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Education

Next to a love of country, a major draw to joining the military is the education benefits. The Servicemember’s Readjustment Act of 1944 expanded the American middle class by offering returning World War II veterans a chance to get a college education.
Education benefits for the military

Today, service members are still using those same education benefits they’ve earned through service. They aspire to be the first member of their family to attend college, earn an advanced degree, or learn a skilled trade.

This article will discuss some of the basic military education benefits available to veterans and those who are in uniform today, while informing the next generation of American service members.

The Montgomery and Post 9-11 GI Bill

The most recognized military education benefit is the Montgomery GI Bill and its successor, the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Beginning in 1944, the GI Bill offered service members the financial aid they needed to attend institutes of higher learning. There have been some changes to the original GI Bill. Today, however, veterans can pursue a trade degree, bachelors, or masters degree. They can even learn to fly by using their GI Bill education benefits.

The Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill are for active duty members. Reservists and National Guard members can use the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR).

The primary difference between the Montgomery and Post-9/11 bill is cost. Service members must pay into the Montgomery bill to receive education benefits. Soldiers pay $100 a month for 12 months. Then they are eligible to receive education funds under the Montgomery GI Bill.

After 9/11, Congress passed a new GI Bill that did not require military members to pay into the system. Rather, after an initial qualifying period, they became eligible for more financial aid with each passing year of service.

Check out this great chart from Military.com comparing the benefits of the Post-9/11, Montgomery, and the MGIB-SR. I will focus on the Post-9/11 GI Bill as it applies to all active duty veterans and current service members who joined the military after September 11, 2001.

Eligibility

To qualify for the full Post-9/11 GI Bill I will need to serve an aggregate of 36 months on active duty. I am also eligible if I receive a service-injury related discharge after serving at least 30 days on active duty. Active duty service members can use the GI Bill, but they will not receive the housing and book stipend offered to those out of uniform.

Financial Benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill

Tuition

The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers 100% of in-state tuition at any public university if I served at least 36 months on active duty or meet the alternate eligibility requirements. If I want to attend a private university, the federal cap on the academic year is $22,805.34. Non-resident, public university students have the same cap. If I serve less than 36 months, my benefits start to decrease.

I have illustrated this in the chart below. If I serve 18 months on active duty, the GI Bill will cover 70% of my public university tuition, and $15,963 of private college tuition, each academic year, for up to 36 months of benefits.

If annual tuition exceeds the annual cap, the Yellow Ribbon program can reduce or cover out-of-pocket fees for non-resident students and those attending private institutions. Yellow Ribbon schools offer added education dollars to students in exchange for more financial aid from the Department of Veteran’s affairs. Click here to see all Yellow Ribbon Program schools for the 2017-2018 school year.

Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits (Private Institution or Non-resident Public Institution)
Service Period Percentage of 2017 Annual Cap Dollar Amount
36 Months 100% $22,805.34
30 – 35 Months 90% $20,524.80
24 – 29 Months 80% $18,244.27
18 – 23 Months 70% $15,963.74
12 – 17 Months 60% $13,683.20
6 – 11 Months 50% $11,402.67
90 Days – 5 Months 40% $9,122.14

Remember, the GI Bill will cover up to 100% of in-state tuition at public universities. For active duty Montgomery GI Bill rates, go here.

Benefit Time Caps

The GI Bill gives everyone 36 months of tuition and housing benefits. As you can see above, the time you serve affects how much you will receive, but not how long you are eligible to receive them. For all three forms of the GI Bill, each one will max out at 36 months of benefits. This means I can attend school for three uninterrupted years, or spread out my education benefit over a longer period. I need not use all my GI Bill within the 36-month period once I start; this simply means I have 36 cumulative months of paid benefits to pursue higher education.

Post-9/11 Covers Housing Costs and Books

The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers veterans pays the user a monthly housing stipend. The Basic Allowance for Housing stipend or Monthly Housing Allowance, is an active duty benefit. Service members the benefit receive each month to offset the cost of housing in an and around military installations. Students using the 9/11 GI Bill receive a monthly BAH payment for their resident zip code (the exact amount varies across the USA) while they are attending school. This means veterans can worry less about working a full-time job and going to school full time. Instead, it is more feasible to work part time and attend school full time with little to no debt at the end of their college career.

