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Archive | January, 2014

Art Scholarships For Creative Students

Art Scholarships For Creative Students

scholarshipmoneyIf you are about to join a university but you are yet to make up your mind about the career path to follow, consider enrolling in an arts program. According to a study published in the Wall Street Journal, the unemployment rate for recent arts graduates is slightly under five percent while the annual salary is $50,000. In addition, research carried out by Bruno S. Frey at the University of Zurich found that creative people such as writers, composers, and fine artists tend to be the happiest professionals. The good news is there are numerous scholarships available to creative students, including the following:

Beinecke Scholarship Program
Website: http://www.beineckescholarship.org/

This scholarship program established in honor of Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke gives successful applicants $4,000 prior to reporting to graduate school. Subsequently, scholars receive $30,000 before they graduate. Unlike other scholarships, this program does not have geographical restrictions meaning students can join a graduate school of their choice. However, recipients must attend graduate school and utilize all the given funds five years after completing undergraduate studies.

John F. And Anna Lee Stacey Scholarship Fund for Art Education
Website: http://www.nationalcowboymuseum.org/education/staceyfund/

This fund was set up in accordance with the will of Anna Lee Stacey to provide education funding to people who would like to pursue art careers. Applicants must be American citizens aged 18 to 35 years. Scholars receive a distribution of $5,000 for one year. Take note that one can receive this distribution in a single installment or quarterly installments. It is up to recipients to use the funds they receive to further their art education in areas such as drawing, design, and painting.

University Art Education Scholarships

Different universities offer scholarships to various students at different levels of their education. Scholarships are available out of high school, as well as during each year of study. Scholarships can be based off of high GPA, along with achievement in the classroom, or can be offered to students who demonstrate artistic achievement out of the classroom.

Some of these scholarships are titled, Fine Arts Scholarship, Outstanding Freshman Scholarship, and Academic Recognition Award Scholarship. These scholarships can pay a lump sum to a student, or can be rewarded yearly based off of continued academic and artistic success.

In summary, scholarships for arts students abound provided one has exceptional talent. The monetary of such scholarships typically range anywhere from less than $1,000 to more than $40,000. Most run for a year and are renewable provided recipients maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better. The beauty of getting into a scholarship program is you do not have to worry about finance for tuition.

Author Bio

Today’s guest article comes from Ryan Ayers. He is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to education. In this article, he describes scholarships available to art students and aims to encourage further study with an art education online program.

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Save Your College Budget By Staying Safe (and Healthy)

Save Your College Budget By Staying Safe (and Healthy)

emptywalletCollege is a time that young adults have an opportunity to become independent. Though most parents are still actively involved with finance and decisions, college students become more involved in the process. With the freedom comes an obligation to make responsible budget and safety decision. Keep various things in mind to save the college budget by staying safe.

Be Careful

Being careful is the number one way to save the college budget. It comprises making the right decisions to stay well and avoid injuries. Taking a few extra precautions will help to keep finances in order while experiencing college.

Avoid Getting Sick

Sometimes getting sick is unavoidable, but there are a few things that can protect the immune system and prevent frequent illness. Take vitamins or supplements to boost the immune system. Eat as healthy as possible and find time to exercise. Always stay sanitary by keeping hands clean, keeping dorm rooms in order, and washing clothes.

Avoid Risky Behavior While Driving

Careless driving is a huge mistake that can greatly affect college finances. Many college students like to party in their spare time, but the party should not include excessive drinking or drinking and driving. Avoid the risk and prevent expensive injury or damage for everyone.

Texting and driving is just as dangerous as drinking and driving. Cell phone use, especially texting, is not for times when operating a vehicle. Once again, this huge mistake can cause injuries to many, and can cut a huge chunk from college finances.

Avoid Preventable Injuries

There is a difference between having an accident and inviting an injury waiting to happen. One way to avoid preventable injuries and costly accidents is by not participating in dangerous pranks. Pranks that get out of hand can cause serious harm, and could land participants in court. College is supposed to be an enjoyable time, and it can be even more enjoyable with finances secure.

