 saw another 45 percent increase.

That level of increased activity continued through 2011, when more than 7,000 requests for services were taken over the phone and in-person.

Murdock believes the sudden increase is due to three main factors: the significant downturn in the economy, as there are more and more individuals seeking assistance in order to find ways to continue living their day to day lives.

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posted in: EmployerNews, News, North Carolina

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