The BAH is equivalent to that of an E-5 in the military – a sergeant. I have linked to the military’s locality BAH calculator here. Enter your residence zip code and E-5 to get an exact picture of what your monthly housing stipend will be while you are using your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

The book stipend tops out at $1,000 a year. If you enroll full time, you will receive the full amount, and only a part if you enroll with a part time course load.

Forever GI Bill

As of this writing, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Forever GI Bill on July 24, 2017, and it is likely that both the Senate and President of the United States will sign the bill into law this summer.

The Forever GI Bill ends the 15-year time limit for using your educational benefits. As a Post 9-11 GI bill recipient, I had to use my education benefit within 15 years of leaving the service. Under the Forever bill, anyone who leaves the military after January 1, 2013, is eligible to keep their unused education benefit forever.

Under the new bill, all Purple Heart recipients are at once eligible to receive the GI education benefit, regardless of time in service. Previously, recipients would still need to serve a full three years to receive 100% of the GI Bill even if they were wounded in the line of duty prior to that three-year period. You can find the full house resolution here.

GI Bill Summary

I get 36 months of education benefits – tuition, housing, and book stipend – when I use the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Active duty, veteran, reservists, and guardsmen are all eligible to use this amazing benefit with certain exceptions. The time I serve affects how much financial aid I am eligible for, and I can cover all tuition at a public school versus a private university.

Financial Aid Outside the GI Bill

Tuition Assistance

Tuition Assistance (TA) is for those who still wear the uniform. Each branch of the military – Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard – offers TA benefits that max out at $4,500 each fiscal year. The maximum allowable tuition rate is $250 per credit hour for up to 16 semester hours.

I personally have used TA and consider it a great benefit. As a reservist, it reduced my out of pocket cost for tuition at a public university, allowing me to focus more on my studies while serving the country.

Tuition Assistance Service Obligations, Restrictions, and Rules

There may be service obligations tied to using the Tuition Assistance Program, depending on your individual situation and military branch. Active duty Army officers will incur a two-year additional service obligation (ADSO), and reserve officers will incur a four-year ADSO after using TA.

Service members can use TA to advance as far as a master’s degree, but no PhD’s allowed – if it is your first time pursuing a “professional degree”.

See Also:

Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)

The Reserve Educational Assistance Program ended in November of 2015. However, some reservists are still eligible to receive education benefits through this program, and it applied to those members who mobilized for war or a national emergency. If you previously applied for REAP and want to learn how you can switch over to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, go here.

College Credits for Military Training

There are several options for veterans and service members who want to turn their military experience, education, and training into college credits and trade certifications. Many schools offer credit hours for professional military education that count toward a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The American Council on Education works with over 2,300 schools that accept the Joint Services Transcript (JST), and all branches of the military use the JST to record military training and education. The Joint Services Transcript lets you receive occupational related credit for the work you’ve done in service to your country.

If you are interested in a school or degree program, you may be able to transfer credits. Contact the institution’s veteran student affairs representative to discuss your options. Many schools near military installations have degree programs that accept over 12 hours (one full-time semester) of transfer credit in exchange for completion of an accredited military school, such as basic combat training, a captain’s career course, or intermediate level education for senior leaders.

These are all examples of professional military education that can count towards elective credits or degree requirements. These college credits equate to more education dollars for the service member, on top of the GI Bill and Tuition Assistance.

Additional Resources

Resources like the GI Bill Comparison tool are a terrific way to explore my benefits. I can enter the name of any university and find out exactly how much the GI Bill will cover. It also shows me an estimate of how much I will pay to attend a non-resident or private school. It is important to confirm whether the institution will cover some costs via the Yellow Ribbon program or other scholarships.

The military scholarship databases at Scholarships.com, FastWeb, and the Fisher House search engine (link below) are a great place to find financial aid, above and beyond the GI Bill and Tuition Assistance.

Family Members

The Fisher House offers scholarships to military children, and they have an excellent search engine with links to hundreds of military and veteran organizations across the United States. These organizations offer scholarships and grants that can help military families attend an institute of higher learning.

