Monthly Archives: February 2016

3xEvery Mortgage Loan Originator licensed in the United States must complete Pre-License Education in order to obtain a license and Continuing Education each year in order to renew the license. There is a federal mandate that each state require at least 20 hours of Pre-License Education and at least 8 hours of Continuing Education each year after the license is approved. And many states have decided to require additional "state-specific" Pre-License and Continuing Education on top of the federal mandated minimum requirement. If a Loan Originator obtains licenses in many states, there could be a lot of Continuing Education required each year, which brings us to our main topic. How do you choose a Mortgage License Education Course Provider that can make this process as simple and painless as possible?

Availability of Courses - Each Mortgage License Education Course Provider must get their courses approved through the NMLS (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System). Some Course Providers only get the main 20 hour Pre-License Education and 8 hour Continuing Education, so if you are licensed in any states that require state-specific education, you'll have to do that part with another Course Provider. Most Course Providers only get some of the state-specific education approved for the larger states, because it is very time consuming to get approved and maintain if they don't have enough customers taking the courses. Very few Course Providers get the state-specific Mortgage License Education Courses approved by the NMLS in every state that requires it. If licensed in many states, it is best to find one of these few Course Providers that offer all courses.

Course Formats - The Course Providers are able to provide Pre-License Education in 3 formats: Classroom, Webinar, and Online Instructor-Led. Classroom is a live course in-person. Webinar is a live course via a webinar online. And Online Instructor-Led, which is by far the most popular, is an online course at your own pace with a small amount of instructor involvement to meet the NMLS requirement that there be interaction between the student and the instructor. Due to the instructor interaction, the Online Instructor-Led courses must be done within a certain window of time. Usually 2 days for a few hour course up to 12 days for a 20 hour course. For the Continuing Education, Course Providers are able to offer all of the same course formats as the Pre-License Education plus an Online Self-Study format. The Online Self-Study format is virtually identical to the Online Instructor-Led format, except that there is no window of time that the course must be completed in and there is no instructor interaction. For most people, the Online Self-Study format would be the best option for the Continuing Education. Not all Course Providers offer all Course Formats, so you will want to find a Course Provider that offers the formats you prefer.

Technology Platforms - Specifically for the most popular Course Formats, Online Instructor-Led for the Pre-License Education and Online Self-Study for the Continuing Education, the technology platform of the Mortgage License Education Course Provider is critical to making the process smooth. The NMLS has specific guidelines on how the Education Course must operate regarding timing of the course, instructor interaction, timing out after a certain period of inactivity, verifying that the person taking the course is the actual Loan Originator, etc. However, the Course Providers have a lot of flexibility in making the compliance with these requirements as painless as possible. There is a huge difference between Course Providers so you may even want to ask to test their systems out before purchasing courses, especially if you are licensed in a lot of states or are making the decision of what Course Provider to use for many Loan Originators.

Customer Service - In my experience, this is by far the most important factor. Issues will come up such as courses not reporting to the NMLS properly, course windows ending before the course is completed and the need to reschedule, questions about what Mortgage License Education Courses are required for a new license or continuing education to renew your Loan Originator Licenses, or even just issues navigating their website. When these issues come up, you want to have someone at their office that always answers the phone during normal business hours so you can quickly resolve these issues. I have found that not all Education Course Providers have the same excellent customer service that you would expect. This is critical. If you start finding that the responses from customer service are slow or inadequate, then it is probably time to start looking for a new NMLS Mortgage License Education Course Provider.

vEducation before the 20th century was once treated as a domestic phenomenon and institutions for learning were once treated as local institutions. Prior to the 20th century, education was usually limited within the confines of a country, exclusively meant for the consumption of its local citizens. Scholars or college students did not have to travel miles away from their countries of origin to study and to gain skills which they needed in order to traverse the paths of their chosen careers. Moreover, national borders served as impenetrable walls in the name of sovereignty. Gaining a college degree and the skills entailed with it were merely for the purpose of staunch nationalistic service to one's land of origin. Furthermore, knowledge of the valleys and the oceans encircling the world map, as well as foreign languages and international political regimes were not much of an imperative. Intercultural exchange was not massive and sophisticated, if not intricate. Acceptance and understanding of cultural diversity were not pressured upon anyone, as well as the lure to participate in a globally interconnected world. In other words, before the 20th century, scholastic work were predominantly simple and constrained in the local, the domestic, the nearby. They were limited to one's own village, one's own region, one's own country. A student had his own neighborhood as the location where he is to be born, to be educated, and later to be of service to - the local village which is his home, his community, his country.