Take Care of Belongings

The second responsibility is to take care of valuable property. Things move fast in the college environment. It is very important to stay aware of the surroundings, and make wise decisions to avoid expensive repairs or replacements.

Keep Possessions in a Safe Place

A part of taking care of belongings is keeping possessions safe. With so many people around campus, incidents happen quickly. Always keep a close view on belongings and hold on to them while on campus. Keep property in dorm rooms put away and securely locked. Do not leave objects visible in cars, and lock car doors before walking away.

While on the subject of cars, make a wise decision not to lend the vehicle to friends. Not having a car during college is a challenging situation, and that is exactly what could happen after lending it to friends. Declining to lend the car will avoid damage to the friendship, the property, and the budget.

Protect with Insurance and Software

Having adequate protection is a good way to keep finances intact. Protect property by having auto and renters insurance. It is in place as a just in case for things that are beyond control. Purchasing good anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware is a good idea to protect expensive electronics. Protection is a part of prevention that helps to save your college budget.

College should be one of the best experiences in life. It is also a time to begin transitioning to a responsible adult. The way to make that possible is by not having financial strain and by staying safe. Keep finances protected and the budget safe by making wise decisions to be careful, avoid illness and injury, and protect possessions.

Author the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Sarah Daren. She is a writer who creates informative articles related to the field of health. In this article, she offers safety tips to college students and aims to encourage further study with a degree in emergency and disaster management.

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Understanding Your Student Discounts This Tax Season

Understanding Your Student Discounts This Tax Season

taxcreditsGetting a quality education in the U.S. can be quite costly to finance, and this is why the government is offering tax deductions to parents who have dependents in college. Students who are paying for their own college education can also get these tax write offs. Whoever said learning pays must have also thought of the tax deductions students and parents get. The federal tax code has tens of thousands of pages, making it impossible for any one person to know everything about it. Lack of information can lead to inaccurate filing. In fact, many parents and students who file their own returns fail to claim these write offs because they do not know about them. The following are some tips to help taxpayers get all school-related tax deductions.

1. Join an Eligible Educational Institution

School-related tax deductions are only offered to students who are undertaking their studies in colleges and universities that are accredited by the Department of Education. When signing up for a course, students should ask whether or not the school is an eligible educational institution.

2. The Difference Between Tax Deductions and Credits

A tax deduction is not as useful as a tax credit. The latter is a discount, meaning a certain amount of money is deducted from the tax payable. A deduction reduces the taxable income of an individual before the appropriate tax rate is applied when calculating the amount of tax payable. Taxpayers can claim two tax deductions in a tax season. These are: student loan interest tax deduction (form 1098-E) and the tuition and fees deduction (form 1098-T). They can also claim two tax credits namely, Lifetime Learning Credit and the American Opportunity Credit.

3. Qualifying for School-Related Tax Deductions and Credits

Tax Deductions
Students who have already started paying interest on a qualifying student loan can get up to $2,500 in tax deductions. The cost of tuition and other fees paid to an eligible educational institution can also be deducted from the gross income of the taxpayer. However, this is subject to a maximum of $4,000 annually. This deduction is further reduced to a maximum of $2,000 for students or parents earning up to $80,000 individually or $160,000 jointly. Those who have taxable income exceeding these limits do not qualify for any school-related tax deductions.

Tax Credits
The American Opportunity Credit was recently extended to 2017. Eligible taxpayers can claim tax credits of up to $2,500 annually. However, only those earning a gross income of less than $80,000 or $160,000 filing individually and jointly respectively may claim this tax credit. It is only applicable to the first four post-secondary education years. On the other hand, the Lifetime Learning Credit gives qualifying taxpayers a tax credit of up to $2,000 every tax season. Taxpayers can claim this credit when they spend money on college tuition and other qualifying expenses. The main advantage of this tax credit is that it does not have the same restrictions as other tax benefits. For instance, there is no limit as to the number of years parents and students may claim this tax credit.

