New study: Almost half of borrowers will default on student loans in coming years

If you feel like you may never pay off your student loans, you’re not alone — over 1 million people default on their student loans every year.

According to studies from research groups Urban Institute and the Brookings Institute, by 2023, 40 percent of borrowers may default on their student loans, by not making payments for nine months or more.

The average time it takes for someone to pay off their student loans is 19.4 years, and according to an Urban Institute study, student loans are the second largest debt category in the U.S., ranking behind mortgages.

Defaults are actually higher among those who borrow smaller amounts and those who never finished college.

“It’s not surprising that those who go to a for-profit university had the most debt, and even those who don’t finish have high amounts of debt,” said University of North Dakota economics Professor David Flynn.

Flynn said stagnant incomes could be a reason for student loan debt.

“We’re still dealing with the fallout from the financial crisis (of 2009, 2010),” Flynn said. “Income has remained stagnant; not all incomes have recovered since the crisis.”

In addition, a factor in college graduates increasingly defaulting on their student loans may be that more people are going to college, Flynn said.

“More people are viewing college as a way to get the career and earnings that they want,” he said.

These issues have been around for a long time, Flynn said, but are just now coming to a head because of a bigger underlying issue — the rising cost of attending college.

“Eventually all major players are going to have to have a reckoning on what we’re doing,” Flynn said. “Why is this necessary? Are we sending too many people to college?”

Taking on a reasonable amount of debt can help when it comes time to start paying off student loans, Flynn said. The first step in knowing how much to take out is for borrowers to have a realistic expectation for what their income will be after graduation. Borrowers often have higher expectations for their future income, according to Flynn.

Income growth is uneven, Flynn said. Some fields are seeing increases, like computer-based jobs, programming and finance, but others are stagnant. College graduates should be aware of those things, Flynn said, so that they can borrow accordingly.

“Generally, the idea is that a college degree pays for itself, but if you’re borrowing way more than you’re projected to make, that’s not going to be the case,” Flynn said.

Grand Forks native and UND graduate, Alicia Kellebrew, paid her own way through college but still came out in debt. When Kellebrew graduated in 2012, she had about $20,000 in student loan debt.

“Even when you’re making a normal person income, it can get hard to pay student loans and make a car payment at the same time,” Kellebrew said. “And I’m lucky that I didn’t dig myself such a big hole.”

Kellebrew thinks that society has normalized debt, and that people are getting too comfortable taking on more debt than they can handle.

Kellebrew is also a certified financial counselor, and she said that about half of all the people she sees want to talk about their student loan debt. Kellebrew is not shocked by the studies that point to a high number of people defaulting on their student loans by 2023. She talks to a lot of people who have.

“You shouldn’t need an attorney to figure out what you need to do to pay off your student loans,” Kellebrew said.

When they graduated from the University of Jamestown, Annika Caldwell and her husband, Logan, had a combined debt of $97,000, about $40,000 of it student loans.

They have been debt free since March 2017. One of the ways they did this is living on only 15 percent of their income and putting the rest toward their debt.

“I will be totally honest with you it was not fun while we were doing it,” Caldwell said. “But it was so worth it.”

Now, Caldwell is a stay-at-home mom and has dedicated her days to writing a book, “23 and Debt Free,” and becoming a financial coach. Her book will be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble’s website starting Oct. 23.

Her advice to those struggling is to make a budget.

“If you’re not budgeting and just swiping the card, hoping the numbers come out right at the end of the month, you’re not aware of that spending and you’re going to spend more than you need to,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell and her husband use an Excel spreadsheet to budget, but when they were first married, they had a budget on paper. There are also budgeting apps that can be useful, Caldwell said, such as EveryDollar and Mint.


Penn State hosting webinars for National Distance Learning Week

psu national distance learning week 2018

Online learning experts from Penn State will share their best practices during a series of free webinars the University is hosting to mark National Distance Learning Week, Nov. 5-9.

The webinars will address topics in instructional design, faculty development and student affairs for those who work in online higher education. They will be presented by faculty and staff who work with Penn State World Campus, the University’s online campus; the College of Engineering and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at University Park; Penn State Behrend; and others.

World Campus is also hosting demonstrations of video technology in online learning. The event is co-sponsored by Whitlock and will be held Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Outreach Building at Penn State’s Innovation Park.

“We are excited to work with our colleagues from across the University to host this year’s National Distance Learning Week,” said Rick Shearer, director of research with Penn State World Campus. “We look forward to sharing our expertise with the hope of improving the ways students learn from a distance.”

