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February is Financial Aid Awareness Month

Feb 4, 2016

by Susan Dutca

What makes February so lovely? It is Financial Aid Awareness Month, and since filling out the FAFSA is stressful - much like taxes - several higher education institutions and financial aid organizations have jumped on board to provide informational sessions for families and students as they navigate through, and apply for financial aid through the 2016-2017 FAFSA. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of students applying for, and receiving financial aid for their college education at a four-year-degree-granting institution has increased from 80% to 85% from 2007-08 to 2012-2013. Because of this, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) will be hosting a new topic weekly through a social media campaign that allows parents and students to ask questions about the FAFSA. To participate, NASFAA asks families to send their questions via Twitter using the hashtag #FinAidFeb to receive tips and advice, as well as the common mistakes to avoid. The social media campaign will take place on Wednesday, February 3rd from 7-8 pm ET and Friday, February 5th from 1-2 pm ET. Those interested can simply follow @NASFAA on Twitter or visit them at their website for full schedule and details.

According to the Salisbury Post, help is on the way on "FAFSA Day" at Catawba's College Library, where financial aid officers and specialists are working with seniors and their families to complete the FAFSA. Between February 22 and February 26, local North Carolina State Employee Credit Union branches will also help students complete their FAFSA. Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, IL is holding a similar series of events throughout February. In light of "FAFSA Frenzy", the Missouri Department of Higher Education is calling for an effort to educate and assist prospective college students, and Webster University is offering sessions on February 28 on its home campus, as well as at its St. Louis region on February 6 and 20. According to the school's statistics, more than 80% of its student population receives financial aid. The college is providing incentive for attending the event by offering attendees the chance to win a scholarship.

When attending any FAFSA informational session, bring your 2015 W-2 forms, and copies of your 2015 tax forms, if they're ready. If you haven't filed your 2015 returns yet, bring any statements of interest earned in 2015, any 1099 forms and other forms necessary to complete your taxes. Later on you may need to go back to your FAFSA and make corrections once the tax returns are filed. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will help you make accurate corrections within a few weeks of your tax file date.

Tro Onink, CEO of Stratagee and an expert in financial planning, cautions parents about IRA contributions for 2015.Though it may lower tax bills for 2015, it affects the children's financial aid eligibility for the 2016-2017 year. As explained by Onink, individual retirement account (IRA) contributions is factored back to the adjusted gross income (AGI) when financial formulas are used to determine student's financial aid eligibility. When the expected family contribution is calculated, IRA contributions are factored into the adjusted gross income, plus HAS, 401k, 402b and other retirement contributions. He cautions that these formulas would "presume that they [parents] have used that money they're setting aside for retirement to pay for college instead." On the upside, you do not have to record the value of the IRAs as an asset. So what's Onink's main advice? If for example, you invest $10,000 into retirement plans in 2015, your children's financial aid amount could decrease by $2,500 in 2016-2017. Essentially, when you make an IRA contribution, you will be paying more than half the amount you save in taxes when it comes to college expenses. He advocates to save for retirement but be cautions that "just because your adjusted gross income is lower, your income for financial aid purposes will be inflated."

Read more on Financial Aid Information and Financial Aid tips this season as you fill out your FAFSA and don't forget to see how you can supplement federal aid with free money in scholarships.

Credit is attributed to Troy Onink, who has been featured by Forbes, InvestmentNews, myStockOption

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Two For-Profits Accused of Scamming Students, Won't Get Funding

Feb 2, 2016

by Susan Dutca

Two for-profit trade schools are being accused of lying to students in order to secure millions in federal funding. After receiving a combined $107 million in federal funding in the 2014-2015 academic year, two for-profit trade schools are temporarily banned from receiving any more funding from the Department of Education after reportedly falsifying documents and student statistics in what is being called an "outright lie to both students and the federal government."