4. Fill The Right Forms

School-related tax credits are normally claimed through Form 8863. On the other hand, deductions are claimed through Form 8917. All the tax benefits that are claimed by a student or parent must be indicated on Form 1080 or 1080A. Filling and filing the right forms is important. Taxpayers may find themselves on the wrong side of the law because of a simple error or omission. Therefore, accurate and proper filing of returns is crucial.

Those who want to finance their own education, or that of a dependent, should be aware of all the student discounts they can get. These tax benefits can significantly reduce the amount of taxes payable in a given year.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Ryan Ayers. He is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to education. In this article, he offers tax tips to students and aims to encourage further study with a Stetson University Online Accounting Masters Degree.

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Learn What the World’s Best Programmers Already Know

Learn What the World’s Best Programmers Already Know

CareerIn today’s hyper-connected programmable world, coding skills are at a premium. Programmers are vital to the way we live and work: how we learn, do business, and socialize with one another. The need for programming expertise will continue to increase in the coming years. Becoming a programmer can be a lucrative and steady career path, with opportunities to advance into analyst and leadership roles.

The challenge for beginners comes in determining which languages can help pave the way to the future. Industry experts stress the importance of striking a balance between established and emerging programming systems. Employers have a specific skill set they expect from their programmers, and it typically includes several of the following languages.

The Four C’s

C is the most popular programming language in the history of computing. The versatility of C is credited for advancing the world as we know it today. It provides a foundation for C++, Java, C# (C-Sharp) and Objective C, and also serves as the basis for development of languages like Perl and Python.

Knowledge of C and C++ is essential to moving forward with other more complex languages, including C# and Objective C. Both of these languages incorporate object-oriented extensions of the original code and offer opportunities for sophisticated programming. C# and Java are common in web applications development work, and they are used for creating XML web servers, loading or storing database information, and many other web applications tasks.

PHP

PHP is a free, server-side scripting language that is installed on approximately 20 million web servers worldwide. The flexibility of PHP makes it an ideal choice for e-commerce, social media, blogs, and other applications that need to work across multiple browsers. WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are all based on PHP. It is also a helpful language for building Facebook applications. PHP has been available since 1995 and has consistently grown in popularity because of the ability to embed PHP commands directly into HTML documents.

Java

Java was also first released in 1995 and by all accounts changed the programming world forever. Java allows coders to write one program that can run on any hardware platform. This is possible because when Java applications are compiled, they are converted into a universal byte code that is understood and translated by any operating system that supports the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Java makes it easier to write complex programs for enterprise-wide applications. The language is powerful and efficient, and essential to website development for multiple devices.

HTML5

HTML5 eliminates the need for Flash, which has proven to be slow loading and resource intensive, so it is not compatible with battery-powered devices. This emerging language allows for exciting animation and Flash-like effects, but is far more efficient and search engine friendly. HTML5 works on both iOS and Android platforms, as well as across most browsers. Programmers who know HTML5 will be the ones who advance website development into the next generation.

Ruby

Ruby gained in popularity in the mid-2000s with the advent of the Ruby on Rails web application framework. The advantage of the language is that it allows for rapid development of complex apps. The recent and much-awaited release of Ruby 2.0 is anticipated to fix performance issues that have plagued Ruby programmers over the years.

Perl

While it sounds elegant, Perl is actually a “quick and dirty” open source utility language. It has been embraced by systems administrators around the world as an easy solution to scripting problems. Perl has a very active user community that offers exceptional support for coders.

Python

Python is a dynamic open-source language that programmers use to create highly flexible scripts and objects. It is quicker to code than Perl, Ruby and Java, and is available for all major operating systems. Python has become extremely popular with independent and third-party developers who want to distribute their apps and scripts to the mass market.

