When The Pandemic Forced Young Adults To Move Back Home, They Got a Financial Education

“When we face a stressor, we tend to think more about the future,” says Brad Koontz, a financial psychologist and professor at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. Young adults’ growing openness to discuss finances with their parents and peers, they say, reflects a kind of tribal response among people to the stress of the pandemic.

Here’s a look at what the adult children and parents of three families learned about money — and themselves — in their time of pandemic together. When the pandemic forced 23-year-old Hannah Froling to move into her parents’ townhouse in Southampton, NY in March 2020 to remotely finish her final semester of college, the financial clock began to tick.

Ms Frohling’s parents, Jennifer Schlueter and Matthew Froehling, set to move to their winter home in Florida during the fall of 2020, told her they would need to begin helping support the household in their absence. That means monthly payments of $500 for rent and $250 for family car use. They also set a deadline for Memorial Day 2022 for her to be out of the house. Ms Schlueter says she wanted to provide her daughter with a “soft landing” after the shocking experience of graduating in the middle of a pandemic. But she also wanted Ms Froling to transition to living independently, so the transfer deadline passed.

So, Ms. Froling got two waitress jobs and eventually began to rely on the savings lessons her parents took as they grew up. She has two income streams—cash tips and a regular paycheck that includes her hourly rate and credit card tips. She keeps the cash tips in a savings account and splits the paycheck between a checking account and an investment account linked to an S&P 500 index fund. She has saved about $10,000 since moving back home and started looking for apartments to rent on Long Island.

Saving and managing money doesn’t always come easily to Ms. Froling. While in college, he received an allowance from his parents at the beginning of each semester. “As a freshman, I’ll blow it in the first two months,” she says. So her parents, who both work in finance, seated her and helped her budget by outlining the necessities and luxuries in her spending habits.

But it’s been the past 18 months at home, and the closeness to her parents, which has allowed Ms Froling to be more proactive about her savings and investments, and to put all those lessons into practice. She says many of her money talks happen on family road trips. Her father helps her stay on top of the latest trends in investing and her mother shares strategies for how Ms. Froling can increase her savings and continue to build a foundation for moving out of the family home. Ms. Froling is taking it further by sharing these tips with her coworkers and encouraging some of them to open their own investment accounts.

“The lesson we want to teach her is that she can do this,” says Ms Schlueter, referencing the financial wisdom she is sharing with her daughter rather than just talking to her from being together during the pandemic. got the opportunity to do. via phone or text. That includes discussing expenses such as health and car insurance after Ms. Froling leaves home again.

Ms Froling says, while she often feels like her parents bother her about how much she’s saving, in the end she knows it’s best: “They don’t want me when I If I get out of here, it will fall flat on my face.”

breaking the money taboo

In November 2020, 27-year-old Rogelio Meza left his $1,500-a-month apartment in Austin, Texas, to move into his parents’ home in Laredo.

The move helped him work towards his goal of saving money and becoming a homeowner, says Mr. Meja, who works as a customer-experience manager for a solar-power company. It also allowed him to help his parents, who were battling the financial stress of the pandemic.

When the pandemic struck, her mother, Eudoxia Meja, who works as a cook, noticed that her hours had been cut in half. His father Juan Meja is handicapped and unable to work. Since living with his parents, little Mr. Majora has helped with grocery and utility bills, paying about $700 a month, which still allows him to take out money for a home down-payment. Is.

When he was growing up, Mr. Meja says, his family never talked about money. “Nobody really taught me how to save, nobody taught me about stock options or investment accounts, good versus bad debt.” He relied on friends who worked in finance to teach him about these things, and the conversation helped him understand where his money was going. Now, he says, he has passed on some of this knowledge to his parents.

One day, when an unusually large and overdue utility bill arrived in the mail, Mr. Majora turned it into an opportunity to start sharing his financial wisdom with his family.

“I was like, ‘Okay, let’s talk about it,’” he says, describing what led to several candid conversations about money with his parents. Indeed, after that initial exchange, he basically became the family financial advisor. Mr. Meja helped his parents calculate how much they were spending on groceries and how much they actually needed each month. He also discovered that he had $3,000 in credit-card debt and advised him to use his stimulus money to aggressively pay it off. Using a combination of direct payments from their mother’s wages, incentives and unemployment benefits, they were able to pay off their utility bills and credit-card debt in just a few weeks.

Thereafter, Mr. Meja set up a savings account for her mother and advised her to put forward 20% of her salary into the account. He also plans to help his parents open an investment account and teach them how to grow their money over time. He says being able to pay off his debt gave his parents a new starting point.

Mr. Meja has learned a few things during his stint at home as well. He says that the time he spent with his parents opened his eyes to how little he needed to be happy. For example, before reuniting with his mother and father, he often ordered takeout for lunch and dinner. But the home-cooked food he eats at home, he says, especially his mother’s enchiladas has inspired him to start cooking for himself.

As far as his parents are concerned, they say that talking about money is no longer a taboo in their family, and they will continue to seek financial advice from their son. He plans to move back to Austin in November and complete the purchase of an apartment in the city at that time.

a new perspective

Edgar Mendoza was living the high life in Chicago. The 41-year-old was paying about $3,000 a month for a downtown apartment. He often dined out and had courtside seats at basketball games.

But when the lockdown began, he began to re-evaluate his habits, limiting his activities and his spending. “What Covid taught me is no, I don’t need all that,” says Mr. Mendoza, who deals in sales and invests in startups. In January, he packed his belongings and moved to McAllister, Mont., to be with his mother and stepfather. And he doesn’t plan to leave anytime soon.

Living in Montana with his family, Mr. Mendoza says, he has reinforced the frugal lifestyle he grew up with. When he was young, he says, his mother, Maria Platt, used to tell him to “watch his money.” Now, he saves his money and invests it in places where it can grow.

Ms Platt says she is proud of the progress she has seen in her son and how she has embraced the lessons she has taught him. The family cooks together and they rarely eat out. Mr Mendoza says he is not being asked to pay the rent, but he buys all the groceries.

“He’s changed a lot,” Ms Pratt says of her son. “He used to spend money like crazy. I would talk to him and he’s like, ‘Mom, you’re right about this and you’re right about that.’ Now, in his view, he is motivated to support the family in the long run, and this has prompted him to refocus on his spending habits.

Mr. Mendoza says seeing his mother come home exhausted from work and budgeting his Social Security benefits has made him see his financial future in a new light. It has forced him to think more realistically about what retirement can be like. “When you see that you love someone… it hits you really hard,” he says. “I don’t want it to be me.”

Ms Pratt says her son still has to work on his financial habits. They sometimes forget to buy their groceries and eat food already in the family’s fridge, she says. She would also like to watch him learn to cook.

