How to score better

January 18, 2010

There is a selfish reason why colleges want you to score higher on your SAT & ACT test.

Did you know that if your child scores a specific number on the test or higher, then colleges will clamor over one another to recruit your child.

Do you want to learn how to get a higher score on your SAT and ACT in 2-Hours or less?

Click this link --> Show me how to score higher in 2 hours or less
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Double FAFSA warning:

January 6, 2010

Double FAFSA warning: financial aid what you need to know

By J.D. Wyczalek (why-zall-ick)

What you need to be aware of, or should I say beware of.

Some families believe their income and assets warrant them to not fill out any financial aid forms because of the unfounded belief of ineligible. Many other facets of financial aid come into play such as number in the household, age of the oldest parent, how many children are in college among a few things. These things can push your student into the “Yes, you are eligible” category.

Let’s get up to speed. The main “mother of all financial aid forms” is the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). It can be found at

Every family needs to fill out the FAFSA because, even if they believe they are not eligible for aid, it may be surprising that they actually are eligible or may be eligible for low cost, low interest rate student loans. Families won’t get these loans or aid if they don’t apply.

Primarily many families render themselves ineligible for financial aid because of inaccuracies on the form resulting in incomplete or erroneous data. Filling out the form correctly could be the difference between financial aid or zip. Reporting assets and income incorrectly can adversely affect aid eligibility.

Similar to a good CPA who knows tax laws, can fill out tax forms accurately. So when the tax forms are filed then you can rest assured the CPA did everything in their power (legally) to get your tax bill as low as possible.

This is the same with the professional service here at We know and understand the financial aid intricacies and provide an estimate of what your FAFSA would look like and in many cases, months before so that we can plan accordingly.

Like an unsuspecting child who was not paying attention to the cookie they were holding that was snatched up by a hungry dog, student and parent need to be on guard when filling out this form. If the form is filled out incorrectly resulting in little or no aid, this just simply puts more money back in the pockets of the big tycoons on the college boards.

Don’t kid yourself college is big business. Many college and university endowment funds have reached the seven digit mark and in some cases, the Billion dollar endowment fund mark. Go ahead; I dare you to Google “Colleges with the largest endowment funds.” You may be shocked at the money that is out there.

The key is to properly position your child (and your assets) so that you can get the biggest slice of the pie that you can.    Send article as PDF   
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Colleges with the largest endowment funds

January 5, 2010

Here is a list of colleges with huge endowment funds.


