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“Sexting” Education Curriculum Implemented in LA Schools

Jul 14, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

For the first time this fall, high school students in the Los Angeles, California area will be participating in a new addition to the curriculum, “Sext” Education. KNX 1070’s Mark Austin Thomas reports the L.A. Unified School District has put together a plan that will educate students on the dangers of sharing sexually-explicit photos via texting and the Internet. Each school in the district will receive lesson plans, supplemented by videos and handouts for the students.

A 2011 national Pew survey found that, while only 3 percent of teens with cellphones sent naked or near-naked photos or videos of themselves, 21 percent of teens ages 14-17 claimed they had received them. District Police Chief Steven Zipperman says the campaign will teach students about violations of child pornography and obscenity laws that can come with sexting, along with the personal consequences. The primary focus of the effort is to get students to really think before they hit “send”.

Holly Priebe-Diaz, the District’s intervention coordinator, believes “We don’t have the exact number on how big or how widespread the problem is specific to our district, but we do know that I’s a growing trend. So we want to try to get ahead of it and raise awareness for all of our students.”

Texas Professor, Jeff Temple, who has co-authored a sexting study, hopes the curriculum gives facts without exaggerating the risks of sexting, and emphasized the importance of consent.

Do you think "Sext" education classes are inappropriate to implement in a high school curriculum? Have you been a part of, or witnessed a scenario where "sexting" became a problem?

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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The Many Benefits of Honors Programs

Jul 13, 2015

by Erica Lewis

There are many opportunities that come from being a good student in high school...and I don't just mean scholarships. Many colleges have honors programs, which give students the chance to meet other high-achieving students and challenge themselves even more academically. There are many advantages to being in an honors program, such as opportunities to meet with professors one-on-one, take classes with other honors students and build your resume.

Honors program members have the chance to get to know their professors more personally and meet faculty that many students may not have to opportunity to meet. I'm in the honors program at UNL and I enjoy getting to know my professors more than just seeing them at the front of the room during lectures.

You may also be eligible for priority registration or special classes offered only to honors program students. These classes are specifically designed for honors students and are smaller in size compared to the typical class. You can get to know your professor and classmates really well in this setting. In fact, I have met some of my best friends have through the honors courses at UNL!

Being in an honors program is a great resume builder as well. Once you start college, your high school resume is essentially null and void so you pretty much have to start over. An honors program looks good on a resume because it shows that you have put in extra effort for those classes and aren't afraid of a challenge.

If you have the opportunity to join the honors program at your school, I strongly recommend it. It is an excellent way to meet professors, students and build your resume. It may require a little extra work, but trust me: It's worth it!

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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Obama Modern Day Robin Hood? Steal from the Hardworking, Give to the Poor

Jul 10, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

Under the Obama administration, the motto “work hard, play harder” is continually being redefined to “work hard, pay harder”. According to The Wall Street Journal, a new plan is being finalized that will allow millions of low-income Americans to slash their monthly student-debt bills, in turn raising taxpayer costs for the government’s mushrooming student-loan portfolio. This week the Education Department proposed to expand eligibility for the Pay As You Earn program, which sets borrowers’ monthly payments as a small share of their income.

Education Department officials report that six million more Americans will become eligible this autumn for PAYE. The program caps monthly loan payments at 10 percent of discretionary income, defined as the amount above 150 percent of the poverty level. Well-paid graduates and those working minimum-wage jobs will be paying equivalent proportions of their income towards their student debt. While low-income borrowers who have incurred an unusually large federal debt reap the benefits of the revised program, a majority of college graduates and taxpayers will continue to suffer.

With a current outstanding student debt of $1.2 trillion, the White House continues to give people an economic incentive not to repay a loan. Because these loans are issued regardless of the borrower’s ability to repay, opponents of PAYE say the loans fund basic living expenses with tens of thousands of borrowers consuming aid even when they’re not enrolled for courses. Universities have also taken advantage of the flawed program, offering to pay student’s monthly bills under PAYE while simultaneously raising tuitions. The loans are turning into six-figure grants, debts the taxpayers incur.

