On January 20th, his first day in office, President Biden suspended student loan payments and interest through September 30. For anyone with a federal student loan, this means you don’t need to make payments until October 2021, no interest will accrue to your outstanding balance, and if you are in default then your loan will not be collected during that time. While that is obviously great news and gives you breathing room by deferring payments, it’s important to remember that this merely pauses payments for a few months; the debt will still be there and you will have to resume payments Oct 1 (unless an extension is passed).

Save your Payments

While your payments are paused, if you have income then it’s a good idea to save the money you would have made for your student loan payments so you can use this time to build a financial cushion. That way when October rolls around, you will have some savings to fall back on and you will be ready for your student loan payments to resume. You can also still continue to make manual payments on your loan if you wish, but auto debits have been suspended until October 1.

Biden also wants to cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt per student, but this would require an act of Congress and other hurdles so don’t count on this relief yet. You should still plan on including student loan payments in your budget.

Lower your Payments

During this time, you should plan on keeping your future payments as low as possible for when they do resume. The best way to keep your payments low is to enroll in an income based repayment plan. These payments are based on your adjusted gross income, so the payments are limited as a percentage of your income. The less you make, the lower your monthly payment will be. It’s a good way to manage your payments over a long period of time, with payments as low as $0 and loan forgiveness possible after 20 years of payments.

You can also defer your payments if you become unemployed or suffer certain medical issues that prevent you from generating income. Check with your student loan servicer for details. Don’t defer payments without getting written confirmation from your loan servicer first, as student loan debt cannot be wiped away in bankruptcy so if you miss payments it will affect your credit report.

To see your options, the Department of Education has a useful simulator that allows you to see your options and how it affects your overall financial plan.

Be Ready

Once you know your options, it’s a good idea to plan in advance since when October rolls around and millions of students are contacting their servicers at the same time it could be difficult to get things done in a timely manner. Contact your loan servicer and get all of your information ready so you are ahead of the pack.

With college back in session during COVID-19, maybe things aren’t quite what you expected. Are you locked down in your dorm room staring at a screen instead of going to classes? Locked in your dorm room at night instead of going out with your friends? Wearing a mask all day, and worried if you have to cough or sneeze in public? Yes the 2020 fall term is unlike any other in recent history, and might have you questioning even staying in school this semester. So you might ask yourself, can I get a refund for my tuition and other expenses?



Tuition and Room and Board Policies

When it comes to tuition refunds, typically the earlier you withdraw the more money you get back. The refunds are offered on a sliding scale, so the longer you stay enrolled the less you will get back. If the campus stays open you probably won’t get anything back for your room and board so consider that as well. If there is an outbreak at your campus and your school goes remote, you won’t get a break on your tuition or room and board either. If your campus totally shuts down and students are sent home, then you can probably get a refund of your room and board. Colleges and Universities are in a financial bind this year as well, and they depend on tuition to stay open. So while they are unlikely to offer refunds, it can’t hurt to ask for a discount if you do go remote only.

What can you do?

You should contact your school to find out what is their shutdown contingency plan. If your state or county has strict guidelines, the college has to follow these so the chance are higher that they will have to close. On the other hand, some states have more lenient policies so a lot of it depends on where you go to school.

Once you know your school’s closing criteria, depending if it is a switch to remote only / lockdown or a complete campus closure with students sent home your backup plans should take that into account. If you go to remote only, you can ask the school about a refund or discount tuition for remote only. If there is a closure, besides the tuition break you should ask for a refund for your room and board, and have a backup housing plan.

The Higher Ed Model is questioned

No matter what, the COVID 19 pandemic is forcing a rethinking of the higher education model. Students feel let down, with high tuition bills, remote classes, and trapped in their dorms. The higher ed model in the US and the UK is unsustainable and it remains to be seen how higher ed will look after going through the pandemic crisis.

The COVID 19 pandemic has upended all aspects of our lives, and if you are a college student returning to school then textbooks are no exception. With many campus bookstores closed, your offline options are more limited than in the past but luckily your online options are better than ever so here goes:

Get your book ISBNs from your professor or syllabus

This age old advice has never been more true or relevant than now. By getting your book info for your class ahead of time, you not only save money but also can avoid the headaches of last minute shopping and potentially having your book be sold out or overpriced. Every book has a unique 10 or 13 digit identifier called an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) that is unique to that book and that edition. So the 11th edition of a book will have a different ISBN than the 10th edition. It’s important to get the ISBNs of your books so you get the exact book and edition that you will need for that class. With ISBN in hand you can easily comparison shop for your book and find the lowest price from the dozens of stores that CampusBooks.com searches in any condition including new, used, rental, eBook and even cheaper international editions. With the ISBN you are guaranteed that the book you buy online is the same you would buy in the bookstore; at the same time you are more prepared to identify a counterfeit textbook and return it if you realize it early enough.

