Plus: Student loan forgiveness is frozen…for now
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HerMoney Podcast Episode 344:
Retire with Wealth, Health, and Purpose
HerMoney is made possible by Edelman Financial Engines
This Week in Your Wallet:
The Steps To Surviving A Layoff

Remember those long weekends spent at the kitchen table poring over college applications — maybe your child’s, maybe your own? And then, after the essays were written, the recommendation letters secured and the deadlines met, came the sometimes months-long wait for a decision via email or (long ago) snail mail? But what if you didn’t have to go through all of that? As colleges struggle with a shrinking applicant pool and a desire to enroll students from diverse backgrounds, a number are looking to a new approach to snag graduating seniors, no angst-filled Autumns required.

It’s called direct admissions — and it’s a process that can “allow colleges to send offers to students based just on their GPAs or a few other criteria, such as intended major or geographic location,” writes The Wall Street Journal’s Melissa Korn. Those schools taking part in direct admissions say the goal is to make the process “less cumbersome, show low-income and first-generation students that college is within reach, and funnel more prospects toward institutions desperate to meet enrollment goals.”

Here’s how it works: Students can join the direct-admit pool, by registering with one or more companies in the direct admission space (Niche, EAB, Sage Scholars are a few) with biographical information and details such as GPA and areas of academic interest. The platforms screen students based on a schools’ requested criteria and, after coordinating with the schools, send out admission offers. Luke Skurman, chief executive and founder of Inc., says his company offers profiles and ratings of hundreds of thousands of schools and towns and piloted a direct-admission program with two colleges last spring. As of November, Niche was working with 14 schools. Concourse worked with 10 schools last fall and believes it will scale up to 70 for the coming year.  Interested? Check out the platform, or check in with your school’s guidance counselor to learn more.

Student Loan Debt Relief In Limbo After Court Order

After a court order blocked the Biden administration's student loan forgiveness program late last week, the ability to apply for the debt relief has been paused, reports CNBC’s Annie Nova. A note at the the top of the page reads, in part, “at this time, we are not accepting applications. We are seeking to overturn those orders. If you've already applied, we'll hold your application.” The Department of Education webpage directs those who are interested to subscribe and check back for updates, noting that more details will be posted when updates are available.

In late August, President Biden announced millions of Americans would be eligible for student loan forgiveness (if they met certain income limits): up to $20,000 if they received a Pell Grant, a type of aid available to low-income families, and as much as $10,000 if they didn’t. Previously, Nova explains, the Education Department said borrowers would receive forgiveness within six weeks after applying. The full application launched Oct. 17, and within three weeks, some 26 million people had requested the relief. Since then, CNBC reports,16 million of those requests have been approved.

Surviving A Layoff: Negotiate Severance, Keep Social Posts Positive

While the overall U.S. job market remains strong, layoffs in the tech industry of thousands of workers from Twitter and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, and more recently with the reporting of impending layoffs of 10,000 Amazon workers, some people are (understandably) wondering if they could be next. The Wall Street Journal’s Vanessa Fuhrmans offers this guide for coping with a job loss and the steps to take immediately with your employer, colleagues and support network if you are let go. First up: Determine exactly what type of separation it is. There are key differences, she writes, between furloughs, layoffs and terminations that can impact your ability to receive certain benefits and draw unemployment. If you’re at all unsure, check with your HR department.

The next step is to negotiate a severance package. “In many cases,” Fuhrmans explains, “severance pay isn’t required by law, but some companies have established policies for offering it. The typical formula for a severance package is one or two weeks of pay for each year of service. This is either negotiated when a job is offered or when a job is terminated.” This is likely your only chance to negotiate for more money and extended health insurance coverage. While it may feel extremely awkward, don’t hesitate to explain your personal circumstances. Remember, the answer is always no if you don’t ask. And once your separation details are finalized, it’s important to stay positive as you let those in your social media networks (along with friends and family) know about the layoff. Keep LinkedIn and Facebook messages upbeat, conveying you are open to new career options. In other words, try to look forward rather than back.    

How To Land A Job Between Thanksgiving And Year End  

Speaking of job searches… Whether you have been recently let go or you’re simply seeking a better opportunity, the often-relaxed stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve may be an unexpected yet perfect time to nail down a new career. That’s the idea from Forbes’ Senior Contributor Jack Kelly, who explains that having a contrarian view and some tenacity this holiday season can help your search. He suggests using this season to rekindle old relationships, reach out to former co-workers and college alumni to build up your network.

“One of the best ways to find a job is not through responding to a job advertisement,” he explains, “but to have an insider at a company recommend you for the role.”

It’s often who you know that helps cut through the applications, multiple interviews and other hoops associated with some high-level positions. One more tip: Seek out job recruiters active in your field and don’t be shy about sharing your talents, experience, work history, accomplishments and soft skills such as emotional intelligence. Most headhunters work on contingency searches, Kelly notes, so they only get paid if they successfully place you — even during the holidays.

Have a great week,


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