Category: Urban Ed Written by Richard Prince, mije.org
NBC News is planning to pay its interns starting in the spring of 2013, according to a well-placed source at the network, addressing a long-held contention that requiring interns to work only for the experience or for college credit amounts to favoring students with well-to-do parents.
The number of internships and the salary level have yet to be determined, the source said.
The arguments for and against unpaid internships have been made for years.
In 2006, NBC News was embarrassed when Brian Williams, "Nightly News" anchor and managing editor, posted a photo of the unpaid "Nightly News" interns that showed that none were of color. Williams wrote afterward on his blog, "In previous years, our interns have better reflected American society" and added that ". . . I have spoken to Steve Capus, the President of NBC News, and going forward, racial diversity will now also be a factor in our unpaid summer internship program, because our newsrooms have to better reflect our society."
"The economics of unpaid internships are obvious," Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic, wrote in April. "Employers are desperate for cheap work, and 'free' is pretty cheap. Workers are desperate for, well, anything, and students and recent grads are willing to negotiate their wages down to zero. But the ethics aren't so clear-cut. If unpaid internships are the key to better jobs and bigger salaries, should we be concerned about the millions of lower-class students who can't afford to work for free?"
In 2005, Reginald Stuart, then a recruiter for the now-defunct Knight Ridder newspaper chain, and now corporate recruiter for the McClatchy Co., accepted the Ida B. Wells award for promoting diversity from the National Association of Black Journalists with a plea for audience members to advocate for paid internships.
"Are you insisting at every turn that interns be paid for the work they do?" Stuart asked. "At the Howard University Jobs Fair yesterday, I was reminded how ingrained this no-pay notion is, especially in the heads of young recruiters who need to be on the front lines fighting it. I asked a young recruiter if his company was paying its interns. 'Oh no,' he said. 'They don't do that.' If he's working for them, shouldn't he be saying 'we?'
"In one breath, I was ashamed of him and for him. He reminded me of the character in the movie 'Crash' who seemed powerless to determine anything in his company, even how a line of script in a sitcom should be read. Trust me. Paying interns is an easy one."
Although NBC News in general has not paid its interns, ABC News and CNN do, and CBS News and Fox News have arrangements for the college to offer course credit.
"ABC News offers a number of paid and unpaid internships every semester," then-ABC spokeswoman Natalie Raabe told Journal-isms in 2006. "The paid internship program was instituted in 2000 for students of color who demonstrate a solid interest in journalism and network news."
[LaShanti Jenkins, ABC News intern coordinator, added by email on Tuesday: "Typically there are 50-65 interns per term (including NY, LA, and DC). All news interns are paid $8.50/hour and we transitioned to an all-paid program in Spring 2008."]
ABC's internship material states, "We offer an attractive hourly salary. Interns are not eligible for company medical benefits, holiday pay or sick pay." The internships are in New York; Burbank, Calif.; and Glendale, Calif. Candidates must be available a minimum of 16 hours a week.
CNN's website says, "Students @ Work Internships are paid at minimum-wage and structured to last approximately 12 weeks. Program dates are January 28 - April 19. Course Credit is available."
NBCUniversal news internships take place in New York; New Jersey; Universal City, Calif.; and Burbank, Calif.; and Connecticut, and include the cable networks CNBC and MSNBC.
"In addition to an up to date knowledge of the news, a successful intern exhibits extraordinary attention to detail, and can function as part of a dynamic environment driven by both pace and accuracy. Journalism and political science majors are preferred, but not required," NBC says.
An exception to the no-pay internships at NBC has been the Emma Bowen Foundation.
"The Emma L. Bowen Foundation was established by the media industry to help increase access to permanent job opportunities for minority students," according to the NBC website.
"The Foundation's program is unlike other intern programs in that students work for a partner company during summers and school breaks from the end of their junior year in high school until they graduate from college. During that five-year period, students have an opportunity to learn many aspects of corporate operations and develop company-specific skills. Students in the program receive an hourly wage, as well as matching compensation to help pay for college tuition and expenses. Mentoring from selected staff in the sponsoring company is also a key element of the program."
At CBS News, the interns' duties are listed as, "Log tapes, coordinate script, research stories, conduct preliminary interviews, assist during shoots, select footage, perform light clerical duties and assist staff members," with the proviso that "Duties vary in each department."
