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11 questions about Rush Propst and USA Academy

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Ultimate Student Athlete Academy – a new private school in Coosada designed to create a national-level athletic program – plans to begin enrolling students this week and play its inaugural football season this fall.

The school announced Rush Propst, a highly successful but controversial veteran high school coach, as its head football coach at a news conference in Prattville today.

USA Academy founder Dusty DeVaughn also outlined plans for the school. As a private school, it will not receive any state funding.

Here’s a look at 10 key questions and answers provided by DeVaughn and Propst at today’s news conference, which lasted about two hours:

1) What is the school’s academic set-up?

Students can enroll in a combination of online classes or conventional classroom instruction, but most of the academic work is expected to be handled online.

Virtual schools have become increasingly popular in recent years, and USA Academy currently has no buildings at its Coosada campus. DeVaughn said temporary office space will be set up later this month, with construction on permanent structures beginning soon.

DeVaughn said the online curriculum is the same used by public virtual schools and emphasized it’s NCAA approved. He also said the school plans to seek accreditation.

Classes begin later this month.

2) Will the school be for athletes only?

No. While attracting athletes, especially football players for the 2020 season, is the priority, DeVaughn said the school will also accept non-athletes.

He did not say how many students or athletes the school hopes to attract or if there’s a cap, but he said more than 300 potential football players from numerous states have contacted the school. Propst said he hopes to have 65-to-75 varsity players on the roster this fall.

3) How much will the school charge in tuition?

The highest price is $13,750 per year, but the school’s website currently lists “early bird” tuition specials as low as $5,000 for non-athletes and $7,500 for athletes.

DeVaughn referred to IMG Academy (Fla.)’s tuition cost of more than $75,000 annually and said the new school wants to keep tuition low.

4) What facilities will be built?

USA Academy plans to build a new stadium, a fieldhouse complete with locker rooms and coaching offices, and a 100-yard indoor practice facility. Dormitories are also in the plans.

The school’s first fall will feature football and cheer, but the school’s website indicates baseball, softball, soccer and golf will be played in spring 2021. Basketball and volleyball are slated to be added in fall 2021.

5) How much will the facilities cost?

DeVaughn initially sidestepped a question about how much the new facilities will cost, but later said the price tag is $13-to-$14 million.

Although he did not specify, that appears to be the cost of the football-centric facilities. He did say that total does not include dormitories.

DeVaughn also said the school is exploring “tuition credit” for local student families who host an out-of-state student and added “tiny houses” could be built on site.

6) How is the school financing such a big capital investment?

DeVaughn declined to identify investors, but said the school is actively fundraising and added it will soon announce corporate sponsorships. He said the full list of the school’s board of directors will be announced soon.

7) Who will USA Academy play?

The school wants to play a national schedule, and DeVaughn said they’ve had discussions about playing St. Frances Academy (Md.), a school that’s sent several players to Alabama recently, and St. John’s (D.C.).

“We won’t say no to anyone who wants to play,” DeVaughn said.

The big question is whether AHSAA member schools will be able to play the new school. DeVaughn said three Class 7A schools have inquired about playing the Propst-coached team in 2020.

AHSAA schools are required to play other schools that are members of one of the 51 state federations that make up the Federation of State High School Associations. Therefore, it appears AHSAA schools will be barred from playing USA Academy.

Even without playing local schools, DeVaughn voiced confidence at making a national schedule for the 2020 season.

“Everybody wants a shot at Rush Propst,” DeVaughn said.

Propst and DeVaughn indicated a full 2020 schedule will be released in coming weeks, but DeVaughn said there’s already a game against “the No. 1 team in Canada” confirmed.

8) Will in-state students be eligible to receive Accountability scholarships?

The Alabama Accountability Act, originally passed in 2013 by the state Legislature, allows taxpayers to donate to scholarship granting organizations, known as SGOs. The SGOs distribute scholarships to low-income students in kindergarten through 12th grade to use in participating schools.

DeVaughn said in-state USA Academy students will be able to access Accountability scholarships. In addition, he said he’s already spoken to two scholarship granting organizations and received positive feedback and confirmed the school also plans to create its own scholarship granting organization.

Scholarship students using tax credit scholarships must take standardized tests in English language arts and math, and they must take the ACT college entrance exam before graduating.

9) What’s USA Academy’s recruiting pitch?

Propst pointed to his record of sending players to college, saying Colquitt County (Ga.) had 139 college signees in his 12 seasons at the south Georgia school.

Joining in the football team, he said, is intended to raise the player’s recruiting profile and give him the best football training available on the high school level.

“We want to show this model will work,” Propst said.

10) Who is Dusty DeVaughn?

The USA Academy founder described himself as a “country fat boy from Slapout, Alabama.” He also ran for state representative in 2018 and lost in the Republican primary to Mike Holmes, garnering 46.6 percent of the vote.

DeVaughn also said he has owned and operated a credit repair company for the last 10 years. He said his family has deep roots in Elmore County’s farming community, and the new school is being built on a 115-acre parcel his family owns in rural Elmore County.

11) What about a reality show?

The creation of the football program will also be turned into a reality show similar to MTV’s “2-A-Days” that put Propst on the national stage.

DeVaughn said the school’s website will provide exclusive behind-the-scenes access, with hopes a streaming service such as Hulu or Netflix will also distribute it.

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Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?

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When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.

However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.

In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.

However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.

In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

When you’re seeking financing to pay for college, you’ll have a big choice to make: federal versus private student loans. Both types of loans offer some benefits and drawbacks.

Federal student loans are educational loans that come from the U.S. government. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, there are four types of federal student loans available to qualified borrowers.

With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.

On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.

Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.

As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.

Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?

In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.

However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.

If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.

With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

The bottom line

Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.

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Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances

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Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.

PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have. 

1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually

You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.

With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.

4. Savings and Retirement Accounts

The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.

RELATED: Financial lessons learned through the pandemic

A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies. 

RELATED: Overcome your fear of finances

To learn more about Abrahamsen Financial, click here

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How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit

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Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan. 

Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito. 

For more finance tips, visit Moneymax.

 

 

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