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Dead MSU Football Player Had Brain Damage Due to Repeated Concussions

Jan 5, 2016

by Susan Dutca

Michael Keck, a 25-year-old former football player, has died in a similar manner as did the subject of a recently released film that focuses on concussions, CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) and the NFL. Brain research conducted on the former Division 1 college football player suggests that repeated trauma to the brain in the form of concussions suffered while playing football is to blame for ending the young man's life so abruptly. The findings to date strongly resemble those in the case used for a recently released movie, "Concussion," starring Will Smith. The film is based on the true story and researching findings of Dr. Bennet Omalu on pro football player and NFL Hall of Famer Mike Webster. Both this tragic story and the exposure given to this and similar stories by the movie have the potential to greatly impact the NFL and football in general, giving parents second thoughts about whether to even allow their children to participate in a sport with so much potential to permanently damage, possibly kill those who do.

A linebacker and special-teams' player in Division 1 college football, Michael Keck had played from ages 6-22. Despite having suffered 10 concussions, he was never hospitalized. After transferring from the University of Missouri to Missouri State University, Keck experienced his second concussion while playing at the college level, at which time his grades began to suffer. After taking a year off and returning to the team, he began experiencing persistent headaches, neck pain, blurry vision, tinnitus, insomnia, anxiety, and concentration problems, which caused him to quit his junior year. His symptoms persisted and his health further deteriorated, with loss of appetite, abuse and aggression toward his wife, and suicidal thoughts.

While Keck is certainly not the first to have suffered from multiple concussions or be diagnosed with CTE, he is unique in having done a "series of cognitive and psychology tests" while alive that would help Boston University researchers discover and understand how CTE symptoms develop. Scans showed patterns of abnormal protein clumps throughout his brain, which is an indication of CTE. Tests also showed Keck having memory and recall problems, speech and language impediments, and difficulties remembering and producing line drawings.

After his death, his medical records and donated brain helped researchers conclude he had "post-concussive syndrome with possible CTE and major depression." Though there is more research needed to make further conclusions, researchers report that CTE "should possible be considered in young athletes who have repeated head trauma as well as persistent mood and behavioral symptoms."

Hall of Fame former pro football player Mike Webster, died of a heart attack at the age of 50. Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian forensic pathologist who studied his brain and is the author of "Concussion", the book on which the recently released movie was based, found a "concentrated buildup of tau protein" (neurofibrillary tangles) - typically found in boxers' brains due to excessive trauma - suggested potentially similar harmful effects on the brain. Right before his death, Webster had been living out of a van, tasering himself to cope with chronic pain, and fixing rotten teeth with super glue. Omalu believes the tangles were located in a region of the brain that affected his mood and personality, which left to his erratic behavior that "choked his personality...turning him into someone else."

Though the NFL announced a $1 billion plan to address concussion-linked injuries by paying players who suffer from diseases such as Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's, it does not include CTE" since the research is in its "early stages." On the other hand, Will Smith chose to take on the role in the movie because he felt he must shine a light on the problem of repetitive head trauma in football.

There are countless sports scholarships, especially for football at the college level, so be sure to check out our scholarships if you have a passion for the game and wish to earn free college money.

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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Student Nurses Seek to Swap Dummies for Human Patients

Dec 31, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Student nurses at University of Delaware are seeking to exchange dummy patients for human ones, as they are more likely to provide a realistic scenario, especially when it comes to patient's expressing discomfort and pain. Student nurses believe that when it comes to real-life scenarios, new technology and practice on human dummies will hone communication and treatment skills. Would you volunteer to be a test dummy?

New technologies created by UD students and faculty will allow students to "practice suctioning airways on actors, who respond by gagging if they go too deep." At some point, students will also be able to draw blood from a "realistic-looking sleeve" or "simulate a urinary catheterization on sculpted genitalia worn by real people." Next June, SimUTrach will debut the first piece of equipment, helping students practice patient care with tracheostomy tubes for assisted breathing. Other patented technologies including an overlay chest compressor and a device that mimics a collapsed lung, according to USA Today news.

To best prepare student nurses, organizers are coordinating UD's Simulation Lab with the university's Healthcare Theatre program, where undergraduate theater students and adults will act out the role of a patient "struggling with many physical and mental conditions, including depression and alcohol withdrawal." Pre-med nursing, physical therapy, and nutrition students will need to respond appropriately to these "dummies" with proper "therapeutic communication that respects patient dignity." The silicone-overlay worn by the human dummies "resembles a rib cage and throat with a plastic tube emerging from the neck." There are various lung sounds such as wheezing and fine crackles. The UD team spent much time developing their prototype and is currently on their sixth one, after much updating from engineering, marketing, and fashion merchandising student designs. Even the mucus development is realistic in its color and consistency, with removable parts to keep the device from growing mold. When students are not properly handling the trach, the human dummies are prompted to cough or choke violently, as this is a common incident experienced in the real world if and when nurses accidentally hit the tracheal bifurcation.

