Student loans bring concern to campus as U.S. crisis continues making an impact on future plans

By Terrance McGee As Congress scrambles to stop the flow of red ink from America’s financial institutions, the economy continues to suffer, and students, parents and financial aid officers keep a close eye on the student loan industry. The recession, largely attributed to an unprecedented number of sub-prime loans, has made money tight at banks and lending institutions across the country. As a result, standards to approve loans have become stricter as interest rates applied to those approved loans have seen major increases. Kay Pearson, the loan administrator for financial aid, said there have been many changes in the student loan industry and market within the last several years. One good thing happened as far as the interest rate is concerned for subsidized Stafford loan. Previously, a fixed rate of 6.8% was applied to loans disbursed July 1, 2006 – June 30, 2008; however, since July 1, 2008, the interest rate for subsidized Stafford loan has decreased to 6%. The interest rate for all subsidized Stafford loans will continue to decrease gradually over the next four years. By July 1, 2011, subsidized Stafford loans will have a fixed interest rate of 3.4%. “This is good news for the class that came in as freshmen this year,” Pearson said. “While you are in school, within your grace period and during your repayment, your interest rate will be a little bit lower than what it was.” One thing that causes concern for most students is the availability of funds for loans. “Even though we have fewer lenders on our list now than in the past, the funds are still there,” Pearson said. “Because we are a private school, our students have a good repayment history, and our school as a whole has a good default rate. Our students should not have to worry about being able to obtain a Stafford loan.” With that said, there have been some problems if the student tries to borrow an alternative or private loan. On a regular Stafford student loan, there is no credit check done on the student. “Any student can get a Stafford loan, but when it comes to the private loans, a credit check is performed on the student’s credit history,” Pearson said. Most students are not yet credit worthy, meaning they have not had enough credit history to obtain a loan in their own name, she said. In that case, they need a co-signer. Due to the financial plunge, most lenders have increased their credit score requirements. This can make it difficult for students to obtain a co-signer, and can also make it difficult for parents who are attempting to obtain...

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Campus students cheer at eighth-grade Tigers game to show support

By Patrick McDonald The quarterback throws the ball, and it lands in the wide receiver’s hot little hands. He runs the ball into the endzone for a touchdown, and as he spikes the pigskin into the ground, you would expect the crowd to go wild. This is not the case for the eighth grade Belton Tigers team, as they have few spectators attending their games. But some students from UMHB decided to make a change for them. They saw the need for encouragement for the young NFL players-to-be and thought of a solution. They would cheer for the Belton Tigers at their game. Junior Lydia Schmidt said, “We got the idea from a similar event that happened in Austin. A small team, like the Tigers, needed help and attention. So some people in the community asked ESPN broadcasters to follow the game and hired the Goodyear blimp to fly overhead. We just wanted to love them.” And love them they did. They came dressed in red T-shirts and carrying paint and noisemakers. Though not many students were able to make it to the game, those who did show made a difference. While the sun shone brightly and increased the temperature of the day, they stuck around the entire time, yelling for the Tigers with sweat pouring down their faces. “It was a great experience to make these kids’ day. Some of the students were really energetic, and they had to be since there were only about ten people from UMHB,” sophomore Mike Kroll said. The students did a great job, cheering that would have rivaled the greatest fans. They were loud and received some weird looks from the parents of players and young cheerleaders on the blacktop. The Tigers would end up winning the game with a shut-out against Midway, 12-0. Coach Josh Davis said, “What the students did for the players was very much appreciated. Apart from parents coming to see their son play or their daughter cheer, there are not many people that do come to see these kids. They were surprised to have people being loud for them and even asked me a couple times who it was cheering for them.” Junior Alanna McFarland said, “It was all worth it. The time was well spent not only with friends from the university, but with kids we did not even know. Everyone should come along when the next game comes around. They may have to pay $2 to get in, but there is nothing else that they would be...

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More stuff won’t satisfy
Nov18

More stuff won’t satisfy

By Laura Beth Gebhardt Satisfaction does not exist in today’s society. There is always something better to work for, to obtain. The latest Ipod, the bigger plasma TV and the faster car are a few of these things. This constant desire for more leaves people constantly unsatisfied. This need for more is taught as early as childhood. Something as simple as watching Disney movies influences the way children think. Belle was discontent with her simple farm life, and longed for adventure. Ariel wanted the one thing she couldn’t have, the life and love of a human. She became so unsatisfied with living under the sea that she risked everything to get it. Jasmine was a princess who lived in luxury and yet wanted nothing more than to be the common person. Aladdin was the everyday man who looked up at Jasmine in envy. He longed for the life she lived. This idea carries on to people’s everyday life. If a people have curly hair, they want straight hair. If people have a car from the year 2005 they want the one from 2008. People become obsessed with getting the latest and greatest, but it never satisfies. People look at the lives of movie stars and long to have what they have, but those stars’ suicides, drug addictions, alcoholic tendencies and depression prove that possessions do not bring happiness. Ezekiel 7:19 says that in the end, gold and silver and all the things people have accumulated will be worthless, because material possessions will not save from God’s wrath. They are wholly insufficient. The one time that being unsatisfied is a good thing is in one’s relationship with Christ. He created people in a way that leaves them in constant hunger for Him. This leaves believers constantly striving for more, yet fulfilled in Him. Psalm 17:15 says, “Because I am righteous, I will see you. When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.” The love of God is the only thing that brings true...

