Archive for the ‘campus news’ Category

SOME GOOD NEWS FOR STUDENTS & FAMILIES

February 13, 2009

Some Good Financial Aid News for Families

The current economy defines the term “dark cloud”, and like most, it has a silver lining.  Colleges throughout the country, including those offering online degree programs, are increasing their financial aid and scholarship budgets.  In addition, many are trying to minimize tuition and fee increases and extend their tuition payment plans to make themselves more affordable.

Some Good Admissions News for Students

Many public colleges and universities are actively seeking out-of-state students.  While the colleges and universities do, for the most part, value geographic diversity, their stepped up recruiting of out-of-staters is about something else; money.  It’s simple…out-of-state students pay higher tuition.

Of course, some states limit out-of-state enrollment to keep in-state taxpayers happy, but many do not. 

Why is the trend of increased out-of-state recruiting good news for students?  It’s because it is now much easier than ever before for students to get into many state colleges and universities.

In addition, it may mean that some state institutions will soon be discounting tuition for students from other states. 

And, it seems likely that online colleges will work harder to find scholarship and financial aid help for their students.

Advertisements

A University Closes and we Rejoice – Good New Web Pages

February 3, 2009

Good Bye and Good Riddance

Warren National University, formerly known as Kennedy Western University, is about to close.   Normally, a university closing is cause for regret, but not this time.  After some bad press, richly deserved in our opinion, the University changed its name and location.  But it could never attain regional accreditation and, in the end, could not survive the vastly improved educational licensing laws in Wyoming (long a refuge for educational scoundrels).  The University’s website directs students to Preston University, a State licensed institution in Alabama which is not accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved agency.

Nobody should be surprised or saddened by the loss of Warren National University.  In fact, we recognized it for what it was years ago, and refused to list it on our online college or online degree websites. 

Good New Educational Web Pages

We are very excited about the two pages we have recently added to College Scholarships, Online Degree Programs, and Colleges: one is a college savings calculator; the other is the very best GPA calculator we’ve ever seen.  You can enter grades for up to 50 courses and determine your grade point average  almost instantly.  Try it.

New Veteran’s Benefits Summary, College Announces Tuition Freeze

December 12, 2008

Our guest blog article today is provided courtesy of Allied American University (AAU), a military friendly college that offers online associate and bachelor’s degree programs.
New GI Bill Benefits Will Send More Veterans to College
This past summer Congress voted to increase GI Bill benefits for American veterans, and US colleges are expecting to enroll more and more veterans, many of them fresh from the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The increased benefits will allow many veterans to focus solely on school when they get out, instead of trying to balance full-time work while they tackle a degree. Right now there are currently 320,000 students taking advantage of GI Bill benefits, which is based on the federal program created at the end of World War II to help returning veterans pay for college.

Modifications to the GI Bill now allow veterans to attend private schools, in addition to providing them with a monthly housing stipend, as well as money to help pay for textbooks. 

“We’ll see a huge increase in vets going to school,” Rodrigo Garcia, Midwest regional director of Student Veterans of America told the South town Star. “Before they were hesitant to go to school because many of the vets have families and wanted to take care of them. It was too pressing to take classes, work full time and provide for the kids.”

The new GI Bill benefits will go into effect in Aug. 2009 and many experts predict that as many as 500,000 vets will enroll in college using the benefits. Many universities these days are proactive in making sure veterans enrolled at their respective schools know about the new benefits. 

The transition from the military to the university is often a difficult one for veterans.   There is certainly a world of difference between a typical 19-year-old freshmen and a veteran who may be in his late 20s, with multiple combat tours under his belt.

There are also veterans who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or have physical disabilities as a result of war-time injuries. Veterans with disabilities qualify for special assistance through the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program of the VA, which may pay 100% of a veteran’s expenses until graduation.

Many veterans began their education before they separated from the service, by using Tuition Assistance to pay for classes at both community colleges and four-year universities. Some service members took classes online, which allowed them to study while deployed.

In the state of Illinois, for example, there are now 15,500 veterans enrolled in college. When the new GI Bill goes into effect next August, veterans who served on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001 will be eligible for benefits (some restrictions apply).

The government will pay the full-cost of tuition and fees for veterans who served three years on active duty or were injured. The housing allowance, for example, for a veteran in the Chicago, Ill.-area will be approximately $1,600 per month.  Veterans will also receive up to $1,000 annually for books and other school supplies, plus $100 a month for tutoring.