Prospective nurses spend about 10 hours a semester working with live actors. Some more complicated procedures require manikins "equipped with breath sounds, heat tones, and palpable pulses." The monitors that measure vital signs can cost $90,000 each. A SimUTrach device costs less than $10,000. Amy Cowperthwait, who coordinates the UD Simulation Lab and university Healthcare Theatre program believes the transition to SimUTrach's technology will replace the current manikins.

If you are an aspiring practitioner, nurse, or doctor, would you want to test out these new technologies?

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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Missouri Chancellor’s Ouster Plotted by Deans?

Student Protests May Not Have Caused Mizzou Resignation After All

Dec 29, 2015

by Kevin Ladd

Were student protests really even behind the ouster or was Mr Loftin's resignation a product of a coup orchestrated by nine deans who wanted him gone? According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the deans involved had been having second thoughts about the appointment since Mr. Loftin arrived and his ouster was due to myriad occasions wherein he would refer to them as "essential middle management" and allude to his power to "fire" them.

Thomas L. Payne, who is vice chancellor and dean of the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, expressed feelings that Mr. Loftin often used inappropriate methods and measures. Mr Payne reportedly recalled saying to Loftin, "I feel I must tell you that I don't think your leadership of this university is appropriate. I don't think your approach, in many cases of fear and intimidation, is the way we operate in the Midwest or anywhere. I think you should resign."

Mr. Loftin was deemed "irrevocably broken" after a dean had been forced out in December. Dean Patrick Delafontaine had served at the School of Medicine for less than a year and though the chancellor claimed Delafontaine left at his own will, the dean's colleagues didn't quite buy that. Delafontaine was known for doing a "good job" at the school and "to see his efforts dismissed and undermined...let [the deans] to conclude that [their] relationship with the chancellor was irrevocable broken."

Meanwhile, as all of this was brewing and perhaps even conveniently for the deans, student relations began to be a major issue at the school, coming to a boiling point in October and continuing to escalate, culminating in a hunger strike and members of the football team threatening to boycott all athletics unless the president stepped down. Though Loftin had befriended the student protestors by bringing them food to their demonstrations and "holding court" on the quad, his resignation had already been underway at that point.

While certainly the school must have been concerned about all of the issues students raised, it certainly does appear there was much more happening below the surface of the widely reported scandal. Do you think Mr. Loftin would have been forced out had the students not spoken up and demanded action? Leave us your insightful comments in the box 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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Pay Attention to Big Changes in FAFSA, 529s, Financial Aid

Dec 28, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Understanding the financial aid process, much less filing a FAFSA, can be tedious and daunting. With over 130 questions and requiring more than 30 minutes to complete, students may procrastinate, or completely avoid completing a FAFSA. With pending changes for the upcoming years - such as an earlier deadline - some experts claim the process won't necessarily get easier or more affordable, if not done correctly. Terry Savage, an expert writer for the Chicago Tribune, claims the new FAFSA will be more "intrusive than federal tax forms because it not only asks about income but also the assets of parents and students." Savage outlines some tips and general information on how to prepare for the changes, including early application and knowing the logistics of 529s, financial aid, and FAFSA:

  • Earlier application dates: Many people can recall the last-minute rush to apply for FAFSA and the anxiety that accompanies it. A big change in the FAFSA for 2017-2018 academic year is the earlier application. Students will be able to file as early as October 1, 2016, as opposed to January 1, 2017. Additionally, you will be able to use a FAFSA retrieval tool to directly and electronically access tax information from the IRS, after filing a 2015 tax return. The income you will report on your 2015 return will, in turn, affect your financial aid for the 2017-2018 academic year.
  • 529 Plans: 529 plans are college savings accounts that are exempt from federal taxes and were designed to help taxpayers set aside funds for a designated beneficiary. While any U.S. citizen or resident alien of at least 18 years old may open a 529 account, beneficiaries are typically children, grandchildren or younger relatives. Assets in a 529 plan owned by either the student or their parents count as need-based aid but plans owned by grandparents or other people do not count as assets. If money is withdrawn from the accounts of grandparents or other relatives, there is a penalty in the following year's financial aid package. Savage recommends you do not withdraw from your 529 account until your junior year in college, after filing the FAFSA for that year. Withdrawing from the 529 is not penalized so long as you are paying for "qualified expenses," including tuition, room and board, books, and other miscellaneous fees. Withdrawing from a grandparent-owned 529 plan is considered direct income to the beneficiary. There is a 10 percent penalty and taxes for withdrawing money to cover any other costs, unless the student receives a scholarship, dies, or is disabled.
  • Family assets preferred over child assets in financial aid scheme: UTMA custodial accounts are considered student assets - such as property, real estate, fine art, or future inheritances - which could have a large impact on financial aid eligibility. However a custodial 529 plan of a dependent student is treated as a parent's asset on the FAFSA - meaning less impact on the dependent students' financial aid eligibility. It is recommended that custodial accounts be spent for the child's benefit prior to the FAFSA filing year or transferred into the custodial 529 account.
  • Income-driven assets: In addition to providing all income information on the FAFSA through parents' tax returns, assets such as capital gains also count as income. Savage notes that "selling stocks and taking gains" the year before filing can impact what the student will receive in financial aid. For example, taking $3,000 in capital losses can reduce parental income, Savage states. The result of student income will reduce financial aid on a "dollar-for-dollar basis" which consequentially may become a disincentive for students to work and support their education.
  • Take the time this winter break to review the FAFSA changes so as to be better prepared and gain the most in financial aid for your college education.

    Credit is attributed to Terry Savage and the experts at the Federal Student Aid website. Savage is one of the country's most prominent advisers and a best-selling author on personal finance, corporate boardrooms, academia, the markets, and the economy. Federal Student Aid (studentaid.ed.gov) is a free website and source of information provided by the office of the U.S. Department of Education.

    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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Rampant Cheating Discrediting, Devaluing Online Education

Dec 24, 2015

by Jess Hanch

For $900, you can have a class taken for you and guarantee yourself an "A". Tempted? Academic cheating is now an industry helping online students get the grades they want by doing absolutely nothing. The art of cheating has been taken to a new level, with companies offering services for a price to guarantee students an "A" in their online classes. With the intelligence ingenuity of professional cheating companies, professors fear the growth of the cheating industry and how it degrades online education.

A ten-week study at Western Carolina University addressed the issue, and generated surprising results. Professors Alvin Malesky and Robert Crow created a fake online course, enrolling students with fake names and designating a couple of random students as "cheaters". Those students had to shop around for cheating companies and fool the professors. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, those students googled keywords like "take my class for me" and "cheat on my online class" and 20 plus companies came up in the results. One student who was successful paid a company upwards of $900 to complete all of his coursework and get an A. To the professors' surprise, the company was successful. These companies have professionals in every field of study, able to effectively complete coursework and avoid plagiarism. Professor Crowe stated that the cheating student’s work was at a higher level, but not enough to "red-flag him". Throughout the study, both professors detected plagiarism, but none were from the students assigned to use a cheating service.

The results raise many concerns for educators, and should raise concerns for employers. The growth of these companies will increase the number of students with false degrees and zero credibility. With the number of students enrolled in online courses, if only a fraction of those students cheated, the number still breaks the ten-thousand mark. The study supports those who believe online courses are not legitimate, and makes it difficult for professors who support online education to effectively teach these courses and make sure their students are prepared for real-world jobs. To address this concern, the study was published with tips on how to catch cheaters, and Malesky cites "awareness" as the best way to detect cheating. With regards to the rise of the cheating industry Malesky says "as of now, there are no mechanisms in place to [effectively] stop it". How do you think this seemingly widespread cheating affects online education? Start a conversation 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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Christian Professor Dons Hijab, Gets Suspended

Dec 17, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Wheaton College, an evangelical institution, suspended an associate professor for wearing a hijab and claiming that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Professor Hawkins wore a hijab to demonstrate her solidarity with Muslim women, but Wheaton's administration was reportedly unhappy with her theological claims. The decision to suspend the tenured professor ignited a campus protest Wednesday, a few days after Professor Hawkins made a public statement on Facebook that she would wear a traditional headscarf through the Christian Advent Season. The gesture was reportedly intended to show solidarity, particularly as Muslims are facing backlash with the aftermath of the mass shootings in San Bernardino, CA and Paris. Hawkins voiced her support for Muslims, whom she refers to as "people of the book," and additionally references Pope Francis' recent claims that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

Wheaton's decision to place Hawkins on leave is in "response to significant questions regarding the theological implications of statements" made about the relationship between Islam and Christianity, and less about her decision to wear a hijab. The college emphasizes that the "faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the college's evangelical statement of faith." According to Wheaton's statement of faith, which is "consonant with evangelical Christianity," there are certain theological principles exclusive to Christianity which are not found in Islam, such as "one sovereign God, eternally existing in three persons," and the existence of Jesus Christ as Lord who "died for [our] sins." The college president made clear that it was her statements, not her choice to wear a headscarf, that was the main issue.