Nevertheless, the world has been in a constant state of flux. In the 20th century onwards, the phenomenon called globalization rose and became the buzzword. Anything which pertained to the term globalization was attributed to modernization, or anything that is up-to-date, if not better. Part and parcel of this trend is the advent and irresistible force of information technology and information boom through the wonders of the Internet. The idea of cosmopolitanism - a sense of all of humanity, regardless of race, creed, gender, and so on, living in a so-called global village - is another primary indicator of globalization. Moreover, international media as well as trade and investment have been unbridled and have occurred in a transnational nature. Finally, globalization has involved the uncontrollable movement of scholars, laborers, and migrants moving from one location to another in search for better employment and living conditions.

Apparently, globalization seemed to be all-encompassing, affecting all areas of human life, and that includes education. One indicator of this is the emergence of international education as a concept. Internationalization of education is manifested by catchphrases like The Global Schoolhouse, All the world's a classroom, One big campus that is Europe, Think global. Act local, and Go West. Students from the world over have been ostensibly persuaded to learn about the world and to cope with technological advancements, if not to become a Citizen of the World. Moreover, globalization and international education are at play, for instance, when speaking of Singapore being branded as the Knowledge Capital of Asia, demonstrating the city-state as among the world's academic powerhouses; De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines entering into agreements and external linkages with several universities in the Asian region like Japan's Waseda University and Taiwan's Soochow University for partnership and support; the establishment of branch campuses or satellites in Singapore of American and Australian universities like the University of Chicago and the University of New South Wales, respectively; online degree programs being offered to a housewife who is eager to acquire some education despite her being occupied with her motherly duties; students taking semesters or study-abroad programs; and finally the demand to learn English - the lingua franca of the modern academic and business world - by non-traditional speakers, like the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Korean students exerting efforts to learn the language in order to qualify for a place in English-speaking universities and workplaces. Apparently, all of these promote international education, convincing its prospective consumers that in today's on-going frenzy of competition, a potent force to boost one's self-investment is to leave their homes, fly to another country, and take up internationally relevant courses. Indeed, globalization and international education have altogether encouraged students to get to know their world better and to get involved with it more.

Boston College's Center for International Higher Education director and International Education expert Philip Altbach asserted in his article "Perspectives on International Higher Education" that the elements of globalization in higher education are widespread and multifaceted. Clear indicators of globalization trends in higher education that have cross-national implications are the following:

1. Flows of students across borders;
2. International branch and offshore campuses dotting the landscape, especially in developing and middle-income countries;
3. In American colleges and universities, programs aimed at providing an international perspective and cross-cultural skills are highly popular;
4. Mass higher education;
5. A global marketplace for students, faculty, and highly educated personnel; and
6. The global reach of the new 'Internet-based' technologies.

Moreover, European Association of International Education expert S. Caspersen supported that internationalization influences the following areas: Curriculum, language training, studies and training abroad, teaching in foreign languages, receiving foreign students, employing foreign staff and guest teachers, providing teaching materials in foreign languages, and provision of international Ph. D. students. Nevertheless, globalization's objective of a "one-size-fits-all" culture that would ease international transactions has not seemed to be applicable to all the nations of the world. In the words of Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, globalization's effects are dualistic in nature. Globalization itself is neither good nor bad. It has the power to do enormous good. But in much of the world, globalization has not brought comparable benefits. For many, it seems closer to an unmitigated disaster. In Andrew Green's 2007 book, "Education and Development in a Global Era: Strategies for 'Successful Globalisation'", he asserted that optimists would refer to the rise of East Asian tigers - Japan, China, and South Korea - as globalization's success stories. But these are just a minority of the world's two hundred nations. A majority has remained in their developing situations, among these is the Philippines.

