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Social Choosing The Media Right Business Promoting Your Business

Kareem McMichael Savannah State Alumni

Brainstorming: Choosing The Right Business

Starting a Business Things Entrepreneurs Should Know


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See What’s Inside 5 How to Build a Successful Business

8 Promoting Businesses Through Social Media

10 Brainstorming: Choosing the Right Business 13 Addicted to Money Kareem McMichael is a Savannah State University Alumni and owner of Karmac Productions and Graduate Today’s graduate of the month. 14 Think Globally, Act Locally 16 Student Entrepreneurship

17 Beauty Supply Conference

19 Debt Deal Impacts College Students

18 Earn Income for Free at Home

Graduate Today Staff Executive Editor, Graphic Designer and Photographer Whitney Hunter

Contributions by Janay Kingsberry, Troy Foster, Beauty Supply Institute, and Kareem McMichael 3


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How to Build a Successful Business By Whitney Hunter For instance, if an individual wants to open a pizza restaurant chances are it will fail because many businesses like that already exist. Examine what are the major trends and how this will affect the success of the business. Use search engines like Google, ZoomProspector and Yelp. com. ZoomProspector provides helpful commentary on current economic trends and Yelp.com shows the competition in various markets. Next consider how to get seed money for the business. Small business loans are one resource, but because of the economy, those may be hard to come by. Whitney Hunter/Graduate Today

M

The best way to obtain funding is to attract

any college students faced with

questionnaires where you ask the intended

investors who believe in the product; it

a declining job market find

audience how they feel about a product.

is never a good idea to spend personal

entrepreneurship appealing, but few know

Some questions may be how much money

capital.

the process to create a successful business.

someone is willing to pay for a product or

Develop a coherent and realistic budget

Start with a blueprint that features the

does he or she feel this product is sorely

plan that shows the start up costs of

goal of the business, the target audience,

needed in the market place. Try to limit

the business without financial strain.

and funding. Good questions to ask while

the sample size to 25 people. Remember

Planning is everything, so do not

preparing a blueprint are: What niche is

“the customer is always right� is the first

be too eager to grasp the pot of gold

the business trying to fulfill in the market

rule of business and knowing customers

before getting things in financial order.

place? What makes my product important?

will increase revenue.

Lastly, choose a business structure that

What will this product achieve? Next, think about the target audience

Secondary research can also be useful. This research consists of books, journals,

is beneficial such as a partnership or corporation. Following these steps will ensure a

and whether this product will appeal

magazines, newspapers, and other useful

to a younger demographic of 18-26

secondary information. Remember when

successful business, however research is

or an older demographic of 40-60.

using online sources to evaluate them

key to determining whether a business will

Knowing what audience to penetrate is

closely because not all information on

stand the test of time.

crucial because many businesses fail

the Internet is good information; a person

due to communication issues.

should look for scholarly sources not

Conduct primary and secondary research.

information found on a blog.

Check us out online !!!!!!

Primary research consists of surveys and

Now it is time to evaluate the market.

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Reflection of the Rex By Kareem McMichael

