February is Financial Aid Awareness Month

Feb 4, 2016

by Susan Dutca

What makes February so lovely? It is Financial Aid Awareness Month, and since filling out the FAFSA is stressful - much like taxes - several higher education institutions and financial aid organizations have jumped on board to provide informational sessions for families and students as they navigate through, and apply for financial aid through the 2016-2017 FAFSA. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of students applying for, and receiving financial aid for their college education at a four-year-degree-granting institution has increased from 80% to 85% from 2007-08 to 2012-2013. Because of this, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) will be hosting a new topic weekly through a social media campaign that allows parents and students to ask questions about the FAFSA. To participate, NASFAA asks families to send their questions via Twitter using the hashtag #FinAidFeb to receive tips and advice, as well as the common mistakes to avoid. The social media campaign will take place on Wednesday, February 3rd from 7-8 pm ET and Friday, February 5th from 1-2 pm ET. Those interested can simply follow @NASFAA on Twitter or visit them at their website for full schedule and details.

According to the Salisbury Post, help is on the way on "FAFSA Day" at Catawba's College Library, where financial aid officers and specialists are working with seniors and their families to complete the FAFSA. Between February 22 and February 26, local North Carolina State Employee Credit Union branches will also help students complete their FAFSA. Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, IL is holding a similar series of events throughout February. In light of "FAFSA Frenzy", the Missouri Department of Higher Education is calling for an effort to educate and assist prospective college students, and Webster University is offering sessions on February 28 on its home campus, as well as at its St. Louis region on February 6 and 20. According to the school's statistics, more than 80% of its student population receives financial aid. The college is providing incentive for attending the event by offering attendees the chance to win a scholarship.

When attending any FAFSA informational session, bring your 2015 W-2 forms, and copies of your 2015 tax forms, if they're ready. If you haven't filed your 2015 returns yet, bring any statements of interest earned in 2015, any 1099 forms and other forms necessary to complete your taxes. Later on you may need to go back to your FAFSA and make corrections once the tax returns are filed. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will help you make accurate corrections within a few weeks of your tax file date.

Tro Onink, CEO of Stratagee and an expert in financial planning, cautions parents about IRA contributions for 2015.Though it may lower tax bills for 2015, it affects the children's financial aid eligibility for the 2016-2017 year. As explained by Onink, individual retirement account (IRA) contributions is factored back to the adjusted gross income (AGI) when financial formulas are used to determine student's financial aid eligibility. When the expected family contribution is calculated, IRA contributions are factored into the adjusted gross income, plus HAS, 401k, 402b and other retirement contributions. He cautions that these formulas would "presume that they [parents] have used that money they're setting aside for retirement to pay for college instead." On the upside, you do not have to record the value of the IRAs as an asset. So what's Onink's main advice? If for example, you invest $10,000 into retirement plans in 2015, your children's financial aid amount could decrease by $2,500 in 2016-2017. Essentially, when you make an IRA contribution, you will be paying more than half the amount you save in taxes when it comes to college expenses. He advocates to save for retirement but be cautions that "just because your adjusted gross income is lower, your income for financial aid purposes will be inflated."

Read more on Financial Aid Information and Financial Aid tips this season as you fill out your FAFSA and don't forget to see how you can supplement federal aid with free money in scholarships.

Credit is attributed to Troy Onink, who has been featured by Forbes, InvestmentNews, myStockOption

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 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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Pell Grants for Prisoners? Obama Says Yes

Jan 28, 2016

by Susan Dutca

According to President Obama, the Pell Grant Program should be extended to include convicted felons currently in our prison systems so that they may continue their education from behind bars. The US is a "nation of second chances," according to Arne Duncan, the current Secretary of Education, and should offer the incarcerated the option of an at least partially funded post-secondary education. Additionally, the Obama Administration hopes to extend the program through the summer so that students can graduate more quickly, while also providing incentive for students who take a minimum of 15 credits per semester/trimester.

