Reasons to Make the University of Oregon Your College of Choice

Although I graduated from the University of Oregon and went back there to complete my Master’s Degree, that isn’t the main reason I encourage young people to become students there. The truth is, there are a number of good reasons to choose The University of Oregon, and I would like to share some of them here.

1. Location and a few things the University of Oregon has to offer

The University of Oregon is located in Eugene, Oregon, a city of just over 100,000 people about 100 miles south of Portland, Oregon’s largest city. The climate is moderate with very few days a year of freezing weather and very few days of extremely hot weather. Ocean beaches are a little more than an hour away and the mountain lakes are about the same distance in the opposite direction. I-5, a major freeway runs along the eastern side of the city making the University one of the most accessible colleges in the state.

The city of Eugene is an active community which provides something for everyone. If you are the outdoor type, Eugene is noted for its many miles of bicycle paths, especially the scenic ones along the banks of the beautiful Willamette River.

During the year, running is often spotlighted, as Eugene claims to be the Running Capital of The World. The Olympic Trials for track and field were held at the University last summer, so that title may be more than just wishful thinking.

Art shows and music festivals abound. The Hult Center for Performing Arts in downtown Eugene has something going on every day of the week, and people come from all over the states (and a few nearby states) to attend the annual Bach Festival there.

Eugene offers great restaurants to suit every imaginable taste.

Lane Community College, an excellent Junior College is located just outside the city and offers a wide program of technical courses as well as college transfer classes for those who prefer to start their college education in a smaller institution. (See link to Lane Community College website for further information.)

Each fall, the Eugene Celebration draws huge crowds who turn out, rain or shine to elect that year’s Slug Queen—a rather dubious honor, but it is all in good fun. The festival continues with many other activities to capture the minds of those who are not interested in Slug royalty and it is an experience that is guaranteed to leave you looking forward to next year’s festival.

There are two major hospitals in the area, and health care is readily available in almost every part of the city. An award winning newspaper, The Eugene Register Guard, effectively covers the news, both local and national.

2. A bit about the University of Oregon’s program, faculty, and size

Well-known for its excellence, the University of Oregon offers professional programs such as journalism, education, law, performing arts, music, architecture, planning and public policy. It is a major liberal arts and sciences university and has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s best colleges not just once but several times.

The faculty at the University of Oregon is outstanding, often drawing notable scholars who have taught at the best colleges in the entire nation. Student enrollment for 2010 is expected to be approximately 21,000.

According to the University’s website, 7 governors of the state of Oregon have been elected 7 from among University of Oregon graduates; two faculty members have been Nobel Prize winners, ten have been Pulitzer Prize winners, 19 have been Rhodes scholars, and 129 faculty members have been Fulbright scholars. Many other faculty members are also recipients of various illustrious awards.

The University of Oregon has been recognized as having a larger percentage of its students join the Peace Corp than any other college in the nation. More than 2000 of its graduates have joined.

3. Tuition fees and student housing for 2010

In today’s economic climate, tuition costs are become a very important consideration when choosing a college. The University of Oregon is about equal to other state colleges of the same size falls where college costs are concerned. Tuition for fall 2010 is estimated at about $7428, with another $1050 for books and supplies. Students who will need financial aid or scholarships are urged to visit their website to see what is currently available.

It is hard to estimate the cost of housing as so much depends on whether a student plans to live in a college dorm, share an apartment or house off campus with a friend, or live with his or her own family members.

Upscale dorms and apartments in the immediate campus area are available for those who can afford them, but there are also many rentals off campus. Unless you have relatives you plan to stay with in the area, your best bet is to get in touch with the campus housing director who can help you match your needs with what is available at any given time.

4. Transportation around the campus and town

The University of Oregon is not closed to traffic as so many colleges are these days, but it can be difficult at times to find a parking space. Students can apply for parking stickers, but the parking areas fill up quickly as they operate on a first-come, first-served basis. If possible, students are advised to use alternate transportation such as bicycles, or the public transit system which has bus stops at most corners throughout the campus area.

The public transit system is far reaching, even going to a number of nearby towns so travel around the area is fairly easy. Tokens can be purchased by students at a discounted price, and a printed schedule is available so riders can plan ahead of time for bus arrival and departure times, transfers, and routes that may not be running after certain hours at night or on holidays.

5. Sports

Autzen Stadium, the University’s football facility, has been recognized as being one of the top ten in the whole United States and ground has just recently been broken for a new multi-million dollar basketball facility. The University of Oregon Track and Field program is known not only all over the United States, but world-wide.