In terms of international education being observed in the Philippines, universities have incorporated in their mission and vision the values of molding graduates into globally competitive professionals. Furthermore, Philippine universities have undergone internationalization involving the recruitment of foreign academics and students and collaboration with universities overseas. English training has also been intensified, with the language being used as the medium of instruction aside from the prevailing Filipino vernacular. Finally, Philippine higher education, during the onset of the 21st century, has bolstered the offering of nursing and information technology courses because of the demand of foreign countries for these graduates.

In terms of student mobility, although gaining an international training through studying abroad like in the United States is deemed impressive, if not superior, by most Filipinos, the idea of practicality is overriding for most students. Study-abroad endeavors are not popular among the current generation of students. The typical outlook is that it is not practical to study overseas obviously because of the expenses - tuition fees, living costs, accommodation, and airfare. Although financial aid may be available, they are hugely limited. There may be several universities that offer merit or academic scholarships, talent scholarships, athletic scholarships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, full or partial tuition fee waivers, but actually there is certainly not a lot of student money. Apparently, international education is understood as a global issue, a global commodity, and above all, a privilege - and therefore, it is not for everyone. Hence, studying in America is a mere option for those who can afford to pay the expenses entailed in studying abroad.

The Philippines is a Third World country which is heavily influenced by developed nations like the United States. Globalization may have affected it positively in some ways, but a huge chunk of its effects has been leaning to the detriment of the Filipinos. Globalization has primarily affected not only the country's education system but even beyond it - economically and socially. These include brain drain, declining quality in education because of profiteering, labor surplus, vulnerability of its workers overseas, and declining family values.

For one, the Philippines is a migrant-worker country. This phenomenon of sending its laborers (also known as Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs) abroad to work and to send money back home has been intensified by globalization. Brain drain - or the exodus of talented and skilled citizens of a country transferring to usually developed nations for better employment and living conditions - is one problem that has been stepped up by globalization. The Philippine foreign policy of labor diplomacy began in the 1970s when rising oil prices caused a boom in contract migrant labor in the Middle East. The government of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, saw an opportunity to export young men left unemployed by the stagnant economy and established a system to regulate and encourage labor outflows. This scenario has led Filipinos to study courses like nursing which would secure them employment overseas rather than in their home country. For more than 25 years, export of temporary labor like nurses, engineers, information technology practitioners, caregivers, entertainers, domestic helpers, factory workers, construction workers, and sailors were sent overseas to be employed. In return, the Philippine economy has benefited through the monetary remittances sent by these OFWs. In the last quarter of 2010, the Philippine economy gained roughly $18.76 billion in remittances which largely came from OFWs based in the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Italy, Germany, and Norway.

Second, the demand for overseas employment by these Filipino professionals has affected the quality of the local education system in the form of fly-by-night, substandard schools which were only aimed at profiteering. A Filipino legislator, Edgardo Angara, once aired his concern over the spread of many schools which offer courses believed to be demanded in foreign countries and the declining quality education. Angara observed that the Philippines has too much access to education versus quality education. For instance, for every five kilometers in this country, there is a nursing school, a computer school, a care-giving school, and a cosmetic school. Angara suggested that lawmakers and educators should find a happy formula for quality education.

Third, labor surplus is another dire effect of globalization. In 2008, the phenomenon of brain drain started to subside in the Philippines. This period was when the United States started to experience a financial turmoil which was contagious, distressing countries around the world which are dependent to its economy. In the Philippines, it has been surmised that the demand for nurses has already died down because the need for them has already been filled. For instance, the United States has decided that instead of outsourcing foreign nurses, they have resorted to employing local hires to mitigate its local problem of rising unemployment. As a result, this incident has receded the phenomenon of a majority of Filipino college students taking up nursing. And the unfortunate result is the labor surplus of nursing graduates. This dilemma which has been caused by a Third World country such as the Philippines trying to cope with globalization's feature of labor outflows has left Filipinos on a double whammy. Over 287,000 nursing graduates are currently either jobless or employed in jobs other than nursing. Nursing graduates nowadays suffer job mismatch, taking on jobs which are different from their field of specialization like working for call centers, serving as English tutors, if not remaining unemployed because the Philippine hospitals have little to no vacancies at all which are supposed to be occupied by the large number of nursing graduates. Furthermore, these professionals are accepted by hospitals or clinics as volunteers with little to no monetary benefits, or as trainees who are burdened with the policy of forcibly paying the hospitals for their training.

