Archive for April, 2010

Blog Evaluation and Analysis

Educational finance has become a large topic of discussion in recent years with increasing costs of tuition, especially at the secondary level of higher education.  With so much debate and discussion over the topic of loans, grants, and their policies, many people decide to share their stand on this topic over online blogs.  By using blogs, these people can share how they feel about the topic and give advice and news on the topic as well.  Blogs are great places to relay information to an audience.

            After researching for many different blogs that deal with the topic of educational finance, I came across an interesting blog called “Student Lending Analytics”.  After grabbing such interest in this blog, I contacted the creator of the blog, Tim Ranzetta, to ask him a few questions about his blog.  Tim Ranzetta’s blog has strong, informative content about all issues that relate to educational finance.  “I write about policy, regulation, legislation, and competitive environment for student loans and grants.” Tim Ranzetta says.  For example, this blog writes on categories like “Direct Lending”, “Financial Literacy”, “Regulation” and many others.  Ranzetta has also written about for-profit schools because he says, “They have become a more significant player in post-secondary education.” 

            Ranzetta found a strong passion for educational finance and came to realize that there was something wrong with this industry.  Tim Ranzetta says he felt that there was “a gap in the market for someone to provide independent and timely information on the industry.”  This gap gave him the extra push and incentive to create his blog to help those in the public receive timely information on educational finance.  I feel that creating a blog is a strong way of fixing this gap in the market.

This blog has a simple design.  It uses non-flamboyant colors and a simple organized layout.  This blog uses simple design not to bore the audience but to keep them engaged on the purpose of the blog: to provide a perspective on what is happening in the educational finance industry.  The importance in the blog is the information conveyed, not the design and complex layout.  This leads me to believe that using simple layouts is the best way of cosmetically managing a blog.

            This Student Lending Analytics blog has a purpose to help keep the public up to date with news and advice on anything related to educational finance.  This blog strives to provide a timely, data-driven and analytical perspective on what is happening in this educational finance industry.  Tim Ranzetta says that his primary purpose is, “to inform policymakers, financial aid administrators, students, and families on the issues that matter to them as they consider how to pay for college.”  I feel that Ranzetta’s way of relaying important information as quickly as he can, which is within 24 hours, is a fantastic way of managing his blog.  It keeps his audience engaged and trustworthy to his blog. 

            This topic of educational finance has a large audience.  Just as this topic has a large audience, so does his blog.  This Student Lending Analytics Blog has a broad variety of audiences including students, parents, business executives, investors, lender sales representatives, financial aid administrators, and policymakers at the Department of Education.  Because this topic has such large audience, blogging is a great place for relaying information on the topic.  Ranzetta updates his blog daily and feels that blogging is the easiest and best way to keep the general public engaged in this topic. 

            Although Tim Ranzetta manages a blog to help inform people about this topic, he also holds a strong approach on this topic as well.  He feels that if a student needs loans, first use federal loans and only use private student loans as a last resort.  Ranzetta also expresses the importance that students should not borrow more money than they can reasonably expect to earn in their first your out of college.  This is a good argument because it helps to keep students from using more and more loans without thinking about their future in paying them off.  Ranzetta also says that students should attend colleges with high graduation rates.  “Without that diploma, they will not have the financial wherewithal to pay back their student loans.” Ranzetta says.  This is an important fact that many students who use loans take for granted.  It is most important to attend a school you can afford and graduate from than it is to go to a school that you want to go to for recreational reasons.  Ranzetta feels that there are too many “failure factories” where the probability of a student defaulting on their loan is higher than the probability of them graduating.