Endowment (2005)
billion USD  

Endowment (2006)
billion USD  

Endowment (2007)
billion USD  

Endowment (2008)
billion USD  

Amherst College $ 1.155[1] $ 1.337[2] $ 1.662[3] $ 1.705[4]
Baylor College of Medicine $ 1.008[1] $ 1.059[2] $ 1.278[3] $ 1.091[4]
Baylor University $ 1.008[1] $ 0.870[2] $ 1.278[3] $ 1.060[4]
Berea College $ 0.862[1] $ 0.949[2] $ 1.102[3] $ 1.023[4]
Boston College $ 1.270[1] $ 1.448[2] $ 1.670[3] $ 1.631[4]
Boston University $ 0.777[1] $ 0.916[2] $ 1.101[3] $ 1.145[4]
Brown University $ 1.844[1] $ 2.167[2] $ 2.781[3] $ 2.747[4]
California Institute of Technology $ 1.418[1] $ 1.581[2] $ 1.860[3] $ 1.892[4]
Carnegie Mellon University $ 0.837[1] $ 0.939[2] $ 1.116[3] $ 1.068[4]
Case Western Reserve University $ 1.516[1] $ 1.599[2] $ 1.841[3] $ 1.766[4]
Columbia University $ 5.191[1] $ 5.938[2] $ 7.150[3] $ 7.147[4]
Cornell University $ 3.777[1] $ 4.321[2] $ 5.425[3] $ 5.385[4]
Dartmouth College $ 2.714[1] $ 3.092[2] $ 3.760[3] $ 3.660[4]
Duke University $ 3.826[1] $ 4.498[2] $ 5.910[3] $ 6.124[4]
Emory University $ 4.376[1] $ 4.870[2] $ 5.562[3] $ 5.473[4]
George Washington University $ 0.823[1] $ 0.963[2] $ 1.147[3] $ 1.256[4]
Georgetown University $ 0.741[1] $ 0.834[2] $ 1.059[3] $ 1.059[4]
Georgia Institute of Technology
(Georgia Tech Foundation only)
$ 0.937[1] $ 1.047[2] $ 1.281[3] $ 1.344[4]
Grinnell College $ 1.391[1] $ 1.472[2] $ 1.718[3] $ 1.472[4]
Harvard University $ 25.473[1] $ 28.916[2] $ 34.635[3] $ 36.556[4]
Indiana University (system-wide)[5] $ 1.107[1] $ 1.276[2] $ 1.557[3] $ 1.546[4]
Johns Hopkins University $ 2.177[1] $ 2.351[2] $ 2.800[3] $ 2.525[4]
Lehigh University $ 0.845[1] $ 0.939[2] $ 1.086[3] $ 1.127[4]
Massachusetts Institute of Technology $ 6.712[1] $ 8.368[2] $ 9.980[3] $ 10.069[4]
Michigan State University $ 0.906[1] $ 1.048[2] $ 1.248[3] $ 1.282[4]
New York University $ 1.548[1] $ 1.775[2] $ 2.162[3] $ 2.475[4]
Northwestern University $ 4.215[1] $ 5.141[2] $ 6.503[3] $ 7.244[4]
Ohio State University $ 1.726[1] $ 1.997[2] $ 2.338[3] $ 2.076[4]
Pennsylvania State University $ 1.175[1] $ 1.326[2] $ 1.590[3] $ 1.545[4]
Pomona College $ 1.299[1] $ 1.457[2] $ 1.761[3] $ 1.794[4]
Princeton University $ 11.207[1] $ 13.045[2] $ 15.787[3] $ 16.349[4]
Princeton Theological Seminary $ 0.864[1] $ 0.945[2] $ 1.109[3] $ 1.018[4]
Purdue University (system-wide)[5] $ 1.341[1] $ 1.494[2] $ 1.787[3] $ 1.736[4]
Rice University $ 3.611[1] $ 3.986[2] $ 4.670[3] $ 4.610[4]
Rockefeller University $ 1.557[1] $ 1.772[2] $ 2.144[4] $ 2.021[4]
Smith College $ 1.036[1] $ 1.156[2] $ 1.361[3] $ 1.366[4]
Southern Methodist University(SMU) $ 1.014[1] $ 1.122[2] $ 1.328[3] $ 1.368[4]
Stanford University $ 12.205[1] $ 14.085[2] $ 17.165[3] $ 17.200[4]
Swarthmore College $ 1.164[1] $ 1.245[2] $ 1.441[3] $ 1.413[4]
Syracuse University $ 0.818[1] $ 0.908[2] $ 1.086[3] $ 0.985[4]
Texas A&M University System (system-wide)[5] $ 4.964[1] $ 5.643[2] $ 6.590[3] $ 6.659[4]
Texas Christian University $ 0.942[1] $ 1.016[2] $ 1.187[3] $ 1.260[4]
Trinity University (Texas) $ 0.733[1] $ 0.814[2] $ 0.931[3] $ 1.035[4]
Tufts University $ 0.845[1] $ 1.215[2] $ 1.452[3] $ 1.446[4]
Tulane University $ 0.780[1] $ 0.858[2] $ 1.009[3] $ 1.036[4]
University of California (system-wide)[5] $ 5.222[1] $ 5.734[2] $ 6.439[3] $ 6.217[4]
University of California, Los Angeles
(UCLA Foundation only)
$ 0.668[1] $ 0.805[2] $ 0.975[3] $ 1.054[4]
University of Chicago $ 4.137[1] $ 4.867[2] $ 6.204[3] $ 6.632[4]
University of Cincinnati $ 1.032[1] $ 1.101[2] $ 1.185[3] $ 1.099[4]
University of Delaware $ 1.077[1] $ 1.223[2] $ 1.397[3] $ 1.340[4]
University of Florida (UF Foundation only) $ 0.836[1] $ 0.996[2] $ 1.219[3] $ 1.251[4]
University of Illinois (system-wide)[5] $ 1.148[1] $ 1.252[2] $ 1.515[3] $ 1.460[4]
University of Kansas (system-wide)[5] $ 0.955[1] $ 1.049[2] $ 1.239[3] $ 1.218[4]
University of Michigan $ 4.931[1] $ 5.652[2] $ 7.090[3] $ 7.572[4]
University of Minnesota $ 1.969[1] $ 2.224[2] $ 2.804[3] $ 2.751[4]
University of Missouri (system-wide)[5] $ 0.849[1] $ 0.944[2] $ 1.098[3] $ 1.025[4]
University of Nebraska (system-wide)[5] $ 1.042[1] $ 1.153[2] $ 1.277[3] $ 1.221[4]
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill $ 1.486[1] $ 1.149[2] $ 2.164[3] $ 2.359[4]
University of Notre Dame $ 3.650[1] $ 4.437[2] $ 5.977[3] $ 6.226[4]
University of Oklahoma $ 0.777[1] $ 0.960[2] $ 1.114[3] $ 1.155[4]
University of Pennsylvania $ 4.370[1] $ 5.313[2] $ 6.635[3] $ 6.233[4]
University of Pittsburgh $ 1.530[1] $ 1.803[2] $ 2.254[3] $ 2.334[4]
University of Richmond $ 1.208[1] $ 1.388[2] $ 1.655[3] $ 1.704[4]
University of Rochester $ 1.370[1] $ 1.491[2] $ 1.726[3] $ 1.731[4]
University of Southern California $ 2.746[1] $ 3.066[2] $ 3.715[3] $ 3.589[4]
University of Texas System (system-wide)[5] $ 11.610[1] $ 13.235[2] $ 15.614[3] $ 16.111[4]
University of Virginia $ 3.219[1] $ 3.618[2] $ 4.370[3] $ 4.573[4]
University of Washington $ 1.490[1] $ 1.794[2] $ 2.184[3] $ 2.262[4]
University of Wisconsin–Madison
(UW Foundation only)
$ 1.125[1] $ 1.426[2] $ 1.645[3] $ 1.735[4]
Vanderbilt University $ 2.628[1] $ 2.946[2] $ 3.487[3] $ 3.524[4]
Wake Forest University $ 0.907[1] $ 1.042[2] $ 1.249[3] $ 1.254[4]
Washington University in St. Louis $ 4.268[1] $ 4.684[2] $ 5.658[3] $ 5.350[4]
Wellesley College $ 1.276[1] $ 1.412[2] $ 1.657[3] $ 1.611[4]
Williams College $ 1.348[1] $ 1.462[2] $ 1.892[3] $ 1.808[4]
Yale University $ 15.224[1] $ 18.031[2] $ 22.530[3] $ 22.870[4]
Yeshiva University $ 1.149[1] $ 1.273[2] $ 1.410[3] $ 1.345[4]
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Who does the IRS audit?