Photos taken by Whitney Hunter for Graduate Today

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tarting back in February of 2007 at changed from old to new and people people would leave any job for.  But then WJCL up until now at WTOC, a good would come and people would go, whether it’s more than just a great salary it is the four and a half years later I am leaving they left on their own or was let go. The chance to grow and learn something that is behind working for my first love. Every reality set in of how highly competitive familiar but new. The oppurtunity is also a since I was 5 -years- old sitting at home and cut throat the business is and can chance to help build and watch something watching 13WMAZ- news in Macon, GA be.  Also after graduating reality started grow at the university that gave a lot to with my family being a news anchor was to set in about paying bills and due to my me. something I knew I wanted to be. I knew hours being cut down, they were not easy I am happy with my decision and many I wanted to grow up and do something in maintain. people are happy for me and would say television So like many of us do in this business I was crazy if I turned it down.  But now and film. when things get rough in one place we on this day as I leave something behind However due to different factors not seek other opportunities else where that that I have wanted since I was 5-yearseveryone is well paid and mostly everyone would be better for us to grow but make old and have done for the past four and for some reason or another is not fully more money.  It seems almost everyone a half years of my life, I can not help but happy. But perfect is the image and the is driven by the all mighty dollar.   feel a void.  Like something or apart of look that must be sold to the After two interviews I got the chance me will be missing at the moment.  I’ve viewers regardless of how one may feel to interview with the #1 station in the been accustomed to this different world about certain things and when the cameras city. Great! So I go in and have a chat with with many different people and working go off, while they are on the viewers must them and feel good enough to accept their crazy hours and have had access to so be informed. But I’ll get into details about offer.  Though taking a pay cut, I gained much information.  Now I have to adjust to working the business later. Maybe write a much more hours, which still helped.   a normal 8 to 5 schedule.  Though my new film about it. This message is not for that. Like with the previous station there is job is not totally out of my field, it is a When I was in school I was able for the always the hot gossip, people coming and change up from what I have been doing.  I most part to maintain very well. Nice pay going, technology changing, and still find myself in rare situations where I and had hours that didn’t conflict with my just trying to keep afloat in a rocky am fully unaware of what I am going to do class and extra activities.  Yep going into industry.  After gaining more hours and and how to adjust to this. work at 4am worked just fine for me... more experience while working at the NOT!!! Well it was most times, when I #1 station, it still was not enough. I was got up on time ha ha ha.  You don’t think maintaining, but wanted to do better. I was about working those hours when you are happy and loving the point I was coming 5- years- old. But I was satisfied. I was to and was trying to hopefully move up in gaining experience and working in the positions which is hard to do when no one business I wanted to work in since I was a is leaving their post. A person eventually child.   has to grow and learn new things. No I can not honestly say I was not loving one wants to get stuck.  For me a chance every minute of it but I did love it. I do not came along that seemed to good to be regret how any of it happened. It was true but it was real and great: working for a rough start getting use to working early Savannah State University. It was a great hours and with different people. Some new position to switch gears and learn people cared and some didn’t.  Technology something new and had a salary that most

Visit karmacrex. blogspot.com and www.karmac.com

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Promoting Businesses Through Social Media By Whitney Hunter

Photos taken by Whitney Hunter For Graduate Today

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ocial networking can be a very useful tool in today’s market place where it’s about who and what a person knows. Many big-name businesses use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linked In to promote their business. Savannahnow.com, the online version of the Savannah Morning News, frequently post links to articles on Facebook and Twitter. Readers can click on the links and comment, “like,” or “recommend”articles to friends. The theory is the more people who press “like” or “recommend” the more people will see the article and this will increase traffic for the website.This is a smart idea in an era where the newspaper is dying and most are becoming “digital first.” The digital first concept should be applied to any business looking to phase out the competition. For example, if a person runs an apparel business, it is a good idea to use social media to promote the sales and upcoming products of that store. Customers who are Facebook savvy, which is the majority of the population, will be able to get a first glance at sales and clearance items before walking in the store. This is the goal of the “digital first’ concept: to hook the customer and plant the seed of impulsive buying. No one wants a “cherry picker” customer. A “cherry picker” is a customer that comes in a store and buys one item. The best way to avoid this is to upsell; this means offering more than one product at the point of sale. Credible businesses such as Walmart and Sears utilize Facebook to promote different aspects of their business. Sears shares upcoming sales, information on Energy Star products, and managers from various stores interact with customers to provide a better shopping experience. Walmart has a feedback button where customers can type questions and have them answered by managers. Customers can also complain about poor customer service. Bottom line: Being able to interact with customers long after

the transaction can be a helpful tool. It assures the customer that their needs are being carefully considered and provides the business owner with valuable feedback. Twitter is also a social networking giant. Many businesses find sending messages of 140 characters or less effective. This may be because the attention span of today’s consumer is short and research shows people do not like a lot of information at one time. Hit Squad Entertainment, a party hosting organization, uses Twitter to promote parties, events, celebrity hosts and the recent Hit Squad Entertainment blog. The structure is similar to Savannah Morning News where links to new posts are placed on Twitter for followers to read. This again follows the “digital first” concept. Linked In is different from Twitter and Facebook. Linked In is like going to an online networking conference. There is a basic profile everyone has to fill out which includes a description of present and past positions. There are also job postings and “connections” that can be made. Connections are just that: how many people a person is connected to on Linked In. These cool features allow individuals to connect with professionals and vice versa.The amount of regional access a connection has can also be determined. Social networking whether via Facebook, Twitter, or Linked In is an essential tool for small businesses and is an alternative to costly advertising so think “digital first.”