Buy Early, Sell Late

We always recommend buying early and selling late to take advantage of the cyclical and predictable textbook market. This is even more important during the Pandemic since there is tight inventory at many warehouses due to surging online demand, and post office deliveries are being delayed for political reasons. It’s simple Econ 101 Supply and Demand: prices are high when demand is high during peak back to school rush, and prices are lower during the off season months. At the same time, buyback prices are lower during the end of the semester when everyone is selling and supply is high. So the best way for you to minimize your out of pocket textbook costs is to buy early and sell late. The sooner you can get your ISBNs the earlier you can buy your books and get a lower price; if you can buy your books in July or earlier you are ahead of the game; the same goes for spring semester, if you can buy in December that’s a great time to buy. Then if you can hang on to your books and sell them in August and January, you’ll get more money when you sell. In some cases it’s even possible to break even on your book, or even sell for a small profit!

Cheaper Options: Access Codes, Loose Leaf, and Libraries

Textbook access codes are one time codes used to access supplemental material, and are used by publishers to get you to buy new textbooks. Since they are only valid for one time use, typically you won’t get the code with a used or rental book. Check with your professor to confirm if they will actually be using the supplemental material that the access code provides, if not then you can save money by getting the used book or renting.

Loose-leaf books are alternative versions of textbooks that usually come in a binder and are another good alternative to saving money. The CampusBooks search engine gives you the ability to sort your results by loose leaf so you can see if that format is available for you; again check with your professor on this as well.

Most libraries are still operating, although you might need to call them and schedule a pick up of your book. You also don’t need to worry much about contracting COVID 19 from library books, or any used books in general. The virus quickly dies when exposed to the elements and libraries and bookstores don’t turn over inventory that quickly so there is little chance of getting sick from a used book that hasn’t been touched by someone else in weeks or months. Library books can’t be highlighted or annotated, but they are free and if you need to highlight then you can make a copy of the page you need to highlight and use that. CampusBooks has partnered with local libraries to feature library results in our pricing comparisons; after you compare prices on your book use the filter on the left to punch in your zip code and see if your local libraries have inventory.

Buy Vs Rent

Renting may seem cheaper at first, but oftentimes buying used can actually be the cheaper option. Many books keep a high resale value, so the out of pocket cost can actually be cheaper for in demand books (if you take good care of your book). The CampusBooks Buy Vs Rent super bot helps you compare the total cost of ownership of your book so you can see what makes sense for you. After you compare prices on a book, check the Buy vs Rent tool on the left column to see our recommendation.

Conclusion

Ask your professor for your book ISBNs, see if access code material will be used, are there loose leaf formats available, buy early, sell late, and use CampusBooks’s precision shopping engine to help find you the best options for both buying and selling textbooks.

It is the ultimate cliche this year, but we really live in unprecedented times and there has never been a college semester like fall 2020. The news really comes fast and furious these days, so in an effort to bring you up to date on some of the noteworthy headlines we compiled a list of articles and subjects that really stand out.

Infections on campus before classes start

Classes have barely begun and already there are some campus outbreaks. While this might seem worrisome, the vast majority of infected college students are ok. The risk is spreading the disease to others, especially faculty, staff, parents, and grandparents.

There are actions you can take to minimize your risk of getting infected or spreading infection. Of course you already know to wear a mask, wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, and practice social distancing. Of course that’s easier said than done on a college campus, if you can avoid crowded indoor areas like house parties, bars, and restaurants, that will go a long way to preventing the spread of COVID 19.

Colleges are doing what they can to minimize infections risks and with some basic common sense you can too.

Tuition Discounts and Corona Fees

One positive aspect of the pandemic is you might be able to get a tuition discount. These colleges are offering tuition discounts. The flip side is some schools are actually adding coronavirus fees to their tuition bills. Be sure to ask your school if they offer discounts for remote learning, and if they are adding extra fees for the pandemic. It can’t hurt to ask for a tuition discount, or to waive any coronavirus fees.

Remote vs in person

There has been a lot of controversy regarding on campus and distance learning. Depending on what year you are and what your major is, as well as your personal health situation and your proximity to high risk individuals, sometimes distance learning might make sense. Other times on campus learning in an outdoor socially distanced environment might make sense. Some students are even living in hotel rooms to maintain social distance outside of a crowded dorm setting while having the option of attending on campus class when available, and a quiet space for distance learning.