December 31, 2009

"Keep IRS auditors away: Earn less than $200,000"

Want to keep IRS auditors away? Keep your earnings under $200,000 and they won't bother you 99 percent of the time.

IRS enforcement numbers, released Tuesday, show that returns under that amount have a 1 percent chance of getting audited.

Returns showing income of $200,000 and above have a nearly 3 percent audit chance. The percentage jumps to more than 6 percent for returns showing earnings of $1 million or more.

The percentages apply to both individual and joint returns.

The number of audits jumped 11 percent from 2008 to 2009 for returns with earnings of $200,000 or more, but rose 30 percent for returns showing earnings of $1 million or more. For those under $200,000 the number of audits remained steady.

The IRS conducted 1.4 million audits of individual returns in the financial year ended Sept. 30, with more than 1 million conducted through correspondence with the taxpayer. The others were conducted through face-to-face meetings with IRS auditors.

The IRS does not do random audits, but does conduct "research audits"

that will test compliance in business tax categories. In 2010, the target will be payroll taxes, according to Steve Miller, deputy commissioner for enforcement.

What happens if you're audited while unemployed? The IRS may give you a break.

"While our assessments were up, the ability to pay went down drastically" due to the economy, Miller said. "We have a series of tools. We can have them pay partially, over time. If the money is not collectible, it's treated as non-collectible. It's going to depend on each case.

"We have to ensure there's a balance between our responsibility to collect taxes with economic realities. We give people more time and determine how fast they can pay and whether they can pay."

The total revenue collected from IRS enforcement actions, $48.9 billion in 2009, is a drop from $56.4 billion in 2008 and $59.2 billion in 2007.

Miller said the higher numbers in 2007 and 2008 reflect collections from settlements of several major tax shelter cases and other enforcement actions.

In 2007, for example, the IRS resolved disputed tax issues with drug maker Merck & Co., Inc. and its subsidiaries. Merck has agreed to pay approximately $2.3 billion in federal tax, net interest and penalties to resolve issues that had been in dispute for tax years 1993-2001.

The resolution was one of the largest achieved in recent years by the IRS and a taxpayer through the examination process.

The IRS has stepped up its examination of tax-exempt organizations, checking the books of more than 10,000 groups in 2009 compared to 7,800 the previous year.

The number of business tax returns examined was down slightly in 2009 from the previous year.

