Thursday, February 11, 2010

Banking Under the Mattress: Financial Literacy and Unbanked New

Thursday, February 25, 2010, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall

55 West 13th Street, Second Floor (between 5th and 6th Avenues)

A new FDIC study finds that seven of every 20 New York households is
“underbanked.” In most cases, these are low-income, minority and
single-parent households that either have no bank accounts or rely
heavily on alternative financial services such as payday lenders and
pawn shops. Such families can pay exorbitant fees and interest, are at
greater risk of robbery, and often can’t borrow because they have no
credit history. New York and other cities and states are experimenting
with solutions, including low- or no-fee community banking services
and financial literacy campaigns. What works? And what should
government, nonprofits and the banking sector do now?


Jonathan Mintz, Commissioner, New York City Department of Consumer
Affairs, presenting new data on the unbanked in New York


Cathie Mahon, Executive Director, NYC Office of Financial Empowerment

Deyanira Del Rio, Associate Director, Neighborhood Economic
Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP)

Edward Kramer, Executive Vice President, Wolters Kluwer Financial

Leslie Parrish, Senior Researcher, The Center for Responsible Lending

MODERATOR: Dean Starkman, managing editor of the Columbia Journalism
Review’s The Audit

Admission is free, but you must RSVP. Call 212.229.5418 or email

Supported by the Sirus Fund and the Milano Foundation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

From the Boston Globe

The college admissions scam

By Neal Gabler
January 10, 2010

"NOW IS the winter of high school seniors’ discontent. But then every winter is one of discontent as seniors file their college applications with a mix of dread and hope - mainly dread. Those applying to the most selective schools have the odds stacked against them no matter how sterling their high school records, though college admissions officers typically offer the cold comfort that rejection is not equivalent to failure and that, as one Yale admissions officer put it, “It matters far less which strong college admits you than it matters what you do with your opportunities once you are there.’’ To which most high school seniors would say, “Hogwash.’’

They know that it does matter where you go to college, if not educationally then in terms of social recognition and opportunity. They know that America, for all its professions of meritocracy, is a virtual oligarchy where the graduates of the Ivies and the other best schools enjoy tremendous advantages in the job market. They know that Harvard or Stanford or MIT is a label in our “designer education’’ not unlike Chanel or Prada in clothes.

So here is another, more realistic comfort to those anxious seniors who will soon be flagellating themselves as unworthy: The admissions system of the so-called “best’’ schools is rigged against you. If you are a middle-class youth or minority from poor circumstances, you have little chance of getting in to one of those schools. Indeed, the system exists not to provide social mobility but to prevent it and to perpetuate the prevailing social order."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Interesting Article and Debate in the Comments in the Chronicle

What do you all think?

In Today's NYTIMES

Colleges Are Pushed to Convert Loan System

Published: October 26, 2009

Congress has not given final approval to legislation ending federal subsidies for private student loans for college. But Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent a letter Monday to thousands of colleges and universities urging them to get ready to use the government’s Direct Loan Program in the 2010-11 school year.

The House of Representatives last month passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, expanding the government’s direct lending and ending the current program of government subsidies and loan guarantees for private lenders. Under that law, all colleges would be required to convert to the federal Direct Loan Program by July 1.

But the Senate has yet to take action on the legislation, and it is uncertain whether it will do so before the health care debate is resolved.

Meanwhile, most of the nation’s 5,000 colleges and universities have not taken the necessary steps to convert to direct federal lending. The letter, sent to some 3,000 campuses that have never used direct lending, was an effort to prod them into action.

“Some campuses are thinking they’ll wait until Congress acts, but to wait is to endanger loan access for students,” said Robert Shireman, the deputy under secretary of education.

In the past year, Mr. Shireman said, about 500 institutions have switched from the subsidized program, the Federal Family Education Loan program, into direct federal lending.

A year and a half ago, when uncertainty in the financial markets threatened the availability of private loans, Congress passed a stopgap law to ensure that families with financial need could get student loans, even if their college was not in the federal direct loan program.

But that temporary legislation, which colleges used to make billions of dollars worth of new loans in the past year, will expire in June. And even if Congress does not act to end the subsidized lending program and require direct federal lending, there is no guarantee that any lenders will continue with the private loan program.

Private lenders are fighting to stop the switch to direct federal lending. And at their third-quarter earnings conference call last Wednesday, executives of Sallie Mae, a private lender, spoke of the “transition risks,” saying many schools’ financial aid offices are thinly staffed, have only just finished processing loans for this academic year and would have trouble making the transition to a new lending system in time for next year.

Mr. Shireman said that for most colleges and universities, it takes three weeks to four months to make the switch, which requires changing computer programs and retraining financial aid administrators.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Starting List of Resources

Hey all;

I'm putting together a google map and a pocket guide of resources for low income students. Here's some stuff I have so far. Please add!

View Resources for Low Income Students in a larger map


Check out The New York City Coalition Against Hunger for information on resources like food stamps, food pantries and soup kitchens.

