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Scholarships to Commemorate Slain Virginia Journalists

Aug 27, 2015

by Susan Dutca

In the midst of Wednesday's tragic shooting and killing of WDBJ7 journalist Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward by alleged gunman and former WDBJ-TV reporter Vester Lee Flanagan, Parker's alma mater, James Madison University is accepting donations for the Alison Parker Memorial Scholarship. Similarly, Patrick Henry Community College, where Parker received her associate's degree, is accepting donations for their Alison Bailey Parker Memorial Scholarship. There is an identical scholarship being created for Ward, who graduated from Virginia Tech in 2011.

The two young journalists were shot and killed on-air early Wednesday morning as Flanagan recorded the shooting from a gunman POV and posted it to Twitter and Facebook before being chased by police on Interstate 66. Flanagan had crashed the vehicle and suffered from self-inflicted wounds. He later died at a nearby hospital. Flanagan had faxed a 23-page manifesto/suicide note to ABC News, detailing his plans to respond to the racism of the Charleston church shooting. He also cited his own grievances; he claims being attacked by black men and white females, being discriminated against for being a gay, black man, suffering racial and sexual harassment and being bullied at work. A former reporter at WDBJ7, it was reported that Flanagan posed a hostile threat and disturbance to co-workers. This according to internal memos from WDBJ7 news Chief Dan Dennison, who cited Flanagan's "aggressive" behavior towards colleagues. Consequently, Flanagan was fired and it was recommended he seek medical attention. In his manifesto, the gunman had referred to himself as a "human powder keg" that was "waiting to go BOOM!"

Following the tragedy, scholarships are being created to memorialize the two WDBJ7 journalists by their respective schools. Those who wish to inquire about and/or support these scholarships may do so by contacting the schools directly:

James Madison University
JMU Advancement Gifts and Records
ATTN: Alison Parker Memorial Scholarship
MSC 3603
Harrisonburg, VA 22807.

Patrick Henry Community College
Patrick Henry Community College Foundation
645 Patriot Ave.
Martinsville, VA 24112

Hopefully, these scholarships will not only provide opportunity for future students of these institutions, but also preserve the memory of those who were so brutally and senselessly slain.

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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Duke Freshmen Reject Tragicomic, Calling it "Pornographic"

Aug 25, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Students are notorious for avoiding summer reading lists – whether they'd rather spend time outdoors or simply find the list dull, many walk into the first day of class without having read the book title. However, incoming freshmen at Duke University are boycotting and refusing to read Alison Bechdel's family tragicomic Fun Home - they claim that the "pornographic" graphic novel conflicts with their Christian morals.

Bechdel's memoir recounts her traumatic childhood with a closeted and occasionally-abusive father, as well as her own coming out of the closet experience. A strong portion of the novel has sexual themes and nudity, which allegedly discomforted some Duke freshmen. In particular, Brian Grasso had posted in the Class of 2019 Facebook page that he refused to read the novel "because of the graphic visual depictions of sexuality," and further added, "I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it." Grasso was not the only student disturbed by the novel – freshman Jeffrey Wubbenhorst added, "the nature of 'Fun Home' means that content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic nature." Other students objected claiming it allows "you to open your mind to a new perspective and examine a way of life and thinking with which you are unfamiliar."

Many liberal arts colleges and universities include the 2006 novel in their curriculum, as scholars and professors believe it 'is a unique and moving book that transcends genres and explores issues that students are likely to confront." This was the educational goal for Duke University's Common Experience Summer Reading Program. Although Fun Home has won five Tony awards and was turned into a Tony-winning Broadway musical, has sold over a quarter-million copies and was lauded by Time Magazine as the best book of 2006, college students are still encouraged to voice their own opinions. So are the students really overreacting when they refuse to read a book that goes against their beliefs? Or should all students be forced to read a book that, although may make them uncomfortable, can give insight to a different wave of thinking and life?

Do you have what it takes to write the next highly-controversial novel? If you have a passion for literature or creative writing, there are many scholarships out there that honor writing talent, so explore the scholarship options to see how you can fund your college education by conducting a quick and easy free scholarship search today.

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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Facebook Privacy Breach Exposed by Harvard Student

Aug 20, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Thought you had adequate privacy on Facebook? Think again. Though there are various privacy settings offered by the social networking website, Harvard University student Aran Khanna, who was scheduled to intern at Facebook's Silicon Valley headquarters in Palo Alto, California, found a major privacy glitch in the Messenger app. As a public service, Khanna created Marauder's Map from his dormitory – an app that used existing data to show the danger in unintentionally sharing data. After a Facebook HR representative had contacted and told him to deactivate the app, as well as avoid talking to the press, Khanna complied and in turn, had his scheduled summer internship rescinded.