Marinello Schools of Beauty has 56 campuses in California and Nevada, 23 of which will no longer receive federal aid after reportedly requesting aid for students who had "invalid high school diplomas" and making students pay higher monthly out-of-pocket costs to cover tuition - such as $2,500 to $2,750 for books and supplies- even when they qualified for more aid, according to Jillian Berman. Marinello is a for-profit institution that received more than $87 million in Pell grants and federal loans in the 2014-2015 academic year. The chain was already on a "heightened cash monitoring” list, which is usually due to issues involving debt, accreditation or turning in financial information late. Marinello spokesman Joe Hixson plans to appeal the decision since the Department only now "disclosed to us its unfounded allegations." He maintains the intuition's innocence and warns that "[Marinello] will defend itself vigorously, without the federal funds our students deserve, our operations are at risk." This cut would affect 4,3000 students and potentially remove 800 employees from their jobs, according to Hixson.

On the other hand, Under Secretary Ted Mitchell claims that such "questionable business practices" simply "violate [the school's] trust through deceptive marketing practices and defraud taxpayers by giving out student aid inappropriately." Similarly, Computer Systems Institute (CSI) has been accused of "submitting false job placement rates" to students by the Department of Education and the Accrediting Council for Independent College and Schools. CSI had stated 42 of its students who graduated were working for a company called Home Health Consultants - the Department's investigative follow-up found no students worked for HHC or in a related healthcare field. CSI received roughly $20 million in federal funding in the 2014-2015 academic year. For-profit schools have been criticized for enrolling students through "troubling tactics" in order to profit from federal funds, leaving students ill-prepared for the jobs they were promised. While for-profit schools are known for admitting nontraditional students, many students end up borrowing large sums of money that cannot be repaid - but the school gets paid regardless.

Corinthian Colleges, known to be one of the largest for-profit schools in the US, went bankrupt after allegations of falsifying "job placement and graduation rates to lure students," according to Berman. Although the schools have two weeks to dispute the claims, Berman notes the Department of Education must “determine what qualifies as a successful borrower defense claim."

Credit attributed to Jillian Berman who covers student debt and financial issues faced by today's youth, with pieces featured in MarketWatch, The Huffington Post, Bloomberg, and Xconomy.

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Pell Grants for Prisoners? Obama Says Yes

Jan 28, 2016

by Susan Dutca

According to President Obama, the Pell Grant Program should be extended to include convicted felons currently in our prison systems so that they may continue their education from behind bars. The US is a "nation of second chances," according to Arne Duncan, the current Secretary of Education, and should offer the incarcerated the option of an at least partially funded post-secondary education. Additionally, the Obama Administration hopes to extend the program through the summer so that students can graduate more quickly, while also providing incentive for students who take a minimum of 15 credits per semester/trimester.

Currently, those incarcerated at a federal or state penal institution are not permitted to receive a Pell grant - Obama's "Second Chance Pell Pilot Program for Incarcerated Individuals" would change that. Additionally, the Department of Education announced two more proposals to the current Pell Grant program which would increase the $29 billion program by $2 billion in the upcoming fiscal year. The proposal will be part of President Obama's budget proposal next month. The "Pell for Accelerated Completion" program allows students with financial need to take summer courses using Pell grant money, unlike the current program, which only covers two academic semesters.

The second proposal, the "On Track Pell Bonus," rewards students who take minimum of 15 credits per semester with $300. Roughly 2.3 million students would benefit from the bonus program. The goal of these two proposals is two-fold: to help students graduate earlier and to provide them with more financial assistance through the Pell Grant. Almost 8.3 million students were awarded the Pell Grant in the 2015 fiscal year, with approximately $28.7 billion in financial aid. According to the Department of Education's budget report, the maximum Pell grant for 2015-2016 was $5,775 but will be reduced to $4,860 next year.

According to the Department of Education, these changes would benefit almost 700,000 students with an additional $1,900 per student (currently, the average amount received by qualifying students is $3,600). Research also shows that 1.5 million high school graduates did not complete a FAFSA in 2014, despite their eligibility, resulting in just under $3B in unclaimed funds. Since today marks National Student Debt day, a group of young activists named the Young Invisibles will convene at the University of the District of Colombia Community College to learn more about the current student debt crisis and find out how they can influence higher education policy. Members of Congress will be present, including keynote speaker, Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Do you think Pell grants should be offered to incarcerated individuals? Would you take more summer courses if the Pell were to be extended? Start a discussion below.