Author Byline:
Today’s guest article comes from Laura Mingo.She writes in the field of higher education and this article aims to offer career advice for university students in relation to IT and promotes the benefits of advanced study regarding a master in computer information systems online.

Sources:

http://www.onwardsearch.com/careers/most-requested-web-developer-skills/

http://bestteneverything.com/top-ten-most-popular-programming-languages-2013/

http://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#referencelibrary/GettingStarted/Learning_Objective-C_A_Primer/

http://www.python.org/

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Mixing College with Business: Ways to Pay for Tuition and Books while Gaining Experience

Mixing College with Business: Ways to Pay for Tuition and Books while Gaining Experience

interviewTuition is the beast that faces most college students.  Most college students end up creating a mountain of debt for themselves, dropping out, or struggling through their entire four year term (or more). Fear not, there are a few ways that you can get around all of this by having your own business, creating your own job, and still making it to class on time. Here are some of those ways and the benefits they pose to you as a college student.

Create, Execute, Reap

When it comes to creating your own business or making your mark in the workplace, you’ll have to come up with a marketable idea. Poll classmates and professors to figure out if you have the resources for services that they would be willing to pay for. Maybe you’ve got an affinity for calculus-creating a tutoring service; or maybe you have figured out how to fix/rig/upgrade game consoles – create a service that specializes in customized needs. Either way you slice it, you have a service that someone is willing to pay for. Exploit it. Yes, this comes off as a freelance-like business plan. However, all great businesses started somewhere. Just make sure that isn’t an idea that is going to put you in the poor house. Remember, that is something we are trying to avoid. Doing something you love that can be marketed to those around you is a great way to get yourself moving.

Work from Anywhere

Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, you will then have the opportunity to do what you want from anywhere. This comes in handy when you get to class an hour early because you forgot to set your clocks back. Don’t worry it happens. With this type of flexibility, you’ll be able to even crack a few products/services out during your insomniac phase. If you can’t do the physical work of the job, you can at least manage it. Learning to multitask is a good thing, and it will look excellent on your resume.

Making Money – Spend Money

This is where things get a little strange. When you have a set amount of money coming in from your services you’ll need to put some of that cash down for your business expenses. Separating you revenue stream into “this is what I need for business”, “this is what I need for myself”, and “surplus” are all imperative to making this work. If there are services you’re offering, there’s a good chance that you will end up utilizing internet and electrical. Do not spend more than you are bringing in, that is the absolute worst thing you can do for yourself at this time. Instead, check out your rates (after you buy your books). There’s a large pool of internet providers that you could look into as far as getting your services hooked up, and if it’s electrical you’re wanting to see (because some of your talents might use more than just the light bulb) check out sites like electriccompanies.com for a little extra help on that matter.

Your Resume

When you graduate, and you will graduate, you’ll want to have your skillset perfectly displayed. Don’t shrug this opportunity off just because you’ve found a way to work for yourself during your time in school. You need to be professional. Ask those you’ve worked for permission to stay in contact with them. This will give you a large assortment of individuals you can call for a reference regarding your services. While some might say that having an entrepreneurial outlook isn’t the greatest thing to write down, it does show that you are willing to commit to something and see it through. Don’t ignore this step. If you do, you’re going to have to start from the bottom of the pile and all of that tuition or book money will end up going down the drain when it comes to your sweat equity and actual costs.

Yes, there are jobs that you can get to help you pay for tuition. However, if you decide to start your own business, you might surprise yourself with the amount of work you’re willing to put into it and the amount of return you get from it. Plus, you never know who’s been scouting for someone with your talents. There’s a lot of scholarships out there for people who want to do things like this, and if your vision is big enough you can always apply for a grant. Just make sure you’ve crossed your T’ and dotted your I’s.

