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18 Year Old Makes History in This Year’s Election

November 7, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

With this year’s midterm elections behind us, have you ever wonder: “Man, I could do a better job than [insert disappointing political official’s name here]”? Only to realize almost immediately that crushing sense of defeat given the fact that you’re too young and inexperienced to run… or are you?

Saira Blair, an 18-year-old West Virginia University freshman, won a seat on the West Virginia House of Delegates after defeating her Democratic opponent 63 percent to 30 percent. Doing the majority of her campaigning out of her dorm room, Saira will be the youngest state lawmaker in the nation. She campaigned on a pledge to work to reduce certain taxes on businesses and holds anti-abortion and pro-gun positions. "When I made the decision to run for public office, I did so because I firmly believe that my generation's voice, fresh perspective and innovative ideas can help solve some of our state's most challenging issues," she said. Studying economics and Spanish, Blair will defer her next semester so that she can attend the legislature’s 60-day session in the spring and will resume her coursework in the fall. (For more on this story, click here.)

What do you think of an 18 year old becoming the youngest state lawmaker in the country? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And as always, don’t forget to create a free profile Scholarships.com to get matched with awards that reflect your interests and attributes.

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Is Earning a College Degree Worth It? Study Finds Modest Return for Some

February 10, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

It wasn't too long ago that the majority of Americans agreed that one had to pursue a college degree in order to succeed in the workforce. Unfortunately for millennials, the rate of success after obtaining said degree is no longer so intrinsically tied: According to reports, millions of college students don't graduate, suffer a mismatch between education and employment and are left with massive amounts of debt.

New research suggests that earning a college degree is no longer the surest ticket to the middle class. "'Ticket' implies a college degree is something you can just cash in," said Alan Benson, assistant business professor at the University of Minnesota. "But it doesn’t work that way. A college degree is more of a stepping stone, one ingredient to consider when you’re cooking up your career...It’s not always the best investment for everyone." Benson, along with MIT’s Frank Levy and business analyst Raimudo Esteva, co-authored a new paper examining the value of public university options in California. They found that factors like how long it takes to complete a degree and whether students even make it to graduation can significantly diminish the value of pursuing higher education. Unsurprisingly, the study also found that students who take out loans and don’t graduate on time incur much more debt. All in all, Benson concluded that the investment of a college education is generally better for those who graduate – on time – from a school with healthier resources. (For more on their research, click here.)

Do you think that a college degree is necessary for gainful employment and upward mobility? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And don’t forget to try and fund your education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by visiting Scholarships.com and conducting a free college scholarship search where you'll get match with scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities that are unique to you!

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This Year’s Quirkiest College Admissions Essay Prompts

More Colleges Posing Offbeat Essay Questions

March 3, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

When you envisioned your college application process, I'm sure you thought you were more than prepared. This was the moment you were told to draw on your strengths and articulate every achievement – countless community service hours, a stellar GPA and the fact that you were senior class president – and every sentence would be so perfectly and meticulously thought out that who you are would just leap right off the page. You prepared your answer on why you belonged at your dream college and pinpointed what you had to offer...until you reviewed the actual application and found a serious curveball: I doubt you expected celebrating your nerdy side could get you in!

In addition to traditional essay prompts, more and more institutions are jumping on the unconventional question bandwagon and are interested in knowing not only why students want to gain admission but just how creative they can be when challenged. Here are some far-from-average questions schools are asking this year:

Tufts University

Celebrate your nerdy side.

University of Chicago

What's so odd about odd numbers?

Lehigh University

You’ve just reached your one millionth hit on your YouTube video. What is the video about?

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

You were just invited to speak at the White House. Write your speech.

University of Notre Dame

A good story starts with a good beginning. Get us hooked in the first 150 words.

University of Richmond

Tell us about spiders.

Soon-to-be college applicants, what do you think of this approach to the admissions essay? Are you a fan of the challenge or frustrated by the fact that you are expected to impress them with your achievements and extracurricular activities and be witty, too? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And if you're interested in learning more about applying for college and the application essay, check out our College Prep section. While you're there, conduct a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com for a complete list of scholarships that are personalized to you!

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10 Colleges with the Highest ROI

March 6, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

With all the media attention on the student loan debt crisis and how universities continuously hike tuition, we have to ask: Which schools are worth the outrageous sticker price of about $200,000? According to PayScale.com's annual survey of colleges with the highest return on investment (ROI), Harvey Mudd College tops the list with a 20-year net ROI of $985,300.

