College Pay Backs: How to Earn a Return on Your Educational Investment Reply

Of course a college education is expensive, but the jobs that provide a good salary and stable employment usually require a college degree. Like any investment, college education is an investment that can never be guaranteed to pay off. Nevertheless, there are ways you can maximize your return on investment when you pursue a college education.

Go Online to Cut Costs

Adult learners have tended to gravitate to a physical campus. That is no longer the best, or the only choice. Online schools and online education programs can be cheaper because of the lower overhead. Even if you hate the idea of an online-only degree program, the potential cost savings can’t be ignored. Add the likely cost savings to the convenience of studying online, and these programs make perfect sense for most students.

Tap into Long-Term Trends

What buzzwords are making the rounds these days? It doesn’t really matter. If you want to earn a degree that pays back your investment, focus on something that ties in with megatrends like sustainability and the aging of the American population. Whatever major appeals to you, try to focus on coursework that is practical.

Focus on Something Practical

Major in something interesting, if you can, but always consider the likely market for the skills you can learn. Degrees where demand is likely to remain strong are excellent candidates for distance education. Earning a master’s of finance online degree or a masters of business administration online degree is likely to pay off.

Trendy degrees are a bad option unless you are sure the trend will last. Why? Everyone who cares about sustainability, or gender equity, or whatever is trending is looking to earn those degrees. By the time you enroll in a degree program and complete the degree, as much as three years from today, the market may well be saturated.

If you want to work in business to promote sustainability, a finance degree may actually be useful. You would know how to make the business case for reducing the company’s waste, or energy use, or both. American companies only recover 20% of the aluminum and 15% of the textiles the country uses for example. A person with a solid training in business and finance could figure out how to make money by increasing those numbers.

If you want to earn a valuable graduate or undergraduate degree, it pays to be realistic, avoid trends, and look for an online degree option.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. Connect with her on Google+and (@LizzieWeakley).

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

3 Ways a Higher Education Degree Can Help You Fight Poverty Reply

Fighting poverty can be a very difficult process. It’s a huge issue and one that a single person cannot solve. Without the efforts of individuals, though, it’s an impossible problem to solve. If you want to do your part to fight poverty, one of the smartest things you can do is to pursue a higher education. Below are just a few of the reasons why a college degree can help you fight poverty.

You Can Learn the Causes

While many people talk about how having a degree can help them after college, one should not forget the knowledge that one gains during school. When you pursue your degree, you’ll have a chance to take classes that will expand your mind and teach you more about the causes of poverty. While action is always the most important thing, it is always a good idea to have a solid base of knowledge. The more you know about the causes of poverty, the better you will be able to direct your efforts so they make a real difference.

You Can Contribute More

When you get a degree, you have a world of opportunities opened up to you. If you want to fight poverty, then, you can specialize in an area that helps you to make a real contribution. You can, for example, get a library science degree online so you’d be able to contribute to local school and public libraries. A good degree puts you in a position not just to learn more about poverty, but to start making an active change in the world. Your degree is the gateway to making real change.

You Can Lobby for Change

While this infographic states that poverty has fallen across the course of the 20th century, there’s still a great deal of work to be done. When you get a better education, you can put yourself in a better position to make sure your voice is heard. Higher education degrees allow for better access to the public space and help more people to take your point seriously. If you want to help bring attention to the cause, you need to get a better degree.

Getting a degree is only one step on the road to fighting poverty, but it is an important step. It will help you learn more, give you ways to contribute more, and allow your voice to be heard more easily. You have an important role to play in this fight, but only if you have the right tools.



Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter  or Facebook.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

Top 5 Reasons Adults May Want to Get a College Degree Reply

Many adults never pursue a higher education. This might not seem like a big deal, but the truth is that you might just benefit from going back to school. It’s never too late to improve your education, and there are a lot of programs out there that are designed specifically for adults, such as those that offer night classes or online schooling. These are some of the top five reasons why adults might want to consider getting a college degree.

  1. Self-Improvement

Some adults who don’t go to college never regret it. Others do, however. If you’re someone who has always wished that you had gone to college, you should know that it’s not too late. Going back to school can be great for self-improvement and can help you feel a true feeling of accomplishment.

  1. Kids

If you have kids, you might want to encourage them to go to college. However, you might feel as if you can’t really encourage them to do so when you haven’t done it yourself. By going to college, you can set a great example for your children and show them how important getting an education really is. This might encourage them to follow the same path when they graduate from high school.

