Tag Archives: College

Queens teen comes in second on ‘Jeopardy!’ College Championship


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

Queens whiz kid Laurie Beckoff came up a little short Tuesday in her match-up on Jeopardy’s College Championship.

The 19-year-old from Hollis Hills was the runner-up, amongst two other young geniuses, with a grand total of $13,400.

Though it was not enough to earn a winner’s spot, the University of Chicago sophomore will see Friday if she qualifies for one of four “wild card” spots given to top scorers amongst non-winners.

“It was more fantastic than I could have ever imagined,” she said. “Having people watch it makes me relive all the nervousness.”

Beckoff, who automatically gets $5,000 for going on the show, is now facing some heat from friends and strangers from the Twittersphere for not wagering enough money to force a tie.

“I knew that if I got it wrong and wagered everything and gone for that tie, I would be completely out,” she said. “I won’t say it was the wisest choice, but it was what went on in my head at that time.”

The experience was still a dream come true for the ambitious scholar, who had tried three times before to get on the long-running quiz show, but did not advance past the audition.

“It definitely seems to go a lot faster than when you’re sitting at home,” said the English and political science major.

Beckoff, a Harry Potter fanatic, is also a former salutatorian at Townsend Harris High School and a previous volunteer for Councilmember Mark Weprin.

The two-week tournament started Feb. 10.

“It was really just amazing,” Beckoff said. “It was the time of my life.”

 

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Queens teen to compete Tuesday in ‘Jeopardy!’ College Championship


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

A teen whiz from Queens will put her brains and button-smashing reflexes to the test Tuesday, when she competes in the “Jeopardy!” College Championship.

Laurie Beckoff, 19, will vie against 15 other young geniuses nationwide Feb. 11 for $100,000 and an automatic berth in the next Tournament of Champions.

“It was amazing. It was a life goal of mine. I’ve always wanted to do it,” said the University of Chicago sophomore. “It was more fantastic than I could have ever imagined.”

The Hollis Hills teen had tried three times before to get on the long-running quiz show, but did not advance past the audition.

A motivation to meet the show’s host, Alex Trebek — a nightly, though virtual, dinner guest — kept her going, her mother said.

“She has been determined to get on this show,” said mom, Esther Beckoff. “She grew up with Alex. He is part of our dinner ritual. I purposely have dinner ready just about 7 o’ clock, so that we can all watch ‘Jeopardy!’ together. It’s a family tradition.”

Beckoff, who studies English and political science in Chicago, said he was “really cool, very friendly.”

“It was a little nerve-wracking,” she said. “Most of the time, your head is so in the game that you don’t consider the fact that there is a camera on you. It’s definitely seems to go a lot faster than when you’re sitting at home.”

The ambitious scholar, a Harry Potter fanatic, is also a former salutatorian at Townsend Harris High School and a previous volunteer for Councilmember Mark Weprin.

“We’re very proud that a national television audience will see her brilliance and personality,” Weprin said.

The two-week tournament starts Feb. 10. Beckoff’s episode airs Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. on ABC7.

“It was really just amazing,” Beckoff said. “It was the time of my life.”

 

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Top headlines from around the web


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Top headlines from around the web

Victims in Connecticut massacre ID’d as police find ‘very good evidence’ that could help illuminate shooter’s motives
The unhinged gunman who slaughtered 26 children and adults yesterday in a elementary school arrived with guns blazing — blasting his way into the building, according to Connecticut State police. Read more: New York Post

Tragedy touches NYPD and Puerto Rico
The nephew of an NYPD lieutenant was among the 20 young children gunned down in yesterday’s Connecticut mass murder at a Connecticut school, a police official said. Read more: New York Post

Hillary Clinton treated for concussion after fall
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hospitalized Saturday after fainting and striking her head, officials said. Read more: Daily News

Queens kids still struggling after Hurricane Sandy write heartbreaking holiday wish lists
For Christmas this year, kids in still storm-stricken areas of Queens aren’t asking Santa for shiny new toys or expensive gadgets — they just want their homes back. Read more: Daily News

Police Search For Alleged Queens Bank Robber
Police are asking for help finding a suspect wanted in connection with a series of bank robberies in Queens. Read more: NY1

Sandy-Impacted Students Mail College Applications
For students affected by Hurricane Sandy, being able to mail their college applications on time carried special significance. Read more: NY1

How to make the successful transition from college to career


| ara@queenscourier.com

Many recent college graduates continue to face a challenging job market, but do they know how to effectively locate and acquire a job?