Outstanding athletes such as Olympian runner, Steve Prefontaine, NFL stars Joey Harrington, Alkili Smith, and Dan Fouts, track star, Alberto Salazar, and many, many more have all been University of Oregon students. Nike CEO, Phil Knight, has been and still is very active in promoting and contributing to the sports program at the University of Oregon.

The University of Oregon does not concentrate on just one particular sport, but offers fifteen different sports programs for men and women. Unlike many other colleges, the sports program at the University of Oregon is not only self supporting, but it contributes approximately 5 million dollars yearly to academic programs in other areas of the University.

6. Churches

Eugene, where the University of Oregon is located, has many churches to choose from, as well as two Bible colleges within commuting distance. In fact, North West Christian University adjoins the University of Oregon so that would be easy to enroll in classes from both schools at the same time. Eugene Bible College, affiliated with Bible Standard Churches, is only a short drive from the downtown area.

There are even more great reasons for choosing the University of Oregon as the perfect place to continue your post high school education, but those provided above should be enough to convince you to give it a second, and maybe even a third look. A link to the University of Oregon website follows so that you can study its programs in more depth to determine whether or not it is really the best match for you.

The Importance Of College Textbooks To Students And How They Can Save Money On Buying Them

In history, textbooks have been used in order to ensure the consistency in the coursework which were offered to the students according to the grade level of the course requirements. In today’s textbooks, it continues to provide countless academic benefits to the students as well as the instructors. College textbooks when used in conjunction with a variety of other materials like online books, videos and as reference books provide a lot of value to a student’s education.

College textbooks were usually used in the colleges in order to be used as references for learning. These books were published in order to cover the subjects in the syllabus that the students were supposed to learn. Every college student uses different college textbooks for their subjects.

One advantage in using these books is that they provide essential information. The professors are the one reliable source of the information; the textbooks were used in order to provide more information. The reason why the professors do not always impart all of the information is due to the limits in the duration of the lessons.

The textbooks also help the students in highlighting and noting the key points. These textbooks serve as a guide for an easier understanding of the subject matter. If the students note the key points, it will make it easier for them in remembering the lessons especially during the examination periods.

They can also be used for future reference. The students may always forget what their professor had taught them. Therefore, they need textbooks in order to keep referring to; they are also a tool to refresh their memory. Also a reliable source of much information needed by the college students which will help them prepare for their thesis and term papers. These textbooks will come with instructions as well as guidance for the students on the kind of questions that they would be likely to encounter in the examination.

The books also act as an aid to the instructors as well as the professors in order to ensure that their lectures were more organized. The books as a fact, are divided into chapters, the professors find them very reliable in following these chapters and make constant references to them during their teaching. In this way, the professors were helped by these textbooks especially when checking that the students were learning the subject. By doing this the professors will know which topics that their students find difficult and will also know the ones that they have already understood.

The price of the textbooks is continuously rising and there are ways that the student can save money on them. Some stores stock the previous versions of the books and these will be available at a lower cost. It is also a good idea to have a look at the online stores that stock the books as they are normally considerably cheaper than buying from bookstores. Another way to save money is to ask students at a higher level if they have finished with their books and whether they would be willing to sell them to you at a cheap price. Most of them would be willing to do this.

Is College Debt Really Necessary? What Parents and Students Should Know

“Had the people who started Facebook decided to stay at Harvard, they would not have been able to build the company, and by the time they graduated in 2006, that window probably would have come and gone.” – Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal.

Ever since I can remember, I was inculcated with the belief that in order to truly succeed in America, you have to get at least a 4 year degree from a prestigious university; even if it means taking on a ton of debt that you may work your entire adult life to pay off.

I also came to believe that if you really want to stay on the top of the heap, then you need to take on even more debt and get a graduate degree, hence my own post-graduate alphabet soup, including law school.

In high schools across the nation, statistics are still being trotted out by guidance counselors to “prove” that young people have no chance of success without that high-priced sheepskin, or that, if they somehow manage to land a job without one, they will never get promoted and will be stuck in bottom-of-the-ladder limbo land for all eternity.

Twenty years ago, the idea that “you have to go to college to make good money” might have been more truth than myth.

Now, though,, the ever-escalating cost of tuition, fees, and books at America’s universities means that post financial collapse parents might want to take another, perhaps more jaundiced view of the entire higher education system even as the old school narrative continues to be shoved down their throats by university marketing departments.

