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NinetyWt
08-15-2008, 07:46 AM
Very interesting - President Bush signed this into law this week. I should think that a lot of students would benefit from this.

The ACEC-backed provision was included in the Higher Education Reauthorization and College Opportunity Act of 2008, and provides up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness for engineering students
When implemented, engineers will receive up to $2,000 a year--for a total of $10,000--in credit against their outstanding student loan obligation following graduation and entry into an engineering career.
From here (http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/congress-takes-bold-step-reverse/story.aspx?guid=%7BBE360A07-58F8-4062-B5F6-0A2BF47A7245%7D&dist=hppr).
Now that the bill has become law, the Department of Education will need to develop regulations for the program, and Congress must provide appropriate funding.

FairyChatMom
08-15-2008, 11:15 AM
This could be good news for my nephew. He's starting college this year, planning to major in engineering. I'll have to pass the info on to my sis.

Snarky_Kong
08-15-2008, 11:25 AM
Oh man, that would cover most of my loans, awesome.

Oredigger77
08-15-2008, 12:22 PM
This is great news I could get a majority of my loans paid off. Thanks for the info.

Sunrazor
08-15-2008, 12:22 PM
Dang it, how come the science guys get all the breaks!? Doesn't anybody care about good grammar any more?

[takes English MA and goes to sulk in the corner]

Dangerosa
08-15-2008, 01:10 PM
Dang it, how come the science guys get all the breaks!? Doesn't anybody care about good grammar any more?

[takes English MA and goes to sulk in the corner]

When we start having to issue visas to Indian and Chinese Freudian Deconstructionists, we'll start forgiving your student loans, too. (My first one was in Film Studies - yeah, no one forgives your loans because you can do genre analysis).

NinetyWt
08-15-2008, 01:49 PM
Dang it, how come the science guys get all the breaks!? Doesn't anybody care about good grammar any more?

[takes English MA and goes to sulk in the corner] It's not just science grads; there are provisions in the legislation for all kinds of folks:

Encourages students to enter vital public service jobs by authorizing up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness for public defenders, prosecutors, firefighters, military service members, first responders, law enforcement officers, educators, nurses, and others serving the public interest. - U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor (my emphasis)

This "other" category contains a lot of things, from nurses to school audiologists to lawyers. Check it out. :)

FairyChatMom
08-15-2008, 02:32 PM
My sister was happy to see the link. They just bought my nephew's first semester texts - around $1K - USED!!! :eek: That's obscene. Really.

Shirley Ujest
08-15-2008, 02:55 PM
Thanks for that.

Living in Detroit area, we are up to our armpits in engineers here. I forwarded the article to my husbands boss who has engineering student-kids.

Santo Rugger
08-16-2008, 03:29 AM
Dang it, how come the science guys get all the breaks!? Doesn't anybody care about good grammar any more?

[takes English MA and goes to sulk in the corner]Grammer? What's that?

Least Original User Name Ever
08-16-2008, 07:31 AM
Sunrazor, got more room for another to sulk with you?

Santo Rugger
08-16-2008, 01:50 PM
So is that supposed to be automatic, or do we have to apply for it? Or are we just waiting for more details when the program is implemented?

bouv
08-16-2008, 01:53 PM
Is it only for current students? I graduated four years ago, but I'm still up to my eyeballs in debt.

Oh, and I assume I'd have to actually have an engineering job too, right? :(

Fuck. :mad:

ETA after reading the article (you'd think I'd have done that before):
Recognizing the critical need to address the nation's shortage of engineers, Congress cleared legislation this week that will provide new financial incentives for engineering students

Shortage of engineers? Somebody tell that to the companies that aren't hiring me, and haven't been for four fucking years. :mad: :mad:

threemae
08-16-2008, 03:12 PM
Shortage of engineers? Somebody tell that to the companies that aren't hiring me, and haven't been for four fucking years. :mad: :mad:

I agree. I am not aware of any labor shortage in the engineering market. Furthermore, it isn't such an inelastic or long training program that I think it is wise for the government to try to interfere in the marketplace by forgiving some student loans for engineers but not others.

"We need for scientists and engineers!" is a good slogan or line in a State of the Union address, but it does not seem to be born out by the reality of the engineering job market. In fact, I believe that our undergrad institutions are producing adequate numbers of engineering graduates at present.

