Thursday, August 8, 2013

Practical steps to lessen the burden of student loan debt

Following is an op-ed piece by Ohio University-Chillicothe Dean Martin Tuck regarding common-sense steps that students and their parents can take to avoid accumulating excessive college debt. The op-ed was printed in the Chillicothe Gazette.

Higher education may be invaluable, but it is not priceless. That is the theme of countless conversations being held in light of the recent Project on Student Debt report and the uncertainty about the interest rate of federally-subsidized Stafford Loans.

The Project on Student Debt indicates that college debt has increased substantially over the past 20 years, in terms of both the number of college graduates who owe for their college costs after graduation and the total amount of debt accumulated. The interest rate of Stafford Loans, meanwhile has recently doubled from 3.4 to 6.8 percent, although lawmakers may have a new plan in the works.

While most experts agree that the price of a college education remains a sound investment considering the increased earning power of an individual with a college degree, there are a number of strategies and programs students and parents can participate in to help make a college education more affordable in these current times. Many of these strategies require a significant amount of planning to fully realize their benefits.      

•    College savings plans:  Parents can begin putting away money for college while children are young, which is a true investment in the future of the child. These savings plans can provide a cushion and help to lessen the financial blow when the students enroll in college and tuition is due.
•    Postsecondary Option (PSEOP)/Dual Enrollment Programs: Students who qualify for PSEOP academically can earn college credit at little or no expense while attending high school. Such a “head start” to college will reduce the amount of tuition students must pay to finish their degree once they do enter the college/university of their choice. PSEOP also allows students to get acclimated to college life and academic expectations before enrolling in a college or university.
•    Guaranteed Tuition Options: Many colleges and universities, such as Ohio University,   are exploring guaranteed tuition options. These programs guarantee the same tuition level for four years once the student enters the college/university. These programs allow students and parents to more accurately plan their household budget for college tuition costs and it also provides a strong incentive for students to complete their degree in four years.         
•    Begin your college career on a regional campus or at a community college: Students can save a significant amount of tuition costs by beginning their college careers at a regional campus or community college. The fact that many of these institutions are also commuter schools, allow students to save room and board costs as well. In addition to being less expensive, these institutions are also geared towards students who work part time while attending college and provide the opportunity for students to find their college footing without incurring the higher expenses of a residential campus.  While saving money students can become accustomed to college life, take general education requirements at less cost and be prepared for success if they choose to transfer or relocate to a larger campus.
•    Participate in work study, campus employment and co-op experiences while in college: These employment opportunities allow students to earn extra money often without leaving campus and in many cases gain valuable experience in their career field, giving them an edge on the competition when pursuing jobs after graduation.
•    Choose an academic major that, in addition to professional training, provides training in basic academic skills that are aligned with emerging career fields. Many employers do not necessarily look at a graduate’s academic major, but focus more on the basic academic skills students have learned in college, such as writing, math and critical thinking skills. These skills also allow graduates the flexibility to pursue emerging career fields they may not have considered or which did not exist at the time they entered college.

While many of these strategies require a great deal of thought and planning, potential college students and their parents should never lose sight of the fact that while not inexpensive, a college education is a quality investment for career-earning potential far into the future.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Making a good impression at a fair event

OU-C Dean Martin Tuck (left) along with assistant to the executive and athletic director Kim McKimmy greet prospective students at a very early stage of their academic careers during the Ross County Fair. The Chillicothe Campus again has a presence at the fair, staffing a booth in the multi-purpose building. Campus members are on hand to share information about the campus’ academic programs and offerings with area residents.

The fair is one of the highest-attended events in the county, and this effort is part of OU-C’s ongoing community engagement efforts as the campus fulfills its role as an engaged member of the region.

Monday, August 5, 2013

OU-C reaches out to young volleyball players through camp

By Lauren Scharfetter

There is no such thing as being too young to learn how to play volleyball. This was demonstrated when approximately 60 students from school districts throughout Ross County recently attended a clinic at Ohio University’s Shoemaker Center to learn the fundamentals of volleyball, such as passing, hitting and serving.