Currently, those incarcerated at a federal or state penal institution are not permitted to receive a Pell grant - Obama's "Second Chance Pell Pilot Program for Incarcerated Individuals" would change that. Additionally, the Department of Education announced two more proposals to the current Pell Grant program which would increase the $29 billion program by $2 billion in the upcoming fiscal year. The proposal will be part of President Obama's budget proposal next month. The "Pell for Accelerated Completion" program allows students with financial need to take summer courses using Pell grant money, unlike the current program, which only covers two academic semesters.

The second proposal, the "On Track Pell Bonus," rewards students who take minimum of 15 credits per semester with $300. Roughly 2.3 million students would benefit from the bonus program. The goal of these two proposals is two-fold: to help students graduate earlier and to provide them with more financial assistance through the Pell Grant. Almost 8.3 million students were awarded the Pell Grant in the 2015 fiscal year, with approximately $28.7 billion in financial aid. According to the Department of Education's budget report, the maximum Pell grant for 2015-2016 was $5,775 but will be reduced to $4,860 next year.

According to the Department of Education, these changes would benefit almost 700,000 students with an additional $1,900 per student (currently, the average amount received by qualifying students is $3,600). Research also shows that 1.5 million high school graduates did not complete a FAFSA in 2014, despite their eligibility, resulting in just under $3B in unclaimed funds. Since today marks National Student Debt day, a group of young activists named the Young Invisibles will convene at the University of the District of Colombia Community College to learn more about the current student debt crisis and find out how they can influence higher education policy. Members of Congress will be present, including keynote speaker, Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Do you think Pell grants should be offered to incarcerated individuals? Would you take more summer courses if the Pell were to be extended? Start a discussion below.

Credit attributed to Jennifer C. Kerr, Associated Press reporter covering education from Washington, D.C.

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 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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Craft Beer 101: Universities Offer Microbrewery Education

Jan 21, 2016

by Susan Dutca

The history of beer dates back as far as the 5th century BC and is known to be one of the oldest beverages produced by mankind. However, MillerCoors might not cut it these days for beer aficionados due to the latest cultural trend: microbreweries and craft beer. From your local bar, to the stadium, and now in the classroom, the craft beer industry is starting to dominate its field with universities now offering programs that educate students on the hottest hops and beers to help them launch their careers in the craft beer industry, according to Lisa Rathke of the Associated Press.

Craft beer, as defined by the Brewer's Association, focuses on small-batch, independent, and traditional methods of brewing. The craft industry poses a threat to Big Beer, which fell 2% in 2014. According to industry statistics, craft beer now accounts for a 19% or more of dollar sales. What exactly accounts for this popularity? Some experts point to the "trendy hipsterism" - the "local vibe' that Big Beer just can't match. Brewer Association Director Paul Gatza attributes the increased marvel to beer drinkers' experimentation to brewery experimentation, increased appearance on retail shelves, the social aspect, and its portability. So why not keep up with the trend by becoming more educated and involved in the ever-growing industry?

But there's a catch: you must be at least 21 years of age. Oregon, Vermont, and California all have a minimum drinking age of 21 years and in so far as applying for the programs, students must wait till the legal age to begin their courses. Though the programs are intended to educate and place people in a up-and-coming field, the age at which people may apply may have them delaying their careers and plans until they have reached the age of drinking maturity. The average age for college freshman is 18 years old, while several may be 17 or 19 years old. That said, those intending to enroll in craft beer business courses must wait three to four years before applying and starting. Do you think the age requirement should be lowered?

Ranking at the top in the nation for the most breweries per capita, the University of Vermont offers an online business of craft beer certificate program and optional apprenticeship. According to program director Gregory Dunkling, students apply from all across the nation. Most beer-focused breweries started out five to ten years ago. Industry statistics reveal that in 2014, overall beer sales were up only 0.5% while craft beer sales increased by 17.6%. The U.S. far surpassed 4,000 breweries in September of 2015, and it had not crossed this barrier since 1873. A decade ago, Dunkling claims that home brewers, despite their strong home recipes, lacked "business acumen" - so they hired marketing, sales, and business operation staff. With increased competition in the industry, there's a demand for higher brewer knowledge, especially on the business side. UV's online class offers two separate courses: the Fundamentals of Craft Beer, and then a choice for focus on Digital Marketing, Sales, or Business Operations.