There are hundreds of clubs and associations that offer scholarships to service members and their families, like the Army Aviation Association of America and the Air Force Sergeants Association Corporation. These are just two examples of many, as seen here in this list of over 100 military scholarship opportunities.

Transferring your GI Bill benefits to Family Members

It is possible to pay for my child’s college costs with my Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Transferring my Post-9/11 benefits to a family member – spouses and children are eligible – will cause me to incur an additional service obligation of four years. When I transfer my GI Bill to a family member, I must serve four more years on active duty. If I only have one child when I transfer my benefits, and later have another, I can split the bill between them. There are caveats and rules for transferring your Post-9/11 GI Bill to a family member; you can read them here.

For Gold Star Families: The John David Fry Scholarship and Dependent’s Educational Assistance Program

I want to make special mention of the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Memorial scholarship. This education benefit is available to surviving spouses and children of service members who died in the line of duty after September 11, 2001. It is named in honor of John Fry, an active duty Marine who died while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Children are eligible from age 18 to 33, and spouses have 15 years after the death of their loved one to use this scholarship. It works much like the GI Bill; a child or spouse will receive tuition, a housing allowance, and a book stipend while attending school. I have linked to the VA fact sheet here.

There is another VA education benefit for family members of fallen and severely injured service members, the Dependent’s Educational Assistance Program (DEA). Like the John Fry Scholarship, it offers monetary aid to family members wanting to attend school. This webpage has a chart that compares the two. The John Fry Scholarship offers a greater financial benefit. The DEA offers aid to those families whose service member becomes permanently and totally disabled because of their service. The John Fry scholarship is not available to families in this situation.

Endless Opportunities

The creation of the first GI Bill in 1944 gave an incredible opportunity to millions of World War II veterans. Those opportunities exist today through the Montgomery, Post 9-11, and now the Freedom GI Bill. Organizations across the country offer veterans and their families’ scholarships, grants, and opportunities to pursue a higher education during and after their service to the United States. With these benefits and scholarships, it is possible for service members and their families to graduate college with little to no student loan debt. This is an essential milestone on the road to financial freedom. Let us know how you’ve used your military education benefits in the comments below!

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We all have those times when it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Between juggling work responsibilities, being there for the family, and maintaining relationships with friends, life stretches us thin. Spending time on personal and professional development can feel like a luxury that we simply cannot afford.

But in reality, most of us know that some luxuries can be worth the cost. Time spent in support of our personal and professional growth is not wasted, but rather an investment. Doing something you love is good for your emotional well-being. Plus, having a breadth of skills and interests can open professional doors, too.

The good news is that you can drive your personal and professional development, no matter how crunched for time you may be. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Whatever you’re doing, commit to it.

You’re the person that cares the most about your own development and growth. So, if you really want it to happen, you must be committed. No one else is going to do it for you.

It’s easy to spend your time worrying about failing to develop, instead of using that time to invest in getting started. Take a small step today and see how you feel.

Hack it:

  • Make a small goal to start off and build momentum, or it’ll quickly become overwhelming.
  • Use a habit-tracking app like coach.me to help you manage your daily goals. By checking in daily and using reminders, it’s easy to stay on course.
  • Use a public commitment app where you create a commitment contract — and put your own cash on the line if you quit. Try Stikk, the app which lets you create a commitment journal and share your progress with friends.

Prioritize and plan

Some development activities are just for fun. Others will be more professionally focused, and might even be a prerequisite for your job. To stay motivated, you need to understand what you’re getting from each experience.

If professional development is your goal, talk to your boss and others in your field for ideas of the activities and qualifications that really count in your industry. Prioritize these for greatest effect.

Hack it:

  • Balance personal and professional projects to keep it interesting.
  • Some activities, such as volunteering in a related field to your current work, can offer both professional and personal development
  • Keep records as you go of the development activities you have undertaken. These are a great personal diary, but also help you to keep your resume updated over time.

Use tech

These days, professional and personal development is often accessed at the touch of a button. Information is everywhere, and easier than ever to tap into.

Even if you only have a few minutes, you can read an article or a book online to access the latest ideas in your field. If you’re thinking of taking up a new hobby for fun, you will find a community of like minded people online. You can also discover ideas and support to get you started.