Check us out online for more useful social networking sites 8 8


Join us for an uplifting experience!!!!!!!!

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Brainstorming: Choosing the Right Business By Whitney Hunter

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hoosing a business that will stand out from the comptetition can be tedious. Here are some business ideas that are sure to succeed. These days businesses try to minimize costs anyway they can. This is where a discount supply business can come in handy. Discount supply businesses are a rapidly growing market and buying items wholesale and selling them for a cheaper price can be very lucrative. In a student’s case this means tapping into the school supply market. Everyone has been the victim of long lines at the bookstore and high textbook prices. Students benefit by buying textbooks from classmates because it eliminates the need to browse and compare deals, which can be time consuming. A social media marketing business is also a great way students can get their foot in the door. For students, this can be as simple as volunteering to promote a school organization on Twitter or Facebook. Another cost effective marketing tool is an e-newsletter. E-newsletters are cost effective for organizations because they enable them to reach a large demographic without the cost of printing paper and ink. Students can charge anywhere from $20-30 per e-newsletter and have a very lucrative side business. Blogs are the newest craze and can be hugely successful. Virtually anyone can

start a blog, but the trick is to find a niche or topic that will draw interest. Choosing a hobby or passion is usually a good idea, because that person is knowledgeable about the subject and the content will be easier to write. Janay Kingsberry, online content producer for the Savannah Morning News, has a blog called naytrekvoyager. com. The blog discusses everything from her travels to Chicago and New York, enrollment in free classes at Stanford University, music and book reviews. Dominic Ross, a University of Georgia graduate student, bought domain space to create Dominicross.net. His blog explores music, movies, technology, and his life. These two bloggers tapped into an essential rule of business: following a specific passion. If a person starts a

business just for the money, it is not going to be successful. It is the passion that drives success. However, one cannot just make money by blogging about ideas, advertising is a must. Students can ask local businesses for advertising or utilize Google AdWords. Google AdWords is a program that allows individuals to place Google advertising on their website. The more users click on Google’s advertising, the more a person is paid. This means the amount of “hits” a website receives is important. Remember any business whether it is a purely online function like a blog or a barbershop on the corner, has to be the passion of the business owner.

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“I am where I am because I do what is neccessary to get the job done� -Azir Shakaur

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Addicted to Money By Whitney Hunter

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ounder and CEO of Addicted to Money Azir Shakaur’s

Trina, Charlie Boy Gang, Wacka Flocka, Lil Rue, Dj Khaled,

hustler mentality may seem unearthly, but his work ethic

Rich Kids, and Juvenile. Despite the changes in the economy, Shakaur assists his

can be traced back to his days as a youngster in the Bronx, New

company is thriving.

York project of St. Mays’. 33-year-old Shakaur’s introduction to the business world came

“People always need entertainment in this volatile

early at 11-years-old when he started a paper route every Sunday

economy; they want to get away from their problems.

in his neighborhood. Shakaur not only profited from the sales of

Every business experiences losses, but we are doing well,” Shakaur said. So what inspires him after all these years?

“Every entrepreneur fails 38 times, always keep yourself informed about the market you are trying to attack.”

his delivery route, but in a business savvy move, he charged customers and additional $1.50 to deliver items such as coffee and tea. Soon the paper route was so successful he sold his contact list to his best

“I met Jay-z and asked what keeps him going and he said ‘poverty sucks’ and that quote stuck with me; I look myself in the mirror every morning and say “poverty sucks,” Shakaur said. Some influences of the married father of two are

friend.

