The Benefits (!?) of Borrowing

I was shocked to find this paper, “The Benefits of Borrowing” by Benjamin M. Marx and Lesley J. Turner appeared in a Journal, Education Next.  Benefits ?  Borrowing money may give you what you want at the moment.  These authors claim that better grade, graduating from community college and more likely to transfer to 4-year college are the benefits of borrowing.  

But are they really the benefits?  They are more like the effects or results of borrowing money for school.  These effects are the positive outcome to list on a report or publication for college and government.  But borrower’s story does not end here.  What is the consequence of borrowing money?  If you borrow money, you are responsible to pay back the borrowed amount plus interest.  In other words, you end up paying more than the actual cost.

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Full-Time vs Part-Time Students

I was always a full-time student (15 credits per quarter) at college and grad school.  I worked several hours a week while I was in college.  At grad school I worked 20 to 30 hours a week plus being a mom made me feel like I had three full-time jobs.  

Have I ever thought of being a part-time student?  Not really, because I wanted to finish school as fast as possible.  I didn’t want to become a perpetual student.  After getting a degree, I knew I will have more choices.  I made a decision to go to school and squeezed other things in between.  Nothing was perfect but I constantly prioritized to-do list items and learned to wrap up things at “good enough”. 

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College Degree is Bad for Republicans?

College is not for everyone.  But in knowledge based economy like the US, having college degree economically help many people.  Statistically it is generally true that people with higher education earn more than people without a college degree.  Pursuit of better career and life motivate people to seek a college degree, correct?  That’s what I thought the most people go to college.  

But who knew that getting a college degree may not help Republicans !?

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Helicopter Parents Destroy Adult Children and Themselves

Do you want to help your adult children, say over 22 years old with a job, financially?  How much and what condition?  Or would you give them unconditional help?  Are you willing to take money from your retirement account to help them?

According to a survey of 2500 parents of children by Age Wave and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, 79% of parents from the survey still provide financial support to child between 18 and 34.  It was not just college tuition.  The support includes groceries, cellphone service, and vacations.

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$400/hour Tutor for Gifted Program Test Preparation!?

I read an article, “Some Parents Pay Up to $400 an hour to Prep 4-Year-Olds for NYC’s Gifted Test” in the Wall Street Journal in Oct 3, 2018.  According to the article, as early as 4-year old goes to prep school for gifted program test in NY.  Parents pay $400 per hour to get a tutor at prep school. 

I understand parents want the best for their children.  I am a parent and I want my daughter to be someone who can contribute to the society rather than a taker.  But $400 an hour tutor is excessive to me.  I don’t know how NY gifted program process works, but I want to suggest a less expensive option.  My daughter got into the gifted program in WA, without a tutor.  

Here is disclaimer.  I don’t think it will work for every child or every family.  And I do not believe that it was a sole answer for my daughter to get accepted into the gifted program.  

A sample question, from the NY gifted test shown below, is the clue of my inexpensive way to educate your children.   

Mark the correct box that fills in the larger picture.


My answer is a magazine called “Mathmania”.  

We subscribed many books and magazines through promotions at her kindergarten and grade school.  We bought any books and magazines she was interested.  Mathmania was her favorite.  She just had fun going through every page by herself.  This book was so colorful and entertaining to look at that she was having fun while learning.  Honestly I did not sit by her when she was looking at the Mathmania book.  She was pretty much on her own while “solving a problem” in the book.  Mathmania was a cost effective educational baby sitter for her.

Another disclaimer: I do not receive any money from the publisher of this book. 

Mathmania might not be an answer for your children for getting into gifted program.  But I would encourage you to find book, video, or something free or less expensive tool to educate children before sign up for $400/hr prep school.  It is important that your child must like the tool; else s/he won’t actually use it.

Do you have any cost effective strategy for gifted program or college? If so, please share with us. 

Grad Student Financing Strategy

Master (MS or MA) and Ph. D. students might have better luck finding college funds than undergraduate students.  If you are grad students in science or engineering fields, you will have even more scholarships available compared to Liberal Art majors.  It is purely my personal experience and observation, so please don’t quote me on your research paper.  

Having said that, I can describe mainly four ways to finance your grad education and living expenses.  

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College and #MeToo Part 2

The latest news is Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.  I hope the FBI investigation will be presented with definite answer.  If you had a sexually assaulted as a student, you need to file a charge.  Unfortunately there are some women lies about the sexual assaults, and accused and colleges use this “women lie” excuse.  As I wrote College and MeToo article in March 25, 2018, colleges want to protect school reputation.  They prefer not to publicize the bad news.  They may not take you seriously.  

If your school does not take your claim seriously, you need to have other students’ support.  If the school still won’t act, then use social media to demand the official investigation.  

Schools do not want public to know the shameful incidents or rumors tarnish the image.  Keeping their good public image is the No. 1 priority.  That is why if you are a college student sexually harassed by a college faculty, staff, or even other students, schools are reluctant to conduct further investigation. 

Speaking out is crucial even you may feel ashamed or scared.  Truth will make you free.

Mike Pence Method Works for Paying off Your Student Loan

Vice President, Mike Pence famously said that he won’t dine alone with a woman other than his wife and he won’t attend an event where alcohol is served unless his wife was there.  You will be the judge whether his statement is righteous, ridiculous, I-can’t-believe-he-said-it, or whatever.     

But I strongly believe that his philosophy works for personal finance. How?  

Read moreMike Pence Method Works for Paying off Your Student Loan

Union for Grad Student?

Certain private colleges have started negotiating or allowing a union for graduate students who work as Teaching Assistant (TA) or Research Assistant (RA).  A main question is whether grad students are college employees or not.  A similar argument has been debated over whether football players at college are employees or students.  Northwestern University football players sought to unionize the sport team but the National Labor Relations Board denied the claim.   

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How to pay off Student Loan – Don’t make it complicated!

Getting out of student loan debt is not complicated. Pay as much as you can squeeze from your income.  There is no magic.  Losing weight is the same way.  If you eat less than you use, you will naturally lose weight.  How long it will take for you to pay off depends on the amount of student loan, your income, and your motivation.  More you are determined to pay off the debt, you can accomplish your goal faster.   

I recently saw a mobile app called Givling.  This site is designed for people answer trivia questions and a winner can receive money to pay off student loan.  Up to two plays are free.  You pay $0.5 per game. If you want higher cash prize, you need to be in “queue”.  You can get into queue by playing more game and winning, interacting with ad, buying queue points, responding to sponsor’s offers, etc. 

Read moreHow to pay off Student Loan – Don’t make it complicated!