With 53.6 percent of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 underemployed or unemployed, the nation’s young people are unfortunately less prepared than they think.

According to a new national survey, 48 percent of college career center directors felt students were not well prepared for the career landscape – noting a lack of motivation and understanding about the job search process as major barriers to successfully landing a job. The survey, Effectively Counseling Graduating Students, was conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) on behalf of the Career Advisory Board, established by DeVry University.

Career center directors cited that, overall, students have a poor understanding of the effort required to search for and secure employment. More than 77 percent of college career center directors felt the greatest obstacle in counseling students to enter the job market was getting them to understand the effort required to successfully search and compete for a job.

These factors contribute to students not utilizing their school’s career center or skipping this resource altogether, which could prolong the job search process. Fifty-six percent of career center directors felt students did not have resumes ready to show employers.

“The survey reveals recent graduates may be prepared to perform on the job, but not prepared to find the job,” said Alexandra Levit, business and workplace consultant and Career Advisory Board member. “Students need to seek out the career center early in their college experience to take advantage of resume review, coaching and career counseling to prepare for the job.”

Eighty percent of the career center directors surveyed believe individual student career coaching is the most effective resource available for students.

Additionally, the Career Advisory Board recommends the following advice for students and recent graduates to become marketplace ready:

1. Tailor your resume- Do your homework. Ensure your resume fits the target position’s job description, including keywords before submitting. Craft your resume in a way that will interest an employer immediately.

2. Build on your skill set – Continually improve your skills. In order to succeed in the workplace, you need to be able to master new information, write coherently and contribute meaningfully in a group setting.

3. Practice makes perfect – One-on-one coaching sessions or mock interviews with career service professionals are the best forms of rehearsal and a good way to learn the dos and don’ts.

To learn more about the survey and successful strategies to transition from college to career visit: CareerAdvisoryBoard.org.

Making college a reality, despite the price tag


| ara@queenscourier.com

Sending a student to college is a proud time for families. But with tuition costs rising and families continuing to face financial challenges, many are taking another look at how to pay for college.

According to the latest Merrill Edge Report, 56 percent of parents have paid or expect to pay more to send their first child to college than they had originally anticipated when the child was born. When asked why they are paying more, one in three parents who currently have a child in college or have one that has graduated said it was to keep their child out of debt.

“Paying for college is a big priority for our clients and with costs continuing to rise, we’re telling them it’s never too early or too late to readjust their financial plan for the true price of college,” said Dean Athanasia, preferred and small business executive at Bank of America. “Though it’s daunting, there are many steps you can take to prepare to send your child to school.”

Estimate the costs

The first thing you should do is estimate how much college will cost and what you can afford. To do this, you can take advantage of a number of tools online.

Once you calculate how much you’re able to spend, sit down as a family and go over your finances. Establish how much you’re able to afford and how you’ll pay for any additional costs that arise – for example, through your child taking on part-time jobs or student loans. Your child may have his sights set on a more expensive school, but after analyzing your finances your family may decide a more affordable university closer to home is the way to go.

Invest early

It all depends on your financial plan, but the sooner you can start saving for college, the better. Among parents who saved for college, 68 percent began doing so before their child reached the age of 6, according the 2011 Merrill Edge Report. And of those parents who saved, 38 percent wish they began earlier.

There are specialized ways to save for college education. Some college savings plans offer favorable tax incentives and flexibility in who can contribute to the plan, giving you more opportunity to save. In order to decide which account best fits your financial plan, conduct research on your own or ask a financial adviser for help. Once you do, set up an automatic withdrawal from your paycheck to ensure you’re putting some money away each month.

Find additional funding

If their savings aren’t enough, many families consider financial aid. The important part of taking out loans is for your child to have a plan to pay them back, which can be a struggle without proper consideration.

Grants and scholarships remain an option but beware that the current economy has restricted many of these funds and they are therefore becoming scarcer than in the past.

In the end, remember that you’re saving for a great cause, however expensive it is. By planning ahead, saving early and supplementing your savings with the variety of resources, your child’s education can be one of the richest investments you make.