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The American Graduation Initiative: Obama’s plan

December 17, 2009

"The American Graduation Initiative"

The American Graduation Initiative will build on the strengths of community colleges and usher in new innovations and reforms for the 21st century economy.

It will:

Call for 5 Million Additional Community College Graduates: President Obama called for America to once again lead the world in college degrees by 2020. Affordable, open-enrollment community colleges will play a critical role in meeting that goal. He has set a complementary goal: an additional 5 million community college graduates by 2020, including students who earn certificates and associate degrees or who continue on to graduate from four-year colleges and universities.

Create the Community College Challenge Fund: Too often community colleges are underfunded and underappreciated, lacking the resources they need to improve instruction, build ties with businesses, and adopt other reforms. Under President Obama’s plan, new competitive grants would enable community colleges and states to innovate and expand proven reforms. These efforts will be evaluated carefully, and the approaches that demonstrate improved educational and employment outcomes will receive continued federal support and become models for widespread adoption.

Colleges could:

Build partnerships with businesses and the workforce investment system to create career pathways where workers can earn new credentials and promotions step-by-step, worksite education programs to build basic skills, and curriculum coordinated with internship and job placements.

Expand course offerings and offer dual enrollment at high schools and universities, promote the transfer of credit among colleges, and align graduation and entrance requirements of high schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities.

Improve remedial and adult education programs, accelerating students’ progress and integrating developmental classes into academic and vocational classes.

Offer their students more than just a course catalog, through comprehensive, personalized services to help them plan their careers and stay in school.

In addition, the initiative will support a new research center with a mission to develop and implement new measures of community colleges’

success so prospective students and businesses could get a clear sense of how effective schools are in helping students -- including the most disadvantaged -- learn, graduate, and secure good jobs.

• Fund Innovative Strategies to Promote College Completion: Nearly

half of students who enter community college intending to earn a degree or transfer to a four-year college fail to reach their goal within six years. The College Access and Completion Fund will finance the innovation, evaluation, and expansion of efforts to increase college graduation rates and close achievement gaps, including those at community colleges. Promising approaches include performance-based scholarships, learning communities of students, professors and counselors, colleges tailored to promote the success of working adults, and funding formulas based on student progress and success as well as initial enrollment. Resources would also be provided to improve states’ efforts to track student progress, completion, and success in the workplace.

• Modernize Community College Facilities: Often built decades ago, community colleges are struggling to keep up with rising enrollments. Many colleges face large needs due to deferred maintenance or lack the modern facilities and equipment needed to train students in technical and other growing fields. Insufficient classroom space can force students to delay needed courses and reduce completion rates.

President Obama is proposing a new $2.5 billion fund to catalyze $10 billion in community college facility investments that will expand the colleges’ ability to meet employer and student needs. The resources could be used to pay the interest on bonds or other debt, seed capital campaigns, or create state revolving loan funds.

• Create a New Online Skills Laboratory: Online educational software has the potential to help students learn more in less time than they would with traditional classroom instruction alone. Interactive software can tailor instruction to individual students like human tutors do, while simulations and multimedia software offer experiential learning. Online instruction can also be a powerful tool for extending learning opportunities to rural areas or working adults who need to fit their coursework around families and jobs. New open online courses will create new routes for students to gain knowledge, skills and credentials. They will be developed by teams of experts in content knowledge, pedagogy, and technology and made available for modification, adaptation and sharing. The Departments of Defense, Education, and Labor will work together to make the courses freely available through one or more community colleges and the Defense Department’s distributed learning network, explore ways to award academic credit based upon achievement rather than class hours, and rigorously evaluate the results.

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December 16, 2009


The Ronald McDonald House Charities U.S. Scholarship Program seeks to invest in students who are exemplary role models in their communities and have the initiative to fulfill their educational goals.

To help them accomplish this, the network of U.S. Chapters, along with RMHC Global, offers scholarships to students in financial need who have demonstrated both academic achievement and community involvement.

Scholarships are for students in the United States, living in areas where there are participating local Chapters.

Apply at

KFC COLONEL'S SCHOLARS - Deadline 2/10/2010

KFC Colonel’s Scholars is looking for outstanding seniors with financial need and entrepreneurial spirit.

Awards are up to $20,000 for tuition, fees, textbooks, and room and board.

Students must have at least a 2.75 GPA, plan to enroll in a public college/university within their state, plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree, be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and demonstrate financial need.

Visit or call 866-KFC-7240 for more information.