In 2013, Portland State University in Oregon began their online Business of Craft Brewing program and within a week, the class had filled all its seats. Found to be one of the "most successful professional certificate programs," it attracted international students who either "didn't want to necessarily go to college," or had already received a degree - they genuinely wanted to learn how to open their own brew pub, which required a bit more knowledgeable in marketing. Portland State University even offers a scholarship opportunity in craft brewing, titled Pink Boots Scholarship for a woman who earns income from the beer industry.

Also, San Diego State University's College of Extended Studies offers a similar professional certificate in the business of craft beer - from introductory courses such as "Exploring Craft Beer" to "Finance," students can venture into the field at local breweries, to get a hands-on learning experience in the craft beer industry. Students can receive their certificate in less than 1.5 years.

If you have a taste for microbrewery, viticulture, or any related fields of study, search for scholarships today and pursue your higher education dreams with the help of free college money.

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 free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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University Prez Charged with Offering Enrollment for Money and Sex

Jan 19, 2016

by Susan Dutca

After being charged with sexual bribery, trafficking degrees, and misappropriating public funds, a former president of the University of Toulon began trial on Monday and, if found guilty, could face up to 10 years in prison and €150,000 in fines for enrolling Chinese students in exchange for monetary and sexual favors.

Laroussi Oueslati, former French president of the University of Toulon served as the central admission official back in 2008 and focused primarily on developing and strengthening the workforce through the recruitment of Asian and South American students. In 2008 alone, 300 students - primarily of Chinese descent - were admitted to the university. However, due to their "low-level of French," they never should have been admitted. Oueslati reportedly shortened the registration and admissions process by accepting students who "paid him up to €3,000 (£2,300) each." Some students claimed they were assured a seat in exchange for "having intimate relation" with Oueslati. Sexual bribery, in this case, refers to the solicitation of sexual favors by promise or rewards, which is viewed as a serious form of professional and moral corruption. So far, 14 witnesses have been called to appear in this week's trial.

Several students took to the Internet to openly state that Oueslati requested €3,000 to be paid directly to him to secure university admission. In addition to bypassing the traditional admissions process, he reportedly created his own panel, "independent of the university's central admission process," which "rarely examined candidates' academic records," according to The Telegraph. In response to all of the claims, Oueslati maintains his innocence, stating, "I am not corrupt...I can tell you that if ever someone tried to corrupt me I would, if you'll excuse the expression, tell them to p-- off." One other university administrator and four former Chinese students also face charges. Two students who fled to China are also being sought out for arrest.

Oueslati had an "all-powerful academic" and irresistible personality and presence at the Institut d'Administration des Entreprises, according to Le Monde. Nonetheless, once the accusations came to light in 2009, he was forced to resign and potentially faces a lifetime ban from exercising any role in the world of academia, if not greater consequences. The trial, which began on Monday, is expected to continue until Friday.

If you have a passion for business, education, or law and hope to better the world of higher education, check out our many scholarships today.

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 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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Netflix, Facebook Founders to Dole Out Billions for Education Reform

Jan 14, 2016

by Susan Dutca

New year, new initiatives; funded by big name billionaires. Many college students may spend time perusing Facebook or enjoying popular hit series on Netflix such as House of Cards or Orange is the New Black, but the big dogs who founded these entertainment mediums are coming out with greater initiatives: focusing to improve education.

The phrase "the more you have, the more you want" never resonated well with 31-year-old billionaire and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Netflix Cofounder and CEO Reed Hastings isn't a big fan of school boards. What do these big shot billionaires share in common? A strategic plan to invest big money in the nation's future education.