There are now a number of online universities that specialize in enrolling veterans and service members. Many of them offer textbook and military spouse scholarships, along with self-paced schedules and other military-friendly policies.
Good News from Merrimack College

Merrimack College (North Andover, MA) announced today that it will not raise tuition, room, or board next year.

Free Education, Rising Textbook Costs, College Grads Suffer Lower Unemployment, & More

December 8, 2008

Texas A&M University System Offers a Free Education to Some Students from Low Income Families

The Texas A&M University System has approved a new program that will provide full tuition and fees for incoming freshmen from families earning less than $30,000 a year who earn a grade point average of 2.5 or higher.

Textbook Costs Continue to Rise

According to the Baltimore Sun, college students now spend nearly $1,000 a year for textbooks.  Of course, students can reduce their cost by renting textbooks or purchasing used texts, but it is way past time for colleges and universities to demand that publishers reduce prices.

College Grads Fare Better in Joblessness

According to CNN.money.com, college graduates are currently half as likely to be unemployed as those without college degrees.  However, grads are not immune from the current ecomomic crunch.  In November, more than 1.4 million graduates were without jobs.

Online College Student Enrollment Rises

Although some traditional colleges and universities have experienced enrollment declines, the number of students enrolled in online degree programs is continuing to rise as more and more working adults further their education.

The Economy is in the Toilet; Is my College Education?

October 20, 2008

The Economy is in the Toilet; Is my College Education?

Financing College Costs in a Tough Economy

Virtually every family in America, regardless of its economic standing, is concerned about the current state of the U.S. economy.  In fact, the economy has displaced the war in Iraq as the single biggest issue in the current Presidential campaign.

Families with teenagers and children in their early 20’s are especially concerned about one economic issue; how to meet college costs.

Even families who began saving for college when their children were infants may come up short, particularly if their college savings are in stocks or real estate.  There seem to be two principal categories of families, those who had no college savings plan and those whose savings are worth at least 25% less than they were two months ago.

College and university endowments, because they are heavily invested in the stock market, are also down considerably.  That’s important because, for all but the very wealthiest colleges, a decline in endowment value may reduce the financial resources available for college-funded (institutional) scholarships.

These scholarships are a very important part of financial aid packages, especially at private colleges and universities, which tend to be more expensive than state colleges and universities .  In fact, currently, private colleges offer students enough institutional-based scholarships to offset approximately 35% of tuition costs.  As previously stated, the elite colleges have so much money that their ability to offer institutional aid will not be impacted seriously even if the economic downturn continues.

Other institutions will have no choice but to maintain or even increase their scholarship expenditures, even if it means deep cuts in other areas, in order to meet their enrollment goals.  Still others, however, may not be able to afford the level of institutional scholarships awarded in recent years.

It seems reasonable to guess that, until the national economy recovers, there will be changes in the way colleges recruit and select students, and in the ways in which students and families make their college choices.  Thus far, the economic downturn has brought a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty to families and colleges.

So, what should you do in the midst of so much economic uncertainty?  Here’s where you might start.

1. Do not panic.  Your ability to attend college may not be at all affected by our national economic woes. And, if you are affected, it will be a case of which college you attend, not if you can afford to go to college.

2. Meet with your high school counselor and admissions and financial aid counselors at the colleges you are considering to be sure you are aware of all of your financial aid options.  Remember, few students have to pay full tuition and fees.

3. See if your high school counseling office has a list of scholarships offered by organizations in or near your community. Remember, competition for these scholarships may be limited, which is good news for you.

4. Use Google or Yahoo to search for “college scholarships”.  You’ll find more than 60 free scholarship search sites.  Each will “match” you to appropriate scholarships.

5. Avoid at all costs any company which claims it can help you qualify for more scholarships or financial aid than you would otherwise receive.  Most such organizations, maybe all, are more interested in taking your money than in getting you money.

6. Look for educational bargains…lower priced colleges of high quality.  There more than you think, especially in the South.

7. Consider educational loans.  Remember that education is the best investment you can make in your future.  But, resist the temptation to borrow more than is absolutely necessary.

Remember the story of Chicken Little.  Although no responsible economist is minimizing the depth our current economic problems, there is no reason to believe that they will impact students’ ability to pursue higher education.  However, students and their families will be well served by careful college financial planning, increased emphasis on researching their options, and more frequent contact with high school and college counselors who have the expertise to guide them.