Tech tips for college-bound students and their parents


| ara@queenscourier.com

(ARA) – Just 30 years ago, textbooks, paper and pencils were the main supplies college students needed. In today’s digital world, where more teachers are using technology to deliver a better learning experience, college-bound students need to equip themselves with the latest technology to make the most of their college experience and give themselves an academic edge. But how do students and parents know which technologies can get the job done, and how can they best use them to their advantage?

“From viewing lectures online and getting help from a digital tutor to using one of more than 20,000 education-specific apps now available, today’s college students have many options when it comes to technology,” said Brian Kibby, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education. “Finding the right tools can enhance the learning experience and improve student performance in class – sometimes by a full letter grade or more. These tools have great potential to help students master course material and prepare them for success not only in the classroom, but after graduation.”

Here are some important tech tips for college-bound students and their parents:

1: Get advice and choose the best fit for you.

There is no single piece of technology that’s right for every college student. It’s important to think carefully about your individual needs and purchase only what works best for you. However, it can be helpful to ask current college students which devices they have found to be the most useful. Talk to recent grads about what it takes to be successful in college and what, if anything, they may wish they had done differently in regard to studying and technology. Their answers might be surprising and help steer you in the right direction.

2: Try before you buy.

Before you make a purchase, spend some time with the equipment or program and see how it works. Think of the three things you’ll use it for the most and make your purchase based on those criteria. Before you decide to buy an iPad, try using one to type an email, take notes and view videos to see how comfortable it feels. If not, try another option. In addition to how a device functions, you should assess its portability and battery life since you’ll be using it frequently and in different locations.

3. When it comes to tech, put yourself in your professor’s shoes.

Once you’re on campus, don’t be afraid to ask professors for insights about which technologies will help you the most. Many college professors today use a technology called lecture capture that enables professors to record lectures and make them available for replay after class. Most colleges and millions of college students use digital course hubs that house everything from the course syllabus and e-book to interactive, adaptive quizzes all in one location.

4. Stay connected to your college finances.

If you understand how your college finances work, you’re more likely to take college seriously and get the most out of your education. Speak to your parents about yearly tuition totals and the cost breakdown of each individual class. Graduating college with the best grades and as little debt as possible is key to positioning yourself for success after college.

5. Use social media for academic and professional growth – not just to post party pictures.

College-age students are among the most active users of social media, but many are not aware of the academic and professional benefits. Learn more about how social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn can help build your academic network and market yourself as a professional. Your college’s career center should have plenty of info on how you can get started putting your best foot forward with a positive social media footprint.

For today’s teens, the time to plan for college expenses is now


| ara@queenscourier.com

(ARA) – When it comes to planning for college, most parents are sure of just two things: They want their child to get a college degree, and they’ll need a smart savings plan in place to ensure college expenses are covered.

For the 2009-2010 academic year, tuition, room and board at a private four-year college topped $32,000 per year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In 1980, that figure was just $5,594 per year. And even though college expenses were significantly lower for previous generations, many report they are still burdened by lingering debt. In fact, a recent survey, released by TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation, found that among the parents of Generation Z (who range from ages 13 to 22), 58 percent say they took out student loans to fund their own college education, and, of those, 43 percent report they are still repaying those loans.

Considering their parents’ struggles with college debt, it comes as no surprise that Gen Z is eager to ensure they graduate with as little debt as possible. Among this group of young adults, 39 percent cited that paying for college was a top concern, while another 39 percent said they were also concerned about having a large student loan balance.

“Increased tuition costs and a bleak job outlook may be cause for concern for today’s young adults and their parents, but being proactive and coming up with a savings strategy early can help ease these financial anxieties and better prepare them for the future,” says Carrie Braxdale, managing director of investor services for TD Ameritrade, Inc., a broker-dealer subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation.

Braxdale recommends parents and young adults work together to start planning and saving for higher education as soon as possible.

“It’s never too early – or too late,” says Braxdale. “For example, a 529 college savings plan can be opened as soon as a child has a Social Security number, and contributions to that fund can be made every year until the child goes to college.”

The following tips are for families gearing up for college:

1. Calculate the costs

While a quick online search can give families an idea of college expenses, predicting future costs can be a bit more challenging. There are a number of free online resources available that can help parents and teens estimate how much they’ll need to save for college so they can get a solid plan in place.

2. Explore your savings options

Parents and teens should work together to research college savings options like 529 college savings plans, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts and custodial accounts. Once they decide on a plan that will work for them, the saving can begin.