Hack it:

  • Do you see things you would like to read but never seem to have time? Create a reading list for later, using an app like Pocket or Safari’s Bookmarking tool. Then hit it up when you’re on public transport or have five minutes to kill waiting in line.
  • Look at book summary sites to get a feel for which books might be interesting to you. Or sign up to Blinkist for canned versions of non fiction books you can get through in 2-15 minutes. Their curated lists (like ‘Essential reading for job seekers’) are especially good.
  • Podcasts and audiobooks are a perfect way to access information if you don’t have time to read, but spend time driving or walking places. Services like Audible make downloading and accessing easy, and often offer free books.
  • By following the right people (leaders in your industry, for example) on Twitter and other social media, you can get leads on what is new in your field.
  • Try Google alerts to get articles on topics relevant to you, direct to your inbox.

Hook up with others

There’s a reason that weight loss groups are popular. The psychology of working in a team towards a shared goal means that everyone progresses faster — and often, has more fun with it.

If you’re lucky enough to to have a mentor or coach, or a ‘ready made’ group to work with, then use them well. But even if you don’t, there are other ways to find groups of active people looking to develop.

Hack it:

  • Make a public commitment to develop a certain skill or achieve a certain thing. Tell your friends you’re working on your development, and ask for their support. Maybe they’ll join you in your journey.
  • Look up like-minded people. They’re out there! Find a group in your city using Meetup, or go online to hook up with others using social media, special interest forums, and blogging groups.
  • The coach.me community has active groups working on a wide range of goals. You can hire a coach for a small fee, or simply join the discussion forums. Here, you’ll get ideas and advice from others doing the same as you.

It doesn’t matter what you learn

It sounds counterintuitive, but what you learn is not half as important as the simple fact that you are pushing yourself to learn something new. Anything you undertake — even if not connected to your job — stretches you outside your comfort zone. You’ll develop crucial coping skills for work and home.

Hack it:

  • Got a friend who goes to life-drawing classes? Attends cooking school? Or maybe you know someone who is learning computer programming? Join them! Most adult learning environments are happy to let their students bring a friend along to try the class out, so you have nothing to lose.
  • Get online with a site like Khan Academy. You’ll get free access to learning materials on topics from economics to programming, chemistry to history.
  • Learning a language is a great way to improve your employability, and is something that can be done in bite size chunks. You progress when you have the time, and continue practicing what you’ve learned in the interim. Try a site like lingvist or babbel for example, to carry your classes in your pocket wherever you go.

Look after yourself

A final note from me: look after yourself as you seek out new personal and professional development opportunities. It is an adventure which can get pretty addictive.

Don’t try to do too much or you’ll end up stretched thin and unable to do anything well. Pace yourself, do what you enjoy, and find what brings the greatest personal and professional rewards. By starting small and finding ways to expand your horizons — without having to drastically alter your lifestyle — you’re investing your time wisely in your own future.

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After 50 years of providing higher education services, ITT Technical Institute closed its doors abruptly in September, without offering its students a fall semester. With more than 8,000 ITT Tech employees now jobless and all students left without a clear plan, this news comes as a shock to many.

Exactly What Happened?

In a news release on September 6, ITT Technical Institute expressed its great displeasure with the U.S. Department of Education. After two years of tumultuous dealings, the Education Department had banned ITT Tech in August from enrolling new students on federal aid. To put things into perspective, ITT Tech made 80% of its revenue from federal aid — such as Pell Grants and student loans — in 2015. So this ban came as a big blow to the school.

To make things worse, the Education Department required ITT Tech to post an additional letter of credit worth $153 million. This was on top of $94 million that the school had already guaranteed, beginning back in 2014. As one could imagine, these two hits were too much for ITT Tech to handle. The school had to permanently shut down.

What Does This Mean For The Students?

The school closing puts a lot of students in limbo. They had planned to complete their degree programs and enter the workforce. Now, they are left with course credits, and are unsure of what to do with them.

