The Independent

NEIU Alumni Association Reception and HACU 17th Annual National Capitol Forum

April 17, 2012

                                  I left Chicago on a rainy day and was welcomed in Washington D.C. with a bright and sunny 81 degree day. It was also the first day of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Fortunately, I had time to visit the Korean War Veterans Memorial Park and pay respect to all of the veterans (men and women) as well as those who fought and sacrificed to preserve democracy throughout our nation’s history. On Friday, March 23, the NEIU alumni reception in Washington D.C. at the University Clubkicked off more than 20 NEIU alumni and friends shared their personal NEIU success stories. NEIU President Sharon Hahs, Suleyma Perez, Executive Director of Government Relations, and Jon Hageman, Presidential Fellow were also present. On March 26 and 27, the NEIU group also attended the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities HACU’s 17th Annual National Capitol Forum to advocate on behalf of Title V and other higher education funding and legislation. At the alumni reception, the University Club was very warm and inviting, the perfect location for an intimate gathering. For more than 100 years, the University Club has stood as one of the Nation’s historic membership organizations. The club’s stately red brick edifice is situated among an enclave of cultural, scientific and diplomatic institutions, with the White House just a few blocks away. It was clear that there was a common bond that connected everyone, a sense of NEIU pride and commitment reverberated through the room. All those present agreed that NEIU fosters meaningful relationships and lifelong friendships. Interestingly, several alums were invited to the reception by their former NEIU professors, a tribute to the connections that are never forgotten. As we all listened and enjoyed each others’ stories, we realized that we must all do our best to expand our NEIU mentorship program to create opportunities for our current and future graduates. We learned that there are nearly 600 NEIU alumni in the DC area, which is an outstanding networking opportunity for our students. The NEIU Alumni Association says it best, “It’s all about connections!” At the HACU Capitol Forum, the NEIU group met with Jose Rico, Director of White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Congressman Mike Quigley, Senator Dick Durbin andMark Kirk’s education congressional staff. The agenda was intensive and very productive. Sessions at the Capitol Forum included Funding Opportunities at the Federal Level and 2012 Election: HSIs and the New National Agenda. Representatives from FEMA, EPA, and DHS discussed grants and contract opportunities available for HSI and other HACU-member institutions. Again, President Hahs was front and center making sure that the NEIU agenda was heard. During lunch, Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, explained that there are approximately 72,000 federal employees and many of them will retire in the near future. This is certainly an opportunity for NEIU graduates. During dinner, I took the opportunity to give Jose Ricoan NEIU lapel pin and as I placed the pin and I said, “Jose, you are not only an NEIU alum, you are also our goodwill ambassador. Please continue to support NEIU and our future graduates.” As a Northeastern Trustee, community member, and as a parent, I realize that it is our responsibility and obligation to provide a quality education to our students and future young generations. On my plane ride back to Chicago, my final thoughts were that all those present from NEIU and other universities were very energetic and excited about building a coalition with HACU members for the benefit of their universities. Everyone expressed the same mission – we all want our students to do well and prosper. Education is the key to our future success. The forum was well worth it, special thanks to Suleyma Perez, for all of her great work in planning our itinerary. I hope to attend future HACU meetings and advocate on behalf of NEIU.   By Jin Lee – NEIU Trustee    ...

Letters to the Community Part 2

April 17, 2012

By NEIU Roger That wit Mo Information, is a new Student Union Podcast Series, hosted by Roger Byrd and Mo Partowie. It is a live podcast that is regularly scheduled on Tuesdays from 11am to 1pm. The podcast features music and topics requested by the NEIU student body throughout the show. It is hosted in the Golden Eagles...

Letters to the Community

April 17, 2012

  Attn: NEIU Community! Congratulations to the Asian American Heritage Committee (AAHC) Award Recipients We are pleased to announce the following recipients of the 2012 Asian American Heritage Committee Awards of Excellence: Faculty Award of Excellence: Dr. Shahrzad Mahootian (Linguistics Department, NEIU) Student...