  1. Starting a New Type of Career

If you’ve been injured at work and have been working with a workers’ comp attorney, you might no longer be able to do the same type of work. If this is the case, you may need to pursue a new field. Going back to school can help you do so. It can also be an option for someone who is bored or unsatisfied with their current career and who are ready to make a change.

  1. Moving Up the Ladder at Work

If you’re happy with the field that you work in but would like to move up the ladder, you may have to further your education. If you go to school to earn a degree, you can get the skills that you need to excel in a new job position. Plus, you’ll be doing what it takes to actually reach your goal.

  1. Boosting Your Resume

Even if you are perfectly qualified for a job in your field, you might have found that competition is tough. If you’re having trouble getting a job, going back to school could be an option. Getting an education in your field could help you stand out against others who are also competing for the same position. This could help you finally get the position that you have always wanted.

As you can see, there are many reasons why adults might choose to go back to school. If it’s something that you are thinking about, you may want to pursue it. Once you find the right school, you might find that going back to school is one of the best decisions that you will ever make.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. Connect with her on Google+and (@LizzieWeakley).

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

Student Commuter: 4 Driving Safety Tips You Might Be Missing Reply

Depending on where you live, it’s fairly common for students to commute to various schools to receive higher education. If you’ve been driving for a while, then you probably think that there aren’t many safety concerns to be aware of on the road. There’s always something to watch for when you’re driving as there are never the same people or road conditions from one day to the next. There are a few tips that you might be missing that can keep you safe as well as the people who are in your vehicle.

Adjust The Mirrors

When you look through your mirrors, you probably see the road behind you and the road on either side of the car. One thing that you might not know about your mirrors is that you shouldn’t be able to see your own vehicle in them. If you adjust the mirrors in this manner so that the only thing that you see is the road or your surroundings instead of your vehicle, then you’ll reduce the blind spots and decrease the chance of accidents when you’re changing lanes.

Large Vehicles

While you’re driving, you have to share the road with larger vehicles. These include transfer trucks and garbage trucks. They can’t always see if you’re behind them on the road. If you can’t see their side mirrors, then they can’t see you. Garbage trucks have an added disadvantage in that there is usually a person on the back of the vehicle and a device that opens and closes. If you’re in an accident with a garbage truck because of an obstructed view, then consider talking to a garbage truck accident attorney who can help you file the proper claims.

Keep Your Headlights On

Instead of waiting until it’s dark, turn the headlights on when you get in the car. It’ll save time later, and it’ll keep you from forgetting to turn them on at all. Accidents can sometimes be reduced if people had their headlights on all the time because drivers would be able to see other cars that are coming in the opposite lane or that are driving in front of them.

Scan The Road

Always scan the road in front of you. Pay attention to road conditions and the other cars on the road. Scan your eyes along the horizon as this is a good focal point while you’re driving and generally gives the best view for most road issues that might be present.

Driving is never the same from one day to the next. You’re faced with drivers who don’t know what they’re doing or who are distracted. Focus on what you’re doing while taking in the actions of those who are around you to decrease the likelihood of an accident.

Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2 or Facebook.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

10 Mistakes Community College Students Make When Transferring to Universities Reply

Community colleges are attractive to a broad range of students, who need affordable educational programs focused on special interests. In the fall 2015, 24% of full-time undergraduates were attending community colleges. The American higher education is known for the extreme costs associated with it. Thanks to community colleges, low-income students get access to education.

However, many community college students want to step up their education and earn a bachelor degree, so they usually opt for a transfer program. Although university education costs a lot, many students explore scholarship options, as w ell as the opportunity to work while studying. According to a report published by the Community College Research Center, 33% of the students who enter a community college transfer to a 4-year institution.

Are you one of the community college students considering this option? Then this article will provide you with essential tips and the most common mistakes you need to consider before you begin the transfer.

Steps to Take When Transferring to University

  • Choose your target university as soon as possible. You need to know what requirements you should meet, so you can focus on them while you’re at a community college.
  • Arrange a meeting with a transfer adviser at the university you’re interested in. They will provide proper guidelines for you to follow.
  • Some private colleges require you to get the associate’s degree before you transfer, and others prefer it. With proper planning and depending on the situation, however, you may make an early transfer.
  • Explore scholarships! This should be an ongoing process. Don’t forget to put the application deadlines in your Google Calendar and set reminders in order not to miss any chances to get a scholarship.

Now that we got the preparations out of the way, we can focus on an equally important aspect: avoiding the mistakes most students make when transferring.