A description adds, "This is an unpaid internship. Student must get credit." [Updated Nov. 27]
Steven Greenhouse, New York Times: Jobs Few, Grads Flock to Unpaid Internships (May 5)
Derek Thompson, the Atlantic: In Defense of Unpaid Internships (May 10)
Last Updated on Monday, 03 December 2012 10:31
Category: Urban Ed Written by Katy Hopkins
With the same president and a still-divided Congress, Washington, D.C. may not look much different next year. But college students could see changes in their financial aid awards for the 2013-2014 school year.
Here's a look at how a few programs that deal with college costs may fare in 2013-2014.
Loans: Subsidized Stafford loan borrowers should prepare for a possible interest rate jump on new loans taken next year. Though the federal loan option currently comes with an interest rate of 3.4 percent, the interest rate on loans taken after July 1, 2013 will jump to 6.8 percent, barring further Congressional action.
The current low rate was the result of a one-year delay on the increase, which Congress passed after both President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney publicly supported keeping the rate at 3.4 percent. The decision cost an estimated $6 billion, and Congress and the president, in a non-election year, are not likely to extend the low rate again, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org and FastWeb.com.
Grants: In his fiscal year 2013 budget request, President Obama called for a small but notable increase to the maximum Pell grant award, from $5,550 to $5,635 for the 2013-2014 school year. (For the past two years, the maximum grant has remained steady.) Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, the Pell grant program, which helps low-income students pay for college, is funded for fiscal year 2013, but could face a funding shortfall after that.
Tax credits: The American Opportunity Tax Credit, which gives families up to $2,500 back for paying college expenses such as tuition and fees, may not be available in 2013-2014. The tax credit is set to expire this year, but could be extended through legislation. President Obama has requested a permanent extension of the tax credit.
Repayment: Last week, the Department of Education released a final version of the Pay As You Earn plan, which allows some federal borrowers to make loan payments based on their postgraduate income, and promises to forgive debt to timely repayers after 20 years, rather than 25. It's one of several income-driven repayment options for federal student loan borrowers, along with income-based and income-contingent repayment.
"Governor Romney was opposed to the improvements in income-based repayment, and would have sought repeal," FinAid.org's Kantrowitz notes. "President Obama is obviously in favor of income-based repayment, and will soon implement the fast-tracking of the improved version."
Transparency: Regardless of a particular student's aid awards, the Obama administration has been pushing for greater transparency on college costs in general. One effort that already debuted is the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet, a comparable list of costs, aid, and outcomes that hundreds of colleges have already pledged to send to admitted students starting in the 2013-2014 school year.
"[Obama] wants them to do some comparison shopping," notes Maura Kastberg, director of student services at RSC, Your College Prep Expert, a college and career counseling company. "Families have that and can look at it and can kind of get a ballpark of how much is [the] total education going to cost, and how much debt they're going to be in—that's super important."
Last Updated on Monday, 26 November 2012 10:16
Category: Urban Ed Written by HBCU Buzz
After stumping around Georgia and other states for President Obama, actress Keshia Knight Pulliam hosted a big fundraiser at SAKS in Atlanta for Spelman College.
Keshia graduated with a B.A. in Sociology and a concentration in film back in ’01, and joined forces with Spelman College Board Members to host a Fall Fashion Presentation and fundraiser at SAKS in Atlanta. She helped usher in a whopping million dollars for the all-women’s college.
The fundraiser attendees had a fabulous luncheon complete with a champagne toast and live auction. And it was all to raise $1 million in scholarship funds to benefit Spelman students who aren’t able to graduate due to financial hardships.
Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 12:07
Category: Urban Ed Written by Katy Hopkins
During college, students who need to take loans may not give much thought to the accumulating financial burden. With no bills coming for months after graduation, preparing for repayment may not take immediate priority.
"They're thinking about graduating and looking for a job, and have kind of put off the idea of what they're going to owe until they leave," says Chris George, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment and director of financial aid at the University of Denver.
But the six-month grace period some loans offer is likely over for class of 2012 graduates—meaning it's time to kick off a repayment plan now. Here's how to get started.
1. Face your debt: If your loans have been building, a crucial first step is to know what you're working with. On the National Student Loan Data System, students can locate all their federal loans and find debt totals, including accumulated interest.