“I told him that if you make good money, save it,” she says. “I’m not going to live forever…….

By: Taylor Nakagawa

Taylor Nakagawa hails from Chicago, Illinois and earned a master’s degree from the Missouri School of Journalism in 2017. As part of the Audience Voice team, Taylor is focused on experimenting with new story formats to create a healthy environment for community engagement.

Source: When the Pandemic Forced Young Adults to Move Back Home, They Got a Financial Education – WSJ

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13 Ways to Invest in Yourself

When you hear the word “investing,” you probably think about stocks, bonds, maybe commodities. It’s far less likely that your reflex will be inward – but indeed, you can, and should, invest in yourself, too.

Investing is an enormous industry solely dedicated to the idea of using capital to create more capital. We highly suggest you do it. But in many instances, investing time and energy – which, just like money, are in finite supply – in yourself can lead to a meaningful payoff, too. And sometimes that payoff includes the accumulation of wealth.

It’s just a matter of application, and making a plan.

To that end, here’s a rundown of 13 different ways to invest in your career, your mind and your happiness that have nothing to do with buying low and selling high. Becoming a more marketable worker, earning a chance to be your own boss and simply broadening your horizons can yield rewards, too.

Find a Mentor

Spending time with a mentor is one of the best investments you can make. Mentors are plentiful. It doesn’t cost much to talk with them – just the price of a cup of coffee, or maybe an Uber trip if your mentor works elsewhere. And they can provide you with a wealth of benefits: They can improve your current job skills, help you network within your field and potentially become an employer in the future.

What workplace mentorship looks like will vary from one employer to the next. But in almost all cases, it could and should involve a senior employee acting as a guide for a newer worker with less company-specific experience. In some cases where management is willing to provide time off and funding, leadership “camps” and team-building experiences can also make employees more effective.

But what if your employer doesn’t facilitate such programs? Be the organizer of a formal, company-wide effort that pairs newer workers with veterans. It’s not a difficult sell. Your boss will benefit from a staff that at the very least better knows one another, and they’ll probably appreciate the subsequent synergies too. Meanwhile, you’ll make new intra-office contacts.

You can find mentors outside of your workplace, too. A simple way to start is by simply reaching out to leaders and other knowledgeable members of your field for “informational interviews” – nothing more than a cup of coffee or lunch to talk about the profession.

Depending on the topic, you might be able to find more plentiful outside resources. For instance, small-business entrepreneurs have a host of options at their fingers, such as Score.org, which pairs individuals up with local SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) chapters to pair them with one of more than 10,000 volunteer business experts.

More Education for a Career Change

Many young college graduates might be happy working in the field they just finished studying, but some individuals further into their careers might be mulling a change – perhaps a pivot toward one of these top jobs of the future.

In many cases, however, these individuals don’t feel they can because they lack a degree related to their new dream job. Or if they do “change things up,” they make a move within the industry rather than taking on a whole new category – even when that new job could prove more lucrative.

Knight Kiplinger points out the benefit of such an investment in his “Keys to Financial Security”: “A $30,000 pay hike can be viewed as an annual return on a capital investment, like earning a continuous yield of 6% on $500,000 of savings. You know how hard it is to save up $500,000. Maybe that $30,000 boost in salary is easier to achieve.”

There’s good news for the hesitant, however. More than 80% of people who changed careers after they turned 45 years old found success in their new field, according to the American Institute for Economic Research.

For some occupations, such as teachers and nurses – two of the most popular second careers for older rookies – might require a brand-new degree. But the advent of the internet has changed the way we learn. Traditional college classrooms are still an option, though career-changers with families who might need to work at the same time they’re going back to school have plenty of internet options. Roughly one-third of college-level studies are now done online, and many employers see this classwork as credible.

Professional Certifications

In some cases, a college degree might not be the right kind of continuing education for you. Some employers are more interested in specialized skills and credentials. Company hierarchies in the modern workplace are optimized by a diversity of detailed, focused knowledge that sometimes comes in the form of a professional-level certificate.

And at the least, there aren’t many industries that don’t encourage the attainment of specialized credentials.

Take the finance industry as an example. Most career-minded jobs in the sector require a minimum of a college degree. But some of the most successful financial planners are Certified Financial Planners, with a CFP designation. Chartered Financial Analysts (CFAs) also enjoy a high-level of credibility within the investment management arena. There’s even a professional designation for investment professionals that specialize in analyzing stock charts: Chartered Market Technicians.

The technology arena arguably offers the most, and most diverse, options for readily attainable certifications. Certificates aimed at demonstrating expertise in Cisco networking, Microsoft systems and coding languages such as Java and C++ can all be earned in just a few months.

In most cases, these certificates can be secured while you work a full-time job. Some employers will even pay the costs associated with them.

Join Toastmasters

Even when Toastmasters International was in its infancy nearly a century ago, the organization invoked the occasional eye roll. Some outsiders snickered as the seemingly silly gathering of like-minded people that just wanted to practice public speaking in front of other members wishing to do the same.

However, the clubs – all 16,800 of them that meet regularly in 143 different countries – are no joke. Aside from a judgment-free, supportive environment where individuals can get comfortable confronting the one thing they fear more than death itself, Toastmasters is a chance to network with other aspiring business-minded individuals in the area.

And the organization certainly has its share of high-profile success stories. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, comedian and actor Tim Allen, the late iconic Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy, and the late James Brady, former presidential press secretary, are all former Toastmasters members, along with a whole slew of other recognizable names that leveraged their Toastmasters experiences into successful careers.

Toastmasters charges $45 in semi-annual dues as well as a $20 new member fee. Meeting frequency varies by club but typically are held weekly or every other week, for one to two hours per meeting.

Move

It doesn’t sound like a way to invest in yourself. It sounds more like a chore, or even just a flat-out expense. But you might find that simply moving from one place to another can open all sorts of doors … and not just career-oriented ones. New locales bring new people into your life, new kinds of entertainment, lower expenses and new scenery that can make your life better in a myriad of ways.

The latest relocating-minded trend is an exodus from the nation’s biggest cities and the establishment of new roots in less urban areas. Bustling New York City lost 76,790 residents in 2019, and 143,000 in the year before that, mirroring a bigger trend evident across the entire northeaster portion of the country. Lousy weather is cited as one reason for the growing disinterest in the region, though the bigger concern is the sheer cost of living in places such as New York City and Washington, D.C.

Conversely, there are still good reasons to head toward the pricier parts of the country, particularly for people looking for jobs in the financial and tech arenas. Most Wall Street-type jobs require you to actually live somewhere near Wall Street, and Silicon Valley in northern California is the nation’s technological development hub. If you want to work there, you typically have to be there.