Eagle Eye Editorial

Lakeesha J. Harris, Senior Staff Writer

March 5, 2012

While doing her homework in the LWH lower level computer lab last week, my 17-year-old daughter was verbally assaulted. The assailant wasn't a student of NEIU, and gauging from my personal interactions with him, he was not mentally stable either. In the effort to stabilize the situation, I found myself requesting the services...

Civil Unions In Illinois and How To File Your 2011 State Income Tax Return

February 26, 2012

  In 2010, the Illinois legislature passed a civil union bill that conferred all state-level spousal rights between two individuals of the same sex. Governor Quinn signed the bill that became law on June 1, 2011. Now that Illinois recognizes a civil union relationship between two people of the same sex as well as that...

The Basement Is No Place for Us

February 7, 2012

Every now and again while reading a newspaper or any periodical there's an article about Northeastern Illinois University. Northeastern was ranked at the top among other ethnically diverse universities in the Midwest. I have also witnessed articles that speak of the fact that students who graduated from NEIU did so with relatively...

It’s Tax Time Again!

February 7, 2012

  Published: Monday, February 6, 2012 Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 03:02 This is the time of year when taxpayers start receiving documents and information to be able to prepare and file their federal and state income tax returns. Being a student puts one in a position to look for additional information that...

Practical Financial Ideas for the College Student

January 23, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 22:01 It's obvious that as students, you should avoid getting into debt. Look around and read some business publications such as Wall Street Journal, The Economist and others and you will see all kinds of headlines about European countries in debt and how much trouble they're in. Just like some countries – people in general, and students in particular get into the trap of overspending, which leads to debt. Student loans are great, but only to a degree. Your college education should not be financed solely by student loans. Remember, student loans aren't a debt you can get from under. It's the type of debt that cannot be wiped off even in the case of a bankruptcy. So think twice about how much you want to borrow. Do not borrow more than you can realistically afford. This level will be different for each student. As far as interest goes, the student loan interest – once in repayment status – is tax deductible, which essentially makes the interest rate lower for the student. Now if you ask how to finance your education, here are some suggestions: 1.Tuition Reimbursement – This is a great way to finance your education. Some employers offer this because they receive tax breaks, and it's good fore personnel as they become more valuable to the company. Therefore, it's a win-win situation. The problem – you have to be working for such employers and there may be some rules such as the need to maintain a certain G.P.A., etc. 2.Family Members – This is another great way to finance your future. Usually, there are some kinds of tax benefits for the philanthropic family member, plus there's the added bonus of their happiness for helping you achieve your dreams. Even if you cannot get them to pay 100% tuition, every little bit helps – you can even try to convince them to at least pay for some of your books! 3.Financial Aid – This is federal financial help for the students that are enrolled and do not have to be repaid. You will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. There are limitations as to what it will pay for, but in general, your tuition and fees are included. You even get a stipend for books, supplies, and transportation on the CTA. The FAFSA is based on students demonstrated financial needs, rather than grades. You can read more about the benefit of taking advantage of this program at www.fafsa.ed.gov 4.Grants and Scholarships – This is also a fantastic way of paying for your education. Now the problem is that there are limited amounts of funding and you must be awarded the available funds. As around, especially at the in the Scholarships Office located on the 2nd floor of Enrollment Services office – house in the same location as Financial Aid. You can also search for scholarships that aren't through the university on the web. Ask your advisers what – if any – grants are available also. The beauty of the grants/scholarships is that you don't have to repay those. However, you have to do your homework to get them! 5.Loans – This should be your absolute last resort for funding your education. There are private and federal loans. Parents can also borrow on behalf of their dependent undergraduate students. I do not recommend loans, but if the question comes down to whether or not you can continue your education – I would say to go for the loan. Speak to a Financial Aid advisor for more information about your options. Now there are lots of resources on the web that you can explore, but you have to start somewhere, right? The first place you should start is at: http://www.neiu.edu/NEIU%20Departments/Administrative%20Departments/ Financial%20Aid/Financial_Aid.html   Victor Peters, Assistant Director, Office of University Budgets - Contributor...

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