college educationThere are many ways to fund a college education. Loans, scholarships, working between classes and saving during high school are some of the ways students can afford college.

There's also another reliable way to pay for it — hit up your parents.

The average cost for an in-state public college for the 2015-16 academic year averaged $24,061, and was $47,831 at private colleges, according to a survey by College Data.

Graduates may eventually cover those expenses with future earnings, but that's years after leaving college and doesn't help at all before starting school.

For parents who are generous enough to pay for some or all of their children's college education, it can require some sacrifices. And I'm not just talking about taking out a loan, dipping into a retirement account or taking out some equity in your home.

Cutting vices

Some families have to make life changes to be able to afford college. These can go well beyond stopping smoking or not going out for coffee every weekday. Getting rid of your vices makes sense for more than monetary reasons, but some pleasures in life are worth keeping, even if your kid has to get a college loan or two.

Liberty Bank of Chicago recently put together a graphic (at the bottom of this post) that lists simple vices that can be cut to help struggling families save for college. The bank based the total savings amount for each item on putting the money in a savings account for 18 years that earned 3 percent interest.

It's interesting to see how much can be saved by not doing something for 18 years — all of your child's life.  ...continue reading

nurse-748186_640We make decisions every day, but very few are as important as choosing a house, partner, job, or educational institution. You’re in the midst of making one of the most important decisions of your adult life: choosing a nursing school. You can’t wait to begin your career, so you’ve decided to enroll in an accelerated nursing program. You know it will take a lot of hard work to be successful in your program, but are determined to get through school and enter the workforce. Planning for, and working toward, your future is stressful, but there are certain skills that can help you survive.


A successful student is a prepared student. Having a planner or calendar to track due dates, lectures, labs, the little free time you may have, and, most importantly, sleep, is pivotal. For nursing school, you’ll need a watch with a second hand for taking accurate pulses. That watch can also help you stay on top of your packed schedule. Cell phones are invaluable, as they are a calendar, personal assistant, and clock all in one. Exercise caution, though, as some professors won’t be fans of your pocket-sized best friend.

Organizational Skills

In addition to staying on top of your schedule, you will also be taking in tons of new information. Taking detailed, organized notes is important. Knowing where you keep those notes is even more crucial. There are a few habits that highly effective people swear by, including a regular sleep schedule and writing everything down. Try a Bullet Journal for planning and organizing your tasks, thoughts, and schedule.

Effective Communication

The ability to express your thoughts, questions, and opinions in a concise and precise manner is crucial to succeeding in a high-stress environment like an accelerated nursing program. The best nurses know how to connect with their patients, so getting a head-start on your gift of gab can only help you. Also, being able to let your classmates and instructors know when you are confused about or have mastered a topic can help you get, or offer, necessary help.


Speak up when you’re struggling. Nursing school can be stressful and overwhelming, so be sure to ask for help if and when you need it. Try to connect with at least one classmate, ideally another nursing student, on your first day, so you don’t feel alone and have a study buddy to help you understand tough topics; it helps if you live in the same dorm or have similar class schedules. Be sure to make use of your instructors’ office hours and any academic counseling services available, even if you do not feel you’re struggling. That open line of communication will help you succeed.

Attention to Detail

Good students, like the best nurses, are detail-oriented. Your notes should be thorough, but not so much so that the important details get lost in the mass of pages. Being able to identify and capture the important bits of information in your courses will really help you be successful. Medicine is a very precise, and incredibly fast-paced, field, so managing an accelerated program will really help prepare you for your future work environment.

Strong Work Ethic

In order to truly succeed, you have to have the desire to do so. Your education, and the corresponding workload, takes priority, which can be tough if you’re considering accelerated nursing programs in Las Vegas or other cities with a vivacious nightlife. When all of your friends and classmates are out partying, it can be hard to resist temptation, but remembering why you enrolled in an accelerated program in the first place can help you maintain your focus.

Accelerated programs are difficult, but if you fully commit yourself and manage your time well, you can succeed. Remember to use your voice because once you get your nursing license, you’ll not only have to advocate for yourself, but also for your patients.

student loanWells Fargo was cited $4 million Monday for illegal private student loan servicing practices that cost student borrowers more money in fees, leading to a host of solutions the bank must implement to improve its practices.

Most of the money to be paid by Wells Fargo through the order by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau goes to the CFPB with a $3.6 million penalty. The bank must provide $410,000 in relief to borrowers.

The federal agency found that the bank failed to provide important payment information to consumers, charged illegal fees, and failed to update inaccurate credit report information.

How Wells Fargo erred

The consent order includes a number of things Wells Fargo must do, starting with providing at least $410,000 to compensate consumers for illegal late fees.

To get their refund for such fees, students shouldn't have to do anything. The refunds include payments for the bank failing to disclose its payment allocation practices across multiple loans in a borrower's account, as well as for not informing consumers that they could instruct the bank to allocate payments in a different way.

Refunds will also happen for illegal fees that were charged because the bank didn't combine partial payments made in the same billing cycle, and for fees improperly charged when borrowers made a payment on the last day of the grace period.

Misinformation on partial payments

As any borrower can do with a loan, a partial payment can be made — though they'll likely have to pay a late fee. Still, a partial payment will help a borrower avoid some interest charges, and is better than no payment at all.

For students with multiple loans from a bank, a partial payment can satisfy at least one loan payment in an account, meaning they'd be late for other loans but not the one where the partial payment was made. ...continue reading