If you’re broadly looking for a place to start, consider these states with the fastest rates of job growth. And if you’re looking to figure out how much to budget, Moving.com says the average cost of a long-distance move (1,000 miles) is $4,890, based on a two- to three-bedroom move of about 7,500 pounds.

Start a Side Gig

The idea of a “job” has changed dramatically in just the past few years. Gone are the days when individuals clocked in at 9 a.m., worked for an employer that was trusted to remain in business, and then clocked out at 5 p.m.

The new normal is … well, there is no new normal, given the statistics.

Roughly one-third of U.S. workers claim they utilize “alternative work” arrangements as their primary source of income. That is, they don’t necessarily run their own businesses per se, but rather are contracted, self-employed people that rely on middlemen to connect with a stream of customers. Think driving for Uber, completing projects through Amazon Mechanical Turk, or picking up regular work at a website like Freelancer.com. In some cases, these workers might see more income by being self-employed. But certainly, some see less.

It doesn’t have to be an either/or matter for the entrepreneurial-minded, though. Side gigs can be managed without “giving up your day job” by doing work outside of regular work hours.

The effort is arguably worth it. A recent survey performed by The Hustle found that the average side-gig operator spent an average of 11 hours per week as their own boss, and earned $12,609 per year – an average of about $22 per hour. Real estate, management and money-related side gigs appeared to be the most lucrative, according to the survey.

The payoff can be more than in immediate income. You can use a side gig to hone new skills or test new ideas that can be used to fuel a career shift.

Set Up a (Real) Home Office

Whether you’re self-employed or just one of the lucky corporate employees who are allowed to work from home, there’s much to be said about a space that functions and feels more like an office and less like a bedroom or basement. Indeed, you might be more productive working at home, for yourself or for an employer.

Despite all the noise often made about the pros and cons of working from home, it’s not as widely available an option as you’d think. Only 7% of employers facilitate work-from-home options, according to Fundera, even though the option saves companies an estimated $44 billion per year. Fewer than 4% of employees (including freelance workers) are allowed to work from home for at least half the workweek, says Small Business Trends.

In other words, if you do have an employer that allows you to work from home, be sure to perform just as you would if in an office setting. Companies remain broadly suspicious of the practice.

The one area where it pays to spend more than you might like to on a home office is on a new computer. It is, for better or worse, the centerpiece of the modern work world. Not only are computers used to create and store documents, they’re also becoming the key means of communication with clients and customers. They’re even replacing phones with apps such as Skype. An unreliable or underpowered PC can quickly turn into a nuisance.

Get Healthy

The benefits of living a healthier lifestyle are clear: A longer life, feeling better and being able to physically do more are all good things.

However, there’s a financial upside to eating better and getting more exercise too. More than one, in fact. Chief among them is the sheer cost of being unhealthy, and as such, needing to see a doctor more often.

As part of efforts to make health insurance, and therefore health care, more affordable for everyone, deductibles have soared in recent years. In 2008, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average deductible for a single-person health plan was $735. It has since soared to $1,655. Premium prices are up, too, at $7,188 annually as of 2019, and the maximum out-of-pocket expense in 2019 for an ACA-compliant plan was $7,900 for individuals, and $15,800 for family plans.

Although health insurance is effectively a must-have, using it can prove expensive.

The other financial upside to healthier living: Feeling better, or not being distracted by fatigue, lets your mind stay sharp during sales calls, when meeting new people and when simply being sized up (literally and figuratively) by someone interested in your work. Every interaction or connection is in some way an effort to sell something. Being at your best makes it likelier you’ll perform well.

Get Organized

Most individuals who live disorganized lives, personally and professionally, would argue they don’t have time to organize. In reality, it takes more time, energy and money to not be organized.

Did you know the average American spends 2.5 days per year trying to track down lost items? That’s the case, according to a study by Pixie, a smart-location solution for missing objects. Did you also know that the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (yes, it’s a thing) reports that between 15% and 20% of the average household’s budget is wasted by buying items to replace ones that simply can’t be found? Here’s the kicker: NAPO also estimates that 40% of housework currently being done in the U.S. wouldn’t be necessary if we were willing to de-clutter.

It’s not just time and money. Your mental well-being is at stake, too. People who have successfully mastered the art of self-organization find they’re less stressed, sleep better and ultimately end up being more productive. In the workplace, a more organized desk, office, briefcase or vehicle makes a good impression on prospective clients, co-workers, even your boss.

Keep Your Brain Sharp

By many measures, it’s a cruel trick. Never before have people been expected to stay as focused as they are now, yet never before has it been so difficult to prevent your mind from being overwhelmed by a constant barrage of digital data.

Your smartphone has much to do with that. We check our phones for no particular reason about once every 12 minutes; some of us, more frequently.

But the challenge extends beyond just phones. On average, says productivity expert Chris Bailey, we’re distracted by something every 40 seconds. Bailey also says all the regular distractions we experience ultimately extend the time needed to complete a task by 50%. Plus, it can take several minutes just to resume the work being done before the distraction took place.

So, how do you keep your mind sharp in this kind of environment?

For one, try to put down the phone a little more often. Then, start following some of the other steps on this list.

Staying in shape isn’t just a good way to cut down on medical costs – it also helps brain health as you age. Art Kramer, professor of neuroscience and psychology at Northeastern University, tells Kiplinger that people who do more aerobic exercise tend to be better at solving problems, have better memory and show lower rates of dementia.

You want to “network,” too – but not just professionally. Being socially active has many positive effects on the brain, including areas that have to do with memory. So, as you can, try to interact with friends and family more often.

Build Your Own Website or Portfolio

The upside of building your own professional website or portfolio will vary from one person to the next, and with the intent. But if there’s any arguable reason not to invest in yourself in this way, cost isn’t it. The hosting price for a low-end (though still professional-looking) website can be less than $10 per month; for those willing to make a longer-term commitment, requesting and registering the domain name is often free.

What you can do with even the simplest of websites, however, is almost limitless.

Chief among those options for a job-seeker is the use of a website as a digital resume of sorts. But a website can provide a potential employer with work-related details that might otherwise be difficult to present with just one sheet of paper.

In that same vein, a website could serve as a repository of past work for individuals who offer services on a regular basis. Writers, artists and architects are just some of the people who benefit from being able to publicly showcase their work.

And naturally, any entrepreneur with e-commerce ambitions will want to develop a website, and spring for a few more of the bells and whistles required to do business online.

Hire a Career Coach

Sometimes it’s difficult to push yourself to the proverbial next level, whatever that might mean in your given field. Stagnation can sap creativity, and disappointment can quell drive. It’s all too easy to become complacent and resign yourself to doing the exact same thing until it’s time to retire.

