Tag archive for "college"

Admissions, Choosing A School, Diversity, Low Income Students

Best Colleges for Low-Income Students

No Comments 24 March 2017

Finding an affordable but high-quality college can be challenging for low-income and first-generation students. This article presents lists of public and private 4-year colleges, all of which have a low net price and a high graduation rate for low-income students.

Not only are these colleges affordable for low-income students, but the students are likely to graduate with an affordable amount of debt.


Students should consider a variety of colleges before they begin the application process. Historically, students from low-income backgrounds have applied to too few colleges, often enrolling at institutions that are not a good academic, social and financial fit. This leads to suboptimal outcomes like low retention and graduation rates and high debt. Students should cast a wide net. Look at private and public institutions, in-state and out-of-state schools, and small and large colleges. Learn about colleges and universities you have never heard of before.

Every low-income student should consider their in-state public colleges, as those institutions will often be the most affordable option. In-state public colleges are also a good option because low-income students tend to choose colleges that are close to home. Students may be able to save on college costs by living at home with their families instead of on a college campus.

The net price for public colleges is based on the in-state tuition rates. The net price for out-of-state students may be much higher.

Low-income students should also consider private colleges with low net prices and high graduation rates. In some cases, generous private colleges can have a lower net price than some in-state public institutions.

For both public and private colleges, students should aim to have total student loan debt at graduation that is less than their annual starting salary. If total student loan debt is less than annual income, the student should be able to repay his or her student loans in ten years or less.


The lists of public and private colleges were identified using a combination of three factors:

  • Affordable. Affordability was based on the one-year net price for students with a family income of $0 to $30,000, using data from the 2013-14 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The net price is the discounted sticker price, the costs that remain after subtracting average grants, scholarships and other gift aid from the total cost of attendance. Only colleges with a net price under $12,500 were included.
  • Good Outcomes. Outcomes were based on the 6-year graduation rates for Federal Pell Grant recipients, using data from the Education Trust. The Federal Pell Grant is the largest need-based grant program, awarded mostly to low-income students. Only colleges with 6-year graduation rates of 50% or more were included. This ensures that low-income students at these colleges are more likely to graduate than not.

Some colleges were omitted because the Pell Grant recipient graduation rate data were not available. Examples include Brigham Young University – Provo, Columbia University in the City of New York, Cooper Union and Harvard University.

Several colleges with a reputation for serving low-income students did not satisfy the selection criteria because their net price for low-income students was too high.

College Lists

10 Unusual College Mascots

No Comments 22 March 2017

Check out this list of unusual college mascots.

The Billikens

Saint Louis University

St Louis, Mo.

The Saint Louis University mascot is based on a popular toy from the turn of the 20th century. Florence Pretz patented the Billiken in 1908 to compete with the growing popularity of the teddy bear. Although the toy never took off, the university adopted it as its mascot because of its supposed ability to bring good luck.

The Horned Frogs

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, Texas

The university’s mascot also is the state reptile of Texas, which actually is a type of lizard, not frog. A “frog horn machine,” which is a small blinking purple train that spits out smoke, accompanies the mascot at sporting events.

The Cobbers

Concordia College

Moorehead, Minn.

The college’s mascot, Kernel Cobb, was born out of a rivalry with another college. The rival school was located in an urban area so its students teased Concordia students for coming from farmlands. The rival students called Concordia students “corncobs,” so the Concordia students made it a term of endearment and adopted it as their school mascot.

The Banana Slugs

University of California- Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, Calif.

Sammy the Banana Slug officially become the university’s mascot in 1986. Throughout the years, Sammy has become quite popular and was voted as the top mascot in 1992 by the National Directory of College Athletics and Sports Illustrated magazine. It’s been rumored that a high-ranking university official has portrayed Sammy at one point.

The Trolls

Trinity Christian College

Palos Heights, Ill.

There are many stories about how the Trolls came to be Trinity’s mascot. One theory is that in 1959, students took the letters TRinity COLLege to come up with “trolls.” Another is that the then-president of the university in 1966 searched in the dictionary for a “tr” noun to alliterate with Trinity, and he settle on “trolls.”

The Orange

Syracuse University

Syrcause, N.Y.

Otto the Orange has the unique distinction of being one of the few, if not the only, fruit college mascot. ESPN recently Syracuse’s mascot as the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Purple Cows

Williams College

Williamstown, Mass.

The Purple Cow was decided upon as the college mascot thanks to a student vote. The name came from a humorous student magazine that was popular on campus. Reader’s Digest recently declared the Purple Cow as the “Most Lovable College Mascot.”

The Hilltoppers

Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, Ky.

Big Red the Hilltopper is known for his “belly slide” and “belly shake.” The mascot’s dancing and earned him appearances on “The Ellen Show” and “Deal or No Deal,” along with earning him a number of awards.

The Fighting Okra

Delta State University

Cleveland, Miss.

The “Fear the Okra” concept was spearheaded by the Delta State students. The exact origin of the Fighting Okra mascot has lots of stories. But one thing that is certain is that the vegetable mascot’s popularity has spread beyond the campus and into the community.

The Fighting Camels

Campbell University

Bules Creek, N.C.

The camels were chosen as the school mascot due to a slight miscommunication. The university’s founder is Dr. James Archibald Campbell. A friend once addressed Dr. Campbell and he misheard him and thought he called him “Camel.” The name stuck.

