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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

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Credit: Phillip C

College can be an expensive investment. With many students graduating with larger student loan balances, finding ways to reduce the cost is valuable to many people. One option for some students is CLEP exams.

These exams test your knowledge in several subjects ranging from accounting, English, History, and even foreign languages. These nationally recognized exams are overseen by College Boardand administered at local colleges. If you feel comfortable in a subject, you can take the exam, get credit for the classes, and pay only a fraction of the costs of taking the class on campus. A CLEP exam at my university is $80.

To show how much can be saved; I used the tuition prices of my university and compared it to ‘clepping’ 5 elementary courses (3 credits each). The totals don’t include room and board, which would increase savings even more.

CLEP In-State Out-State
 $400.00  $   3,264.00  $ 8,874.00

Here’s the amount of savings:

CLEP v In-State  $2,864.00
CLEP v Out of State  $8,474.00

I think this is a wonderful option for some people. I’ve taken exams through CLEP and it does save money. The only drawback is that you have to send a transcript of your scores if you decide to transfer schools. If you’re trying to reduce your college expenses, then this might be a viable option.

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 I’m still continuing on my post on why learning a foreign language is beneficial.
The next question to ask is; which language do you choose?

There are so many ways to look at this question. The first step is to decide why you’re learning a foreign language. A person who is doing it to communicate with family is looking at it differently from one who is looking to increase their edge in business. Some things to consider when choosing a language are:

  1. Level of Difficulty
  2. How Popular is the Language
  3. Access to Native Speakers

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Photo Credit: nuomi

These are not definitive lists, but looking at some websites concerning languages, I noticed some came up more often than others. Please feel free to disagree and leave your thoughts.

If you’re new to learning a foreign language and want to pick something up that’s easier to learn, then you might want to consider some of these languages. (I recently realized that this site is sometimes translated into other languages, so I included English for our more global readers.)

Easiest Languages to Learn:

  1. Spanish
  2. Italian
  3. English
  4. Portuguese
  5. Hindi

This next category looked at languages from a business world perspective for those who are learning a foreign language to expand their career potential.

Most Popular Languages:

  1. English
  2. Mandarin Chinese
  3. Spanish
  4. Arabic
  5. Japanese

I found this site to have a really good guide to help choose what language to learn. The chart is very easy to understand and it helped me with my decision. I’m working on Italian right now. My reasons are because it’s relatively easy to learn and I love the way the language sounds when spoken. I would like to feel more like a global citizen. Do you speak more than one language? If so, when and how did you learn?

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walllet.jpgI’m continuing on the Rich College Student Series. After yesterday’s post, Jorge made a valid observation:Under ideal circumstances (you do get financial aid as in Part 1), this is a very smart idea. My opinion, however, is that it’s too much of an ideal situation. Quite a few college students don’t have the support from family and end up taking loans and working 20+ hours / week. FAFSA’s great if you’re in the lower income bracket, but as a middle class college student, FAFSA has done absolutely nothing for me in terms of grants or federal aid (with loans as an exception).He’s right that it is an idealized situation to stay at home while you attend college. If you are in that situation, consider yourself fortunate. As regards to FAFSA not being the end all of financial assistance, I also agree. As part of that post, I also included state grants, school scholarships, and scholarships that can be found on the web. The reason why FAFSA is important is that many grants that are need based do ask if you filed for FAFSA. Don’t just count on grants and scholarships, but by all means exhaust everything before you turn to loans. If you do have to take out a loan (which is very possible), please take the minimum amount you need.As for the budget yesterday, I wanted tostart off with something simple and work from there. Today, we’re looking at someone who works part-time (30 hours) and goes to school full-time (12 credits). To complete this I had to make some assumptions:

  • Rent was calculated on national average
  • Car insurance was based on national average
  • Roommate was included
  • Pay was calculated on a part-time worker at UPS (Jobs are national and available for college students)

Within this situation I did 2 quick budgets: having a car loan and not having a car loan. As you probably know that best situation is have you car completely paid off. However many student are going back to college and already have it. (I have a car loan myself and I wished someone drilled it to me the extra costs associated with it.)While working on the budgets, here are some of my notes:

  • Rent: You really need a roommate if you’re going to school fulltime and are working part-time. Roommate would also include spouse, relatives, etc. If you have more than one roommate and everyone gets along, that’s wonderful, as you save money and peace of mind. Please put the division of bills in writing. It’s a protection for both of you.
  • Transportation: Try living close to either your school or work, as it can lower insurance rates and gasoline. Public transportation is a good option if it is reliable and safe. If you have the ability to stay under your parents’ insurance, do so as it usually makes a big difference. Maintain good grades and you can save approximately 10%.
  • Utilities: Remember to keep with the necessities. Do you really need the premium package for cable? Do you even need cable? Find a roommate who shares your values. You don’t want somebody who makes a habit of wasting electricity and then expects you to help foot the bill.
  • Food: Learn to cook beyond macaroni and cheese. Cooking saves a lot of money when you go shopping at the grocery store and it makes leftovers taste better. Make sure you have a slow cooker as that can also save you time and money. Chili, lasagna, and stews are just some of the foods you can make with it.

Here’s what I came up with on the budget:Without a car loan:

Income
Job (Net)

$1,087.47

EXPENSES
Rent

$ 450.00

Car Insr.

$ 72.25

Utilities

$ 100.00

Groceries

$ 125.00

Gas/fuel

$ 100.00

Savings

$ 54.37

Total

$ 901.62

$ 185.85

 

With a car loan (yikes!):

Income
Job (Net)

$1,087.47

EXPENSES
Rent

$ 450.00

Car Loan

$ 125.00

Car Insr.

$ 72.25

Utilities

$ 100.00

Groceries

$ 125.00

Gas/fuel

$ 100.00

Savings

$ 54.37

Total

$1,026.62

$ 60.85

Let me know what you think.

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cs_resource.jpgI saw this article on the New York Times site. I don’t see this stopping many business students to get an M.B.A. , but it’s an interesting trend. I’m a business management major, so this is to weigh later in my career plans.

Many young people on the fast track to fat paydays in the financial industry are choosing to forgo M.B.A. programs. As more Americans have become abundantly wealthy, young people are recalculating old assumptions about success. …

read more | digg story

Update: Flexo at Consumerism Commentary has an excellent post regarding devaluation of a MBA.

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Working College Students

With many people back in school, US News magazine higlighted a growing trend of college students working.

A whopping 74 percent of full-time students juggle work and school, according to a study by the Higher Education Project of the State Public Interest Research Groups. Forty-six percent of them log 25 hours or more a week on the job, with 1 in 5 working full time.

It’s not just taking fast food jobs for extra cash during the weekends. Students are taking jobs to gain experience and to even afford rising tuition rates. The problem is balancing the two, so bosses get quality work and students maintain a good GPA.

Are you a working student and need more money from finanical aid? You might be interested in reading how to optimize your finanical aid. Also just as a reminder, remeber to watch your credit cards (if you have any).

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spaceball1.gifspaceball.gif I think that if you learn a foreign language, you’ll not only improve your financial bottom line, but it can also enrich your personal life. Here’s a couple of reasons to think about foreign languages.

1. Improve your employment income potential

2. Understand international arts, music, and culture

3. Enjoy traveling

4. Become a true global citizen

5. Meet new people

Here’s a wonderful video from Steve Kaufman aka. The Linguist. I enjoy his posts and presentations.

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Amazing things can be found at YouTube. He also has a program to help you learn languages.

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