Applicants must be graduating high school seniors who are community leaders and have been accepted to a four-year college.

The winning applicant receives a $10,000 scholarship; runners up receive $1,000.

The award recognizes students who exemplify the commitment, ideals and courage that Anne Frank represents today.

Examples of such activities include, Acting as spokespersons for tolerance; On a daily basis, having the courage to be bridge builders and peacemakers; Creating and/or participating in programs that address intolerance, violence prevention and conflict resolution; Standing up against intolerance by leading or participating in community-based organizations.


The Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Competition for original student research is designed to inspire students to investigate the behavioral, biological, environmental, and social factors that affect health and, based upon this knowledge, to identify ways to improve the health of the public.

The YES Competition awards up to 120 college scholarships each year to high school juniors and seniors who conduct research projects that apply epidemiological methods of analysis to a health-related issue.

Epidemiologists seek answers to why some people get sick and others don't. In other words, epidemiology is the science of exploring patterns of disease, illness, and injury within populations with the goal of developing methods for prevention, control, and treatment to improve health.

PROJECT MATH MINDS - Deadline 3/15/2010

The Actuarial Foundation has joined with Mu Alpha Theta, the National High School and Two-Year College Mathematics Honor Society, to implement Project Math Minds, a new actuarial-related project that for high school students.

Students compete for college scholarship money provided by The Actuarial Foundation.

Winners will present their results at the Mu Alpha Theta National Convention to other members of the Honor Society.


SAE offers various of awards, scholarships, loans and internships for engineering students through the SAE Foundation.

Scholarships are available for both undergraduate and graduate engineering students.

SAE Scholarships Include: BMW / SAE Engineering Scholarship (renewable) SAE Detroit Section Technical Scholarship (renewable) SAE / Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies Scholarship (freshman year only) Edward D. Hendrickson/SAE Engineering Scholarship (renewable) Tau Beta Pi / SAE Engineering Scholarship (freshman year only) TMC / SAE Donald D. Dawson Technical Scholarship (renewable) SAE Women Engineers Committee Scholarship (freshman year only) Fred M. Young Sr./SAE Engineering Scholarship (renewable)


The Princeton Prize in Race Relations seeks to honor students in grades 9-12 who are doing outstanding work in their communities or schools to advance the cause of improving race relations.


The Holocaust Remembrance Project is a national essay contest for high school students designed to encourage and promote the study of the Holocaust.

The Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation provides the resources for the operation of this project.

First-place winning students, teachers, and Holocaust survivors participate in an all-expense paid trip to a leading Holocaust Museum. In addition, scholarships of up to $5,000 will be awarded to the first-place national winners.

Since the project's inception in 1995, the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation has awarded more than $1,000,000 in scholarships and prizes. Tens of thousands of high school students have participated as researchers and writers. Selected teachers are asked to join the scholarship week, and are provided with teaching materials and specialized symposia.

"OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!” SCHOLARSHIP – Deadline: 02/15/2010

Essay contest based on Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”


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college discriminates between genders

December 14, 2009

Sex bias probe in colleges' selections

Yep, colleges do discriminate between male and female students. Here is an article from the Washington Post.

Panel to study whether men are favored in area schools' admissions By Daniel de Vise

Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, December 14, 2009

Civil rights investigators will soon begin reviewing admissions data from a sampling of colleges in the Washington region to determine whether, after decades of progress toward sexual equity, female students have become so plentiful in higher education that institutions have entered a new era of discrimination against them.

Women apply in greater numbers than men to most colleges in the D.C. area. They make up at least three-fifths of the applicant pool at a number of schools, including the College of William and Mary in Virginia, Goucher and St. Mary's colleges in Maryland and American University in the District.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some schools are favoring men by admitting them at higher rates than women to try to preserve a male-female balance on campus. Conventional admissions-office wisdom dictates that colleges dominated by either sex are less appealing to applicants in general.

William and Mary admitted 43 percent of its male applicants and 29 percent of its female applicants in fall 2008, according to its institutional data. Vassar College in New York's Hudson Valley admitted 34 percent of the men who applied and 21 percent of the women. Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania admitted 19 percent of male applicants and 14 percent of female applicants. Wesleyan University in Connecticut admitted 30 percent of the men and 25 percent of the women. Female applicants far outnumbered male candidates at all four schools.

"At some ambiguous tipping point, an institution may begin to appeal to a narrower demographic if it begins to appear more like a single-sex environment," Henry Broaddus, dean of admission at William and Mary, wrote in a November posting to The Washington Post's blog The Answer Sheet. Broaddus is one of the few college admission officers who have publicly acknowledged balance between sexes as a legitimate interest in assembling a freshman class. He said that men admitted to William and Mary rival women in academic credentials, even with a higher admission rate.