1. B and H Vegeterian: 2nd Ave. b/n 7& 8.
Soup and sandwich for around $5, or $3 bowl of borscht. Ask for free slices of challah.

2. 211 Burrito: 3rd Ave. and14th.
$6 Burrito with a soda can.

3. East West Café: 5th Ave & 14th St.
Free Tea.

4. East Village Cheese: 3rd Ave b/n 9 & 10th
Check out their sales if you have a need for fancy, imported cheese.

5. Eva's restaurant: 8th St. b/n 5&6 Ave.
has $1.30 falafel - but make sure to mentionythe deal they advertise on the sign or else they will charge you more some times.

5. Gray’s Papaya: 7th Ave b/n 8th and 9th
Recession Special.

6. Mapi: 13th St. b/n 5th and 6th Ave.
Cheapish, fast coffee and empanadas.

7. Piola’s: 12th St. b/n University and Broadway $10 lunch special with personal pizza, panini and soup or salad. Good for a Split.

8. Punjabi Restaurant: 114 E 1st St.
$3 for a vegetarian meal

9. Rafiqi’s: 13th St and 5th Ave
Street meat! 4.75 for a plate of chicken with rice, beans, lettuce, tomato etc.

10. Regale Deli: 5th Ave b/n 15&16 St.
Salad and hot bar goes on sale at 5pm for $3.99 a pound

11. Sammy’s: 6th Ave b/n 10&11th.
Free in-house pot of tea, get a curry chicken bun and a small wonton soup for $4.75.

12. Lanam: 13th St. and University
Lunch specials around $8, good for a split.
12. Two Brother’s Pizza: 6th Ave b/n 17&18th
Dollar slices, and cheapish hot bar. $2.75 for two slices and a soda.

13. Trader Joe’s Wine: 14th St. b/n 3&4 Ave.
$3 bottles.

14. Universal News: 13th St. b/n 5&6th Ave.
50 cent coffee or free coffee or soda with breakfast and lunch sandwiches, coming out to about $3.75.

15. Village Yogurt: 14th and 6th.
$5 Dumpling Soup


A. The Strand: Broadway at 13th.
Used and Discount bookstore. Check here for your textbooks first: you can check online at

B. Utrecht: 12th St. and 4th Ave.
cheaper than a lot of places, keep your eye out for seasonal coupons which can go as high as 40% off non-discounted items.

Websites - Free and cheap events around NYC.

nyc_for_free livejournal posting group: - where to get free drinks

Cheap Bastard's Guide to NYC freebie flier newsletter signup

Craigslist NYC freelist:


Dental Care: NYU Dental School. Done by students under supervision or by the teacher with a student observing. Not free, but cheaper than going to a dentist without insurance.
(212) 998-9872 / 24th st and 1st ave

Health Care: NYC Free Clinic. Comprehensive Free Clinic for the uninsured. No Walk ins.
(212) 206-5200. 16 E 16th St.

Materials: Free stuff can be had by calling manufacturers, saying you’re a designer (not a student), by asking for a sample of the product can get you eenough material for what you need, probably best to say you are a designer

Study at Bobst - it’s open 24 hours, all the books you’ll need are there, and it’s free. Keep in mind, though, that you can’t print here and it gets full during finals. You get in with your student ID.

Fancy Dates

Suggested Donation = a Quarter is Enough.
These museums have suggested donation policies: El Museo del Barrio, Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of the City of New York.
New School ID’s get you in Free to the Moma and PS1, both for admission and movies.

Discount Theatre Tickets: Offers tickets up to 50% off for Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. Lists rush and SRO policies for all Broadway shows and major NYC entertainment events

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra seats for $20 (day-of), Mon. - Thurs.

Free Samples

Lush: 14th St b/n 5th and University
ask for free samples of shampoo, soap, and fancy creams.

Sabon: 6th Ave b/n 9&10 St.
ask for free samples of soap.

Student Health Office: 135 East 12th Street free condoms, dental dams, and HIV tests. If you have student health insurance, you can walk-in or make an appointment for health, gynecological or mental health services.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Work-study jobs off campus!

A little known fact: students can receive Federal Work Study payment off of campus.

-a non-profit
-community service/organization type facility
-Tai confirms after seeing a discription of the job
-you cannot get FWS payment and simultaneuosly receive school credit (as an internship) at the job unless the position was already advertised as a paid position.

Up the Pell Grants!

Hey all;

Both President Obama and the House proposed a massive $40 billion dollar increase in student Pell grants. Now it is up to the Senate to invest in students.
Big lenders have spent millions fighting this proposal, which cuts wasteful lender subsidies from the federal government, and uses the $87 billion in savings to make college more affordable. To ensure that the Senate prioritizes students over banks, we need to Raise Some Pell!
During the week of October 5 – 9, USSA, USPIRG and Campus Progress are asking young people to call, fax, and tweet their senators to demonstrate massive grassroots support for more Pell grant aid.