Netflix and...Education

Most people are more familiar with the name Netflix than they are that of the man behind it, Reed Hastings - but that could be about to change. Hastings recently took to Facebook to announce a $100,000,000 philanthropic endeavor: the Hastings Fund. The fund will focus on children's education, as reported by Senior Writer Ben Fox Rubin from CNET News. Hastings has served as President of the Technology Network, served on the California Board of Education for four years, donated $1 million to Proposition 39, and much more. In addition, he has also been part of other academies and programs dedicated to developing teaching videos, with a primary concern of growing high-quality charter schools and developing technology that could transform education. He admits he was never "good at following orders," and volunteered for the Peace Corps. in Swaziland, foregoing the opportunity to "buy yachts" in favor of improving K-12 education and trying to "figure out why our education is lagging when technology is increasing at great rates..." Offering a long-term solution would come from expanding charter schools was his intention while attending Stanford. Netflix got in the way, and Hastings never graduated from Stanford, but his education initiatives and dreams lived on. CNET News reports The Hasting Funds' first two gifts will be given to the United Negro College Fund and to the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, a "total of $1.5 million to support the education of black and Latino college education." Forbes estimates Hasting's net worth surpasses $1 billion, including $900 million in Netflix stock and options.

Facebook CEO Giving $45 billion for Education

Inspired by the birth of their daughter, Max, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced a new initiative to dole out 99% of their Facebook shares - valued at $45 billion - throughout their lifetime to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The world's largest social media CEO intends to "improve this world for the next generation," according to Zuckerberg. Furthermore, he claims the mission to change the world is a "basic moral responsibility to tilt our investments." Primary areas of focus will be on personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities, according to the couple's open letter to their newborn daughter, Maxima.

The organization would be a limited liability company (LLC) as opposed to a traditional philanthropic organization. Though inspired by the $41 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it differs in that the Gates Foundation is structured as a tax-exempt, non-profit foundation and charitable trust, and is a 501 (3)(c). The Gates Foundation is not only well-known for its profits but for its efforts battling global poverty, the spread of deadly curable diseases, and improving education overall. Though Zuckerberg has a different philanthropic approach from the Gates Foundation, Gates commented that, "As for your decision to give back so generously, and to deepen your commitment now, the first word that comes to mind is: Wow. The example you're setting today is an inspiration to us and the world."

There has been skepticism and criticism in Zuckerberg's choice of structure, as it could potentially maneuver around legal structures and tax strategies. In response to criticism, he claims "The beauty of having an LLC in today's world is No.1, you have the ability to act and react as nimbly as need be to create change." Zuckerberg, for example, would be able to make political donations and is not required to give 5 percent of its value annually. Regardless of how the funds are allocated, the couple's focus is to gradually seek long-term solutions as opposed to pouring all money into one issue, as evidenced by Zuckerberg in his letter to his daughter;" We must make long-term investments over 25, 50, or even 100 years...the greatest challenges require very long time horizons and cannot be solved by short-term thinking."

Do you support or oppose this initiative by top CEO's when it comes to education? Leave us your thoughtful comments below.

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 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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Yale Lecturer Quits Over Halloween Email Backlash

Dec 8, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Erika Christakis sent a controversial email questioning whether there was any room left for the nation's youth to be "a little obnoxious, inappropriate, and even offensive" when dressing for Halloween and it was NOT well-received.

A week before Halloween, students were advised to avoid party themes and costumes that have "racial and ethnic overtones" so as to avoid offending minority students. In response to the initiative, Associate Master Erika Christakis wrote an email encouraging the community to consider the issue through an intellectual lens: a day "traditionally used as subversion for children and young adults is also an occasion for adults to exert their control." In American universities, free speech and tolerating offense have diminished substantially - replaced by censure and prohibition, she claims. Christakis pinpoints blame not on the students but on those who have "lost faith" in young people's capacity to self-censure through social norming.

Using her expertise on early childhood, Christakis uses the example of a "blonde-haired child wanting to be Mulan for a day." Is pretend play not a form of imaginative expression? There is a distinct difference between playing dress up and appropriating culture, according to the associate master. When did it become unacceptable to do the things you did when you were eight years old? In her email, she supports the university's goals to avoid "hurt and offense" - the question is: how do you do this without controlling college students?

Que the backlash. In a responsive open letter, "concerned Yale students, alumni, faculty, and staff" claimed her comments were "jarring and disheartening" because she "failed to distinguish the difference between cosplaying fictional characters and misrepresenting actual groups of people." Those responding claimed that "Yale's history is one of exclusion" - from blackface to the Eurocentric courses and lack of diversity among faculty.

