Private Student Loan Default: Set to Stage a Major Comeback

Recent governmental analysis has shown that about one-fourth of all federal financial aid is directed toward students who attend private, for-profit colleges, even though these students represent just 12 percent of the national college population.

Private student loans are non-federal loans – student loans issued by banks and private lenders, rather than by the federal government.

Private student loans are credit-based loans carrying variable interest rates that can be as much as three to five times as high as the fixed interest rates on federal college loans. Additionally, private student loans don’t generally offer flexible repayment options and borrower hardship protections offered by federal education loans.

The recent substantial drop in the number of private student loans being issued can be partly attributed to greater publicity of the drawbacks of these loans in comparison to federal student loans.

Consumer advocates, student groups, and the U.S. Department of Education have campaigned heavily over the past three years for the benefits of low-cost federal college loans over private loans, which the groups maintain are more expensive and higher risk for vulnerable student borrowers, many of whom are financially inexperienced and who may not be aware of exactly what kind of long-term debt burden they’re signing up for.

Private Student Loans Poised to Surge at For-Profit Colleges The student loan default rate among students from for-profit colleges is exceptionally high because these students – a large proportion of whom are low-income, minorities, or returning students – tend to have a harder time translating their for-profit degree into gainful employment, and they’re carrying much more student loan debt than their post-graduation income will allow them to repay.

New proposed federal financial aid regulations seek to rein in what critics of for-profit colleges see as runaway student debt levels by instituting a loan default threshold that would render a for-profit institution ineligible to offer federal financial aid to its students if its students have a sustained high student loan default rate.

A proposed federal “gainful employment” rule would also yank federal financial aid funds from for-profit schools whose students graduate with excessive debt-to-income levels and are unable, in general, to find work – “gainful employment” – that will allow them to earn enough to pay off their student loans.

But in the absence of federal financial aid, private loans remain the financing of choice among students – particularly in the current economy, with home equity, credit card lines, investments, and college savings largely decimated – and some private lenders are readying to fill in the gaps left by the suspension of federal financial aid at ineligible institutions.

According to analysts, large private student loan lenders like Wells Fargo and Sallie Mae will reap the benefits of the proposed federal financial aid sanctions, which are set to go into effect in 2012.

Lingering Recession Forces Students Toward Pricier Private Student Loans The re-emergence of private student loans won’t be limited to just for-profit colleges, however. The rise, fall, and rise-again of private student loans as a part of U.S. students’ long-term financial aid future is tied directly to increases in the costs of college and the failure of federal financial aid to keep pace with the increases.

“Increases in college costs are the primary drivers of increases in student borrowing, especially when need-based grants don’t keep pace with higher college costs,” Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of, told Reuters.

And as the sour economy drags on, students’ need for funding sources to help pay for college will only become greater.

Publicly funded colleges and universities are reeling from a string of spending reductions for higher education and are passing along those losses to students in the form of tuition and fee increases.

“Private student loan volume could grow in the double digits next year because of tuition hikes driven by state budget constraints,” said Michael Taiano, a financial analyst at Sandler O’Neill.

At the same time, a record number of students are seeking higher education, enrolling or re-enrolling in colleges and universities, stretching the federal financial aid budget thin.

“Federal budgets are constrained by how much in aid they can deliver,” said FBR Capital Markets analyst Matt Snowling. So, the funding gap is going to be filled by private loans here is the Website link

As the lender-in-chief for federal college loans, the federal government is also beginning to experience first-hand the impact of a growing number of loan defaults, as a national populace in the midst of a recession and 10-percent unemployment struggles to keep up with its monthly bills.

Recent graduates are leaving school with record-high debt from loans and diminished prospects for employment. Parents who in other years might have helped their children pay for college are finding themselves being turned down for federal parent loans because they have joined the ranks of the unemployed and don’t qualify for the loans based on their own creditworthiness.

Thinking About Tree Removal? Leave It to the Professionals – Arborists and Tree Surgeons

Do you have a group of trees in your garden that blocks the sun, obstruct your view, or fill the garden with mountains of leaves every autumn? Perhaps you have one or more trees that are simply so over-grown that they have become unstable/unsafe. If so, you may well have considered getting rid of them, but how would you go about it?