Fortunately, ITT Tech has retained a small portion of its staff to help these students. They will help students gather their records, and assist them in navigating their future educational plans. There are two primary options for these displaced students:

  1. Credits transfer: No matter what, students will not be able to finish their current programs at ITT Tech. If they wish to continue their education, they’ll need to enroll in a college that offers a comparable program. That school will evaluate ITT Tech’s coursework and decide which — if not all — credits can be transferred over. Most ITT Tech students will find better luck transferring credits to community colleges rather than private universities.
  1. Student loan forgiveness: Those students who do not plan on transferring their credits are eligible for student loan forgiveness. This option gives students the chance to start over and pursue their education elsewhere without the financial baggage of this abruptly-ended education. According to the U.S. Department of Education, one is eligible for 100% discharge of federal loans if the school closes while one is enrolled or within 120 days after withdrawal.

The U.S. Department of Education has provided resources to help former ITT Tech students navigate this whole process. There is a dedicated hotline (1-800-4FEDAID) where staff members are equipped to answer questions. The U.S. Department of Education is also hosting webinars throughout the month to educate former students on their options.

What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

With this news, you may be wondering what the best course of action is to protect your higher education. One recommendation is to avoid for-profit colleges if possible. For-profit colleges are attractive to some because they tend to offer more night and weekend classes. They also tend to offer more job-specific degrees and claim to have high job placement percentages upon student graduation.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. In fact, there is a lawsuit taking place right now against ITT Tech for misleading students regarding its job placement success for a specific program. The recommendation to avoid for-profit colleges doesn’t come without merit: numbers show that enrollment in for-profit colleges is already dwindling.

Another rule of thumb is to stick to schools that have been around for a while. These colleges and universities — mostly non-profits — have a proven track record of success. They are much less likely to close down in the near future. For example, New York University was founded in 1831 and the University of California, Berkeley was founded in 1868. It’s doubtful that they will go anywhere in the time it will take you to finish your education.

On the other hand, for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix and DeVry University were founded in 1976 and 1931 respectively. Having less of a track record makes these schools a bit more risky.

Wrapping Up

The news of ITT Tech’s permanent closing is unfortunate. The good thing is that there are options for those students who were displaced. They can either transfer their credits to a comparable program at another college or opt for complete student loan forgiveness.

For those of you concerned about the outlook of your higher education, you can protect yourself by choosing a non-profit college or otherwise sticking to colleges that have been around for centuries.

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It’s late May, and a new crop of students is preparing to go on to college. One of my less pleasant memories was the agonizing process of securing financing so I could pursue my degree. Though it’s many years later, I’d like to share what I learned that can make paying student loans more manageable and less onerous.

Of course, it was much easier when I went to college than it is now. Even adjusted for inflation, college education was much less expensive then and student loans were a better deal.

The interest rates were actually fairly similar to today’s; but I attended college back when mortgage rates were around 15 percent, so low, single-digit student loan rates represented much more of a discount.

Because student loan debt was less burdensome when I graduated, despite the fact that I took on the debt in a desperate and disorganized way, I was able to pay my loans off early, within five years. These days, the financial stakes are higher, and it takes more planning to make student loan debt manageable.

How to reduce student loan debt

Here are some things students and their parents should consider to reduce student loan debt in the first place:

