Tag Archives: help

How Australia Kicks American Behind on Student Loans

Australia is a country with only about 22 million people, principally concentrated within 12 miles of the Ocean. Despite other issues with racism and the historical treatment of indigenous people – they get some other things right. Educating the populace being one. COnservatism in America has screwed up developing a real education system which benefits the masses…And the country. Much like they have screwed up Medical Care and everything else they have touched.

How Australia Gets Student Loans Right

And why it should make Americans very, very jealous.

Graduate from college this year? Congratulations! If you borrowed money, you likely need to pay back more than $35,000. Just how bad is that? Well, the average American with credit-card debt owes less than half that amount. Perhaps that’s why MyBankTracker recently discovered 30 percent of those they polled would agree to sell an organ in order to pay off their student loan bills.

Good luck getting started in the world with that amount of debt—one reason why many economists believe millennials aren’t buying homes or cars at the same age their parents did.

It doesn’t have to be this way—and it isn’t in many other places. Let’s visit Australia, where politicians congratulated themselves this week for closing down what they considered a major loophole in the nation’s student loan program: scofflaws moving abroad to escape the automatic salary deductions of the nation’s income-based student loan program. “You should have to repay that debt,” thundered Simon Birmingham, the nation’s education minister.

But that’s still not true for everyone. Earn less than $54,000 Australian dollars—that’s about $38,000 in the United States—and you have no worries, at least for now and maybe not forever.

Australia offers students an income-based student loan plan, and has since 1989, when the system was set up to compensate for the fact that universities were charging tuition at all. That was a change. Higher education had been free in the 1970s and 1980s.

Today, there are two ways Aussies can choose to finance their college educations. If they pay up front, they get a 10 percent discount. Most don’t do that, however. That’s where where Australia’s income-based repayment plan comes in.

Australians borrow money from the government through the Higher Education Loan Program (or HELP—get it?) and related offshoots. When it comes time to repay the bill, the monthly amount has nothing to do with the sum borrowed. Instead, debtors earning more than AU$54,000 ($38,000) pay between 4 and 8 percent of their income, depending on how much they take home annually. Unemployment or illness? Salary falls under the minimum earnings required for repayment? No worries. Payments temporarily cease, with no interest or penalties accruing to the borrower.

Moreover, unlike in the United States, where students need to make strategic decisions whether to consolidate their loans at a particular interest rate because they will not get a do-over, there’s no such issue in Australia. The interest rate is set by the consumer price Index—that is, the rate of inflation.

Finally, making payments is easy. It’s an automatic deduction, courtesy of theAustralian Taxation Office. (This is how the expat loophole developed.) And, yes, a borrower can repay the loan early, if he or she so desires.

Another great thing? Unlike certain American politicians (Hi Marco Rubio!), Australian pols don’t complain about the number of philosophy majors running up debt they can’t pay off. If a student attends a public university in Australia—something the vast majority do—tuition is set, in part, by the course of study. The greater the expected lifetime income return, the greater the cost. So a degree in the humanities costs less than a degree in education, which costs less than a medical education.

I don’t mean to make this sound like nirvana. Australians are increasingly worried about the amount of student-related debt, which is growing rapidly. (One estimate has it surging from AU$50.3 billion this year to AU$70.4 billion in 2018.) That means students will owe more money, likely paying it off over a longer period of time. There is also concern over what those down under like to call “doubtful” debt—estimates are that 20 percent of students will never be flush enough to repay their loans, leaving taxpayers on the hook.

There are other costs associated with the program as well. The government borrows money on the open market at a higher rate of interest than the inflation rate. As a result, there have been proposals to change the interest rate benchmark to Australia’s 10-year treasury note, but so far that hasn’t come to pass.

Australians also have the equivalent of our for-profit college problem. Like, say, the late Corinthian Colleges, a number of the private vocational programs in Australia aggressively recruit nontraditional students, offer them less-than-adequate educations, and then stick them with the bill. Earlier this year, the University of Sydney’s Honi Soit reported representatives for one such program were cold-calling potential recruits. “On the phone, the lady went on to devalue bachelor degrees and stated it was better to have lots of certificates and diplomas as it’s what employers look for,” one recipient recalled.

