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FAFSA to Recognize Same-Sex and Unmarried Parents by 2014

May 7, 2013

FAFSA to Recognize Same-Sex and Unmarried Parents by 2014

by Suada Kolovic

The Department of Education has recently announced that the FAFSA will soon undergo a few changes to accommodate students with same-sex or unmarried parents who cohabit in order to more accurately ascertain an applicant’s financial situation.

The forms, which will be introduced for the 2014-15 school year, will allow students to designate their parents as “Parent 1 (father/mother/stepparent)” and “Parent 2 (father/mother/stepparent)” rather than just mother and father. “All students should be able to apply for federal student aid within a system that incorporates their unique family dynamics," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "These changes will allow us to more precisely calculate federal student aid eligibility based on what a student's whole family is able to contribute and ensure taxpayer dollars are better targeted toward those students who have the most need, as well as provide an inclusive form that reflects the diversity of American families."

The department has said that the changes will not impact a vast majority of applicants but it could potentially (read: very likely) translate into reduced aid for students with same-sex or unmarried parents. Why? Those parents who do not benefit from filing joint tax returns will likely disqualify their children from financial aid if it’s found that jointly they are above the income threshold. So while the changes are considered progressive, they’re just slightly off the mark when it comes to helping “unique family dynamics.”

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And the Best Colleges for 2015 Are...

U.S. News and World Report Releases Annual List

September 9, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

High school seniors, do you know where you want to spend the next four years? Sure, it may be just the start of the academic year and you're nowhere near crunch time when it comes to making that decision, but get a head start by checking out some of the top schools in the United States!

Every year, U.S. News and World Report puts together a list of the best undergraduate institutions in the country, focusing on areas that matter most to students such as graduation rates, selectivity and freshman retention, among other items. Check out the top 10 schools below and for more on their methodology, click here:

Are college rankings a bigger deal to students or colleges? Did you or do you plan to use college rankings as you make your college choices or do you think other factors are more important to consider? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And don’t forget to try and fund your college education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by creating a free profile on Scholarships.com.

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California Universities Instate College Graduation Fees

May 15, 2013

California Universities Instate College Graduation Fees

by Suada Kolovic

In the coming weeks, college seniors across the country will take their first steps towards new beginnings with their diplomas in hand…that is, of course, if they pay the recently instated college graduation fees.

According to a recent report, more than half the schools in the California State University system are charging a graduation fee that students are required to pay before receiving their diplomas. While the fees aren’t astronomical (they range from $45 to $115), students are frustrated with a struggling school system that has increased tuition every year and are only now discovering that their diplomas weren’t included in the tuition hikes. "We already have to pay to be here and [now] we've got to pay to leave," California State East Bay sociology major Donnisha Udookon told the Tribune. Students who have long complained about the extra charges agree that by the time they reach graduation, they almost come to expect an add-on fee at every turn. To them, graduation no longer signifies a moment filled with a sense of incredible accomplishment but as the last chance for the institution to nickel-and-dime the graduating student body. (Fine print: Student loans not included.)

Recent college graduates, do you think it’s fair for schools to charge a separate fee for students to receive their diplomas? What’s your school’s stance on graduation fees?

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What Are Your Favorite Celebrities Reading?

November 18, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

With the holiday season almost upon us and winter break just weeks away, you might want to start considering how you'll spend your free time. And while working and internships are ideal, winter break also provides you with the opportunity to read for pleasure. There are a range of benefits gained from non-required reading that are not confined to just reading ability: Leisure reading has shown to help students be more articulate, develop a higher order reasoning and think more critically. Not sure what to read? Check out the titles from some of your favorite celebrities below for some book-spiration:

  • Lena Dunham – Bad Behavior
  • Emma Thompson – Bring Up the Bodies
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger – Incognito
  • Elizabeth Gilbert – Rome
  • Ira Glass – North Country: The Making of Minnesota
  • John Grisham – All the King’s Men
  • Anne Lamott – I Knew You’d Be Lovely
  • Colin Powell – The Summer of 1787

Are there any books that you're currently reading that you’d like to add? Please share them in our comments section. And as always, don’t forget to create a free profile Scholarships.com to get matched with awards that reflect your unique interests and attributes.

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Rapper Juicy J Awards Student $50,000 College Scholarship

January 16, 2014

Rapper Juicy J Awards Student $50,000 College Scholarship

by Suada Kolovic

While it may come to no surprise that Michele Obama is urging young students to pursue a higher education, she’s not the only one who understands its value. Take for instance Rapper Juicy J: He recently awarded a young woman a $50,000 “twerking” scholarship! Did we mention that her winning entry involved no twerking at all?

Last August, the Oscar-winning rapper launched the Juicy J Scholarship Foundation and tweeted that he would award the scholarship “to the best chick that can twerk.” He later admitted that entrants were not required to do the popular dance move and that he would give the funds to the college-bound recipient who needed it most. And that individual was Zaire Holmes, a 19-year-old student at the State College of Florida. Holmes, a full-time mother and student, said in her video submission that her aspirations of becoming a doctor would require 11 years of schooling and that financial aid alone would not cover her expenses. Touched by her story, Juicy J announced her as the winner and said, “You remind me of myself. When I was 19, I was like really, really working hard.” After her big win, the South Florida native shared her hopes of transferring from the State College of Florida to either the University of Florida or the University of South Florida to study medicine. (For more on this story, click here.)

