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Archive for March, 2016

31 March
Comments Off on How to improve your odds of graduating debt-free from college

How to improve your odds of graduating debt-free from college

A reader in her 70s once asked me why kids today don’t do what she did: Work for a year after high school and save up enough to pay for a bachelor’s degree.

If you just busted out laughing, then you’re familiar with how high today’s college costs are compared with five or six decades ago. Even with substantial financial aid and one heck of a work ethic, it’s hard to imagine a high school graduate earning enough in a year to pay for four (or usually five or even six) years of college. The average annual sticker price for a public university is close to $20,000, while private schools average over $40,000.

The reason seven out of 10 college graduates have student loan debt averaging nearly $29,000 is that graduating without debt is hard. Really hard. (Paying it off is even harder.)

And much advice on how to graduate from college without loans is flawed, to say the least. Here are a few examples:

Go to community college. You can dramatically reduce the cost of a four-year degree by spending the first two years at a community college. But you’re also more likely to drop out. Only about two out of five students who start at a two-year college complete their studies within six years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, compared with nearly 80% who first enroll in a public four-year institution.

Get a scholarship. Free money is great, but scholarships won’t necessarily help you get ahead. Scholarships can reduce the grant aid you get dollar-for-dollar. If you’re getting need-based financial aid, federal formulas require schools to lower your grant aid when you get a scholarship.

Work your way through school. A job in college can certainly help pay the bills. But let’s do the math. The average “net price” (the sticker price, minus financial aid) for a public, in-state undergraduate college is about $14,000 a year, according to the College Board. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. After payroll taxes, that’s about $6.70 per hour. Which means you’d need to work 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year — and that’s if you don’t owe any income taxes on your earnings.

People do work full-time while pursuing college degrees, but the key word is often “pursuing,” not “getting.” The more you work, the more likely you are to drop out. One researcher who looked at community college students found a 1% increase in wages was associated with a 4% decrease in the odds of completing a degree, and another researcher found that working more than 20 hours a week is as detrimental to bachelor’s degree completion rates as working full time.

Improving your chances

So what does increase your odds of graduating with little or no debt? Financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz studied the issue in 2011, looking at a sample of 114,000 undergraduates. Here’s what he recommends:

Enroll at an in-state public school. The vast majority (85%) of debt-free students went to public colleges, with almost 78% going to in-state schools, Kantrowitz found.

Avoid for-profit colleges. Fewer than 7% of students at for-profit colleges graduated without debt, compared with 30% at nonprofit private schools and 51% at public colleges.

Opt for a two-year degree. On average, associate degrees increase lifetime earnings much less than four-year degrees. However, two-year degrees in a few fields actually pay more than the average bachelor’s degree. These higher-paying, lower-investment degrees tend to be in technical and health fields, such as dental hygienist (median annual earnings of $70,210, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), diagnostic medical sonographers ($65,860), web developers ($62,500), electrical and electronics drafters ($55,700), and nuclear technicians ($69,060).

Choose your parents well. Not surprisingly, more than half (56%) of upper-income students graduated without debt, compared with 36% of low-income students and 45% of middle-income students.

And here are a few more options to consider:

Attend a tuition-free school. Acceptance rates can be as low as those at Ivy League schools, but tuition-free schools are available to those willing to pursue a military career or follow a very specific course of study.  They include, among others, Deep Springs College in Big Pine, California; Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia; small religious schools such as Barclay College in Haviland, Kansas, and Berea College in Berea, Kentucky; and the five service academies:

  • US Military Academy in West Point, New York.
  • US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
  • US Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.
  • US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York.
  • US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Military service also can offer help paying for college in the form of tuition assistance, Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and loan repayment programs.

Enroll abroad. Public universities in Europe and some other countries are free or low cost, and some programs are in English. The Institute of International Education estimates more than 46,500 US students are pursuing degrees abroad, including more than 16,000 in the United Kingdom, 9,000 in Canada, 4,500 in France and 4,000 in Germany.