"Before I looked online, I wasn't even sure how much my loans were, including interest," says Meghan Mitnick, a teacher in New York City with six-figure loan debt from two New York University degrees. "Even though it's really scary, know exactly what you're dealing with."
2. Contact your loan servicer: Once you know how much you owe, find out exactly who you'll be sending checks to—your student loan servicer.
"That's the question we get often: Who am I supposed to be paying?" says George of the University of Denver.
Whether you have federal or private loans, your loan servicer is your first point of contact for any questions and address updates, so don't hesitate to reach out, recommends Erin Wolfe, associate director of financial aid at Susquehanna University.
[Ask your loan servicer these 10 questions.]
"The best advice for any graduate is to remain proactive in loan repayment," Wolfe wrote in an E-mail. "If you have questions or concerns, contact the loan servicer without delay. Building a successful repayment strategy for student loan debt is essential for shaping the borrower's financial future."
3. Pick a repayment plan: The standard repayment plan for student loans is 10 years, but that doesn't necessarily make it the right option for every student.
Some borrowers of federal student loans, for example, may be better off opting into Income-Based Repayment or Income-Contingent Repayment plans, which adjust monthly bills according to pay. For help finding the right plan, online tools such as PayBackSmarter.com allow students to experiment with payment options.
[Consider two new ways to pay off student loans.]
4. Stick to a budget: Once you determine a monthly obligation, keep track of other spending to ensure you can pay all your bills. Websites such as Mint.com help University of Pittsburgh graduate Shawn Norcross as he prepares to begin repaying about $83,000 worth of student loans, he says.
"Budgeting is amazing, because whenever you can actually see it on a website or on your phone, you don't want to go over; you don't want to cheat," says Norcross, who compares financial tracking to counting calories. "It almost turns into a game of sorts where you want to win."
Last Updated on Monday, 19 November 2012 09:38
Category: Urban Ed Written by JULIE MAYFIELD, LINDSEY MAYFIELD, Usnews
Standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT aren't the only measures for getting into college, but they are important ones. In addition, they can play a big role in earning scholarships. Here are some things to consider when dealing with standardized tests:
When I was in high school, we took the ACT exactly once, and there was no preparation of any kind.
Things have changed for today's high school students who hope to attend college. A student's score on a standardized test has become one of the most important factors in getting into college, and earning merit-based scholarships as well.
With that in mind, here are some of the things we learned when going through this with our oldest child, Lindsey:
1. Understand the difference between the tests: Certain colleges may require a specific test to be taken. Check with the colleges where your child will be applying before you sign him or her up.
2. Plan to take the test more than once: This is especially important if you'll be relying on a good test score for a competitive admission or academic scholarship. Each point can make a difference.
3. Look into test preparation: Some high schools offer this, and there are private options as well. A good test prep course can help you not only with the material but with test-taking strategies as well.
For instance, a student is penalized for guessing and getting an answer wrong on the SAT, but not on the ACT. This will affect how the student approaches questions when they're unsure of the answer.
In high school, my group of friends and I spent a lot of time and energy on the SAT and ACT. We all took the tests multiple times, and tried many different strategies for raising our scores an extra one or two points. As a result, I became something of an expert on standardized test taking. Here are some of the most helpful things I've learned in order to boost your score:
1. Prepare correctly: Learning some basic test taking strategies for whichever test you're taking—whether it be online, in a test prep course, or through a tutor—can improve your confidence on test day.
Don't stress out too much about studying for standardized tests, though. You've probably already learned the most important facts in school, and cramming or excessive studying could actually hurt your score in the end.
2. Don't forget the little things: The key to doing your best on standardized tests isn't knowing all the uses of sin and cosine, it's about having confidence in your abilities, which is much easier to do when you're well prepared.
Get a good night's sleep, have a full breakfast, bring plenty of pencils, and turn your cell phone completely off during the exam (or better yet, just leave it in the car): These are some of the easiest ways to make sure exam day is as relaxed as possible.
3. Relax: Don't stress out if you don't get the score you want right away. I was able to raise my score three points from the first time I took the ACT, which I would say was pretty average for my group of friends.
At the same time, most people have a maximum score that they can realistically achieve on the ACT or SAT, and sometimes it's necessary to cut your losses and focus on other aspects of college admissions, such as GPA, extracurriculars, and essays.
Last Updated on Monday, 05 November 2012 09:00
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