23 May 2013
If you use a credit card, you are probably familiar with credit limits. When you reach your credit card limit (commonly called maxing out your card), you must pay down your principle before you put anything else on the card. Many people don’t realize that federal student loans also have limits, and, unless students are aware of these limits and practice responsible borrowing, there's the possibility that you could max out your student loans.
When students rely too heavily on federal loans, they may reach their loan limits, leaving them unable to afford their education and stuck with unmanageable amounts of debt. Read on to learn about loan limits and how to avoid them through responsible borrowing.
Annual and Total Loan Limits
The federal government limits the total amount of subsidized and unsubsidized loans a student can borrow at one time – this is known as a total or aggregate loan limit. If you previously attended college and took out federal loans that you have not yet repaid, those loans will count toward your total loan limit. To check your prior federal student aid history and previous loans, visit the National Student Loan Data System at www.nslds.ed.gov.
There is also an annual loan limit on the amount of loans you can borrow in one academic year. Total and annual loan limits depend on your year in school and whether you are dependent or independent student. You can see the annual and total loan limits that apply to you at http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized#how-much-can-i-borrow. If you're a current student, you can also contact your Student Finance Counselor to learn more.
How to Avoid These Limits
When you discuss your financial aid package with your Student Finance Counselor, make sure you understand your loan limits and try not to rely solely on federal loans. Here are just a few tips that can help you avoid reaching these limits.
• Find alternative ways to finance your education, such as scholarships and grants. There are many scholarships and grants out there, so don’t be afraid to apply. They can make a big difference in your financial plan!
• If you are currently employed and your desired degree relates to your job, ask your employer if they are willing to help sponsor your education.
• By making regular cash payments, even as small as $20 per month, you can reduce the amount you need to borrow and the interest you’ll pay in the future.
• Remember, you do not have to take the full amount of federal aid for which you are eligible. Only accept the aid that you truly need and do not use the loans for expenses outside of your education.
• Stay committed to completing your education in a timely manner. Having to re-take a class will end up costing you extra.
When you create a plan for paying for your degree, think about your long-term financial future. Remember, having to make large monthly payments on your student loan debt will limit what you can spend in the future on large purchases, such as your house or your car, and even daily expenses. Making the right choices today will help you tomorrow.
20 May 2013
The basic role of a public relations specialist is to communicate with the public about an organization and their policies, goals, community activities and business decisions. Public relations specialists assist clients in building and maintaining positive relationships with the public; preparing press releases, speeches and other informative materials for the media; and monitoring media coverage and public opinion.
If this sounds appealing to you, here are a few things you should know about working in public relations.
Some companies have in-house public relations departments or specialists, while other companies rely on a public relations firm. Each one has its benefits. When you work for an agency, you have the ability to work with many companies and personalities, and your messaging and goals will be varied, so you probably won't get bored. When you work for one company, you work mostly with a steady group of people and you may become very knowledgeable about the company's stakeholders, goals, positions and activities.
Importance across Industries
You may think that only large corporations or celebrities need public relations specialists, but that’s not true. Government agencies, from local to federal, use public relations specialists to inform the public of current and upcoming activities. Nonprofit organizations also rely heavily on public relations specialists, and schools, health or social welfare groups, churches, and hospitals often have at least one public relations specialist in their organization.
People who are good communicators can excel in this career. In public relations, you'll interact with many people, so this might be a good choice for a social butterfly. Depending on your position, you may talk with the media, represent your company at public events, give speeches and work with high-level executives. You'll also need to enjoy problem-solving and be up for a challenge, because public relations specialists often must address sensitive or critical issues.
The employment of public relations specialists and managers is expected to grow at an above average rate from 2010 to 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 21 percent increase in the number of public relations jobs, estimating that by 2020, an additional 68,300 jobs in the field will become available. In 2010, the median pay for a public relations manager or specialist was $57,550, and experienced public relations specialist may earn over $90,000 per year, according to the BLS. (Learn more here: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers-and-specialists.htm#.)
If a career in public relations sounds right for you, learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Public Relations at South University, Online Programs!
17 May 2013
With Armed Forces Day this Saturday, May 18, 2013, we are proud to present three ways in which we honor our military students. Created in 1949 and first observed in 1950, Armed Forces Day is celebrated annually on the third Saturday of every May and recognizes and honors the five military branches: the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.
1. Graduation Teams Experienced in Working with Military Students
At South University, Online Programs, all military students, veterans and spouses of service members will have a team of dedicated admissions, financial aid and advising representatives trained in and focused on meeting your needs as a military student.
2. University Credit for Your Military Experience
We want to recognize your extensive military training and experience. Once you submit the paperwork, we’ll review your experience and training to determine your eligibility for credit toward your academic program. This transfer of credit could help you to cut expenses and graduate in less time.
For more information, visit http://online.southuniversity.edu/military/military-transfer-of-credit.aspx.
3. Military Aid & Benefits
Complete information on our military aid and benefit programs can be found at http://online.southuniversity.edu/military/, and you can speak with a Military Admissions Representative by calling 1-888-313-7209. Before you do, here’s a quick overview!