Khanna explored the Facebook Messenger issue, just as it had been by the CNET in 2012, so this was no new discovery. Rather, he claims his code was able to simply "read data that was already on your screen and display it on a map." Facebook officials claimed this violated user agreement by extracting data from the site. In reality, Khanna had used the data from his own personal messages, not data exclusive to employees. Facebook issued a statement shortly thereafter, addressing the Messenger app update. Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld claimed, "you have full control over when and how you share your location information." Furthermore, Facebook claims they had been working on the update “for a few months” before Khanna’s post and that “this isn't the sort of thing that can happen in a week.” Khanna never made it to his first day interning at Facebook and expressed his sentiments in his article for TIME Magazine and an academic paper in the Harvard Journal Technology Science. Khanna was offered and accepted another internship at a tech start-up in Silicon Valley and claims he uses the entire event as a learning experience.

Do you have the same computer skills and passion for technology as Khanna? Want to be the next tech genius? Find how you can qualify for computer science scholarships and other technology-based awards if you have aspirations to land prestigious internships and admission to your dream college by conducting a free scholarship search today.

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 Dangerous in Academia?

Aug 18, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Despite mass-campus shootings such as Virginia Tech that have the public questioning the safety of college campuses, the U.S. Department found that 93 percent of violence against students occurs off-campus. Currently, approximately 4,400 colleges and universities prohibit carrying firearms. However, states such as Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin allow concealed guns at some level. Pro-gun movement is rapidly increasing, as evident with the push of the Senate Bill 68 and Florida House Bill 4001, which would permit loaded and concealed arms on campus at Florida State University. Republican Greg Steube and Florida State Senator Greg Evers believe the mere absence of prohibition would lessen gun violence. Additionaly, “a gun-free campus creates a sanctuary campus and safe haven for rapists and criminals,” Steube explained in an interview. Supporters of the legislation believe it upholds the Second Amendment, which grants the right to bear arms, especially for protection purposes. So far the Florida League of Women Voters has opposed the bill and plans to do so again.

Not everyone feels so safe with the prospect of students being cocked and loaded. The majority of university presidents and campus law enforcement oppose the bill which would put the now-safe environments on high-alert. Anti-gun activists of the Florida League of Women Voters have been firm in their stand on gun control since 1990. Especially in college environments where there are drugs and alcohol present, guns further threaten the well-being of students and increase risk of injury or even, fatality. Other potential issues include: decrease in academic focus, accidental firings, dormitory theft, student suicide, distinguishing armed civilians from assailants, and so forth. If successfully passed, Florida will be the ninth state to implement such legislation, as early as fall of 2016.

Do you believe concealed guns should be permitted on college campuses? Would you feel safer knowing your peers are armed? Furthermore, if you have a passion for gun laws or criminal justice, as well as other fields of study, conduct a free scholarship search to see how your can fund your college education, today.

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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New Hollywood Film Glamorizes University of California-Santa Barbara Murder Rampage

Aug 13, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Lights, camera, backlash. It comes as no surprise that Hollywood films have been criticized for glamorizing violence and criminals - undermining the severity and reality of actual, tragic events. Similarly, there have been multiple occasions where violent movies have been used as inspiration to concoct and devise murder plots. Ideas can come with severe consequences, and recently-filmed "Del Playa," set to release in October already faces condemnation for too closely resembling the 2014 serial murder in Isla Vista, California near the University of California-Santa Barbara. The Huffington Post records an ongoing petition of over 23,000 signatures to change the film's title and donate proceeds to a memorial fund. Kate Nollner, who wrote the petition, claims that the film "intentionally seeks to commoditize the death of six beloved students... it not only justifies the motives behind the Isla Vista gunman, but also glorifies his actions."

In 2014, Santa Barbara City college student Elliot Rodger, 22, had stabbed, shot, and killed 6 students and injured 14 others on his rampage before committing suicide. The trailer, already released, illustrates a bullied and abused adolescent man who primarily seeks revenge for being rejected by women. Prior to the incident, Rodger had posted a YouTube video stating his planned "day of retribution," claiming, "You girls aren't attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it." Filmmaker Shaun Hart apologized in an interview stating, the "film is not about Elliot Rodger... it is meant to portray incidents that take place, not only in Santa Barbara, but across the country on a daily basis."