New Online Schools Page, Troy University Joins the Hall of Shame

August 14, 2008

NEW ONLINE SCHOOLS PAGE

The College Scholarships, Colleges, and Online Degree website has a new online school page.  It has been live for just two days, and has links to about 20 accredited online high schools.  In the near future, it will be expanded to include many, many more kinds of online schools.

TROY UNIVERSITY JOINS THE HALL OF SHAME

What is the price of victory on the football field at Alabama’s Troy University?  That’s not a rhetorical question…it’s a question Troy’s President and athletic staff should be made to answer.

According to newspaper reports, Josh Jarboe will attend Troy and join its football team.  The highly sought after Jarboe was signed by the University of Oklahoma, a team that might be able to score 50 points against every school in the Sun Belt, the conference in which Troy competes.  SThus,  Jarboe would be a great signing for Troy, accept for a few details.

He was convicted of bringing a gun to a GA high school and carrying an unlicensed firearm.  A sympathetic judge reduced the charges to misdemeanors.  Non-cynics can believe it was because Jarboe had no prior convictions.  In this day of increasingly frightening campus violence, those of us who are a bit cynical (or a bit more realistic) are more likely to think Jarboe got the kind of break that seems to be reserved for talented athletes.

Jarboe was sentenced to probation and community service, and Oklahoma stuck with him.  Again, cynics and non-cynics are free to disagree about why.  But, when an online video showed Jarboe rapping about “guns and shooting people” according to an Associated Press article, OK football coach Bob Stoops and/or his superiors had second thoughts.  

Up stepped Troy, which is apparently welcoming Jarboe’s presence. 

If there were a student I cared about at Troy, I’d be contacting the University today to question their decision. 

If I were an administrator at Troy, I would be tring to pull up the welcome mat and let somebody else have the pleasure of Mr. Jarboe’s company. 

If I were a student at Troy, I’d be organizing a protest.  

Let’s see what happens.

Protecting College Students Against Identity Theft

August 2, 2008

 

As millions of students get ready to head to college and establish their independence, identity thieves are ready for them.  Already huge targets, college-age students were in the largest category (34%) of all identity theft victims last year. College students are prime candidates for identity theft problems due to the lack of preventative measures taken, the large number of individuals with access to personal information and a credit industry bombarding them with free offers and easy-to-obtain credit cards.  

 

Todd Davis is the CEO of LifeLock, the nation’s first identity theft prevention service for consumers and also a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist.  He has these tips for parents and college-bound students to help protect them from becoming victims of identity theft.

 

1.  Back to school shopping — Back to school shopping usually means new clothes as well as school supplies, including notebooks, laptops, highlighters, pens and pencils. This year though, make sure to add a paper shredder to the shopping list. Report cards, financial aid forms, housing information, class schedules are among the tons of paperwork created each school year that include students personal information that needs to be protected. It doesn’t take much for someone to play the role of you – shred it and forget it!
 

2.  College Housing – No matter what year in school you happen to be starting, chances are you have a roommate. We all want to trust those around us, but living in an apartment, dorm, fraternity or sorority house often forces you to be around many people you don’t know all that well. Keep close tabs of what information is out in the open, on your computer or in your mail. Sometimes the people that can do the most harm are those closest to us.     
 

3.  Parents … Check the credit reports — Let’s be realistic … college students won’t order or check credit reports. Parents should do this for them. Before school begins, parents should have their children order their free credit reports and have them sent home. Parents can then check them to make sure all is in order. The major credit bureaus are required to give you one free credit report a year. If you see something that doesn’t look right, check it out.  Checking your credit report won’t prevent bad guys from opening new accounts in your name.
 

4.  What if your school can’t protect you? — Since January 2005, more than 200 universities, colleges, school districts and financial institutions for student loans have lost personal information for more than 8 million students and faculty. While these institutions have been quick to spend money to beef-up security systems, breaches with name, date of birth and social security numbers continue to be lost or stolen at a steady pace. Take steps to make sure you have protected your identity entirely, in the event someone your information should become vulnerable to thieves.
 

5.  Reduce the junk mail — It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t have a mailbox full of direct mail offers for credit cards, offers for instant credit and other merchandise. Opt out of junk mail and pre-approved credit card offers. Companies love sending these to college students because they know they will be spending money during the upcoming semesters. Identity thieves can pull these offers from your mailbox or trash, and in minutes fill out those applications, change the address to their own address and start spending money using your good name.
 