3. Turn talk into action

Once a college savings plan is established, parents and teens should follow through on their planning and make a conscious effort to save. In many cases, regular contributions to savings plans can be made automatically, making the process easier to manage. Once saving has begun, you will have taken steps to pursue your higher education goals.

 

Chalk up more back-to-school savings by shopping online


| ara@queenscourier.com

(ARA) – As the end of summer nears, the flashing red lights of yellow school buses will caution drivers to stop as students board. College students will pull out of driveways with cars filled to the brim with dorm room supplies. And the school bells will echo across the playground, signaling the start and end of classroom learning.

Of course, before school starts in the fall, parents will tackle the task of back-to-school shopping. The “must-buy” list often doesn’t change much from year to year. Students of all ages and schooling levels will need pencils, notebooks, new clothes, backpacks and folders. As you develop a shopping list for your children this year, consider making the back-to-school shopping experience a bit easier by staying home, shopping online and saving money. Use these tips for better back-to-school savings.

* Regular school supplies like pencils, pens, rulers and notebooks are best found via big box retailers. But often in the stores, the back-to-school aisles look as if a whirlwind trashed the place. Instead, calmly sit at home with your list in front of you and order the supplies your children need via the retailers’ websites. In addition, use cash back sites like Ebates.com, to find extra savings, both on shopping list items and shipping costs. By having all the supplies delivered to your home, you’ll have saved yourself the time and stress of taking the children to the store.

* Shop the back-to-school sales online. Many retailers will designate a day, week or even month promoting their back-to-school discounts, and some states will designate a tax-free shopping day for school items and clothing. Take advantage of these savings, and look for “buy one, get one free” offers (very helpful if you have more than one child heading back to school) or free shipping coupon codes to add even more savings.

* Some online coupon sites offer cash back on your purchases. For example, when shopping for school supplies online, visit your favorite retail stores through Ebates.com, make your purchases and receive cash back rewards based on a percentage of your purchase. Plus, the back-to-school shopping season will bring increased cash back from dozens of popular stores, so take a little time to compare the best cash back rates with each store’s coupon codes and discounts to make the most of any available savings.

* College students often qualify for student discounts when using a valid student ID. Electronics like laptop computers and smartphones are typically the biggest budget items on a college student’s back-to-school shopping list. Search for seasonal discounts and coupon codes at computer and mobile brand online stores, like HP, Dell, AT&T and Verizon, where additional savings can be gleaned with a student ID.

Staying home and accomplishing the entire shopping list for your student’s back-to-school supplies without having to drive all over town will leave everyone in your family a bit happier and better prepared for the first day of school. Plus, the extra savings you can find while shopping online will help your budget.

 

What makes a career college different than a traditional college?


| ara@queenscourier.com

(ARA) – Everyone has their own motivations for deciding to go to college, but putting themselves in a better position to get a job after graduation is usually one of them. For career colleges, this factor is foremost in how they prepare their students for the careers upon graduation.

Traditional universities and career colleges each share the goal of educating students and preparing them for life after college, but the college experience can vary greatly between the two. Traditional universities often focus on giving students a broader educational experience developing skills like research and analysis that may be used in a variety of career fields. Career colleges tend to focus more on hands-on training in fields like health care and technology that demand a specific set of skills.

Some may know career colleges as vocational, tech or trade schools, and these days they have expanded to include many more careers than in the past. In addition to the traditional trades, career colleges focus on graphic design, technology, business and health care professions. They also offer flexible program schedules for students who work full time and want to advance their careers with new skills.

If you’re thinking about enrolling in college, have a career in mind and excel in a hands-on learning environment, a career college might be a good option for you. Here are a few points of distinction that make career colleges different from traditional universities:

* Curriculum designed to meet specific needs of employers. Programs offered by career colleges focus on specific tasks you will need to accomplish in your field of training. The goal of most career colleges is to have you ready to hit the ground running once you graduate, and they work with employers when developing their courses to make that happen.

* Technical skills. Career-focused training is most appropriate for jobs that require technical training. For example, students in graphic design get a lot of hands-on training with design programs like Adobe InDesign and Photoshop so they become proficient and are ready to work once they finish their degree.

* Staff with experience in the field of study. Where the staff of a traditional college might be comprised primarily of career educators, many staff members of career colleges are also working in the fields they teach and can help students gain a better understanding of what might be expected of them once they get a job.