As a financial educator, I have had numerous concerns about my own clients taking on the costly burdens associated with financing their child’s college education. Truthfully, it makes me more than a bit queasy when I see clients raiding their savings and retirement accounts to send Junior to a fancy private school.

This is especially true in a financial system in flux, where, for the first time ever, over 50% of the unemployed and underemployed have college degrees. To make matters worse, there is a bubble on the horizon; large, paper-thin, and waiting for one tiny pin prick to explode it.

This bubble comes in the form of easy-to-obtain student loans that many are finding are not so easy to pay back. A 2012 article on CNN’s website reported that, at a time of record high unemployment for college grads, student indebtedness had reached an average of nearly $27.000.

“… Two-thirds of the class of 2011 held student loans upon graduation, and the average borrower owed $26,600, according to a report from the Institute for College Access & Success’ Project on Student Debt. That’s up 5% from 2010 and is the highest level of debt in the seven years the report has been published.” (1)

Beyond the expense of college there is also the thornier issue of whether most college kids are learning anything of real value that can be applied to the new economy. The education cartel, always in need of fresh blood and fresh wallets, has systematically smeared those who work in the trades as “blue-collar,” or “uneducated,” and thus somehow inferior to those with Ivy League degrees.

Matthew B. Crawford, a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, and author of the bestseller, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, has posited that the degradation of manual labor and the rise of so-called knowledge-based jobs was wrongheaded and that the future will belong to those who actually know how to do things such as build custom furniture, repair a car, or install heating and air conditioning units.

Says Crawford:

“While manufacturing jobs have certainly left our shores to a disturbing degree, the manual trades have not. If you need a deck built, or your car fixed, the Chinese are of no help. Because they are in China. And in fact there are reported labor shortages in both construction and auto repair. Yet the trades and manufacturing are lumped together in the mind of the pundit class as “blue collar,” and their requiem is intoned. Even so, the Wall Street Journal recently wondered whether “skilled [manual] labor is becoming one of the few sure paths to a good living.”

Crawford also observes that “If the goal is to earn a living, then, maybe it isn’t really true that 18-year-olds need to be imparted with a sense of panic about getting into college (though they certainly need to learn). Some people are hustled off to college, then to the cubicle, against their own inclinations and natural bents, when they would rather be learning to build things or fix things… ” (2)

The Cartelization of Education

We need only look, says bestselling author and trend forecaster Charles Hugh Smith, to the advent of the higher education cartel to see the reason for our obstinate addiction to the “old school” higher education system and the instance that insistence that everyone needs to go to college. There is a lot of money to be made, says Smith, and an elite cadre of cartel bosses who stand to profit by promoting that myth.

“Why does the old style system still persist even though it is already demonstrably inferior? In addition to the financial disincentives, there is another reason: the current system retains a monopoly on assessing student learning and granting credit for demonstrated accomplishment. The schools are able to do this because they have arranged a monopoly on accreditation. This is ultimately a grant of state power.

As a result, modern colleges and universities have collectively become a rent-seeking cartel, an alliance of nominally competitive institutions that maintains a highly profitable monopoly of accreditation. To grasp the power of the cartel, consider a typical Physics I course even at MIT is almost entirely based on Newtonian mechanics, and the subject matter is entirely in the public domain. Only a cartel could arrange to charge $1,500 and more per student for tuition and texts, in the face of far lower cost and superior quality materials, for subject matter that is no more recent than the 19th Century.” (3)

Jeffrey Tucker, CEO of the startup Linerty.me and publisher at Laissez Faire Books, agrees with Smith and maintains that cartelization has ensured that a return on investment in higher education is far from a sure thing for most students and their parents.

… even if the teen does everything right-every test trained for and taken five times, every activity listed on the portfolio, a high GPA, top of the class, early applications and admissions-you are not home free. You are going to spend six figures, but there is also a high opportunity cost: you remove your child from remunerative work for four years, and this is after four years of no employment in high school. That means both lost income and lost job experience. College is costly in every way. (4)

Citing what economists refer to as “inelastic demand,” Tucker writes that the cartel is exceptionally aware of, and deliberately contributes to, parental unwillingness to forego a four-year college education for their children, even if it means putting themselves in the poor house.

“Parents would gladly step in front of a bus to save their children, so facing debt and financial loss for a few years seems just part of parental obligation. This is why, in economic terms, the demand for college is relatively inelastic: Parents keep paying and paying no matter how bad it gets,” he argues. (4)

I see a lot of angst concerning this issue among my own clients. As the parent of a high school student, I understand it. The idea of college “no mater what” is so ingrained in our thinking that when a child tells us they are considering postponing college or even not going at all, parents tend to panic.