PayScale.com’s data is pulled from 1.4 million pay reports from persons who obtained bachelor's degrees in the last 20 years. For more on the methodology, click here. Check out who made the cut below:

Did any of your top choices make the list? If not, would you consider a college based on its ROI? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And don’t forget that even affordable college tuition can still be expensive! Try and fund your education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by visiting Scholarships.com and conducting a free college scholarship search where you'll get match with scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities that are unique to you!

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Starbucks Expands Free College Tuition Program for Employees

April 10, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

Last year, we reported that Starbucks and Arizona State University had brewed up a program that would allow its employees to earn online college degrees at a steeply discounted rate. The initiative caused enough of a buzz that Starbucks is now expanding these efforts to provide the path to a full four-year online college degree.

Since its launch last year, nearly 2,000 Starbucks employees have seized the opportunity for a free college education. It’s important to note that degrees are available only through ASU's 49 online programs, which range from English to electrical engineering to information technology; students must also complete 21 credits before the company will reimburse tuition but students will not have to repay or stay with Starbucks after graduation. "The unfortunate reality is that too many Americans can no longer afford a college degree, particularly disadvantaged young people, and others are saddled with burdensome education debt," says Howard Schultz, founder and CEO of Starbucks. Schultz was the first college graduate in his family and now has a net worth of $2.6 billion. "By giving our partners [employees] access to four years of full tuition coverage, we will provide them a critical tool for lifelong opportunity. We’re stronger as a nation when everyone is afforded a pathway to success." (For more on this story, head over to Forbes.)

What do you think of this partnership between Starbucks and ASU? Would you consider working for the coffee giant if it meant you could earn your college degree for free? Share your thoughts in the comment section and for more info on how to fund your college education, head over to Scholarships.com and create a free college scholarship profile!

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Fraternity Shut Down Over Racist Chant

March 10, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity shut down its University of Oklahoma chapter after a video surfaced of members singing a racist chant. The video in question, sent anonymously to The Oklahoma Daily, shows members of the fraternity singing a song that includes a racial slur for African-Americans and a reference to lynching.

In response, students rallied on the campus Monday morning to protest the video. University President David L. Boren condemned their actions and closed the fraternity house on Monday, ordering members to remove their belongings by midnight Tuesday. He mentioned that the university was also considering whether those “most responsible” could be expelled, adding that he hoped they would voluntarily leave the university. Boren also posted a statement on his Twitter account in which he said of the men in the video: “You are disgraceful. You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourselves ‘Sooners.’ Real Sooners are not racist. Real Sooners are not bigots.” (For more on this story, head over to The Oklahoma Daily.)

While there are plenty of upstanding Greek organizations, the stereotypical fraternity lifestyle is one endorsing excess in booze and exclusion under the guise of promoting brotherhood and academic excellence. What do you think of the latest scandal to rock a nationally-recognized fraternity? Do you think the university's actions were enough? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And if you’re interested in learning more about campus life, check out our College Prep section. While you’re there, conduct a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com for a complete list of scholarships that are personalized to you!

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Fired Administrator Pressured to File False Sexual Harassment Charge

March 24, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

A former administrator at Chicago State University has accused its president and other officials of firing her because she refused to file a false sexual harassment charge against an outspoken faculty member critical of the university's leadership.

According to former Chicago State interim vice president for enrollment and student affairs LaShondra Peebles, administrators that included CSU president Wayne D. Watson pressured her to file a sexual harassment charge against associate professor of political science Phillip A. Beverly in hopes of terminating him and shutting down his blog, CSU Faculty Voice. (Contributors routinely published criticism of Watson and other top officials at Chicago State.) Peebles claims administrator pressured her at several meeting to file the false charge and accused her of "not being a 'team player'" when she refused. She was fired on June 2, 2014 but on February 18, 2015, she sued Watson and the Chicago State Board of Trustees for wrongful termination under Illinois’s State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, alleging in part that she was fired for refusing to file the false sexual harassment complaint against Beverly. That same month, Watson announced that he would retire next year when his contract expires.

What do you think of CSU's actions? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And for information on CSU or countless other universities, use our College Search tool today! And don't forget to try and fund your education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by visiting Scholarships.com and conducting a free college scholarship search where you'll get matched with scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities that are unique to you!