Is the Obama Administration setting a double standard, promoting income equality, yet essentially paying young people not to pursue higher incomes? Is PAYE a program that allows those enrolled to take advantage of the system, while punishing those who work hard for their 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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“Queer Sphere” Gains Visibility and Recognition in Higher Education

Jul 7, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

Whether it’s Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer outlining his journey from the world’s greatest athlete, to a surgery which induced womanhood, or actress Laverne Cox breaking the trans glass ceiling in the Netflix’s hit series, Orange Is the New Black, where a trans woman is actually played by a trans woman, the transgender community continues to break the boundaries of social acceptance. The transgender push for equality has now shattered the Higher Education glass ceiling. According to the Washington Post, starting next fall, University of California applicants will be the first wave of students given the option to signal their sexual orientation and any number of gender identities on their application.

This change is one of several new accommodations the university has made in effort to make the campus as inclusive as possible. “I think it introduces the kind of welcoming environment we want to have just by introducing the question on the first thing students will see, which is the application they’re filling out. We think it’s very important,” said Pamela Brown, vice president for institutional research and academic planning, who serves on the system-wide-advisory council on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues.

UC undergraduate program applicants will now have the option to answer the following questions:

How do you describe yourself?(Mark one answer)

  • Male
  • Female
  • Trans Male/Trans Man
  • Trans Female/Trans Woman
  • Genderqueer/Gender Non-Conforming
  • Different Identity

What sex were you assigned at birth, such as on an original birth certificate?

  • Male
  • Female

Do you consider yourself to be (Mark one answer):

  • Heterosexual or straight
  • Gay or lesbian
  • Bisexual
  • Not listed above (please specify)

The university hopes to one day implement these options in graduate study and employment applications. The information will enable them to track such students in order to monitor graduation rates and determine if the support available is sufficient.

President Janet Napolitano, who pushed for these changes with the creation of a task force last summer said “it doesn’t stop [here] – we must continue to look at where we can improve so everyone at UC feels respected and supported.”

University officials note that an applicant’s answer to any of the questions holds no bearing on chances for admission.

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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Colleges Respond to Poll Showing 20 Percent of Female Students Sexually Assaulted

Jul 6, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

Students attending colleges and universities across the United States in 2015 can look forward to new U.S. regulations aimed to protect them against a rising rate of sexual assaults on campus. In attempt to increase responsibility for ending sexual assaults on campus, American colleges and universities will have to follow stricter reporting requirements for sexual assault allegations. In addition, they must provide clear options to those who report an incident of suspected abuse and provide prevention training for students and college employees.

The measures, provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, went into effect July 1st. The new regulations were fueled by several studies and polls showing a drastic spike in sexual assault rates across American college campuses. In a poll that was released last month by the Washington Post and The Kaiser Family Foundation, results showed 20 percent of female and five percent of male college students had been victims of sexual assault on U.S. college campuses during the past four years. The poll surveyed over 1,000 people that either attended or lived on or near a campus and more than 500 colleges across the country.

Tracy Sefl, a board member of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the largest anti-sexual violence organization in America believes “increased awareness has led to increased recognition of the problem.”

By increasing awareness, advocates of the new regulations hope to flip the script on the astonishing findings that only 12 percent of sexual assault victims report the attacks to their college or local police. Dana Bolger, co-founder of Know Your IX, explains the dilemma a victim faces. “We know that most victims were assaulted by a friend or partner, and there can be a lot of confusion and doubt that comes along with that experience, and hesitation to report [someone] you know or love.”

Do you feel the negative stigma attached to sexual assault victims should bear enough weight to deter them from reporting the crime? Would you feel comfortable reporting a friend or loved one to the university or police? Why or why not?