Credit attributed to Jennifer C. Kerr, Associated Press reporter covering education from Washington, D.C.

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Special Education on North Shore to Lose Funding to ISBE?

Jan 26, 2016

by Susan Dutca

The Illinois State Board is tackling the issue of special education funding imbalances with a proposed move of $217,000 from a wealthy suburban school district to schools in need for the 2016-2017 school year. However, Illinois isn't the only state struggling. The US as a whole has highly under-resourced special education programs and schools. Quality is being sacrificed for quantity as well-qualified teachers are being replaced by underqualified teachers for the sake of filling a position.

According to District 35's President, Gary Ruben, though "it is not a good thing for the district," they are financially prepared to have it "built into the budget" and will "continue to provide all the services that [we] need to provide." On average, District 35 spends about $3.7 million a year, with an average budget of $25 million, as reported by Director of Finance Jason Edelheit. If the proposed redistribution takes place, District 35 will lose $126,840. Nonetheless, the ISBE claims it is the "most equitable mechanism in current statute," as it will benefit 77% of students with "the least amount of local wealth and highest concentration of low-income students." According to Daniel Dorfman, the North Shore is anticipated to feel this change, especially elementary school districts and New Trier high school.

Many of the layoffs in CPS negatively affects children who require special services. According to the Lauren Fitzgerald of the Chicago Sun-Times, 80 of the 227 layoffs were in the special education department with 29 of the 180 "district-wide vacancies eliminated." Although 19 special education managers were hired to replace the 32 that were cut, District spokeswoman Emily Bittner claims that the layoffs do not include "classroom positions," and that the needs of every child's "individualized education plan would still be met." According to Chief Forrest Claypool, the cuts are necessary due to the $480 million budget gap.

A North Side CPS principal claims that without special education managers, the support just isn't the same. Managers are responsible for observing kids and providing "human interface" when it comes to making important decisions such as child relocation to another program due to behavioral issues. The ever-changing and "evolving" needs are best handled and met by managers who know if a student needs more assistance, such as a personal aid or more technology.

Specialty schools are under-resourced enough, with a severe shortage of teachers whom districts can barely keep past two years. Due to the shortage, a large number of general education teachers will venture into special education to fill positions. But quantity is not quality. Special needs children are already dismissed by being thrown into general classrooms where their Individual Education Programs (IEPs) are not met, they are improperly dealt with, and lack proper resources. By replacing special-education teachers with those who lack experience in the field and a lack of financial resources, this problem will continue to grow.

If you have the desire to help those with special needs, check out our many scholarships - from education to psychology and social work, there are many organizations dedicated to funding students' higher education goals in special education. If you yourself have a specific disability or impairment, see how you can qualify for scholarships based on that criteria.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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University Professor Investigated for Ties to ISIS

Jan 22, 2016

by Jess Hanch

The FBI is investigating a Kent State University history professor for alleged ties to today's most talked about terrorist organization, ISIS. Professor Julio C. Pino has been under investigation for more than a year by an FBI "joint terrorism task force." The special agent who confirmed the investigation chose to remain anonymous. According to the agent, there is "no direct threat to the university". However, the professor will remain under investigation for his ties to the organization, and for allegedly recruiting students to join ISIS.

Pino openly supports Palestinians in the current Israel-Palestine conflict, and caused controversy on campus when he stated in class that scholars who supported Israel were "directly responsible for the murder of 1,400 Palestinian children, women, and elderly civilians". Although Pino converted to Islam in 2000, he confidently told reporters that he does not support the Islamic State (ISIS), nor does he discuss the terrorist organization in class. He also stated he has always been clear about his political views and "stands in defense for civil-liberties [by] fulfilling my duties as an American citizen by speaking out on issues that some people find controversial," including the Israel-Palestine conflict. In light of the investigation, he told reporters "I follow the law. I advocate that others do also. And I ask others to respect my freedom of speech as much as I respect theirs". This is his first FBI investigation, and he has a clean record.