Avoid ungenerous schools. If you do have financial need, understand that most colleges aren’t committed to fully meeting it. They will “gap” you, which means their financial aid package won’t cover 100% of your need. College consultant Lynn O’Shaughnessy recommends limiting your college search to those that meet at least 90% of their undergraduate population’s financial need. You’ll find this information on college statistics sites, such as the College Board’s BigFuture.

Nail your FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the key that unlocks $150 billion a year in federal loans, grants and work-study jobs. It’s also a requirement for most grants and scholarships offered privately, by states and through colleges themselves. With a little preparation, completing the form takes about half an hour and results in detailed offers of aid at every school where you’ve been accepted.

Even if you think you won’t qualify for aid, fill it out, says Brianna McGurran, NerdWallet’s student loans expert. You just might be offered some assistance.

“Not filling out a FAFSA means missing out on potential financial aid that could make a huge difference in families’ ability to afford college,” McGurran says.

So, is debt-free college really possible? For many or even most people, no.

But education is an investment, and wise choices along the way can make the costs worthwhile rather than a lifetime burden.

Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a personal finance website, and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: Twitter: @lizweston.

This article originally appeared on NerdWallet.


31 March
Comments Off on US governor rejects bill legalising pastors’ refusal to gay marriages

US governor rejects bill legalising pastors’ refusal to gay marriages

The Republican governor of the US state of Georgia said on Monday he would veto a religious freedoms bill that sparked a protest movement amid accusations it would infringe upon gay rights.

Major American corporations such as Disney joined a push to get Governor Nathan Deal to block the measure, which was approved by lawmakers and was awaiting his signature.

The bill, described as a measure to protect religious freedoms, would have made it legal for pastors to refuse to perform gay marriages and allowed churches and faith-based organizations, on the basis of their religious beliefs, to decline to hire or provide services to gays.

I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia of which my family and I are a part of for all of our lives, Deal told a news conference.

Several large companies had called on the governor not to sign the bill into law, with Disney threatening to take its business elsewhere if no action was taken against it.

Celebrities including Anne Hathaway and Julianne Moore also weighed in, urging the governor to veto the measure.

Our actions on (the bill) are not just about protecting the faith-based community or providing a business-friendly climate for job growth in Georgia, Deal said.

This is about the character of our state and the character of its people.

A similar protest movement was launched against a measure in North Carolina deemed discriminatory against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

That bill, which among other things stipulates which bathrooms transgender students must use, was signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory, also a Republican, on Wednesday.

31 March
Comments Off on Marriages between women most likely to end in divorce

Marriages between women most likely to end in divorce

In the Netherlands women more often marry a same sex partner than men. Marriages between two women are also more likely to end in divorce than marriages between two men or heterosexual marriages, according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands on Wednesday.

On April 1st gay marriage will be legal in the Netherlands for 15 years. In the first two years after April 1st, 2001, more gay couples got married than lesbian couples From 2003 the number of female couples getting married surpassed the number of male couples tying the knot. Last year 765 lesbian couples got married and 664 gay couples.

Lesbian marriages have the biggest chance of ending in divorce in the Netherlands. Of the 580 lesbian couples who got married in 2005, 30 percent were divorced ten years later. Among heterosexual marriages, that percentage was 18 percent, and 15 percent among marriages between two men.

Same-sex couples tend to be older when they get married than heterosexual couples, especially men. A man marrying another man is on average 43 years old on the day of their wedding, compared to an average age of 37 years for a man marrying a woman. Among lesbian marriages, the average age is 39, compared to 34 years for a woman marrying a man.

30 March
Comments Off on Sexual harassment claimant files suit against Pima Community College

Sexual harassment claimant files suit against Pima Community College

A former Pima Community College administrator who received a sexual harassment settlement in 2012 has filed a civil rights lawsuit claiming she was ousted in retaliation two years later.

Imelda Cuyugan, one of eight female employees who accused former PCC chancellor Roy Flores of harassment, now is suing current chancellor Lee Lambert.

