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    Money for everything but a college education: Walter M. Kimbrough PDF Print E-mail
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    Recently the CNN documentary series "Inside Man" focused on the issue of income inequality. Having lived in New Orleans two years now, I immediately recognized my new home in the opening scene. So I was quickly drawn in to the show. Within a few minutes, host Morgan Spurlock indicated that one in five Louisianans depend on food stamps. So for this show on income inequality, he picked New Orleans, a place he says "where the rich and poor live side by side."

    We meet Selear Smith, a woman who wants to work full time but now is only able to get a part time job that will provide 10 to 25 hours of work a week at $12 per hour. Essentially, she and her son attempt to live off of $13,000 a year. With that kind of salary she said she can't save any money for anything.

    That anything includes college. Just days before I watched this show, I received two desperate emails from students trying to figure out how to be in school for the summer. On the surface, some might suggest they should go home and work for the summer. Then they would have money for the fall. But what if summer school was not only an avenue to pursue your career, but to ensure that you have somewhere to live? One student wrote the following:

    "I have nowhere to live at this time or no place to go. My mother is disabled now. She receives only one check a month that is barely enough to cover the bills. After having a stroke recently, my mother has been unable to work and therefore unable to meet payment demands."

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    When a $25 million gift can be controversial PDF Print E-mail
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    Walter Kimbrough, President of Dillard University, joins to talk about the controversy sparked by the $25 million Koch brothers donation to the United Negro College Fund.

    My Brother’s Keeper: Stop Writing Letters, Just Do the Work PDF Print E-mail
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    Your Take: Dillard University’s president talks about what should be done to focus on both black boys and girls without waiting for the president’s initiative.

    Over the past few days my Twitter feed has buzzed about the letter signed by 1,000 women and girls urging President Barack Obama to broaden his My Brother’s Keeper initiative. The letter and subsequent commentaries attack the president, accusing him of any number of sins for not including women and girls in this program. Yes, the issues facing women and girls of color are significant, and while ignored in research and programming as the letter states, they do deserve attention and focus.

    And that’s my problem with the letter. In short, would this letter have been written if this initiative had never been announced? I mean, the hash tag #WhyWeCantWait is problematic because people have been waiting for years. When it comes to waiting, #YesWeCan! And did.

    There wasn’t even a sense of urgency to ask for inclusion. This letter comes almost four months after My Brother’s Keeper was announced, and weeks after 200 men wrote to support inclusion of women and girls.

    Black folks even waited to complain.

    Simply stated, many are mad that the first black president has not been our messiah, righting every structural wrong in six years. Hosanna in 2008. Crucify him today.

    When My Brother’s Keeper was announced, I was not fazed. I began doing that work as president of Philander Smith College a year before President Obama was elected. In 2007 we had horrific graduation rates for men (about half that of the women). A group of men and women came together on campus to study the issue and launch a Black Male Initiative. We read the numerous research articles and books on black male achievement and success. We engaged my friend Dr. Shaun Harper, who is the nation’s preeminent scholar on black men in higher education, and our work was in full swing.

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    Sallie Mae giving you the blues? PDF Print E-mail
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    Latest posts from on 06/24/2014

    Kem Washington

    Yes, graduating from college is great but student loans sometimes can be a headache! However for many grads, this is becoming a common story. Approximately 70% of 4 year college graduates are leaving not only with a college degree but student loan payments.

    According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), student loan debt has risen to more than $1.2 trillion dollars, a more than 20% increase from the year 2011. Furthermore, student loan debt is rising at an alarming rate, only second to household mortgages.

    Although the burden of student loan debt can be a bit overwhelming, there may be some relief in sight. The Department of Education offers the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program to individuals who qualify. The PSLF program allows for student loan forgiveness for borrowers who work in the area of public service full time.  If you are having making payments, also consider exploring payment options.

    Here are some helpful tips to determine if it would work for you:

    1.) Consider your boss

    “Any federal government, state government, local government, or tribal government entity is an eligible employer for the PSLF Program,” says Christine Isett, spokesperson for the Department of Education. “This includes the U. S. military, public elementary and secondary schools, public colleges and universities, public child and family service agencies, and special governmental districts.”