Currently, no changes have been made to the release, title, or plot of "Del Playa." What is sure, is that it will continue to be of heavy controversy - so in your opinion, would the movie be beneficial for exposure on the issues of bullying? Or should it be stopped from release? Also, if you are a fan of film production and wish to explore the scholarships out there to fund your college education, conduct a free scholarship search to see the film-related scholarships.

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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Pledge Killers: Clemson Sophomore Death Remains a Mystery

Aug 6, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

Did he jump? Was he pushed? How did the body of nineteen year-old Clemson University fraternity pledge Tucker Hipps mysteriously wash up on shore last September? After all he had been participating in a run with 29 other students that were supposed to be his “brothers”.

On September 22, three fraternity members and 27 pledges, including Hipps, met at Clemson’s Donaldson Hall at 5:30 a.m.. Hipps was ordered to bring food for everyone and when he arrived empty-handed, the fraternity members were allegedly angry. The pledges and brothers at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity then went for a group run.

At 1 p.m. members of the fraternity notified campus police that he was missing after he had lagged behind on the run and never made it to breakfast. Later that day Hipp’s body was discovered lying in rocky, shallow water under a bridge the group had crossed in their run. A coroner ruled Hipps died from “blunt force trauma” consistent with a “downward head-first falling injury.” While all evidence shows that he fell 25 feet to his death, no one else on that run claimed to have seen it.

Now his parents are suing the university and fraternity over the death of their son and allege a cover-up, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann. Cindy and Gary Hipps filed two civil suits that seek $50 million in damages that allege there was a fatal confrontation on the bridge.

For his mother Cindy, identifying the body of her son “was the worst moment of (her) life.”

“Because I can still see his face,” Cindy said. “I wake up at night and I have all the good memories of him. But I have that memory.”

Do you possess the leadership skills to lead a young group of men or women and change the negative stigma Greek organizations are developing? Take the first step by conducting a college scholarship search at Scholarships.com to find free money for college.

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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Suicide on Campus

Aug 5, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

“Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students, claiming the lives of 1,100 students each year.” (From activeminds.org)

Whether you’re packing to go off to college this year, or preparing to leave next year, your mental health is important during this stressful period of your life. Listed below are important resources to prepare you or someone you know that may be in need of mental health services on campus.

Active Minds (http://www.activeminds.org/) is a mental health organization that focuses on college students. They probably have a chapter at your university that can provide support, resources, and peers for you to connect with.

ULifeline (http://www.ulifeline.org/static/must_select_a_school) is an online center that connects you with resources specific to your school as well as information about different conditions and solutions.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://www.nami.org/) is an organization focused on helping individuals with all mental illness. They have great resources for breaking the stigma, finding counselors and getting help.

Your university website—If you have a pre-existing condition such as anxiety, depression, or high stress, check out the health services page. Look into the details of the services. Do you need insurance? Where are the counselors? Are they available 7 days a week? Make sure that both you and your parents feel comfortable with the protocol your school has set up to deal with mental illness. While you’re on this website, it’s a good idea to put the phone numbers of the wellness center in your phone. You might also want these emergency numbers as well:

1-800-273-8255 is the National Suicide Prevention Life Line. It can also be accessed online here: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. Remember, if you or someone you know is in danger, please call 911.

Chances are you will encounter mental illness during your time in school. The good thing is that by reading this, you are already informed about resources online and on campus. There are people who care about you and your safety is important. Speak up, reach out, get help.

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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Convict Education 101: College in Prison funded through Pell Grants

Aug 4, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Is it possible to educate and correct inmates through quality, legitimate prison education? Discussions of social and educational reform, particularly within more decrepit and under-resourced environments are commonplace - but what about when it comes to educating incarcerated individuals? According to the Washington Post, proponents such as Education Secretary Arne Duncan plan to assist those behind bars, particularly through Federal Pell Grants, which averages less than $6,000 a year per student. Through the new Second Chance Pell Pilot program, the goal is to have college and universities providing college-level courses in prions; in turn, inmates would be more educated which would lower prison recidivism rates, as well as community and social violence. It is not clear whether the investment would create a safer society or to what extent it would be effective, and considering its funding source – tax payer dollars - individuals such as U.S. Rep. Chris Collins argue it is a waste since the Pell Grant is a "limited pot of money needed to assist struggling middle-class families."