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FAFSA Overview (video)

The FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid) is the gateway to all things good when it comes to making college affordable. The downside is that the FAFSA is feared by many, especially those that have never completed the process. This uncomfortable unknown factor is what keeps people from giving it a try and finding out what treasures it will unlock to enable them to obtain their educational goals. On a side note… check out this humorous article comparing the FAFSA to a colonoscopy.

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Colleges and Universities Must Take Steps to Offer More Affordable Degree Programs

Colleges and Universities Must Take Steps to Offer More Affordable Degree Programs

mary-hawkinsThe following opinion piece was submitted by Mary B. Hawkins, Ph.D., president of Bellevue University

The value of holding a degree has never been greater. With the majority of new jobs created expected to require some form of post-secondary education, it has never been more important for Americans to attain the education necessary to fill the high-tech, high-skill jobs of the future. The United States Census Bureau reports those with a degree will average a lifetime income of $2,048,204, while those without a degree average $1,116,600.

While most Americans understand the benefits of earning a degree, going further into debt weighs heavily on the minds of many considering going back to school. Recent data released from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicates that the nation’s total student loan debt recently surpassed one trillion dollars, more than all credit cards in the country combined. This high debt associated with earning a degree in many programs must be reduced and replaced with more affordable options. It is the responsibility of colleges and universities to increase financial accessibility to higher education by making it more affordable for men and women of all ages to earn a degree.

The truth of the matter is that Americans feel that many degree programs cost more than they should. As reported by a recent Bellevue University study “The Search for Affordable Alternatives: Rising Costs and Massive Student Loan Debt Put College Out of Reach for Many,” over two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) believe that degree programs currently cost more than they are worth. Additionally, 36 percent of the nation said that the cost of a degree has risen disproportionally to its value in the last five years. Students want to ensure they are getting the most out of the money they are investing into degree programs.

Unfortunately, many of the rising costs associated with getting a degree—student fees, room and board, and extracurricular fees—are not directly related to gaining the workforce skills and professional competencies necessary for success in the workplace. According to the College Board, costs associated with learning have increased as much as 130 percent in the last 20 years, while Americans are seeking degree programs that won’t push them further into debt than necessary.  As “The Search for Affordable Alternatives” reports, debt is still fresh on the minds of Americans:

  • Nearly two-thirds, 64 percent, of Americans said that their level of debt has increased or stayed the same in the last three years.
  • 55 percent of Americans said they would only pursue a degree if it would not put them into significant debt.

Making degree programs more affordable also makes them more attractive to potential students. As reported by “The Search for Affordable Alternatives,” 76 percent of Americans said that affordable costs would be important to them if they were to pursue a degree. As household budgets tighten because of rising costs, high unemployment, and hesitancy regarding debt, more students are going to turn to degree programs that provide a high-quality education at an affordable cost. The resources that students put into degree programs, both their time and money, need to be directly reflected in the preparedness they feel upon graduation. With the economy growing and the job market changing, many Americans are searching for affordable degree programs that will prepare them for the high-tech, high-skill jobs of the future.

About the Author

Today’s guest article comes from Dr. Mary B. Hawkins is the President of Bellevue University. One of the nation’s best-known authorities on adult education, Dr. Mary B. Hawkins has observed the American education scene for more than 30 years and is keenly aware that the future of American prosperity relies on a better-educated workforce. She is known for leading the charge to make higher education accessible to everyone. Her expertise has been featured in USA Today, Fox Business, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, onlindegrees.com, national radio shows, pickthebrain.com, KUNS-TV Seattle, and dozens more.

About Bellevue University

Bellevue University is a recognized national leader in providing post-secondary education opportunities for working students. A private, non-profit institution, Bellevue University serves students at learning sites in three states, as well as worldwide through its award-winning online learning platform. Bellevue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. For more information, visit www.bellevue.edu.