However, the stakes are higher than ever before and the potential for damage to the parents’ own financial well-being is enormous, not to mention the contribution education debt makes to our national economic malaise.

Parents and students need to ask themselves honest questions about the value of a traditional four-year degree, what the potential return on that investment will be, and whether or not there are viable alternatives.

Student Debt and Wall Street

As of this writing, current student debt stands at around $1.2 trillion dollars, more than the entire gross domestic products of some nations, including Canada.

After what we’ve discussed in previous chapters, it should come as no shock to you that many banks have turned these college loan obligations into (surprise, surprise) “investments” and are busy shopping them on Wall Street as subprime debt.

The market for these educational loans is relatively small compared to the market for home loans, so I doubt that it will be as massive a bubble as we had during the housing market.

However, if the Fed continues to hold interest rates down, investors might be desperate enough to snap more of them up. Then we could have another potential economy-damaging event on our hands.

Teresa’s Takeaway: Alternatives to Traditional 4-Year Degrees

Many of my clients are able to fund their kids’ education without incurring any debt due to their diligence in creating and maintaining their own private finance system using specially-designed insurance policies. In fact, I set up many of these policies that have as their express purpose the funding of a university education.

That being said, however, I never think it is a good idea to spend money simply because you have it available.

If you are a young person considering college or graduate school, do your research and question your motivations. Before saddling yourself or your parents or grandparents with a lot of debt- consider alternatives to four-year colleges, such as online degrees, community colleges, and trade schools. Ask yourself if what you really love and want to do

Find out if what you want to do really does require a college degree in the first place. Amazingly there are lots of high-paying jobs that don’t require 4-year degrees.

Look into local and community colleges, where your expenses are often a fraction of what private universities charge.

If you’re a recent high school graduate, take a year to “cool off,” work, save and travel. Gain a better understanding of yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. Learn what you have to offer to the world. Contribute to the global conversation in a meaningful way as a volunteer.

A bright spot in all of this is the fact that there are some great alternatives to the traditional sheepskin; alternatives that might actually broaden a students’ understanding of the world and give them skills that are needed in the new economy without bankrupting mom and dad.

Bestselling author James Altucher, a longtime proponent of re-thinking college, provides a few real alternatives to college.

Altucher suggests that some college prospects might be better off taking their college savings and starting a business.

He also suggests traveling to a country such as India and immersing your self in a culture completely different than your own.

You will learn what poverty is. You will learn the value of how to stretch a dollar. You will often be in situations where you need to learn how to survive despite the odds being against you. If you’re going to throw up you might as well do it from dysentery than from drinking too much at a frat party, “he writes. (5)

For even more ideas of what to do instead of college, check the resource section of this book for a link to Altucher’s report “40 Alternatives to College.”

References:

(1) Report CNN Money “Average Student Loan Debt Nears $27,000”

(2) Crawford, Matthew B. Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work

(3) Smith, Charles Hugh, Higher Education Cartel, Meet Creative Destruction, Sept. 9,2013

(4) Tucker, Jeffrey A.”Is There A Viable Alternative to College?” The Freeman, July 2013

(5) Altucher, James “8 Alternatives to College” The Altucher Confidential. January 8, 2011

The Rise of Free Online College Courses

To say that attending college is an expensive process is an understatement. As at 2012, total student debt in America is believed to have exceeded $1 trillion. In 2011, the New York Times reported that average student debt was approximately $26,500 and online college courses are not much cheaper. However, the advent of free online college courses, other known as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), could change the face of education forever.

It started off as an experiment but all signs point towards it being a huge success with large numbers of public universities set to offer MOOCs to anyone who applies in the hope that many of the participants will pass the course; enroll in the college and pay the normal tuition fees. In a country where a degree in religious and women’s studies in a prestigious university can cost up to $100,000, MOOCs could open up the world of education to students. Why are colleges interested in offering these free taster courses? Many American colleges are in huge debt and need some method of attracting more students.

Growth of a Phenomenon?

The University of Arkansas, the University of Cincinnati and Arizona State are just three of the well-respected colleges involved in the plan. The growth of MOOCs really spiked in 2012 as start-ups such as Udacity and edX came to the fore and offered hope to those who previously couldn’t afford education. These courses were founded by professors of top schools such as Stanford and Harvard with millions of people worldwide taking the teachers up on their offer.