You may feel capable of doing the work yourself, sawing a lumberjack-style wedge out of the bottom of the tree trunk, and watching it fall to the ground while you resist the temptation to yell “Timber!”

While you may very well be capable of all of that (and it would surely be a lot of fun!), there are a number of safety – not to mention, legal – considerations that simply cannot be ignored.

For example, it is important to consider not only your own safety, but the safety of nearby people and animals. Because it is very difficult to predict the direction in which a tree will fall using the traditional tree-felling method, the safety of nearby human beings can never be guaranteed.

Then there is the risk to nearby property. Trees are often much longer than they appear upright and would therefore fall across a larger area than you might expect, making it all too likely that a nearby house or garage/shed would suffer the impact of the colossal tree that you’re toppling.

There are also the legal and social issues to consider, like boundary issues, community attachment to “heritage trees”, property ownership, problems arising from roots that cross property boundaries, and disputes over obstructions of views to name a few.

So what is the solution? Hire a professional arborist or “Tree surgeon croydon“.

The fundamental issue is simple: trees require specialist attention. Arboriculture encompasses the management as well as study and cultivation of all types of trees and shrubs.

An arborist or “tree surgeon” is an arboricultural professional specializing in the safe, controlled treatment or removal of healthy or damaged trees. The best of these are highly trained and qualified in their field, and use state-of-the-art tree removal equipment.

They will also adhere to all current legislation as well as health and safety regulations, and provide a full service, from assessment and advice, right through to clean-up and waste disposal/recycling.

If you are considering the removal or extensive treatment of one or more trees on your property, be sure to seek the help of a professional arborist before attempting any work on your own.

Cheapest Kitchen Counters Are Formica Worktops

Of all the selections on the market, Formica sheets UK is by far the cheapest choice for kitchen work-tops. In this article, I will explain a couple of ways to get it really cheap. Let me just start by saying this too: just because this style of counters is the least expensive does not mean they are poor in quality.

What Will Cause the Price to be high?

There are a few variables that can affect how much your kitchen tops cost. For instance if you have them custom-fabricated out of plywood, this can be a lot more expensive than if you just select one from the “stock item” rack at Home Depot.

Here are a few things that affect the cost:

1) The layout of your cabinets 
If you have several areas which need to have forty-five degree mitered seams, this can add a considerable amount to the cost. Angled walls -such as the popular “island layout” that has three walls which are on forty-five degree angles- will drive the price of work-tops up.

2) Color and finish of the Formica Work-top 
There are several different color, pattern and finish upgrades that make the price of laminate work-tops go up. If you select a high gloss top, this will cost significantly more than a “matte” finish. If you select a “stipple” finish style, this may cost more than a low sheen topcoat. Usually the most reasonably priced choice will be a matte finish. All granite patterns will cost more than any other design.

3) Custom Edges on Tops 
Lowe’s Formica countertops and other Super Centers offer work-tops which have special edges on them. These are stock “Post Form” work-tops and are not outrageously priced. If your kitchen requires that you have your laminate tops custom-made… adding custom edges to your work-tops will not be cheap. The cheapest option for any laminate work-top is to buy them from a place like Home Depot. If you hire a custom fabricator to make the Formica tops, the cheapest style will be the flat, ninety-degree edge profile.

There are a few other things that can add to the cost of your work-tops:

  • If you have a drop-in range, you will pay more than if your stove is free-standing.
  • Raised-bar counters add additional costs to your kitchen price.
  • Pass-through windows where work-tops are interconnected from one room to the other
  • Counters which are longer than twelve feet will require a seam.

The Ideal Factors to Ensure Low-cost kitchen Counters:

  • The cheapest kitchen tops will be “matte finish”.
  • The layout of the cupboards will not require any seams in the ninety-degree corners.
  • All of the counters should be no longer than twelve feet in length.
  • There are no angled walls in the kitchen where the tops get installed.
  • No granite patterns
  • Do-it-yourself (DYI) work-top installation (not recommended unless you possess finish-carpentry skills)

The scale from the cheapest to the most expensive work-tops graduates like this:

Least expensive: 
Formica plastic laminate

Solid surface (Corian, Avonite, Gibralter, Earthstone)

High end: 
Authentic granite or marble

Photo Booth Rentals for Lasting Memories and For Your Business’ Success

An important aspect of any occasion is creating a memory. Cameras form an important part of the list. Therefore, if you are throwing a party and you have not arranged for any photo sessions, then your party will be a huge failure. A few years later, you will have no tangible memories of the party at all. This is just the reason why photo booth rentals have sprung up. Through this device, you can come up with absolutely any image and therefore, store it in your memory.

