The Many Benefits of Honors Programs

Jul 13, 2015

by Erica Lewis

There are many opportunities that come from being a good student in high school...and I don't just mean scholarships. Many colleges have honors programs, which give students the chance to meet other high-achieving students and challenge themselves even more academically. There are many advantages to being in an honors program, such as opportunities to meet with professors one-on-one, take classes with other honors students and build your resume.

Honors program members have the chance to get to know their professors more personally and meet faculty that many students may not have to opportunity to meet. I'm in the honors program at UNL and I enjoy getting to know my professors more than just seeing them at the front of the room during lectures.

You may also be eligible for priority registration or special classes offered only to honors program students. These classes are specifically designed for honors students and are smaller in size compared to the typical class. You can get to know your professor and classmates really well in this setting. In fact, I have met some of my best friends have through the honors courses at UNL!

Being in an honors program is a great resume builder as well. Once you start college, your high school resume is essentially null and void so you pretty much have to start over. An honors program looks good on a resume because it shows that you have put in extra effort for those classes and aren't afraid of a challenge.

If you have the opportunity to join the honors program at your school, I strongly recommend it. It is an excellent way to meet professors, students and build your resume. It may require a little extra work, but trust me: It's worth it!

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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Presidential Leadership Scholarship Program Unveiled

Former Presidents Clinton and Bush Unveil New Leadership Program

Oct 27, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush unveiled the Presidential Leadership Scholarship Program aimed at helping academics and business leaders learn more about presidential leadership. Clinton said the initiative will encourage Americans to “have vigorous debate, serious disagreement, knock-down, drag-out fights, and somehow come to ultimately a resolution that enables the country to keep moving.” Are you interested?

Beginning in February 2015, the six-month Presidential Leadership Scholars training program will be stewarded by Clinton and Bush, as well as former President George H.W. Bush and the library of Lyndon B. Johnson. It will employ lectures, discussions and case studies from these four presidents’ terms to teach core leadership skills. Joshua Bolten, Bush’s former chief of staff, called the effort “the first collaboration ever among presidential centers in an ongoing initiative.” The program’s purpose is to help participants foster the skills they’ll need to address both the challenges and opportunities presented in the 21st century. Participants will use the tools developed throughout their course of study and apply them to an issue or challenge that is of particular relevance to his/her professional and civic pursuits. For more information on the program and how to apply, click here.

The Presidential Leadership Scholars program will provide participants the opportunity of connecting them with the best minds in leadership studies and the insights of the former presidents and people who served with them. And while it is aimed towards those who have approximately 10 years of professional experience, it’s never too early to start planning for your future: A great place to start is by creating a free profile on – you’ll be matched with financial aid opportunities that are unique to you!

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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Study Shows College Students May Need Guidance in Web Use

Jul 28, 2010

by Staff

You already know all about the technology gap, and probably have little faith in your instructors’ web know-how when compared to your own. A recent study, however, shows that you young people may not be as savvy as you think when it comes to online research.

Researchers from Northwestern University looked at 102 University of Illinois at Chicago students to determine how they went about their research when given a number of information-seeking tasks. The study, published by the International Journal of Communication, described the pitfalls of the trust students place in Google and the search engine’s rankings. The main criteria students looked at when choosing which sites to find their information on were where those sites were ranked in Google and other popular search engines like Yahoo!. They also placed little weight on more reputable sites ending in dot-gov or dot-edu, for example, when compared to dot-com pages.

According to the press release for the study, one student responded that they chose a particular site because it was the first to come up in Google. The student was unable to describe much else about that site. Other sites the students said they relied on to complete tasks included SparkNotes, Facebook, and Wikipedia. If you follow the blog, you may remember our tip to use Wikipedia as a starting point only when beginning research; the user-edited Encyclopedia should never be used as a reference, and anything you do find there should be fact-checked elsewhere.

The study suggests that students need more instruction on credible online sources and how to use the web and similar technologies appropriately. IT staff members would probably agree. In an article in eCampus News describing a recent survey of IT officials, faculty, and college students, students and instructors viewed their campuses’ use of technology in the classroom in a much more positive light than the IT staff members. According to that survey, IT staff says more needs to be done in terms of education technology on college campuses and the access to technology in the classroom by students and instructors.