NinetyWt
08-16-2008, 04:28 PM
This was not for engineers exclusively (as I mentioned upthread). Many professions were included in this bill:

The Higher Education Reauthorization and College Opportunity Act of 2008, extends various federal student aid programs to provide financial incentives for professions in areas of “national need.” ACEC ensured that the bill also included engineering among the eligible professions.

NinetyWt
08-16-2008, 05:02 PM
Shortage of engineers? Somebody tell that to the companies that aren't hiring me, and haven't been for four fucking years. :mad: :mad:
Have I missed something? I wasn't aware that you had been in engineering school. For some reason, I thought your degree was in something else. :confused:


The quoted article is referring to the Civil Engineering profession. The debate over whether or not there is a shortage of Civil Engineers has been ongoing for as long as I've been out of school (20 years). The following is from the May 2007 issue of the Fort Worth Branch's newsletter :
Due to several phenomenon, the challenges will increase for professional services firms and for other institutions whose business is to create civil engineering solutions. First, there is the demand for engineering design for the new development/infrastructure required to support still-growing populations (both here and worldwide). Secondly, this demand will be compounded by the need for re-design for re-building that must simultaneously occur due to the unceasing, deteriorating affects of time on the infrastructure originally built decades or even centuries ago in our already developed inner cities. Third, while new technology may promote increased productivity, today’s civil engineers must regroup and take the time and effort to “keep up” throughout their careers with changes in their technologies accelerating at rapid rates formerly unknown to their predecessor practitioners. Lastly, here in the U.S., we must factor-in the soon-coming retirements of unprecedented numbers of experienced Baby-Boomer engineers.

An editorial in the Savannah Branch's newsletter of October 2006 had this to say:
Much has been said lately about the shortage of engineers in this country. The ACEC is forecasting that outsourcing to other countries will become a fact of life for all AE firms because there will not be enough engineers in the US. AE firms are talking about how difficult it is to hire good engineers in the last few years. Scholarships are being increased to help educate more US engineers. ASCE is making efforts to increase the number of engineering students through working with student chapters at universities and with outreach programs to children even in elementary school. The goal is to get more people to enter the profession.
...
I recall discussions on this subject back in 1967 when the engineering school I attended was experiencing declines in class size. Nothing has changed since.

Here (http://wohlersassociates.com/blog/2008/03/lack-of-engineering-graduates/) is a site with some debate about it. I won't muddy the water with my opinion on it, but I'm a bit surprised that someone in the engineering field has never heard of the subject before. YMMV.

bouv
08-17-2008, 02:08 PM
For some reason, I thought your degree was in something else. :confused:


Nope, graduated in '04 from RPI with a BS in biomedical engineering. I also spent a year trying to get my masters at UVM but a combination of my stupidity and lack of money forced to to "take a break."

Mama Tiger
08-17-2008, 02:31 PM
I know the lawyers that do civil legal aid are salivating over the possibility. They've had a pilot loan assistance program, but this one will cover a lot more. And when you're trying to lawyers at under 40K a year to serve the poor, when they come saddled with five- or six-figure law school loans, you're really not going to have much of a shot at getting them; they're going to have to go to the big firms that pay insane salaries.

So here's hoping that Congress actually funds the bill. Because all the legislation in the world won't do shit without the $$ appropriated to back it up.

Queen Bruin
08-17-2008, 04:59 PM
Thank you NinetyWt!I initially ignored the thread since it said "engineers", but Cheez_Whia alerted me to the fact that this covers more. Good news for my husband, who just began his internship at the LA District Attorney's office in preparation for employment there after the bar. And for me, too, as I'll be there in four years as well, hopefully.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
08-17-2008, 05:36 PM
Does it include software engineers?

Yeah...I know...and I agree with those those who say that SW development is not truly an engineering field.

I don't call myself an engineer normally, but hey, if it means I can get on board with this program, then I'll call myself an engineer!

engineer_comp_geek
08-17-2008, 06:39 PM
There are some fundamental problems with the way engineering is done in this country. I can see what they are trying to do, but it's probably not going to help.

The problem starts all the way back at college. Engineering students get all theory and very little practical information shoved down their throats. When they graduate, they have no practical experience whatsoever. The industry pretty much expects that your first couple of years of on the job experience will be the practical part of your education.