Another important distinction between career and traditional colleges may be accreditation. If you are interested in applying for federal grants or loans, you’ll need to enroll in a college that is accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Accredited institutions also must complete reviews on a regular basis to make sure they are meeting educational standards. Career colleges are typically accredited by national accreditation agencies that measure faculty experience and outcomes such as graduation and employment rates. Traditional colleges are most often regionally accredited and are measured on areas such as student learning, teacher effectiveness, and resources available.

Also, it is important to know that credits from a nationally accredited school are unlikely to transfer unless there is a written agreement between the schools. The reason is what was mentioned earlier, career college classes provide customized, hands-on training making it difficult to match or gain credit for classes at other colleges.

 

Set yourself up for academic success: smart habits for college freshmen


| ara@queenscourier.com

(ARA) – Got your extra-long sheets? Check. Flip-flops for the shower? Check. What about your school-branded hoodie, hat and T-shirt? You may think you’ve thought of everything for your first year of college, but without a plan to achieve success you are still unprepared.

Sara Rathburn, associate dean of Student Affairs at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and Maximillian Matthews, student engagement advocate and coordinator of Academic Support at The Art Institute of Washington, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, offer habits to help you make the most out of your college experience and lay the foundation for an academically successful future.

1. Get involved

“Freshmen who feel connected to campus through student organizations and campus events tend to strive for success,” says Matthews. Getting involved will not only enrich your college experience, but it will also pay dividends once you graduate. According to Rathburn, “Your college degree will one day show that you have knowledge in a field. Your out-of-class experiences will demonstrate that you have a skill base to go along with that knowledge.”

2. Get out of your comfort zone

Don’t be afraid of new experiences. “College is a time to test yourself – make mistakes, grow your strengths,” says Rathburn. She recommends trying something completely new, such as joining a club dealing with a topic that is foreign to you.

3. Manage your time

“Make the most of every minute,” says Rathburn. “Every hour of every day presents a choice – decide early on in your college experience that you will make the most of your time.” Matthews agrees. “Freshmen should get in the habit of prioritizing and planning ahead to balance their workload and increase productivity,” he says.

4. Manage your money

College not only helps you prepare to pursue a successful career, but can also teach you the skills that are necessary for financial success in the future. Rathburn suggests making meals instead of eating out, taking advantage of free local events, and making sure what you want is really what you need. “Don’t sacrifice a financially secure future for fleeting fun now,” she says.

5. Go to class

Even on days when you feel like sleeping in, Rathburn recommends making it a habit to go to class. She encourages students to make the most out of their time and financial investments.

6. Overcome fear of seeking help – talk to faculty and staff

Both Rathburn and Matthews recommend communicating with your professors. “Freshmen should get in the habit of letting their professors know when they will be late, absent or have questions about class material,” says Matthews. Rathburn adds, “Speak up and make yourself known. Building connections can lead to greater opportunities today, tomorrow and in the years to come.”

7. Personal organization

“Develop a system that works for you,” says Rathburn. She recommends starting a filing system that is simple and can be built upon.

8. Learn about resources

Whether you need a tutor, help with a resume, or have questions about financial aid, campuses offer a variety of resources designed to help guide you through every aspect of your college career. Matthews recommends attending campus events, especially orientation. “Freshmen need to know who to go to when they need help, not only in academics but in financial aid and career counseling. This is why freshman orientation events are essential.”

9. Remember your goals

“Stay focused,” says Rathburn. “You are starting college for a reason – remember that reason. Let that reason motivate you when you are bogged down with homework or struggling with an assignment.”

10. Be an active learner

“Active learning means concentrating on the current task, taking notes and asking questions,” says Matthews. He says that if freshmen practice active learning from the beginning, “it will be natural for the remainder of their time in school.”

 

Meet the LIU Post faculty


| editorial@queenscourier.com

LIU Post is home to 320 full-time faculty members with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, including accountancy, business, management, finance, health care administration, public administration and arts management. LIU Post faculty comprises some of the finest thinkers and teachers in business today. Below are several leading professors on the university’s roster.

Dr. Michael Hadani, assistant professor of management, is the author of a ground-breaking study in corporate lobbying and campaign contributions, which has been covered in the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC and Chicago Tribune.

 

 

 

 

Named by Business Week as one of the top business school faculty members in the country, Dr. Maura Belliveau, associate professor of management, is an expert on the processes that define the success of professional, technical and managerial employees, particularly those factors that differentially affect men’s and women’s job search and salary attainment.