 

6.  Set your FREE fraud alerts — Before attending your first class, have fraud alerts placed on personal information. Offered by the three major credit bureaus, fraud alerts mean creditors are to contact you directly and get your approval every time someone tries to open a new credit account in your name or change an address.  This way, even if the wrong person does get your information, you can stop them from opening new accounts.  You can place those fraud alerts yourself but they must be renewed every 90 days and can fail when creditors don’t make the call. Paying someone like LifeLock a small monthly fee to take care of the fraud alerts for you is one less thing to worry about and provides a $1 million guarantee. For children under 16, this will ensure no credit activity has taken place.

REMINDER:  Many traditional colleges and universities are still accepting applications for fall enrollment, and some are still offering scholarships.  Similarly, it is not too late to enroll in an online college or online university or to apply for financial aid.

Don”t Let the Scholarship Scam Artists Get You

July 12, 2008

Used cars salesmen get much more bad press, but they’re a lot higher on the food chain than the scholarship scam artists who victimize tens of thousands of families a year.

Some in the higher education community believe these scammers put more than $100 million in their pockets every year.

Because the media bombard us with stories about escalating college costs, and because most of us know little about the availability of scholarships and financial aid, we’re often easy victims.

The con starts with a letter from a company named to sound like a benign organization whose mission is to assist students and their families.

The letter doesn’t look like the other junk mail you are deluged with every day. The company logo often looks like it might belong to Yale or Harvard, and the letterhead and paper look like they might come from the White House or a Fortune 500 company. Like the scammers themselves, the promotional materials they use look credible.

In nearly all the letters they send, the con men begin by reinforcing families’ fears about their ability to meet college costs. Not exactly a task requiring the intellect of a rocket scientist.

But, the letter says, we can help you. We can teach you how to get the financial aid you need. Your worries are over. In some instances the letters will mention “secrets colleges don’t want you to know”. Sometimes the letters will talk about millions of dollars in “unused” scholarships and financial aid; money just waiting to be found by and given to students who know the ropes (you!).

The letters are not always the same, but one element never varies. They invite you to come to a hotel function room or other reasonably large venue to learn more about financial aid and scholarships, at no cost. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

The meetings are run by well- practiced pitchmen who tell families that their organization has the special knowledge and experience required to shake the most money off of the financial aid and scholarship trees. Their job, and they do it all too well, is to sell you help which is readily available elsewhere (and at no cost).

After the group presentation, families are invited to meet individually with staff members sometimes called counselors. In the world of sales, these folks are called “one call closers”…folks trained to close the sale immediately. Their job is very well defined: to get families to sign a contract and write a check for up to $2,000 before returning to the scam-free zones that are their homes.

Don’t be the victim of financial aid con men (and women). There are lots of good websites offering free scholarship searches and financial aid advice. And, high school counselors and college financial aid counselors will gladly give you advice and answer your questions. There is no need to turn elsewhere.

Big News on Legal Education

June 20, 2008

Northwestern University has become the third law school in the United States (after Southwestern and the University of Dayton) to offer a two-year law school degree. Although there was a fair amount of buzz, much of it critical, when Southwestern and Dayton adopted the two-year option, Northwestern’s high profile…it is generally considered a top ten law school…is generating seemingly unprecedented discussion about the future of legal education.

The first question in everyone’s mind; if one of the nation’s most prestigious law schools legitimizes a two- year law degree, can numerous other law schools be far behind?

But, there are many other questions as well.

Will the ABA weigh in on the validity of the new degree anytime soon? How will law firms, especially the high end firms which traditionally hire top Northwestern grads, respond to Northwestern’s new degree option? Will top students be willing to take the risk that the two-year degree option may limit their professional options?

Will students who elect a two year degree program be less likely to pass the bar exam?

There is wide disagreement on virtually all of these issues.

For years, students have described law school as follows:

First year; scare you to death, second year; work you to death, third year; bore you to death.

Have some legal educators come to agree with them?

Note: Remember, we offer you lots of information on colleges, online degree programs, scholarships, and related issues on our five websites.

HBCU to Abandon Open Admissions

May 13, 2008

Texas Southern University, an HBCU that has struggled with deferred maintenance issues, extremely high student attrition, and a former President who apparently misused funds, has a new President and appears to be heading in a somewhat new direction.  TSU, long an open admissions institution, will now institute standards which will make it a (minimally) selective institution.

According to Diverse, “TSU leaves the ranks of a handful of historically Black colleges and universities that continue to operate under open admissions policies, including Wiley College, Bluefield State College, Southern Arkansas Baptist College, University of the District of Columbia and Edward Waters College.”