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GOP Congressman: Pell Grants are Becoming ‘The Welfare of the 21st Century’

by Suada Kolovic

The GOP is no stranger to controversy and Friday’s interview with Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) was no exception. In a radio interview with Blog Talk Radio, Rehberg went on a rant in which he compared the Pell Grant Program – the nation’s largest financial aid program – to the likes of welfare and denounced the fact that students who receive them don’t have a graduation requirement. "You can go to school, collect your Pell Grants, get food stamps, low-income energy assistance, section 8 housing, and all of a sudden we find ourselves subsidizing people that don’t have to graduate from college.” Rehberg added under the federal program, a student could "go to school for nine years on Pell Grants and you don’t even have to get a degree."

Jason Delisle, director of the Federal Education Budget Project at the New America Foundation, took issue with Rehberg's comments. "I don't know if it's a fair characterization that someone has decided to go through the hoops of applying to college, getting enrolled and showing up every day because it's the welfare lifestyle," he said. "If the issue is people are being lazy and living off the dole, so to speak, I don't think their first step is to enroll in college."

For the 2012 fiscal year, the Pell Grant program is set to exceed $40 billion. Some lawmakers have been exploring ways to reduce the cost of the programs by lowering the maximum grant size – which is currently $5,550 – or restricting eligibility. In Montana, Rehberg recently voted for the House GOP budget resolution, which would reduce the maximum Pell Grant to $4,705 and narrow the eligibility of applicants. If you’re eligible for Pell Grants, what do you think? Are Rehberg’s assumptions out of line?


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Scholarship of the Week: Playwright Discovery Award

by Suada Kolovic

The VSA arts Playwright Discovery Award invites middle and high school students to take a closer look at the world around them, examine how disability affects their lives and the lives of others, and express their views through the art of playwriting. Playwrights may write from their own experience or about an experience in the life of another person or fictional character. Scripts can be comedies, dramas, or even musicals — be creative! Young playwrights with and without disabilities are encouraged to submit a script. Entries may be the work of an individual student or a collaboration by a group or class of students.

The winning play will be professionally produced or staged at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The winning playwright receives $2,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C., to view his or her work on stage. All submissions must be received by April 15th for consideration.

For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!


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Shooting Hoax at Ramapo College

Man Faked Shooting Attack in Effort to Get Ex-Girlfriend to Pay Up

March 25, 2011

Shooting Hoax at Ramapo College

by Suada Kolovic

We’ve all gone through breakups before, but what do you do if an ex owes you $1,000? The average Joe would probably take their case to small claims court but for one West Orange, N.J. man, that course of action just didn’t have enough pizzazz for him. Instead, he pretended he had been shot and was being held for ransom in hopes that his former flame would come to his rescue...without ever contacting the authorities. Yup, that’s definitely the wrong way to get an ex to pay up.

Twenty-three-year-old Gil D. Jaffe was arrested after he allegedly claimed he was shot at or near Ramapo College in efforts to elicit $1,000 from his ex-girlfriend, authorities said. Jaffe and Leonid Shtaygrad, 21, are accused of running the hoax. According to police, a call was placed to Jaffe’s ex-girlfriend, a 22-year-old former Ramapo student, Wednesday night saying he was shot twice in the shoulder because he owed the shooter money. Shtaygrad, posing as the shooter, then allegedly got on the phone confirming the story and told Jaffe’s ex to send ransom money. The woman called police, prompting a campus lockdown, and Mahwah officers were eventually able to identify Jaffe’s location by tracking his cell phone in West Orange. When police arrived, they found Jaffe had no gunshot wounds then arrested him for violating a restraining order by contacting his ex.

In court Thursday, Jaffe was charged with violating a restraining order, false public alarm and attempted theft by deception. His accomplice, Shtaygrad, was charged with creating false public alarm and conspiracy to attempted theft by deception. Money allegedly owed to you by your ex: $1,000. Bail: $25,000. Proving on a national level that you aren’t boyfriend material: Priceless.


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Robbed Victim Posts Video of Laptop Thief on YouTube

by Suada Kolovic

Getting a computer stolen could be a nightmare for a college student but for one tech-savvy Bentley University freshman, it became a viral dream come true.