 

 

 

Ilene Leopold Persoff, CPA, associate professor of accountancy, was the recipient of the 2002 Outstanding CPA in Education Award from the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and served on the New York State Board for Public Accountancy.

 

 

 

Dr. Carl Figliola, chairman of the Department of Health Care and Public Administration, is a widely sought expert in government relations, management and public policy. He serves as a consultant to universities, hospitals, museums and businesses ranging from mid-size to Fortune 100 companies.

 

 

 

Dr. Zenu Sharma, assistant professor of finance, is an authority on corporate finance, financial intermediation, capital markets and emerging markets.

 

LIU Post: Education for the New Economy


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Roth Hallw

A new economy is emerging from the challenges of recent years, and LIU Post is helping individuals and businesses position themselves to make the most of advancements and opportunities.

LIU Post (formerly known as the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University) offers certificate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees and corporate training programs that promote new ways of thinking, the latest technology, and unprecedented convenience.

Rated a Best Regional University by U.S. News & World Report and located only 20 minutes by car from Queens, LIU Post offers more than 260 programs of study at located at 720 Northern Boulevard (Route 25A) in Brookville.  Courses are available on campus and online during the days, evenings, and weekends throughout the year.

“We are confident about the future, and we’re investing in academic programs that will make it possible to help businesses thrive in the new economy,” says Dr. Paul Forestell, provost of LIU Post, a campus of Long Island University, one of the largest private universities in the nation. “Whether in emerging fields or mainstay industries, a college education can help everyone achieve greater success and fulfillment.”

Business and Accountancy Education

Long known as a leader in business and accountancy education, the College of Management at LIU Post offers a constellation of programs and services for business, accountancy and taxation professionals.

The LIU Post School of Professional Accountancy was the first autonomous school of its kind in the nation. Founded in 1974, the School prepares students for careers as accountants, tax preparers and estate and financial planners. The School offers the M.S. in Accountancy with concentrations in professional accountancy or taxation as well as an M.S. in Taxation. Many courses are available in the blended format, which combines online learning with face-to-face studies.

Accredited by AACSB International, a distinction shared by only 5 percent of business schools worldwide, the LIU Post Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the New York metro area’s premier business programs. For the past nine years, LIU Post has been rated one of the “Best Business Schools” in the country by The Princeton Review.

“The business model for success in the 21st century is about freeing your thinking from out-of-date ideas and practices,” said Dr. Andrew Rosman, dean of the College of Management at LIU Post. “LIU Post helps you and your employees to gain more expertise in an area that is already familiar to them but may be changing as market conditions or technology evolves.”

Entering the Technological World

This September, LIU Post is launching a number of programs to meet technological advances of the 21st century.

The Mobile GIS Applications Development program, an online advanced certificate, can help businesses market their products using apps on wireless devices. They will learn how to create apps that pinpoint a client’s geographical positioning and responds with advertisements and tweets of sales and deals within close proximity of their business.

The M.S. program in Environmental Sustainability, the only degree of its kind on Long Island, trains private and public sector professionals to develop business strategies that take into account issues posed by climate change, development, population growth and energy consumption.

An online advanced certificate in Archives and Records Management, offered by LIU Post’s nationally recognized Palmer School of Library and Information Sciences, trains individuals to create and manage electronic records and archives. “Effective recordkeeping is important for all businesses,” said Dr. Gregory Hunter, the director of the Archives and Records Management Program and the Ph.D. in Information Studies at LIU Post. “Whether it is a corporation complying with Sarbanes-Oxley, a hospital implementing electronic health records, or a non-profit institution retaining records related to a grant project, the certificate program prepares professionals to handle and process vast amounts of information and maintain accessible records.”

Corporate Training

For more immediate and highly customized programs, LIU Post’s School of Continuing Education offers on-site training and continuing-education classes at local businesses. From weekly courses and seminars to professional institutes and workshops, LIU Post Corporate Training Programs cover human resources, management and supervision, training and organizational development, computer skills, financial planning, sales and customer service and business communication.

Adult Undergraduate Degree Completion Opportunities

LIU Post also offers a new undergraduate degree completion program for adult learners. This program caters to those who are over the age of 25 who are starting college for the first time or returning after a long absence to complete their bachelors’ degrees. The university offers five bachelor’s degree programs that can be completed entirely during the evening: business administration, health care administration, accountancy, psychology and criminal justice.

