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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The University of Virginia's associate dean of students who was prominently featured in Rolling Stone's now retracted article "A Rape on Campus" has written an open letter of protest to the magazine's publisher, according to The Washington Post.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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Man Caught Taking Candid Photos of College Women, Posting to Porn Site

April 16, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

In a world where just about every Tom, Dick and Harry has a smartphone, it seems as though any innocent bystander is at risk of becoming some stranger's unknowing subject. But what happens when your candid photo gets posted online...to a porn site? Gross!

Last week, the University of Hawaii at Manoa warned students about a man who was taking photos of women and posting them to a porn website. According to reports, the man posted candid photos of 140 women and identified them on the site as students at UH Manoa. And while all the women were fully clothed, one has to ask: What can be done? What laws were broken? Can he be stopped?! Shockingly, this man was within his rights to post these photos despite not asking permission to do so. Myles Breiner, a defense attorney, told Hawaii News Now that because the women were in a public area and were fully clothed, the photographer did not break any laws. "The fact of the matter is, there's nothing illegal," Breiner told HNN. "Unless there's some economic loss, simply someone saying something mean or inappropriate about you, unless you can show damages, there's not a lot you can do." Luckily, UH Manoa's Department of Safety announced that they had identified a person of interest and were working with the Honolulu police. "We are by no means sitting on our hands or washing our hands of this," said Daniel Meisenzahl, a spokesman for the university. (For more on this story, head over to the Huffington Post.)

Do you think UH Manoa should issue a restraining order on the photographer? If he's a student, should he be expelled? Let us know what you think. Please share your thoughts in the comments section. And to learn more about the University of Hawaii at Manoa and other colleges, check out our College Search tool. While you're there, conduct a free college scholarship search where you'll get matched with scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities.

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What to Consider Before Opting Out of Standardized Tests

May 1, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

Standardized testing is as much – if not more – a part of the college process as tweeting your acceptance, Snapchatting your new roomies and buying a shower caddy...or at least it used to be: According to reports, there is a growing trend toward test-optional admissions. What does that mean? If a student decided to apply to a test-optional institution, they can choose whether or not to submit ACT/SAT scores as part of their application. Thinking about signing up? Don’t shred your test prep materials into confetti just yet; here are some things to consider, courtesy of Time Magazine:

  • Your academic record: When admissions counselors evaluates a test-optional application, they pay particular attention to grades and the difficulty of the completed curriculum. Students who excel in AP, dual-enrollment, honors and IB courses – and who have the high marks to prove it – may find that test-optional admissions is particularly well suited to them.
  • Your exam history: If your exam results do not reflect your marks on most other academic tasks, test-optional admissions may be right for you.
  • Your prospective schools: Consider the colleges and universities to which you plan on applying. How many of these schools offer test-optional admissions? If even one school requires a standardized exam, it may be worth submitting your scores to every prospective college on your list.
  • Your financial aid prospects: Some academic institutions and outside organizations require ACT/SAT results as part of their decision-making process. Before you commit yourself to test-optional admissions, research the criteria for any grants or scholarships that appeal to you. If test-optional admissions will limit any needed financial aid, it may be best to follow a more traditional admissions path.

Do you think the test-optional admissions practice is the way of the future? What do you think is a better barometer of qualified applicants: test scores or essays? 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 matched with scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities that are unique to you!

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College Student Allegedly Caught Poisoning Roommates’ Food

May 5, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

A University of South Carolina student is facing felony charges and possible jail time after a hidden camera allegedly caught her spitting and pouring cleaning fluid into her roommates' food.

According to police, 22-year-old Hayley King can be seen in the video – recorded on February 4th – spitting and pouring Windex into multiple containers of food in the off-campus apartment she shared with two roommates. According to Columbia Police Department incident report, King’s roommates set up the camera after "multiple altercations" with the suspect caused them to fear what she was doing when they were not home. They tried to get King to move out because of said altercations but she refused. Police arrested King on February 9th after her roommates showed authorities the video. After reviewing the footage, police called King in for an interview, where she later confessed to the incident. She has been charged with unlawful, malicious tampering with human drug product or food – a Class C felony carrying a term of up to 20 years in prison, if convicted. She was released a day after her arrest on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

Do you think King should face the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison? Share your thoughts in the comments section. For more information on roommates and communal living, check out our Campus Life section.

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, visit Scholarships.com and conduct a college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Want to Earn an Extra Million Dollars? Choose Your Major Wisely

May 12, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

When choosing a major, most would agree that it's important to consider gaining lucrative employment following graduation. In a perfect world, the best college major would simply be the one that interests you most, period. But if you have a particular knack for math or science and aren't necessarily sure where those skills would translate best, consider the kinds of careers that could offer a generous return on your investment.

According to a new report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, going to college pays off but by how much depends greatly on the area of study. For example, students who complete undergraduate degrees in petroleum engineering earn a median $4.8 million throughout their careers (or $136,000 a year) – more than triple the $1.4 million in median earnings (or $39,000 a year) for someone who majored in early childhood education, the report says. "The surprises are in the details," said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce. Just choosing a major in a STEM field doesn't secure a hefty paycheck, either: Carnevale's team found that biology majors have median annual wages of $56,000 over their careers from age 25 to 59, or about one-third less than physicists. There are also wide ranges in salaries for specific majors. The top 25 percent of earners who majored in finance can expect annual earnings of more than $100,000, while the bottom quartile may bring in just about $50,000 a year. (For more on this report, head over to the Wall Street Journal.)

