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by Susan Dutca

Today, going to college could cost as much as buying a new BMW every year, according to the Wall Street Journal. With ever-increasing college costs ranging between $120,000 and $200,000 (depending on the school), some politicians' higher education reforms are simply a "massive bailout wrapped in the promise of free tuition and relief from student loans."

College unaffordability has forced students into the growing $1.3 trillion national debt issue, with the average student owing $26,700. Where's this money going? Money is going towards grandiose campus facilities such as Purdue University's $98 million Cordova Recreational Sports center, which houses a climbing wall, vortex pool, and 25-person spa. Elsewhere, funding is being spent heavily on administration, promotions, athletics, and "noninstructional student services." There's little evidence that shows additional spending enhances the value of a college degree. Even after spending "more than half a trillion dollars from 1987 to 2005," one study notes that completion rates are declining, grade inflation is increasing, students are studying less, adult numeracy/literacy rates are declining and critical thinking skills are not improving.

Demand is strong for student loan forgiveness, as well as attaining "free" college. Such million-dollar proposed bailouts have "no new accountability measures" and will only dump the costs of higher education onto taxpayers, many of whom don't have a college education. Rather than having students invest and borrow money to go to the "wrong colleges to study the wrong subjects" - which doesn't actually prepare them with the necessary skills for the workforce - universities could be "smaller, leaner and more focused on actually teaching undergraduates." Roughly 40 percent of students are not graduating college within six years and the "college for all" mantra can be overused and pushed onto students who could alternatively attend trade/vocational schools, earn two-year and three-year degrees or certifications in professions that don't necessitate college degrees.

Avoid having to take out student loans as much as you can, by applying to and earning scholarships: money that does not have to be repaid.

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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by Susan Dutca

Some dormitory rooms at the University of Mississippi are "worthy of interior design magazines," even on a budget. Photos of two students' room went viral, and some call the décor over-the-top and unnecessary. The majority of the decorations were bought on a budget from stores such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Hobby Lobby, Home Goods, Target, Home Depot, and antique stores.

Check out the room here and let us know what you think. In the meantime, if you have a knack for interior design and want to put your craft to use beyond a dorm room, check out these interior design scholarships to help pay for your college education:

  1. Irene Winifred Eno Grant

    Deadline: April 18
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  2. Vectorworks Design Scholarship

    Deadline: August 31
    Maximum Award: $10,000

  3. Ruth Clark Furniture Design Scholarship

    Deadline: March 31
    Maximum Award: $3,000

  4. Deborah Snyder Scholarship

    Deadline: May 20
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  5. NEWH Sustainable Design Competition

    Deadline: February 19
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  6. Tom Tolen Educational Scholarship

    Deadline: April 1
    Maximum Award: Varies

  7. Robert W. Thunen Memorial Scholarship

    Deadline: April 1
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  8. Joel Polsky Prize

    Deadline: April 18
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  9. CBC Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship

    Deadline: April 29
    Maximum Award: $3,000

  10. Tricia LeVangie Green/Sustainable Design Scholarship

    Deadline: March 31
    Maximum Award: $1,500

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Republican POTUS candidate Donald J. Trump proposed establishing an "ideological test" for those entering the United States, as well as temporarily suspending visa processing from areas that are known for "exporting terrorism." If such a program were activated, the screening could potentially impact many students and other nonimmigrant visas and have "major implications" for higher education; the United States hosted 103,307 students from the Middle East and North Africa in 2014-2015 alone.

During a recent speech at Youngstown State University, Trump proposed his idea of "extreme vetting" due to the perceived threat posed by Islamic terrorists. The idea is to "screen out all members of the sympathizers of terrorist groups" including people with "hostile attitudes toward [the U.S.] and its principles" and people who "believe that sharia law should supplant American law." Furthermore, individuals who don't believe in the Constitution or who support bigotry and hatred would be vetted.

To accomplish this, the Departments of Homeland Security and State would identify "regions where adequate screening cannot take place" and stop processing visas in those areas until a later time. Only people who are expected to "flourish in our country" and "embrace a tolerant American society" would be admitted into the States.