Nonetheless, income-based repayment plans remain popular, so much so that the opposition Labor Party recently announced that if it were elected to power, it would push a plan to offer students a new line of credit, one designed to encourage recent graduates to pursue entrepreneurial initiatives. The party calls it a “start-up year.”

The U.S. Department of Education does offer students income-based loan programs, for which borrowers need apply. And that’s proved a problem. The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently found that the Department of Education has “not consistently notified borrowers who have entered repayment about the plans.” In addition, the interest rate the United States charges is higher. One thing we do here the Australians don’t: We forgive the debt if it’s not repaid after a period of time—most often 20 or 25 years, depending on the plan. But, then again, you’ll potentially pay taxes on the amount forgiven. Those working in public service can have their loan forgiven after 10 years, with no tax penalty.*…

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Posted by on November 18, 2015 in American Genocide


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Who’s Your Daddy? About Black Folks and Charity

That Christian spirit… Don’t believe it?

Check this out.

Charitable Donations: Blacks Outpace Whites

Black Emplyees Influence Corporations to Give

Reuters is reporting today on a study showing that African American donors give higher percentages of their incomes to charity than their white counterparts, with nearly two-thirds of black households make charitable donations, worth a total of about $11 billion a year. And it’s not just a little more: that number means black donors turn over a full 25 percent more of their incomes than white donors annually, according to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors research.  The results have many wondering why more African Americans don’t self-identify as philanthropists.

From Reuters:

But they don’t see themselves as big players in the charitable arena, and that presents an image problem, say experts like Judy Belk, a senior vice president for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

“African Americans have been very uncomfortable with the title of philanthropist,” Belk said. “If you don’t see role models who look like you when people start talking about issues related to philanthropy, you start believing, ‘Hey, maybe I’m not a philanthropist.'”

Belk said she got so weary of hearing this that she helped produce a 12-minute video released in November, dubbed, “I Am A Philanthropist,” which features diverse faces, races and ethnicities of donors and grant-makers. .  .

The report cites black churches as a historically important repository of giving, but notes that other important causes are coming to the fore.

While religious giving was the largest charitable category overall, it leveled off in dollar terms in 2010, according to Giving USA, a Chicago-area foundation that publishes philanthropy data and trends. At the same time, contributions for the arts increased almost 6 percent, a trend that was consistent across all racial groups.

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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Giant Negros, The Post-Racial Life


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A Vaccine for Heroin Addiction?

Wow – this could be  major game changer.

And you thought there were only Zombies in the movies..

Mexican scientists successfully test vaccine that could cut heroin addiction

A group of Mexican scientists is working on a vaccine that could reduce addiction to one of the world’s most notorious narcotics: heroin.

Researchers at the country’s National Institute of Psychiatry say they have successfully tested the vaccine on mice and are preparing to test it on humans.

The vaccine, which has been patented in the US, makes the body resistant to the effects of heroin, so users would no longer get a rush of pleasure when they smoked or injected it.

“It would be a vaccine for people who are serious addicts, who have not had success with other treatments and decide to use this application to get away from drugs,” the institute’s director Maria Elena Medina said on Thursday.

Scientists worldwide have been searching for drug addiction vaccines for several years, but none have yet been fully developed. A group at the US National Institute on Drug Abuse has reported significant progress in a vaccine for cocaine.

However, the Mexican scientists appear to be close to making a breakthrough on a heroin vaccine and have received funds from the US institute as well as the Mexican government.

During the tests, mice were given access to deposits of heroin over an extended period of time. Those given the vaccine showed a huge drop in heroin consumption, giving the institute hope that it could also work on people, Medina said.

Kim Janda, a scientist working on his own narcotics vaccines at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, said that the Mexican vaccine could function but with some shortcomings.

“It could be reasonably effective, but maybe too general and affect too many different types of opioids as well as heroin,” Janda said.

Mexico has a growing drug addiction problem. Health secretary Jose Cordoba recently said the country now has about 450,000 hard drug addicts, particularly along the trafficking corridors of the US-Mexico border.

Mexican gangsters grow opium poppies in the Sierra Madre mountains and convert them into heroin known as Black Tar and Mexican Mud, which are smuggled over the Rio Grande.


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