For Military Personnel: We are pleased to offer an Active Duty Scholarship to eligible service members. For undergraduate programs the cost of tuition is $166 per credit hour after the scholarship is applied. For graduate level programs, South University offers an Active Duty Scholarship of 10%.
For Veterans: For undergraduate and graduate programs, South University offers eligible veterans the Veteran Scholarship of 10%. We also participate in the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program. Furthermore, veterans using the educational benefits provided under the Montgomery GI Bill will find that a significant portion of their tuition expenses will be covered or reimbursed.
The Application Fee is also waived for active duty, reserve, National Guard and veteran personnel who qualify.
9 May 2013
At South University, Online Programs, our students are inspiring individuals who work hard to make their dreams come true and make an impact in their industry, despite the obstacles they may face. In honor of National Nurses Week (May 6-12), we are featuring student Keah Allen, who is pursuing the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with the Nurse Educator Specialization.
Q: Why did you choose to pursue a career in nursing?
A: I originally started college to become a secondary education teacher; however, my mom became ill with breast cancer and we had too many unknowns. So, I began taking some science classes and decided to become a nurse because I had so much admiration for the ones who took care of my mom and family.
Q: What motivated you to continue your education?
A: After 10 years of trauma and intensive care bedside nursing, I was ready for a change. I started to teach some in hospital courses and became hooked on nursing education. I decided that my next journey in nursing would be in teaching, so I had to continue my own education to become a nurse educator.
Q: How did you decide online learning was the best choice for you?
A: I had taken other online courses and enjoyed them the older I became. Online courses also fit my schedule.
Q: Why did you choose South University, Online Programs over the other online schools?
A: The attentiveness of the admissions people really helped; they seem vested in my interests and not just the money.
Q: What has been your proudest moment in school?
A: What makes me proud is showing my children and students that you can have a fulltime job, attend school, raise a family and be successful all at once. It just takes flexibility.
Q: Do you have a favorite faculty member?
A: I have two—Dr. Patton and Dr. Tarantine. They both were extremely supportive and encouraging during my mother-in-law’s battle with ALS. It was amazing to know I had that human factor one might only think you get in a face-to-face format. In reality, all of the faculty members at South have been awesome!
Q: Have you met a classmate or student who has played a part in your success?
A: The cohort I am in has been together since the beginning. We have been able to watch each other grow and evolve into wonderful beginner educators. Throughout the entire program we have had wonderful, enlightening discussions and disagreements, but we always remain professional.
Q: Is there anything else you would like us to know about your experience at South University?
A: My experience at South has been great! I would recommend this program to anyone because of the caring attitude and rigor of the program. Everyone has made this a growing experience and I am almost sad to see it end.
Click here to learn about our full offering of online nursing degree programs.
8 May 2013
It's no secret that education is a big investment, which is why we provide each of our students with a Student Finance Counselor and encourage students to explore a variety of avenues to create a financial plan and find responsible ways to finance their education.
What do we mean by responsible? Responsible borrowing entails detailed planning and analysis of your finances and your financing options to decide what is right for you.
If you choose to take out loans, responsible borrowing means only doing so after looking at alternative options and only borrowing what is necessary. While students sometimes limit their search to federal sources, federal financial aid often means loans and doesn't necessarily cover all of your expenses.
Below are some of the alternative options that we recommend you consider before you turn solely to federal loans.
1. Cash Payments
Establishing a monthly tuition payment plan can greatly reduce the cost of your education. Your contribution doesn’t need to be large, but every bit you pay now is something you won’t have to pay later or pay interest on down the road.
2. Military Financial Aid
If you or a family member has served in the military, you may be eligible for military financial aid, including our school’s military scholarship. We also participate in the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon program. Don’t miss out! Visit http://online.southuniversity.edu/military/#, or call 1-888-313-7209 to speak with a Military Admissions Representative for more information on these programs.
3. Employer Partnerships
We partner with a number of companies to offer employees incentives for continuing their education—from corporate rates to the waiving of select fees. See our list of partners here. If your employer isn’t listed, you may still qualify for financial assistance through your company.
There are two common types of employer assistance programs. Employer reimbursement programs require you to pay tuition up front. You then provide documentation to your employer stating how much you paid and showing that your coursework is relevant to your career. Your employer pays you back for your tuition and expenses. Employer sponsorship programs, conversely, involve your employer paying the school directly for approved coursework. If you aren't sure what educational benefits your employer offers, ask your manager or your human resource representative.
4. Scholarships and Grants
Many organizations (including local, national, private and non-profit groups) offer scholarship opportunities or grants to students who meet specific criteria. Many people think scholarships are reserved only for students with superior grades or athletic ability. However, this is not necessarily the case. For example, many scholarships exist for students pursuing careers in specific industries. Plus scholarship criteria can sometimes be quite idiosyncratic. For example, scholarships exist for left-handed students or students whose last names start with Z! So make a list of everything unique about you and start searching.
Learn More About Financial Planning
If you want to go to school (or you’re already here), don't limit yourself to relying only on federal loans when there are other ways to make school affordable and reduce your future debt.
Request more information today, or talk with your Student Finance Counselor to discuss your financial plan.