Collect Unemployment

Did you know you might be eligible to collect unemployment? Yes some students are collecting unemployment while attending school. You might be eligible, and if you are it’s a great supplemental income source for you while you focus on your studies.

College Football is Out

It’s a sign of the enduring pandemic that college football is mostly out, like any other team spectator sport. Hopefully this serves as an inspiration for us all to wear our masks and be smart so that we can help defeat the dreaded COVID 19. This will pass and one day and when we eventually do get back to normal it will make us appreciate things all the more.

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is devastating lives, livelihoods, and personal, business, and government finances around the world. Unfortunately the American higher education market hasn’t escaped this economic destruction either. College and Universities are facing a perfect storm of reduced enrollments, reduced endowments, and increased expenses all at the same time.

No longer Recession Proof

Higher education typically has been considered a “recession proof “ industry, with students going to school regardless of economic conditions and in fact enrolling in higher numbers during recessions in order to ride out bad job markets and improve their skills. During the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic, American colleges and universities responded with quarantines and masks much like today. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in modern history forcing colleges and universities to suspend classes while faculty and students fear catching the virus on campus. This in turn is leading to lower tuition and dormitory revenues, and increased costs due to more stringent cleaning, more personal protective equipment for faculty, staff, and students, increased healthcare screening and staff, and lower capacity due to social distancing.

Reduced Funding

In addition to lower revenues, public colleges also are facing the potential of reduced state funding due to decreasing state tax revenues. Loss of lucrative international students due to travel restrictions and a hostile domestic political environment further undermines the school’s finances. This would force schools to increase tuition and student debt would soon follow. (So now might be a good time to question a liberal arts degree and possibly pursue a more marketable / lucrative degree). Private colleges, even those with decent endowments, are also facing financing pressures due to declining enrollment and there is the potential that some colleges might close.

Layoffs and Cost Cutting

Schools are also responding by laying off faculty and staff, including the University of Akron, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Ohio University. They are also putting construction projects on hold, and freezing hire and raises. These are drastic measures and if the fall semester suffers from 15% or more enrollment drops as experts predict, then many schools will not survive in their current form and might end up closing or becoming a satellite campus.

America will get through the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but the future of American Higher Education will look very different than it does today.

The fall 2020 semester is going to be unlike any that has happened in modern history. With the covid 19 pandemic surging again, it’s now questionable whether or not classes will be held on campus. It’s looking increasingly likely that next year will be conducted through either a hybrid model of on campus and remote learning, or remote learning only.

Freshman or Upperclassman

As a student, these are unsettling times but know that you are not alone. Everyone is in the same boat. If you are an incoming freshman, you are actually in a good position since you have more options. With all of the uncertainty, it might make sense to take a gap year and let this blow over and start your college experience in the fall of 2021. If you are an upperclassmen, then a gap year really isn’t an option and your choices are whether or not to continue your education in person, remotely, or a hybrid model. It’s probably not a good idea to drop out of school because of the pandemic, as that could have a lifelong effect on your career and earnings.

In Class?

Depending on your school, in class learning might not even be an option at all. For example, the entire California State University system will not be holding in class learning in the fall 2020. Other schools such as the University of California system will offer limited in class learning. If your school does offer in class learning as an option, there are other factors to consider before choosing this option. Even though your school might allow it, some professors are revolting against teaching in person classes. If there is a local outbreak on your campus in the fall, then classes might quickly have to transition online. On top of all that, any in class experience will have to conform to all the latest CDC guidelines including masks, social distancing, hand washing etc. So while there are actions you can take to prevent getting sick, even if you are allowed to go to live classes it will be a very different and tenuous situation.

Remote and Hybrid

Remote and Hybrid learning looks like the most likely learning models this year, and with remote learning although it is far from perfect at least you don’t have to worry about your class being cancelled. If you can choose a hybrid model with some in person learning and some remote learning, this seems like a good option as it reduces the chance of encountering or spreading the virus, and also is more flexible in case the in class learning has to be shut down.

The bottom line is it’s going to be a difficult year for everyone, just remember this will pass at some point and make smart decisions for your future and in consideration of your community so that you can continue your education while helping to minimize the spread of covid 19.

As a college student, you’ve probably been assigned a textbook or two that has an “inclusive access” code. You may be wondering what is the inclusive access code, and why do more and more textbooks seem to have this code? As several recent lawsuits demonstrate, inclusive access is really more about generating recurring revenue and profits for textbook publishers than it is about generating improved academic outcomes for you.

