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by Susan Dutca

Due to "ongoing racism" at the University of Alabama, students are choosing to remain seated during the national anthem at football games. Their #BamaSits demonstration is just one of the many thought to be motivated by similar protests by San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.

#BamaSits protestors have cited their disapproval of "police violence against young black people" and the "racism that remains present in American society." The demonstrations have sparked counter-movements such as #BamaStands, where students are showing up at games with U.S. flags, "placing their hands over their hearts during the anthem" and "showing great enthusiasm for the anthem." Such critics believe that the national anthem shouldn't be the moment used to "air their grievances."

Protestors are also against the recent, strong recruitment of out-of-state students to the university. From around the time Nick Saban started as the university's football coach, the school has pushed for increased enrollment of out-of-state students; a recent national trend which is most prevalent at Alabama. In-state Alabama students are outnumbered by out-of-state students, with roughly 60 percent of first-year students being from out-of-state. Proponents of #BamaSits state that they "don't think the university recognized that when they pushed for out-of-state recruitment...it would change the entire state."

Protests such as these are not uncommon in Alabama, and have "deep roots...dating back to the Civil War." From this point of view, Alabama students are showing their disapproval as a "continuation of a long struggle within the state...the symbolism behind the naming of public buildings or institutions after individuals associated with slavery, or white supremacy." The group claims they aren't just sitting - they're "pushing against the administration to change policies on [our] campus."

In your opinion, are these useful ways to promote students' ideas? Should colleges try to discourage such acts of protests? If so, what other ways might students protest that could prove effective? Share your thoughts with us.

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

The generous $500 million gift from Phil and Penny Knight to the University of Oregon is the "largest ever for a public flagship institution" and is intended to support and strengthen interdisciplinary scientific research.

With the donation, the university plans to extend its current science campus by 210,000 square feet, with three new research facilities. The initiative is expected to create 30 new positions for research scientists and open 250 graduate and 150 postdoctoral slots.

This won't be the first time the Knights have made such a large contribution. In 2014, they gave more than $300 million to the University of Oregon's athletic department. Also, in February 2016, they announced their plan to donate $400 million to Stanford University's graduate scholar program. Mega-gifts such as these given to Knights' alma maters are not uncommon; however, they are "rare at public universities." While some argue that these donations are simply "gifts from the top 1% to the top 1%," University of Oregon President Michael Schill notes that "more than one-third of Oregon undergraduates are considered low-income." Furthermore, statistics from the White House indicate that only "73% of Oregon students graduated high school last year, one of the lowest graduation rates in the country."

Mr. Knight's states that "collaborative scientific research is a comparative strength at the University of Oregon, and with appropriate support could develop into a major center of excellence and a national treasure." He notes that the lack of funding to basic scientific research programs "threaten to choke off opportunities to enhance standards of living." The University of Oregon hopes to complete and open the new facilities in three years.

Do you think the $500 million donation is a good investment? If you had the resources, how and where would you invest your dollars? Let us know in the comments section below and be sure to check out our extended list of scholarships by state for more opportunities.

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

One nonprofit is heavily recruiting reformed delinquents from disadvantaged communities and funneling them into college. The troubled youth - many of whom have committed crimes and have been in jail, are given personal advisers, free college-prep courses, childcare, bus passes and other forms of support to keep off the streets.

College Bound Dorchester has enrolled about 130 students over the past three years and guides students into Bunker Hill and two other Boston Colleges - Roxbury Community college and Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. Some students are homeless and others are victims of domestic abuse. In spite of their dark pasts, 30 percent have earned an associate or bachelor's degree and 60 percent of those who start the program continue the following year.

Giovanne Morris is proof that you can overcome hardship and become successful. Though he may have been previously known for "the destruction he caused growing up in a neighborhood teeming with guns, drugs, and violence", Morris recently received a standing ovation for his matriculation speech at Bunker Hill Community College. He is currently headed into his second semester of college, majoring in human services and hoping to become a counselor for a middle school or nonprofit organization. He described his struggle to fit in with his peers, often feeling "more accepted in the streets." His ankle monitor and the scar on his wrist are a reminder of the past he has chosen to leave behind in order to pursue greater opportunities for himself and his son and daughter.

Morris hopes to be a "different kind of role model" than he was prior to joining College Bound Dorchester. The program, which is located in one of Boston's most dangerous neighborhoods scopes out 17-27-year-olds with "a track record of leading their peers into crime" and turns them into "core influencers" who can utilize their "charisma and leadership that got them into trouble to become positive influences in their communities." The cost of achieving this goal isn't cheap - funds come from mostly private donations but is worth it, according to leaders who claim it's cheaper than the alternative.