Warren Buffet, Donald Trump,

“Next, I worked in a

P. Diddy, and the book “Think

barbershop called Six Corners as a shoe-shine kid, where I was introduced to narcotics,” Shakaur said. Local pimps, drug

and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. Poverty is unattractive to

dealers, and hustlers saw the youth’s consistent work ethic

Shakaur but he takes his drive and determination from another

and soon he became a carrier for their product.. Eventually

source: his faith.

his behavior landed him in jail and once released he did a

“I believe God wants all people to succeed and your trials and

variety of odd jobs ranging from a dishwasher at a truck stop

tribulations are already written in God’s book,” Shakaur said.

to district manager of a pizza franchise. However, it was not

“He is not going to put more on you than you can handle.”

until he saw how much money his cousin, a local disk jockey,

He does not encourage young people to engage in narcotic

made hosting a party that the idea for Addicted to Money was

trafficking to achieve riches, but says the key to success does

born. “I got out of jail at 21, from 21 to 23 I was in the streets,”

not lie in the resources one uses to get there, but lies in the

Shakaur said. “Addicted to Money started off from the money I

mind. “If you can conceive it then you can achieve it,” Shakaur

put away from the streets.”

said. “Every entrepreneur fails 38 times, always keep yourself

Shakaur borrowed from his

cousin’s business platform and turned Addicted to Money into a party hosting business. The company has hosted events in New York, Connecticut, Florida, Colorado, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

They have also featured Hip-Hop acts

informed about the market you are trying to attack.”

Follow Addicted to Money on Twitter @ATMENTLLC 13


Think Globally, Act Locally

By Whitney Hunter

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he education system in America has been in shambles for years, particularly in low-income AfricanAmerican communities where resources are poor and teachers are limited. In some communities bad teachers are passed around like priests who molest children, going from parish to parish or school district to school district. Why? It is the result of an overburdened school system that chooses to promote bad teachers than fix the unfair distribution of resources. However, the school system does not bare all the blame. The people have to be the ones to demand a better education system so that students may compete with other students on a global level. This means completing the census every 10 years so that the government can provide resources that match the need. Many times citizens do not take this paperwork seriously and blow it off as another nuisance. For example, a district may have a population of 100,000, but if people do not fill out the census, that district with not receive half of the funds needed to build schools, roads, and provide afterschool programs that give at-risk youth a positive platform to express themselves. Another aspect of the education crisis: not voting the right people in office to get the job done. As the saying goes, “you can lead a horse to the water, but you can not make it drink.” This is true with local politicians: citizens can lead them to office through votes, but it is hard to make sure their policies are beneficial to the community. More transparency is needed. Citizens have to get off the couch and go

to the public forums and ask questions: Who has the money? Where is the money going? How will this money benefit the community? Self responsibility is a must. The lack of cooperation with the census and a poor checks and balances system when it comes to local politicians, is part of the problem. The phrase “think globally and act locally,” is not in the American education system’s vocabulary or reference book. The curriculums in the elementary, middle, and high schools are not teaching kids to think globally. How can American students expect to compete with kids in China who go to school year-round and study from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.? This will not work and the system needs to be revamped. In a report published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, it was found that one out of three fourth grade students scored below average on a basic National Assessment of Education Progress reading test. Clearly the old way of making students

memorize information instead of learning it, is not working. This study also puts a spotlight on how education starts at home. Teachers are a vehicle in which information is absorbed like a sponge by students, but it is the parent’s job to make sure the information is absorbed properly. This means going to the parent-teacher conferences and staying up late to help with those complicated math problems. Instead of teaching students about a crisis in the world, teach them how one country’s problems affects society and that the world is interdependent. Do not solely put the blame on  teachers when parents sometimes do not do their jobs. Next year’s election slogan is “education reform.” America has already left its young people a mountain of debt; America should not leave them a poor education system with no light at the end of the tunnel.

www.graduatetoday.com 14


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How Students Can Get Free Money for Business Ventures By Whitney Hunter

The University of Wisconsin is doing something similar. They started an undergraduate entrepreneurship major back in Fall 2006. They do not offer a entrepreneurship certificate, but they do provide an encouraging atmosphere for business professionals to interact with students. In other parts of the country students get a chance to pitch ideas to local entrepreneurs. Washington University created the program IdealBounce. IdealBounce allows students to pitch a business idea in front of a live audience. A judging panel rates the business pitches and five winners are selected.