The photo booth long island prove useful in a variety of ways. These include birthday parties, which certainly require a stand where the family and friends of the birthday girl or boy could take some memorable pictures. Whether it is the first or the 50th birthday, a photo booth rental will grant you the opportunity to take some lasting pictures that will stay in your album for years. This is why renting booths come handy and cheap, thereby letting you make everlasting memories.

Moreover, most people often complain that weddings do not allow the people to take any kinds of candid shots that they might like. This is because the photographers who are hired for these events usually have certain restrictions such as not permitting any kind of natural shots at all. This is exactly why you require some photo booth rentals because they actually work in your favor, allowing you to take absolutely any picture that works to your benefit. This is just the reason why renting booths are preferred over photographers. There are more advantages that are accompanied with photo booths. With a photographer, you can only pose professionally and the people whose pictures are taken include the groom and bride’s family. However, the rentals allow spontaneous pictures of everybody so that all of you could enjoy your times together in the long run. Furthermore, you can also insert captions so that you may have a great time creating a scrapbook out of the stuff of your liking. Therefore, just give yourself the chance to recreate all kinds of occasions by arranging a photo booth that will make you feel good.

If you are keen to arrange for a photo booth rental, then it will give you an opportunity to spend your time to do all kinds of funny things at the booth. This is why if you are in the mood to plan your booth rentals, then this will work out everything in your way.

Therefore, if you are in the process of planning any kind of events, then be sure to make use of photo booth rentals for they will surely work in your favors. You will be able to work towards recreating the ideal rentals which would definitely grant you with the benefits that will give you the opportunity to avail all kinds of benefits from the booth rentals. Therefore, why don’t you get started and avail these benefits which will do you great good? Get started and avail photo booth rentals!

Potrebujete nápady na kostýmy Halloween? Vyriešiť tento problém v 3 jednoduchých krokoch

Prichádzať s novými nápadmi na kostýmy Halloween sa môže javiť ako neprekonateľná úloha. A teraz, keď sa Halloween rýchlo blíži, je čas nájsť dokonalý kostým Halloween. V nasledujúcom texte preskúmame niektoré nápady týkajúce sa kostýmov a 3 jednoduché kroky na vyriešenie vášho hľadania kostýmov.

Krok 1. Zistite svoj cieľový vek. Kde môžem začať? Tu má veľa ľudí veľmi ťažký čas. V kostýmoch na dovolenku je toľko možností, že to môže byť veľmi ohromujúce. Najlogickejším miestom na začiatku je to, za akú vekovú skupinu nakupujete kostýmy. Ak sú to mladšie deti, potom výber, ako je Toy Story, môže byť dobrý. Ďalšou možnosťou je Alice v ríši divov alebo dokonca postavy založené na Disney. Deti milujú myš Mikey a myš Minnie. Aj rodičia.

Krok 2. Po určení cieľového veku preskúmajte ich záujmy. Snáď najjednoduchší spôsob, ako prísť s nápadmi na halloween kostým, je zistiť, čo vaše deti sledujú v televízii. Aké sú ich obľúbené karikatúry alebo filmy? Výsledkom je, že môžete začať so zúžením výberu kostýmov. Iron Man je príkladom veľmi obľúbeného filmu a výberu, ktoré tento rok urobilo mnoho detí (najmä chlapcov).

A čo staršie deti a dospelí? Aké kostýmy sú pre nich k dispozícii? Mnoho starších detí a dospelých stále miluje a zúčastňuje sa Halloweenu. Pre dospelých sú k dispozícii kancelárske a súkromné ​​Halloween party. Opäť platí, že to je miesto, kde pri pohľade na populárne filmy môžu pomôcť pri rozhodovaní, čo sa nosí na Halloween.