What are Textbook Inclusive Access Codes?

To understand the inclusive access codes, you need to understand the college textbook market. Textbook publishers only make money when a new textbook (print or digital) is sold; they don’t make any money on used textbooks or textbook rentals. So naturally their incentive is to get you to buy new textbooks every time and undercut the used and rental markets, and eliminate your choice to buy or rent cheap used books or make money selling your used textbooks.

These codes were invented by textbook publishers a few years ago as a response to the rapid rise of online used textbooks and textbook rentals eating into publishers profits. Since the codes can only be used once to access supplemental material, after the one time use the used textbook has no access code and therefore no value. Students are forced to buy new textbooks each term to get the codes, which definitely benefits the publisher’s bottom line but not so much your wallet or education.

Things have changed since we wrote about access codes in 2016, when the codes were part of bundled textbook packages which included the book as well as supplemental material accessible through the one time access codes. You had a choice of buying the textbook a la carte, or buying the textbook/access code bundle. Today, with “inclusive” access, you no longer have a choice. You are forced to buy the textbook with the inclusive access code for one time use, then stuck with a used book that you cannot resell. It has gotten so bad, that scammers have popped up selling fake second hand access codes.

Who Benefits?

The inclusive access codes are just the latest tactic that college textbook publishers have long employed to maximize their revenue from struggling college students. In past decades, their preferred tactic was to come out with a new edition every year or two on subjects that really don’t change much year to year (think Algebra, Chemistry, Psychology, etc) so that professors would assign the new books, and undermine the resale value of the previous editions. This worked great for a long time, until the advent of online competition which greatly expanded student choice, and textbook rentals. To respond to this new competitive threat, the marketing geniuses at the big publishers invented the access codes to kill the used and rental markets.

The publishers try and sell the inclusive access codes as some educational miracle that will help your grades tremendously and they are only doing it for you, the student (wink wink). Since there have been no studies that compare academic achievement results for students with access codes vs students without codes, we will just have to take the publishers at their word that they have your best interests at heart.

What happens from here?

There has been a lot of pushback from students and the college bookstore industry against the publishers. Since only big chain and campus bookstores can sell the access code books, this eliminates competition and drives up prices. Several lawsuits have been filed from both students and off campus college bookstores to open the market back up, so let’s hope these lawsuits are successful and the publishers finally learn that their student customers don’t like these monopolistic tactics that harm students and benefit the publishing industry. Until then, ask your professors to assign books that don’t have these codes so that you can benefit from a free market economy and get the best textbook at the lowest price.

At present, approximately 20% of undergraduates have a disability, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. While notable headway has been made in recent years with regards to accessibility, many students living with physical and developmental disabilities are still finding it difficult to gain an inclusive college education. Educational institutions need to build more wheelchair ramps, widen more doorways and passages, and embrace assistive technologies more readily. These technologies can, after all, make a college education increasingly more accessible for students with disabilities. These devices and systems, of which the following are just a few examples, are all designed to increase, maintain, or improve the educational abilities of a college student with disabilities.


Sip-and-puff systems aid students with mobility concerns

Sip-and-puff systems are often used by college students living with limited mobility. These systems make use of assistive technologies to send various signals to a device by making use of air pressure on a straw via sipping (inhaling) and puffing (exhaling). Computers, mobile devices, and a range of other technological devices can all be controlled via n sip-and-puff system, giving a student with disabilities greater access to course material and study aids.

There are a number of sip-and-puff systems that can be utilized by college students. Origin Instruments have a range of product offerings available that allow users to control a keyboard, mouse, or joystick with ease by making use of head mounted or gooseneck interfaces. Sip-and-puff systems can even be used to gain control of a TV remote or to play video games with friends or family. These systems are, therefore, not only credited as being a useful educational and practical tool but a social one as well.

Applications make communication easier

Mobile device technology is making it increasingly easier for students with disabilities to communicate and learn. The majority of assistive apps are available for both Android and Apple devices with many being free of charge. There are, for instance, a range of communication apps for cerebral palsy users that make it significantly easier to communicate both with lecturers and peers. Text-to-speech (TTS) apps such as Speak It! and I Can Speak lend a voice to non-verbal and verbally challenged students, adding a great degree of normalcy to their everyday lives. The technology operates by scanning the typed words and then reading it back in a synthesized voice. Thanks to the constant technological advances being made, TTS applications are rendering a more realistic and accurate service than ever before.