Foreign students who come to the U.S. on F, J, or M visas currently undergo a vetting process and are monitored after they arrive through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. Currently, U.S. naturalization law requires individuals to adhere to U.S. Constitutional principles and "rejects advocates of ideological positions." Trumps' campaign advocates claim that "while we can't choose our friends, we must always recognize our enemies," and his initiatives are representative of this concept. On the other hand, some critics say it violates American and academic principles and could pose a "threat to the ability of American universities to enroll the best students they find from around the globe." Do you believe that this vetting should be implemented or not? Tell us why in the comment box 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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by Susan Dutca

Toronto native of Ethiopian descent Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, will help bring more feel for Ethiopian culture at the University of Toronto. He recently donated $50K towards a new program that will teach Ethiopian history and language. Check out these scholarships designated for students of Ethiopian and African descent:

  1. Least Developed Countries Scholarship

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: $20,000

  2. Blacks at Microsoft Scholarship

    Deadline: March 1
    Maximum Award: $20,000

  3. The MasterCard Foundation Undergraduate Scholars Program

    Deadline: January 4
    Maximum Award: Varies

  4. Angels Over Africa Mission Scholarship

    Deadline: April 8
    Maximum Award: Varies

  5. The MasterCard Foundation Graduate Scholars Program

    Deadline: February 1
    Maximum Award: Varies

  6. EADB Math, Science, Technology, & Engineering University Scholarship Program

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: Varies

  7. Kennedy-Lugar YES Program

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: Varies

  8. The Fulbright Program

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: Varies

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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by Scholarships.com Staff

While Moraine Valley Community College still plans to offer sections of its College 101 course for specific populations, it will no longer be available only to specific racial groups.

In the past, MVCC, located about 25 miles from Chicago in Palos Hills, has offered such courses to athletes, special needs students and other groups that it was felt might benefit from such an offering. Research has shown such courses can be particularly effective for low-income and first-generation college students and due to the considerably lower retention and completion rates among African-American students, a course specifically for that demographic was planned. However, the college has reversed course on their plan for such an offering, perhaps due to backlash from the community regarding singling out a specific race to which they would offer a course section. While research may support the action, the offering of a course to a specific race, thereby excluding other races from taking the course might appear discriminatory, irrespective of the good intentions employed by those planning the course and determining to whom it should be offered.

What do you think? Is it acceptable for a school to offer courses to specific races? Genders? Was MVCC right to reverse their decision to offer the course to only African-American students?

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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by Susan Dutca

Only African American students will be allowed to enroll in certain sections of a mandatory introductory course at Moraine Valley Community College. The segregated course - similar to ones that are only open to veterans, special needs, and older students - is intended to help students feel more "comfortable." While registering, some parents found this exclusionary act alarming.

For years, Moraine Valley has offered College 101 "exclusively to groups such as athletes and those with special needs." Courses such as these are effective for low-income, first-generation and similar students, where they can build network systems with people of similar backgrounds. The other restricted course available only to African American students is titled "College: Changes, Challenges, Choice."

The data-driven decision is nothing new for the college, according to the college's Vice President for Institutional Development. She states that "this is not something new for us. We've done [courses for] veterans, we've done women, we have done Hispanics...we find that these particular courses with these particular groups with our mentoring and peer support help them to be more successful than they would be if they did not have this particular experience."

One parent wrote to the Chicago Tribune's opinion page that their Moraine Valley son wanted to know "why there are not two sections limited to Asian-American students? How about Native American students?" Some administrators argue that "limiting course sections to a particular racial or ethnic group could diminish the image of those classes, whereas experiencing other viewpoints and backgrounds improves tolerance among all groups."

Sectioned courses focus on the specific issues encountered by various groups. For example, veterans face a specific set of challenges that may not be experienced by non-veterans. Moraine Valley's Assistant Director of Communications claims that "students feel comfortable [in these settings] and are more likely to open up because they're with other students who are like them."

In your opinion, should these courses exist? Why or why not? Share with us your thoughtful opinions, and don't forget to check out scholarships by type.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

J.K. Rowling plans to end the Harry Potter series with her latest "Harry Potter and the Curse Child." For the next generation of talented and creative writers, here are some literature and creative writing based scholarships to help pay for college:

  1. Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America Scholarship

    Deadline: February 28
    Maximum Award: $500

  2. Diverse Minds Writing Challenge

    Deadline: March 11
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  3. The Kurt Brown Fellowship for Diverse Voices

    Deadline: March 11
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  4. Hope College Creative Writing Award

    Deadline: February 15
    Maximum Award: $10,000

  5. The Leo W. and Alberta V. Thomas Utz Scholarship

    Deadline: February 10
    Maximum Award: $16,000

  6. CINTAS Foundation Fellowship in Creative Writingp

    Deadline: July 1
    Maximum Award: Varies

  7. Calliope Workshop and MFA Scholarship

    Deadline: May 31
    Maximum Award: $3,000

  8. L. Ron Hubbard Writers of The Future Contest

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  9. GRCF Ladies Literary Club Scholarship

    Deadline: April 1
    Maximum Award: Varies

  10. New York Women in Communications Inc. Foundation Scholarship Program

    Deadline: January 31
    Maximum Award: Varies

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Texas college students can now stroll campuses, university buildings, classrooms and dorms with textbooks, supplies and...guns in their possession. The new state law permits students with concealed carry licenses to carry their guns at all public colleges and universities in the state. The Texas law took effect on the 50th anniversary of the UT Tower massacre.