Počuli ste už o Avatar? Kto nie, však? Vo filme sa rozbehla celá rada kostýmov súvisiacich s Avatarom, ako napríklad Jake Sully a Neytiri, skvelé možnosti pre staršie deti aj dospelých. A spomenul som, že sú veľmi horúce a žiadané? S výberom kostýmov založených na avatare ste sa nemohli pokaziť.

okonalé nápady na kostýmy Halloween získate dokonca aj prehliadaním obchodov Halloween. Jednoducho sa pozriete na svoje odporúčané kostýmy alebo návrhy kostýmov a získate skvelé nápady, vďaka ktorým bude každý šťastný. Internetové obchody s kostýmami robia túto úlohu veľmi pohodlnou.

Krok 3. Teraz, keď ste zúžili výber kostýmov, kde ich môžete ľahko získať? Mnoho ľudí nenávidí jazdiť a bojovať proti davom, aby si kúpili najhorúcejšie kostýmy, len aby zistili, že sú vypredaní. Najlepším riešením je jednoducho kúpiť Halloween kostýmy online. Existuje mnoho obchodov Halloween na internete s rôznymi výbermi kostýmov. Ušetrite čas, peniaze a bolesti hlavy nakupovaním online.

Ako vidíte, získanie skvelých nápadov na kostýmy Halloween nie je také ťažké. Postupujte podľa troch jednoduchých krokov a ste na dobrej ceste!

Pozeral sa do tváre smrti na Halloween

Tvár bola celá čierna, mramorovaná a popraskaná. V blízkosti lícnych kostí vyčnievali tenké hrebene, z ktorých vytiekla náznak sušenej krvi. Predpokladám, že v mojom veku si na tieto veci zvyknete, pretože som sa nebál; no možno len trochu. Je mi dvanásť rokov a chlapecký génius. Viem, že keď sa ma niekto snaží predstierať, ale táto prekliata tvár vyzerala nejako skutočne. Najhoršie na tom bolo, že to bolo priamo v mojej tvári. Myslím, že som bol príliš nervózny na to, aby som ho vytrhol a odhalil iného mladíka, ako som ja, na nejaké Halloweenské žarty a cukrovinky. Časť, ktorá ma skutočne vydesila, bola, že ma neustále sledovala. Prečo to bolo po mne? Čo som urobil?

Snažil som sa z toho utiecť; uhýbať sa a pliesť si bočnú uličku pár blokov od môjho domu, ale bez ohľadu na to, čo som urobil alebo ako rýchlo som bežal, zostal mi priamo v tvári. Kričal som na to.

Povedal som: „Choď odo mňa. Nie si skutočný. Snažíš sa ma vystrašiť a zblázniť si to. Mám tvoje číslo. Si falošný. iba halloweenský vtipálek. Vypadni z mojej tváre. “

Maska smrti neodpovedala. Z toho neprichádzal zvuk. Stále ma to prenasledovalo. Snažil som sa racionalizovať, čo sa mi stalo.

Johnny,“ povedal som to sám. „Nedovoľte, aby sa vám toto plazenie zlepšilo. Ste príliš chytrí na to, aby vás vystrašila nejaká hlúpa maska ​​halloweenskeho maska čerta. Nedovoľte mu vystrašiť vás. Smiať sa v jeho tvári.

Vtedy sa to stalo. Zhromaždil som všetku svoju odvahu a povedal Face of Death, že som vedel, že je falošný, a zasmial sa mu do tváre. A potom som to cítil. Bolo to ako bolesť žalúdka z pálenia. Cítil som sa tak zle; Myslel som, že umriem. Pustil som svoju vlastnú masku cudzieho krokodíla mužského jedla a bežal domov tak rýchlo, ako som mohol, kričiac na vrch mojich pľúc.

“Mami, mami, daj ma dovnútra. Tvár smrti je po mne a snaží sa ma zabiť. Mám pocit, že môj žalúdok vybuchne. Mám strašnú bolesť. Zabíja ma. Pomôž mi. Som príliš mladý na to, aby som zomrel.”

Moja matka sa snažila, aby sa mi nesmiala. Spýtala sa ma, koľko sladkostí som zjedla. Bol som tak vystrašený, že som povedal pravdu o zmene, a priznal som sa, že som jedol asi pol misky plnej triku alebo liečil upratovanie počas skoršej časti večera. Moja matka navrhla cestu do kúpeľne, pohár teplého mlieka, vstať a spať. Urobil som, čo povedala, a bolesť začala ustupovať. Bol som tak uľavený.

