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Department of Defense Supplying College Campuses with Military-Grade Equipment

September 11, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Grenade Launcher? Check. M-16s? Check. Armored Vehicles? Check. No, this isn’t an artillery checklist for a high-ranking general but rather the stockpile that could be located on a college campus near you.

According to reports, at least 117 colleges have acquired equipment from the Department of Defense through a federal program that transfers military surplus to law enforcement agencies across the country. Through the 1033 program, participating colleges don’t have to buy the equipment but are responsible for the cost of delivery and maintenance. They are prohibited from reselling or leasing the gear and are required to provide updates on the location of tactical gear, like armored vehicles and weaponry. To date, at least 60 institutions have acquired M-16s through the program: Arizona State University has the most with 70 in its arsenal, followed by Florida International University and the University of Maryland with 50 M-16s each. (The University of Central Florida received a grenade launcher in 2008.) “What was once the unthinkable has become the inevitable,” said UCF’s chief of police Richard Beary. “These bad guys have plans and are heavily armed, and law enforcement needs to be able to keep up with them. In order to do that, police officers need to be highly trained, well equipped, and ready to respond to any scenario.” (For more on this story, click here.)

Participants in the program argue that it provides departments – particularly those with limited budgets like campus police forces – with necessary gear at very little cost. Meanwhile, detractors contend that the procurement of tactical gear doesn’t help with the types of crimes that occur more frequently on college campus, like alcohol-related incidents and sexual assault. What are your thoughts on having military-grade artillery on campus? Let us know in the comments section.

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On the Hunt for Merit Aid? Apply Here!

September 16, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Here at Scholarships.com, we stress the importance of paying for your college education the best way we know how: with free money in the form of scholarships! And while scholarships might not fully cover your tuition and expenses, college applicants who aren't deemed financially needy in terms of their FAFSA should consider the importance of merit aid. It can make a huge difference in the schools they can realistically afford and students and families seeking this extra financial aid boost should consider researching schools more likely to dispense merit-based awards.

But with so many colleges and universities across the country, which ones are the best financial bets? Help has arrived in the form of U.S. News & World Report, which has compiled a list of the schools that awarded the highest percentage of merit-based funding to non-needy students during the 2013-14 academic year. (The stats do not include financially needy students who were given merit aid or students who received athletic scholarships or other tuition breaks.) Take a look:

High school students, does this data have you looking at these schools in a new light? Current college students attending one of the schools listed above, did merit aid make the difference as to whether or not you enrolled? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And as always, don’t forget to create a free Scholarships.com profile to get a personalized list of scholarship opportunities!

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Study: Send Your Kids to College, You’ll Live Longer

September 23, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Forget superfoods like acai berries and quinoa: Sending your kids to college might be the surest route to living a longer life!

According to new research by Esther Friedman of the RAND Corporation and Robert Mare of UCLA, parents of college graduates live two years longer than parents whose kids don't graduate high school. But how? College-educated children are able to influence their parents' behavior in positive ways: “Highly-educated offspring may directly improve their parents' health by convincing them to change their health behaviors.” (In other words, the child becomes the parent.) Friedman and Mare examined more than 25,000 individuals tracked in the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative sample of Americans aged 51 and over, from 1992 to 2006. They found that the effect on children's education on parents' life expectancy was not just coincidence – it was robust even after controlling for the parents' own socioeconomic resources. The takeaway from this research is that we may be able to better care for our future senior population by providing educational resources to children now. "Improving the education of younger generations could potentially improve the health of two generations of the family (the younger generation as well as their parents)," Friedman said. "This is something that policy makers could consider when evaluating the potential impact of a program.” (For more of this study, click here.)

What are your thoughts on the study? Do you think it's likely that children with a college education offer more financial means to take care of their parents as they age? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And don't forget to try and fund your college education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by creating a free profile on Scholarships.com.

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Demand for College Degrees Grows, Study Finds

September 30, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Reality check: For some students, heading off to college for four years isn't ideal. And while college isn't for everyone, an education should be. In order to stay competitive in the workforce, it's important to realize that there are opportunities in the form of both trade and vocational schools for students who don't see themselves attending classes on traditional college campuses...or are there?

According to a report by Boston-based labor analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies, more employers are demanding college degrees for positions that historically didn't require one. The shift is most significant for occupations traditionally dominated by workers without college degrees: For example, fewer than 20 percent of currently employed executive secretaries and executive assistants have bachelor's degree but now 65 percent of postings for such roles require the degree. Why? One reason may be that employers are requiring a bachelor's degree to narrow the applicant pool to a more manageable size. "For an individual employer, that may be an understandable step," said Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, in a statement. "When everybody does it, however, this becomes a trend that could shut millions of Americans out of middle-skill, middle-class jobs." (For more on this study, click here.)

What are your thoughts on upcredentialing in the workforce? What problems do you see arising? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And don’t forget to fund your college education the right way – free! Create a Scholarships.com profile today and get matched with funding opportunities that are unique to you.

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Five Questions to Consider When Visiting Prospective Colleges

October 21, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Show of hands, students: How many of you have known where you wanted to go to college for years? That’s a lot of you...but how many of you have visited said dream school and had a serious change of heart? Iiiiiinteresting.

