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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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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by Susan Dutca

Faculty at CUNY were relatively concerned when they noticed a $500,000 donation account only had $76 left in it. It was especially suspicious after City College President Lisa Coico previously used $150,000 towards personal expenses.

The account - the Martin and Toni Sosnoff Fund for the Arts - is intended to support the humanities and arts department at the City University of New York. The donation, which is part of the holdings of CUNY's 21st Century Foundation, serves as the "school's principal fund-raising arm," and was already under investigation. In May, The Times revealed that City College's 21st Century Foundation had paid for Coico's personal expenses, including "fruit baskets, housekeeping services and rugs," when she took office in 2010. The foundation was reimbursed $150,000 from the Research Foundation of the City University of New York, which manages research funds for CUNY. A CUNY spokesperson defended Coico, claiming the "expenditures were authorized by the CCNY 21st Century foundation" but that recent hire Coico "had not known that permission was [also] required by the university."

When CUNY faculty members initially demanded an explanation for the "improperly diverted" funds, they experienced "silence, delay and deflection" before reaching out to University Chancellor James B. Milliken. According to The New York Times, Milliken's "willingness to conduct an internal investigation suggests that the finances of City College, and the leadership of Mrs. Coico, are likely to be under more scrutiny."

Faculty members are “deeply concerned about the practical, ethical and legal implications of the situation.” CUNY isn’t the only school in such a predicament - chancellors at the University of California, Berkeley and at Davis have resigned over similar expenditure controversies. Currently, it is unknown “who withdrew the money, when and for what purpose."

How should the situation be remedied if the funds are found to be improperly diverted, again? Share with us your thoughts 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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by Susan Dutca

Summer may be winding down, but scholarship season is strong. Students are preparing to head back to school, and what better way to prepare yourself financially than landing free money towards your college education? As you spend the next few weeks enjoying what’s left of the summer sun, take a quick moment to apply for these great scholarship opportunities with end of summer deadlines:

  1. Joseph A. Levendusky Memorial Scholarship

    Deadline: August 31
    Maximum Award: $7,000

  2. The Zale Parry Scholarship

    Deadline: August 31
    Maximum Award: $6,5000

  3. CHASA Scholarship for Childhood Stroke Survivors

    Deadline: August 31
    Maximum Award: $3,000

  4. ARTBA's Student Transportation Video Contest

    Deadline: August 31
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  5. Americanism Education Leaders Essay Contest

    Deadline: August 31
    Maximum Award: $2,500

  6. The ExpressVPN Future of Privacy Scholarship

    Deadline: August 31
    Maximum Award: $2,500

  7. Beat the Odds Program

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  8. BBB Student of Integrity Scholarship

    Deadline: September 23
    Maximum Award: $4,500

  9. Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship Program

    Deadline: September 15
    Maximum Award: $20,000

  10. Don't Text and Drive Scholarship

    Deadline: September 30
    Maximum Award: $1,000

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

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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