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UCLA Considers Coed Dorm Rooms

October 11, 2011

UCLA Considers Coed Dorm Rooms

by Suada Kolovic

If you’re trying to avoid rooming with the partier, the homesick bumpkin, the borrower of clothes (without asking!), the slob or the compulsive liar, rooming with the opposite sex may be the best housing option for you. Students interested in this alternative and attending or planning on attending UCLA next year are in luck: The school is considering allowing students to request a coed roommate for the 2012 academic year.

According to UCLA’s Daily Bruin, the On Campus Housing Council received an official request for a gender-inclusive housing option last year that led to the approval of a single room to serve as the pilot for the program. Suzanne Seplow, director of the Office of Residential Life, says the university is “following suit of this national trend” and taking into consideration the roommate needs of transgendered students. Out of the handful of requests UCLA received, most were from transgender students asking to live with a student of the gender to which they are transitioning, Seplow added, but if UCLA decides to offer a gender-inclusive housing program, it will be open to all students – not just gay, lesbian or transgendered ones. Housing Services is currently looking at other universities offering coed options, such UC Berkeley and Stanford University, as models.

What do you think of gender neutral college dorms? Should all colleges follow suit and give students the coed option? Is coed housing right for you? Let us know what you think.

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Students Searching for Scholarships Find Fees Instead

October 10, 2011

Students Searching for Scholarships Find Fees Instead

by Suada Kolovic

The cost of a higher education continues to skyrocket and many students have turned to scholarship search websites to secure funding to bridge the financial gap. Most would assume that using a reputable website would protect them from non-reputable scholarships but that’s not always the case: Students in Florida were upset recently after learning that the United Youth Fitness Scholarship – an award listed on Fastweb, the Sun Sentinel’s Teen Link page and Georgetown University’s financial aid page – charged students a fee to have their essay’s published on the scholarship’s website.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Full Sail University student Emilio Zedan was one of many students that applied for the $1,500 scholarship. Soon after he submitted his application, he received an email saying that although he didn’t win, he did receive an honorable mention and could have his essay posted on the scholarship's website for a $12.95 fee. But why? In email to the Orlando Sentinel, Quinn Cory – the site’s registrant and operator of several other for-profit scholarship sites – explained that the essay publication fees helped pay for the costs of the scholarship and to run the program, adding that his scholarships were 100-percent legal and within all of the bounds of law. (For more on the story, click here.)

Here at Scholarships.com, we understand that scholarship fees are, unfortunately, extremely common. That’s why we only list scholarships after they have been carefully reviewed and verified by our staff so that students will only see legitimate scholarships from organizations that don’t charge fees. By employing this rigorous approval process, we’ve been able to remain one of the most widely-used and trusted free college scholarship search and financial aid resources on the Internet and help students like you earn 100-percent free money for college.

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UNH Backtracks on Energy Drink Ban

September 30, 2011

UNH Backtracks on Energy Drink Ban

by Suada Kolovic

University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston set his sights on making his campus the nation’s healthiest by 2020. An admirable goal, no one would argue that, and in hopes of moving his plan forward, the university banned the sale of nonalcoholic energy drinks on campus four days ago. That plan, first delayed, is now officially dead: Apparently, Huddleston didn’t take into consideration the popularity of the energy drinks on campus or the fact that students could buy them just about anywhere else. D’oh!

But why did the UNH backtrack on its ban? According to reports, there’s more to the story than the outcry of students looking for an afternoon pick-me-up. The reality is that university is so intrinsically involved with the beverages’ promotion on their own campus. "We have so many Red Bull-sponsored events," said sophomore Corrin Murphy, who keeps a 24-pack of Red Bull in her room and said she frequently sees fliers advertising campus events sponsored by Red Bull. Just last fall, a Red Bull student "brand manager" at UNH organized a skateboarding competition, with a case of Red Bull given to winners in several categories. Red Bull even took part in UNH’s homecoming where they had skydivers drop into the football stadium and give away multiple prizes.

In its initial news release announcing the sales ban, UNH echoed health experts who have raised concerns that the caffeine in energy drinks can mask one's perception of intoxication if mixed with alcohol. So what happened? Does the university have a conflict of interests or did the faculty question whether the ban would even make a difference since students can buy the energy drinks off campus?