Do you agree with the sentiment that majors that aren't in high demand should be avoided or should students be encouraged to pursue their passion regardless of potentially high unemployment rates? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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 Scholarships.com and conduct a college scholarship search 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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Is Harvard Biased Against Asian American Applicants?

Complaint Alleges University Sets Higher Bar to Limit Asian Enrollment

May 19, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

Applying to some of the top universities in the country is undoubtedly unnerving given the quality of the applicants and the impossibly low acceptance rates. But what if because you were an Asian-American student seeking admission, you were held to an even higher standard? Well, that is what a coalition of 64 organizations is claiming.

According to the compliant, which was filed with the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, Harvard University set quotas to keep the numbers of Asian-American students significantly lower than the quality of their application merits. It cites third-party academic research on the SAT exam showing that Asian-Americans have to score on average about 140 points higher than white students, 270 points higher than Hispanic students and 450 points higher than African-American students to equal their chances of gaining admission. "Many studies have indicated that Harvard University has been engaged in systemic and continuous discrimination against Asian-Americans during its very subjective 'holistic' college admissions process," the complaint alleges. The coalition is seeking a federal investigation and is requesting Harvard “immediately cease and desist from using stereotypes, racial biases and other discriminatory means in evaluating Asian-American applicants.” (For updates on this story, check out the Wall Street Journal.)

What are your thoughts on Harvard’s admission process? Share your opinions in the comments section.

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, visit Scholarships.com and conduct a college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Seven Tips for Repaying Your Student Loans

May 22, 2015

by Suada Kolovic

If you're a recent college graduate, chances are you’ll have to start paying off your student loans sooner than you think. And even with the economy in a slump, don’t expect a free pass on not paying your loans. Are you starting to panic? Well, don’t! There’s a ton of advice out there to help students stay on track and courtesy of the U.S. News and World Report, here are seven tips for repaying your student loans.

  • Repay you student loans automatically. Make things easier on yourself by setting up automatic withdrawals from your bank account. This reduces the chance of late or missing payments.
  • Aim for 10 years. The traditional repayment period for student loans is 10 years and ideally you'll be able to pay off all your debt within that time period. If you end up struggling with your monthly payments, however, you could stretch out your loans to 20 or even 30 years. Your monthly payments will become more manageable but you will end up paying a lot more in interest.
  • Stay organized. Having multiple student loans can be a challenge to keep track of but with the government's National Student Loan Data System, you’ll be able to track all your federal student loans in one place.
  • Pay off the loans with the highest interest rates first. A high interest rate costs you every month and compounds that amount you owe every month you aren’t paying off the entire balance.
  • Consider IBR. The IBR is a federal Income-Based Repayment program that allows a borrower to repay his or her federal loans based on what is affordable and not what is owed.
  • Keep abreast of student loan developments. Staying informed is just as important as making your payments. Familiarize yourself with websites that are devoted to college debt issues like Project on Student Debt and the National Consumer Law Center's Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project.
  • Contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman. Sometimes your relationship with a lender can go belly-up. If you end up in a dispute, the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman may be able to help resolve the issue.

Are there any tips you'd like to add? Share your suggestions in the comments section.

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 Scholarships.com and conduct a college scholarship search 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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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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NFL War Widow Fights to Provide Scholarships to Soldiers

March 21, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Ten years after NFL-player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, his widow is moving on while honoring his legacy.

After the nationwide outpouring of support following Pat’s death, Marie Tillman, along with family and friends, established the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2004. Four year later, they refocused their mission and founded the Tillman Military Scholarship Program that provides about 60 scholarships a year to active-duty service members, veterans and military spouses to pursue their college education. Since the program’s inception, the Foundation has invested more than $4 million in scholarships for 290 scholars nationwide. In addition to an educational scholarship, Tillman Military Scholars receive access to the Tillman Community, leadership opportunities and Fortune 500 veteran affinity groups, the chance to participate in groundbreaking research studies in the veterans and military community and much more. “We’ve been grateful that Pat’s story continues to resonate with people,” says Marie. “Every scholar has an amazing story,” she added. (For more on this story, click here.)

Think you have what it takes to become a Tillman Military Scholar? Visit Pattillmanfoundation.org or visit us at Scholarships.com for more info.

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Cleveland Law School Offers “Risk-Free” J.D. Program

March 25, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

The decision to pursue a law degree is not one that should not be taken lightly. Analyzing your hopes and needs prior to applying will help you decide whether it’s worth your time, effort and money. It’s also crucial to examine the possible downsides: crippling student debt, high unemployment rates and declining starting salaries. At this point, if you’re still interested in studying law, you might want to consider a law school that’s offering the country’s first “risk-free” juris doctor program.

Following a recent trend among law schools to attract prospective students, the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University announced that beginning this spring, a student who decides to not continue law school after successfully completing their first year of studies can graduate with a Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) degree without taking any additional courses. And although students with this degree will not be permitted to sit for the bar exam, this approach will provide students with a foundation in law without preparing them to practice. “The new opportunity removes at least some of the financial and personal risk inherent in a large educational undertaking and comes at a time when people appreciate more guarantees,” said Craig M. Boise, Cleveland-Marshall’s dean. He added, “For these students, the first year of law school might have seemed like a waste and a hard-to-explain item on their resumes. Now they can leave with a master’s degree that we believe will be attractive to employers.” (For more on this story, click here.)

Law school hopefuls, does the “risk-free” J.D. program at CSU’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law help quell your anxieties given the weak legal job market? Do you think this program (which is essentially one-third the cost and time of a traditional law program) would be viable or not? Let us know in the comments section.

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