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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Report Shows College Students Spending Less Time Studying

May 13, 2010

by Staff

A recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research has shown what many among the older generation may have been saying all along. College students today just don’t study as much as they did.

According to the paper, compared to their campus counterparts in 1961, the average full-time college student in 2003 spent at least 10 fewer hours per week on academic work (attending classes, studying, and completing assignments). The paper, titled The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Date, included analysis from two California researchers of data from both 1961 and the more recent National Survey of Student Engagement. <

The paper showed that there has been a decline in the number of hours spent on academic work since that first study in the 1960s. Students in 1961 spent about 40 hours per week in class and studying; about 24 hours of that was spent hitting the books specifically. Students today spend about 27 hours per week on academic work; 13 hours of that was spent studying and working on homework.

So are college students just lazier? The research doesn’t really point to an answer, but they did describe which factors probably weren’t the behind the decrease in study time. The declines can’t be explained by any one reason alone, like work or choice of college major, according to the paper, or "compositional changes" in the students themselves or the colleges they’re attending. The paper also showed that study times declined across all student groups and populations, meaning one group didn’t account for the decline more over another, skewing the data. The paper did suggest the way students study may be different.

Why do you think students are studying less? Articles on the paper since have suggested that college students simply have less time for school than in previous generations. They work more, spread themselves thin, and engage in more extracurricular activities to make themselves more competitive on the job market after graduation. Or it could be a technology issue. The Internet and social media may have made completing assignments easier, or, in a more negative light, have become such a distraction to students that it is  much easier to spend time online (and procrastinate, pull all-nighters) than open up a textbook. You’ve already heard about the hard time students have unplugging from their phones, computers, and social networking sites. What do you think?

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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Study Analyzes the Most Educated—and Unemployed—Generation

Feb 24, 2010

by Staff

The country's Millennials, the 50 million or so teens and 20-somethings who are entering adulthood around the start of the new millennium, are on track to become the most educated group of individuals the country has ever seen. But they're also entering adulthood to face the largest number of unemployed and out of work people in more than 30 years.

A study released today by the Pew Research Center included new data that surveyed 2,020 adults, including 830 Millennials, to determine how future generations will look and to nail down the "Millennial Identity." The study also drew on more than two decades of Pew Research Center surveys, and was supplemented by an analysis of Census Bureau data and other relevant studies. Among the findings, a record 39.6 of Millennials were enrolled in college as of 2008.

Although the recession has greatly affected their chances of landing jobs post-graduation (22 percent of businesses report they will hire fewer college graduates than in previous years), the group remains confident and upbeat about both their chances on the job market and the economy. About nine-in-10 either say that they currently have enough money or that they will eventually meet their long-term financial goals, despite the 37 percent of Millennials who reported they were unemployed, the largest number among this age group in more than three decades.

Among other findings: 

  • About one-in-six aged 22 and older admitted to returning to a parent's home because of the recession.
  • Nearly six-in-10 said that work ethic was one of the big differences between young and old workers; about three-fourths said that older people had the more impressive work ethic.
  • Nearly one-in-four have a piercing in some place other than an earlobe, and nearly four-in-10 have a tattoo. (Of those who are tattooed, half have two to five and 18 percent have six or more.)
  • More than eight-in-10 say they sleep with a cell phone near the bed, and nearly two-thirds admitted to texting while driving.
  • Three-quarters have created a profile on a social networking site like Facebook or Twitter, and one-in-five have posted a video of themselves online.
  • Two-thirds agreed that "you can't be too careful" when dealing with people, but place more trust in the federal government than previous generations.
  • One-in-four are not affiliated with any particular religion, but responded that they pray about as often as previous generations.
 The study also found that about 74 percent of all respondents, young and old, agreed that there was a generation gap. Most of this was related to technology use, although some was related to the state of the nation. About 41 percent of Millennials say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the country. About 26 percent of those 30 and older said the same, suggesting that the recent troubles with the economy have affected the older more than the young.