Mark Bao discovered his MacBook Air had been stolen but was still able to access several of his hard drives and Web-Browsing history via an online backup service. What did he find? A thief with dance fever. In addition to several pictures of the thief, Mr. Bao found recordings of him dancing, which Mr. Bao took full advantage of and posted on YouTube that same night. “I thought it was hilarious,” Mr. Bao said of the evidence. “I couldn’t believe he didn’t reformat the hard drive or cover up his tracks. It was in plain sight.”

After getting a well-deserved chuckle at the expense of his robber, Mr. Bao notified Bentley’s campus police department and early Tuesday morning, the laptop was turned in to the campus police station. Though the alleged thief emailed Mr. Bao to apologize and requested that the video,“Don’t steal computers belonging to people who know how to use computers,” be taken down, he didn’t oblige. Mr. Bao says he doesn’t plan to press charges and intends to sell the stolen laptop – since he replaced his – and donate the proceeds to support the relief efforts in Japan. Do you think the thief had what was coming to him? Should Mr. Bao take the video down now that his laptop has been returned? Let us know what you think.


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Student Paper Apologizes for ‘Racist’ Article About Native American Event

by Suada Kolovic

With racist rants at UCLA, degrading emails at USC and now insensitive journalism at Long Beach, we’re starting to wonder what’s in the water in the Golden State. Haterade, perhaps?

The Union Weekly, a student newspaper at California State University, Long Beach, is apologizing for running a negative critique of a Native American cultural event held on campus. In the article, entitled, “Pow Wow Wow Yippee Yo Yippy Yay,” campus editor Noah Kelly equated the annual cultural event hosted by the school’s American Indian Studies Program and American Indian Student Council with a “large, Native American themed flea market.” Kelly continued his rant by mocking the food and a traditional dance that involves some spectators throwing money to the performers, which he described as disingenuous and cheap. He went on to say, “Donations are great, and necessary, tossing them unceremoniously on the ground is crass and borderline obscene. Even the homeless have hats and cups.”

After a huge backlash – and even death threats – Kelly has published an apology where he explained, “What originally was meant as an unflattering view of the event itself has been construed by many as an assault on an entire culture. That was never my intention and I meant no malice towards Native Americans. What occurred was nothing less than a lapse in fact-finding, cultural awareness, and sensitivity on my part.” Do you think Kelly’s sincere when he says his piece was an attack on the event and not Native American culture?


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One-Legged Wrestler Wins NCAA Championship

by Suada Kolovic

For Arizona State wrestler Anthony Robles, winning the NCAA championship was the perfect ending to a perfect season: Robles, who was born without a right leg, took home the title of national NCAA wrestling champion in the 125-weight class Saturday night. He got the only takedown, in the first period of the match, and worked a pair of tilts to secure five back points.

This win completed an undefeated 36-0 senior season for Robles, though he wasn’t always such a dominator on the mat. He said early in his high school career, his skills were anything but championship-worthy. "I was a terrible wrestler, only about 90 pounds, but my mom told me God made me for a reason, and I believe that reason was for wrestling," said Robles, who was given a standing ovation on the podium by a sellout crowd of 17,687 at the Wells Fargo Center. He told USA Today that his handicap has almost become an advantage in the ring. "I have such a strong grip, and that's because of my crutches," he said.

Robles may have been born without a leg but no one would argue he has the heart of a champion. What’s next for him? According to ESPN, this was Robles’ last wrestling match but he hopes to pursue a career in motivational speaking. He said, “I wrestle because I love wrestling. But it inspires me when I get kids, even adults, who write me on Facebook or send me letters in the mail saying that I've inspired them, and they look up to me, and they're motivated to do things that other people wouldn't have thought possible."


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Deadline for Our Facebook Scholarship Approaching

by Suada Kolovic

With just over a week left to enter our “You Like Me…You Really Like Me” Facebook Scholarship, we wanted to remind our fans of a key piece of the judging criteria: The person who best describes how Scholarships.com is helping them prepare for and afford college will win the $1,000 prize. So, while we love hearing that you heart us, we’d much rather have you detail how, for example, our blog post on standardized testing helped prepare you for the dreaded SATs or how our College Prep section gave you a jumpstart on your college planning. Remember, the more you share, the better your chances are at winning.