Cuyugan filed the federal case last year after PCC refused her attorney’s offer to settle out of court for $2.8 million, court records show.

The college denies wrongdoing. Both parties have requested a jury trial expected to start this fall.

Under the terms of Cuyugan’s 2012 harassment settlement, she received $30,000 and was named assistant vice chancellor for state government relations, a job she said Flores forced her out of after she spurned his sexual advances.

Cuyugan said Flores propositioned her repeatedly on out-of-town business trips between 2007 and 2011. Flores retired in 2012, ostensibly for health reasons, but PCC’s accreditor later found his departure was precipitated by the multiple harassment claims against him.

In 2014, Lambert eliminated Cuyugan’s $137,000 position. Cuyugan claims he did so in retaliation for her having pursued the harassment claim.

PCC, in response, said Cuyugan’s work wasn’t up to par and said the college had “a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for taking the employment action it took.”

PCC spokesman Paul Schwalbach said college officials are confident evidence will show that Cuyugan’s latest allegations “are without merit.”

Cuyugan’s lawyer, Ivelisse Bonilla of Tucson, expressed equal confidence that a jury would find PCC at fault.

30 March
Comments Off on Two child marriages stopped

Two child marriages stopped

Two child marriages that were scheduled to take place next week were stopped by the timely intervention of officials here on Monday.

A 14-year-old girl of Tiruchengode was to be married off to a 25-year-old man on April 4. Childline 1098 received a tip-off and officials visited the girl’s house and found marriage preparations on. In the second incident, the Class 12 student of Rasipuram was to be married off to a 27-year-old labourer of Salem district on April 4.

Produced before panel

Both the girls were produced before the Child Welfare Committee on Tuesday.

30 March
Comments Off on Crowning glory: University of Hong Kong’s dental school ranked world’s No 1

Crowning glory: University of Hong Kong’s dental school ranked world’s No 1

The city has long suffered from a shortage of dentists. There are 2,175 dentists serving approximately seven million people, down from last year’s approximately 2,300, according to the Dental Council. Department of Health statistics show that there were about 32 dentists per 100,000 people in 2015 – a number that Flemmig says lags behind that of other developed countries.

He attributed the shortage to the number of student slots allocated by the government, as well as the slow pace of the licensing process for non-local dentists.

“In Hong Kong, most colleagues work 12 hours a day, six days a week. This clearly shows that there is a high demand [for dentists],” Flemmig said. “The government has indicated that it wants to offer licensing examinations for non-local dentists more frequently.

“Additional measures may include [providing] educational programmes to non-local dentists to better prepare them for the HK licensing exams. That may improve the currently rather low passing rates.”

Despite the faculty’s rising reputation, it has weathered controversies in recent years. The Post reported that its hospital used contaminated water for patients to rinse their mouths from February to June 2014.

The faculty has since upgraded its safety measures and established a risk management protocol to deal with “adverse events”, Flemmig said.

29 March
Comments Off on Planned Parenthood defund bill cites dentists as reproductive care alternative

Planned Parenthood defund bill cites dentists as reproductive care alternative

Related: Continuing to limit access to birth control would wreak economic havoc

A bill passed in the Florida legislature this week would effectively defund Planned Parenthood and other reproductive rights clinics by preventing state agencies from working with any organization that provides abortion care other than that for victims of rape, incest, or if the life of the woman is at risk.

As the bill heads to governor Rick Scott for his signature, several state lawmakers who have insisted that plentiful alternatives exist for reproductive and sexual healthcare have cited a list of health centers that includes dentists, optometrists, and elementary schools.

“I don’t understand how they put this list together,” said Kheyanna Suarez, a student at Florida Atlantic University who first started visiting Planned Parenthood when she was 16. “Were they blind and mashed everything from Google on to one list? A dental office, a Salvation Army, an elementary school – I can’t go and get care at those places. If I have to leave my healthcare up to the places on that list, I am scared. I don’t think an elementary school can prescribe me birth control.”