National Distance Learning Week is sponsored by the United States Distance Learning Association and aimed at advancing the best practices in the digital and distance learning community.

For more than 125 years, Penn State has been offering education at a distance to learners from across Pennsylvania and the United States. In the 1890s, farmers completed correspondence courses through the mail, and over the years, the University’s distance education enterprise evolved to delivering courses through the radio, television, satellite and now the internet.

“Distance learning has long been an important avenue through which we can offer broad access to a Penn State education,” said Jessica Resig, director of the Center for eLearning Initiatives at Penn State Behrend, and one of the experts who will host a webinar. “By exploring recent advances in digital tools and the resulting shifts in pedagogy, we are developing innovative learning experiences to meet the diverse needs of our online learners.”


CTC to recognize National Distance Learning Week

Central Texas College will observe National Distance Learning Week, November 5-8, with a variety of online activities to engage students and potential online users. During the week, the public is invited to log on to the CTC Distance Education webpage,, to learn how distance education can help achieve educational goals, become familiar with the services available to the CTC distant learner and participate in a series of online activities designed educate the general public on the future of learning.

Throughout the week, CTC’s Distance Education and Education Technology department will offer virtual events for students and the public including online daily quizzes and trivia challenges for prizes. Resources regarding distance education and CTC online services such as Blackboard, BioSig-ID, SafeAssign and Blackboard Collaborate will also be available as well as links to various online webinars.

Earlier this year, CTC was ranked among the best online colleges on the Top Colleges List 2018-19 assessed by CTC was rated as the 13th best online college among all two-year and four-year schools in Texas and the eighth best community college in the country. collected data on more than 2,500 accredited colleges and universities from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics and ranked them based on a variety of factors including affordability, student services and the availability of online programs.

In addition, CTC was just ranked 10th among the best online and non-traditional schools for military veterans on the Best for Vets: College 2019 list compiled by Military Times. This past year, CTC was ranked among the best online colleges in the country by and And in the past 10 years, CTC was ranked fifth in the nation among colleges and universities with the most students enrolled in degree-granting online programs.

CTC first began offering credit-granting online-only and distance education courses in 1997 with approximately 500 enrollments. Since then, distance education enrollments have totaled nearly 215,000. Currently, CTC has more than 5,400 online students in Texas and more than 50,000 worldwide.

A handful of online degree-granting programs were initially offered in 2000. Today, CTC offers more than 450 online courses and 55 degree programs which can be completed solely online. CTC distant learners can take advantage of the affordable tuition, frequent class start dates, three-, eight-, 12- and 16-week course schedules and 24/7 technical support.




SCS receives USDA grant for distance learning

Image result for SCS receives USDA grant for distance learning

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08) announced this week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through its Rural Development mission area, has awarded Stanly County Schools a distance learning grant of $447,280.

“Regardless of where you live, all Americans deserve access to 21st Century opportunities and technology,” said Hudson. “This grant will help bridge the gap between students in Stanly County and critical STEM education and job-training programs.”

“We are simply ecstatic about the great news on receiving this grant. It will help provide a platform to ensure equal access to resources within Stanly and across the world. This will help our teachers and students become part of global education communities, creating even greater access to resources,” added Jeff James, superintendent of Stanly County Schools.

This Rural Development investment will be used to help Stanly County Schools build a distance learning program to enhance educational opportunities at 19 school and two hub sites within Stanly County.

Interactive distance learning technology will be used to provide Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curricula and STEM-focused professional development courses benefiting 8,338 students and faculty.

As a leader on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Hudson authored part of Congress’s “Principles for Broadband Infrastructure,” which has received national support.


Life Is Complicated: Distance Learning Helps

Three months after a terrorist attack in Afghanistan left Jeremy Haynes a paraplegic, he met with a psychologist from the Department of Veterans Affairs. “He asked me what I wanted to do with my life,” said Mr. Haynes, a retired Army major. “I said I wanted to go back to school. He said, ‘Let’s be realistic. You’re not going to be operating mentally like you did before.’”

On Aug. 5, 2014, a gunman had sprayed bullets from an assault rifle into a military delegation visiting an Afghan military academy. Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene was killed; Mr. Haynes was struck with four bullets and was among nine Americans injured.

Mr. Haynes, now 34, said the psychologist’s assessment of his mental acuity was based on his poor performance on a cognitive test he had taken during his rehabilitation. “I thought to myself, `That number doesn’t define who I am,’” he said. “`I’m going to show you.’”