Fourth, a dilemma that globalization has burdened the Philippines is the vulnerability of its overseas workers. For instance, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, and Taiwan, have had no choice but to lay off and repatriate their Filipino guest workers in light of the global financial crisis. Furthermore, the threat of Saudization is a present concern in the Philippines nowadays. Presently, around 1.4 million OFWs in Saudi Arabia are in danger of losing their jobs because the Arab nation is implementing a Saudization program which will prioritize their Arab citizens for employment. To date, with more than 1.5 million OFWs, Saudi Arabia is the country which has the greatest concentration of OFWs. It is the largest hirer of Filipino Workers and has the largest Filipino population in the Middle East. As Saudi Arabia hosts a majority of OFWs, the problem of these Filipino workers losing their jobs and returning to their homeland where employment opportunities are scarce is a national threat. Furthermore, the current national instability in countries like Syria and Libya has threatened the lives of the OFWs, who still have chosen to stay in their foreign workplaces because of economic reasons which they find weightier vis-à-vis their safety.

Finally, globalization has resulted to social costs which involve challenges to Filipino families. Possessing close family ties, Filipino families sacrifice and allocate significant amounts of financial resources in order to support their kin. Filipino parents have the belief that through education, their children are guaranteed with promising futures and achieving decent lives. Thus, given the limited employment opportunities in the Philippines which are unable to support the needs of the family, one or both parents leave to work outside the country. As a result, Filipino children, although their educational goals and well-being are sustained, would have to survive with one or both parents away from them. They would then have to deal with living with an extended family member such as aunts, uncles or grandparents who are left to take care of them. This has deprived Filipino children of parental support and guidance as they are separated from the primary members of their family.

In reality, even though Filipino families have experienced the monetary benefits of a family member uprooting himself from the country to work overseas, this trend has not been enjoyed by the majority of Filipinos. The poorest of the poor cannot afford to leave and work overseas. Also, with volatile market forces, the value of the US dollar which is used as the currency of OFW salaries vacillating, rising gas prices and toll fees in highways, and the continued surge in the cost of living in the Philippines, in general, globalization has precluded long-term economic growth for the country, with the masses suffering a great deal. Moreover, with human capital and technological know-how important to growth, the Philippines suffered with globalization by losing its professionals to the developed countries which, on the other hand, experienced "brain gain".

Indeed, globalization has both positive and negative effects, but in the Philippine case, it is more on the negative. It is justified to say that globalization is an "uneven process" and that most least developing countries did not grow significantly in light of globalization. Those which predominantly benefited are the affluent and powerful countries of the Western world and East Asia.

The Philippines was once considered as the "knowledge capital of Asia", particularly during the 1960s and the 1970s. Its system of higher education was marked by high standards comparable to its neighboring countries, much lower tuition fees, and the predominant use of English as the medium of instruction. The Philippines, consequently, was able to entice students from its neighboring nations, like the Chinese, the Thais, and the Koreans. However, presently, this once upbeat picture has now been replaced by a bleak one because of several problems which has long confronted the system like budget mismanagement, poor quality, and job mismatch, thereby seriously affecting its consumers and end products - the Filipino students. Making matters worse is globalization affecting the graduates of Philippine universities by luring them to choose to work overseas because of the greater monetary benefits vis-à-vis the disadvantage of leaving their families home and not serving their countrymen. Now that the world is undergoing financial turmoil, the Filipino workers would then have to cope with these dire effects of globalization.