Mistakes that Affect Your Chances to Transfer to University

  1. Not Knowing What Transfers

If you don’t know what courses are transferable to colleges and universities, you’ll end up taking the wrong ones at community college. This means you can’t make an early transfer since you’ll lack the credits necessary for it. Take the courses with a single goal: they help you get to university.

  1. Not Considering the Options

Yes, you do need to focus on a target university when working towards a transfer. However, this doesn’t mean you should be completely inflexible regarding this decision. Examine both private and public 4-year institutions and visit few campuses, so you’ll choose the perfect school for your needs and goals.

  1. Avoiding the FAFSA

FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, looks too detailed and hard to complete. Many students think they qualify anyway, so they decide to send an application on their own terms. The truth is that scholarship committees prefer the FAFSA. It gives them a format that’s easy to evaluate.

  1. Not Providing Parent Information in the FAFSA

Many students are paying their own bills and filing their taxes, so they think the parent information in the application is irrelevant. Still, they may be considered dependent students according to the dependency guidelines determined by the Congress. Don’t skip this part of the application!

  1. Not Writing an Impressive Transfer Application Essay

The appeal of your essay will make or break the application for transfer. Peter Nelson, a college essay and test prep tutor from Superior Papers shared actionable tips for students to follow when completing their application essays:

  • Focus on a particular interest or event that shows why this university is the perfect choice for you. Show how you’ll contribute towards the diversity and development of its community.
  • Don’t use flowery language. Admission officers hate it.
  • This is a personal essay, but it shouldn’t be too in Avoid the language you use when talking to your friends.
  • Do not send the application before you revise and edit the essay for a few times, so you’ll get down to its finest version.
  1. Not Clarifying Your Questions

The course of transferring may seem quite perplexing and can make you feel unrest by raising many questions along the way. Putting down all your queries is a good way not to miss the point and figure out all the essential details that can make a difference in your application process.

  1. Not Keeping Touch with the Transfer Adviser

All universities enable community college students to get guidance. Not setting a meeting with an adviser is a big mistake. Moreover, your communication with the adviser won’t be limited to a single meeting. You should keep them updated with your plans and the steps you’re taking towards the transfer, so you’ll get all the tips you need.

  1. Not Visiting the Campus before Applying for the Transfer

You have to be 100% sure this is the university you want to go to. Take a tour! Sit on a class, see the dorm rooms, and use the opportunity to talk to a faculty member, so you’ll get more information about the major you’re interested in.

  1. Stressing Out

The transfer process demands focus and effort. It’s normal to be concerned about the way things turn out. However, it’s important to stay cool, meet the people you need to meet, and have a plan. When you do things according to a plan and you get proper guidance, you’ll overcome the stress.

  • Leaving Everything Until the Last Minute

Start preparing for your university transfer early. You will need to do everything thoroughly since it is your future at stake. That means making mistakes is very probable when the application deadline is dangerously close. Allocate your time wisely to map out your best course of actions.

Hopefully, the tips above will help you make a smooth transition. The most important thing is to develop a detailed plan and stay focused. Use your time at your community college to work towards the transfer!

Rachel Bartee is a blogger and freelance writer dreaming of a tour round the world to write a story of her greatest life adventure. For the time being, she feels inspired by her daily yoga sessions and studies Interpersonal Relationships. Talk to her on Facebook and Twitter.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

Expensive Education: How Does Bankruptcy Impact Your Student Loans? Reply

Many people with high levels of student debt consider filing for bankruptcy, only to be told that student loans are nondischargeable. While it is true that discharging student loan balances and bankruptcy can be difficult, it is not impossible, in the bankruptcy process may still offer some benefits to the borrower.

Getting Student Loan Debt Discharged

Most types of debt can be discharged in consumer bankruptcy. There are, however, some exceptions, including child support and court judgments resulting from an accident caused by drunk driving. There are also types of debts that are harder to discharge: There are special rules about discharging tax debt, and the same is also true for student loans.

Convincing a court to discharge her student loan debt requires proving that paying this debt would result in “undue hardship.” This means that you’ll have to show that paying your student loans will make it impossible for you to afford basic living expenses. In addition, you also have to show that it is unlikely that your financial situation is going to change and that you have already made a good-faith effort at loan repayment.

While most people cannot meet these qualifications, the courts have demonstrated a willingness to consider a range of circumstances when determining whether student debt is an undue burden. A bankruptcy attorney can assist you in determining whether your circumstances meet the criteria required for discharge.