Under the controversial new law, students who are at least 21 years old and have a concealed carry license will be able to carry a gun with the exception of some facilities such as sports arenas and chemical labs. The new law will not go into effect at private and two-year community colleges until next year. What prompted the recent change? Due to an increase in mass shootings - many of which took place on college campuses - proponents believe that a more armed student body "might be able to prevent such incidents." Additionally, supporters claim that "no [gun control] law would stop someone from simply walking onto campus with a gun." Those who oppose it fear that it will only lead to more violence, stating that "a university is a battleground of words and ideas, and not of weapons."

Texas isn't the only state permitting students to conceal carry - eight others have already implemented the law, including Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Given that the new law is only applicable to a small percentage of the student body who are of age, the university "estimates that less than 1 percent fit the criteria" to carry. Initially, the University of Texas lobbied against the new law and although university presidents have some power to regulate concealed carry on their campuses, they are fairly restricted. The law states that "any rules or regulations instituted by the university may not 'generally prohibit' license holders to carry their concealed firearms on campus."

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!

Comments (7)

by Susan Dutca

The University of Wisconsin - Green Bay is offering a course to educate students on the environmental justice movement, and it's titled "Green Lives Matter." From topics of flint lead contamination to migrant farm worker pesticide exposure, the program "argues the effects of capitalism force poor and minority community to live in dangerous and unhealthy situations". If you have a passion for environmental science, engineering or food science, check out these green scholarships:

  1. Albuquerque Ecologist Open Space Scholarship

    Deadline: December 31
    Maximum Award: $500

  2. Beulah Frey Environmental Scholarship

    Deadline: March 31
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  3. Colorado Garden Show Scholarship

    Deadline: March 15
    Maximum Award: Varies

  4. Ecotrust Native American Scholarship

    Deadline: May 31
    Maximum Award: $2,250

  5. Elmhurst Garden Club Scholarship

    Deadline: May 15
    Maximum Award: Varies

  6. Alabama Environmental Health Association Scholarship

    Deadline: February 25
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  7. Freehold Soil Conservation Scholarship

    Deadline: May 13
    Maximum Award: $2,000

  8. Girls Impact the World Film Festival Green IS Award

    Deadline: March 1
    Maximum Award: $2,500

  9. National Park Service Fellowship

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: Varies

  10. RTK Scholars Program

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: $1,000

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Comments (1)

by Susan Dutca

Native American students lag behind their peers from a young age, across almost every measure of student success. From college enrollment, to test scores and on-time graduation, they have the lowest rates of any racial subgroup. They make up a mere 1 percent of the high school and college population and tend to be overlooked when it comes to discussion about the nation's achievement gap.

American Indian and Alaska Native Students have the highest drop-out rate - at 11.3 percent, which is nearly double the national average - the lowest graduation rate, are the least likely to enroll in college, and the second least likely to graduate on time. Native American tribal communities are not only small and young but also poor, with the median household income as low as $30,000 for some tribes. Stricken by poverty, joblessness, addiction, and abuse, they are "at the heart of the worst educational outcomes in the country."

Issues in Native Americans' education go back to the post-Civil War, when the U.S. government forced Native American children into boarding schools to make them more "civilized." Despite the White House's attempts to help by transferring more control over the schools to the tribes, they are "met with skepticism" because the government has "zero credibility with them. They see [the government] as the devil." Even with the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, "longstanding gaps" between minority students and white students dissipated while the Native students stagnated; their ACT scores reached a five-year low.

Some successful students have cited Tribal colleges as their saving grace. Rather than attending at a mainstream institution and theorizing what it means to be Native American, they can go to tribal colleges and live it. Furthermore, they are surrounded by students from other tribes and are educated on the issues pervasive in tribal communities such as economic development, justice, and health care. Many Native American students hope to return to their communities and make a difference, as well as "build tribal capacity" and leadership for education reform.

Many colleges and universities actively seek and admit Native American students to their schools, cognizant of the disparity and achievement gap. Furthermore, they are generous in their funding through Native American scholarships.

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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