Money Matters - Simplified


Students graduate with degrees and debt

Washington -- Graduating college students who cannot find jobs or discharge their federal student loans are facing "mountains of debt," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said.

Durbin said "sky-high interest rates on private loans combined with questionable practices by lenders … over the past decade have resulted in mountains of debt that can follow students from graduation to the grave."

Students who file for bankruptcy must prove they faced an unavoidable hardship to include federal loans in bankruptcy cases, USA Today reported Wednesday.

Durbin is reintroducing a bill that would reverse the bankruptcy law that forces the exclusion of federal student loans, which dates back to 2005.

Aeronautics scholarship winners announced

Washington -- The U.S. space agency says it has selected 25 graduate and undergraduate students to receive an Aeronautics Scholarship for the 2009-2010 school year.

The two-year-old scholarship program is designed to help students enrolled in fields of study with applications promising to aeronautics.

"If NASA is to help solve the aviation challenges of the 21st century, we are going to need input from fresh, well-trained and motivated students entering the aeronautics arena," said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator of NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. "Our goal is to encourage and foster these students to continue with their interest in aviation and apply what they learn to our research efforts."

CAT for IIMs to go online from this year

New Delhi, India April 28: Hundreds of thousands of students aspiring to get into the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) will now be answering the Common Admission Test (CAT) online from this year onwards.

The CAT, scores in which decide admission to the IIMs located in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Indore, Kozhikode, Lucknow and Shillong, will now be a Computer Based Test (CBT), a statement issued by IIM-Bangalore said Monday.

The CAT scores not only determine admission into the IIMs, but also to several other reputed management institutes. According to the statement, the test will be conducted in a window of about 10 days at the end of the year.

Too many students learn to hate science

Houston -- Science education needs to be transformed from dull to exciting to lure more students into the field, say U.S. teachers and researchers.

Students forced to memorize and regurgitate science information come to hate the subject, said Bruce Alberts, editor of the journal Science and a former head of the National Academies of Science.

"Bad tests are forcing a trivialization of science education," said Alberts, calling for a revolution in education to show that "real science is exciting."

2-Star Stocks Poised to Plunge: Strayer Education?

Based on the aggregated intelligence of 130,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, education provider Strayer Education (Nasdaq: STRA) has received a distressing two-star ranking.

Study: Union effect on education inclusive

Bloomington, Ind. -- The effect of collective bargaining on student achievement is inconclusive, a study released Wednesday by Indiana University's School of Education said.

That doesn't mean opinions are scarce. "Both sides seem to be behaving such that there's no question about a positive or negative effect of collective bargaining," said the study's author Nathan Burroughs, a visiting research associate at the university's Center for Evaluation and Education Policy.

The study tackles the question raised in contention by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. Spellings said teacher's unions were blocking reform, which provoked an aggressive response from Weingarten, a university news release said.

Work or Stay at Home?

Can you afford to stay home after the birth of your child? In an attempt to answer this question, many folks use too simple an equation -- typically looking at a rundown of major bills, adding the cost of child care, and then comparing the expenses to their income. The trouble with this calculation is that it fails to do a couple of important things, such as (1) factoring in the true cost of working and (2) acknowledging many of the "hidden" financial benefits of employment.

Study finds roommates can help each other

Ann Arbor, Mich. -- A University of Michigan study finds you really can work things out with your college dorm roommates if you try.

Research by psychologists Jennifer Crocker and Amy Canevello at the U-M Institute for Social Research and published in the September 2008 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology concludes trying to be supportive can bring benefits to both sides.

"Roommate relationships can be really good or they can be really bad. And the fear is that they'll go from bad to worse," said Crocker in a Tuesday press release. "But our study shows that you can create a supportive relationship and turn the stranger who's your roommate into a friend."

A National Institutes of Health funded study looked at more than 300 college freshmen who had been assigned to share rooms with other students with whom they were unacquainted. The goal was to see how students own relationship approaches affected their relationships with roommates and ultimately their own emotional health.

Early rising creates Japanese nationalism

Cambridge, England -- A British study suggests a Japanese government-supported trend for arising early each day might be symptomatic of a revival of nationalism.

Brigitte Steger, a Cambridge University lecturer in Japanese studies, said the preoccupation with awakening early, last seen in Japan during the first half of the 20th century, might be a "conscious and coordinated attempt" to foster national identity.

Steger notes recent Japanese governments have taken similar steps, including requiring schools to teach students how to be patriotic. Steger argues the fad for early rising is a more subtle manifestation of the same trend.

"The key reason for the revival in early rising culture is that it teaches people to control their emotions, feelings and desires," said Steger. "It is training in spiritual determination so people feel motivated to contribute selflessly to a common cause.

'Guy's rights' lawyer hits women's studies

Washington -- A lawyer who describes himself as a "guy's rights" advocate has filed a lawsuit over the women's studies program at Columbia University in New York

Roy Den Hollander, an alumnus of the Columbia Business School who practices in Manhattan, has already sued New York nightclubs, claiming that "ladies nights" are unconstitutional. Another pending suit is aimed at the federal
Violence Against Women Act.

Den Hollander said that the university is using federal aid to spread a "religionist belief system called feminism," The New York Times reports. He also called women's studies "a bastion of bigotry against men."

In his practice, Den Hollander spends much of his time representing men in litigation, The Times said, and describes himself as specializing in "anti-feminist cases or guys' rights cases."