A lot of companies won't even look at you if you have less than two years of experience. They don't want to pay to train you. They want to pay for engineers who can actually do practical work. There isn't a shortage of untrained recent engineer grads. There's a shortage of engineers with enough experience to actually do the work. This is nothing new. It's been this way for many years now.

I see this as a step in the right direction, but it still doesn't address the main underlying problem.

Drain Bead
08-17-2008, 07:00 PM
I know the lawyers that do civil legal aid are salivating over the possibility. They've had a pilot loan assistance program, but this one will cover a lot more. And when you're trying to lawyers at under 40K a year to serve the poor, when they come saddled with five- or six-figure law school loans, you're really not going to have much of a shot at getting them; they're going to have to go to the big firms that pay insane salaries.

So here's hoping that Congress actually funds the bill. Because all the legislation in the world won't do shit without the $$ appropriated to back it up.

As a Public Defender, I've been waiting for this for quite some time. And I'm lucky--I'm not nearly as bad off as many of my colleagues, who went to private law schools and are trying to pay off $100,000 in debt on a $42,500 a year starting salary. I had a full scholarship and small stipend and I still had to take out $25K in loans just for living expenses over three years.

My guess is that it won't get funded, though. We do have a war going on, after all.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
08-17-2008, 07:14 PM
The problem starts all the way back at college. Engineering students get all theory and very little practical information shoved down their throats. When they graduate, they have no practical experience whatsoever. The industry pretty much expects that your first couple of years of on the job experience will be the practical part of your education.



I'm rather curious about that if you wouldn't mind elaborating. I suppose in school you work out practical -- though fictional -- problems, for example how many pylons you need to build a bridge. But a beginning civil engineer just out of college wouldn't be asked to do a bridge. Or would they? What parts of the job does the curriculum not prepare you for?

In computer science and other IT related fields, these days, the trend has been towards buy-don't-build, so while in the old days programmers in business environments actually built financial systems from scratch, using a language like COBOL, now they're lucky if they get to do some configuration work. Does anything like that happen in engineering, or is it too different to compare?

Feel free to PM me, maybe I should apologize for the hijack.

NinetyWt
08-17-2008, 08:11 PM
Nope, graduated in '04 from RPI with a BS in biomedical engineering. I also spent a year trying to get my masters at UVM but a combination of my stupidity and lack of money forced to to "take a break."
I apologize, bouv, for overlooking that previously. I'm not 'hip' to what's going on in the biomedical engineering field as far as employment. All I'm educated about is the debate I've heard/read as it pertains to Civils.

What parts of the job does the curriculum not prepare you for?
That's another debate going on - some folks say that more education is needed, some say it's fine the way it is. This is how one letter to the editor of Civil Engineering magazine recently put it:

No student will ever come out of college ready to be a licensed professional engineer or to lead a company. These are things that are learned over the course of many years. We learn these things from our mentors.
Engineering is an apprentice program, and it works for those who want to be good engineers. The title of professional engineer is something we earn on the job, and we keep it through our desire to always be better engineers than we were last year.
I wish people would stop trying to change that.
The problem, to expand on what engineer_comp_geek said, is that it is difficult to teach "practical" knowledge in college. That is best learned by "doing" the actual engineering work. Historically that is done on the new graduate's first job. There is a requirement (here, and in most states) for professional engineering license applicants to have worked under the supervision of a licensed P.E. for 4 years before sitting for the exam.

Companies in my area are begging for new engineering graduates. However, we traditionally lag behind the rest of the country as far as trends go, and things may change here as well.

NinetyWt
08-17-2008, 08:13 PM
I initially ignored the thread since it said "engineers"
Oy! I am crushed! CRUSHED!!

:thud:

amarinth
08-17-2008, 10:17 PM
Are there really college age kids saying "well, I was going to go into Civil Engineering, but with those loans, I don't see how I'll be able to make ends meet. So I decided to major in philosophy instead."

Aren't loan forgiveness people usually designed to encourage people to go into careers that are so low paid that people can not afford to do them (teachers, public interest law, medical help in poor communities) and pay back student loans.

Engineering doesn't have that problem. They tend to make enough money to handle the cost of their education.

NinetyWt
08-17-2008, 10:33 PM
Are there really college age kids saying "well, I was going to go into Civil Engineering, but with those loans, I don't see how I'll be able to make ends meet. So I decided to major in philosophy instead." I think this is supposed to be an incentive for students who would have gotten loans to choose engineering. I may be wrong, but that was the impression I got.