Hawkins had asked the Council on American Islamic Relations "whether or not wearing a non-Muslim hijab was haram (forbidden), patronizing, or otherwise offensive," in which she was assured that the gesture was welcomed. Some students are protesting her suspension through a sit-in and online petition while others claim "she signed a statement of faith and she must hold herself accountable to that statement of faith" or that, "to say we worship the same God is completely not true and it misrepresents the student body, it misrepresents the institution itself."

How should the situation be dealt with, in your opinion? Leave us your thoughtful comments below.

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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Armed and Studious - Guns to be Allowed in Texas University Classrooms

Dec 15, 2015

by Jess Hanch

Texas is set to become the eighth state to allow concealed carry on public campuses. Texas Senate Bill 11 also known as the “campus carry” law, allows licensed gun owners to bring firearms into classrooms, dorms, and other campus buildings. Campus carry will take effect on the anniversary of the first mass campus shooting in America, which took place at The University of Texas on August 1st, 1966. The University of Texas has not seen another massacre since. The law will not affect community colleges until 2017, and private universities have the option to opt out of the legislation.

According to the New York Times, University of Texas Chancellor and Navy SEAL vet Admiral William McRaven stated "…I have all sorts of guns. I just don’t think bringing guns on campus is going to make us any safer. If you’ve ever been shot at, which I have, then you have an appreciation for what a gun can do." McRaven addressed the decision respectfully, stating although "it was not what we hoped for…I appreciate legislators for recognizing the very specific safety considerations that are unique to campus environments." The University of Texas working group, including licensed gun holders, also believes "it would be best if guns were not allowed in classrooms, however does not recommend classrooms should be designated as gun free zones".

In an attempt to keep campus safe, the law allows universities to designate gun-free zones. The University working system also has gun safety rules, including a ban on open carry, and a license requirement. To have a license in Texas, carriers must be 21. Only 1% of the University population meets that criteria. Texas has a large population of gun-rights activists, some even using mobile apps to avoid gun-free zones out of fear (statistics show that most modern mass shootings take place in gun-free zones). The Texas Tribune sites a woman who uses the app because she feels a gun-free sign is like a “come and rob us” invitation to criminals. The Tribune also reported that anti-gun activists on a Texas community college campus are protesting the law by carrying around sex toys to "protest idiocy with idiocy". It was also reported that many students, regardless of what side they are on, only see protesters as a distraction.

Law makers from both sides of the argument want to create a better society, but cannot agree on how, or who, will protect law-abiding citizens. Despite either side, criminal attacks are part of modern society. Do you think laws discourage criminal activity, or simply prevent law-abiding citizens from defending themselves? Would you feel more or less safe on a campus that allows concealed carry? Comment, and start a discussion 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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Citadel College Cadets Caroling in KKK Hoods?

Dec 10, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Photos of seven Citadel cadets singing in white hoods surfaced on social media - Hoods that very closely resembled those worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan. The seven students claimed they were singing Christmas Carols and that the hoods they were sporting were intended to help them portray the "Ghosts of Christmas Past" for a skit. Whether their resemblance to the KKK was intentional or not, the Citadel Minority Alumni Facebook group was not amused.

The Citadel's Lt. Gen. John Rosa took to Facebook with a statement of his discontent stating, "these images are not consistent with our core values of honor, duty and respect," and were "disgraceful," "offensive and disturbing." All the members of the group were identified and suspension proceedings are already underway.

A person with knowledge of the incident and the school's rituals between underclassmen and seniors claims that, based on the way the men were standing in the photo, they are likely to be freshman, or "knobs," and this is a form of hazing. Despite the group's intentions, the girl who made the Facebook post was "threatened, harassed and offered money from numerous Citadel Cadets to take it offline in order to not 'ruin their lives.'" The woman was approached by a male on several social media platforms, reportedly telling her "I always wanted a black girl." Though she ignored his advances, his Snapchat feed showed the photos and videos of the Citadel cadets singing and laughing and so she "screenshotted and decided to share because [she] was so offended."