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

Frolicking at fall festivals and pumpkin patches, apple picking at orchards, baking pumpkin-everything goodies, playing hide-and-seek in corn mazes and getting spooked with friends at haunted houses are just a few of some favorite fall activities. It also happens to be a time where students are seriously applying for scholarships to secure free college money. So while you're sipping a pumpkin spice latte and cozied by the fire, apply to these not-so-basic fall scholarships:

  1. The Explorers Club Student Grants

    Deadline: October 10
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  2. Your Art Can Save Lives Student Poster Design Competition

    Deadline: October 11
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  3. Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway

    Deadline: October 17
    Maximum Award: $100,000

  4. WomenIn Scholarship

    Deadline: October 31
    Maximum Award: $2,500

  5. Healy Foundation Scholarship

    Deadline: October 31
    Maximum Award: $3,000

  6. Google SVA Scholarship for Student Veterans

    Deadline: November 4
    Maximum Award: $10,000

  7. The Anne Ford Scholarship

    Deadline: November 13
    Maximum Award: $10,000

  8. American Copy Editors Society Scholarship

    Deadline: November 16
    Maximum Award: $2,500

  9. North American International Auto Show Poster Contest

    Deadline: November 22
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  10. The Crowdifornia College Essay Contest

    Deadline: November 30
    Maximum Award: $1,500

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

The creepy clown craze - which started in late August with alleged sightings in South Carolina - has spread to some college campuses. Disconcerting social media posts have prompted police investigations nationwide and have even led to a forced lockdown at Merrimack College. Though many of the cases were found to be hoaxes, police are taking the incidents seriously, and so are some students who have taken to the streets to "hunt" the clowns.

At least ten states have reported clown sightings, many of which were deemed pranks and not credible. One student at Belmont University posted an image of a clown standing outside a building on campus as a joke, but when caught later, claimed he "severely underestimated the power of hysteria and how quickly [the prank] got out of hand." In Connecticut, New Haven Public Schools launched an investigation on the authenticity of numerous clown-related Instagram posts with messages such as, "If you go to Career watch out...u really think it's fake, wait and see." There was no indication that the incident posed any real or substantial New Haven Public Schools, according to a statement by officials, but the incidents are being taken "very seriously."

While the fear grows with increased sightings, some students are running toward the clowns, and not away. A mob of 500 Pennsylvania college students set out to "hunt clowns" after rumors spread that one had been spotted on campus. The group was "rioting" and chanting, "We are Penn State!" University police Sgt. Mike Nelson stated that "there were no clown sightings and no credible clown threats." Similarly, at UConn, students left their dorms in search of the clowns with golf clubs and hockey sticks in hand. However, in all of these cases, the "cause is specifically social media" and reports from third-hand reports instead of actual witnesses.

What would be the most effective way to handle the clown cases? Leave us your thoughtful 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!

Comments (42)

by Susan Dutca

Within 48 hours, two incidents involving racially-charged photos surfaced at the University of North Dakota. The pictures were posted to Snapchat with the captions "Black Lives Matter" and "Locked the black b—h out." UND President Mark Kennedy is "appalled" at the events and stated that there is "much work to do at the University of North Dakota."

The first picture showed three white students in a UND dorm with the caption "locked the black b—h out." Though it is unclear as to what prompted the picture, it allegedly began with "three students stealing another student's phone" while she was out of the room and posting it to her Snapchat story. Roughly 24 hours later, a second picture surfaced, revealing four white UND students in blackface and with the caption "Black Lives Matter."

In a statement issued by UND President Mark Kennedy, he expressed his disappointment in seeing that there are "people in [our] university community who don't know that the kind of behavior and messaging demonstrated in these two photos is not ok, and that, in fact, it is inexcusable." Kennedy is "directing [his] team to explore best practices for diversity education amongst premier institutions" and is also collaborating with the "AVP for Diversity and Inclusion University Senate to bring it a reality at UND. Currently, the UND Police Department and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities are investigating both incidents.

In your opinion, what disciplinary action, if any, should be taken? Share your thoughts and start a meaningful discussion.

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 (15)

by Susan Dutca

Emotional support animals are able to attend select colleges with their owners, as schools are re-evaluating their campus policies when it comes to accommodating students with mental-health issues. Higher education institutions are also debating whether suicide-prone students should be given campus leave, in order to recover. Administrators are fighting to make decisions in the best interest of all students meanwhile discerning the troubled adolescent from a homesick student who just really wants a puppy.

About ten years ago, many colleges and universities told students to leave their support pets at home. After legal settlements at several institutions, the Justice Department allowed students to bring their support animals to campus. Felines and canines used to be the norm for support animals. Schools are now seeing applications for tarantulas, ferrets, and pigs. Studies show that support animals can help students suffering from anxiety or depression, but college disability officers are aware that online therapists are willing to write "accommodation letters" to "just about anyone" for an average fee of $150. Nonetheless, with recent legal settlements, colleges aren't prying when students show up to campus with animal and accommodation letter in hand.

This year 66 students have emotional-support animals at Oklahoma State and the university is considering building a pet-friendly dorm to "reduce complaints from other students about allergies and phobias." At Northern Arizona University, 85 students requested special accommodation but "half the requests dropped when students learned that documentation is required."