A career coach might be just the kick in the pants you need.

But first, you need to understand what a career coach is, and what it isn’t. Career coaches aren’t headhunters. They also can’t tell you what sort of job you should be seeking. And they most certainly won’t be able to help if your impasses are personal rather than professional in nature.

A career coach can, however, help you identify your strengths and weakness as other people see them, assist you in formulating a career-advancement strategy and advise you on how to make a successful career change.

They’re not necessarily cheap. On a per-hour basis, they can charge anywhere between $75 and $250. Some ask for a longer-term, multimonth commitment that can cost a total of anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500.

But they can be worth the outlay. A promotion-related raise or a job offer with a new employer can easily fund such an investment within just a year.

Read Books

There’s a universe of great information floating around, ready to be gleaned. Much of it can’t be found at your workplace. Instead, it’s at a bookstore – or, for the more economically minded, a library.

The statistics on the matter are nothing short of amazing. Fast Company says the average CEO reads 60 books per year. Ben Eubanks, human resources analyst with Brandon Hall Group, believes “people who are successful are often crazy about reading. They make time for that because they understand how important it is, and it’s kind of like a secret weapon.” However, a person in the United States only reads between two and three books per year, most of those purely for pleasure.

A lot of that has to do with time available, but if you have recreational time you aren’t spending on reading, you might consider re-allocating it to hitting the books.

The upsides? Aside from the knowledge and perspective gained from teaching yourself about something new, reading also expands your vocabulary and opens up opportunities to discuss new ideas with your boss (current or prospective). There’s something powerful about being able to say, “That’s something I was just reading about the other day.”

One word of caution: Reading a work-related book just for the sake of being seen reading a work-related book can easily backfire. Most experienced managers can spot an effort get the wrong kind of attention. They might not like the tactic. Just read a book on faith that it will eventually matter, even if that means with a different employer.

By: James Brumley

Source: https://getpocket.com/

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Teens Moms Say the Pandemic Has Made School a Huge Challenge

Like thousands of high schoolers around the country, 17-year-old Olivia Gehling graduated from high school after almost a year of remote learning. But she also finished her senior year while taking care of her now 18-month-old daughter, Lovelyn.

Olivia plans to attend real estate–license school in-person this fall to obtain her Realtor’s license, something she had been wanting to do even before her pregnancy. Going back to school in-person presents a different set of challenges for teen moms than what other students are facing. For Olivia, Lovelyn is a critical part of her decision-making process, specifically because of childcare. Once classes get started, she will be in school from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Her boyfriend and Lovelyn’s father, Cole Burge, will also be in Realtor school with her, meaning the teen parents will have to figure out their childcare plans for their daughter.

“To be honest, I don’t have a set plan. I know I won’t send her to day care because it’s just so expensive here in Ames, [Iowa], and the wait lists are insane. But I think my mom, my grandma, and maybe Cole’s mom—whoever can help will totally help us,” Olivia tells Teen Vogue.

In Queen Creek, Arizona, Angelise Torres, an 18-year-old mom, has the same concerns. Angelise graduated in her high school’s class of 2021 when her daughter Aria was five months old, and has since applied to college, hoping to study pediatric nursing or dermatology. Like Olivia, Angelise isn’t planning on sending Aria to day care. “Different family members will probably be watching her; maybe my little sister—I don’t know. When she’s old enough for preschool, she’ll be in preschool,” says Angelise.

According to Nicole Lynn Lewis, founder of Generation Hope, childcare is a problem exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lewis founded Generation Hope in 2010 with the goal of helping more teen parents get a college education. She says that this past year, around 30% of teen parents in the Generation Hope program have been without childcare.

“Sometimes you make the assumption that, hey, online courses means you don’t need childcare. But it’s very hard to concentrate when you have a little one at home,” says Lewis. “They’ve had to be really creative in how [they can] still work and go to school when [they] don’t have childcare in place, whether it’s, ‘I’m bouncing my baby while I’m trying to engage in class’ or ‘I’m going to study all night long while my baby sleeps.’”

Lewis stresses that childcare isn’t the only factor in teen moms’ decisions about returning to in-person school. Many are providing for their family, despite being in school full-time.

While Olivia was pregnant, she worked as a lifeguard to make sure that she was able to financially provide for her future daughter. Currently she works four jobs, which she plans to continue into the fall. She runs a photography and videography business, cleans houses, manages her TikTok and Instagram accounts, and is starting a luxury picnic business. Despite her busy schedule, Olivia remains firm in her decision to go to school in-person next fall.

“I thought it would be difficult to kind of do it online with all these jobs, and then being a mom on top of it. It’s superhard to get anything done when she’s awake, because she just gets into everything. I think it would just be really hard to even focus,” says Olivia.

Angelise agrees. When the pandemic hit in her senior year, her high school went completely virtual, and she was taking four classes online. “It was really hard to study with Aria, because she plays with my paper—she’ll crumble it, she’ll cry when I’m not with her, just stuff like that. By the end of the year, I was doing extra work to catch up and make sure I was ready to graduate,” she says. Because of her experiences with online school, she plans on attending college in a hybrid model, going both in-person and online.

Maddie Lambert, an 18-year-old mom, has opted to get her General Educational Development (GED), or high school equivalency diploma, rather than trying to complete a traditional high school education. Maddie got pregnant with Evelyn in her freshman year and decided to get her GED to devote more time to her daughter. She planned to take the GED test last year, but because of the closure of most in-person test sites, her plans were temporarily pushed back. “The virtual testing just doesn’t really work for me, because since I am a mom, it’s really hard to find that time away to take the test,” says Maddie.

In the fall, Maddie hopes to get her GED and go to college, studying the sciences. But she’s concerned about staying away from her daughter for long periods of time.

“I definitely don’t want to start any in-person education for myself until my daughter is in school,” says Maddie. “When she turns four or five, I plan on putting her in a Montessori program. When she’s there, I’m hoping I’ll be able to do my school so that I don’t have to spend any more time away from her than I already would be.”Lewis says that, ultimately, change has to start from the core of school culture.

“If you are pregnant or if you have a child, you’re often made to feel that [school] is not a safe space for you. And it’s really, really hard to be successful in a space when you don’t feel welcome. We need a culture that’s really embracing of all students, no matter what their experiences are,” she says.

Source: Teens Moms Say the Pandemic Has Made School a Huge Challenge | Teen Vogue

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5 Ways to Learn New Skills Effectively

Learning a new skill can be one of the most satisfying things you can do to grow. Learning a new skill is not just a financially smart decision, but it is also good for your mental health. When you learn new skills, you feel more powerful. New neural connections are formed in your brain when you learn something new. The best way to change your life is to change your mind. And learning new skills is the best way to change your mind, literally.