Comments such as his, disseminated in op-ed pieces and news articles, prompted a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to call for an investigation. In an August proposal, Commissioner Gail Heriot wrote of potential discrimination by sex as an "open secret" that demanded further study.

"Privately at least, some college administrators argue that they must discriminate against women or the gender balance at their institutions will become so off-kilter that many of the women they want won't be willing to attend," she wrote. "Colleges will then be unable to attract the female students they want most -- or so they fear."

Over the past 40 years, women have gone from underrepresented minority to overrepresented majority on U.S. college campuses, where they outnumber men by a proportion approaching 60-40. Barriers that kept women from college have been swept away, and scholarly focus has shifted to the impediments facing men, who are more likely to drop out of school and more apt to go into the military, manual-labor jobs or prison.

"It's always going to be an issue because there are not enough men in the pipeline," said Gil Villanueva, dean of admission at the University of Richmond, another liberal arts school with a preponderance of female applicants.

The tipping point is not a figment of some dean's imagination. Rebecca Guterman, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, knows she might have a more difficult time gaining admission to some colleges because she is female. She wouldn't want to attend a school dominated by high-achieving women like herself.

"I don't know the exact percentage, for me, where it would be too much," she said. "But I think if a school were, like, 80 percent female, that's pushing it, because that's just too many girls."

The federal commission approved a civil rights investigation in September. On Wednesday, commissioners are expected to approve a slate of 12 to 18 schools for study. Commission spokeswoman Lenore Ostrowsky said all of the colleges are nonprofit, non-seminary, four-year institutions that have more than 1,000 students, are at least moderately selective and are within 100 miles of Washington, an area chosen for its proximity to the commission. More distant schools, including William and Mary, will not be investigated.

An informal analysis by The Post of admission data for a dozen public and private colleges in the Washington area over the past two years found seven -- University of Maryland campuses in College Park and Baltimore County; William and Mary; Johns Hopkins; George Washington University; St. Mary's College of Maryland; and the University of Richmond -- that admitted women at a lower rate than men in both 2007 and 2008. In some cases, the gap between male and female admission rates was minute.

Four other schools -- American University, the University of Virginia, George Mason University and Goucher College -- admitted women at a higher rate than men in those years. At the 12th school, Washington and Lee University, women were admitted at a lower rate one year, and higher in the other.

Private undergraduate colleges may legally discriminate by sex, a protection that allows single-sex institutions to endure. Public colleges may not. If a state-supported school such as U-Md. or William and Mary were found to be setting a higher standard for women, "that would be illegal," Ostrowsky said.

The commission lacks enforcement power but can refer complaints to other agencies for action and can recommend changes to federal law.

Civil rights investigators will request a range of data from each of the chosen schools to determine the relative academic merits of male and female applicants who were admitted, wait-listed or rejected, as well as the kind and amount of aid offered to applicants. The investigation might lead to a public briefing with witness testimony, or it could end less dramatically with only a written report. If schools cooperate, the work could be finished in six months, Ostrowsky said.

According to higher-education leaders, investigators will be hard-pressed to find a college, public or private, that is intentionally favoring one sex over the other. Most of the region's selective colleges practice "holistic" admissions, a process that considers each applicant as an individual, and as a whole, rather than as a sum of grades, test scores and demographic traits, in the quest to build a diverse class.

"In terms of importance, an applicant's gender is near the bottom of the list of factors considered," said Tony Pals, spokesman for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in the District.

Some D.C. area colleges have widened their gender gap by admitting women at higher rates than men. American, for example, admitted 55 percent of female applicants in 2008 and 50 percent of male applicants, even though more than three-fifths of its applicants were women.

American University passed the 60-40 tipping point years ago, said Sharon Alston, executive director for enrollment management at AU. She sees little evidence that prospective students are deterred. She concedes that things might be different if AU were a remote rural campus, rather than one in a sprawling metropolis.

"We're not seeing it as a turnoff," she said. "It's something that the university has embraced. We are who we are."

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New Deal: Pay more get less from college

November 12, 2009

New deal: Pay more get less from college.

At least that is the trend at some public universities.

Some state universities facing budget cuts are offering fewer classes and raising tuition. The New York Times reported that UCLA, along with other state schools in California and elsewhere, have cut back on classes. (This seems counter intuitive, but that is big government for you!)