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Today, he is studying for his doctorate in business administration at Walden University, which specializes in online education. “I knew I didn’t want to go back to school in the traditional sense,” said Mr. Haynes, who uses a wheelchair. “I didn’t want to be a distraction in the classroom. I didn’t want people to have to hold the door open for me, or worry about parking.”

He had prior experience with distance learning. Although Mr. Haynes, a native of Albany, Ga. who now lives in Fort Belvoir, Va., had pursued his bachelor’s degree in a traditional classroom-based program — at Fort Valley State University in Georgia — he had later earned his master’s in business administration online from Florida Institute of Technology in 2013, while in the Army. He also earned a certification in program management while deployed as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division.

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“I could log on any time, in the middle of Iraq,” he said. For the convenience, the flexibility — and now because, “it puts a vale over my disability,” Mr. Haynes says he prefers taking classes through the screen of his laptop.

Of course, the idea of adults taking classes remotely is not new. “When I started, they called them ‘correspondence courses,’” said George Haber, an adjunct professor at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Queens. “And that’s what it really was. Students would send in their work handwritten, you would write them back.”

In the 1990s, he recalls, the first forms of online classes emerged, although the systems were still slow. Today, such popular online platforms such as Blackboard or Moodle allow for much improved discourse. “In the true online class there’s a lot of interactivity,” said Mr. Haber, who teaches classes in technical writing and communications.


STHCS gets $265,000 grant for distance learning tech

Southern Tier Health Care System will receive more than a quarter million dollars in a second round of federal funding for distance-learning technology.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program tapped STHCS for the $265,179 grant.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to receive this second round of federal funding,” Donna Kahm, STHCS president and CEO, said Friday after learning of the grant. “Distance is one of the biggest barriers to health care and health education for professionals in this vast, rural coverage area.”

Kahm said with each additional satellite site STHCS reduces distance in providing services, “allowing for trainees from a broad spectrum of health-care disciplines to access information vital to serving the residents of our counties, enhancing the quality of rural health care and advancing their own careers.”

Funding will support the purchase, installation and technical services of distance-learning equipment and software at three additional satellite training sites across STHCS’ coverage area of Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties. A key principle behind the grant is building capacity to combat the opioid epidemic.

The three additional sites are:

• Cattaraugus Indian Reservation Volunteer Fire Department in Irving.

• West Valley Volunteer Hose Co. in West Valley.

• Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville.

It also will allow the installation of additional video-recording equipment at STHCS’ main Training Center in Olean.

The grant covers state-of-the-art videoconferencing equipment and software allowing instructors and trainees to virtually connect in multiple locations seamlessly.

An initial round of funding totaling $132,899 was awarded in 2017. It covered equipment installations and support at the following end-user sites in the three counties:


EU stress tests show banks more robust against a crisis

Germany — Europe-wide stress tests show that big banks would come through a theoretical financial crisis in better shape than in the last such test two years ago.

But several analysts said the test didn’t mean Europe could sound the all-clear about potential trouble from Italian banks and government finances.

None of the 48 tested banks, covering about 70 percent of the EU banking sector by assets, fell short of a capital yardstick used in earlier exercises, although this year’s exercise does not give pass-fail grades. That bar was easily cleared by all four Italian banks and by Deutsche Bank, which is trying to return to profit after three years of losses.

Italian banks are in focus because of their large holdings of government bonds, which lost value due to fears that Italy’s new populist government will run bigger deficits.

The results showed that, on average, banks across Europe were left with capital padding of 10.3 percent of their assets, measured as their common equity tier one ratio. That is a widely used measure of bank financial strength and ability to cope with losses on investments and loans that don’t get repaid.

This year’s average strength compared to 9.4 percent in the 2016 stress test of 51 banks under a different scenario.

This year’s scenario, run by the European Central Bank, the European Banking Authority and national supervisors, involved a bigger shortfall in economic output than last time in 2016. Banks faced a 2.7 percent fall in economic output over three years, plus a ferocious bear market in stocks and steep declines in house prices. The scenario attempts to capture some of the known risks to the European economy, including those associated with Britain leaving the European Union and a big drop in sky-high home prices in Sweden.

The stress tests are part of a broader effort to strengthen banking regulation and the banking system in the European Union in the wake of the Great Recession global financial crisis a decade ago, and the eurozone debt crisis that peaked in 2011-2012. Bad banks played a role in the eurozone debt crisis in Ireland, which was forced to seek a bailout from other eurozone governments after guaranteeing the liabilities of failing banks.