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Welcome to Hollywood: Journeying back to the 1960s, students act in upcoming HBO film
Nov18

Welcome to Hollywood: Journeying back to the 1960s, students act in upcoming HBO film

By Laura Beth Gebhardt Digressing from being a college student studying in the library to a high school student playing in a school yard during the 1960s seems like an impossible transition. Yet, this journey back in time became a realistic opportunity for some UMHB students. It was the involvement with the upcoming HBO film, tentatively titled Temple Grandin, that made the experience possible. Professor of performance studies at the university, Dr. Diane Howard, had previously been a part of the film, and was impressed by it. “This was the most redemptive, substantive, large production, with top stars that I have seen produced in Texas,” she said. While involved with the film, Howard discovered that the casting director, Kira Burns, was searching for a core group of students to be the high school classmates of the main character, Temple Grandin, who is played by Claire Danes. She had already searched three universities, but had not found students who had the specific look the director wanted. Howard eagerly told Burns about the students of UMHB. “She came the next day, and fell in love with our students,” Howard said. “They were just what she had been looking for. They were wholesome, positive, cooperative students who had the right looks for the scenes.” After talking to 150 people at UMHB, Burns chose 25 to appear in the film. The majority who accepted spent four days on the set and had the opportunity to experience the movie-making process. Being a part of the production not only brought noteworthy recognition to the students involved, but to the communication and media studies program and university as a whole. “This put us on the map of major movies and in the networks of major movie companies,” Howard said. “They know us now and will call us again. This has been a wonderful opportunity  for  us to  be salt and light  in  the movie industry.” The paid students involved were treated like little stars. They got their makeup and hair done every morning, had catered meals for both breakfast and lunch and had their own wardrobe. However, being an extra on a film is not always as glamorous as it may seem. They were in small scenes with the stars who had more face time on camera than extras usually do. “The experience was ten times better than I thought it would be,” sophomore Nathan Jenkins said. “I had been warned that the position, an extra, that is, was not as extraordinary as Hollywood might want you to think, but the majority of the cast were very nice, and the crew was extremely personable.” The movie...

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White House welcomes historical first
Nov18

White House welcomes historical first

By Mateo Gamboa Stuart Platt Terrance McGee More than 50 students huddled around the TV in the SUB in anticipation of the final election results Nov. 4. Some Crusaders were disapointed by the Republican party loss, while others celebrated the announcement of the new President-elect, Barack Obama. Sophomore public relations major Angel Bell, a supporter of Obama, was among those marking the victory. “I cannot believe this,” she said. “Now I really feel like I can do anything. Now I can look at my kids … and tell them they can do anything and mean it.” According to CNN’s analysis, the 47-year-old first term senator’s agenda for change gained a wide spectrum of supporters across the nation. Obama beat Sen. John McCain 365-162 in the Electoral College, while gaining 53% of the popular vote to McCain’s 46%. Senior Carlton Lemley was ecstatic about the results. He said, “It feels like a dream has come to fruition. I said in 2004 ‘this man will be president’ when he gave a speech at the DNC.” Lemley said he has faced opposition because of his political views. “It feels like the divisions that fostered a partisan attitude towards me can begin to be healed,” he said. “I’m not mad at Republicans.” Under Obama, America will see a new face representing the nation, and the country will undergo various transformations. Senior Jeremy Williams looks forward to the changes. “This election is not something that will be talked about for the next four years or … for three or four generations. This is an infinite marker in history,” he said, “Martin Luther King was right: The progress does take time. Some people are ready. Some people are not. I am ready.” Annie Ferguson, a cashier for Sodexho, the university’s  food management services, said she is  proud  that  Obamawas elected the president because it tells her grandchildren that despite the color of their skin, they have the opportunity to become whatever they want. “Because Barack is our first African-American president,” she said, “it opens the doors to all other nationalities.” Others placed an em-phasis on Obama’s policies rather than his race. “Not only am I ecstatic because Barack is black, but I feel he is the better choice to deal with the social and economical issues of middle-class citizens,” criminal justice major Karon Heckard said. Heckard said he grew up in the South and has experienced racial bigotry. He is proud to support a black president, who seems willing to take a stance for bridging the gap among various ethnicities. He said, “Time for a change existed a century ago, but Obama has fulfilled those...

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