Colleges are also facing another dilemma: how to handle students at risk of committing suicide. In 2015, a survey revealed 36 percent of undergraduates "had felt so depressed it was difficult to function," with 10 percent of students having "seriously considered committing suicide." In the past, colleges were allowed to remove students from campus when they posed a "direct threat" to others or themselves. Some administrators believe that campus leave allows suffering students to "recover under close supervision...without the social and academic stresses of college life." Students, however, feel like they are being "punished," which sends them into a "deeper spiral."

In your opinion, should students be allowed to bring support animals to campus? Should suicide-prone students be given campus leave? Share your thoughts with us.

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 (25)

by Susan Dutca

Vandals allegedly trashed the 2,997 American flags planted across Occidental College's campus as a 9/11 Memorial by the college's Republican Club. The broken and trashed flags were replaced by fliers that read, "RIP the 1,455,590 innocent Iraqis who died during the U.S. invasion for something they didn't do."

The memorial, which was approved by, and registered with the college, was quickly uprooted by Sunday morning. Occidental Republicans guarded the remaining flags to prevent some students from doing further damage and "vowed to replant" and "rebuild" the memorial. In a statement, the group noted that "there was no reason to damage the memorial...this is beyond politics, this is about those lives that were so tragically taken."

The Coalition for Diversity and Equity (CODE) at Occidental offered a different explanation. "On a campus that proclaims itself time and again to be diverse, equitable and safe for all of its students, the display of American flags covering the entire academic quad disproved that proclamation…When we became aware of the purpose of this display, to memorialize 9/11, we were concerned by the complete disregard for the various peoples affected by this history. As students of color, this symbol of the American flag is particularly triggering for many different reasons. For us, this flag is a symbol of institutionalized violence (genocide, rape, slavery, colonialism, etc.) against people of color, domestically as well as globally. Additionally, if the goal of the memorial is to commemorate the lives lost during 9/11, the singular nature of the American flag fails to account for the diversity of lives lost on that day."

Even at national sporting events, where some athletes refuse to stand during the national anthem, the American flag has become an object that "cannot be viewed as something that means the same to all people." For some, it represents the opposite of freedom: a reminder of the "polarization" and "marginalization" of "people of color living within the United States."

In your opinion, was the dismantling of the 9/11 memorial justified? What disciplinary action, if any, should be taken as a result of the destruction of the sanctioned campus memorial? Would you have acted similarly if you did not agree with such a memorial display?

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!

Comments (18)

by Susan Dutca

It's not feasible to do 10 campus visits in only 5 days - unless you're willing and able to pay for a private jet that costs more than college tuition itself. Magellan Jets offers a college tour package to "decrease both the headache and the time spent on college campus visits." So if you have $100,000 to spare, sit back, relax, and enjoy the refreshment bar as you soar to your next campus destination.

The demand for the college-tour service has "never been greater among Magellan's members" according to company CEO Joshua Herbert. Since the program debuted three years ago, 22 families have purchased the package and an additional 22 customers used their private jets for campus visits. Although it may not be "cost-effective," it only "means dollars and cents" to Americans top earners who cannot take a week or two off of work. The luxurious access to higher education opportunities may not stop there, according to Newsweek. Admissions departments "favor wealthy students, even if their applications are weaker than those who are less privileged."

According to some experts, more than "half of the student body at any given institution" have had some sort of "in" or "hook" that helped them get into college; whether it was through athletic recruiting or simply being the child of an alumni who donated generously to a school. According to Newsweek, universities typically sent recruiters to high-profile, wealthy families to wine and dine them. In his book "The Price of Admission," Daniel Golden espouses that "money and connections are increasingly tainting college admissions, undermining both its credibility and value." What happens to the people who cannot afford to travel lavishly?

Elitism in higher education is nothing new. While the top 1 percent of Americans have the luxury of paying "the equivalent of a year's tuition just for the convenience and access of a private jet tour," there are many others struggling to pay tuition.

What do you think of the private jet college service? Would you do it? Share your thoughts with us!

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 (0)

by Susan Dutca

Labor Day is a day dedicated to celebrating workers and their social and economic achievements. Many students who have already started college also get the day off. In light of a day that shouldn't be spent laboring, we've compiled a list of scholarships that require little to no work. Take a quick moment to check out these not-so-laborious scholarships and earn free money towards your college education:

  1. Scholarships.com's Register & Win $500 Contest

    Deadline: September 30
    Maximum Award: $500

  2. Scholarship.com's $500 #InstaScholarship

    Deadline: September 30
    Maximum Award: $500

  3. Don’t Text and Drive Scholarship

    Deadline: September 30
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  4. BigSun Scholarship

    Deadline: June 19
    Maximum Award: $500

  5. The Crowdifornia College Essay Contest

    Deadline: November 30
    Maximum Award: $1,500

  6. U.S. Bank Financial Genius Scholarship

    Deadline: September 30
    Maximum Award: $5,000

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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