Pino told reporters that neither the FBI nor Homeland Security had made him aware of the investigation in any way until now. He also had not heard anything from the University. Kent State's University Spokesmen Eric Mansfield told KentWired that "Kent State is fully cooperating with the FBI". The FBI Agent reported to KentWired that they interviewed several faculty members, and some of Pino's students about the accusation however there is no information yet about whether or not Professor Pino was interviewed. There is no further news on what will happen to Pino, and there have been no comments released from faculty or students. As of right now, Pino will continue to teach two history courses at Kent State this year, and will teach in the fall semester.

Although the FBI agent clearly stated that the campus is not directly in danger, the investigation is still prominent enough to make its way into the public eye. How do you stand on this issue? Do you support Professor Pino and his statement about his right to free speech? Would his past statements about the conflict in the Middle East be taken differently if he did not align as Muslim? Start a conversation and leave your comments below.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Craft Beer 101: Universities Offer Microbrewery Education

Jan 21, 2016

by Susan Dutca

The history of beer dates back as far as the 5th century BC and is known to be one of the oldest beverages produced by mankind. However, MillerCoors might not cut it these days for beer aficionados due to the latest cultural trend: microbreweries and craft beer. From your local bar, to the stadium, and now in the classroom, the craft beer industry is starting to dominate its field with universities now offering programs that educate students on the hottest hops and beers to help them launch their careers in the craft beer industry, according to Lisa Rathke of the Associated Press.

Craft beer, as defined by the Brewer's Association, focuses on small-batch, independent, and traditional methods of brewing. The craft industry poses a threat to Big Beer, which fell 2% in 2014. According to industry statistics, craft beer now accounts for a 19% or more of dollar sales. What exactly accounts for this popularity? Some experts point to the "trendy hipsterism" - the "local vibe' that Big Beer just can't match. Brewer Association Director Paul Gatza attributes the increased marvel to beer drinkers' experimentation to brewery experimentation, increased appearance on retail shelves, the social aspect, and its portability. So why not keep up with the trend by becoming more educated and involved in the ever-growing industry?

But there's a catch: you must be at least 21 years of age. Oregon, Vermont, and California all have a minimum drinking age of 21 years and in so far as applying for the programs, students must wait till the legal age to begin their courses. Though the programs are intended to educate and place people in a up-and-coming field, the age at which people may apply may have them delaying their careers and plans until they have reached the age of drinking maturity. The average age for college freshman is 18 years old, while several may be 17 or 19 years old. That said, those intending to enroll in craft beer business courses must wait three to four years before applying and starting. Do you think the age requirement should be lowered?

Ranking at the top in the nation for the most breweries per capita, the University of Vermont offers an online business of craft beer certificate program and optional apprenticeship. According to program director Gregory Dunkling, students apply from all across the nation. Most beer-focused breweries started out five to ten years ago. Industry statistics reveal that in 2014, overall beer sales were up only 0.5% while craft beer sales increased by 17.6%. The U.S. far surpassed 4,000 breweries in September of 2015, and it had not crossed this barrier since 1873. A decade ago, Dunkling claims that home brewers, despite their strong home recipes, lacked "business acumen" - so they hired marketing, sales, and business operation staff. With increased competition in the industry, there's a demand for higher brewer knowledge, especially on the business side. UV's online class offers two separate courses: the Fundamentals of Craft Beer, and then a choice for focus on Digital Marketing, Sales, or Business Operations.

In 2013, Portland State University in Oregon began their online Business of Craft Brewing program and within a week, the class had filled all its seats. Found to be one of the "most successful professional certificate programs," it attracted international students who either "didn't want to necessarily go to college," or had already received a degree - they genuinely wanted to learn how to open their own brew pub, which required a bit more knowledgeable in marketing. Portland State University even offers a scholarship opportunity in craft brewing, titled Pink Boots Scholarship for a woman who earns income from the beer industry.