For more information about LIU Post, visit www.liu.edu/post or call the Office of Public Relations at 516-299-2334.

$1 Trillion in Student Debt


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The Courier/Photo by Billy Rennison

Here is what you can buy with $1 trillion: 5 million Lamborghinis, 15,000 private jets, 140 private islands and every team in baseball 16 times. Simply put, it is a lot of money.

The number — which is much more jarring when written out, 1,000,000,000,000 — is also the amount of debt students in this country collectively hold from their college loans. It is a backbreaking number, and an amount many feel is devastating their future.
A degree has become a prerequisite for employment, and rising tuitions means, for many, that debt is a precondition for entry into the workforce, so students have decided to fight back.

A rally was held on April 25 in Union Square to coincide with 1T Day — the day student loan debt hit $1 trillion — to raise awareness about the crisis and to begin a movement toward free college education.

Hundreds of protesters wore placards around their neck declaring the size of their debt, from relatively small amounts, like Jessica K.’s $13,000, to immense amounts, like Francis Rogers’ $108,000.

“Trillion dollar day is a reminder that private banks are still very much in the predatory lending business; this time it’s students not homeowners,” said Professor Andrew Ross, an organizer with the Occupy Student Debt 1TDay campaign.
The histrionics of the event — there were super heroes and choruses and even “Sallie May” showed up — did not overshadow the frustration of the hundreds of thousands of students drowning in debt.

“I’m the first person in my family to go to college,” said Annie Spencer, a CUNY graduate student. “I’m now $80,000 in debt and don’t see a day when I won’t struggle to make ends meet. Those of us who took on this trillion dollar debt were sold the promise of a better life in exchange for carrying the burden, but the deck was stacked against us from the start.”

More than two-thirds of graduates leave college with student loan debt, according to a 2008 study. The average debt for these 1.4 million students is more than $27,000.
The students at the Union Square protest — and many other groups that have taken up similar fights — do not believe all college should be free or that, as a rule, loans should not be repaid. Their tenets are that public college should be free — as it had been in New York until the 1970s — and that student loans should be repaid interest free.
“The goal of these protests isn’t to renege on our responsibilities, it is to make the institutions making billions of dollars on the backs of students take some responsibility,” said Stephanie, a New York University graduate with $90,000 in debt. “They want us to default.”

More than 40 percent of students from the class of 2005 have faced default and/or delinquency, according to the Occupy Student Debt Campaign.
The demonstrations eventually made their way toward Wall Street, though not before parking itself in front of a bastion for tuition-free — for now — education, Cooper Union, where one dissenter, who identified himself as Jesse, stood atop the Peter Cooper Memorial.

For students that dream of a tuition-free college education, Copper Union is their Shangri-la — well, it was. From 1902 until today the college charged no tuition, instead relying on a generous endowment providing each student a scholarship — furthering the school’s founder Peter Cooper’s belief that education should be free, and for more than a century his ideal held true at the school bearing his name.

But, in April, the school announced that it would begin charging tuition for select graduate programs. This flew in the face of what many students felt the school stood for.
So, Jesse stood atop the school’s founder’s memorial with a sign reading, “No tuition, it’s our mission,” leading to a two hour standoff with police before he was taken down in a cherry picker and arrested.

Cooper Union’s shift toward tuition mirrors the nation-wide trend of exploding college costs. In the past five years tuition at public universities has increased 24 percent, and 17 percent at private colleges.

This has led — obviously — to a steep incline in the amount of debt students leave college with. Thirty years ago the number was $2,000, a full $25,000 below today’s amount. Inflation makes up only a small amount of the difference; $2,000 in today’s value is just under $5,000.
“I’m pretty much carrying a mortgage, I guess the American dream of owning your own home is out the window for me,” said Valerie Young, a 23-year-old with more than $100,000 in loans. “I can’t live in my degree.”

Indebted student’s plight has reached Capitol Hill where politicians are debating bills that would prevent student’s interest rates from doubling in July, an issue President Barack Obama has been speaking out against.

“When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July,” Obama said in his State of the Union address. “Of course, it’s not enough for us to increase student aid. We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we’ll run out of money. States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down.”

