Is College Still Worth It?

A question sparking debates as tuition rates spiral out of control and unemployment for college grads hits record levels. Is a college degree worth it? For many the value of a degree is not just the earnings impact over a lifetime but the experiences and personal development that occur during these years. Maturing into a focused, passionate learner can help you find opportunities for career progression.

With work taking up almost half of your waking hours each day, don’t you want to spend your career working at a meaningful, empowering job? We do! Because if you love your job, magical things start to happen that are worth much more than your paycheck. Then the pay is just an added bonus. Our infographic below attempts to work through this important topic and weigh the pros and cons of going to college.

Educated America

Education leads to a better life. But it’s not only our own lives that are impacted, but the lives of those around us change as well. As you continue to work hard to obtain your degree, it’ll be important during those late night cram sessions to know that your efforts are essentially going to make the world a better place for you, your family, and even your neighbors.
With the ability to reach virtually everyone on the entire planet, online education could be the key to everyone’s future and shape the world we live in. Education will change your life for the better. This infographic will show you the difference between those who have a college degree versus those who do not. It’s easy to see that gaining knowledge can make a world of difference.
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Earning a Bachelor’s Degree Online

In today’s competitive marketplace, employers demand that their workers have a college education. Today, distance learning makes getting an online bachelor degree possible without having to enroll in a college campus program.

Why Get a Bachelor Degree Online?

Advances in technology allow you to get the same quality of education from distance learning as you would from a campus program.

Here are some additional advantages of earning a bachelor degree online:

  • Work full-time while completing an online bachelor degree
  • Learn organization, research, and time management for today’s fast-paced industries
  • Become proficient in internet technologies and web-based research
  • Communicate and collaborate with peers and professors around the world
  • No travel or commuting expenses

Earning Potential

There’s no doubt that having a bachelor degree will help you earn more in your profession. On average, people with a bachelor degree earn between $10,000 to $20,000 more a year than people who have had some college education. A person with a bachelor’s degree will earn almost twice as much over their lifetime as someone with only a high school education ($2.1 million compared to $1.2 million).

Types of Bachelor Degrees

There are two types of bachelor degrees available from online degree programs. The bachelor degree in the arts (B.A.) is designed to provide a broad liberal arts and science background. The bachelor degree in science (B.S.) covers the same areas of study for a B.A., but is geared towards education for a particular profession.

The most common bachelor degree programs include:

  • Business Management
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Information Technology Management
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Computer Science
  • Software Engineering
  • International Business Administration
  • Human Resource Management
  • Safety Engineering
  • Computer Network Management
  • Visual Communications
  • Marketing

Top Careers for Bachelor Degree Earners

With the median wage increasing for workers with higher education degrees, the advantage of having a bachelor degree is obvious. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the following occupations, which require bachelor degrees, will grow faster through 2016 than other occupations requiring the same education:

  • Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst
  • Computer Applications Software Engineer
  • Personal Financial Advisor
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor
  • Financial Analyst
  • Forensic Science Technician
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Computer Systems Software Engineer
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator

Choosing an Online Bachelor Degree Program

There are many factors that go into choosing the right online bachelor degree program. First you need to decide what degree you want to pursue. If you are changing careers or just trying to increase your marketability in your current profession, find out which degree will serve you best.

Next, search for distance learning programs which are fully accredited. A degree from a school which is not accredited may not be recognized or accepted by your employers. You will also be unable to transfer credits to other schools if your degree comes for an online school which is unaccredited.

Finally, research the admission requirements and expenses for the online school to which you are applying. You will need to get your finances in order, apply for financial aid, and make sure that you meet all of the prerequisites for admission

Is your Scholarship Taxable?

Tax-free Scholarships and Fellowships

A scholarship is tax-free if:College Student Reviews Tax

• You are a full-time or part-time candidate for a degree at a primary, secondary or accredited post-secondary institution.
• The award covers tuition and fees to enroll in or attend an educational institution.
• The award covers fees, books, supplies and equipment required for your courses.

The award is tax-free only as long as you use it for the purposes outlined above.

Your scholarship is taxed if it is used to cover:

  • Room and board
  • Travel
  • Research
  • Clerical help
  • Equipment


If your award, for example, covers both tuition and room and board, the amount you use for tuition is tax-free, while the amount you use for room and board is taxable. If you need to make this adjustment, you may have to adjust other parts of your return as well. For example, if you are filing a deduction for educational expenses, you must reduce the amount of your deduction by the tax-free amount of the award.


