For Neal Cronkite — a teacher in Holt — and his wife, sending their two sons to Midway Early Learning Center was a carefully calculated, but well-made choice. “After touring the centers, we made a spreadsheet and color-coded it with pros and cons — yes, we are those people,” he said with a smile. After comparing costs, scheduling, education level of the teachers and other factors, they made their choice. “He is learning to solve problems with other kids, that he has to wait his turn, and to share,” Cronkite said, while discussing the increased socialization that he’s seen in his three-year-old son, Ian. “He also works everyday to learn new things like colors, shapes, letters, and the weather.
By ELIZABETH FERGUSON
Capital News Service
LANSING — As college financial aid deadlines loom, Michigan officials are working to get the word out about increased help available from the state and universities this year. “We work throughout the year to promote aid and financial aid, but this is definitely a busy time of the year,” said Shannon Price, coordinator of outreach services at Michigan’s Student Financial Services Bureau, part of the Michigan Department of Treasury. This year, Michigan has $105 million in state-appropriated scholarships and grants for students. All are need-based, and some require other qualifications such as test scores. Last year, more than 73,000 students received state scholarships and grants, according to Price.
The massive expenses behind higher education in America have been a hot button issue for many years. Every year, thousands of students graduate with thousands of dollars of student loan debt to their name. It may seem like an unbearable vicious cycle to most, but Michigan State University’s Office of Financial Aid stresses that there are options available that will keep students from going into default. Reaching default haunts credit scores for years, affecting what purchases a person can make. Graduates today are using plans that tie loan payments to income. These income-based programs are built to make loan repayment manageable and make life easier for those who struggle to find a job, although the Financial Aid staff does warn about interest collecting when you miss payments.
Sequester has become a word that strikes fear into many Americans. The automatic spending cuts took effect in March when the federal government could not reach a deal on the debt ceiling. Half of the cuts affected national defense and half affected domestic programs, so everyone has had to tighten their belts. With all of the decision-making taking place in D.C., sometimes it seems easy to forget that communities near and far are recipients of these budget cuts; East Lansing is no exception, so what is happening in regards to sequestration here on MSU’s campus? From the Office of Financial Aid to the ROTC program, these stories break down what Spartan students and their parents can expect from sequestration.