Although the results are not pass-fail, all the banks exceeded a 5.5 percent capital yardstick used in an earlier test. The results of the test will now be digested by the European Central Bank’s banking supervisory arm. That process could result in weaker banks being asked to raise money or take other steps to improve their finances.

Several analysts said the test did not fully capture the risks to Italian banks from potential falls in the value of Italian government bonds. A dispute between Italy’s government, which wants to spend more, and the European Commission, which wants to enforce rules against excessive debt and deficits, has emerged as a potential new crisis for the 19-nation eurozone.

Analysts at credit-rating agency DBRS said the scenarios for falls in the prices of Italian bonds were “relatively soft” compared to the plunges seen in the 2011-2012 crisis for Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Jack Allen, senior European economist at Capital Economics, said that “these stress tests shouldn’t be taken as a sign that the country’s lenders could with stand a crisis sparked by doubts about debt default and/or currency redenomination,” which would happen if Italy were to leave the shared euro currency union.

The Italian banks and their strength ratios under the stress scenario were: UniCredit, 9.3 percent, Intesa Sanpaolo, 10.4 percent, Banco BPM, 8.5 percent, and Unione di Banche Italiane, 8.3 percent. The Italian Central Bank said their average loss of 3.9 points was in line with the test average.

Deutsche Bank saw its capital buffer fall to 8.1 percent. Chief Financial Officer James von Moltke said in a statement that the result showed that “our risk profile is strong, but our profitability is not. This is exactly where our focus is now.” Deutsche Bank says it aims to turn a profit this after slashing expenses and risky investments after three straight years of annual losses.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Women in Cleveland banking speak on culture, from ‘Mad Men’ to #MeToo

KeyBank is the biggest bank in Cleveland. Women in Cleveland's banking community speak about the culture, past and present.

In 1972, Linda R. was a summer intern at National City Bank. A year away from receiving her applied science degree from Miami University, she was part of the wave of women who transformed the American workforce within the next 15 years, from 38 to 47 percent female.

Her technical education set her apart — at the time, 80 percent of female workers were secretaries, bookkeepers, or elementary school teachers. That summer, Linda joined a mostly-male project team; all her supervisors were male.

One morning she went into the team meeting room, and there, on the wall, was a picture of a scantily clad woman with whom she shared a passing resemblance. The woman’s face was circled in black magic marker; “Another first for Linda!” was written, in her supervisor’s handwriting.

By the mid-90s, everything had changed, says Meredith S., who began her career in 1978 as a clerk/typist at Society Bank (now Key Bank). The overt sexism had gone the way of other ’70s artifacts: the leisurely lunches, the Christmas parties at the Sheraton, the Union Club’s back-door entrance for women.

But that doesn’t mean women and men are treated equally in the world of banking.

Interviews with women in Cleveland banks and financial offices make it clear that the banking culture today is still overwhelmingly male-driven.

Key Bank CEO Beth Mooney – often named as one of the most powerful people in the Cleveland business world — is among the 12 percent of female bank CEOs nationwide.

Here are a few of their stories:


At the start of her career, Meredith — who received her bachelor’s degree and Master’s of Business Administration, and ultimately advanced to the position of a bank vice president — remembers a workplace more “Mad Men” than #MeToo. Mid to upper management was almost exclusively male, and protections of Human Resource departments had yet to be established. She recalls mid-level managers openly rating the attractiveness of secretaries’ legs; off-color and suggestive birthday cards from bosses to subordinates; and open ruminations about a divorced woman’s sexual life.

The change may have been due to a heightened awareness, or the influx of more women in the workplace, but Supreme Court decisions and legislative settlements didn’t hurt. In 1986, the Supreme Court case Meritor Savings Bank v. Vincent established that it only took an abusive work environment to prove sexual discrimination, and, seven year later, it was decided in Harris v. Forklift that harassment could be proven without any physical or psychological injury. Large settlements followed, with $

34 million awarded to female workers at Mitsubishi Motor, and $150 million at Smith Barney.

The weakening of the economy, which resulted in bank mergers and downsizing, and the increasing use of technology, which enabled analytical tracking of employee performance and production, added to a cleansing and depersonalization. In today’s work environment, production numbers loom supreme; lunches are eaten in cubicles; and business is more like … business.

“Today,” says Meredith, now an independent consultant for financial services, “people are very wary of office conversations that even touch on the personal.”


A 2016 Harvard Business Review article noted, “although overt sexism in financial firms has been stamped out, unconscious bias and gender expectations have not.”