Ležala som v posteli a myslela som si, ako hlúpy som sa bála masky na Halloweena. Cítil som sa oveľa lepšie a uvedomil som si, aký hlúpy som bol. To bol Halloween, to je všetko. Teraz som bol v bezpečí v mojej posteli, v mojej spálni, kde som mohol byť opäť dieťaťom, a nemusím sa báť tmy, pretože som nočné svetlo svietil a moja matka bola dole a pozerala televíziu. A potom sa to stalo.

Len som odpočíval, keď som počul výkrik mojej matky. „Johnny,“ zakričala, „príďte rýchlo, je to váš otec. Spadol a chytil ho za hruď. Myslím, že mal infarkt. ,” plakala.

Bežala som dole a videla som, ako otec leží na zemi. Vyzeral, že nedýcha a z úst mu vychádzala biela bublinková pena. Bežal som von a skočil z prednej verandy, aby som našiel pomoc pri susedovi, doktorovi Ableovi.

Vtedy som ho znova uvidel. Tvár smrti bola priamo predo mnou a bránila mi dostať sa k predným dverám doktora Schopného. Snažil som sa okolo neho bežať, ale on by mi to nedovolil. Teraz som vedel, že tu nie je pre mňa, ale stále som sa bál. Doktor Able vyšiel z domu so svojou čiernou lekárskou taškou; moja matka ho musela zavolať. Zrazu Tvár smrti zmizla.

Neviem, či to bola tá pravá vec, alebo sa len Halloweenská žart stala strašne zlá, alebo sa predstavivosť môjho chlapca vymýšľala divoko, alebo hrozná náhoda? Môj otec sa uzdravil vďaka bohu, ale už skoro nikdy nechodím na Halloween. Priblížil som sa tomu, aby som čelil smrti, tak ako to chcem v ten sviatok. Možno by som len šiel dolu ulicou na malé sladkosti, ak ma duch Halloweenov pohne, ale chcem vás varovať, aby ste si dali pozor na tvár smrti. Budúci rok to môže byť vy alebo vaša rodina. Budúci rok by tento príbeh mohol byť skutočný. Budúci rok to môže byť váš pocit reality. Majte šťastný Halloween a nejedzte príliš veľa sladkostí.

Vyberte si svoj strašidelný outfit z online Halloween kostýmov

Väčšina z nás, ktorí si užívajú Halloweenské párty, tam chce ísť s jedným z najpodivnejších a najbláznivejších odevov. Ak môžete nosiť strašidelné oblečenie, potom ste si istí, že ste v centre párty. Kedykoľvek je Halloween okolo, všetci túžime po tom, aby sme si pre seba vytvorili jeden z najbizarnejších kostýmov.

Nakupovanie oblečenia Halloween bolo veľmi ľahké vďaka dostupnosti rôznych online obchodov Halloween. Stačí sa prihlásiť na tieto webové stránky, pozrieť sa na ich online galérie a vybrať si jeden z najstrašidelnejších kostýmov pre seba a tiež si objednať svoj Halloween kostým online v priebehu niekoľkých minút podľa svojej veľkosti.

Pokiaľ ide o Halloweenskú noc, deti aj dospelí si želajú obliecť si podivné oblečenie, ktoré sa oblieka ako upíri, čarodejnice, duchovia atď. Deti tiež milujú kostýmy kreslených postavičiek, superhrdinov a pirátov. Dospelí na druhej strane milujú obliekanie ako slávne hviezdy, víly, klauni, cigáni a tak ďalej. Niektoré z odvážnych dám si tiež radi nosia odhalené šaty, ktoré sa označujú za stredobod atrakcií na večierkoch.

Nech už je váš nápad na Halloween oblečenie vhodný, môžete si ho kúpiť v obchodoch s kostýmami online. Jedným kliknutím myši na vašom počítači získate stovky webových stránok, ktoré ponúkajú online zariadenie na objednávanie kostýmov Halloween. Takže nemusíte chodiť do obchodov a hľadať svoj obľúbený kostým z jedného obchodu do druhého.

