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Top 10 Least Expensive Colleges to Earn Your Degree

February 6, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

It seems as though students are willing to do just about anything to save money while in college, from working multiple low-paying jobs to sticking to an Ramen-noodle-only diet to applying early and often for college scholarships. But what if there was a more direct route to affordable education...like selecting a school that won't cost you $200,000 to attend.

According to USA Today, your best bet is Berea College in Kentucky. With the average annual price tag clocking in at $2,382, students pay $10,257 total for four years. We should mention that 100 percent of the student population receives financial aid and that students also participate in a labor program in order to keep costs low. In order to determine the figures, they multiplied the average net cost most students pay (including average amounts of financial aid) by the average length of time to graduate. The resulting number is the average price most students will end up paying. Interested in other affordable higher education options? Check out USA Today's top 10 least expensive colleges to earn your degree below:

Did any of your top choices make the list? If not, would you consider a college based on its affordability? Let us know 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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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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UC President Apologizes for Calling Student Protests “Crap”

March 20, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

After serious public outcry, University of California President Janet Napolitano publicly apologized Thursday for referring to a UC student protest as "crap" the day before.

Napolitano's gaffe occurred Wednesday when two dozen underwear-clad student protesters interrupted the UC regents meeting to protest next year's widely contested tuition hike. The students began chanting and some stood up on chairs and stripped down to symbolize that the tuition hikes were costing them the shirts off their backs. Napolitano then turned to Board of Regents chairman Bruce Varner and said, "Let's go. We don’t have to listen to this crap." The private remarks were caught on a university video feed. Napolitano and the UC Regents have been subject to protests since they approved a tuition hike in November that would raise tuition 5 percent per year for the next five years; the increase would raise next year’s in-state tuition to $12,804 from $12,192 and ultimately to $15,564 by 2019. (For more on the story, head over to the Los Angeles Times.)

Do you think Napolitano's comment was out of line? What do you think of the efforts made by these students to have their voices heard? Do you agree with their form of protest? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And don’t forget to check out our Financial Aid section for more info on college funding and while you're there, conduct a free college scholarship search where you'll get match with countless scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities!

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10 Elite Schools Where Middle-Class Students Don’t Pay Tuition

April 3, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

Despite the hefty sticker price associated with all elite institutions, estimated costs are actually quite affordable. In fact, Ivy Leaguers graduate with less debt than their peers who attended less prestigious schools. But how? It turns out that healthy endowment funds play a huge role in aiding low-income, middle-income and even upper-income students with tuition (and sometimes also room and board) costs. Check out 10 schools where some students pay little to nothing to attend:

  • Princeton University

    Tuition for 2015-16: $43,450
    Policy: Families making less than $54,000 a year don't pay tuition, room or board, and families making less than $120,000 a year don't pay tuition.
  • Brown University

    Tuition for 2015-16: $48,272
    Policy: Families making less than $60,000 don't pay tuition, room or board.
  • Cornell University

    Tuition for 2015-16: $48,880
    Policy: Families making less than $60,000 don't pay tuition, room or board.
  • Columbia University

    Tuition for 2014-15: $51,108
    Policy: Families making less than $60,000 don't pay tuition, room or board.
  • Duke University

    Tuition for 2015-16: $47,650
    Policy: Families making less than $60,000 don't pay tuition, room or board.
  • Harvard University

    Tuition for 2015-16: $45,278
    Policy: Families making less than $65,000 a year don't pay tuition, room or board.
  • Yale University

    Tuition for 2015-16: $47,600
    Policy: Families making less than $65,000 a year don't pay tuition, room or board.
  • Stanford University

    Tuition for 2015-16: $45,729
    Policy: Families making less than $65,000 a year don't pay tuition, room or board, and families making between $65,000 and $125,000 a year don't pay tuition.
  • MIT University

    Tuition for 2015-16: $46,704 (includes mandatory fees)
    Policy: Families making less than $75,000 a year don't pay tuition.
  • Dartmouth College

    Tuition for 2015-16: $48,120
    Policy: Families making less than $100,000 don't pay tuition.
  • With acceptance rates hovering at less than 10 percent at many of these schools, gaining access to the funding above is fiercely competitive. Do you think it's fair for students who don’t meet the Ivies' steep admissions standards to be saddled with crippling debt or should the ones that do be rewarded with an affordable, brand-name education? Let us know what you think 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 matched 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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Dealing with Uncertainty About the Future

March 20, 2014

by Julius Clayborn

I celebrated my 20th birthday this past year with cake, candles...and tears! Though they were more so tears of shock than sadness – I could not believe I was now going to be considered a "twenty-something" – I had to come to terms with the reality of no longer being a teenager. This also meant I had to address the imminent future and the work and real world responsibilities I would soon be faced with. I knew that I wasn't ready for my life to be filled with such things; I couldn't even remember to go to my professor's office hours (which she repeated over and over again) let alone remember to complete bigger tasks that would inevitably accompany adulthood!

I felt really confused and alone during this period of introspection because everyone else seemed to be handling adulthood just fine. But upon blurting out the absurdity of not wanting to grow older being afraid of what lies ahead, I soon discovered some of my classmates felt the same way. We realized that we weren't so much afraid of aging, but of not knowing what was next to come: We were uncertain about our futures, we didn't know what jobs we would obtain (or if we'd even get hired right after graduation), we didn’t know where we'd live and if we'd live up to expectations. That uncertainty was what resided at the crux of our fears.

What I've come to understand is that no one is ever completely sure. And I feel like life is kind of supposed to be that way...unpredictable and full of surprises. If we knew how everything was supposed to be already, there would be no growth. And with no growth, there is no learning. Now I embrace the unknown. In fact, I welcome it with open arms because I am positive that come what may, I will be stronger, wiser and better because of it.

Julius Claybron was born on Chicago’s South Side in the Harold Ickes public housing projects. At the age of five, he lost his father to diabetes and was raised by his mother and grandmother, who helped him to enroll in Urban Prep Academy – a public all-male college-preparatory high school – during his sophomore year. Julius started to read when he was just two years old and still enjoys escaping in books during his spare time. He is currently in his junior year at Cornell University, where he is an English major with a minor in Africana Studies.

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