What you use your scholarship money for may determine whether you pay taxes on it.

Making It Legal: Reporting Taxable Awards

If your only income is a tax-free scholarship or fellowship, you’re in the clear. You don’t have to file a tax return or report the award. On the other hand, if all or part of your scholarship is taxable and if that money is not recorded on your W2 form, you must report it:

If you are filing a 1040EZ form, print “SCH” and the taxable amount to the right of the words “W-2 form(s)” on line 1.

For the 1040 or 1040A forms, write “SCH” and the taxable amount on the dotted line next to line 7 on the 1040 or in the space to the left of line 7 on the 1040A.

Any Questions?

If you’re not sure if your award is taxable, ask the organization that sponsored the award. They may have information from the IRS regarding your award’s tax status.

You can also seek information directly from the Internal Revenue Service. Check the IRS Web site, call the IRS help line at 1-800-829-1040, or download IRS Publication 970, which covers the tax benefits of education. If you have questions, ask as soon as possible to get your answers before tax time.

Being informed about the tax procedures for scholarships will make your life easier come April 15. Find out what’s taxable and report it correctly. You want to stay on your Uncle Sam’s good side.


Financial Aid for Online Education

Although online education is typically more affordable than traditional campus programs, you may still need some help to get started. Lets take a look at what student Online College Reviews Scholarshipsfinancial aid is available, who is eligible, and how your online college can help you.

Aid from Online Colleges

The first step to getting financial aid for your online education is to talk to your online college. For most students, loans are a big source of their financial aid package, so it’s important to only borrow what you need. Fortunately, if you’re getting your degrees online, you will only need to pay for tuition, fees and books. Living expenses and other campus fees normally part of the cost of college do not apply. Your online college can tell you what financial aid they offer.

Are You Eligible?

Most adults pursuing an online education assume that they will not be eligible for financial aid. That’s simply not true. There are many grants and low-interest loans available regardless of your GPA, financial need, or credit history.

Most federal and state aid programs don’t have age limits. Federal and state governments are typically the largest source of student financial aid with colleges and universities next, and private sources including community and professional organizations last. Many large companies offer tuition assistance programs, so it also pays to check with your employer.

Applying for Financial Aid

After you’ve checked with your school and employer for financial aid, you will want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. In most cases this one application will determine the amount of federal and state financial aid you will receive.

Once you complete your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). This report will list your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is basically what the government expects you pay for your education. The EFC is based on the information you reported on your FAFSA including income, savings, the size of your family, and what other family members are also in school.
Your school will also receive the information on your FAFSA. They will then send you a Financial Aid Letter which will detail the total amount of aid including grants, scholarships, loans and work study, for which you are eligible.


Scholarships are forms of financial aid which don’t need to be paid back. They can be used to pay any online education expenses such as tuition, fees, textbooks and supplies. Eligibility for scholarships are based on qualities such as academic merit, financial need, or your affiliation with a particular group or organization.

Keep in mind that if your parent or spouse is a veteran or part of an organization such as the Elks Club or Rotary, you may be able to get a scholarship based on your connection.


Grants are similar to scholarships in that they offer student financial aid which does not need to be paid back. Grants are awarded for study in a particular field, conducting certain types of research, or completion of work in the arts or letters. They are often issued by public or private institutions or corporations. You may also qualify for a grant through the state in which you reside.

The most common grant in the Federal Pell Grant which is awarded based solely on your financial need. In order to be eligible for a Pell Grant you must:

  • Be an undergraduate
  • Be working on your undergraduate degree
  • Attend a federally-approved school
  • Not be incarcerated in a state or federal prison

Social Media Engaging Students

Two words: social media. How many times have each one of us heard those words in the past few years? Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, LinkedIn, Digg, StumpleUpon and the list can go on and on. These sites have become to many– a part of everyday life and language and no one can deny the truth that social media sites are everywhere and millions of people are using them more and more every day.

The number of active social media users has skyrocketed. Just five years ago, researchers at the Pew Research Institute conducted a survey asking adults who use the Internet: if they use social media and if so, how. Surprisingly, only 5 percent claimed to be using social media. However results from the same survey conducted last year showed that number was up to an alarming 65 percent.