Christakis' husband, Silliman Master Nicholas Christakis, will continue teaching at Yale. 70 faculty members expressed their "strong support of the right of Erika and Nicholas Christakis to free speech and freedom of intellectual expression." That number of signatures is still overshadowed by the number of faculty who "express solidarity with students' concerns." Many students have praised her courses, including: The Growing Child in Global Context and Concept of the Problem Child. Students feel her leave will be a "very big detriment [to students] interested in these issues, and the class could have been getting better."

Christakis will return to working with children and families because she worries that Yale's climate is not "conducive to the civil dialogue and open inquiry required to solve urgent societal problems."

What do you think about Christakis' approach to the issue and how people responded? How is Halloween dress on your campus? Leave us your insightful comments below to start a discussion.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the 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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November National Scholarship Month

Nov 5, 2015

by Susan Dutca

November is National Scholarship Month, referred to by the National Scholarship Providers Association, and just so happens to be our favorite month of the year! This month is a special time to raise awareness of scholarship opportunities for current and future college students. Also, it's an excellent time to begin your scholarship search if you have not done so already. To help you in your search, we have compiled a list of scholarships with end-of-the-year deadlines, as well as scholarships for next year, so as to help you apply before the year is over. Dedicate some time to applying for current and coming academic years with these scholarships:

Arizona Milk Producers Scholarship

Deadline: November 9, 2015
Available to: High school seniors – college seniors
Maximum Award: $12,000

Is your 'stache worth the cash? Dairy plays an important role in fueling active minds and bodies, and can now help you earn a college scholarship. Simply take a picture of your best milk mustache for the chance to win a top $12,000 scholarship.

You must be enrolled or plan to enroll in an Arizona university as a full-time students to qualify. Make sure you are the only one in the photo and that a diary product is clearly visible in the photo. Upload your photo to Instagram and tag @azmilkproducers using the hashtag #ampscholarshipcontest and #ASU, #NAU or #UofA.

For more information and to apply, please visit Arizona Milk Producers Scholarship

The Resolve to Evolve Scholarship

Deadline: December 9, 2015
Available to: Members
Maximum Award: $2,000

The Resolve to Evolve Scholarship is about more than just making resolutions - it's about creating change and furthering our evolution as individuals and a society. Applicants must write an essay of no more than 5,000 characters, addressing a two-part question.

All applicants must be registered members of in order to qualify. If you have not already registered, go to the home page and register now for free.

For more information and to apply, please visit The Resolve to Evolve Scholarship

Our World-Underwater Society Rolex Scholarship

Deadline: December 31, 2015
Available to: Graduate students ages 21-26
Maximum Award: $25,000

Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society has provided firsthand experiences in underwater-related disciplines to young people considering careers in the underwater world. Each year a Rolex scholar is selected to work with leaders in marine-related fields. Scholars partake in endeavors ranging from scientific expeditions to laboratory assignments.

Students must not have earned a graduate degree and have not chosen a clearly defined career path, as well as be between the ages of 21 and 26.

Students must have certification as a Rescue Diver or equivalent with a minimum of 25 dives within the past two years.

For more information and to apply, please visit Our World-Underwater Society Rolex Scholarship

Doodle 4 Google Art Competition

Deadline: December 7, 2015
Available to: Ages 5-18
Maximum Award: Up to $30,000

From cave paintings to selfies, artists have always found creative ways of expressing themselves. Google is asking young students to use their homepage as a canvas by doodling with any materials to show what makes them unique.

The winner's artwork will be featured on the Google homepage for a day, and one national winner will also receive a $40,000 scholarship. Students in grades K-12 are invited to participate and must incorporate the letters G-O-O-G-L-E.

For more information and to apply, please visit Doodle 4 Google Art Competition

The Center for Alcohol Policy Essay Contest

Deadline: December 5, 2015
Available to: 18 years and older
Maximum Award: $5,000

This year's essay topic for The Center of Alcohol Policy's contest is: "This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the Supreme Court's Granholm decision, which ruled against two states' laws that discriminated against out-of-state alcohol producers but also affirmed that "The three-tier system is unquestionably legitimate." How has this "unquestionably legitimate" system fostered competition, increased new products available to consumers and worked to protect consumers and the public?"