Sound-field Systems boost assistive learning

Sound-field systems are a great asset to any college classroom. Not only do these systems benefit students with hearing loss, but also those living with various auditory and learning difficulties according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Problems such as articulation disorders, central auditory processing disorder, and language delays are not uncommon in college students and can thwart learning significantly.

Sound-field systems, which make use of a microphone and mounted speakers, make college education increasingly accessible by amplifying sound and eliminating distance-related disturbances between lecturer and listener. Apart from being used in the classroom, sound-field systems can also make conference centers and meeting rooms a lot more accessible to both students and educators with disabilities.

Getting a college education is without a doubt a great achievement – especially for an individual living with a disability. Thankfully, earning an educational qualification such as a college degree and even enjoying college life in the broader sense of the word has become significantly easier to achieve thanks to the constant development of assistive technologies.

It’s hard to write brilliantly without reading voraciously! To be a good academic writer and maintain writing skills, students need to accumulate tons of information and knowledge from reputable, authorized sources. And, given how unreliable the information from the web may be, the safest option to polish your writing is reading books by professional essay writers – from seasoned essayists, to young and talented writers from a popular essay writing service.

In this article, we’ll show you some of the best essay writing books available.


A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing” by Dr. Jacob Newman

Emphasizing the importance of a proper approach to the writing process as the key aspect of writing itself, the author contends that an essay’s success doesn’t lie in the plan or theme, but how you view the process of its development. Throughout the book, Newman teaches the reader how to find a professional approach to essay writing and stick to the right vector during the process.

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing” by Gary Provost

This incredible handbook was written in 1985 but still hasn’t lost its impact and popularity with writers. In this helpful source, you’ll find all necessary tips and recommendations on academic writing, an insider’s facts and suggestions, and other useful tricks you can use in your writing. In addition, this book contains examples of noteworthy writing pieces. Despite being deemed slightly outdated and irrelevant, the book has proven to be a great help in learning how to craft an outstanding academic paper!

College Essay Essentials” by Ethan Sawyer

Acclaimed writing mastermind Ethan Sawyer introduces the reader to the fundamentals of paper writing, providing vital knowledge for successfully developing college essays. In his book, Sawyer guides readers through every key stage of the writing process, from introduction to finale, teaching them how to arrange their thoughts and statements into an accurate and comprehensive piece of writing.

Essay Becomes Easy” by the EssayShark team

Essay Becomes Easy is of the best handbooks to dissect academic writing to the bone! EssayShark, one of the leading writing services, offers you a hands-on guide on how to write like a pro and learn the intricacies of academic writing with the highest efficacy. With the professional insight from the experts of EssayShark, the process of writing gets easier!

In Conclusion

Expert handbooks on academic writing serve as useful tools for aspiring writers who are in dire need of guidance from acknowledged academics. With the ultimate list of essay writing books that we have covered in this article, you will sharpen your writing perception and obtain effective armor for crafting first-rate science papers.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has sent college students into a world of the unknown. As you were kicked out of your dorm room, you may have been wondering where you would land and how you would get there. Campuses were scrambling to close and all of the money you invested in tuition and fees was hanging in the balance. Now that the dust is settling, you may be wondering how you can recoup some of your costs. After all, you paid for an entire semester of on-campus living and learning.


Ask for a full refund

Begin by asking for a full refund. You may not be successful, but it’s not a bad starting place to make your case for reparations. Keep in mind that most college campuses took a financial hit during the pandemic. Facilities and payroll had to be maintained, and many institutions had to spend additional money to provide technical assistance for remote learning. At the same time, you paid for something you didn’t get, so asking for a refund is not out of line.

Negotiate a partial refund

Create a list of the additional expenses you incurred as a result of having to abandon your residential experience. Include travel expenses, new housing, food costs, technology needs, and anything else that would have been provided on campus. Write a letter to your campus and ask for a partial refund to cover the expenses you have incurred. Discuss the hardships you have experienced, as you have had to restart your life without the necessary resources.

Take collective action

If your campus isn’t responsive to your requests, use your voice and harness the power of student action with a formal request for a refund. Students across the country have created petitions and have even filed lawsuits demanding the return of unused activity fees and tuition. Colleges are dependent upon students returning in the fall, so leverage this to yield even a partial refund of your tuition and fees.

Seek credit for future classes

In addition to a refund of tuition and fees, consider asking for a scholarship or grant that can be used toward classes you’ll take in the fall. The federal government allocated $14 billion in aid for higher education. Some of this funding must be used for direct aid to students. If your college is reticent to offering you cash now, you may be able to negotiate a free or partially free semester of college tuition to be used in the future. Exercise all of your options as you look for a way to get something back for what you had to endure.