With Facebook and Twitter being the two giants for new media connection; one particular  group is using social media more than ever — students and professors at online universities and traditional four year colleges. Students are drawn to social media accounts and fan pages because they act as blank canvases for student-faculty and student-student interaction. A student can post a message on a professor’s or student’s Facebook page or Twitter account and receive a quick response. In some instances it’s faster than picking up the phone or typing an email.

Reasearch shows just how engaged students are becoming using these social sites.The National Survey of Student Engagement polled freshmen and seniors at participating colleges using five different benchmarks: academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experience and supportive campus environment. The research gained from the 17,000 students from 40 different colleges, proved when students are actively engaged on their college campuses beyond the classroom, they “ learn more, think more critically, and gain an appreciation for diverse perspectives.” The study also showed students were most engaged in learning with each other when they were preparing assignments, working on projects and directly after exams.

Professors and students aren’t the only ones banking on the effectiveness of educational engagement; colleges also use social media sites as a means of communication in order to tell prospective, current and former students what’s going on with the institution. The primary use of these pages is to help students learn about the university and keep in touch with current and past students. These university pages help prove that over the years companies have learned that social media is where there customers are, and that is where they need to be too.

It would be silly for students not to relish in the joys of no longer having to deal with late night desperate attempts for one of your classmates or professors to answer their email or phone call to get help with a assignment or a study question. Social media breaks down barriers for students. It allows the professor to be available in a less formal environment and fosters communication as students can ask questions and receive answers to questions in and outside of class. Thanks to social media, colleges no longer need to wonder what it is their students are doing, or what they are thinking– all they have to do is go online.

Source Engaged Learning

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How Financial Aid Works

When going through the financial aid process, many students and parents often ask themselves, ‘How does financial aid work?’ The process depends on a number of factors, and its complexity can be overwhelming for families. The reality is that financial aid is a multi-dimensional process that uses different types of aid to put together a complete financial aid package. By understanding how this process works, students can give themselves an advantage when seeking financial assistance for college.

Everything Starts with the FAFSA

The main component of the financial aid process is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as the FAFSA. This is the form that both the government and the selected school use to determine a student’s level of need. It is through this level of need that the government and schools decide how much they should award each student.

The FAFSA form usually consists of about 130 questions in total, asking questions about parent income and assets, as well as the student’s financial dependence on their parents. Parent income and assets are used to determine the expected parent contribution towards cost of attendance. Depending on how much the parents make, the expected contribution could range from nothing all the way to over half the cost of tuition. The factors determining these price ranges changes yearly as the standard of living fluctuates.

The student’s information from the FAFSA form is used in calculating the student’s contribution towards their education. This usually ranges between $2,800 and $5,000 judging from summer employment and previous savings.

Students who cannot meet this contribution will qualify for the federal work-study program, which provides students a job on campus to give them the money to meet their contribution.

The Types of Aid Available to Students

The different types of financial aid offered are federal grants, loans, and outside scholarships. The Pell Grant is an example of a federal grant that allows students to receive $5,500 that does not have to be paid back. The Perkins and Stafford Loans College Student Reviews paying-for-collegeoffer students loans at the fixed interest rates of 5% and 6.8% , respectively. These are much lower compared to the double digit adjustable interest rates offered on private loans.

In additional to federal aid options, students can receive financial aid from their selected institution. Schools also use the FAFSA form to determine a student’s level of need and award need-based scholarships accordingly. Most schools have scholarships sponsored by alumni specifically for extreme financial circumstances.

Schools also offered merit-based scholarships for athletics and academics. Students who are extremely intelligent or extremely talented in a sport often have most of their expenses paid for by schools in which their talent is in high demand.

Whilst the financial aid process can be complicated at first glance, it is important to know how it works in order to minimize the costs of college. Through the FAFSA form, students can qualify for the grants, loans, and scholarships that make attending college a reality.

What to Expect From an Online Degree Program?

Emineo Media College Student ReviewsOnline degree programs come in a variety of types, from strictly-scheduled degrees for traditional students to self-paced programs for working adults. Classes usually communicate and submit assignments through special education software.

Online Degree Program Options and Types

The spectrum of online degree programs begins with hybrid programs, which are taught partly online and partly through in-person lectures or tests. These programs, along with some online programs, are set on a course schedule that resembles a traditional degree program in many ways and is usually designed for traditional students rather than working adults. Assignments and tests often have set due dates, and students are required to submit their work and participate in class discussions on a regular basis.

