The true value of a college degree for members – and credit unions

first_imgAsk a recent college graduate if earning their degree was worth it and you may be surprised at the answer you receive. According to a recent Bloomberg article, many college graduates are pessimistic about the return on their investment in a degree. The growing costs of paying for college, coupled with the misconception that graduates should be pulling a hefty salary straight out of school, are leaving consumers skeptical about the value of a college education. Perhaps it’s falling into the trap of today’s instant gratification society that sways some to think like this. Yet time and time again, data show that earning a college degree is very well worth it, and that graduates will see the benefit of a degree over time.Here are the facts:The difference in the average income level of someone at least 25 years old with a bachelor’s degree is on average $30,264 as opposed to the salary of a high school graduate.1The unemployment rate is significantly lower for those with a bachelor’s degree versus a high school diploma (3.8 percent versus 12.2 percent, respectively). The same is true of those living in poverty; 21.8 percent of high school graduates live at or below the poverty line, while only 5.8 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher do. 2Over the past four decades, those with a bachelor’s degree have tended to earn 56 percent more than high school graduates, and those with an associate’s degree have tended to earn 21 percent more than high school graduates. 3A Pew Research study found that on some key measures, the largest and most striking disparities between college graduates and those with less education surface in the Millennial generation. Millennials with at least a Bachelor’s Degree earn $17,500 more than Millennials with a high school education, a wage gap that is significantly larger than years prior, and continuing to grow. (Supporting Chart here.)As strong as they may be, these facts don’t mean every college graduate will reach their maximum earning potential the moment they have their diploma in hand. These numbers reflect an average over time, and entry level positions are just that – an entry into the working world and a chance to use the knowledge gained in college to advance a career.In fact, employed Millennial college graduates are more likely than their peers with a high school diploma or less education to say their job is a stepping stone to a more desired position that furthers their career (86 percent vs. 57 percent). In contrast, Millennials with a high school diploma or less are about three times as likely as college graduates to say their work is “just a job to get by” (42 percent vs. 14 percent).2The Impact on Student LendingThese facts are important for lenders to remember as they help families sort out their options for funding a valuable college education. The cost of tuition can seem staggering to most, as many Americans will experience their higher education venture as the biggest investment they may make – with the exception of their home mortgage. It’s daunting. And coupled with the media’s bleak portrayal of student lending in recent years, many consumers are quite leery of borrowing money for college. Stepping up, this is where credit unions can make a difference, however.When families turn to their financial institution to help them through major life events, they are seeking experts who can answer their questions and put their minds at ease. What sets credit unions apart from other lenders are personalized solutions for their members and education about their financial decisions. That education extends beyond the simple math of a loan. It includes teaching members about credit scores, repayment options, and a true understanding of the loan agreement into which they enter.CU Student Choice, for instance, works with online financial literacy resource iGrad assisting students and their families to make effective personal finance, student loan, and career decisions. This platform – an online portal featuring financial literacy tools for college students and recent graduates – helps before, during, and after the college years, providing resources and information on schools, career paths, budgeting, workplace expectations – and even an interactive job bank to help graduates find employment in cities across the country.Both organizations have worked to design and deploy two unique elements beyond the standard platform. The first is an interactive module that prospective borrowers may complete before a loan application is submitted – which ensures that students and parents understand college and loans costs, as well as career salary expectations. The second module is designed to help borrowers effectively enter their loan-repayment cycles.Educating borrowers about the value of obtaining a college degree is also crucial so they understand the impact of the investment they’re making and clear up any misconceptions about private student loans. Increasing negativity revolving around student lending issues has on many occasions overshadowed the true benefit of the education itself. Again, the credit union can provide members who may be distrustful of traveling down the loan road with a more educated view that results in a better decision – either way. This lending education from a credit union further positions them as a trusted resource for any financial decision. And providing a student with valuable advice and possibly a college loan to boot, sets up the credit union with an active member for all of life’s major decisions following graduation.Building Future RelationshipsBy offering this sound advice and gaining the trust of their members, credit unions have an opportunity to build lasting relationships with a younger demographic. Students leaving home for the first time may also need a checking account or their first credit card. New graduates could be looking for a car loan. For one Student Choice client credit union that has offered the program for five years, a review of their borrowers in repayment showed that:63% had a checking account22% had a credit card16% had an auto loanProviding a private student loan option for families isn’t just about paying for college; it’s also about building a solid foundation for a strong financial future. It’s not only an investment in education for the student’s future career and success but an investment for the credit union – again, positioning the institution as a trusted resource to provide further services through life’s financially-related milestones. Why wouldn’t any credit union want to position itself with this opportunity?1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics2 Pew Research Center3 Federal Reserve Bank of New York 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Michael Weber As the Chief Marketing Officer, Michael not only builds awareness of Student Choice within the credit union industry but also works directly with client credit unions and business partners to … Web: Detailslast_img read more