Also, San Diego State University's College of Extended Studies offers a similar professional certificate in the business of craft beer - from introductory courses such as "Exploring Craft Beer" to "Finance," students can venture into the field at local breweries, to get a hands-on learning experience in the craft beer industry. Students can receive their certificate in less than 1.5 years.

If you have a taste for microbrewery, viticulture, or any related fields of study, search for scholarships today and pursue your higher education dreams with the help of free college money.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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University Prez Charged with Offering Enrollment for Money and Sex

Jan 19, 2016

by Susan Dutca

After being charged with sexual bribery, trafficking degrees, and misappropriating public funds, a former president of the University of Toulon began trial on Monday and, if found guilty, could face up to 10 years in prison and €150,000 in fines for enrolling Chinese students in exchange for monetary and sexual favors.

Laroussi Oueslati, former French president of the University of Toulon served as the central admission official back in 2008 and focused primarily on developing and strengthening the workforce through the recruitment of Asian and South American students. In 2008 alone, 300 students - primarily of Chinese descent - were admitted to the university. However, due to their "low-level of French," they never should have been admitted. Oueslati reportedly shortened the registration and admissions process by accepting students who "paid him up to €3,000 (£2,300) each." Some students claimed they were assured a seat in exchange for "having intimate relation" with Oueslati. Sexual bribery, in this case, refers to the solicitation of sexual favors by promise or rewards, which is viewed as a serious form of professional and moral corruption. So far, 14 witnesses have been called to appear in this week's trial.

Several students took to the Internet to openly state that Oueslati requested €3,000 to be paid directly to him to secure university admission. In addition to bypassing the traditional admissions process, he reportedly created his own panel, "independent of the university's central admission process," which "rarely examined candidates' academic records," according to The Telegraph. In response to all of the claims, Oueslati maintains his innocence, stating, "I am not corrupt...I can tell you that if ever someone tried to corrupt me I would, if you'll excuse the expression, tell them to p-- off." One other university administrator and four former Chinese students also face charges. Two students who fled to China are also being sought out for arrest.

Oueslati had an "all-powerful academic" and irresistible personality and presence at the Institut d'Administration des Entreprises, according to Le Monde. Nonetheless, once the accusations came to light in 2009, he was forced to resign and potentially faces a lifetime ban from exercising any role in the world of academia, if not greater consequences. The trial, which began on Monday, is expected to continue until Friday.

If you have a passion for business, education, or law and hope to better the world of higher education, check out our many scholarships today.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Netflix, Facebook Founders to Dole Out Billions for Education Reform

Jan 14, 2016

by Susan Dutca

New year, new initiatives; funded by big name billionaires. Many college students may spend time perusing Facebook or enjoying popular hit series on Netflix such as House of Cards or Orange is the New Black, but the big dogs who founded these entertainment mediums are coming out with greater initiatives: focusing to improve education.

The phrase "the more you have, the more you want" never resonated well with 31-year-old billionaire and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Netflix Cofounder and CEO Reed Hastings isn't a big fan of school boards. What do these big shot billionaires share in common? A strategic plan to invest big money in the nation's future education.

Netflix and...Education

Most people are more familiar with the name Netflix than they are that of the man behind it, Reed Hastings - but that could be about to change. Hastings recently took to Facebook to announce a $100,000,000 philanthropic endeavor: the Hastings Fund. The fund will focus on children's education, as reported by Senior Writer Ben Fox Rubin from CNET News. Hastings has served as President of the Technology Network, served on the California Board of Education for four years, donated $1 million to Proposition 39, and much more. In addition, he has also been part of other academies and programs dedicated to developing teaching videos, with a primary concern of growing high-quality charter schools and developing technology that could transform education. He admits he was never "good at following orders," and volunteered for the Peace Corps. in Swaziland, foregoing the opportunity to "buy yachts" in favor of improving K-12 education and trying to "figure out why our education is lagging when technology is increasing at great rates..." Offering a long-term solution would come from expanding charter schools was his intention while attending Stanford. Netflix got in the way, and Hastings never graduated from Stanford, but his education initiatives and dreams lived on. CNET News reports The Hasting Funds' first two gifts will be given to the United Negro College Fund and to the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, a "total of $1.5 million to support the education of black and Latino college education." Forbes estimates Hasting's net worth surpasses $1 billion, including $900 million in Netflix stock and options.