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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Graduation Rates Higher at Career Colleges than Community Colleges

Jan 28, 2010

by Staff

As a college degree has become increasingly necessary in our global economy, career colleges have rapidly risen in popularity. Career colleges are run as businesses and their degree programs are substantially more expensive than the equivalent at community colleges. However, their course offerings appeal to students, with online classes, flexible scheduling, and accelerated programs. Now, a new study shows there are additional draws to for-profit career colleges: compared to community colleges, students who attend career colleges are more likely to graduate.

The Imagine America Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides research and support for career colleges, released a report this week analyzing the retention and program completion rates of career college students in two-year programs, compared to those attending community colleges and not-for-profit two-year colleges. The study found that career colleges have substantially higher rates of both retention and graduation compared to public community colleges, and slightly higher rates compared to other private schools.

Currently, only 57 percent of full-time students at community colleges return the next year, compared to 72 percent of full-time students at career colleges and 68 percent of students at private not-for-profit two-year schools. Part-time students, the group typically seen as most at risk of dropping out, also fared better in retention at career colleges, with 60 percent returning the next year, compared to 42 percent at public two-year schools and 56 percent at private institutions.

Degree completion rates were also significantly higher at for-profit colleges, compared to community colleges. At for-profit schools, 59 percent completed their degree programs, compared with only 23 percent at community colleges. At not-for-profit private schools, 55 percent of students graduated. The degree completion rates at for-profit and private two-year schools are comparable to graduation rates at four-year colleges.

However, there are still questions about whether attending a career college is the best choice. Many in the higher education community have raised concerns over career colleges’ ability to educate students and prepare them to land lucrative jobs, especially given the high rates of student borrowing and student loan default among career college attendees. Currently, the Department of Education is debating increased regulation of career college recruiting to prevent students from borrowing more than they can afford or enrolling in costly programs that don’t produce a measurable economic benefit.

If you’re considering an associate’s degree or certification program, be sure to explore your options. There are pros and cons of both community and career colleges, as well as a number of other factors to be weighed in your college search.

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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States Post Historic Declines in Higher Ed Funding

Jan 19, 2010

by Staff

It’s no secret that the last couple years have been hard for higher education. The recession took a toll on colleges and students from a number of directions, and now a new study is analyzing the impact of state budget woes on public colleges and universities. The figures released this week in Grapevine, a publication focusing on state higher education support, show a continued decline in state funding for higher education and an accompany analysis suggests the funding cuts could have serious negative consequences for students at state colleges.

Overall, state higher education funding has declined 1.1 percent in 2009-2010, following a 1.7 percent decline in 2008-2009, down to $79.4 billion from a high of $80.7 billion in 2008. The declines represent a sharp reverse from the previous three years, which saw a 24 percent increase in state support for higher education. Without federal stimulus funding, a substantial part of which went to higher education, budget cuts would have been even more severe, with a 6.8 percent decline in funding over the course of two years.

Despite the stimulus, some states still made substantial cuts to higher education. While higher education funding reductions in California, Michigan, and Illinois have received the most press, these states were not alone in substantially reducing money spent on colleges. Even after the stimulus, 11 states still posted a decline of more than 5 percent in higher education funding in the last year, with Vermont seeing the steepest drop at 16.4 percent. Overall, 28 states experienced declines in funding after the stimulus, with 37 states reducing funding before stimulus dollars are factored in. Nine states also have shown a reduction in education spending that's severe or sustained enough to register as a decline over the last 5 years.

Other states have managed to increase higher education funding, however. Montana and North Dakota boasted the highest increases at 23.3 and 18.5 percent respectively, with revenue from energy helping to spare them from the dire budget situations most other states faced this year. Similarly, Texas increased education funding by 12.5 percent, even with a much larger population and overall budget.  North Dakota also registered the highest 5-year increase in education spending at 49.3%.

States’ higher education funding choices can have long-term consequences. A report issued last year by the State Higher Education Executive Officers (who also co-sponsored this study) shows that state cuts to higher education made during recessions tend to become permanent. So, while state university systems have more or less managed to weather this year’s cuts, they may not do so well in the future as a lack of adequate funding persists. The study published this week underscores this risk, giving three reasons the current budget trends could potentially reach what the authors term “crisis proportions.”