What do you think of the rapper’s take on giving back to the community? Let us know in the comments section.

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Study: College Pays, Even for College Dropouts

June 11, 2013

Study: College Pays, Even for College Dropouts

by Suada Kolovic

If you’re a high school student, chances are you’ve probably heard this at some point in your high school career: “College graduates will earn $1 million more in a lifetime than those with only a high school diploma.” And while completing your college education is the ultimate goal, students who get at least a partial college education will earn on average more than $100,000 over a lifetime than those with just high school diplomas.

According to a study conducted by The Hamilton Project, a Washington, D.C. think tank, even small increments of additional education pays off: The annual return on a partial education is 9.1 percent and while that’s well below the annual return of 15 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree, it is considerably more than high school graduates with no college education. "It is vastly better to get a college degree," said Adam Looney, policy director at The Hamilton Project. "But I think the evidence says that fears of dropping out, that there are big downside risks to trying it and not finishing it, I think those are overblown. For people who are interested in college, who have ambitions of going and have the ability and qualifications to succeed, I think the evidence suggests it's an extremely good deal right now." (For more on this study, click here.)

Recent high school graduates, do you agree with the study’s findings that investing in some college education is better than none? Let us know in the comments section.

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Top Universities Where Most Students Live on Campus

June 20, 2013

Top Universities Where Most Students Live on Campus

by Suada Kolovic

With summer break in full swing for most high school graduates, navigating the long, challenging road that is obtaining a college degree won’t begin until late August. And while your calendar is already chock-full with summer fun, consider this: The country is facing a shortage of on-campus student housing at public and private schools. So perhaps between attending that beach party, block party and annual beach block party, it’s essential that you figure out where you’re going to live this fall.

According to the National Multi Housing Council, areas with the highest campus housing shortages include Arizona, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota and West Virginia. But despite the shortage, some universities are still housing a majority of their students on campus. Check out the top 10 national universities with the highest percentage of undergraduates living in campus housing (as of Fall 2011):

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Judge: “Dreamers” Will Get In-State Tuition at U. of Arizona Campuses

May 8, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

Immigration disputes have long commanded top billing when it comes to our nation’s political agenda but as of late, it's begun seeping into the educational realm as well: Immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents will qualify for in-state tuition at colleges in the University of Arizona system, the Board of Regents decided on Thursday.

According to reports, the decision from Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson comes in a lawsuit files by former Attorney General Tom Horne against the Maricopa County Community College District. "Federal law, not state law, determines who is lawfully present in the U.S.," Anderson wrote. "The state cannot establish subcategories of 'lawful presence,' picking and choosing when it will consider DACA recipients lawfully present and when it will not." The judge’s ruling will set a precedent for Maricopa County only but could help back up arguments by other colleges. (For more on this story, head over to The Chronicle.)

Do you support Arizona's decision or oppose it? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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 Scholarships.com and conduct a college scholarship search 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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California Legislation Proposes a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree

January 4, 2013

California Legislation Proposes a $10,000 Bachelor’s Degree

by Suada Kolovic

In what seems to be a growing trend across the country, a California state legislator is the latest elected official to push for a bachelor’s degree that costs no more than $10,000 total (yes, total!). And while last year’s college graduates left school with an average of $25,000 in debt, the possibility of a $10,000 degree to incoming college freshman is encouraging.

Assemblyman Dan Logue (R) introduced the bill following similar initiatives in Florida and Texas: In the proposed California legislation, students would start to earn college credit in high school through Advanced Placement courses and would then enroll full-time at a community college. The state university would in turn accept up to 60 credits for transfer. The problem? There’s the possibility that the state itself could be responsible for much of the cost since the bill requires that schools and colleges be reimbursed for any mandated expenses. As of right now, the legislation has only one sponsor while the speaker of the California Assembly, a democrat, reportedly has alternative plans for higher education reform.

Given California’s current budget woes, do you think the proposed legislation is the right option for the state? Let us know what you think.

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Montreal Student Expelled After Finding Software Oversight

January 22, 2013

Montreal Student Expelled After Finding Software Oversight

by Suada Kolovic

Being expelled from school after discovering a flaw in the computer system – one that compromised the personal information of more than 250,000 students – seems highly unlikely. In fact, one would assume that the student who sought to notify the school in order to amend the vulnerability in the college’s data security system would be commended and touted as the school genius...but that wasn’t the case for Ahmed Al-Khabaz.

The 20-year-old Dawson College student and his computer science colleague Ovidiu Mija discovered an oversight in the Omnivox software while working on a mobile app that would simplify student access to their college accounts. Al-Khabaz took the findings to the director of information services and technology Francois Paradis on October 24th, where Paradis congratulated him and Mija on their work and promised the he and Skytech (the maker of Omnivox) would fix the problem immediately. Two days later, Al-Khabaz decided to take it upon himself to confirm just that by running a software program designed to test for website vulnerabilities but within minutes, he received a phone call from Skytech president Edouard Taza, who declared his actions a cyberattack. He was then called before the computer science department, where 14 of the 15 professors present voted in favor of Al-Khabaz’s expulsion.

Following the decision to reject his appeal, Al-Khabaz said, “My academic career is completely ruined. In the wrong hands, this breach could have caused a disaster. Students could have been stalked, had their identities stolen, their lockers opened and who knows what else. I found a serious problem, and tried to help fix it. For that I was expelled.” How do you think Dawson College handled the situation? Let us know in the comments section.

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