At this stage, one wonders if MOOCs can one day replace college degrees. If this were the case, it would make a profound difference to an incredible number of would-be students. One issue was that colleges were not giving credit for MOOCs but even this looks set to change. A number of universities in Austria and Germany are giving credit for MOOCs and this could spread to American educational institutions as Colorado State has made noises about following the lead of its European counterparts. The University of Washington is also considering this course of action though students at the college will need to pay a fee and do extra work with a professor from the institution if it goes ahead with the plan.

The Future of MOOCs

These free online courses are no longer a novelty and will continue to be used as a tool to encourage prospective students to enroll in a university. The University of Texas in Arlington has teamed up with Academic Partnerships to offer free online college courses to would-be nursing students. To date, more than 80% of those that accepted the free offer returned and paid for the on-campus course. If nothing else, MOOCs give students a ‘try before they buy’ option, a valuable resource when courses are so expensive. Free online college courses could pose a threat to traditional education but if these institutions find a way to utilize MOOCs to their advantage like the University of Texas, giving something for free could turn out to be very lucrative.

Why Should We Seek a College Education in Today’s Economy?

Can you break the poverty cycle by getting a college degree?

Whatever education you get beyond high school will help you break the poverty cycle. There is no reason for anyone to live in poverty in this country. It is only a matter of one making good choices every day of one’s life. Not everyone will attain a 4-year degree, but everyone with an average ability can attain some form of education beyond high school, be it on the job training, a certificate program or an associate degree. It all depends on your interest, commitment and discipline. The more education you have, the larger your social and economic circle will be. In most cases, the higher is your level of education, the more successful you will be.

Once you have broken this poverty cycle, not only does it benefit you, but also it benefits your children, your grandchildren and for generations to come. The tendency will be that each generation will do better than what you did. You can only claim with pride that you have achieved success in life when all of your children are doing well. This is a philosophy that we all should live by. There will always be an exception because we are human beings and we are not perfect.

The value of the connections that one makes as a result of having a college degree: Conquering college education

A college degree allows you to get a job that can afford you a comfortable living with a potential for a comfortable retirement. Even though most young adults don’t think about the importance of investing in a comfortable retirement, your most important goal is to make sure that you do everything that you can to retire early and comfortable. This all has to be done while you take care of your family. As parents, you will have a good idea of what type of schools/colleges that your children should attend to make good friendships and connections that can be very helpful in their professional aspirations. Most young people are not aware of the value that these friendships will have in their lives. Our society is a political arena in reality and each one of us needs to be conscientious of our friendships and connections, which will impact our professional goals. If you look at most of the successful and well-to-do young professionals, you will notice that they are all doing well because of the connections they made while they were in college or as a result of family connections. In most cases, it is not what you know but whom you know.

The college degree is fundamental in your success in life but the political contacts and connections are key to you landing that job with great potential to earn a great income. Don’t get me wrong, money is not the most important thing in this life, but it can make your life less stressful and your retirement more pleasurable.

College degree allows you the opportunity to expand your social circle, which can lead to great opportunities in life: Conquering a college degree

There are some people who will disagree with what I am about to say but it is a reality that without a college degree, one’s social circle is limited, which leads to limited opportunities. The more education you have, the greater are your opportunities to expand your social circle. Your social circle can be very helpful to your professional career. Education is not the only factor in play here, but your personality along with your ability to genuinely connect with people will determine how far you will advance in your career. If you allow your heart to guide every step of your life, you will always attain success and be happy. It will be very difficult to attain success and be happy if you are self-centered and egotistical. We make connections and friendships that will last when we operate from the heart. Your social circle will for the most part depend on the level of education that you have and the type of income that you earn.

How does all of this relate to your retirement (the golden years)? Conquering your retirement

Everything that you do in your lifetime has a lot to do with your retirement. The amount of money that you make and the amount of money that you invest in your retirement will determine whether you will have comfortable golden years. Most young people will procrastinate to invest in their retirement because retirement for young people is an after thought. It is a matter of inexperience and the knowledge of how important a good income is to a retired person. Whatever life style you are accustom to in the latter part of your life, you will need to have a retirement income that will allow you to maintain that current life style. To think that you are going be comfortable with an income that is less than 80% of your salary prior to retirement, you are in for a big surprise. You will need more money than you think because when you retire, you will have more time to do the things that you want to do and this will cost you more money. I would recommend that you invest as much as you can into your retirement because you will need the money and because after retirement your earning potential decreases dramatically.

This is why I strongly recommend that you get as much education as possible to guarantee you a comfortable life and happy golden years.