Getting A College Application Fee Waiver

High-school seniors experience one of their first encounters with the “fee economy” during the college application procession. Frequently, the costs of applying to certain schools can require expenditures of $60-$110 each that can leave applicants with a $1,000+ bill as the cost of getting their applications in front of admissions committees across the country. That is unnecessarily high, and with a little bit of preparation and initiative, the average high-school student can drastically lower the costs of applying to school (even if they come from a middle-class or upper-class household.)

An underutilized technique for minimizing the costs of applying to college is making requests to the school to waive their fee. Not all say yes, but the recent decline in the overall applicant pool (which peaked in 2012) has left many colleges looking for ways to increase the number of applicants that apply to their school because it can improve Read the rest of this article!

California Lemon Law Overview

I wish every state legislator received a training course in “Regulation Best Practices” that taught them how to balance the equities when contemplating their vote on a given piece of legislation. By that, I mean approaching regulation in the spirit of “If we demand too much, we will create mandatory compliance costs that will exceed the prevention of the harm we seek to avoid.” This must be weighed against regulating an industry too little, in which the potential harms to be avoided are great and the agency costs that would be required to avoid the bad outcome are minimal.

One of my favorite examples of sound regulation comes out of the State of California (and I don’t get to say that too often). In California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Act, which is often called the California (CA) Lemon Law Act, new motor vehicles sold to consumers contain implied warranties of merchantability Read the rest of this article!

Rerum Novarum Lives On

It is surprising to me that, throughout all of the debates about automation and minimum wage laws in the United States over the past few years, hardly any mention of Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 papal encyclical “Rerum Novarum” enters the dialogue.

Personally, I find Paragraph 45 to be one of the most compelling commentaries on the moral validity of a living wage that I have ever encountered.

In it, His Holiness offered:

“Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages; nevertheless, there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer Read the rest of this article!

The Jones Act Overview

The Jones Act is one of the most worker-friendly statutes in existence in the United States because it gives seamen and sailors very broad rights to sue their employers in the event that they are injured while navigating, or attempting to navigate, American waters carrying cargo for U.S. ports.

In the 1910s, the United States was losing about a hundred sailors per month to deep injury or even death. To combat the occupational hazards of being a seaman, Congress passed the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 which gives vast monetary recovery rights to sailors if they are injured or killed while at sea. The purpose of this highly pro-worker maritime law was and is to incentivize ship operators to adopt the highest safety standards possible by imposing stiff penalties for marine workers that are injured on the job.

The Jones Act gives injured seaman four strong ground rules that greatly Read the rest of this article!

The FHA 203k Loan Advantages

Any time you can find a government program that excludes investors and is only limited to occupants or users, the odds are good that the terms are relatively advantageous. This is the case with FHA 203k home improvement loans, which provides an opportunity for home-buyers to receive a mortgage that also covers the cost of future/current home repairs as part of the initial loan that you receive.

If a homebuyer is looking to purchase a $250,000 property, but sees that the kitchen has not been updated since the 1970s and will need $30,000 in repairs, an FHA 203k loan can give you a single loan that consolidates both the home purchase and the improvement into a single loan.

There are six important factors to weigh when thinking about a 203k loan.

First, the total amount that can be borrower under this FHA provision is 110% of the home’s purchase Read the rest of this article!