Bankruptcy Benefits Without a Discharge

If you are unable to prove undue hardship, you may still be able to benefit from bankruptcy. The automatic stay on collection activity will be in effect for the duration of your bankruptcy proceedings, giving you a breather from collection calls, bank levies, and payroll garnishment. The other benefits depend on the type of bankruptcy you file for.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your other debts are discharged. Since you won’t be making payments on them anymore, you’ll have more cash available to apply toward your student loan balances. If you’ve filed for Chapter 13, your loans will become a part of your debt plan, which may mean that you’ll pay less on them during the repayment process.

Final Word

Student loan debt may be discouraging, but there are often options, including bankruptcy, which can make repayment more manageable. Student loan lenders and servicers are often willing to work with you to come up with a repayment plan that you can afford. In addition, bankruptcy remains an option even if your circumstances.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. Connect with her on Google+and (@LizzieWeakley).

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

4 Factors That Impact the Usefulness of a Particular College Degree Reply

When comparing college degrees, it’s important to consider how useful the degree is going to be throughout your life. There are many ways to measure this. However, it’s not always as simple as it first appears.

A degree that’s a waste of time for one person might be quite valuable to someone else. Let’s look at four factors that help determine how useful a particular degree might be for you.

Consistent with Current Job Trends

As the pace of technology accelerates, it’s essential to look at the direction in which different industries are moving before choosing a college major.

Check out resources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which projects likely job growth in various industries over 10-year periods. This helps you choose a degree in a field where job growth is likely to be strong in the near future.

Places You at the Leading Edge of Your Profession

Not all degrees in a particular field are alike. Some are more traditional while others are more future-oriented. Degrees in healthcare are now extremely valuable. However, the best of these help you prepare for the very latest trends in this field.

When it comes to nursing, for instance, the focus is now on patient-centered care. If you’re considering a program such as an online FNP degree (Family Nurse Practitioner), look for a flexible and forward-looking program that will help prepare you for a successful career in nursing.

Helps You Succeed in a Popular Field

One hallmark of a useful degree is that it gives you some flexibility within a field that’s popular and that serves a real purpose in the community.

For example, college and professional sports are hugely popular and also help many young people achieve their full athletic potential. A degree such as an online master’s in coaching education is a good choice for anyone who wants a career related to college athletics.

Has a Strong Reputation

Rather than relying entirely on what a college or university says about its own degree programs, it’s also good to get third-party opinions. Look up the institution and degree program online and look for objective information.

Talk to someone you trust in that field. It’s even better if you can find someone who’s graduated with the degree you’re considering. You might also call or email executives or human resources managers in leading companies in the relevant field and ask their opinions about the program you’re considering.

There are many ways to assess the usefulness of a degree program. You can start with your own interests and the job prospects in the industry. Then you can look more closely at the particular program and gather helpful information about its reputation.

About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

Self-Discipline & Balance: How to Get Through an MBA Without Going Insane Reply

Procuring your MBA provides you with the opportunity to expand your personal skills set and to grow in your field. However, it also requires a significant amount of work. When you want to reduce the level of stress you feel, you can integrate some suggestions into your routine.

Ask for a Tutor

If you’re obtaining your MBA in marketing or another business-related degree, you might want to consider asking for a tutor. However, this person should be another student who already taken your course (or a similar subject) and performed well in it. Don’t be afraid to ask for transcripts if you’re hiring a private tutor!

Acknowledging that you don’t know everything and learning how to ask for help are two skills that can assist you in your career. Most colleges have tutoring services available. Sitting down to work one-on-one with a tutor can help you to absorb a concept that currently seems impossible to understand.

Pursue Social Opportunities

Dedicating all of your time to studying and completing assignments might land you with a perfect grade point average, but it might also make you regret how you spent your graduate-school days in the future. While you don’t need to go out every night of the week, look into organizations and clubs on campus that you can join. Building social bonds helps you to stay mentally and emotionally healthy, and you might even get the chance to build a study group or to network.

Care for Your Health

If you are constantly falling behind on sleep and not eating the right food, you are likely to experience exhaustion. This level of exhaustion can cause problems with school work, and you may even start to question if you even belong in the program. Getting in enough exercise can help to boot you physically and mentally as well. In fact, Ohio University reported that students with fitness memberships at university had 13 percent higher GPAs than those who didn’t have any.

