June 2011

  • New Report Proposes Solutions for Rising College Costs

    Barry Lenson

    New Report Proposes Solutions for Rising College Costs “Opportunities for Efficiency and Innovation: A Primer on How to Cut College Costs,” a new report by Vance H. Fried from the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, lays out a proposal for how colleges can cut operating expenses and become more affordable. Unlike other studies, this report doesn’t blame excessive college costs on hot tubs, spa-like health clubs, landscaping or other unnecessary “extras.” Fried maintains that colleges cost too much because they have not found cost-effective ways to deliver instruction. Here are the remedies that he suggests: 1. Eliminate or separately fund research and public service 2. Optimize class size 3. Elimi ...

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  • Unusual Ways to Pay for College Tactic #4 . . . Set Up a 529 Plan

    Barry Lenson

    Unusual Ways to Pay for College Tactic #4 . . . Set Up a 529 Plan With this post, the StraighterLine Blog continues its series of posts that offer straightforward tactics for reducing college costs. Today’s tactics is . . . Set up a 529 plan and get the most from it 529 Plans (named for Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, which established them) are savings/investment vehicles that work a lot like IRAs or SEPs. There are differences, however. The money you contribute to them is not tax deductible; however, you don’t pay tax on any interest that accumulates on funds that are held in the account. Plus, there are very high limits for how much can be contributed. If you have $300,000 that you would like to use to cover your ...

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  • Standardized Testing in China: What It Says about American College Prep

    Standardized Testing in China: What It Says about American College Prep
    Barry Lenson

    Standardized Testing in China: What It Says about American College Prep If you think that American students have it bad when it comes to standardized testing, you should read “What I Learned from China’s Schools,” a recent blog post by Michael Levy, who taught high school in China. There he learned about China’s gaokao exam, a two- day government-administered standardized test that he calls, “an SAT on steroids.” According to Levy, the gaokao causes a lot more harm to students than American standardized tests do. Here are some of the rather astonishing observations he makes about the test: College admission in China is based solely on the results of the test. Motivated students with money spend 8-10 hours a day prepari ...

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  • Go to College...in 1986

    Barry Lenson

    How to recreate the college experience of 1986 – including the tuition Who says you can’t turn back the hands of time? The fact is, you can attend college in 1986, starting today – and we aren’t kidding. Here’s all you need to get started today . . . Go buy yourself a nice new Apple IIe. If you spurge and but all the memory you can (48K) the machine will set you back about $2,600. But you’ll still have to spring for one or two external 5.25” floppy drives. Buy a few 1986 bestsellers to read in your dorm. We’d recommend The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum or It by Stephen King. Get a TV and a VCR for your dorm room so you can watch “Platoon,” which just won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Buy a pair ...

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  • Medical Terminology Made Simple: Fibromyalgia

    Barry Lenson

    Medical Terminology Made Simple: Fibromyalgia As a service to people who are thinking of entering the medical and medical support professions, StraighterLine is continuing the series of short posts on medical terminology. Each post will define one medical term. Today’s medical term is . . . Fibromyalgia If you imagine normal aches and pains and then multiply them by a factor of 20, 50, 100 or more, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how Fibromyalgia feels.  And the disease is even more unpleasant than that. If you have it and something presses on certain parts of your body, the pain can be intense. Perhaps due to the chronic pain, Fibromyalgia is linked to depression, fatigue and sleep-deprivation. Women between the ages of 25 an ...

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