400K Nimbaians to Get Safe Drinking Water

first_imgMap of Nimba county shows where there is no water (red dots) and were water is but pumps could be working or not working (black dots). (Source: The Last Well) -The Last Well The Last Well, the Christian charity with a vision of ensuring that every community in Liberia, has access to safe drinking water, has set its sights on its biggest project yet — the entire Nimba County — with a target of 253 new wells, 287 well rehabilitations. According to the 2011 Liberia Waterpoint Atlas, Nimba has only 17% access to limited water supply services. A waterpoint, in this case, is a place where water is available for [human] consumption. As at 2017, the WASH Liberia index shows that waterpoints across the 17 statutory districts of Nimba County are between 33% and 83% functional. 10 of those 17 statutory districts have waterpoints that are less than 60% functional.  Nimba has been one of Liberia’s most significant historical regions and is the second most important County in terms of population and politics. Bordered by the counties of Bong, River Cess, Sinoe, and Grand Gedeh, Nimba has a population of approximately 563,000 inhabitants, according to the Liberia Household Income and Expenditure Survey. Life in Nimba is generally rural-based with most of its population living as subsistence farmers. The Last Well has carried out field assessment in all communities in Nimba and aims to address the water challenges faced by the citizens of the county, especially those in rural areas.The Last Well is working with several major implementing partners on the Nimba project, including: Living Water International, Water of Life, World Hope International, Water4, Vision Collaborators, Equip Liberia, LURA, and GUCDA. Two of the key funding organizations, Page Family Foundation and Magna Imperio Systems, are supporting the The Last Well Projects both in Nimba and Margibi counties.Targeting over 400,000 beneficiaries across all 17 statutory districts of Nimba County the charity aims to even reach hamlets in the remotest parts of the county.Liberia waterpoint functionality chart by county shows that less than 60% of waterpoints in Nimba County (fourth from bottom) are functional. (Source: project in in Nimba is expected to be launched  on May 15, 2019 in Sanniquelle, Nimba County with the construction of a total of 253 new wells, rehabilitation of 287 hand pumps and the distribution 9,070 water filter bucket to households in 1,364 communities in the county.The Last Well recently launched a similar project in Lofa as a way of responding to the water crisis in that part of Liberia. The clean and safe drinking water project targets all of the districts in Lofa county, with the construction of new well, rehabilitation of hand pumps and the distribution of water filter buckets.According to Mr. Abdul Koroma, WASH liaison for The Last Well, the charity’s project in Margibi County is targeting 129,237 persons. That project focuses on the construction of 70 new wells, rehabilitation of 31 hand pumps and the 8,181 water filter buckets to house holds to 827 communities in the county.The charity revealed that her ongoing  engagements with the counties is part of efforts along with partners to provide safe and clean water to Liberians.The Last Well further disclosed the provision of safe and clean water is also aimed at buttressing government efforts in providing safe drinking water to its citizens. The Last Well Nimba Project is made possible by several funding and implementing partners.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) – Advertisement –last_img read more