There were two sessions: one for girls in grades first through third and a session for girls in higher grades. OU-C volleyball coach Tara Bethel and two incoming OU-C volleyball players, Madie Arledge and Jackie Kellough, guided the girls through the fundamentals of the sport.

This is the third year the clinic has been held, and the second consecutive year it has been hosted on the OU-C campus. Bethel first launched the clinic on the basis to get more girls involved at a younger age and stoke their enthusiasm for the game.

According to Bethel most volleyball camps aren’t offered until junior high and up through high school. She was happy to see so many younger girls were interested in the sport, and that they were ambitious to learn something new.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to get enthusiastic about the game, and for them to meet new people who are around Ross County,” Bethel said. “One day the girls will look back and appreciate the experience and the opportunity that was offered to learn new skills, whether they continue to play volleyball through high school or if they only play for a couple years.”

Bethel said she was happy to teach all of these girls new skills, and watch them just having fun learning the game.

Arledge, an incoming freshman from Southeastern High School, was happy to help coach the students and to help them learn how to play volleyball.

“I believe that this is a great opportunity for both the students and me to learn from one another. I can get on their level and learn how the style and pace that they learn at. This is a good experience for the girls because this environment is fun, but also a learning one,” she said.

Arledge started playing when she was in the third grade, and she thinks that all girls should have the opportunity to experience clinics and camps at young ages. “Learning at a young age can get them excited to play sport, which in turn can make the coaches of their school excited to have pumped up players.”

For Arledge, who is considering majoring in early childhood education, participating in the clinic was particularly valuable in terms of career preparation. “This is a great opportunity to gain experience working with youth and learning to connect with them,” she said.

Kellough, a Huntington High School graduate who also plans to pursue a career as an educator, was enthused see how many young girls that were excited to learn about the game.

Kellough, who especially enjoyed teaching hitting and the other skills, was overjoyed to hear such enthusiasm for the game. “Having younger girls attend camps and clinic is a positive influence on them, because they meet new people and possible teammates, create stronger friendships with the other players and just have fun while learning,” Kellough says. “I think that I can be a good role model for them, even if they don’t know me personally, they will remember the experiences and what I have taught them.”

Chillicothe Campus to again staff information booth at Ross County Fair

The Chillicothe Campus will again have a presence at the Ross County Fair, staffing a booth in the multi-purpose building during the event the week of Aug. 5. Student Services members and others will be on hand to share information about the campus’ academic programs and offerings with area residents.

The campus’ engagement with the county fair emphasizes OU-C’s role as an engaged community member and allows the campus to reach out to residents at the popular event, which attracts a wide range of individuals from throughout the region.

Beyond supporting student-recruitment efforts, campus members are able to answer people’s general questions about the college application and admissions process. This type of effort supports the campus’ role as a regional campus in serving as a gateway to higher education and the benefits of a college education in upholding the quality of life for area residents.

These have been banner days for the Chillicothe Campus. A total of 513 students earned their associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ohio University while attending OU-C during the 2012-13 academic year, the highest number in the history of the campus’ Recognition of Graduation event.

OU-C Human Services Association to present Webb Wilder, area musicians in concert

The Human Services Association (HSA) of Ohio University-Chillicothe will present Webb Wilder in concert on Aug. 10 at the First Capital Musical Hall at The Bank, 27 W. 2nd St., Chillicothe. He will be preceded by some noted area musicians, providing the trappings for an outstanding night of musical enjoyment.

Wilder will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. He will be preceded by Crossroad Station, a band out of Jackson, at 6 p.m. and Brian Dollison, whose acoustic guitar talent has made him a fixture in Chillicothe and Circleville musical circles, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 the day of the event. Advance tickets are available at BBB Music on Water Street, The Bank on Second Street or by emailing

Wilder’s music combine strains of rock, rhythm and blues, country and pop. Wilder is a native of Hattiesburg, Miss., and he launched his musical career in Austin, Texas. He has his band, the Beatnecks, have developed a sizable and loyal following over the years.

Proceeds from the concert will support the HSA’s hosting of the annual Trick or Treat Extravaganza later this fall. The annual event has become a fall tradition for many area families.