  1. Consider value for your education dollar. Education is a wildly inefficient market. By that, I don’t mean that the schools themselves are disorganized. What I mean is that if you think of education as a consumer market with heavy competition for student dollars, it is amazing how wide the cost differences are. Even if you excuse the cost of elite colleges as the price you have to pay for a premium product, looking at more run-of-the-mill colleges one finds huge cost differences — sometimes representing tens of thousands of dollars a year — which do not seem generally to correlate with differences in quality. The nice thing about inefficient markets is that they make bargains available, but only to discerning consumers who take the time to shop around. Cheap should not be your primary criterion for choosing a school, but value for money should be high up on your list.
  2. Understand the qualifications needed for what you plan to do. One reason it is not out of place to think of education as a consumer market is that there is so much hard selling of degree programs these days. Often times, colleges heavily advertise degree programs that relate to a trendy career choice, but those degrees do not represent the full qualifications necessary to compete in that field. Don’t just choose a degree program because it sounds like something you’d like to study; think ahead to what you would like to do for a living, and then work backward to identify the degrees necessary to get hired in that field.
  3. Know what the market is for your planned career. Speaking of thinking ahead, research what demand there is for your planned career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a good source for information on hiring trends by occupation. I’m not saying you can’t choose more of a niche field because it is something you love, but you should know what your odds of making a living in that field are before you spend time and money preparing for it.
  4. Explore all your financial aid options. The federal government has a program called Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. This is a good clearing house for information and application materials for several types of student financial aid, so you can find the resources you need and choose the best ones for your situation.
  5. Prioritize your financial aid types. If there are grants or scholarships available — sources of aid that don’t require repayment — make the most of those before you borrow money. Then, choose federally-backed student loans first, because these offer good loan terms and some repayment flexibility. Private student loans should be your last priority.
  6. Use savings resources wisely. If you have saved money for college, put it in vehicles that will make it available when you need it and yet earn you the most interest in the meantime. You’ll find that if you are able to plan six months or more ahead, you can find CD rates that will do better for you than what you could earn in a savings account.
  7. Check how your repayment schedules add up before you borrow. Every loan you sign up for will probably provide a repayment schedule, but the reality check is to see how those repayment schedules add up as you take on multiple loans. Graduating students are often shocked by the burden they are facing, but there is no excuse for taking on obligations you won’t be able to meet.
  8. This time is too expensive to waste. Don’t be intimidated by the financial responsibility facing you, but respect it and use it for motivation. Blowing off classes and prolonging your time in school is an awfully expensive luxury. Getting your degree on time can save you a great deal of money.
  9. Remember the bigger picture cost of failing to pay. There is a lot of resentment among recent graduates about the financial burden they’ve taken on with student loans, and this is often expressed as talk about not paying back those loans — either by taking advantage of government forgiveness programs, lobbying for student loan relief, or simply defaulting. Just remember that every student who fails to pay back a loan makes it harder for subsequent students to get those loans. If you approach taking on and paying back loans responsibly, you can make the system work for you and future generations of students.

When you think about it, financing college represents a sort of hand-off of responsibility from the parent’s generation to the student’s. The parent often helps pay for college and guides the student in finding and organizing financing. In the long run though, it is the student left making the student loan payments for years to come — often until he or she has kids and has to start thinking for their college education.

That passing down of financial responsibilities between generations makes this an ideal time to work together to find and plan educational financing, so the older generation can share what they’ve learned and the younger generation can step up and make informed decisions about the process rather than just going along for the ride. Given the nature of the challenge involved, both an older person’s knowledge and a younger person’s eye to the future can bring valuable perspective to the process.

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Who Benefits From 529 Plans, the Middle Class or the Wealthy?

by Luke Landes

When I first began reading that President Obama was considering reducing the tax benefits for savers who make use of 529 plans and other education savings accounts to reduce the cost of education-related expenses, I was surprised. It has been my understanding that 529 plans, all though I do not have one, are intended to […]

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Mark Cuban Wants to Cap Student Loans at $10,000

by Luke Landes

We expect much from people we see on television. And it’s worse when we perceive someone to be smart and talented, even if they’re speaking beyond their area of expertise. We think someone who is a great community leader or someone who is a great business leader will make a great President of the United […]

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15 Actions Families Are Taking Today to Make College More Affordable

by Luke Landes
Graduation

Sallie Mae’s recent report explains the results of the latest survey on how American families pay for college.

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What I Learned on Father’s Day

by Luke Landes

I met my dad for dinner on Father’s Day earlier this month, and we had a deep and somewhat difficult discussion.

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Can You Sue Your Parents for College Tuition?

by Luke Landes

This story has all the makings of something viral. It fits right in with our fascination with people doing things that normal Americans wouldn’t even consider doing. We gawk at reality television shows and follow the stories about their stars, like the recent news about the couple from the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” show […]

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Should This Reader Enroll in the University of Phoenix Online?

by Luke Landes

When I was an undergraduate, the World Wide Web was coming into prominence within the world of academics. For years prior to my freshman orientation at the University of Delaware, I had gained a lot of experience and familiarity with the internet as it was at the time — newsgroups, email, bulletin boards, and even […]

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