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    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 Kemberley.com 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 NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune PDF Print E-mail
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    Nola.com | 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 NOLA.com | 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 NOLA.com | 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 NOLA.com | 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 .

     
    Diverse-Why Refuse Koch Brothers’ Gift ― A Practical Perspective PDF Print E-mail
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    By Marc Barnes
    Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Dillard University


    DSC 1392 4x6With all the debate about the recent $25 million gift from the Koch brothers to the United Negro College Fund, it’s interesting that there have been few, if any, opinions from those of us in the trenches—fundraising practitioners at UNCF institutions.

    Some have asked UNCF to refuse the gift, mainly because they disagree with the Koch family politics. I have also seen the argument that accepting this contribution gives credence to a family that works to disenfranchise African-Americans. And some are suggesting that the Koch family will have undue influence on the selection process and the students who participate in the scholarship program. I understand those sentiments, but let’s take a look at the practical side of refusing this gift.

    First, as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, UNCF and its member institutions cannot engage in partisan politics. IRS regulations strictly prohibit nonprofits from participating in elections or with political candidates. Institutions are not legally barred from refusing this gift because of politics, but it would not behoove UNCF to alienate either side of the aisle because both sides are instrumental in causes that affect HBCUs and they jointly pass legislation that result in millions of dollars to the schools each year. And no, this does not mean that they sell out. It means that the schools appreciate the importance of relationships that help them with regulatory issues and provide a significant source of funding. And we have to acknowledge the diversity that exists on our campuses. Various political and religious ideologies are represented, so we cannot assume that refusal of the gift would be satisfactory to all of our students.

    We can also explore the source of the Koch brothers’ wealth. Members of the African-American community spend millions of dollars on products owned by their companies. While UNCF is being asked by many to refuse their money, African-Americans are contributing significantly to the accumulation of their wealth. I have seen efforts to boycott those products, but I have not seen the detractors of this gift support those efforts. As a practical matter, this $25 million gift can be seen as just a reinvestment in a community that has helped earn the Koch family much more.

    Finally, let’s look at the argument that the $5,000 scholarships that will be provided with this gift are small and, therefore, not worth “selling our souls.” Those who call $5,000 small clearly do not work at a UNCF institution. Every week, I speak with students who need $1,000 to $5,000 just to stay in school. It is not a small amount when it makes the difference in a student graduating or returning home with no degree and little opportunity to advance his/her life. While the impact of this gift on each of the 37 UNCF institutions is in no way transformational, collectively, a lot of students will be able to continue on their journey because of those scholarships. That’s not selling our souls or disenfranchising. That is providing opportunities.

    Responsible fundraising professionals would likely agree that every gift is not a good fit for an institution. At Dillard University, we have decided that we will not accept money from or invest in certain industries—i.e., tobacco and firearms. They have a clear and direct negative impact on our communities that result in the death of thousands every year. But that decision is not political. As someone who is tasked with raising significant dollars for an institution that has students with real need, I realize that this gift can provide assistance and encouragement for students to make a greater difference in the world powered by their own ideologies and beliefs.

    Marc A. Barnes is Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Dillard University.

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    Dillard Graduates perform on America's Got Talent PDF Print E-mail
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