Engineering doesn't have that problem. They tend to make enough money to handle the cost of their education. Engineers make a comfortable living, but it's not as lucrative as some other careers. As a new graduate in my first job, I would have appreciated the 'elbow room' in my budget that eliminating my loan payment would have given me. The payment was about 6% of my gross income.

Queen Bruin
08-17-2008, 10:34 PM
Oy! I am crushed! CRUSHED!!

:thud:
No no - just because engineer doesn't apply to me :p I sure know a lot of 'em, though.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
08-17-2008, 10:59 PM
Engineers make a comfortable living, but it's not as lucrative as some other careers. As a new graduate in my first job, I would have appreciated the 'elbow room' in my budget that eliminating my loan payment would have given me. The payment was about 6% of my gross income.
True of most technical and scientific fields, I believe.

NinetyWt
08-17-2008, 11:04 PM
I looked up the legislation and here (as best I can tell) is the paragraph setting out the recipients:

Section 429 -
Turns the Loan Forgiveness for Child Care Providers program into the Loan Forgiveness for Service in Areas of National Need program providing loan forgiveness under the FFEL and DL programs to certain full-time early childhood educators, nurses, foreign language specialists, librarians, highly qualified teachers, child welfare workers, speech-language pathologists and audiologists, national service participants, school counselors, public sector employees, nutrition professionals, medical specialists, mental health professionals, dentists, individuals employed in engineering, technology, applied sciences, or mathematics, physical therapists, and school superintendents, principals, or other administrators.
Authorizes appropriations for such program for FY2009-FY2013.

Covers quite a few programs.

amarinth
08-18-2008, 09:45 AM
Engineers make a comfortable living, but it's not as lucrative as some other careers. As a new graduate in my first job, I would have appreciated the 'elbow room' in my budget that eliminating my loan payment would have given me. The payment was about 6% of my gross income.And my point is that 6% is quite doable. 25-40%, which is where some of the other professions I listed can be, is not.

I think that the money being provided should tend to go to professions where they truly cannot make ends meet. And when some of the pot is given to provide 'elbow room' (which of course is appreciated. Who doesn't appreciate not having to pay back loans), that means there is less available for people who need it to provide food and shelter.

Bosstone
08-18-2008, 10:35 AM
Foreign language specialists? Damn. Now I wish I hadn't wasted my first two years in the business college and instead went to languages from the outset.

NinetyWt
08-18-2008, 11:35 AM
And my point is that 6% is quite doable. 25-40%, which is where some of the other professions I listed can be, is not.

I think that the money being provided should tend to go to professions where they truly cannot make ends meet. And when some of the pot is given to provide 'elbow room' (which of course is appreciated. Who doesn't appreciate not having to pay back loans), that means there is less available for people who need it to provide food and shelter. Right, I realized l had kind of sidestepped your point later after my post. 'Scuse me for that.

To me, this goes back to that debate about an engineering shortage. Is there one, or not? It's my understanding that this loan forgiveness stuff is related to some folks' opinion that there is a shortage. It's not got anything to do with whether or not loan payments are affordable to that group.

Not to speak for you, but maybe your position is somewhat like this: "There isn't a shortage, or enough of one, to warrant spending money on loan forgiveness for engineering students, and the money would be better spent on loan forgiveness for other programs." Personally I think the subject would make a good GD thread. ;)

Eva Luna
08-18-2008, 11:40 AM
Foreign language specialists? Damn. Now I wish I hadn't wasted my first two years in the business college and instead went to languages from the outset.

I wish this program had existed when I was fresh out of school, working as an interpreter for the Dept. of Justice, living in a roach-infested studio apartment with drug dealers on the corner and trying to pay back student loans on a GS-5 salary (about $16k/year then).

KarlGrenze
08-18-2008, 02:23 PM
Damn, I was hoping it explicitly stated it will help cover veterinary students' loans. Unless they consider us under medical specialists, I don't see it.

For the record, veterinarians had a similar loan forgiveness plan, and it's been a law for a couple of years now. I don't know of anyone that benefits, but that may be due to the limited scope. Either you are a rural veterinarian, or you work for USDA. Heck, I'm not even sure there is money so that my rural veterinarians and former classmates can use it.

And for those that think that veterinarians make good money... I think vetbridge mentioned it earlier, than compared with what our debts are, the average pay sucks donkey balls. ;)