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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How to Ensure a Successful College Visit

Jul 6, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

Summer is in full swing and for most high school students, that means it's time for college tours! Throughout my four years of high school, I visited and toured nearly 20 different universities to find what worked for me. In an effort to ease your college touring adventures, here's what helped me:

  • Plan ahead. During the summer and school breaks, college tours fill up quickly. Remember to book your tour, hotel and other details in advance. Try not to plan too many visits on the same day, as tours can be a lot of walking.
  • Get in touch with Great Aunt Millie. Whether they're across the country or in a neighboring state, chances are you know someone who can serve as an "excuse" to visit that school you've been dreaming of. If you don't have family near one of your schools, consider finding a fun family attraction nearby; after long days of college tours, everyone needs a little fun! (Pro tip: Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio is awesome if you're taking a road trip to visit Midwest schools!)
  • Communication is key. Even though it may seem like it, your parents can't read your mind so tell them what is important to you in a school. In my experience, parents can use a reminder that college applications are hard and time consuming; the tour process is mainly to help you decide which schools you will apply to.
  • Stay positive. Remember that college is a buyer's market: When looking at schools, you have the deciding power. The more you can see yourself at a school, the better your application will be. Trust me, the readers will see this as they review your materials.
  • Be honest with yourself. If you're like me, you started off with over 20 potential schools. At some point, you'll need to cross some off the list. Listen to your gut and trust that you will end up somewhere great!
  • 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 (2)

    Easy Scholarships Often Offer Quick Results

    Jul 6, 2015

    by Susan Dutca

    If you are feeling financially pressed for deadlines as the upcoming academic year approaches, easy scholarships require well, not much more than highlighting your individuality and what you can bring to the table. Do you simply not have enough time to complete long scholarship applications but depend on scholarships to help support your academic pursuit? What can be more simple and satisfactory than being rewarded for your uniqueness? Look no further, as you are in luck with many options for quick and easy scholarships:

    1. Build off your existing skills and experiences with scholarships that appeal to your personality, character, and abilities. Whether you enjoy video blogging for contests, possess excellent writing skills, or are athletically-inclined, there are plenty of scholarships for you. Past achievements are a plus, and should be considered when applying for new scholarships, as you have already been recognized for your achievements.
    2. Short and sweet - Easy scholarship applications do not all require essay-writing or providing materials and in fact, can be as simple as entering Scholarship Contests and Sweepstakes. These do not require personal standardized test scores or listing academic achievements- simply complete online forums. Quick search engines can help narrow down your search based on personal information and interests.
    3. Assessing individuality through easy scholarships is as simple as narrowing demographic information such as: majors, race, gender, sexuality, location, religious affiliations, extracurricular background, and a wide range of factors that cater to individuality. Some non-Academic College Scholarships even reward you without zeroing in on academics. Be rewarded for ingenuity and talent with art scholarship, unusual scholarships, or even for creating prom attire completely made out of duct tape. No two people are the same, and odds are, you possess qualities and attributes that are worth the investment.

    Easy scholarships, in turn, require little effort when it comes to applying and its prerequisites. The only extra mile needed to get the free, easy money you deserve is by simply applying to scholarships that are your best fit, which are readily at your convenience through online search engines. Getting paid for being you? What could be more quick and easy than that?

    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 (0)

    The Educational Value of Facebook

    Jul 2, 2015

    by Chris Bernardi

    Are you one of the billion users who enjoys posting or viewing status updates, pictures or articles on Facebook? While Facebook and other social media sites have often been viewed as a distraction in the workplace and classroom, a first-of-its-kind study shows the educational value of these forums that can help students learn scientific literacy and other complex subjects.

    Conducted by Michigan State University’s Christine Greenhow, the study found high school and college students engage in vigorous, intelligent debates about scientific issues when using voluntary forums. The study was composed of 16-25 students who voluntarily joined a Facebook app that dealt with climate and related science news such as coal-burning regulations and environmentally friendly housing. After analyzing the student’s activity on the app, Greenhow found that their discussions on various science issues were on-topic, civil and sophisticated. The findings contradict previous studies which supported critics’ theories that excessive social media use distracted kids from academics, spurred loneliness and depression, and facilitated cyberbullying.