The other end of the online degree spectrum is often found in continuing education courses or college degrees for working adults. These courses may not have a set end date, much less due dates for assignments or tests. Often, these programs allow students to work whenever they desire and take as long as necessary to complete each class and, ultimately, their degree.

Most online degree programs fall somewhere between these two extremes, usually operating on a semester system that requires students to turn in all assignments by a particular semester-end date, but allowing students to work at their own pace in the mean time to complete assignments and tests.

What to Expect From Online Classes

Online classes use a variety of means for communication, including email, class forums and message boards, instant messengers and at times voice or video conferencing. Many times, online classes use specially designed education software that incorporates some or all of these features into a single package that can be accessed from a web browser. This gives students access to a centralized set of message boards through which they can communicate with the rest of their class, gives teachers a built-in email system for communicating with students and passing out or reviewing assignments and provides an automated testing and grading system for some types of assignments.

Usually, online classes have some form of participation requirement, both for the purpose of keeping students from becoming isolated, and for building teamwork within a class to help solve problems and reinforce key concepts. This participation requirement may take the form of a posting requirement on the class boards or it may mean class assignments in which students must work together.

How Does an Online Degree Work?

Emineo Media College Student ReviewsStudents in an online degree program learn through the Internet and web-based software. Online degrees follow a spectrum, from strictly scheduled to self-paced, depending on the type of program, and are usually presented via an online education portal system.

Online Degree Format and Pacing

Online degrees are available through traditional education institutions in a fully online format or a hybrid degree format. A hybrid degree format includes both online and campus-based classes. There are also many online institutions, with no physical campus, that offer educational opportunities to students.

Class formats for online degrees vary, and it’s important for students to enroll in a class format that fits their schedule. The more traditionally-scheduled class assigns and requires students to complete regular assignments and tests by certain dates throughout the semester. A self-paced course allows students to work at whatever pace they may wish, for as long as necessary to complete the course. Many classes fall somewhere in between these two formats and require students to have all work submitted by a particular date at the end of the semester.

Online Degree Specifics and Requirements

Because online degrees are not set in a physical classroom, students are required to show some sort of participation, either by posting a certain number of times in the class discussion boards or by completing class assignments with other students. In hybrid classes, this requirement is usually waived, as students must show up for a physical class on certain days throughout the semester. In continuing education programs or degrees for working adults, this participation requirement may be less stringent.

Most online classes are presented via a website that integrates forums, instant messenger, e-mail and streaming audio and video. Programs also offer automatic testing and real-time assignment review capabilities to create an online classroom environment for students. This ‘virtual classroom’ allows students to interact with each other and communicate with their teachers, along with viewing class calendars or informational posts. Teachers have the option of posting lectures and assignments as video, audio or text files.

Options for Online Degree Programs

Emineo Media College Student ReviewsMany options for online degree programs are the same as those for residential students, including what school to attend, what degree to pursue and what major to choose. Degree options in many online programs are as varied as on-campus and range from associate degrees through doctorates in dozens of majors.

Enrollment in online courses (those in which 80% or more of the content is presented online) grew dramatically from 1.98 million students in 2003 to 4.6 million in 2008 ( Online degree programs are available in more than a dozen fields and are ideal for nontraditional students who work full time, have children or are otherwise unable to attend more conventional campus programs.

Options in Areas of Study Available for Online Degrees

Online degree programs typically offer the same coursework as campus-based programs. Some of the fields in which online degrees are available are:

  • Social services and public administration
  • Public safety and law enforcement
  • Medical/Health professions and psychology
  • Mechanic and repair technologies
  • Legal
  • Engineering and engineering technologies
  • Education
  • Computer sciences and communication technologies
  • Communication and journalism
  • Business

Options for Campus Time Required for Online Degrees

Despite being taught online using Web conferences, prerecorded lectures, online videos, teleconferences, bulletin boards and typed lectures, some online degree programs require students to spend minimal amounts of time on campus. Although students communicate regularly with professors and classmates through message boards, e-mail, instant messages and chat rooms, time on campus allows them to meet with professors, advisors and classmates and to attend workshops.

Other programs are hybrid or blended courses. These classes have a sizable amount of the content presented online and often use online discussions. The number of face-to-face classes is reduced, but is still a substantial part of the program. The student must decide which program type will best meet his or her needs.