When the normal routine of life makes your life dull, having entertainment alone is not enough to recharge yourself. Entertainment can be good for a weekend — but if you do not learn anything new for years, you will start hating your work.

The traditional system of education expects us to finish school and college and then work for the rest of our lives. That strategy might have worked 30 years back as the world was slowly moving towards the information age. It is not going to work anymore. To thrive in this day and age, learning has to become a habit and continuous up-gradation of skills is required to stay relevant and competitive.

One of the biggest challenges in learning after school and college is that the learning journey becomes lonely. If you are trying to learn from a book or an online course with a set of video tutorials, your learning can become quite stressful. Students learn best when they are energetic and happy. And the only way to feel energetic and happy during your learning journey is to be part of a community that has the same learning goals as yours.

1. Sign up for a cohort-based online course

Many online courses nowadays are cohort-based, and cohort-based online courses usually have a community around them. Being part of a community can impact your learning journey in very subtle ways that are not obvious. Remember, you are the average of the five people around you.

If you are part of a learning community where you see other students have similar goals such as yours and if you see that they are making progress with their professional journey, you are highly likely to grow along with them. You will have a positive pressure to achieve results.

Related: Why Remote Learning is an Avenue That is Worth Exploring

2. Sign up for a mastermind program

After the completion of the online course, you can think about becoming part of a mastermind community where the learning journey continues beyond the course duration. A mastermind community is usually led by a mentor, and you will have the best of the best students as part of the community.

Mastermind community memberships usually come at a premium, but it is worth the premium because the ideas that you get from the community for your career and business will be well worth the price.

3. Start blogging about what you’ve learned

To make sure that you do not forget what you learn, take notes and write about what you have learned in your blog. Writing organizes your thought process and it is one of the best ways to remember.

If you write in a public blog, you can also build your brand at the same time and may even start having some subscribers who want to copy your notes. A lot of digital mentors have built their following because they started taking their notes in public.

Related: 4 Tips for Finding Your Profitable Blogging Niche

4. Implement your learning

You also have to make sure that you implement what you learn. Implementation is very important because when you implement your leaningsconcepts

perspectives

onlinecourses

and get results, you are going to have validated learning. Validating what you have learned will make sure that the concepts you are trying to learn will go from information to understanding.

Once you understand something new, you will feel powerful and your perspective will expand. Once your perspective has expanded to new horizons, you will never be able to get back to your original state of thinking.

Also, implementing what you have learned gives you a project in hand. You get hired for what you can do, not what you know. Online course certificates usually prove that the student knows something, but not that they can do something. When you do a project, the project proves that you can do something. And who knows — the project can become a side hustle and may even become a business someday.

5. Become a digital mentor and teach

And finally, start teaching what you have learned to your followers. If you are already blogging and blogging about what you know, you will have an audience. Create a smaller mastermind group where you are the mentor and help your students. This will mostly happen online. You are effectively becoming a digital mentor for your students. Teaching is one of the best ways to learn, because it forces you to simplify the concepts you already have in your mind.

Related: How VR Will Accelerate Talent Learning and Development

Deepak Kanakaraju

By: Deepak Kanakaraju / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Source: 5 Ways to Learn New Skills Effectively

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Micro Investing’s Magic Lies in Helping Your Favorite College Grad (or You) Gain Confidence

Micro Investing's Magic Lies in Helping Your Favorite College Grad (or You) Gain Confidence

When you first graduate from college, you might not feel comfortable dumping lots of money into unknown stocks or ETFs. Even if you’re not a new college graduate, you may want to consider a different approach when you don’t have a lot of extra cash lying around. Why not try micro investing?

Micro investing takes the daunting feeling away from investing, and therein lies its true magic. Let’s take a look at what it can do for you and how it can find a place in your portfolio.

What is Micro Investing?

Put simply, when you micro invest, you invest using small amounts of money. In other words, you pony up money to buy fractional shares of stocks or ETFs instead of full shares.

As of today, a single share of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) costs $3,383.87. You may know you can’t even afford one share of Amazon, much less two shares!

Enter micro investing apps. You can buy Amazon for a much smaller amount — even really small amounts, like $10. You can also buy multiple securities to aim for diversification (always a great thing!) and lower your risk in the long run.

Why Micro Invest?

Small amounts, compounded over time, can make an impact. Compound interest makes your money grow faster. You can calculate interest on accumulated interest as well as on your original principal. Compounding can create a snowball effect: The original investments plus the income earned from those investments both grow.

Let’s say you save $1 per day. Your $1 per day adds up to $365 a year. Instead of spending that $365, you could stick it into a micro investing app at 5% interest per year. Your small amount would grow to almost $466 by the end of five years. At the end of 30 years, the amount you originally invested would grow to $1,578.

If you micro invested even more, your investment could grow even faster.

How Does Micro Investing Work?

Have you ever heard of the app, Acorns, which invests small change for you? That’s micro investing. A micro investing app rounds up your purchases to the dollar or makes automatic transfers for you. Think of micro investing as “spare change investing” — many apps round up your transactions from a linked bank account and invest the difference.

In other words, let’s say you go to Chipotle and order a mega burrito with those delicious limey chips. You spend $10.34. The app would take your remaining $0.66 and invest it.

You don’t have to invest a lot to get started, either. Stash allows you to get started with just a penny. Interested in micro investing for your favorite college grad or yourself? Take a look at the following steps to get started with micro investing.

Step 1: Choose a micro investing app.

What’s often the hardest part? Choosing the right investment app. Often the most important question comes down to this: Do you want to get your hands directly on your investments or do you want an app to pilot and direct your money for you?

Quick overview: Acorns and Betterment put a portfolio together for you based on your preferences. Stash and Robinhood allow you to choose the direction you want your money to take by allowing you to choose your own investments.

You may want to choose an app that lets you steer the ship yourself, particularly if you want to take a DIY approach to your investments at some point.

Step 2: Input your information.

Once you’ve chosen a micro investing app, it’s time to let the robo-advisor do its job. You input information to your micro investing app that helps it “understand” how to put together the best portfolio for you. You input your age, income, goals and risk tolerance and it’ll allocate your investment dollars accordingly.

Your money will go into a portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on the level of risk you choose. Based on the information you supply, you could end up thoroughly diversified with shares in many (sometimes hundreds) of different companies.

Step 3: Set up recurring investments.

You can set up investments to go into your investment account on a recurring basis for just a few dollars per month. You can also choose to make one-time deposits. Your robo-advisor will automatically rebalance your account if you have too much invested in a particular asset class. Setting up recurring investing means that you’ll invest without thinking about it. (You’ll never miss pennies!)