Applicants must be 18 years or older to apply and may email or postmark their essays.

For more information and to apply, please visit The Center for Alcohol Policy Essay Contest

The Anne Ford Scholarship

Deadline: December 15, 2015
Available to: Graduating high school seniors
Maximum Award: $10,000

The Anne Ford Scholarship is a $10,000 scholarship to a graduating high school senior with a documented learning disability who will be enrolled in a full-time bachelor's degree program.

Students must demonstrate financial need and provide current documentation of an identified learning disability. Must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher and must be able to articulate his/her learning disability and demonstrate the importance of self-advocacy.

For more information and to apply, please visit The Anne Ford Scholarship

Colored Rocks Contest

Deadline: December 4, 2015
Available to: Graduating high school seniors
Maximum Award: $3,500

The Colored Rocks Foundation annually awards 15 high-achieving senior male high school students from diverse ethnic backgrounds who have committed to help at least one of their struggling peers achieve their high school diploma.

Applicants must answer a 2-part essay (500-1,000 words) and submit a community project plan. Applicants must attend and graduate from a high school in Georgia to be eligible for the award.

For more information and to apply, please visit Colored Rocks Contest

Hispanic Annual Salute Award

Deadline: December 4, 2015
Available to: Graduating high school seniors
Maximum Award: $2,000

Hispanic Annual Salute offers scholarship to Hispanic youth who exhibit and encourage volunteerism. The goal is to provide students an opportunity to continue their education beyond high school.

Students must graduate from high school, maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher and perform notable volunteer contribution in the Hispanic community, specifically unpaid volunteer activity not related to fulfilling a school requirement. Applicants must reside in Colorado.

For more information and to apply, please visit Hispanic Annual Salute Award

Burger King Scholar Program

Deadline: December 15, 2015
Available to: Graduating high school seniors
Maximum Award: $1,000

Created in memory of Burger King’s Co-founder James “Jim” W. McLamore, the Burger King Scholars program awards students who have a strong academic record with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Students should be passionate about serving their community and be a high school senior, BK employee, spouse/domestic partner or child of an employee.

High school students should be graduating seniors who plan on attending a two- or four-year accredited university.

For more information and to apply, please visit Burger King Scholar Program

Cancer for College Scholarships

Deadline: January 31, 2016
Available to: Undergraduate students
Maximum Award:$16,000

No child should ever have to deal with cancer. That is why Cancer for College provides hope and inspiration to cancer survivors in the form of college scholarships. Applicants must be a cancer patient or cancer survivor to be eligible and must be a US resident enrolled in an accredited university or community college.

Cancer for College offers several different scholarships so make sure to read the eligibility and criteria requirements for each before applying.

For more information and to apply, please visit Cancer for College Scholarships

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 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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NAU Student Hustles To Pay For College Textbooks With Drug Money

Oct 29, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Earlier this week, 18 year old NAU student Francisco Curiel was charged for selling and possessing illegal drugs and paraphernalia. Why was he selling? Allegedly, to pay for books. Although on a full ride to Northern Arizona University, Curiel supposedly had an outstanding balance of $600 to pay for books and materials. After a room search, police found two bags of powder and plastic tubes with cocaine residue. He and his roommate, Damian Hernandez, were both arrested with charges of possession and sale of narcotics and paraphernalia.

Last year Census data revealed that 72 percent of undergraduate college students worked a job while in school to pay for costs that financial aid does not cover. Though typical jobs include working at a coffee shop, waiting tables or retail, some students are opting to take the non-traditional route by selling drugs since the drastic change in opinion of the legalization of marijuana. According to Pew Research Center, support for marijuana legalization is rapidly outpacing opposition with a majority (53%) of Americans in support of legalization. Growing support is evidenced by four states who have already legalized marijuana, including: Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska. Furthermore, there is a handful of other states looking to pursue similar suit, such as: Massachusetts, California, Missouri, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada and Ohio. These statistics however, give no insight as to people's opinions on the selling of heavier drugs, such as cocaine.