Visiting colleges is an important part of the college selection process. It provides students the unique opportunity to experience the campus firsthand because while a college may look good on paper, seeing it for yourself will go a long way in determining if it’s right for you. Now before you start scheduling campus visits, the Huffington Post has compiled a list of questions to keep in mind once you’re there:

  • Which colleges should you visit? Research college websites to learn about curriculum, areas of specialty, activities and even arrange to attend upcoming events taking place at that school. Consider the campus setting/environment, size of the student body and what they’re offering in terms of financial aid and prioritize schools based on your wants and needs.
  • When should a student start visiting colleges? Starting the college visitation process as early as 9th grade is essential given the stakes and array of choices. Since admissions requirements and deadlines vary a great deal among colleges, getting an early start is a must. A student needs to see colleges and prepare early to increase their chances of being competitive.
  • What to do when you visit colleges? Get an overall view of the college through a campus tour and information session. Explore the college on your own for a better picture of what it has to offer. Sit in on classes related to your major, talk to current students about the school and campus life (and ask if they would attend the same college again), spend time in high-traffic areas to help envision yourself as part of the community and visit key areas/organizations of personal interest.
  • How do you make a great college fit as affordable as possible? It is important to be aware that there can be a huge tuition difference among colleges that are private, in state and out of state so be sure to research and apply for financial aid.
  • Examine job prospects of recent graduates. Get the statistics on how recent graduates are fairing in the current job market; consider what the average return on investment for certain majors, too.

Are there any tips you’d like to add? If so, please share them in the comments section. For more information on campus visits, visit our Resources section. And don't forget to try and fund your college education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by creating a free profile on Scholarships.com. (Our scholarship search allows you to search more than 2.7 million college scholarships and grants worth more than $1.9 billion!)

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How to Effectively Network While Still in College

October 8, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

If you're in college, chances are you've been reminded – on a daily basis, no less – about the importance of networking in the adult world. Why wait until then? Get a head start on building your network and you might connect with someone who could potentially help you find a job after you graduate. Need some help getting started? Check out U.S. News & World Report's six tips to network while still in college:

  • Play the student card: Take advantage of the fact that you’re still a student. Alumni are more likely to help you while you’re still in school because you’re just asking for advice and not looking for a job, says Heather Krasna, director of career services at the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs. Ask questions, request an informational interview and grow those relationships while there’s no pressure.
  • Use your friends’ parents as resources: Believe it or not, your friends’ parents are great contacts. Not only do they offer decades of experience but since there’s already a relationship established, you’re more likely to be comfortable asking for advice and possibly their contacts!
  • Get out of the bubble: Some campuses offer that country-like feel, a pastoral paradise if you will. And while it’s great not having big city distractions, it can hinder your networking opportunities. Emily Bennington, who helps college graduates transition into careers through her company, Professional Studio 365, suggests, “Rather than using your savings for a spring break in Daytona...go to a conference that's within your industry.”
  • Use LinkedIn: So you’re a whiz when it comes to Twitter and Facebook but if LinkedIn isn’t on your radar, you’re going to fall behind professionally. The sooner you familiarize yourself with LinkedIn, the better. Boasting more than 300 million members, it’s a great way to engage with professionals in your desired field.
  • Use Twitter strategically: Sure, Twitter keeps you posted on what’s most important to you (be that Kim Kardashian or Scholarships.com) but it can also provide an avenue for you to connect with professionals in your field. Make a list of people in your industry who you look up to and use the network to connect with them.
  • Get an internship: This tip is an oldie but a goodie. The value of an internship is undeniable – not only will you walk away with real-life experience to put on your resume, an internship puts you in eyesight of people who work in your field and positions you conveniently ahead of other job seekers.

Do you find these tips helpful? Do you have any that you’d like to add? If so, please mention them in the comments section. And for more tips on preparing for life after college, visit our Resources section. Plus, for more information on finding money for college and how to properly fund your college education, check out Scholarships.com Financial Aid section and conduct a free scholarship search today!

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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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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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10 Public Colleges with the Lowest Out-of-State Tuition

November 11, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

For the budget-conscious high school senior, it seems like a no-brainer to apply to the local state school for the best shot at affordable tuition. But that's not always the case: Depending on where you live, an out-of-state college may be even cheaper than your home state university. Don't believe us? Check out the list below from U.S. News and World Report for the top 10 public colleges with the lowest tuition for out-of-state students:

Did your prospective college make the list and does this information alter your interest in the school? 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 creating a free profile on Scholarships.com, where you’ll get matched with financial aid that is unique to you!

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Report: UChicago’s Local Financial Aid Initiative Shows Promise

December 4, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

In October 2012, the University of Chicago launched UChicago Promise, an initiative aimed at helping high school students in the city of Chicago gain admission, pay for and succeed in college. The cornerstone of the program is the commitment from the university to eliminate loans from financial aid packages of students from Chicago who are admitted.

Recently, the University released a report on the first year of UChicago Promise that shows hundreds of students, parents and high school guidance counselors have benefitted from the initiative. Check out some of the highlights below:

  • Contributed to a 48.8-percent boost in the number of Chicago applicants to the University of Chicago
  • Saved Chicago families a total of $89,475 in application fees through a new automatic waiver
  • Coached 1,100 students and parents through workshops on college interviews, essay writing and financial aid
  • Served more than 250 public school students through academic enrichment programs, including Upward Bound and the Collegiate Scholars Program
  • Brought more than 500 middle school and high school students to the UChicago campus through GEAR UP, a national program aimed at increasing access to postsecondary education

To read more on the first year-in-review report, click here. Share your thoughts on the University of Chicago’s local financial aid initiative. Do you think more universities should follow this trend? Do you know of any that already do? Let us know. And don’t forget that affordable college tuition can be expensive. Try to fund your education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by creating a free profile on Scholarships.com!

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