What’s the prize?

A $100 gift certificate and dinner with local entrepreneurs. Whitney Hunter/Graduate Today

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The student entrepreneurship craze is so much on the rise that Grand Canyon University, a for profit institution, has

tudent entrepreneurship was not on the radar of

opened an entrepreneurship college. The college is funded

American colleges, but in recent years they have given

via a $30 million venture-capital fund given to the university

buckets of cash to student businesses. Arizona State University grants $100,000 to students every

by a local entrepreneur. The $30 million fund will allow each student to receive

year based on a well-rounded business proposal. However, the

$100,000, but only 10 percent of business proposals

funds are limited and only 15-20 submissions out of 100 are

submitted for review will receive the money.

accepted. ASU is not the only university willing to go out on a limb to support a student’s dream; many universities are answering this

Starting a business, especially for a student, can be difficult and it may require hours of research. However, the money is out there.

call. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is not handing out checks, but they are fulfilling a much needed gap in the education system: entrepreneurship classes. The classes are open to graduate students in any academic field and students receive a three course certificate. The program offers a enterprise track and a literacy track. The enterprise track is for individuals who are sure they want to start a business after college and the literacy track is for students who might not be opening a business after college, but want to build business and communication skills.

Editor’s Note: Research other schools for more information. Check us out online. 16


Beauty Supply Institute Hosts Conference for aspiring entrepreneurs

The conference will be hosted in Las Vegas for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Blacknews.com

B

eauty Supply Institute brings

crease their chances of opening stores...

offer financing of our larger services,

our un-coached testimonies speak for

opening a store is now more reachable

themselves.”

for attendees.”

their 3rd Annual Beauty Sup-

The summer conference has been held

This added conference will take place

ply Entrepreneurship Conference to

in Atlanta, Georgia on the weekend of

at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino in

Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference

the Bronner Brothers Hair Show for the

Las Vegas, Nevada on February 18,

consists of six specific classes to be

past two years, and has attracted attend-

2012. Conference and room pack-

administered during the one-day con-

ees from all across the United States.

ages are available at a special confer-

ference. Conference attendees will be

Robinson founded Beauty Supply

ence discounted rate. Seats are limited.

given take-home materials that cover

Institute after he opened three stores

Registration is open now for $299 and

store layout, obtaining funding, select-

within 18 months. He says “My instant

includes the conference, meals and ma-

ing a location and more. Topics to be

success came from a mixture of rea-

terials. Later registration is after Nov.

covered in the classes include Avoid-

sons, living in Korea in the 90’s, own-

1, 2011. Registration will close on Jan.

ing Industry Pitfalls, Increasing Store

ing a salon and being kicked out of a

13, 2012 or when capacity has been

Revenues, Determining Start-Up Costs,

Korean-owned store for no reason. It

Getting Distributor Accounts and more.

gave me the motivation to succeed,”

Professor Devin Robinson, the found-

Robinson said. “Our goal is to give

er of Beauty Supply Institute says, “We

specific instruction on how anyone can

continue to be the educational leader

become a similar success. The beauty

for the ethnic beauty supply industry.

of our conference is our attendees get

We give specific directions to all con-

to physically meet other people in their

ference attendees that significantly in-

same predicament and since we now

reached. To register, visit www.beautysupplyconference.com or call 202-684-6699.

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Earn Income at Home with Free Webinar !!!!!

