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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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by Susan Dutca

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

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

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

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

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

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

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

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

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

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Colleges and universities across the nation are starting to engage more in discussions regarding what it means to be a man. Masculinity, just like femininity, is celebrated through these gender-specific scholarships. So man-up and check out these scholarship opportunities!:

  1. Colored Rocks Contest

    Deadline: January 4
    Maximum Award: $3,500

  2. Dr. Dan J. and Patricia S. Pickard Scholarship

    Deadline: Mary 31
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  3. Lax Scholarship Fund for Gay Men

    Deadline: February 1
    Maximum Award: $8,000

  4. The Iris-Samuel Rothman Scholarship

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: Varies

  5. The Mervyn Sluizer, Jr. Scholarship

    Deadline: May 2
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  6. The True Gentlemen Scholarship

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: $1,500

  7. USBC Chuck Hall Star of Tomorrow

    Deadline: December 1
    Maximum Award: $6,000

  8. Winston Churchill Foundation of the USA Churchill Scholarship Program

    Deadline: November 8
    Maximum Award: Varies

  9. ALA - LITA/LSSI Scholarship

    Deadline: March 1
    Maximum Award: $2,500

  10. Bernie Varnadore Scholarship Program

    Deadline: April 1
    Maximum Award: $1,250

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

Whether you consider them disabilities, conditions, challenges or simple differences, there are quite a few scholarships out there for people dealing with everything from ADHD to diabetes to narcolepsy. Check out these featured scholarships and more at Scholarships.com!:

  1. Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship

    Deadline: November 13
    Maximum Award: $2,500

  2. AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability

    Deadline: November 15
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  3. CHASA Scholarship for Childhood Stroke Survivors

    Deadline: August 31
    Maximum Award: $3,000

  4. Faith Hope and Love Jesus, Inc. College Scholarship

    Deadline: May 1
    Maximum Award: $500

  5. Google Lime Scholarship for Students with Disabilities

    Deadline: December 6
    Maximum Award: $10,000

  6. Joshua Gomes Memorial Scholarship Fund

    Deadline: July 15
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  7. Marcus Raper Zimmerman Fund

    Deadline: August 15
    Maximum Award: Varies

  8. The Anne Ford Scholarship

    Deadline: November 13
    Maximum Award: $10,000

  9. The Guthrie-Koch PKU Scholarship

    Deadline: October 15
    Maximum Award: $2,000

  10. RCF, Inc. Mansfield Noon Lions Club Scholarship Fund

    Deadline: April 1
    Maximum Award: Varies

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

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by Susan Dutca

College students are on a campus-wide hunt, trying to catch 'em all with the latest mobile app craze, Pokémon Go. The 1990s kids' card game laid low the past several years and now people of all ages are catching Pokémon fever - it's even on the brink of overtaking Twitter when it comes to daily usage. From bathroom, to office desk and on campus, fans are finally living the ultimate dream: having Pokémon come to life and inhabiting our world.

Pokémon Go lets players participate in an "augmented reality" that uses a smartphone's GPS to track players' locations and creates a virtual-Pokémon world on the screen. Players can view their physical surroundings as well as that of the Pokémon characters, and the goal is to catch them. Colleges seem to have caught the fever too and are embracing the trend. While focusing on campus safety and reminding students to pay attention to their surroundings, schools such as The University of Central Florida offered shuttle services to students who were playing Pokémon Go on campus during late hours. Some students have stayed out as late as 3 a.m. to play the game.

The buzz has "exploded" since last Thursday and according to Central Florida's campus police, "half of the community was tweeting about what was going on in Dallas; the other half was tweeting about Pokémon Go." Some believe that the game allows for even the most introverted, house body students to get out of their dorms and walk around campus, meet new people, and explore their campus. One student even went as far as claiming that students are "becoming more aware of things that are on campus because they have to walk to these different 'Poké Stops'."

Students aren't the only ones eager to play. College faculty like Samantha L. Jackson, a Coordinator for Academic-Advising Services at Central Florida is "currently on Level 10" and hopes to "level-up by the end of the day." Even the President of Wheaton College posted a photo on Instagram of a Poké Stop on his campus.

Pokémon Go is popular not only because it is easy to download, but also because it is free. If you have a passion for game design or computer science, check out our scholarships and download our FREE mobile app, too!

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

Not even a day after the FBI announced her "extremely careless" dissemination of sensitive and classified information via a private server, Hillary Clinton proposed a tuition-free college program for roughly 80 percent of American families. Amidst the email traffic scandal, Clinton is moving forward and attempting to handle a new beast: college affordability.

Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, also feels the Bern when it comes to college tuition. But unlike Bernie Sanders - who proposed free public higher education for all - she proposed "debt-free" education for students from families with incomes of up to $125,000. The plan, aimed to entice young voters, would offer free tuition to families earning $85,000 a year at first and gradually increase to a $125,000 threshold by 2021. Furthermore, she pledged to restore year-round Pell grants and impose a three-month moratorium on all repayments for federal student loans, which would allow borrowers to finance their loans or move into income-based repayment options.

Clinton herself cautioned young Bernie supporters in the past saying, "When somebody tells you something is free, ask for the fine print." With a looming national debt exceeding $19T ($1.3T of which is student loan debt), freebies may seem appealing. However, the issue of tuition inflation persists. Incentives such as these are not available to hardworking parents and incentivize families to make a calculated goal to meet the bare minimum requirements, and nothing beyond it. Furthermore, students who have spent years paying off their student loan debt will not be receiving any reimbursement checks. Many taxpayers who wouldn't receive any benefits from the program (those who have already paid college tuition for their progeny or don't have kids) are forced to pay into programs they may not support.

Though Clinton may face consequences as large as losing her security clearance, she made no comments regarding the FBI's address and instead focused on solving one of the nation's largest debt issues.

In your opinion, do you think a free college education program is feasible? Do you think it will help alleviate or solve the student debt issue? Leave your thoughtful opinions below to start a discussion.

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 (21)

by Susan Dutca

Scholarships and grants are the number one source of funding to pay for college, according to a recent study by Sallie Mae. Check out these scholarships to help fund your college education:

  1. Kelsey's Law Scholarship

    Deadline: August 31
    Maximum Award: $2,000

  2. One Life Makes a Difference

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: $2,500

  3. Up and Comer Scholarship

    Deadline: July 4
    Maximum Award: $500

  4. Camp Counselor Appreciation Scholarship

    Deadline: November 1
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  5. SCTPN Undergraduate Scholarship

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: $1,000

  6. Gracias Music Foundation Scholarship

    Deadline: June 30
    Maximum Award: $2,000

  7. Animal Compassion Undergraduate Scholarship

    Deadline: December 30
    Maximum Award: $500

  8. The State of the American Mind Essay/Video Contest

    Deadline: December 31
    Maximum Award: $5,000

  9. The Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship

    Deadline: Varies
    Maximum Award: Varies

  10. Google SVA Scholarship for Student Veterans

    Deadline: November 2
    Maximum Award: $10,000

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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