According to the New York Times, money woes have impacted course offerings at many flagship universities including the University of Arizona, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Florida.

The 10-campus University of California system has been hit particularly hard year as both endowments and state coffers have been hammered. Federal stimulus funds, in excess of $700 million, are helping to offset a $1 billion gap. The federal money is considered a temporary fix.

Many of the nation’s top public universities are likely to push through large increases in coming years.

At the same time, applications are surging from students seeking a more cost effective alternative to private colleges. According to the Times, many flagship state universities are now attracting wealthier and better-prepared students which is putting some top state schools out of the reach of students who might have gained admission in prior years. This trend has created a new dynamic in colleges’ admissions.

At the same time, some matriculating students are finding it difficult to graduate on schedule because cut backs have made it nearly impossible to enroll in required courses.

original article here: The New York Times

J.D. says: Through proper financial college planning strategies, it is possible to go to an expensive private college for less than a “so-called” cheaper public college. Also with smaller class sizes and a designed curriculum, it is possible to graduate in 4 years instead of 5 or 6. So rethink your numbers a cheaper public school could cost you thousands more than a private college.

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Getting Accepted to a U.S. Service Academy

November 11, 2009

by Sal Allen

America has over 12,000 students in attendance at one of the three regular U.S. service academies at any one time. These students (called midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy and cadets at both the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy), receive some of the toughest academic, mental, physical, and leadership training of any category of college and, are in a class of their own. The service academies attract and train some of America’s best young men and women to be professional officers and leaders in the U.S. military, as well as prepare them to be diligent and effective leaders and managers in government, corporate, and private enterprises worldwide. The service academies have produced several U.S. Presidents, numerous members of Congress, major industry leaders, military heroes, a host of Rhodes Scholars and even a Nobel Prize winner in science. The U.S. service academies also produce more astronauts than any group of schools anywhere. The service academies are often ranked amongst the best, if not the most difficult, colleges in the United States.

It has been estimated that it costs between $250,000.00 and $350,000.00 to graduate one student, which makes the U.S. service academies the most expensive colleges in the country. Each student’s tuition, books, labs, and other fees are completely covered. Each student receives full room and board. In fact, these students enjoy some of the best dining of any college. All uniforms are custom fit to each student and everyone is given several sets of athletic gear, to make sure each student is equipped to handle the more rigorous physical fitness expectations placed on them. Health care is not a problem either. Every student receives full medical care without any insurance premiums or co-payments, and any student needing immediate care is often seen within an hour of signing in for treatment. There are facilities and clergy to lead each student’s religious faith, with an emphasis on religious diversity. There is even a basic salary that each student receives to give them some flexibility, when it is time to relax.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for each student to attend one of the U.S. service academies, for the four years it will take to graduate, is a whopping zero dollars! That’s right, zero. It does not matter how little or how much your family has saved for Johnny or Jane to attend college. The United States government has agreed to pay the entire bill. For the parents (and any student trying to figure out how to get a great college education), this fact is a huge relief. At graduation, each student receives a salaried, full time job, and an opportunity to grow. For most families, it is a great honour to be accepted and to graduate from one of the service academies.

So, how do you get into a U.S. service academy? What are the steps? Do you have to know somebody? What are the admissions offices looking for in a student? Do I have to be a sports superstar? Do I have to be a genius? When do I begin to apply? What are my chances?

During your junior year of high school, there are a bunch of things you must be doing to make yourself competitive. Each service academy evaluates an applicant on something called a “Whole Man (or Woman) Score.” The U.S. government is looking for the best overall students out of each high school class and it is willing to pay for it. There are nine general categories that are evaluated and scored: academic performance and difficulty in grades 9-12 (3.0 GPA or better), SAT/ACT scores, organized team sports participation, displays of leadership (JROTC, Civil Air Patrol, Boy or Girl Scouts, high school class president, etc), outside activities that benefit the community (church voluntary work, 4H Club, community parade involvement, nursing home volunteer, etc), employment that shows good time management skills (farmers, part time job), medical fitness, physical fitness, character, and your ATTITUDE. Your academic performance is a major measurement in nearly every college application. However, it is imperative that an applicant, hoping to be accepted to a service academy, be involved in as many different activities as possible, during their high school years. How many sports did you play? Did you letter? Did you have a part-time job that limited your participation in other activities? Are you in JROTC, Civil Air Patrol, or Sea Cadets? I once heard an Admissions Officer say that he would rather have a student that can get 70 percent done in 10 minutes, than someone who can get 90 percent done in an hour.