Facebook CEO Giving $45 billion for Education

Inspired by the birth of their daughter, Max, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced a new initiative to dole out 99% of their Facebook shares - valued at $45 billion - throughout their lifetime to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The world's largest social media CEO intends to "improve this world for the next generation," according to Zuckerberg. Furthermore, he claims the mission to change the world is a "basic moral responsibility to tilt our investments." Primary areas of focus will be on personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities, according to the couple's open letter to their newborn daughter, Maxima.

The organization would be a limited liability company (LLC) as opposed to a traditional philanthropic organization. Though inspired by the $41 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it differs in that the Gates Foundation is structured as a tax-exempt, non-profit foundation and charitable trust, and is a 501 (3)(c). The Gates Foundation is not only well-known for its profits but for its efforts battling global poverty, the spread of deadly curable diseases, and improving education overall. Though Zuckerberg has a different philanthropic approach from the Gates Foundation, Gates commented that, "As for your decision to give back so generously, and to deepen your commitment now, the first word that comes to mind is: Wow. The example you're setting today is an inspiration to us and the world."

There has been skepticism and criticism in Zuckerberg's choice of structure, as it could potentially maneuver around legal structures and tax strategies. In response to criticism, he claims "The beauty of having an LLC in today's world is No.1, you have the ability to act and react as nimbly as need be to create change." Zuckerberg, for example, would be able to make political donations and is not required to give 5 percent of its value annually. Regardless of how the funds are allocated, the couple's focus is to gradually seek long-term solutions as opposed to pouring all money into one issue, as evidenced by Zuckerberg in his letter to his daughter;" We must make long-term investments over 25, 50, or even 100 years...the greatest challenges require very long time horizons and cannot be solved by short-term thinking."

Do you support or oppose this initiative by top CEO's when it comes to education? Leave us your thoughtful comments below.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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$7.5M Lawsuit Over Fabricated UVA Rape Story

Rolling Stone Magazine and Sabrina Erdely Sued by Defamed UVA Administrator

Jan 12, 2016

by Susan Dutca

Rolling Stone author Sabrina Rubin Erdely did not sufficiently research and verify a student's account of gang rape and neither did anybody else at the nationwide publication with a readership of nearly 1.5 million. It has since been discovered that the young women's story was entirely fabricated and that she has a reputation as a "serial liar."

After clicking early on in college and sharing a passion for the same rock bands, two UVA students began a friendship that would soon turn rotten. Little did Ryan Duffin know, "Jackie" would soon entangle him, several of his Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers, and UVA administrators in a gang rape allegation that would be reported by Rolling Stone Magazine, becoming the center of national controversy.

From the beginning, Duffin did not want to pursue anything beyond friendship with "Jackie." However, the woman who was identified only as "Jackie" in the magazine article wanted more. It was then that Jackie created a fictitious character, "Haven Monahan," whom she alleged she knew from chemistry class. New court documents report that Monahan was created by Jackie to "catfish" Duffin into her desired romantic relationship. Through texts, Jackie, posing as Monahan told Duffin how she felt about him.

In late September of 2012, Jackie told Duffin that her date with Monahan took a turn for the worse after he and several other rushing fraternity brothers had gang raped her. Duffin and a group of friends rushed to a hysterical and traumatized Jackie to comfort her. Jackie did not appear to be injured at all and her dress was not mangled or torn. She also refused to report the alleged incident to the police or even go to the hospital for medical attention. Two days after the incident, Jackie told Duffin she forgave Monahan, which left Duffin to seriously doubt Monahan's existence, as he claimed in an interview with The Washington Post: "I was wondering how I didn't see through it way earlier."