Burning Mad

“My future is going up in flames with each loan bill I’m getting and can’t repay because I don’t have a job, and the interest just keeps pushing the bill higher,” said Frederick Iman after he lit his student loan bill on fire. “So I might as well burn my bill, too.”
Iman was not the only protestor to turn their bills to ashes, others joined in sending smoke signals that they are here to end predatory loan practices.
Though the economy shows signs of recovery, college graduates unemployment rate is still well above the average and a recent Rutgers University study found that only half of graduates between 2006 and 2010 graduates have found full-time jobs.
“[Lenders] are making money off every graduate and even more money when we can’t find jobs,” said Mark, an unemployed graduate of Miami (Ohio) University who lit his loan bill. “Someone has to stand up for us, it might as well be us.”
It is not only the Occupy Student Debt Campaign and its supporters that are attempting to reform lending practices for students.
Student Loan Justice (www.studentloanjustice.org) is another organization that is dedicated to returning standard consumer protections to student loans. The group has created a Student Borrower Bill of Rights that aims to bring these standard protections back. Currently, student loans are not forgiven in bankruptcy proceedings — the only type of loan that applies to.

The EDU Debtors Union (www.edudebtorsunion.org) believes that students in debt are akin to factory workers.
“Factory workers go to work every day and transform capital into profit by making products,” EDU says. “Students transform capital into profit when interest and penalties are added to a principle loan.”

This method becomes unacceptable, they say, “when there are abuses to the many for the benefit of the few without a method of recourse.”
So EDU has started a union. They believe debtors can benefit from union representation. Large numbers, they believe, represents a better chance for students to negotiate better repayment methods with lenders.

This is a tactic that the Occupy Student Debt Campaign also believes holds power.
The campaign is circulating a petition that students pledge to stop making loan payments in hopes of restoring free public college education if 1 million students sign the pledge.

No End in Sight

Marches, protests and refusals to pay aid in shining a light on student’s plight, but the bills will continue to come. Without government intervention, change will be difficult. There are bills in Congress that aim to help students, but according to govtrack.us, they have little hope of passing.

“Because there are so many student loan lenders and types of loans, a general debt strike will not necessarily hit the heart of the beast,” EDU wrote in a blog entry. “To organize a debt strike effectively, you have to start with specific lenders otherwise the impact of the strike will not be felt.”

Only a few thousand have signed the Occupy campaign’s petition, well short of the million they need before the debt strike, and some are concerned about ruined credit.
I don’t want to pay back these loans — and honestly I can’t — but I’m worried that not paying anything will just ruin my credit for life,” said Michelle Condon. “[Lenders] practices must change and I will continue to fight, but unless we all band together and refuse to pay, what difference will be made?”

These campaigns are lighting the fire, but if the flame is suffocated with default notices and compounding interest, what is the next step?

“We just need to get the word out,” said Ryan Lindner, a graduate of Cortland University. “My credit is already crap, they can’t make it worse. I refuse to recognize them until they recognize my basic rights. I will not pay.”

Steve Lavin to undergo cancer surgery today


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of St. John's University

St. John’s Coach Steve Lavin will undergo surgery today to treat his prostate cancer which was diagnosed last fall.

Lavin, entering his second year on the Johnnies sideline, coached the Red Storm to their most successful season in a decade last year. It was only after the season that the school announced that the 47 year old had been diagnosed with an early stage of the disease during the season.

“The advantage of early detection is that we were afforded the time to research all options,” said Lavin. “After weighing treatment options with the experts at Sloan we have decided surgery is the best path to take for my particular prostate cancer condition.”

Lavin is expected to return to his coaching responsibilities after a short recovery period. The season kicks-off on October 15 with the team’s first practice following a tip-off event the prior night.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s chairman of the Department of Surgery, Peter T. Scardino, M.D. will perform the surgery. Scardino said that the coach should make a quick and full recovery. It is also highly likely that this treatment will eradicate the cancer, the doctor said

Lavin has involved himself with organizations promoting cancer research and awareness for the past decade, including Coaches vs. Cancer and The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

As part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend, Lavin wore white Nike Air Force Ones during the Johnnies upset of Duke to help raise awareness and support the American Cancer Society. Claiming comfort and not superstition, Lavin continued to sport sneakers during games for the remainder of the season.

The Johnnies enter the season looking to build on their success of a year ago when a senior-laden team reached the NCAA tournament. The year’s team features just one returning player – junior guard Malik Stith – and includes seven freshmen.