If you’re new to Scholarships.com and unfamiliar with its contents, take a tour and check out everything we have to offer. Our site is teeming with info – from figuring out the puzzle that is the FAFSA and strategies for winning scholarships to living with a roommate and preparing for an internship – so if you like us (really like us), tell us why. Just be sure to do it soon: The deadline to “like” and leave your thoughtful comment is March 31st. For more details, check out our Facebook page. Good luck!


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Student Resigns CU Diversity Post Over Blog Entries

by Suada Kolovic

For some, blogging provides an outlet for writers to share their personal insights of the world around them; for others, it’s a platform for venting their frustrations about the opposite sex…under the safety of a pseudonym, of course. For Matthew Cucchiaro, the University of Colorado Student Government diversity director, it was the latter.

The Daily Camera reports Cucchiaro originally posted the content in question under a pseudonym in 2009 and although he says the blog entitled, “Today’s Stupid Human Beings: Women,” was “clearly satirical,” he resigned from his position on March 4. His blogs came to light courtesy of an anonymous source who sent copies to the dean of students and CU Student Government’s vice president of external affairs, Allison Foley, said although Cucchiaro didn’t break any rules, he agreed to resign.

A week after resigning, Cucchiaro has since reposted the blog on women including one that said “women are not as smart as men” to stupidhumanbeings.com. Do you think it’s fair that Cucchiaro was penalized for writing something years ago? Did his reaction – reposting the blog – justify the school’s actions? This story is anything but uncommon lately what with the UCLA girl and the controversy surrounding the USC frat still trending weeks later. The moral of the story: think before you post.


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Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Video Contest

Deadline Approaching for the Scholarship of the Week

March 21, 2011

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Video Contest

by Suada Kolovic

Since the dawn of the Nuclear Age, the United States has spent over $7.5 trillion on nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. The U.S. continues to spend at least $54 billion annually on nuclear weapons-related activities.

If you, like the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, are committed to a world free of nuclear weapons make a video of three minutes or less addressing the following question: How would the world look if the funds allocated to nuclear weapons throughout the Nuclear Age ($7.5 trillion for the U.S. alone) had been spent instead on building a more decent world?

The contest is open to people of all ages. Employees or paid consultants of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, or their immediate family members, are not eligible for a prize. All entries must be received electronically by 5:00 pm Pacific Time on April 1st.

Awards:

  • 1st Place: $1,000
  • 2nd Place: $250
  • 3rd Place: $100
  • Up to 5 Honorable Mentions

For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!


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USC Frat Lacks Class

Offensive Mass E-Mail Under Investigation

March 11, 2011

USC Frat Lacks Class

by Suada Kolovic

The University of Southern California recently received the largest donation in their school’s history – a staggering $200 million. Only days later, the spotlight is back on the university but this time the news isn’t good.

According to USC’s Daily Trojan, the Kappa Sigma Fraternity is facing an investigation after an offensive e-mail addressed to members was made public. The letter, designed to be the first in a weekly series called the Gullet Report, aimed to “strengthen brotherhood.” Throughout the rambling four-page e-mail the author expresses his opinions of women: “I will refer to females as ‘targets.’ They aren’t actual people like us men. Consequently, giving them a certain name or distinction is pointless.” He goes on to refer to unattractive women as “filth,” provided code names for women according to their nationality and warned his brothers to steer clear of “middle-eastern targets.”

Kappa Sigma Fraternity’s executive director Mitchell Wilson said in statement, “The content [of the e-mail] is contrary to everything [Kappa Sigma stands] for and we are not going to allow individuals to attempt to tarnish our name in any form or fashion.” Wilson added the fraternity was doing their best to identify the author to hold that person accountable (perhaps using research from this study). The author will likely face expulsion from the university.

While there are plenty of upstanding Greek organizations, the stereotypical fraternity lifestyle is one promoting excess in booze and babes under the guise of promoting brotherhood and academic excellence. What do you think of the latest scandal to rock a nationally-recognized fraternity?


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