Strašidelný kostym jeptiska, vzrušujúce strašidelné šaty a strašidelné oblečenie čarodejníc – to všetko je k dispozícii v stovkách vzorov a farieb. Po návšteve týchto webových stránok pochopíte, že hoci neexistuje žiadny limit pre predstavivosť, zbierka, ktorá je k dispozícii tu, je dokonca mimo vašej fantázie. Existujú tiež rôzne výbery masiek, z ktorých si môžete vybrať najpodivnejšie vyzerajúcu masku pre seba. Tieto masky sú zvyčajne vyrobené z latexu a nejakým spôsobom sa veľmi obávajú.

Online halloweenské obchody roztriedili svoje výrobky do rôznych kategórií, ako sú napríklad Halloween kostýmy pre deti, mužov, ženy, dospelých, páry atď. Potom existujú podkategórie, ktoré zahŕňajú kostýmy vtipných postáv, zvierat, čarodejníc, hviezd a superhrdinov atď. Málo kategórií je tiež na základe konkrétnych tém halloweenskych večierkov. Pri prehliadaní z pohodlia vášho domova môžete vidieť všetky kategórie a ich zbierky online. Internetové obchody ponúkajú aj ďalšie doplnky Halloween, ako sú klobúky, zbrane, prilby a parochne atď., Ktoré sa hodia k vašim kostýmom Halloween. Tieto online kostýmy Halloween sú tiež cenovo dostupné, pretože eliminujú náklady na prevádzkovanie obchodu, náklady na predajcov, náklady na zriadenie atď.

Takže nabudúce si chcete kúpiť kostým Halloween pre seba, môžete si ich s istotou objednať online po vykonaní inteligentného výberu na webových stránkach a výbere perfektného oblečenia pre seba.

Beat the Heat With Inflatable Water Slide Rentals

It’s still April and in some parts of the country, the temperature is already 100! That means we all want to really put some thought in into how to beat the heat for our upcoming activities! When you consider all the spring and summer activities still to come, like graduations, company picnics, church and school carnivals & fundraising events, many party planners are going to have to come up with fun activities that don’t cause heatstroke! And this is where inflatable water slide rentals come in.

There are loads of inflatable water slides in almost every theme imaginable. Here are a few inflatable water ride and activities suggestions that might be available throughout the country.

Many of the best party rental companies across the nation have the answer to high temperatures for almost every type of event you can imagine. There are water activities that will thrill kids of all ages. A 65′ Inflatable Kid Scrub Water Slide includes the best of both worlds… a giant slide AND a water slide combined into one giant piece and it’s a huge hit where ever it goes.

Or how about the Wild Rapids Water Slide? You’ll never be up to a creek without a paddle with this exciting ride. It looks like an old logging ride, however, sliding down the slippery slope with water raining down on your is not only exciting… it keeps you cool!

For those who want some really unique fun, how about a foam dance party? This unique form of entertainment is something that your guests will remember for years to come.

A good party rental company firmly believes that safety comes first and they should also care about clients enjoying themselves in a clean, sanitary environment. For that reason, you’ll see that the best inflatable water slides are exactly that, SLIDES! The best slides avoid having the little kiddie pools attached at the bottom. This means, as a parent or party host, you can be completely assured that there won’t be any toddlers falling into a dirty, grimy pool. This offers an ease of mind that can be worth its weight in gold for any parent. Many insurance companies advise against the old style inflatable water slides with pools because of this danger factor. So keep this in mind and the decision to offer your guests the safest water activities available.

Of course, there are water activities too. Activities like the water balloon battle, inflatable slip and slides, dunk tanks and a lot more unique activities sure to thrill the partygoers.

One thing to keep in mind though is that water activities will go FAST this year. Many party rental companies are booking up for the summer.

Massage Therapy Training – What to Expect

Find Massage Therapy Training in the United States and Canada. Those interested in working in natural health care services will find that massage therapy training is a great way to help in healing. In addition, massage therapy training programs introduce candidates to productively working in health and wellness clubs, chiropractic clinics, cruise ships, spas and salons, hospitals and other health-related facilities.

While no two massage therapy training courses are identical, typical instruction entails basic studies in anatomy, physiology, pathology, and kinesiology – where it goes from there is entirely dependent upon the healing arts school in which one enrolls. For example, if you would like a foundational course in bodywork, then common techniques taught in most massage therapy training programs encompass Swedish massage, sports massage, and deep tissue massage. However, if you would like to take more advanced massage therapy training, then a large number of alternative health schools may provide in-depth, practical training a wider assortment of massage modalities.