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Tips on How to Network While Still in College

September 29, 2011

Tips on How to Network While Still in College

by Suada Kolovic

If you’re in college, chances are you’ve been reminded – on a daily basis, no less – about the importance of networking in the adult world. Why wait until then? Get a head start on building your network and you might connect with someone that could potentially help you find a job after you graduate. Need some help getting started? Check out U.S. World News’ six tips to network while still in college:

  • Play the student card: Take advantage of the fact that you’re still a student. Alumni are more likely to help you while you’re still in school because you’re just asking for advice and not looking for a job, says Heather Krasna, director of career services at the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs. Ask questions, request an informational interview and grow those relationships while there’s no pressure.
  • Use your friends’ parents as resources: Believe it or not, your friends’ parents are great contacts. Not only do they offer decades of experience but since there’s already a relationship established, you’re more likely to be comfortable asking for advice and possibly their contacts!
  • Get out of the bubble: Some campuses offer that country-like feel, a pastoral paradise if you will. And while it’s great not having big city distractions, it can hinder your networking opportunities. Emily Bennington, who helps college graduates transition into careers through her company, Professional Studio 365, suggests, “Rather than using your savings for a spring break in Daytona ... go to a conference that's within your industry.”
  • Use LinkedIn: So you’re a whiz when it comes to Twitter and Facebook but if LinkedIn isn’t on your radar, you’re going to fall behind professionally. The sooner you familiarize yourself with LinkedIn, the better. Boasting more than 100 million members, it’s a great way to engage with professionals in your desired field.
  • Use Twitter strategically: Sure, Twitter keeps you posted on what’s most important to you (be that Kim Kardashian or Scholarships.com) but it can also provide an avenue for you to connect with professionals in your field. Make a list of people in your industry who you look up to and use the network strategically to connect with them.
  • Get an internship: This tip is an oldie but a goodie. The value of an internship is undeniable – not only will you walk away with real-life experience to put on your resume, an internship puts you in eyesight of people who work in your field and positions you conveniently ahead of other job seekers.
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Emory University Student Allegedly Took SAT For High Schoolers

September 28, 2011

Emory University Student Allegedly Took SAT For High Schoolers

by Suada Kolovic

When it comes to taking the SATs, most students are prepared for the parental pressure, competitive stress and the likelihood of cold sweats that go along with taking an exam so integral with the college admissions process. And if you’re planning on attending an institution of higher education, the SATs and other standardized tests are impossible to avoid…well, almost impossible: Six students tried to pay their way out of taking the exam and allegedly hired a recent high school graduate to assume their identities and deliver high test scores. Needless to say, they were all caught and must now face the consequences.

According to reports, an Emory University student was charged Tuesday with standing in to take the SAT for students at Long Island’s Great Neck North High School. The bogus test-taker, Sam Eshaghoff, is a 19-year-old Great Neck North alumnus who was arrested and charged with first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree falsifying business records and second-degree criminal impersonation. He faces four years in prison. The six students who allegedly hired Eshagoff face misdemeanor charges and a year in jail. Because they were underage when the phony testing took place, prosecutors declined to identify them.

"These are serious allegations," said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. "There's no level playing field when students are paying someone they know will get them a premier score when other kids are doing it the fair way and the honest way." Do you think these students, who because of Eshaghoff received SAT scores between 2140-2220, should be kicked out of their institutions? Should they be forced to take retake the SATs?

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RI Board Approves In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

September 27, 2011

RI Board Approves In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

by Suada Kolovic

Last night, Rhode Island became the 13th state to approve a policy that would allow the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition. Under the new policy, in-state rates would be available only to illegal immigrants’ children who have attended a high school in the state for at least three years and have earned a diploma. Under the provision, they’ll also have to commit to seek legal status once they are eligible or risk losing resident tuition status.

What does this mean to undocumented students? For some, it translates into the ability to afford a college education. Currently, in-state undergraduate tuition at the University of Rhode Island is $9,824, compared to $25,912 for out-of-state students. Gov. Lincoln Chafee supported the board measure Sunday saying it would improve the state’s “intellectual and cultural life” and allow more Rhode Islanders to attend college.

But not everyone was in agreement with the governor’s sentiments. Several speakers objected to the policy on Monday including Terry Gorman, executive director of Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement, who said that the policy change would be akin to "aiding and abetting" illegal immigrants. "I've met a lot of these students," Gorman said. "My heart goes out to them, but their parents put them in this situation." The new policy will take effect in 2012.

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UC Berkeley’s “Diversity Bake Sale” Causes a Stir on Campus

September 26, 2011

UC Berkeley’s “Diversity Bake Sale” Causes a Stir on Campus

by Suada Kolovic

For most, the notion of a bake sale conjures up memories of Girl Scouts selling delectable Thin Mints and tasty Samoas, all the while smiling angelically and thanking patrons for their contribution for new uniforms, camping trips or what have you. For a Republican group at the University of California Berkeley, their motives are much different: According to reports, the campus Republicans announced plans to host a satirical bake sale where they plan on selling racially price-adjusted pastries on campus in protest against an Affirmative Action-like bill.