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The Best Finance Books for College Students

The Best Finance Books for College Students

financebookIf you’re a young adult who is just getting ready to enter college, there’s a good chance that you’re also about to make some important financial decisions—or run into some money trouble. Whether it’s acquiring debt in the form of student loans to pay for tuition, racking up large bills going out with friends, or not being able to pay your rent at the end of the month, chances are you’re going to want some financial help. As you begin living on your own, and eventually enter the career arena, it’s a good idea to have a firm understanding of spending and saving habits, the economy, and debt management. Here are some easily-digestible books that can help you along the way.

Soldier of Finance, Jeff Rose

Soldier of Finance, written by Jeff Rose in 2013, is a book that details how to achieve good credit, manage debt, and invest wisely. Rose, a certified financial planner and retired U.S. soldier, bases much of the book’s principles on the Soldier’s Handbook and uses military metaphors to get his point across.  One New York Times reviewer asserts, “to his credit, [Rose] provides a solid foundation of personal finance basics”—and building a financial foundation is precisely what college students should be doing. The book excels at talking the reader through the importance of financial goal-setting and how to establish and build credit. The book is fitting for readers from a military background, but is sure to be a great read for all audiences.

Freakonomics: A Rouge Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, Steven Levitt

A staple on most “must-have” finance books lists (as well as a vital work in the bookshelves of finance students everywhere) Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics is one of the most thought-provoking money books to be released in the last 10 years. The book takes a very unconventional—sometimes sociological—approach to understanding economics, and ultimately sets out to prove that economics is more about incentives and motivation than anything else. Says Levitt:

Freakonomics is an attempt to have some fun with economics… taking tools of economics—the idea that you can use data and incentives and what not—and bringing those into the world to ask questions which are sometimes useful and sometimes just interesting”

The book certainly proves to be a fun ride. Levitt uses a series of non-traditional stories and examples (a chapter on sumo-wrestling? It’s in here) to highlight important economic theories and principles. While the book will be a useful read for economics and business majors, it’s engaging enough for students from other majors and background as well.

The Financial Domino Effect, Ben Emons

If you’re in need of some “back to basics advice”—as described by Paul Brown of the New York Times—then The Financial Domino Effect, written by Ben Emons (the senior vice president of the investment company responsible for the world’s largest bond fund) might be the place to start. A great read for novice investors, the book examines the main factors that control the world market, ranging from sociopolitical factors to financial and economic influences. It is the author’s belief that when one—or all—of these factors are altered, a domino effect takes place, with results typically showing up in the stock markets and economy. While the book provides a firm grasp of elements that lead to global market collapses, its true genius is in detailing how you can remain profitable even when the global economy is declining. Considering that students graduating just 5 years ago were facing one of the worst recessions in recent memory, this book could prove a useful tool for young adults looking for ways to invest in their future and make conservative financial decisions.

Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back, Kimberly Palmer

While US News & World Report editor Kimberly Palmer penned and released this book in 2010, it still proves to be an incredibly useful resource for young adults. The book has a special focus on saving—something 20-somethings should take advantage of before they have larger bills to pay. Says Palmer, in an interview with Huffington Post:

“The only way to get ahead financially is to save at least one-third of your income. It sounds impossible, and sometimes it is. But if you don’t start saving that much for an emergency fund, goals, and retirement in your twenties and thirties, it’s just going to get harder later.”

Palmer’s relatable stories and tone make the money lessons sink in for finance-novices. Palmer discusses everything from how to negotiate for lower prices on everyday items to how to deal with student loans and debt as burgeoning adults. The book will surely benefit any student looking for a general (and easy-to-understand) how-to guide for budgeting.

Finance doesn’t have to be dry and dull. These engaging books offer unique twists on finance and useful advice for life-long money management. From taking on loan debt to opening up credit cards for the first time, college students are making important decisions about their money every day—and they should have the tools and literature to help them do so wisely.

This article was contributed on behalf of BQR Advertising, a leader among Houston advertising agencies that truly understands how to properly manage advertising efforts to match with your financial budgets while keeping up with the latest trends in the industry. Check out their website today and see how they can help you and your business succeed. 

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