Some of these massage therapy training programs include fascinating techniques that are steadily gaining in popularity. For instance, reflexology is a unique massage therapy that involves the hands, feet and ears. Other fine examples of stand-alone massage therapy training programs may include practical instruction in Tuina (Chinese medical massage), Shiatsu (a form of acupressure), meridian therapy, Rolfing, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, trigger point therapy, Indian head massage, among others.

Typically, most massage therapy training programs start at 300 hours and go above 1,000 training hours. Depending on the specific healing arts school or vocational college, students can elect to participate in an associate of applied science degree in massage therapy course as well.

In general, students engaged in one of several massage therapy training programs will learn that the majority of States regulate the practice; therefore, future massage therapists must complete some level of education and instruction in order to pass national certification exams and/or State examinations. Also, it is important for prospective students to carefully review potential massage therapy training programs to determine if the course has been accredited, types of massage modalities offered, course curriculum and whether classes meet all standards and requirements in order to become practicing massage therapists.

Because massage therapy is ever-growing in popularity, more and more individuals are turning to this non-invasive, relaxing method of health maintenance. So for students, who are seeking a promising, personally and professionally rewarding career, a massage therapy training course may be the route to take. Today, students who have successfully completed all educational requirements and certification through a massage therapy training program can anticipate earnings averaging about $31/hour.

The Basic Principles Of Landscape Design

Whether you plan to “borrow ideas” or plan on creating your own landscaping design, you should have at the very least a basic understanding of the principles of landscape design.

Don’t feel that you have to apply every principle to every part of your plan. Just having an understanding of these principles can help you generate ideas and increase your creativity.

Great landscaping lies in the eyes of its creator. So, while the principles of landscape design are great guidelines to follow, don’t feel like they’re the “have to rules” of landscaping. Abstract and creativity are allowed.

Unity should be one of your main goals in your design. It may be better understood and applied as consistency and repetition. Repetition creates unity by repeating alike elements like plants, plant groups, or decor throughout the landscape. Consistency creates unity in the sense that some or all of the different elements of the landscape fit together to create a whole.

Unity can be created by the consistency of the character of elements in the design. By character, I mean the size, height, texture, color schemes, etc. of different elements.

A good example would be in the use of accent rocks and boulders. If you’ve ever seen a landscape design that had several different colors and sizes of boulders, then you’ve seen that unity wasn’t created by this particular element.

This is just one example but the principle applies to all other elements such as groups of plants and materials.

A simple way to create unity in your landscape is by creating theme gardens. Creating a theme garden is easier when it’s related to something you’re interested in or have a passion for.

If you’re interested in butterflies, for instance, you could create a theme using plants that attract butterflies as well as using statues, ornaments, and other decors that are related to butterflies.

Unity should be expressed through at least one element in your landscape and preferably more. Using elements to express the main idea through consistent style and a specific theme is what creates harmony.

Simplicity is actually one of the principles of design and art. It’s one of the best guidelines you can follow as a beginner or do it yourself. Just keep things simple, to begin with. You can do more later.

Simplicity in planting, for instance, would be to pick two or three colors and repeat them throughout the garden or landscape. Keeping decor to a minimum and within a specific theme as well as keeping hardscapes such as boulders consistent is also practicing simplicity.

Balance in design is just as the word implies. A sense of equality. There are basically two types of balance in landscape design. Symmetrical and Asymmetrical.

Symmetrical balance is where there are more or less equally spaced matching elements, areas, and shapes of the garden design. With a garden equally divided, both sides could share all or part of the same shape, form, plant height, plant groupings, colors, bed shapes, theme, etc.

You may remember creating something like this when you were a kid in art class at school. Where you take a piece of paper, splash paint on it, fold it in half, unfold it, and then it magically creates an interesting symmetrical design. So symmetrical balance or design is somewhat of a mirror image or reflection.

Asymmetrical balance, on the other hand, is one of the principles of landscape design that’s a little more complex. While textures, forms, colors, etc. may remain constant to create some unity, shapes and hardscapes may be more random. This form of balance often has separate or different themes with each having an equal but different type of attraction.

Asymmetrical may be better understood as actually being unbalanced, abstract, or free form while still creating unity and balance through the repetition of some elements.