Begin your application process by contacting the service academy of your choice and completing a Pre-Candidate questionnaire online. You must be a U.S. Citizen to gain admittance, except for those applying as international students. You cannot have children, nor be responsible for any children. This questionnaire gets you on the map. You will be sent a bunch of forms to fill out and return, and ultimately scheduled for a series of appointments. Arrive early for all of you appointments and be ready to go!

Medical fitness and physical fitness are two measurements that are not normally evaluated in most colleges, but they are evaluated here. All applicants will be sent to a local military medical facility to have a “service academy candidate physical completed. Having a broken bone that did not heal correctly, major dental issues, bad vision, diabetes, allergies since 12, flat feet, bad personal hygiene, etc are all limiting criteria and will halt your application. Being too tall or not tall enough can also eliminate you from competition. Additionally, you will be required to complete a Candidate Fitness assessment, or CFA, that will measure your agility, upper body strength, aerobic strength and endurance. One such test involves throwing a basketball, while kneeling!

During the spring of your junior year, each applicant must request a nomination to attend a particular academy (see and ). You do not need to know them personally. If you are selected to attend and receive a nomination, you will have been “appointed” by your designated nomination source. By federal law, these appointments are strictly limited in number by the governmental position that the nominating source holds. If you can qualify for more than one nomination source, you will increase your chances. The nomination sources are: The U.S. President, U.S. Vice President, U.S. Senator, U.S. Congressmen, Secretary of that service (ie, Secretary of the Navy for the U.S. Naval Academy), children of POWs/MIAs and Medal of Honor winners.

One of the most important things you should be doing is getting yourself known to the Candidates Admissions Office. If you can visit the campus, do so! Talk with the students and breathe in the spirit and atmosphere of the school. It may be your home for awhile! Ask the admissions office to match you with a freshman student for a weekend, so that you can experience the routine. Keep taking the SAT’s/ACTs to improve your score AND keep in front of the Admissions Officers!

Eventually, you will be assigned and receive a visit from a school representative. They will also want to meet your parents. At Annapolis, this representative is called the “Blue and Gold Officer.” His/her main job is to talk candidly with you to assess your attitude and motivation to attend. They also want to know what you want to do once you graduate. You may look good on paper, but how you fit and function as a team player is equally important.

Each service academy receives between 12,000 and 15,000 applications per year. Of those, approximately 2,000 applicants are found fully qualified. Only about 1,300 will be admitted or about 10 percent. Of the fully qualified students, some will be eliminated because there were other more qualified applicants for the nominating source that they applied. Again, apply for as many nominations as possible. For example, if you can get a Presidential and a Congressional nomination, you have two categories by which to be considered.

For further information, please contact the Candidates Admissions Offices listed below. Also see and . Good luck! ---Sal Allen, USNA'86

USAF Academy,

HQ USAF/RRS, 2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 2300 CO 80840 (719) 333-2520

United States Military Academy

646 Swift Road West Point, NY 10996 (845) 938-4014

United States Naval Academy

121 Blake Road Annapolis, MD 21402 (410)293-1000

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Merit, need student or career specific scholarships

November 8, 2009

Sorting out the confusion...

The most common scholarships may be classified as:

  • Merit-based: These awards are based on a student's athletic, academic, artistic or other abilities, and often factor in an applicant's community service record and extracurricular activities. The most common merit-based scholarships, awarded by either private organizations or directly by a student's intended college, recognize academic achievement or high scores on the ACT and SAT standardized tests.
  • Need-based: These awards are based on the student and family's financial record and will require applicants to fill out a FAFSA to qualify if the scholarship is a federal award. Private need-based scholarships will also often require the results of a FAFSA, which calculates a student's financial need through a formula looking at the expected family contribution and cost of attendance at the intended college.
  • Student-specific: These are scholarships where applicants must initially qualify by race, gender, religion, family and medical history, or many other student-specific factors. 
  • Career-specific: These are scholarships awarded by a college or university to students planning to pursue a specific field of study. Often the most generous awards are given to students pursuing careers in high-need areas such as education or nursing.  

Get your scholarship forms and registrations in several weeks before the deadline. Because If you miss the deadline, no money will be coming in. Be extremely careful to follow all the guidelines. Some guidelines are more ridiculous than others, however if you don’t follow the guidelines you will be out of the runnings.

Make a copy of the entire packet and keep it on file in case your packet goes astray.  Make sure your name (and student ID, social security number, if applicable) appears on each page of the material to ensure that nothing is lost. 

Lastly, a great place to start looking for private money scholarships is:

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