While there are monetary benefits to selling drugs such as reducing or eliminating college debt, student dealers admit there are severe consequences if caught selling. One anonymous student at Boise State claimed, "If I get thrown in jail, my bail is going to be more than what I make." An undercover detective with the Boise Police Department stresses the importance in avoiding such involvement, as it could cost a year sentence in prison or felony charge. Felony charges drastically affect future career opportunities and felons risk unemployment. Often the "middle man" is charged with the same sentence as the seller. The detective urges students to continue applying for scholarships and constantly talking to college financial aid offices for more monetary assistance.

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 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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What’s All the Yik Yak About Social Media Harassment?

Oct 23, 2015

by Susan Dutca

With the help of the federal government, seventy-two women's and civil-rights groups are launching a campaign to pressure colleges into protecting students from anonymous, threatening social-media posts. Users are able to post anonymously on apps such as Yik Yak - dialogues that aren't necessarily classroom-appropriate. Discussions sometimes contain racist, sexist and other derogatory content which has led to college arrests due to campus threats. According to the groups' letter to the Office for Civil Rights, colleges fail to monitor the anonymous posts or pursue harassers due to colleges' "vague First Amendment concerns." Whose voice is more important in this situation?

Social-networking platforms that attract online harassment such as Yik Yak, 4chan, and BurnBook have safeguards that can be easily maneuvered by slightly changing works like "rape" to "grape." Community monitoring allows students to "down-vote" such comments for removal but does not prevent the initial posting. Some posts go beyond sexual harassment and threaten students with rape and murder, as seen at the University of Mary Washington. The Office of Civil Rights launched an investigation due to alleged Title IX violations. Colleges tend to avoid responsibility for online harassment on social media platforms mostly because students do not need university servers for access.

Yik Yak's popularity is evidenced by their $60 million in investments and is one of the most profitable social-media applications that allows anonymous discussions. While some organizations such as the Feminists United and the Feminist Majority Foundation are pushing for Yik Yak's ban, Dr. Junco at Harvard University studied the app and would "hate to see colleges prevent students' use of the application, because many of the statements made on it… are positive or affirming."

In your opinion, should Yik Yak and other similar apps be banned or not? Share your thoughtful opinions with us in the comment box below.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the 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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College Culture , College News , Scholarships


Harvard Transgender Swimmer Dives Into New Waters

Oct 20, 2015

by Susan Dutca

What happens when your high school 100-meter breast stroke time is almost as fast as the women's all-time best at Harvard, the school you've been eying for as long as you could remember - but you determine you can no longer repress the feeling that you are a man trapped inside a woman's body? Such was the case for swimmer Schuyler Bailer, who underwent partial surgery, now identifies as a man and will compete on the Harvard men's swim team. The NCAA allowed Bailer to choose what team to swim for and Harvard’s women's swim coach supports Bailer's decision even if it means losing a top recruit.

Bailer took a year off following high school graduation and made the decision to identify as a man after having repressed these feelings from a very young age. Bailer claimed, "I had worked my whole life to be on that team," and that the coming-out-of-the-closet experience was stressful enough. Bailer is realistic about future stresses, such as competing with a new gender, locker room etiquette and media scrutiny. However, transgender athletes have been around since 1977, when Renée Richard joined the women's tennis professional tour after the New York Supreme Court had intervened. Another recent, well-known case is that of Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner, who transitioned to Caitlyn Jenner. Is the male to female transition the same as female to male transition, when it comes to athletics?

Various organizations at the junior, high school and collegiate level have begun implementing rules that allow transgender students to participate on the basis of their expressed gender identities. Even at the highest level of sport competition, the Olympics, athletes are able to participate only if they have had their gender-reassignment surgery and at least two years of hormone therapy. In the NCAA, men transitioning to women who have not undergone sex-reassignment surgery must take testosterone suppressants for one year before they can compete on the women's team. (This means Bailer would be allowed to continue on the women's team if he has not yet starting taking testosterone). Though Bailer's transition has been welcomed and supported by the NCAA and his team, he may still face discrimination and scrutiny.

In your opinion, should transgender individuals be allowed to compete with and against their biological gender group? Leave us your thoughts below in the comment box and be sure to check out our large list of sports scholarships.

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