 

cxWhen the SAFE Act was passed by the US Congress in 2008, it mandated that all States require that Mortgage Loan Originators meet certain minimum requirements to obtain and maintain a Mortgage Loan Originator License. Once of those requirements was Education. The SAFE Act mandated 20 hours of Pre-License Education in order to obtain an LO license and 8 hours of Continuing Education each year in order to maintain and renew an LO License. Over the next couple years, each state passed legislation to meet this federal education mandate and regulators worked with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) to implement this requirement.

State-Specific Mortgage License Education
When the states passed legislation to meet this federal SAFE Act Education requirement, many of them decided to also require additional education above and beyond the minimum federal requirement of 20 hours of Pre-License Education and 8 hours of annual Continuing Education. Many states require anywhere from 1 to 15 hours of state-specific Pre-License Education and 1 to 3 hours of annual Continuing Education. And as more states have adopted the Uniform State Test (UST) in lieu of a state-specific NMLS Test, many of those same states have decided to recently add additional state-specific education requirements.

Mortgage License Education Types
When the NMLS started working with the states to implement the LO License education requirements, they came up with 3 ways to meet the mortgage loan originator education requirement. Live, Webinar, and Online Instructor-Led. These three options were developed in order meet certain NMLS requirements that the mortgage education course be timed and that there be interaction between the instructor and the mortgage loan originator. The Live and Webinar versions clearly meet this requirement, but for the Online Instructor-Led Course to meet that requirement, but still give the LO the ability to work at their own pace, the NMLS along with the states created a requirement for the online mortgage education course to include questions and answers between the instructor and the Mortgage Loan Originator. The live course is generally only offered to large groups such as large companies that have many LOs that need mortgage licensing continuing education at the same time. Most mortgage education companies offer the Webinar option, but then the LO has to sit through the entire education course all at one time. So most Mortgage Loan Originators prefer the Online Instructor-Led Education Course. You can do it at your own pace and have much more flexibility.

2xConcerns that children who grow up with two languages will either fall behind academically because of it, or are at risk of not mastering either language well, have largely been disproved by research, the committee stated.

"The language which is the vehicle of instruction has a crucial role in that command of it is the key to classroom communication and consequently to pupils' acquisition of knowledge. A great deal of research has confirmed that types of education based on the mother tongue significantly increase the chances of educational success and give better results," they concluded in their report.

What is Bilingual Education?

Bilingual education programs teach speakers of other languages academic subjects in their native language while gradually transitioning them into English-only classrooms. The majority of these programs in America teach to native speakers of Spanish, Chinese, or Navajo. Bilingual education is different from ESL because ESL programs are meant only to teach speakers of other languages English, while bilingual education programs are meant to encourage further retention and development of the native language while teaching English, enabling the child to develop fluent bilingualism and biliteracy.

What are the benefits of Bilingual Education?

Bilingual education teachers generally transition students from the bilingual classroom to the English mainstream classroom over a period of 1-6 years. This can be beneficial for one because it allows the students to continue their own academic advancement while learning the dominant language, whereas students who must learn a language and other academic subjects in that language often fall behind. By teaching children academic subjects in their native language while acquiring English, the students learn the language while continuing to progress academically. Furthermore, they become fluent and literate in both languages.

Studies have shown that quality bilingual education can be an effective approach for teaching second language learners. Successful programs have found that developing and maintaining the student's native language does not interfere with English language acquisition, but instead enhance it.

The advantages of bilingualism are not highly debated. Some of the advantages plurilinguals have, cited by the Parliamentary Assembly, include:

• An enhanced faculty for creative thinking

• More advanced analytical skills and cognitive control of linguistic operations

• Greater communicative sensitivity in relation to situational factors

• Improved spatial perception, cognitive clarity and analytical skills

Furthermore, bilingual programs encourage the preservation of a minority group's linguistic and cultural heritage. Children who are put into English-only schools from a young age will greatly lose their mother tongue and culture unless it is taught and frequently spoken at home - however it is all too common for second and third generation Americans to lose their heritage language.