Stay Ahead and Organized

When you leave major assignments until the night before they are do, you may like how the pressure motivates you to work harder. However, even the most skilled procrastinator in the world needs to do at least some advanced planning at some point in graduate school. Writing down each assignment in a planner helps to give you a sense of satisfaction when you get to check it off. In addition to that benefit, you can also visually see how much work you have to do on a specific day and plan ahead for busy weeks.

An MBA program can help you in the future. Before you start thinking too far in advance, take the time to better your situation now.

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can follow her on twitter and LinkedIn.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

3 Gaps In The Workforce We Should Be Educating Our Children For Reply

Making good career choices requires looking ahead to the society’s needs in the future. As children begin to choose their academic programs, it’s important to keep realistic expectations in mind. Parents can provide important information on future career fields that have a high expectation of needing more workers. The aging of the American population and the expansion of healthcare services to more people means that many more workers will be needed to fill positions in the medical field. Here are just 3 of the positions that are expected to be needed in future years.

1 – Medical Laboratory Specialists

A critical area of providing healthcare services is the broad panel of laboratory tests that aid diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Medical laboratory technicians and technologists will be needed to process and analyze the data provided by a growing array of medical tests. Medical laboratories are often connected to hospitals, clinics and other medical institutions, but a number of private corporations also provide laboratory services for physicians in private practice. Students with a detail-oriented personality and a drive toward precision can be assured of a satisfying career in the medical laboratory sciences.

2 – Nurses

Nurses will have to take on a variety of new responsibilities as more healthcare is provided to the general population. The healthcare system will require nursing professionals at a number of levels of training to care for patients at various points of the care process. Online bachelor degrees in nursing programs, such as rn to bsn online programs can prepare individuals to advance their nursing careers in order to be ready to fill the growing need for medical services.

3 – Health Services Managers

Another field that has an expectation for employment growth is in health service management. The hospitals and clinics that serve the medical needs of the community will require administrative professionals that can plan, organize and coordinate multiple healthcare areas. Knowledge of the healthcare system and how it functions will be critical in providing effective and cost-efficient care to the population.

Helping children decide on a career path is not always easy. The changing needs of the society can have a significant bearing on whether the jobs will be available in their chosen field. However, these 3 areas are clearly on track for expanded need in the near future. Students that gear their studies toward these areas will have an advantage in the employment marketplace.

Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2 or Facebook.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

4 Ways Social Workers are Making a Difference In Your Community Reply

Are you a college student who is unsure about what to study? It’s important to consider what you find important. If you’re someone who wants to make a lasting, positive difference, you should consider social work. As a social worker, you work with different individuals to help them to succeed in society. Here are four ways social workers are making a difference in your community.

Working with marginalized individuals

As a social worker, many your clients are going to be people who might feel as though they’ve been completely shunned by society. This could include people with addiction problems and mental health issues, ex-convicts, impoverished people and children. While many in society might look down upon these people, as a social worker, you have the opportunity to build them up. By working with and advocating for them, you can help improve their confidence and overall self-worth.

Offering more perspectives

There’s an old adage that you can’t understand someone until you walk a mile in their shoes. As a social worker, you will be walking countless miles in all sorts of shoes as you work with different cases and different people. If you are drawn to this field, you’ll quickly understand how learning from the experiences of others can really open your heart and make you understand just how difficult certain situations and environments can be.

Being a voice

Being a social worker is not something that only happens when you’re on the clock. It is sure to have an influence on the majority of your life. When you speak with people about their problems, you’re bound to notice trends and things that are affecting your community and its people. Great social workers are ones who see problems and become determined to eradicate them. It’s not an instantaneous process, but the first step in enacting change is speaking out.

The public sector encompasses a variety of improvement initiatives for everything from education to the environment. With all of the things clamoring for attention, sometimes simply being a voice for someone who is drowned out by the crowd can be the biggest difference you can make.

Letting people know someone cares

Those who feel burdened by problems like addiction and mental illness can feel like a burden themselves. They might think that their issues are too great and that they’ve gone too far to be saved. As a social worker, you can prove otherwise. You can give them a chance to be heard and realize that they can be the person they want to be.

Hopefully this has given you a good idea of how social workers are making a difference in your community. You might not be able to save the entire world, but by focusing on your community you can greatly better plenty of people’s lives. If this sounds like an appealing career path to you, consider looking into an online master of social work program or something similar. There’s no need to delay making your own impact on the community.

Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys tennis and spending time with her family. Kara recommends looking into diplomacy programs for more information on degrees that can help save the world.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.