During the 2 March hearing on the proposal, state lawmaker Lori Berman asked bill co-sponsor Colleen Burton to elaborate on alternative resources for birth control, pap smears, breast exams and other reproductive services.

Burton replied: “We have 52 federally qualified health centers, the counties have health departments, physicians’ offices, independent clinics would be eligible if they applied and met the requirements.”

Berman then asked: “Are some of those FQHCs school board health clinics?”

A dental office, a Salvation Army, an elementary school – I can’t go and get care at those places

Kheyanna Suarez, student

“Not to my knowledge,” Burton said.

“Are some of those FHCs podiatrists’ offices?” Berman continued.

“Are you asking me if FCHCs are podiatrists’ offices?” Burton responded.

“I have seen the list of the groups,” counters Berman, “And some of those groups include podiatrists, correctional facilities, healthcare, school-based healthcare clinics. So I am just wondering if that is the list you are referring to?”

“No, FQHCs provide family planning services throughout the state of Florida,” said Burton.

“Would it be possible for me to get a copy of the list you’re referring to?” asked Berman.

“Certainly, we’ll ask the staff to provide you with that list,” Burton tells her.

The state list of federally qualified health centers that Berman received the next day includes 67 schools ranging from the elementary to high school level.

During the hearing, the bill’s supporters also repeatedly noted that there are 29 federally funded public health centers for every one Planned Parenthood health center in the state, implying that the defunding of Planned Parenthood would have little impact on patients. The anti-choice Florida Family Policy Council, an affiliate of Focus on the Family, and Americans Defending Freedom repeatedly cited this 29:1 ratio in their lobbying for HB 1411.

“That ratio number is based on this list,” Berman told the Guardian, “which is a fallacious list since many of the providers on that list are in no position to provide women’s healthcare.”

Per data compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, as of 2010, there were 126 federally qualified health centers in the state that provide contraceptive services, relative to 25 Planned Parenthood health centers in receipt of public funds, or approximately five federally funded centers that provide contraceptive care for every one Planned Parenthood health center.

Related: Aggressive Planned Parenthood cuts hurt poor women the most, study finds

It’s a move reminiscent of similar gambits attempted by Louisiana and Ohio, which have made moves to defund Planned Parenthood and suggested alternate providers for those patients that do not actually provide reproductive services.

While both state and federal tax dollars are already prohibited from being used to fund abortion specifically, Florida currently spends about $200,000 in Medicaid reimbursements for those who receive preventative healthcare at Planned Parenthood affiliate health centers that would no longer be available. The bill would also impose other restrictions on abortion that could shut down many of the state’s clinics if not halted by courts.

“What this would do is take away funding for programs that are primary care,” said Chris Estes, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of south, east and north Florida. “Cancer screenings, sexually transmitted disease screening and treatment, pap smears, birth control – these are services that women in great need are accessing [at Planned Parenthood health centers]. There are not-for-profit programs for patients who don’t have insurance, don’t have money, and can’t afford to go elsewhere for it.”

As of 2013, there were 3.86 million women of reproductive age in Florida, over half of which were in need of contraceptive services and over a third of which were in need of publicly supported contraceptive services.

“There’s this belief that if they pass defunding bills, we’ll suddenly disappear, and that’s not the case,” said Estes. “We’re not going to go away and we’re not going to close our health centers. This will only affect women who count on us to provide free and reduced cost services.”

29 March
Comments Off on Serious Motor Vehicle Crash East of Lincoln

Serious Motor Vehicle Crash East of Lincoln

The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is investigating a serious motor vehicle crash that occurred yesterday afternoon involving a pickup truck and a car.

According to police, preliminary investigation indicates the incident occurred around 4:43 pm Wednesday March 16, 2016 as Linda Evans, 50 of Dover was operating a 2010 Ford Focus southbound on Cedar Creek Road (SR30) north of Benson Road stopped with the left turn signal activated, waiting to turn left into a private drive. Aaron B. Stromer, 17 of Milford, was operating a 1998 Ford F-150 southbound on SR30 approaching the Focus. Stromer failed to see the stopped vehicle and struck the rear of the Focus causing significant damage. Both vehicles remained in the southbound lanes after the impact.