The Department of Justice estimated in 2013 that inmates taking educational courses in prison are 43 percent less likely to be re-incarcerated. Furthermore, four to five dollars in prison costs would be saved with every invested dollar. Unshackling the stagnant, 20-year ban on offering Pell grants to state and federal prisoners could come sooner than anticipated. While numbers have not been finalized, an estimated $30 billion a year would go into the pilot program. Only inmates eligible for release may qualify, and the program is expected to last three to five years. After all Duncan claims, "America is a nation of second chances." The question is, to whose and at what cost? In your opinion, should this be on the agenda for educational and penitentiary reform?

The Pell Grant, like all other grants, does not require repayment and is renewable annually. Based on your eligibility, you may qualify for the maximum amount of $5,775. While the new pilot program has not be implemented, take advantage of free money that you may be eligible for by conducting a quick and simple search at Scholarships.com.

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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80 Percent of College Students Drink

Aug 3, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

The disease of addiction has ravaged college campuses, evident by the fact that 80 percent of college students drink alcohol, 40 percent binge drink. College students make up one of the largest groups of drug abusers nationwide. Young adolescent’s ages 18-24 already have an increased risk of addiction- those enrolled in a full-time college program are twice as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.

Several factors play into substance abuse at the collegiate level. With the high demands of coursework, part-time jobs, internships, and social obligations, many students turn to drugs to cope with stress. A heavy course load has more students than ever taking stimulants, such as Adderall, to help them stay awake long enough to study or complete assignments by their due date. In a time where one is exploring many new aspects of life in personal and professional realms, college students are curious to self-explore and dip into drug experimentation.

But what drugs are being abused? The four most common substances that are consistently abused among college students are alcohol, Adderall, marijuana, and ecstasy. Because drinking is socially acceptable, the vast majority of substance abuse on college campuses spurs from the use of alcohol. In college, drinking often goes hand-in-hand with house parties, sporting events and student get-togethers. Since the use of alcohol on college campuses is widespread and often condoned, college students drink more frequently than their peers who aren’t in college. What students fail to realize is that excessive drinking is not only a major health concern in the long-term, but can lead to immediate tragedies such as assault, injury, arrest and even death.

Adderall, dubbed the “study drug” and other stimulants are increasing in popularity as students face the pressure to meet their study requirements. As we continue to see a shift in the leniency for marijuana legalization, more students have turned to pot as their drug of choice. On some campuses, marijuana use outweighs that of alcohol. Ecstasy, the “party drug” most common at raves and concerts, has made it’s resurgence in recent years in its pure form of MDMA or molly.

Other factors, such as being in a fraternity or sorority also contribute to increased drug abuse rates. College students as a group are similarly considered high-risk for developing eating disorders.

Do you feel like stress, work load and curiosity are valid excuses for college students to use drugs? Does knowing these statistics/facts change your perspective on going to college, or ideas on drinking/drugging at college?

A better statistic would be 80% percent of students that conduct a college scholarship search at Scholarships.com find free money for college. Let's be part of that group.

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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When Choosing A College, Weigh Wants, Needs and...Quirkiness?

Aug 2, 2015

by Christina Zhou

My name is Christina Zhou and as part of my duties as a virtual intern for Scholarships.com I will be writing blog articles each week. Writing is one of my passions and that, combined with the opportunity to help people, was what drew me to this position. Hopefully, the content in these articles will assist student readers everywhere in answering their questions about the college experience.

As with any high school senior, my experience with college applications involved a great deal of stress and procrastination. However, I was confident in my final decision of the University of Chicago because of several reasons. I knew I had made the right choice after thoroughly researching the school and comparing what it had to offer with what I wanted to get out of the college experience. I was particularly drawn to the Core curriculum, because although I love biology I am also interested in a wide variety of disciplines. Furthermore, the quirkiness of the university shone through its offbeat email topics and its unusual essay prompts. I actually looked forward to writing those admissions essays, something that led me to the realization that the University of Chicago was the right choice for me.

Now I am a rising second year at the University of Chicago and am currently leaning towards a biology major. Although I am busy with classwork, in my spare time I love to read and draw, as well as use various social media websites. On campus I am involved in many different organizations such as Leaders of Color, Phoenix Biology and have just finished training as an emergency medical responder. College is an incredible experience but the admissions process is daunting for many. I hope to offer advice that is beneficial to those embarking on the same journey.

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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