    Tax exempt entities under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code may also qualify for the program. In addition, private not for profits that offer public services may also qualify. To determine whether your employer qualifies, visit the Federal Student Aid website.

    2.) Don’t delay payments

    The key to forgiveness is to make certain your payments are timely. According to the Department of Education, borrowers will be granted forgiveness if they make 120 qualifying payments while employed by qualified employers. Borrowers are required to make payments within 15 days of the due date, and the payment has to exceed or equal the required payment.

    If a borrower has difficulty making payments, he should contact his servicer to review possible options. Periods of deferment or forbearance, which allow a borrower to cease making payments temporarily, are not qualifying payments for the purposes of PSLF. That being said, the 120 qualifying payments do not need to be consecutive. For example, if a borrower makes 10 qualifying payments, spends 6 months in an unemployment deferment, and then resumes employment with a qualifying employer and also resumes making payments, the borrower will still start at the eleventh qualifying payment when payments resume.

    3.) Any student loan won’t do

    The type of student loan will also determine whether or not it qualifies for loan forgiveness under the PSLF program. According to the Department of Education, only loans made under the Direct Loan Program – William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan – will qualify. Therefore loans made under the Federal Perkins Loan (FPL) and Federal Family Education Program (FFEL) will not qualify.

    However, there is a work-around. Borrowers can consolidate these loans into the Direct Loan program to take advantage of the PSLF program. But keep mind, you should do your homework or speak with a financial advisor to determine whether consolidating will make sense for your unique financial situation.

    4.) Do the math

    Since the program allows for forgiveness after ten years, you should consider doing the math first. Selecting the best payment plan is essential. Obviously, if the borrower is repaying the loans subject to a ten-year standard repayment plan, subsequently there will be no remaining balances to be forgiven. However, other payment plans may extend payment terms. Although these plans allow for lower payments, they can also have higher accrued interest payments.

    Again, take time to understand what payment plan works best for you. Also, get an understanding of the pros and cons of each payment plan. Most importantly, understand while this program may be a good fit for some it may not be the best fit for all.

    For more information and to determine if you qualify, visit the Federal Student Aid website.

    Remember: your choice, your future!

    –Written by Kemberley Washington, CPA,a professor at Dillard University and former IRS agent. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook. Like, Love or Share this post!

    Lisa Frazier Page named St. Tammany Parish community news editor for | The Times-Picayune PDF Print E-mail
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    15225773-mmmain | The Times-Picayune

    Lisa Frazier Page, a Slidell resident and former Times-Picayune metro columnist who spent 17 years as a reporter and editor at The Washington Post, has been named St. Tammany Parish community newsmanaging producer for | The Times-Picayune.

    Page, a Bogalusa native, began working for The Times-Picayune in 1982 as an intern, while a student at Dillard University in New Orleans. After receiving her masters degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., in 1985, she was hired as a reporter in the newspaper's River Parishes bureau.

    She later covered higher education, social issues and assisted in covering the state legislature before landing the metro column in 1992. She also traveled to South Africa for The Times-Picayune to cover the historic election of Nelson Mandela in 1994.

    Page worked at The Washington Post from 1995-2012 as a reporter, columnist, director of recruiting and hiring, community news editor, magazine editor and assistant city editor. She is the author of six books, most recently "Living and Dying in Brick City: Stories From the Front Lines of an Inner-City E.R." (Spiegel & Grau, 2014). She moved with her husband and three children to Slidell in 2012 to be closer to her family.

    Page will direct | The Times-Picayune's coverage of north shore community news and manage its roster of more than a dozen neighborhood columnists, many of whom have been contributing to the newspaper and website for a decade or longer. She also will work closely with community groups and individuals to post online community-generated stories and photos, which are showcased every Wednesday and Sunday in the newspaper's home-delivered St. Tammany Picayune sections.

    "As a native of the north shore, a Times-Picayune alum and an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years experience, Lisa is the perfect person to lead our St. Tammany Parish community news efforts," said Mark Lorando, director of metro content for | The Times-Picayune.

    Page will work in the Covington newsroom. Please send all inquiries, including information and photos about St. Tammany Parish community events, to her directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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