A good example of this would be where bed shapes or paths differ on both sides of the landscape dividing line while still sharing some of the same elements and plants. One side could be curved with a sense of flow while the other side is straight, direct, hard, and completely opposite. Again, unity and balance will be created through other elements.

Contrast can be very interesting and this type of form can create a neat contrast. Flowing lines are pleasing to the eye but the bold contrast of a curve combined with a straight line can be very interesting.

The asymmetrical balance isn’t dependent on the shape of your garden. It can be but generally, it’s not.

An example might be where one side of the garden is mostly large shade trees while the other side is predominately a lower growing flower garden or even a mix of both examples. Like I stated earlier, the landscaping can be abstract while still maintaining unity through other elements such as rocks, plants, and decor.

Contrast and harmony can also be achieved using plants. Fine foliage verses coarser foliage, round leaves verses spiked leaves as well as color compliments and contrasts.

Plant height, color, and texture may be varied from one area to the next but each area should stay consistent within its own theme.

You’ll hear me talk about “themes” a lot. Many successful do it yourself designs follow a basic theme to achieve most of the principles of landscape design described on this page. It’s a simple starting point for doing it yourself that can be added to later.

Color adds the dimension of real-life and interest to the landscape. Bright colors like reds, yellows, and oranges seem to advance toward you and can actually make an object seem closer to you. Cool colors like greens, blues, and pastels seem to move away from you and can make an object seem farther from you.

Grays, blacks, and whites are considered neutral colors and are best used in the background with bright colors in the foreground. However, to increase depth in a landscape, you can use dark and coarse-textured plants in the foreground and use fine textured and light-colored plants in the background.

Colors can also be used to direct your attention to a specific area of the garden. A bright display among cooler colors would naturally catch the eye.

Natural transition can be applied to avoid radical or abrupt changes in your landscape design. Transition is basically a gradual change. It can best be illustrated in terms of plant height or color but can also be applied to all elements in the landscape including but not limited to textures, foliage shape or size, and the size and shape of different elements.

In other words, the transition can be achieved by the gradual, ascending or descending, the arrangement of different elements with varying textures, forms, colors, or sizes.

An example of a good transition would be a stair-step effect from large trees to medium trees to shrubs to bedding plants. This example is where a little knowledge of proper plant selection would come in handy.

Transition is one of the principles of landscape design that can be used to “create illusions” in the landscape. For example, a transition from taller to shorter plants can give a sense of depth and distance (like in a painting), making the garden seem larger than it really is. A transition from shorter to taller plants could be used to frame a focal point to make it stand out and seem closer than it really is.

Line is of the more structural principles of landscape design. It can mostly be related to the way beds, walkways, and entryways move and flow.

Straight lines are forceful and direct while curvy lines have a more natural, gentle, flowing effect.

Proportion simply refers to the size of elements in relation to each other. Of all the principles of landscape design, this one is quite obvious but still requires a little thought and planning. Most of the elements in landscape design can be intentionally planned to meet the proper proportions.

For instance, if you are creating a small courtyard garden, an enormous seven foot garden statue placed in the center would be way out of proportion and a little tacky to say the least. Or a small four-foot waterfall and pond placed in the center of a large open yard would get lost in the expanse.

Don’t misunderstand this to mean that if you have a large yard you can’t have smaller features or garden decor. Proportion is relative and elements can be scaled to fit by creating different rooms in the garden. The goal is to create a pleasing relationship among the three dimensions of length, breadth, and depth or height.

A small water feature can be proportionate if placed in a corner or on the edge of a large area and becomes a focal point of the larger area while creating its own distinct atmosphere. An entire room, sitting area, or theme can be created around it. Other rooms and themes can be created as well. See small gardens for ideas on creating rooms and creating illusions.

Also, special consideration and study should be given to proper plant selection to avoid using plants that are out of proportion.

Repetition is directly related to unity. Its good to have a variety of elements and forms in the garden but repeating these elements gives variety expression.

Unity is achieved by repeating objects or elements that are alike. Too many unrelated objects can make the garden look cluttered and unplanned.

There’s a fine line here. It’s possible that too much of one element can make a garden or landscape feel uninteresting, boring and monotonous.

However, unity can still be created by using several different elements repeatedly. This, in turn, keeps the garden interesting.