The quote refers to the seeming inability of women to reach banking’s highest executive levels. Only slightly more than a quarter of banks have women in the top five executive positions. A LeanIn/McKinsey & Co.  survey indicated that men were still 15 percent more likely to be promoted — and that percentage rises with job level.

In a March issue of American BankerJulieann Thurlow, president and CEO of Reading Cooperative Bank commented, “When you look into these crowds of bankers, everyone does look alike.” The result, she states, is a reluctance of women to speak out when they do not see themselves reflected in the power dynamic.

Management matters.

Courtney K., an officer at Key Bank. Having worked at several Cleveland banks over the course of her career, said she feels a different confidence with her current employer of KeyBank, led by Beth Mooney.

“If someone calls me sweetie or honey, I may not like it, but I can deal with it,” she said. “I don’t know. I just feel there’s an equal playing field here. I guess it might start at the top.


Sara, a Cleveland bank loan officer/underwriter who started her career in the early 2000s, says this: “I’ll just leave it here — every underwriter I work with is female; every manager, male.”

She also gives a present-day example of a male manager whose comments to a female officer in a subordinate position could be taken straight from the ’70s playbook — except now they’re confined to the privacy of his office.

From “Clean up the kitchen before you go,” to his relaying particulars of a dream in which she played an uncomfortable part, it begs the question … Why doesn’t the woman go to Human Resources?

With that, Sara expresses a wariness, shared by each of the women interviewed, of handing off “problems” to HR.

As the #MeToo movement empowers/encourages women to speak up, the risk is always tempered by personal economics. Today, 40 percent of working women provide the sole economic support for children under the age of 18 — and married women contribute a critical half to most family incomes. Battles are chosen carefully.

“Women can’t take the risk it won’t backfire,” she explains. “It’s just safer to suffer in silence.”

Meredith S. puts it more bluntly. “Who pays HR salaries?” she asks. “Management. So, who do you think they’ll believe?”


US unleashes sanctions on Iran, hitting oil, banking and shipping


The Trump administration reinstated all sanctions removed under the 2015 nuclear deal, targeting both Iran and states that trade with it.

They will hit oil exports, shipping and banks – all core parts of the economy.

Thousands of Iranians chanting “Death to America” rallied on Sunday, rejecting calls for talks.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has vowed to sell oil and break the sanctions.

The military was also quoted as saying it would hold air defence drills on Monday and Tuesday to prove the country’s capabilities..


Non-Banking Housing Finance Lenders Under Liquidity Stress: Top Official

Non-Banking Housing Finance Lenders Under Liquidity Stress: Top Official

A top government official on Monday said the nation’s non-banking housing finance companies were facing liquidity stress, in comments that are likely to put more pressure on the central bank to ease its policy towards the sector.

The intervention by Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas came after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other government officials raised the issue of a liquidity crunch at a meeting with Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel and other regulators last week.

The government has asked the RBI for a dedicated liquidity window for these lenders similar to the one allowed for the entire financial sector during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.

But so far, the central bank has not agreed to the request, as it fears that such an accommodation to those who haven’t been prudent with their lending will only encourage reckless behaviour.

Currently, the shadow banking sector comprising around 11,400 firms with a combined balance-sheet worth over Rs. 22 lakh crore ($301.26 billion) face central bank’s restrictions on borrowings from banks, keeping provisions for the safety of depositors.

The government and the RBI are currently at loggerheads over a series of issues, including control of its reserves, its power over the payments system, and monetary policy.

“The segment of housing finance within the NBFC (Non banking finance companies) sector is facing stress of liquidity,” Srinivas told reporters on Monday, adding the government was trying to address the issue.

The sector needs to reassess how it operates, he said noting there was a need to adopt a sustainable model which could minimize the mismatch between their borrowing and lending. A string of defaults at one major NBFC, Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Service Ltd (IL&FS), have triggered sharp falls in stock and debt markets in recent weeks amid fears of contagion within the rest of the country’s financial sector.

Srinivas’ comments triggered falls in housing finance lenders Indiabulls Housing Finance, Dewan Housing Finance Corporation and PNB Housing Finance which were all down between 3 per cent and 8 per cent on Monday.

Srinivas declined to comment when specifically asked about these companies.

Securities analysts and economists said while the central bank was looking for an improvement in governance of lenders through various restrictions, the government was working on a piece meal approach to address short term liquidity needs.

“There seems to be a difference of opinion between the RBI and the government about the solution strategy,” said NR Bhanumurthy, an economist at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, a Delhi-based think-tank.