First, more than 5 percent of the current year’s state appropriations are from stimulus funds, which are exhausted after this year. Second, state revenues have fallen at an unprecedented rate and states are unlikely to quickly make up the difference in the coming years. Finally, the analysis casts doubt on whether schools are able to fully meet student demand, with enrollment caps, course cancellations, and higher tuition all serving as budget-driven barriers to enrollment. In short, state colleges may already be in danger of failing at their mission of educating their state’s students, and the situation is likely to only get worse in the coming years.

While these statistics are a bit dry and may at first seem like primarily a cause for concern among college administrators, they can have a direct effect on your college experience. If you choose to enroll at a state university, the state’s higher education spending has a direct impact on your tuition, your financial aid, and the quality of your college experience. Continued state budget troubles may make currently attractive universities less of a bargain, while increased state spending might help schools in out-of-the-way places like North Dakota flourish and provide better service to their students.

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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Students Suffering More Stress Now than in Great Depression

Jan 15, 2010

by Staff

Next time your grandparents bust out that “walked to school uphill in the snow” line, you can let them know that your generation has its problems too—and there’s a growing body of research to back that up. A new study released this week shows that students today are more stressed and depressed than students surveyed during the Great Depression.

A professor of psychology at San Diego State University, Jean Twenge, is the lead author of a new study that analyzes the responses of high school and college students who took the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, a popular psychological questionnaire, between 1938 and 2007. The analysis finds a sharp uptick in anxiety and depression among young people in 2007, compared to 1938. A full 31 percent of students experience “hypomania,” which is defined as a mix of anxiety and unrealistic optimism, compared to 5% in 1938, and 6% of high school and college students taking the survey could be classed as suffering from depression, compared to only 1% in 1938. More students also report trouble with authority or feeling like rules don’t apply to them.

While the study doesn’t conclusively show the cause of these increases, mounting evidence points to increased anxiety about finances and social status as a likely culprit. An Associated Press report on Twenge’s findings cites a national survey of college freshmen that found that 77% of 2008’s incoming college students considered financial success either “essential” or “very important” in their lives. Part of this anxiety could be due to increased concern about keeping up appearances and earning the admiration of peers, while some of it could also reflect much more concrete concerns about earning enough to be financially secure.

The recent recession has highlighted the uncertainty and instability of job prospects in many careers and it is increasingly difficult for students to game the system and find a “safe bet” at a high-paying career. Jobs in law and finance are down, and even students who majored in computer science, one of the go-to degrees of the last decade, can face difficulties finding good jobs. College costs have skyrocketed, admission has gotten more competitive at top schools, and research has shown that lower-income students lag behind richer students in completing degrees. Based on these very real concerns, it’s easy to see why high school and college students are stressed about money.

If you want to minimize stress and anxiety in your life, there are some concrete steps you can take. First, do what you love. If you don’t know what that is, spend some time exploring majors and careers that interest you through internships, volunteering, and taking a variety of classes. Find a college where you fit in and can excel—research shows the effort you put in is the biggest factor in determining what you get out of college. Take some time to look for scholarships to help you reduce the stress associated with debt and also reap some of the benefits of college success that have been associated with winning scholarships.  Finally, if you're feeling stressed out about life and money, take some solace in knowing that you're not alone and that your school has resources, including counseling, that can help you cope.

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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Report Argues Flagship Universities Not Doing Enough for Low-Income Students

Jan 14, 2010

by Staff

While state universities are held up as examples of high-quality college educations at affordable prices, not everyone who wants to go to college can afford them. A new report by the advocacy group The Education Trust looked at this concern and found that despite heavily publicized campaigns enacted in the last few years, public flagship universities still are not doing enough to enroll and assist low-income and minority students.

Public flagships tend to be relatively large, research-oriented universities and are typically considered the most academically challenging and highly respected public schools in the country. Contrary to private colleges, a central part of the mission of public universities is to educate the students of the state, including the ones who cannot afford to pay full freight. Concerns have repeatedly been raised that the makeup of public flagship universities has looked less and less like the makeup of their states over time, suggesting a failure to uphold their public mission.