Step 4: Don’t quit there.

You can easily track your earnings when you micro invest because those apps are seriously slick. You can even project your earnings through the app’s earnings calculator so you don’t have to wonder how much you’ll have later on.

However, this is important: Remember that micro investing may not make you rich (if, in fact that is your goal). You probably can’t save enough for retirement through micro-investing, either. You probably also won’t net enough to save for larger goals, such as a down payment on a home. You may generate a few hundred dollars a year, which might allow you to save enough to fund an emergency fund, but that’s about it.

The real win involves building the confidence needed to invest. Consider other ways you can invest, such as investing money in a 401(k) or a Roth IRA after you get comfortable with micro investing.

Micro Investing Could Work Wonders

Micro investing can work wonders by breaking down barriers to investing. One of the biggest complaints from young students just starting out is that it’s too expensive to invest.

Micro investing can give you or a new grad the confidence to try bigger things, starting with baby steps. If micro investing is what it takes for a new grad to get more comfortable with smaller investments (then grow investments later), then it’s a great option for young investors just getting started.

By:

Source: Micro Investing’s Magic Lies in Helping Your Favorite College Grad (or You) Gain Confidence

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Critics:

Microfinance is a category of financial services targeting individuals and small businesses who lack access to conventional banking and related services. Microfinance includes microcredit, the provision of small loans to poor clients; savings and checking accounts; microinsurance; and payment systems, among other services. Microfinance services are designed to reach excluded customers, usually poorer population segments, possibly socially marginalized, or geographically more isolated, and to help them become self-sufficient.[2][3]

Microfinance initially had a limited definition: the provision of microloans to poor entrepreneurs and small businesses lacking access to credit.[4] The two main mechanisms for the delivery of financial services to such clients were: (1) relationship-based banking for individual entrepreneurs and small businesses; and (2) group-based models, where several entrepreneurs come together to apply for loans and other services as a group.

Over time, microfinance has emerged as a larger movement whose object is: “a world in which as everyone, especially the poor and socially marginalized people and households have access to a wide range of affordable, high quality financial products and services, including not just credit but also savings, insurance, payment services, and fund transfers.

Proponents of microfinance often claim that such access will help poor people out of poverty, including participants in the Microcredit Summit Campaign. For many, microfinance is a way to promote economic development, employment and growth through the support of micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses; for others it is a way for the poor to manage their finances more effectively and take advantage of economic opportunities while managing the risks. Critics often point to some of the ills of micro-credit that can create indebtedness. Many studies have tried to assess its impacts.

New research in the area of microfinance call for better understanding of the microfinance ecosystem so that the microfinance institutions and other facilitators can formulate sustainable strategies that will help create social benefits through better service delivery to the low-income population.

Due to the unbalanced emphasis on credit at the expense of microsavings, as well as a desire to link Western investors to the sector, peer-to-peer platforms have developed to expand the availability of microcredit through individual lenders in the developed world. New platforms that connect lenders to micro-entrepreneurs are emerging on the Web (peer-to-peer sponsors), for example MYC4, Kiva, Zidisha, myELEN, Opportunity International and the Microloan Foundation.

Another Web-based microlender United Prosperity uses a variation on the usual microlending model; with United Prosperity the micro-lender provides a guarantee to a local bank which then lends back double that amount to the micro-entrepreneur. In 2009, the US-based nonprofit Zidisha became the first peer-to-peer microlending platform to link lenders and borrowers directly across international borders without local intermediaries.

See also

College Funding Changes In The Pandemic Relief Bill

There are several student financial aid provisions in the pandemic relief package that was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 that passed the House and Senate on Monday, December 21, 2020.

Student Loan Relief

Student loan borrowers are disappointed that the legislation did not include an extension to the student loan payment pause and interest waiver, nor did it provide any student loan forgiveness.

The payment pause and interest waiver is set to expire on January 31, 2021. President-elect Joe Biden will be able to extend it further after he takes office on January 20, 2021. Several possible extension dates have been floated, including April 1, April 30 and September 30, but Joe Biden has not yet said anything specific about the extension, just that it is needed.

Nevertheless, there are some changes in the legislation that affect student loan borrowers. In particular, the tax-free status of employer-paid student loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs), which was set to expired on December 31, 2020, has been extended for five years through the end of 2025. Such LRAPs will be exempt from income and FICA taxes for both the employee and the employer.

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SULA, a complicated set of limits on subsidized Federal Direct Stafford loans, has been repealed. SULA mostly affected students who transferred from a 4-year college to a 2-year college.

In addition, there have been a few changes concerning the U.S. Department of Education’s Next Generation Processing and Servicing Environment (NextGen) for federal student loans.

  • New student loan borrower accounts must be allocated to loan servicers based on their past performance and servicing capacity.
  • Borrower accounts must be reallocated from servicers for “recurring non-compliance with FSA guidelines, contractual requirements, and applicable laws, including for failure to sufficiently inform borrowers of available repayment options.” Applicable laws include consumer protection laws.
  • NextGen must allow for multiple student loan servicers that contract directly with the U.S. Department of Education.
  • NextGen must incentivize more support to borrowers at risk of delinquency or default.
  • Borrowers must be allowed to choose their loan servicer when they consolidate their federal loans.
  • The U.S. Department of Education must improve transparency through expanded publication of aggregate data concerning student loan servicer performance.

MORE FOR YOUTrump May Not Sign Stimulus Bill Without $2,000 Stimulus Checks; Here’s What Could Happen NextBiden May Support Only $10,000 In Student Loan ForgivenessBiden Says He Is “Unlikely” To Cancel $50,000 In Student Loan Debt By Executive Order

Changes in College Tuition Tax Breaks

The legislation changes the income phaseouts for the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit (LLTC) to be the same as the income phaseouts for the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), starting with tax years that begin after December 31, 2020.

The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit will start phasing out at $80,000 for single filers and $160,000 for taxpayers who file as married filing jointly. The tax credit is fully phased out at $90,000 (single) and $180,000 (married filing jointly). Married taxpayers who file separate returns are not eligible.

For comparison, the 2020 income phaseouts for the LLTC were $59,000 to $68,000 (single) and $118,000 to $136,000 (married filing jointly).

The new income phaseouts will not be adjusted for inflation.

In addition, the legislation repeals the Tuition and Fees Deduction, effective with tax years that begin in 2021. This is a permanent repeal, so the Tuition and Fees Deduction will not be resurrected by the next tax extenders bill.

New Funding for Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

The $81.88 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund includes

  • $54.3 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
  • $22.7 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)
  • $4.05 billion for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, of which $2.75 billion has been earmarked for Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund previously received $16 billion as part of the CARES Act.