Linda Evans and her 3-year-old son were properly restrained and transported by EMS to Bayhealth Milford Memorial Hospital (MMH) where they were treated and released with non-life-threatening injuries.

Louester Evans, 77, and her husband Elie A. Evans, 78, both of Lincoln, were passengers in the Ford Focus and were transported by EMS to MMH where Louester was admitted in serious condition. Elie was later airlifted to Christiana Medical Center where he is admitted in critical condition.

Aaron Stromer was properly restrained and did not report any injuries. A 15-year-old female passenger was properly restrained and transported by EMS to MMH where she was treated and released with non-life-threatening injuries.

SR30 between Fleatown Road and Benson Road was closed for approximately three hours while the crash was investigated. No charges have been filed at this time.

29 March
Comments Off on Dental Web Now Launches Call Sumo – Call Tracking for Dentists

Dental Web Now Launches Call Sumo – Call Tracking for Dentists

MELBOURNE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dental Web Now, a marketing software company, launches Call Sumo, a
comprehensive call tracking software for dentists to monitor marketing
efforts and determine ROI efficiently.

Having years of experience in the dental marketing industry, Dental Web
Now identifies a need for more expansive analytics when it comes to
marketing ROI. Call Sumo was developed as a solution for dental office
and marketing professionals to handle and track their marketing

“We’ve taken our own experience in marketing for dentists at Dental
Web Now and identified the key piece of technology that really helps
us excel at what we do,” says Ahmed Reza, Dental Web Now CEO. “We look
forward to Call Sumo becoming the go-to solution for dental practices
and top marketing agencies in the dental industry.”

Call Sumo Key Features:

  • Integration with dental practice management
    software – Call Sumo can sync with patient management systems
    such as Dentrix or Eaglesoft to show more actionable, detailed data to
    identify new and existing patients and marketing opportunities.
  • Enhanced Caller ID – Call Sumo’s advanced
    analytics and data crunching features identify when a potential new
    patient is calling with critical details about how the inquirer found
    the practice and what they might be interested in.
  • Automatic call labeling combined with human call
    auditing – Call Sumo optimizes allotted time for call listening
    by automatic identification and filtering of calls from existing
    patients and marketers. This allows more listening time for calls from
    leads and potential new patients.
  • Detailed reports in minutes – Call Sumo
    users have full access to real-time call logs and multiple automated
    reports such as: Call Overview Report, ROI Report and Calls by Source
    Report. These reports provide quantitative and qualitative actionable
    data that help users make informed marketing decisions.
  • Track all marketing – Call Sumo tracks
    online and offline marketing such as print, billboards, email
    campaigns, social media, pay-per-click advertising, search engine
    optimization and more.

About Dental
Web Now: Founded in 2012, Dental Web Now is a premier provider
of intelligent and effective web presence and conversion solutions. The
tech marketing company develops customized dental websites to enhance
online presence and maximize conversion rate of visitors into actual
patients and creates intuitive marketing software. For a free demo of
Call Sumo, visit

29 March
Comments Off on ICE admits man accused of drunken street racing, motor vehicle homicide was a threat to public safety

ICE admits man accused of drunken street racing, motor vehicle homicide was a threat to public safety

WASHINGTON, DC (WOWT) — The Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agreed that a man accused of street racing under the influence before crashing into a woman, killing her, was a threat to public safety.

His illegal status in the country is now the subject of a debate in our nation’s capital.

In a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on Tuesday, US Senator Ben Sasse questioned the response of ICE regarding the death of 21-year-old Sarah Root. Eswin Mejia, 19, was accused of driving drunk while street racing before slamming into Roots SUV. She later died from her injuries. The accident happened less than a day after Root’s graduation, a milestone in life that would be her last.