As if the University of California system needs yet another racially inspired incident, (this year alone, campuses have dealt with a series of racial and anti-Semitic incidents) the Berkeley College Republican (BCR) group announced their “Increase Diversity Bake Sale” on Facebook where the pricing structure is as follows: $2 per pastry for white men, $1.50 for Asian men, $1 for Latino men, $0.75 for black men, $.25 for Native Americans and $.25 off for all women. The bake sale is meant to draw attention to pending legislation that would allow California universities to consider race, gender, ethnicity and national origin during the admissions process. "We agree that the event is inherently racist, but that is the point," BCR President Shawn Lewis wrote in response to upheaval over the bake sale. "It is no more racist than giving an individual an advantage in college admissions based solely on their race (or) gender."

The sale has left many outraged. More than 200 students have responded to the event – most opposed and some violently so. What do you think of the BCR’s bake sale? Should the university step in and shut down an event that could possibly turn violent? Let us know what you think.

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Federal Mandate: All Schools Must Offer Net Price Calculators by October 29th

September 16, 2011

Federal Mandate: All Schools Must Offer Net Price Calculators by October 29th

by Suada Kolovic

Here at Scholarships.com, we understand that trying to figure out how much a college education will actually cost you and your family is pretty confusing. With everything that goes into your financial aid packagegrants, loans, scholarships, etc. – the real cost of a college education is muddled in there…somewhere. But fear, not college bound students! All that’s about to change thanks to a mandate by the federal government: All colleges and universities receiving Title IV federal student aid must have net price calculators by October 29th.

According to U.S. News and World Report, the U.S. Department of Education instated the mandate in order to “provide a clearer view of the difference between the total cost of tuition and fees – commonly referred to as sticker price – and the net price, an estimate of the cost subtracting scholarships and grants.” Most students generally receive some institutional aid so the better they understand how much an institution is offering as whole, the better prepared they are to compare the financial aid packages offered by different schools.

What do you think of the federally implemented net price calculators? Do you think it will be an essential piece of the funding your college education puzzle?

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Groupon-NLU Deal Doesn’t Guarantee Admission to Graduate Program

September 14, 2011

Groupon-NLU Deal Doesn’t Guarantee Admission to Graduate Program

by Suada Kolovic

Last week, we shared Groupon’s “experimental” deal offered by National-Louis University which provided bargain hunters with the opportunity to purchase an introductory teaching course at a serious discount. A total of 18 students took advantage of the deal but hopefully they read the fine print: Purchasing the Groupon does not guarantee acceptance to the master’s program that the course is a part of. Whoops.

While the Groupon-toting students will take “Introduction to the Profession and the Craft of Teaching” for the discounted rate, they aren’t technically enrolled at the institution. Instead, each participant will be considered a “student-at-large,” said Nivine Megahed, NLU’s president. The students-at-large will get inside-the-class practicum experience early on in order to get the full effect of teaching prior to applying to the master’s program unlike their traditional counterparts, Megahed said. Often, when aspiring educators teach in a classroom for the first time, “they either love it, or they go running for the hills,” she added.

Once they’ve completed the course, at-large students who want to take part in the program will have to go through the traditional admissions process, which requires a passing grade on the Illinois Basic Skills test. If you bought the Groupon, would this be a deal breaker for you? Do you think NLU should have made such stipulations clear early on?

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Studies Suggest U. of Wisconsin Bias Against White and Asian Applicants

September 13, 2011

Studies Suggest U. of Wisconsin Bias Against White and Asian Applicants

by Suada Kolovic

As a student, you’ve done everything in your power to put your best foot forward – you maintained a 3.0 GPA in high school, were vice president of the National Honors Society, played on a varsity sports team and constantly volunteered at your local library – but what if, regardless of all your efforts, what mattered most was your ethnicity? According to a report release by the Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO), that may have been just the case if you applied to the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

The CEO, an advocacy organization opposed to racial and ethnic preferences, has released a report accusing the University of Wisconsin at Madison of extreme bias based on race and ethnicity in its undergraduate and law school admissions. The center, which filed a lawsuit in order to obtain the admissions data, alleges that African Americans and Latinos were given preference over whites and Asians. The studies claim that the odds ratio favoring African Americans and Hispanics over whites was 576 to 1 and 504 to 1, respectively. For law school admissions, the racial discrimination was also severe: An African American applicant with grades and LSAT scores at the median for the group would have had a 7 out of 10 chance of admissions and an out-of-state Hispanic applicant had a 1 out of 3 chance, compared to an in-state Asian applicant (1 out of 6 chance) and an in-state white applicant (only a 1 out of 10 chance) with those same grades and scores.

Based on the findings, the CEO chairman Linda Chavez said, “This is the most severe undergraduate admissions discrimination that CEO has ever found in the dozens of studies it has published over the last 15 years. The studies show that literally hundreds of students applying as undergrads or to the law school are rejected in favor of students with lower test scores and grades, and the reason is that they have the wrong skin color or their parents came from the wrong countries.” For more on these studies, click here.

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