If the benefits of bilingualism are not highly disputed, why is bilingual education highly disputed?

Common arguments and sentiments against bilingual education in America include the following:

Immersion

The argument is that if a person is not totally immersed in the new language, they will not learn it - that immigrant children should be totally immersed in the language and therefore be taught entirely in English right away, instead of learning gradually, because they will not learn as well with a gradual approach. Critics of bilingual education often believe that retaining and developing the first language inhibits the child's ability to learn English. However, bilingual education supporters maintain that retaining the first language will facilitate learning in the second. Opportunities for immersion, moreover, are all around, whereas quality bilingual education opportunities are not.

Insufficient mastery of the English language

Some express doubts about the success of bilingual programs in teaching language-minority students mastery of the English language, citing low test scores and poor reading skills in both English and the native language as a result of the programs. However, low scores can be attributed to the child's social context more than to the effectiveness of bilingual education, according to the 2006 report by the Parliamentary Assembly.

Furthermore, according to a 1987 study commission by the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), children in "properly designed" bilingual education programs learn English quickly and meet grade-level standards in English and mathematics in three to five years. The report used data collected from 25 schools in seven California districts to dispute the claim that bilingual programs slow the acquisition of English and keep children out of the mainstream longer.

Bias

Spanish as well as other minority languages have not historically been valued as highly as they should be due to prejudice and xenophobia. One and two generations back it was not acceptable for immigrants or natives to speak a language other than English in school, and parents did not teach their children for fear they would not excel or that it would hold them back. This prejudice still haunts us today.

Fear

In 2010 Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) banned Mexican heritage and cultural study in their high schools. They claimed that the courses were teaching Mexican-American children to resent white Americans and encouraging them to want to overthrow the US government. Although the school was seeing rises in academic achievement, the program was teaching minority students about their culture and not the mainstream one, and so the programs were cut. This closely mimics the battle bilingual programs have faced in America as well.

Insufficient research
Moreover, it does not help that research on bilingual education presents its own set of problems. "Research on the effectiveness of bilingual education remains in dispute, because program evaluation studies - featuring appropriate comparison groups and random assignment of subjects or controls for pre-existing differences - are extremely difficult to design," wrote James Crawford, researcher on bilingual education. Crawford, however, maintains that there is strong empirical support that native-language instruction does not inhibit or slow the acquisition of English, and that well-developed skills in the native language are associated with high levels of academic achievement.

A 1997 press release from a committee of the National Research Council formed perhaps a more well-rounded conclusion. They stated that political debates over how to teach children with limited English skills have hampered bilingual education research and evaluation efforts. The committee recommended that research focus on identifying a variety of educational approaches that work for children in their communities based on local need and available resources. And indeed this availability of resources can be a major concern when talking about constructing quality bilingual programs, as well as the scarcity and demand for quality bilingual teachers.

"In recent years, studies quickly have become politicized by advocacy groups selectively promoting research findings to support their positions," said Kenji Hakuta, committee chair and professor of education at Stanford University. "Rather than choosing a one-size-fits-all program, the key issue should be identifying those components, backed by solid research findings, that will work in a specific community."

If bilingualism has an educational advantage, why don't our schools support this advantage?

Another often disregarded advantage of bilingual education in America is that native English-speaking children can enroll and acquire a second language. America is known for being one of the least dual-tri lingual countries in the world, with a bias toward English-only, while most other countries in the world teach many languages from a young age. The interesting thing is that most Americans would recognize the benefits of speaking two or more languages, although bilingual education remains a highly debated topic.

Bilingual education programs have the potential to help encourage and support plurilingualism in America and ultimately improve our nation academically.

"The view that bilingualism or plurilingualism is a burden on pupils is... incorrect - they are assets," the 2006 Parliamentary Assembly Committee reported. "'Strong' bilingual educational models which aim to equip the future adult with real bi/plurilingual proficiency and, in particular, bi-literacy, have many advantages over 'weak' models which treat bilingualism as an intermediate stage between mother-tongue monolingualism and official-language monolingualism rather than as an end in itself."