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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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by Scholarships.com Staff

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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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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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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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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by Susan Dutca

What better way to defy social norms and gender expectations while earning extra credit than by refusing to shave for ten weeks? Female students at Arizona State University are putting public opinion to the test as they refrain from shaving their legs and armpits. To avoid any sexism, males are also permitted to participate, and must shave all body hair from the neck down. Women and Gender Studies Professor Breanne Fahs began the assignment in 2010 as a way to teach students the realities of gender and social expectations, when it comes to physicality and bodily aesthetics. Some "manscaping" or removing excessive bodily hair, is not uncommon - however, complete hair removal is less practiced and Fahs believes it gives greater insight to a woman's tedious hygienic routine.

Students experience first-hand the negative responses to the rebellion. Many people find it unattractive and inappropriate, even close family and friends; but students feel empowered in their bodies as they better understand just how pervasive genderization is in American culture. Furthermore, the consensus is that participating students feel a sense of community in their act of rebellion. Fahs claims that generally, women will be concerned with how their partners react to the change, and men will be preoccupied with other men's opinions. What is emphasized most is personal choice and to what extent that is influenced and manipulated by conventional gender expectations. After all, is true beauty not skin deep?

Should body study curriculum and such extra credit opportunities be more readily offered at colleges? Does this serve a good purpose in higher education?

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 Emily Rabinowitz

Every week we hear a new story about sexual assault on the college campus. By now the fact that 20% of females and 5% of men “reported being sexually assaulted either by physical force or while incapacitated” is no longer surprising. What most people are surprised about is the fact that 82% of the time, the perpetrator is known to the victim.

We all know that college is the time to explore new experiences, especially when it comes to relationships and intimacy. However, whether you’re an upperclassmen or a high school student, it’s important to know what resources are and should be available at your school and community if you ever find yourself in a position where you or a friend are in need of help.

Title IX is a civil right that ensures non-discrimination on the college campus based off of gender and sex. Each school is different in what services they provide via Title IX but they are required by law to have an established procedure for dealing with sexual assault cases.

Hotlines: Your school may have a crisis intervention team or health office that you can contact if you feel the need. However, many individuals do not immediately feel comfortable sharing their story with officials or friends. There are a variety of hotlines that provide anonymous services:

Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network (RAINN) offers an online hotline here: https://ohl.rainn.org/online/ and a telephone line: 800-656-HOPE.

National Domestic Violence hotline offers online services here: http://www.thehotline.org/ and on the phone 1-800-799-7233

National Teen Dating Abuse Online Helpline can be accessed here: http://www.loveisrespect.org/

*Remember, if you are in immediate danger, call 911.

It is always a good idea to review the policies your school has set in place and make sure that you feel comfortable with them. Because the majority of sexual assault instances occur with acquaintances, be sure to brush up on your understanding of consent and have an open and honest conversation with your partner.

Does reading this article make you sick to your stomach? Do something about it and conduct a college scholarship search at Scholarships.com to see what student body is waiting for you to lead them.

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 Chris Bernardi

Tragedy has taken the lives of two college students shot to death at a Walnut Creek home in an apparent murder-suicide. Walnut Creek police are investigating the North Homestead neighborhood after receiving calls of what neighbors claimed were gunshots around 6:50 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The victims have been identified as 19-year-old college student Clare Orton; of Walnut Creek, and 21-year-old Scott Bertics, of Lafayette. Police report the victims knew one another and had a previous dating relationship. Initial reports indicate Orton was shot while answering the front door, then immediately her ex-boyfriend turned the gun on himself.

“I didn’t hear anything this morning, but I’m in shock,” said one neighbor who asked that his name not be used. “I have a granddaughter the same age, so it hits close to home.”

Orton, a 2014 graduate of Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek, was home from college after finishing her freshman year at San Diego State University. University spokesman, Greg Block claimed she was an honors student studying environmental engineering. Orton was also a member of SDSU’s Society of Women Engineers, a group now mourning the loss of their fellow environmental engineer.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones,” Madeleine Rasche wrote.

Bertics, a 2012 graduate of Acalanes High School in Lafayette, enrolled at the University of Stanford in 2012, but took a voluntary leave of absence in the fall of 2014. He had yet to declare a major, but was listed on a 2013 demonstration called “Controlling Robot Dynamics with Spiking Neurons.”

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 Scholarships.com Staff

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?

Working after high school IS NOT getting you a financial jump on your college peers. You are instead creating self-inflicted wounds to your livelihood when you could be one of the six million new applicants prospering from Obama Hoods thievery. It makes absolutely no sense not to apply for financial aid with curriculums that allow you to maintain a job, programs that ease (or even lift) the burden of financial debt, and give you the opportunity to earn a degree to fulfill your childhood dreams! No individuals of any race, age, gender, or income class have an excuse to not get their degree, seeing expert assistance is as quick as completing your Scholarship.com profile.

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 Scholarships.com Staff

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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