The story did not appear until two years later, in July of 2015, when Erdely contacted Emily Renda, a rape survivor and U-VA staff member working with sexual assault victims. Erdely, who was searching for a singular college rape case to report on the "pervasive culture of sexual harassment/rape culture" on college campuses was directed to what Renda called the "darker side" of the issue in fraternities. Erdely contacted "Jackie," who then recounted her gang rape experience. While at a fraternity campus party, "Jackie" claimed, she was lured to an upstairs bedroom around 12:52 am, where she was ambushed and gang raped. Ederly's 9,000-word story was published in Rolling Stone in November 2014. It was titled "A Rape on Campus."

Significant scrutiny and reports of multiple discrepancies resulted in an audit of the editorial processes leading up to the story's publication. The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism discredited the Rolling Stone article for a variety of reasons stating that the "assault could not have taken place the way it was described." For instance, the fraternity issued a statement that it did not host "a function or social event" that weekend, as was claimed by the alleged victim. The Washington Post also uncovered information in December 2014; reports that Jackie's friends claimed the "details of the attack have changed over time and that they have not been able to verify key points." The New York Times reported that police had "exhausted all investigative leads" to find "no substantive basis" for the Rolling Stone's article. The article was retracted and the magazine's managing editor and article's author both apologized. Ederly later acknowledged that she "did not go far enough to verify her story.”

As a result of the fabricated story and the damage done to UVA Associate Dean, Nicole Eramo's reputation and filed a $7.5 million defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone and Erdely for failing to perform the basic tenants of journalism. As a top administrator, Eramo stated she was cast a "chief villain" in the discredited piece. Lawyers are now asking for the alleged victim to produce text message and "other communications in the case" since it would expose her to be a "serial liar." Duffin stated that, "had any of us been contacted it never would have blown up like this," referring to the Rolling Stone magazine.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Mizzou Protests, First Ammendment Rights and Melissa Click's "Muscle"

Jan 7, 2016

by Jess Hanch

Recently Professor Melissa Click was caught on video pushing a student reporter's camera aside during a campus protest. After the incident, state lawmakers called for the professor to be fired due to her "treatment of the student journalists" after the student who shot the footage filed a complaint with campus police after the incident. Nearly a month later, more than 100 faculty letters were released defending Professor Click and her "mistake".

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Click grabbed student Mark Schierbecker's camera and asked for "some muscle" to limit the [student's] coverage of the protest at the University of Missouri. Schierbecker was filming student photographer Tim Tai who was also covering the event. Shortly after the incident, Schierbecker filed a complaint with campus police looking to press legal assault charges. He specifically told reporters "I pressed charges against Melissa Click [but] the Journalism school just filed a formal complaint with the Title IX office about her". The University of Missouri’s police department stated that they are looking into the situation and will follow up with the complaint.

On top of the possible assault charge, Click received hundreds of threatening emails about the event prompting her recent decision to resign. She also issued an apology to the journalists involved in the incident, as well as the University’s department of journalism. The two students had very different responses to her outreach. USA Today reported that Schierbecker found her apology "lacking", telling reporters he was "left with the feeling that she doesn't care". Tim Tai, however, was receptive to the gesture and accepted her apology. Tai told the New York Times that he "never had ill will towards her" and “felt bad when [he] heard she'd been getting threats". Tai also added “I think this has been a learning experience for everyone involved, myself included, and I hope this blows over for both of us".

Despite Schierbecker's complaints about Click's actions during the protest, other faculty members' sentiments are similar to Tai's. They consider the issue to be "at most a regrettable mistake". The Chronicle released the faculty support letter stating "we wish to state in no uncertain terms our support for Click as a member of the University of Missouri faculty who has earned her position through an outstanding record of teaching and research". Lawmakers side more with Schierbecker, demanding that the university "take immediate action to address the inappropriate criminal actions". They went on to say that as a Professor her goal should be to "ensure a safe learning environment", which, according to them, did not happen.

Take a look at the video and tell us what you think. Do you think the incident will blow over, or be further blown out of proportion? Share your comments below.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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