The allocation formula for the HEERF funding is more complicated than the one in the CARES Act, but the allowable uses are similar. Public and private non-profit colleges are required to use at least half of the money for financial aid grants to students. Private for-profit colleges are required to use all of the money for financial aid grants to students. Colleges must provide at least the same amount of emergency financial aid grants to students as they did under the CARES Act provisions, even if their total allocation is lower.

The emergency financial aid grants to students can be used for any element of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs related to the pandemic, such as “tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care.”

The grants must be prioritized to students with exception financial need, such as Pell Grant recipients.

The emergency financial aid grants to students are tax-free.

Most College Students Remain Ineligible for Stimulus Checks

Most college students will remain ineligible for the recovery rebate checks, also known as the stimulus checks.

The legislation includes the same restriction that limits the $600 per qualifying child to children age 16 and younger. Only 0.1% of undergraduate students are age 16 or younger.

College students who are under age 24 are also ineligible, because they can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s federal income tax return. The remain ineligible even if they are not claimed on someone else’s tax return.

A college student might qualify if they are married and file a joint return with their spouse or if they provide more than half of their own support. About 15% of undergraduate students are married. College students who are 24 years old or older may also qualify. More than 40% of undergraduate students are 24 years old or older.

College students can still claim the $1,200 stimulus checks from the CARES Act in addition to the new $600 stimulus checks, if they are eligible.

Increase in the Maximum Pell Grant

The maximum Federal Pell Grant has been increased to $6,495 for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Eligibility criteria will be pegged to a multiple of the poverty line starting with the 2023-2024 academic year. Students will be eligible for the maximum Pell Grant if they and their parents/spouse, as applicable, are not required to file a federal income tax return or if their adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than 175% to 225% of the poverty line. The higher threshold is reserved for households involving a single parent.

FAFSA Simplification

The legislation simplifies the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) starting with the 2023-2024 academic year. The new FAFSA reduces the number of questions on the form by two-thirds, from 108 questions to about three dozen questions. Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website or some of my other work here

Mark Kantrowitz

Mark Kantrowitz

I am Publisher of PrivateStudentLoans.guru, a free web site about borrowing to pay for college. I am an expert on student financial aid, the FAFSA, scholarships, 529 plans, education tax benefits and student loans. I have been quoted in more than 10,000 newspaper and magazine articles about college admissions and financial aid. I am the author of five bestselling books about paying for college and have seven patents. I serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Student Financial Aid, the editorial advisory board of Bottom Line/Personal, and am a member of the board of trustees of the Center for Excellence in Education. I have previously served as publisher of Savingforcollege.com, Cappex, Edvisors, Fastweb and FinAid. I have two Bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Master’s degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)

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University of California Television (UCTV)

How to pay for college is a pressing question for all applicants from the class of 2020. COVID-19 has caused financial uncertainty and many are having to rethink their plans. Jodi Okun, an expert in financial aid, joins Steven Mercer to talk about how the pandemic is impacting financial aid awards, what to do if your family’s financial situation has changed, and how to plan for the future in uncertain times. [Show ID: 35963] More from: STEAM Channel (https://www.uctv.tv/steam) UCTV is the broadcast and online media platform of the University of California, featuring programming from its ten campuses, three national labs and affiliated research institutions. UCTV explores a broad spectrum of subjects for a general audience, including science, health and medicine, public affairs, humanities, arts and music, business, education, and agriculture. Launched in January 2000, UCTV embraces the core missions of the University of California — teaching, research, and public service – by providing quality, in-depth television far beyond the campus borders to inquisitive viewers around the world. (https://www.uctv.tv)

College Is No Longer The Path To Success: New Study Shows That College And High School Graduates Earn About The Same

An alarming—yet illuminating—new study conducted by Third Way, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, concludes that college graduates only earn the equivalent salary of high graduates. Contrary to popular opinion, which contends that the path to success is rooted in attaining a college education, the frightening findings indicate that half of U.S. colleges in 2018 churned out a majority of graduates that earned under $28,000 a year.

In past generations, primarily the upper-class, wealthy elites attended universities. After World War II and the passing of the G.I. bill, soldiers returning from the battlefields were offered financial assistance to attend college—and they did so in large numbers. Slowly over time, in the ensuing decades, enrolling into college became almost commonplace for the average American. Today, there is great pressure put upon high school students to attend universities—even if they lack the aptitude or interest. Sometimes the pressure exerted on kids to attend top-tier institutions is intense. This was clearly exemplified by the recent college admittance scandal, in which the rich and famous parents allegedly bribed school officials to get their children into ivy league and top-tier universities.

Along with the general acceptance of college for everyone, the tuition has grown beyond belief. We are now making 17 and 18-year-old kids take on loans in the neighborhood of up to—and in excess of—$200,000. These same young adults are prohibited from voting, smoking and other things, which require you to be considered an adult and mature enough to render an important decision. How many adults do you know of that you’d feel comfortable loaning $200,000 to and feeling confident that they’ll use it wisely? Would you allow the recipient of the loan to stay up late on weeknights attending parties, drinking and smoking pot? Would you permit the person to invest the funds in a venture that was fun, interesting or about a social cause, but lacked any ability to earn a profit or become a sustainable business? Of course not! However, this is the very thing we are doing to our children.

Today In: Leadership

Once in college, there is a proliferation of courses and majors in subject matters that may be interesting, but don’t lend themselves to a real job—paying a reasonable living with the opportunity to advance. These kids graduate with a degree that is not marketable. On top of that, they are saddled with an enormous student debt that may be impossible to ever pay back.

Data from the federal government indicates that many students will leave their academic careers with employment opportunities and compensation that fall far short of what they were led to believe would happen. To compound the problem, when the new graduates realize the slim prospects of opportunities available, they’re encouraged to pursue even more expensive education by signing up for graduate school or a law degree. Then, on top of their already-big burden of loans, they’ll pile up even more potentially ruinous debt.

The study states what should be obvious to most rational people—it’s imperative that prospective students—and their parents—only consider institutions that serve them well by being able to make a living. College rankings are important. It’s great to live at a school with a beautiful campus. Parents love to brag about the name of the school that their children attend. We need to filter out the unessential trappings and look for rankings that focus on the factors that truly benefit students, such as how likely they are to pay back their loans and whether or not they can get a well-paying job with their major—not on things like prestige and exclusivity.

Working as a tradesperson or in a blue-collar type of job was once seen as acceptable and a means toward becoming middle class. Somewhere along the way, as a culture, we started to look down upon those who chose to be a carpenter, electrician, plumber or related function. This further placed pressure on parents to guide their children away from these roles and toward going to college, even if they weren’t emotionally or mentally ready—or even interested. The irony is that blue-collar workers earn a handsome living. Think of how hard it is to get a person to do some work on your home. Many times, a tradesperson starts out as a heating, air conditioning and HVAC apprentice and, 10 years later, he has a thriving business, managing a fleet of trucks and servicing a substantial clientele that pays handsomely for their services.