Webinar: Free class on the web teaches people how to put their computer to good use and earn money from home. Whitney Hunter/Graduate Today Blacknews.com

T

here is a fortune to be had working from home, but this is not something you’ll ever learn attending graduate business schools, says Troy Foster of www.creatingwealthsystems. com while announcing a private, by-invitation only, no-cost live webinar, “Secret Formula Teleseminar,” to be hosted by his partner Rod Stinson. During this 33-minute webinar, participants, according to Foster, will be given a rare behind-the-scenes look at Rod’s step-by-step ‘Secret Formula’ for creating an absolute fortune working from home. Most important, he says, people can begin using this ‘Secret Formula’ to start earning a consistent $497 to $3,497 daily - like clockwork! “This has nothing to do with MLM, Network Marketing, Gifting, Affiliate Marketing, PPC, SEO, Social Marketing, Blogs, eBooks, or any of the other offers people usually hear

about when it comes to making money from home,” said the enterprising Foster. Neither is it some gimmick of the month income scheme, points out Foster. “What you’re going to learn is a time tested and proven formula and methodology Rod has used to consistently earn five and six figures per month income for 19 years now,” Foster said. In fact, Foster claims his partner, has never before shared this ‘Secret Formula’ publicly, but now, he is prepared to share it with anyone who is ready to live a lifestyle of total personal and financial freedom. Those interested in being a part of this private, byinvitation only, no-cost live ‘Secret Formula’ webinar, can simply go to www.creatingwealthsystems.com and register for free.

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Debt Deal Impacts Further Education By Janay Kingsberry

T

o learn, or not to learn? That is the question for many college students

during the upcoming academic school year.

in graduate funding really discourages

was disbursed, will no longer be available

me.”

after July 2012. However the incentive to

Subsidized loans, one of the most popu-

set up automatic debit payments will earn

lar types of loans offered in college, will

borrowers an interest rate reduction of 0.25

no longer be open to graduate and pro-

percent.

fessional students. Beginning next July,

As lawmakers continue to weigh proposals

graduate students can still borrow up to

to reduce the deficit, there is a possibility of

$138,000 in federal loans, but no subsi-

further impacts to college federal funding.

dized loans will be available. Subsidized

Student loan tax deductions, interest rates,

loans are of extreme importance to col-

and tighter restrictions for borrowing are

lege students because the government

real issues that will be examined as the con-

doesn’t charge interest while students are

gressional committee considers a deficit re-

in school. Therefore, these loans have a

duction package for its November deadline.

major impact on how much is owed upon

“This is a serious issue to be dealt with,”

graduation.

says Mitchell, “ but its not the first one to

Eliminating subsidies for graduate students

undergo major cuts and it definitely wont be

The government’s agreement to raise the

provides a $17 billion increase for the Pell

the last. We’re college students. We’ll even-

debt ceiling comes at a dire cost that nearly

grant’s undergraduate funding. Pell grants

tually rise from this.”

all Americans will feel. Over the next de-

are a vital part of further education for many

cade, spending cuts of at least $2.1 trillion

students in need.

Although the general college outlook is still grim for many students, Casey believes

will slice through programs such as Medi-

Khimean Casey, a sound design major at

there is still hope in achieving his collegiate

care, Social Security, and federal loan pro-

Savannah College of Art and Design, is a

and career endeavors, “We have to hold faith

grams for college students.

Pell recipient and he says he’s excited about

that our government is looking out for our

Graduate school is often considered a safe-

the extra funding Pell will receive. “It defi-

best interest,” Casey said.

ty net, or back-up plan, for college graduates

nitely helps a lot of families, I just hope it

struggling in the job market. But the debt

lasts.”

deal drastically changes several aspects of paying for college and paying off loans.

About 10 million recipients depend on Pell grant, which can award a maximum of

“I’m not sure what my plans are after col-

$5,550 a year. As reported by the Associated

lege” says Jesmine Mitchell, graduating se-

Press, the extra money closes a Pell funding

nior at Savannah State University. “I’m ma-

gap and protects the program from having to

joring in Homeland Security and sometimes

make any cuts in the near future.

I’ll just browse for jobs. But I’ve noticed

Another major blow for students are the

there are hardly any entry-level positions

loan discounts offered to borrowers who

open. Everyone wants you to have a Mas-

make their payments on time. The discount,

ters, but to be honest, all of these cut-backs

which varies depending on when the loan

Visit www. whitehouse.gov to learn more information about the debt deal impact on college students and other federally funded programs. 19


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