Money, Scholarships

Scholarships for African-American Students

No Comments 16 March 2017

Scholarships don’t just celebrate good grades. They also can celebrate a person’s ethnicity and heritage. Take a look at this list of scholarship for African-American students.

The Gread “Lefty” McKinnis Memorial Foundation Scholarship – This award is for African-American men from the Chicagoland area. Applicants must be college-bound high school seniors. Scholarships will be awarded based on community involvement, personal statements, letters of recommendation, and an interview with the scholarship committee. The award for this scholarship is typically $1,000.

UNCF/Koch Scholars Program – This scholarship is for African-American students who are college-bound high school seniors or current college freshmen. Applicants must either be studying, accounting, business, economics, engineering, history, philosophy or political science. The award amount for this scholarship is typically $5,000.

Blacks at Microsoft Scholarships ­– African-American students with a passion for technology are eligible for this scholarship. Applicants must be college-bound high school students who plan to pursue a degree in engineering, computer science, computer information systems or certain business programs. Students must maintain at least a 3.3 GPA and demonstrate financial need. The scholarship award amount is typically $5,000.

BCALA Literary AwardsThis scholarship is for African-American writers. Writing submissions must have been published in the previous year and portray some aspect of the African-American experience. The award amount for this scholarship is typically $500.

Visual Task Force Scholarship – African-American students currently majoring in journalism or interest in pursuing journalism are eligible for this scholarship. Applicants must be current National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) members, maintain a minimum 2.75 GPA and submit a 1,000- to 2,000-word essay on a given topic. The award amount for this scholarship is typically $1,500.

Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology Scholarship – This scholarship is for African-American students who are studying a scientific or technical field at a Historically Black College or University. The award amount for this scholarship is typically $2,000.

CBC Spouses Education Scholarship – African-American students who hold a minimum 2.5 GPA, demonstrate leadership and participate in community service are eligible for this scholarship. College-bound high school students and current college students are eligible for this scholarship. Congressional Black Caucus member constituents will be given preference for this scholarship. The award amount for this scholarship ranges between $500-$800.

DeWayne Wickham Founder’s High School Scholarship – This scholarship is for college-bound high school seniors who are members of the NABJ. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, community involvement and plan to study journalism or a communications-related discipline. The scholarship award amount is typically $2,500.

Pay for College, Resources

How to Negotiate for More Financial Aid

No Comments 15 March 2017

If you are not happy with the financial aid package you’ve been offered, you do not have to settle for it. You have the option to appeal for more financial aid.

The first thing you need to do is come up with a plan. Study your college’s financial aid appeals process to know how to make your case. A common and effective way to do this is to write a direct letter to your financial aid office. Some colleges have a form to fill out.

These steps will guide you through the appeals process:

  1. Be as specific as possible when describing your financial situation. The financial aid office cannot help you if your appeal is too vague. Instead of saying you do not have enough money to cover tuition, you must explain why. Include facts, dates, figures and any other specifics that might help your case. Although you want to include details, keep the letter short. Do not bog it down with personal stories — write just the facts that affect your ability to pay. Be sure the amount you are asking for is reasonable as well. If a college thinks you are asking for too much, they may reject your appeal.
  2. List evidence and provide third-party documentation to back up your situation. Job loss, salary reduction, death of a wage earner or expenses for a special-needs child are among some of the reasons you could appeal need-based aid. Bills and receipts, letters of termination and bank statements are great examples of documentation. If you are looking to appeal for more merit-based aid, you can include a copy of a higher offer from another college, additional letters of recommendation or grades and awards. When the U.S. Department of Education audits colleges, they look at professional judgement appeals. They want to make sure any increase in financial aid is backed up by documentation.
  3. Mail your letter to the correct office. Contact the college and make sure you have the correct office. If you are sending a letter to appeal for more need-based financial aid, the letter should go to the financial aid office. If you are appealing for merit-based scholarships, contact the enrollment or admissions office. Explain to whoever you speak to that you want to initiate a Professional Judgement Review, which is the official term for an institution’s ability to review a student’s financial aid package and potentially increase it due to special circumstances. Do not try to begin the appeal over the phone – you just need to verify where to send the letter.
  4. Follow up. If you have not received a response to your letter within a week, follow up with the appropriate office. But remember, just because you are appealing your package, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed more money. Some colleges do not negotiate. The decision whether to make an adjustment to your financial aid package is entirely up to the college. But with a well-written letter, you will have a better chance at success.


Dual Enrollment Programs

No Comments 14 March 2017

Dual enrollment programs have a positive impact on high school students. These programs, which are free, allow participants to take college courses and earn credit while they are in high school. According to a study from What Works Clearing house, dual enrollment programs are also believed to have a positive effect on high school students staying in school and attending regularly.

These programs are designed to boost college access and degree attainment for underrepresented students. These students are supported in three ways:

  • Dual enrollment programs allowed high school students to experience college-level courses that will prepare them for the social requirements and academic rigor of being a college student. Students will go into college having better time-management skills because of these programs.
  • Students who earn college credit in high school are more likely to complete a college degree. Because they have taken some courses, they will have more motivation to earn their degree.
  • Dual enrollment programs sometimes offer discounted tuition. This reduces the overall price of college, allowing a degree to be more attainable to a low-income student.

If a dual enrollment program is right for you, talk to your counselor for more information. You also can discuss taking an AP course or earning college credit during a gap year from college. If it works for your schedule and you are eligible for it, you can never go wrong by choosing to earn college credit before college.

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