    “One of the things we struggle with as educators is how to take students’ spark of interest in something and develop it in ways that can serve them,” said Greenhow, assistant professor of educational psychology and educational technology. “If students had these kinds of niche communities to be part of, in addition to their formal curriculum, that could really provide a rich environment for them.” These finding make a case for the use of social media outlets as learning tools: They provide a huge push to integrate new technology into classrooms and should spur more consideration to this informal online learning that occurs in students’ natural environments.

    Would you use a Facebook app that allowed you and your classmates to debate educational material? Do you think Facebook is more of a distraction to students than educational tool?

    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 (2)

    Political/Civic Engagement: Why and How to Get Involved

    Jul 2, 2015

    by Emily Rabinowitz

    It's July and we all know what that means: an abundance of red, white, and blue, fireworks bursting in the sky, parades lining the streets, patriotic anthems filling the air. In the thrill of such a classic celebration, it is easy for us to forget that which we are celebrating: freedom. This year, after the fireworks stop ringing in your ears, try participating in one of these volunteer ideas.

    Support Your Troops. One of the best ways to give back to your nation is to support the troops. The Veterans Association offers easy ways to get involved, like programs for volunteers at local veterans' homes and opportunities to welcome home the troops at your airport. Your local veterans' organizations may also need volunteers to decorate graves, host parades and events, and support disabled veterans. If you are part of a community service group such as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, consider the many campaigns you can participate in from donating cell phones to sending care packages.

    Participate in Politics. We are lucky to be preparing for an election year, which means that national, state and local campaigns are in need of volunteers to help with America's long-standing democratic traditions. The best way to get involved is to add your name to the email list; you will be invited to phone banks, rallies and events, and social media campaigns. (Find your congressmen here.) Even campaigning for local governors or state senators can be a great opportunity: I once received free tickets to see the First Lady speak at a campaign I was volunteering for!

    Find a Cause. If you are not interested in supporting politicians, consider the local and national causes that might need your help. Organizations ranging from the Sierra Club (which focuses on environmental protection) to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention all engage in lobbying campaigns to enact legislation. Whether it’s nationally or locally, you can directly contribute to the laws you care about.

    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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    Enrolling at a Branch Campus vs. a Main Campus

    Jul 1, 2015

    by Ashley Grego

    When most people hear Penn State, they think of the college town located in State College famous for Beaver Stadium and football. It's less likely that people think of the other Penn States - the branch campuses. Technically, they are the same university...but perception is different.

    Although main campuses may offer more activities, different classes and a completely different lifestyle than branch campuses, it doesn't necessarily mean one is better than the other. In fact, there are benefits of branch campuses that students should consider before attending the main campus.

    First, branches are smaller and offer students a closer experience with professors and students. If students prefer one-on-one connections with their professors and classmates where everybody knows each other's names, branches can offer this. This can also make for an easier transition for students coming from smaller high schools.

    Second, some branches are completely different from the main. Some branches specialize in specific majors – a benefit for students in those majors. (For example, UConn's Avery Point campus in Groton offers specialization for marine sciences.) Another example of this is branch campuses outside of the country. Unlike study abroad, the student will not be attending a different college and earning transfer credits toward their university: They will be attending their school branched overseas, like Carnegie Mellon's branch in Qatar. Another benefit? Experiencing college abroad can be cheaper than study abroad!

    Third, regardless of attending a branch or main, all of the diplomas (at least at most schools) will say the same thing. Even though I attend UPJ, my diploma will read "graduate of the University of Pittsburgh." This can provide an automatic boost to students who may think attending the branch will negate the rest of their resume.

    The last benefit of attending a branch campus is even if students do not plan to attend the branch campus for all four years, transferring credits will be easier. By staying within the same university system, students are less likely lose any credits because most classes at a branch campus are at the main campus.

    Although branch campuses are not for every student, they are certainly something to consider!

    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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