The Education Trust published a report in 2006 that provided support for these concerns, showing that low-income and minority students were underrepresented at state flagships when compared to the states’ overall college-going populations. The new report, entitled Opportunity Adrift, revisits this issue and winds up reprising the initial report’s criticisms, saying that while universities have put more money toward recruiting and funding low-income and minority students, they still have a lot of room for improvement.

Between 2003, the year their first report analyzed, and 2007, the source of the current report’s data, minority students became slightly better represented at the nation’s 50 public flagship universities. However, the improvement was only slight and disparities continue.  Similarly, average financial aid has increased sharply for students in the bottom income quintile, while holding more or less steady for other income levels from 2003-2007. After adjusting for inflation, students with the lowest income received an average of 23% more institutional grant aid in 2007 than they did in 2003. However, about $750 million of flagship universities’ $1.9 billion total institutional aid goes to students with family incomes over $80,400, students who probably have significantly less financial need.

Despite the shift in aid priorities from merit-based awards to need-based awards, public flagship universities actually enroll a higher percentage of high-income students and a lower percentage of low-income students than they did in 2003. Budget woes of the last two years are likely to drive this gulf even wider as schools find themselves needing to enroll more tuition-paying students and states are forced to cut funding to aid programs that may help low-income students enroll in public universities.

Individual institutions have made marked improvements in enrolling and funding low-income and minority students and the report takes care to highlight their achievements. However, the main conclusion of the report's authors is that more needs to be done to ensure that high-achieving students from disadvantaged backgrounds continue to be able to access higher education that can help them improve their lives. Research has shown that low-income students are less likely to attend colleges that challenge them and are more likely to opt not to go to college or to drop out before completing their degrees. A growing body of work, including this latest report, suggests that recruiting and retaining low-income and minority students should be a primary concern for public flagship universities that want to uphold their missions of providing an affordable college education to their states' populations.

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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Report Analyzes State of Latinos in Higher Education

Dec 16, 2009

by Staff

A report released today examines what policy makers should be paying attention to when crafting educational policies that benefit all college students. The report also comes to the conclusion that many decisions regarding Latinos in higher education are based on misconceptions about that student population.

The report, "Taking Stock: Higher Education and Latinos," was put together by Excelencia in Education, an organization that looks at racial and ethnic trends to identify where the need exists for more effective educational policies. The Lumina Foundation for Education, Jobs for the Future, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) supported the report.

In a preview of the report earlier this week, The Chronicle of Higher Education described conversations at a panel discussion on Monday morning with the report's authors and leaders from a number of Hispanic organizations. The panelists suggested that public policy is based less on facts and more on stereotypes that define Latinos as an immigrant population with high drop-out rates. A majority of Latinos, however, are native-born and want to succeed in higher education.

Other highlights of the report include the following:

  • Administrators should look into expanding current college and university programs that are proven to accelerate Latino success and graduate Latino students.
  • Policy makers should consider the success of Latino students, a rapidly growing student population, when considering the educational success of the entire country.
  • In order to meet President Obama's degree-completion goals, policy makers must make degree completion among Latino students more of a priority.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of Hispanics enrolled in college rose from 20 percent in 1996 to 24 percent in 2006, a greater increase than seen among white students. Still, Hispanic students are still lagging behind other groups when it comes to college admission, retention and graduation rates. Studies looking into that attainment gap suggest that while most Hispanic students believe in the value of a college degree, their educations may be cut short for a variety of reasons. In data released in October by the Pew Hispanic Center, about 74 percent of respondents said they had to leave school because of personal and family responsibilities. Others said poor English skills hampered their ability to keep up with the rigors of college, and even high school. About 40 percent said it was just too expensive to go to college.

All minority students should know there is help out there when it comes to funding your education. Scholarships for minorities are the most common student-specific awards out there, and minority students are eligible for funding from not only the federal government, the state, and their intended colleges, but outside organizations that aim to diversify college campuses. Try conducting a free scholarship search to find not only Hispanic scholarships, but scholarships based on a myriad of criteria specific to you.

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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