Discussions have been ongoing at The Citadel's minority alumni pages and graduates agreed with Rosa's statements but want to see further action take place to show students their behavior is not acceptable. In your opinion, how should the administration respond to this incident? Should there be punishment of the perpetrators beyond suspension? How would you handle this situation if you were on the disciplinary committee? 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!

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Yale Lecturer Quits Over Halloween Email Backlash

Dec 8, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Erika Christakis sent a controversial email questioning whether there was any room left for the nation's youth to be "a little obnoxious, inappropriate, and even offensive" when dressing for Halloween and it was NOT well-received.

A week before Halloween, students were advised to avoid party themes and costumes that have "racial and ethnic overtones" so as to avoid offending minority students. In response to the initiative, Associate Master Erika Christakis wrote an email encouraging the community to consider the issue through an intellectual lens: a day "traditionally used as subversion for children and young adults is also an occasion for adults to exert their control." In American universities, free speech and tolerating offense have diminished substantially - replaced by censure and prohibition, she claims. Christakis pinpoints blame not on the students but on those who have "lost faith" in young people's capacity to self-censure through social norming.

Using her expertise on early childhood, Christakis uses the example of a "blonde-haired child wanting to be Mulan for a day." Is pretend play not a form of imaginative expression? There is a distinct difference between playing dress up and appropriating culture, according to the associate master. When did it become unacceptable to do the things you did when you were eight years old? In her email, she supports the university's goals to avoid "hurt and offense" - the question is: how do you do this without controlling college students?

Que the backlash. In a responsive open letter, "concerned Yale students, alumni, faculty, and staff" claimed her comments were "jarring and disheartening" because she "failed to distinguish the difference between cosplaying fictional characters and misrepresenting actual groups of people." Those responding claimed that "Yale's history is one of exclusion" - from blackface to the Eurocentric courses and lack of diversity among faculty.

Christakis' husband, Silliman Master Nicholas Christakis, will continue teaching at Yale. 70 faculty members expressed their "strong support of the right of Erika and Nicholas Christakis to free speech and freedom of intellectual expression." That number of signatures is still overshadowed by the number of faculty who "express solidarity with students' concerns." Many students have praised her courses, including: The Growing Child in Global Context and Concept of the Problem Child. Students feel her leave will be a "very big detriment [to students] interested in these issues, and the class could have been getting better."

Christakis will return to working with children and families because she worries that Yale's climate is not "conducive to the civil dialogue and open inquiry required to solve urgent societal problems."

What do you think about Christakis' approach to the issue and how people responded? How is Halloween dress on your campus? Leave us your insightful comments below to start a 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!

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Prof Looks Like a Lady: Scholar in Drag Adds Some "Show" to His "Tell"

Dec 1, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Wearing 5-inch heels and an even taller wig, Professor Scudura decided to put it all out there for academic discussion in what one might term a "performance lecture". "The Fabulous and Subversive Nature of Drag Performance" was more than a lecture and a lot closer to adult "show and tell". Rather than offer up more dry discourse on the subject, Domenick Scudera brazenly decided to do something much more dramatic.

To best "subvert the traditional symposium structure,” Dr. Scudera dressed in "five-inch high heels, pantyhose, a tight dress, and a mile-high wig" and topped off the look with makeup and false eyelashes. Drag, according to the professor, is a "distinct form of art that brings into focus issues of identity, authority, agency gender variance, and masculine/feminine constructs.” Though he claims that academia symposia and conferences can be "dry, forced, and sometimes unproductive," Dr. Scudera was still somewhat hesitant, asking himself, "Would I be taken seriously?"

What are the stereotypes for professors and how are they maintained? For Dr. Scudera, wearing "professor clothing" is a form of drag. He questions whether wearing "a suit and tie to teach is any different than wearing a dress and heels?" Though during his presentation he had deliberately "held back any opinions…to remove any perception that they [the students] must agree with me to receive good grades," he believes that the students’ disapproval was "code for 'my professor is gay and I am not comfortable with that.'"

Another point of Dr. Scudera's presentation is that of the "diverse facets of identity" that tend to not mix well in other realms. His drag identity, "Summer Clearance," who can be found performing at a gay club or event, will never mix with his identity as a college professor. And vice versa - he does not "carry back" his drag queen identity to the college. He questions whether the separation of the two identities "negates that part of myself in order to be taken seriously as a professor." What Dr. Scudera realizes however, in his experience as both drag queen and professor, is that he cannot be easily compartmentalized simply because students “slam him in their evaluations." Furthermore, he believes that his "authentic self is much more valuable in reaching more students."

Would you be interested in attending this symposium? Why or why not? Leave us your insightful 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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