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New York Teen Accepted to all Eight Ivy League Schools

April 6, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

Applying to some of the top schools in the country is unquestionably unnerving but after months of stress, sleepiness nights and chronic stomach pains, it all seems worth it when you read those magical words, "Congratulations! You've been accepted." Most would celebrate such an occasion with screams of triumph, followed by an immediate Facebook update or witty tweet sharing their enthusiasm...but what would the proper celebration be when you've been accepted to not one but all eight Ivy League schools? Ask Harold Ekeh.

Ekeh has hit the admissions jackpot, receiving acceptance letters from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale. This outcome, however, wasn’t just luck, for Ekeh is quite the accomplished and well-rounded student: The Elmont Memorial High School senior founded a college mentoring program, was names a 2015 Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist, directs a youth choir at his church, plays the drums, is part of Key Club and Model UN and was elected to the homecoming court. And although he’s yet to make a definitive decision as to where he will enroll this fall, there seems to be a frontrunner. "I am leaning toward Yale. I competed at Yale for Model UN, and I like the passion people at Yale had,” he said. Ekeh will spend the coming weeks visiting all the schools before making his final decision. (For more on his story, head over to New York Post.)

Share your thoughts on Harold Ekeh's story in the comments section and be sure to let us know where you're headed this fall. And for information on the Ivies or countless other universities, use our College Search tool today! And don't forget to try and fund your education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by visiting Scholarships.com and conducting a free college scholarship search where you'll get matched with scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities that are unique to you!

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At These Universities, Sleep is a Priority

April 21, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

We've all been there: Going about our day as if we don't have a care in the world when it dawns on us that (go figure) that term paper on the pros and cons of procrastination in the creative process is due tomorrow. Panicked, we consider emailing our professor an excuse about a death in the family but given we killed off Nana (who's actually alive and well back home) last semester during finals week, we decide it’s best to pull an all-nighter. The next day, we're irritable, unmotivated and just plain sluggish and while the simple solution is to overcome procrastination and not leave an assignment until the last minute, some universities have implemented a temporary nap room while others offer free yoga and mindful awareness sessions. So which universities are prioritizing sleep?

According to the Daily Bruin, the University of California-Los Angeles recently hosted a series of events on campus to raise awareness about the importance of sleep. They even went as far as setting up a temporary nap room during "Sleep Week" and provided students the opportunity to participate in yoga and meditation sessions. The University of Alaska-Anchorage had its own event to help students learn tips about how to make small changes to improve their sleep habits. And for years, Georgetown University has put up posters on campus reminding students of the importance of a good night’s rest. "There's a weird pride in certain students when they pull all-nighters," Kendra Knudsen, a coordinator with the UCLA Mind Well initiative, told the Daily Bruin earlier this month. "They need to re-prioritize, if they don’t have time for sleep, looking at their schedule and seeing what is really important."

If you're a fan of napping between classes, do you think it’s your university's responsibility to provide nap rooms for students? Let us know what you think in the comments section. And don't forget to try and fund your education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by visiting Scholarships.com and conducting a free college scholarship search where you'll get matched with scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities that are unique to you!

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UVA Dean Bashes Rolling Stone Article in Open Letter

April 23, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

The University of Virginia's associate dean of students who was prominently featured in Rolling Stone's now retracted article "A Rape on Campus" has written an open letter of protest to the magazine's publisher, according to The Washington Post.

In the letter to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, Nicole Eramo asserts that the magazine acted "too little, too late" in retracting the article. Eramo, who works with student survivors of sexual assault, had been characterized as callous and indifferent to what Rolling Stone described as a brutal rape. "Using me as the personification of a heartless administration, the Rolling Stone article attacked my life's work... I saw my name dragged through the mud in the national press, and have received numerous abusive, vitriolic, and threatening emails, letters and phone calls," she wrote.

In December, The Washington Post reported that there were numerous discrepancies in the magazine account and police later confirmed that they could not substantiate any major claims in the story. Meanwhile, earlier this month, a report by the Columbia University journalism school concluded that the magazine account was deeply flawed and called it a "journalistic failure." Eramo has retained legal counsel from a firm that specializes in defamation cases. (For more on this story, click here.)

To learn more about the University of Virginia or countless other colleges, check out our College Search tool. While you're there, conduct a free college scholarship search to fund your education with as much free money as possible.

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