Posts Tagged ‘recession’
Financial aid isn’t the only thing that has been affected by the current economic downturn.
While many graduating seniors now look to find their first full-time job, Career Services is hosting March Career Madness Month, holding events all month to help seniors make post-graduate plans, Director of Career Services Maria Stein said.
The series of events range from salary negotiation to how to handle the stress of searching for a job. There are an additional two events tonight: Students can meet with one of 12 participating companies to find out what potential employers think of their resume at ‘Resumania,’ and find out how to use Facebook and other networking tools to find jobs at ‘Using LinkedIn to Find a Job.’
“We decided we needed to do more programming aimed toward graduating students to help them have more support and information on job searching and options after school,” Stein said.
The program was introduced because of the recession, and a study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) that predicted employers will hire 22 percent fewer graduates from the class of 2009 than last year, Stein said.
Because of this, Stein stressed the importance of networking, which these events encourage. Stein said most jobs are never officially posted, and positions are obtained because of connections, which is becoming more frequent in this economy.
“Open positions are few and far between, so networking is even more important,” she said.
Also, Stein said it was important to bring in outside sources who are experts to relay the information to students, so many of the events included panels of employers.
“I can say the same things, but [students] will listen more if it’s from an employer,” she said.
Though the last event is April 7, the programming may be continued next year depending on the state of the economy, she said.
“If the economy is continuing in the same vein as now, we will probably look at similar programming,” Stein said. “We’re going to look at what feedback we’ve gotten and we’re going to continue to help students.”
With the current financial crisis, finding a student loan can be difficult. However, in an effort to counteract the struggle, university officials have developed four core focuses to help students find funding for tuition and board costs.
“Financial aid and grants have always been high,” said Senior Vice President of Enrollment and Student Life Philomena Mantella said. “We want to make sure that the institution is available to those that want it and that they can sustain themselves to a degree. It’s a constant theme and area of focus, but this year in particular, since unemployment is up and lending is strained.”
The first focus is to move more towards direct student lending, Mantella said.
“Part of the economic shift is just more liquidity and less loans available,” Mantella said. “We want to make sure the students that rely on student loans have those resources secure.”
A retention fund will also be created so students have access to grant money if they have a drastic change in family income. This will ensure there’s money available to close the gap between the money they have secured and their tuition costs. Mantella said this is where a majority of additional university funding will go.
The third focus is on increasing scholarships, for which there has been active fundraising. These are sponsored by alumni, who also create the criteria for the scholarship recipients.
“A lot of people are offering funding as a recognition for students that have strong academics and characteristics,” Mantella said. “Those kinds of individual awards [alumni are offering] can range from very basic to very specific.”
Some students said they think increasing these funds is a positive step.
“I think it’s good because investing in education is a guaranteed return in the long term,” said senior electrical engineering major Jean Blanc. Blanc said he is currently on two scholarships.
The last part of the initiative emphasizes servicing students to make sure they are aware of the funds available to them, like holding financial aid workshops on campus.
“One of the things we want to do is make sure students think early enough to have everything available to them,” Mantella said.
By working on expanding each of these four sections regarding financial aid, finding funding for school should be easier for students, she said.
“What you have to think about is if you are out looking for all available options,” she said. “You have to think of a portfolio of opportunities, a lot of which the institution provides.”
To ensure financial security, when the university gives out initial scholarship and grant awards they are typically for all eight semesters to ensure the availability of these funds throughout students’ time in school.
“These steps are especially helpful for students paying for the majority of their schooling,” said sophomore chemical engineering major Emma Neirinckx.
“I really need help paying for school,” she said. “A lot of people need money, and I’m doing it mostly on my own besides my parents cosigning my loans. I know a lot of people in similar situations and they really need the extra help.”
Though Neirinckx said she’ has not applied for scholarships for next semester because she will be on co-op, more students than usual are projected to. Mantella said she expects an increase because of the economic conditions in comparison to last year.
“I think that if you project that, most institutions are finding an increase,” she said. “But if it’s in the single or double digits is to be determined at a later time.”
Due to the current economic crisis and shortage of loans, more and more students are finding it harder to make steep tuition payments. Rather than the traditional methods though, some are choosing another path to get into college – joining Northeastern’s ROTC.
“The economy is impacting decisions for a lot of people,” Lt. Col. Kate Scanlon said. “Army ROTC is an attractive offer in an economic crisis.”
The ROTC has experienced a nearly 60 percent increase in members this incoming year, and Scanlon said she expects a steady increase next year if the economic trend continues. Scholarship opportunities, such as a 20 percent tuition grant alongside aided room and board also contributed to the enrollment increase, although Scanlon said financial offers like this are nothing new.
“We haven’t changed our financial aid offers,” Scanlon said. “We’ve just seen an increase in those that are applying for scholarships.”
The increase in scholarship applications, however, has led to an increase in scholarship granted money, coming from the congress’s Department of the Army budget.
“I have had a number of submitted scholarships, and I’ve never been denied one,” Scanlon said. “I’ve been allowed to get more money than I am allotted to receive.”
Last year there was a Leadership Training Course for those who had two years of school left but wanted to be part of the ROTC. It is a month-long intensive training period, designed to catch up those who are joining late.
Three participated last year, but only one met the requirements and will continue to Northeastern’s Liberty Battalion. Another three students have already signed up to participate this summer, including middler criminal justice major Chris McCrobie.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “You’re submersed into it [for the month]. It’s like boot camp for officers that they normally don’t get.”
By completing the leadership training course, successful participants gain $5,000 along with the other financial aid offered for being in ROTC.
However, not everyone joining ROTC currently is signing up solely because of economic situations. Scanlon said the past two classes that have had the most drastic increases are just as motivated and determined if not more than previous classes.
“Our freshman and sophomore classes are excited and much larger than we’ve had in the past,” she said. “There’s a greater sense of energy, and camaraderie isn’t as tight knit but there’s more enthusiastic participation.”
Also, anyone who joins because of the wrong reasons won’t make it very far in the program, Scanlon said.
“Once you’re in ROTC you have to really commit,” she said. “It’s competitive and there’s a lot of work in it. I mean there aren’t a lot of college kids in the gym at 6 a.m three days a week. They find out pretty quickly that you really have to commit to be in the program, and if they don’t want to they leave.”
The economy has recently led the army to appeal as another opportunity to join, McCorbie said. He had previously considered joining, but because of the current crisis he reconsidered and decided now is the time, he said.
“This past year it’s been getting harder to pull loans so it’s a reason that people will [join],” McCorbie said. “Doing ROTC is a two-in-one deal, and I think that people want to join the military, so a lot of people are relooking at it because of the economic situation. Hopefully when I come back in the fall I’ll be contracted, get the scholarship and school will be set up from here on out.”