Hug Your Parents, and 7 Other Lessons for New Grads

The day after graduation at Miami University in Ohio, I took a run through campus. Barricades blocked paths, and white party tents waited to be disassembled. Ikea shelves and desks and deck chairs lined curbs. Kids snapped last-minute photos, while moms and dads carried storage bins and hitched U-Haul trailers to the backs of SUVs. It had been a while since I’d seen this scene – about 10 years. I graduated from college in 2005 and, after a short stint …

Students Find $40,000 in Thrift Store Sofa

Three college roommates who bought an old couch for $20 at a Salvation Army store in New Paltz, N.Y., had the surprise of their lives when they found $40,000 in cash hidden inside. “I almost peed,” Reese Werkhoven, one of the lucky trio, told TheLittleRebellion.com, an online student newspaper at SUNY New Paltz. “The most money I’d ever found in a couch was, like, 50 cents.” As it turned out, the couch contained three cash-stuffed plastic envelopes, one of which had …

College Students: Ideal for ID Theft

If you have children or grandkids attending college, or about to graduate, it’s time to school them on the dangers of identity theft. Last year the Better Business Bureau deemed college students the “most at-risk” group for identity theft, and those in their 20s represented 1 in 5 of all victims (higher than any other age group), according to reports filed with the Federal Trade Commission. College students and recent graduates are often targeted because they’re ideal victims. Reasons: Many …

Some Student Borrowers Face Default if Cosigner Dies

Many parents and grandparents are aware of the hazards of cosigning an education loan, putting themselves on the hook to repay if the student doesn’t. Now another wrinkle has emerged that can end up hurting student borrowers: Under the terms offered by most private lenders, institutions can demand that borrowers immediately repay a loan in full if the cosigner dies or files for bankruptcy. These so-called auto-defaults can occur even if the borrower has been keeping up with payments. And …

Defaults Rise in Parent PLUS Loans

Parents who’ve taken out federal student loans to help pay for their children’s college education are increasingly finding themselves in serious financial trouble. Default rates on Parent PLUS loans have tripled in the last few years, according to federal data released this month. Some 5.1 percent of loans that originated in the 2010 fiscal year were in default three years later, according to U.S. Department of Education data released last week. Default rates were highest, at 13.3 percent, for Parent …

Why Your Children Should Help Pay for College

Spring means college admissions, and we still recall the agonizing wait for the mail carrier. A thin envelope brought bad news, a thick envelope acceptance. Today, though, the “envelope” arrives via email – and that’s not all that’s changed. These days, the sticker price for private colleges starts at about $40,000 a year, going much higher for a prestigious institution; in-state schools run about half that. Nearly as soon as the anxiety on the admissions front dissipates, it’s replaced by …