The study is a wake-up call to take a cold, hard look at what we are doing to our children. According to the data from the study, we are misleading them with false hopes and resigning them to low-paying jobs and a not-so-bright future.

Follow me on LinkedIn.

I am a CEO, founder, and executive recruiter at one of the oldest and largest global search firms in my area of expertise, and have personally placed thousands of professionals with top-tier companies over the last 20-plus years. I am passionate about advocating for job seekers. In doing so, I have founded a start-up company, WeCruitr, where our mission is to make the job search more humane and enjoyable. As a proponent of career growth, I am excited to share my insider interviewing tips and career advancement secrets with you in an honest, straightforward, no-nonsense and entertaining manner. My career advice will cover everything you need to know, including helping you decide if you really should seek out a new opportunity, whether you are leaving for the wrong reasons, proven successful interviewing techniques, negotiating a salary and accepting an offer and a real-world understanding of how the hiring process actually works. My articles come from an experienced recruiter’s insider perspective.

Source: College Is No Longer The Path To Success: New Study Shows That College And High School Graduates Earn About The Same

88.9K subscribers
Get Your Free Elon Musk Book with Amazon Audible 30-day Trial: https://amzn.to/2VaMsGs Here are some successful people explaining why a college degree is useless and worthless in some occasions. Not everyone needs to go to college to be successful because there are more than just one path to success. Many entrepreneurs find that college is not very beneficial when it comes to teaching people how to build a business. The education system is built mostly to teach people how to be workers and not build businesses. With this said, everyone’s situation is different and people need to consider what is beneficial for them. Music Credit: The Bright Morning Star By Borrtex All credit goes to respective owners. Only for educational purposes.

To Combat Huge Dropout Rates, Colleges Find New Ways To Spot At-Risk Students

At most universities, academic advisors historically wouldn’t know a student is in trouble until that first failing grade hit. But even before that, there are often warning signs. A student never swipes her ID card at the library or dining hall. Another doesn’t use the bus service or attend any events on campus. The lack of even small interactions like these indicates a disconnect from the campus. And without that connection, colleges won’t retain those students.

“Once the student has failed a core course or stopped going to class, it’s too late,” says Nicole Engelbert, vice president of Oracle Higher Education Development. “There’s not much that you can do, or the things that you can do are incredibly resource-intensive with very low success rates. Once you’ve lost that student, bringing them back in is really hard to do.”

The US has the highest college dropout rate in the industrial world right now, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, only about half of the 2 million students who started college this past fall will leave college with a diploma. And yet, it’s never been more important for young people to attend college or obtain some kind of post-secondary certification, as the earnings gap between high school graduates and college graduates continues to grow, according to census data analyzed by the College Board.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, colleges have had more freshmen having more difficult times than students in previous years, and academic probation, suspension, or withdrawal from schools seems to be increasing, according to Vicki Tambellini, president and CEO of the Tambellini Group, a market research and advisory firm for higher education.

The changing student demographic is one reason experts cite for low student retention rates. Colleges are seeing more first-generation college students, more students for whom English is a second language, and more students who are living in poverty—people who might not have gone to college at all a generation or two ago. These new types of students are potentially less prepared for college, often coming from K-12 systems with fewer financial resources.

Growth in the number of traditional students—those who graduate from high school and go directly to a four-year college—is slowing and is expected to slow into the foreseeable future. “That is challenging institutions to rethink or transform how they support students and changing how institutions deliver those services,” says Engelbert.

To address the evolving needs of students, faculty and staff need new tools and processes that facilitate a better student experience across the entire student lifecycle. Here are four ways colleges are changing the lesson plan to support their students.

1. Communicate with students the way they communicate with each other.

Students are used to texting. They’re used to getting everything they need on their mobile device. “They’re not used to logging into email every day or going to different portals on a campus website to find the information that they need,” says Tambellini. “When they get to most college campuses today, that’s what they have to do in order to find the information that they need to succeed.” New student systems, including Oracle Student Cloud, are being used to support highly personalized, multichannel communications that deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.

2. Provide proactive support.

Using a single, centralized system, universities can “nudge” students with chatbots to make sure that they’ve bought their books, filed financial aid forms, or registered for next year’s housing. Administrators can use these interactive digital counselors to organize and manage interactions across multiple departments, channels, and devices and to ensure that students are aware of things such as office hours, dining services, and the availability of emergency grants if something happens financially that impacts their attendance.

A powerful aspect of chatbots is that they “scale” and ensure a consistent level of support. Colleges don’t need to hire an army of advisors or worry about whether students are receiving consistent, accurate information and benefiting from the most effective interventions. Chatbots can take care of routine reminders, freeing advisors to address more unusual or complex situations.

3. Use AI to help students choose the right path.

Colleges are also looking at how courses are structured and delivered, and they are employing AI to help students navigate the registration process. There might be 1,000 classes from which students could choose, and according to Engelbert, a common reason why students don’t graduate or graduate later than they should, is because they take the wrong classes in order to fulfill their degree requirements. “A next-generation student system will narrow the field of vision for the student—recommending what courses to take, in what order, to expedite graduation,” says Engelbert. “They may even preregister the student to ensure they get the classes they need.”

4. Use the cloud to better identify risk indicators.

One of the most powerful benefits of cloud applications is that administrators can get to data and identify early indicators faster, and do something about them in real time. Along with focusing on individual student behaviors, the data collected in a cloud-based system allows a university to view patterns and identify behaviors.

“If the school knows that the most successful students on that campus typically eat breakfast three days a week, lunch one day a week, participate in X number of extracurricular activities or clubs, and go to at least one freshman event in the fall, they can track the students that fall outside of those norms and provide those students with more advisor outreach,” says Tambellini.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the institutions that will successfully navigate this period of profound change in higher education are reimagining the work of the institution and investing in the tools that will support that mission. Engelbert makes the case that such change requires new technology that frees administrators to focus on people, process, and cultural change. “We’re seeing the green shoots of the more substantive adoption of cloud technologies and solutions,” she says. For successful schools, this will transform how institutions approach services from residential life, financial aid, and academic support, all the way through career services and beyond.

Margaret Lindquist is senior director of content for Oracle brand marketing.

Source: To Combat Huge Dropout Rates, Colleges Find New Ways To Spot At-Risk Students

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Alexandra Bernadotte founded Beyond 12 to help prepare low-income and first-generation students for a successful postsecondary education.
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