Features – Value Colleges http://www.valuecolleges.com The best colleges. <br>The lowest costs. <br>The highest returns. Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:31:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 The Coding Boot Camp Guide http://www.valuecolleges.com/guide-coding-boot-camp/ Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:45:18 +0000 http://www.valuecolleges.com/?p=9702

What Are the Ways Someone Can Learn to Code?

There are many avenues and individual can take to learn to code and get the chops needed to land a new job and change careers. Some people learn to code on their own. Self-taught individuals are highly motivated and use online resources to create their curriculum or study plans. But this path can be time-consuming, and the lack of formal training may make it difficult for these individuals to land a job.

On the other end of the learning spectrum, traditional university programs that offer computer science degrees have been a time established, more formal way to move into computer programing professions. A bachelor’s degree in computer science provides a broad foundation of learning and offers easy entry into the workforce after graduation. However, college degrees are expensive and usually take four years to complete. Until recently there was not a lot of middle ground for students.

Emerging somewhere in between self-learning and college degrees on the coding spectrum of learning, independent coding coot camps were born. These programs offer intensive learning experiences that prepare students with specific skills in a compressed period. Students leave boot camps ready to work and armed with the most current knowledge. These programs are excellent, but to attend a coding boot camp an individual needs to have significant resources. One of the main stumbling blocks for these independent coding schools is the commitment of time, and money required by students.

Tuition for a typical boot camp ranges from $3,000 – $25,000. To attend boot camp, many students must move to the city where the school is located and be able to afford to not work during the time they are enrolled in the program. Unlike colleges, universities, or trade schools the Independent Coding Boot Camp schools have only recently begun to be regulated or accredited, making it somewhat difficult for individuals evaluate the different programs and making the programs ineligible for financial aid.

The most recent trend in boot camps has been for an independent coding school to partner with an established “brick and mortar” college or university. These University + Coding Boot Camps Partnerships offer the benefits of university resources coupled with the innovation of independent coding schools.

How are Coding Boot Camp Classes Offered?

The modes of delivery for coding boot camps are in-person, online, or a combination of the two.

Online coding boot camps allow students to enjoy the flexibility of working from home and at their own pace. Bloc, Thinkful, General Assembly are a few of the popular online coding schools. In-person boot camps require the individual attend class in-person, similar to traditional college classes. Additionally, boot camps offer part-time and full-time classes.

Are Coding Boot Camps Accredited or Regulated?

Each university controls the coding boot camps that have established partnerships with them. The Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR)  has developed a standard framework for reporting student outcomes for independent coding boot camps. The CIRR is a new organization and consists of a group of 28 coding programs and member organizations with the goal of providing clear, simple, and validated reporting.

What are the Specific Types of Coding Bootcamps?

University + Coding Bootcamp Partnerships offer the benefits of university resources coupled with the innovation of independent coding schools. Some partnerships grant college credit for coursework, and some have financial aid available.

  • Concordia University – St. Paul + Software Guild
  • CUNY- Queens + Revature
  • Kaplan University + Dev Bootcamp
  • Lynn University + Wyncode + General Assembly
  • Northeastern University + Level
  • Seattle Central College + Launch code
  • Strayer University + New York Code & Design
  • University of Missouri + Revature
  • University of Maryland University College + Revature
  • Wichita state + Software Guild

University “In-House” Coding Bootcamps are programs developed by each school and are not affiliated with any outside education providers. These coding boot camps usually last 8 to 20-weeks.

  • Sacred Heart University
  • Seattle University

University + Coding Bootcamps, Continuing Education programs take place on a university campus through the continuing education department. Graduates receive a boot camp certificate of completion from the school but do not receive college credit. Trilogy Education has launched part-time boot camps in cooperation with the continuing education departments of many universities.

  • Case Western Reserve + Trilogy
  • George Washington University + Trilogy
  • Georgia Tech + Trilogy
  • Northwestern University + Trilogy
  • Rutgers University + Trilogy
  • Southern Methodist University + Trilogy
  • UC Berkeley Extension + Trilogy
  • UC Irvine + Trilogy
  • UC San Diego Extension + Trilogy
  • UCLA Extension + Trilogy
  • UNC Chapel Hill + Trilogy
  • UNC Charlotte + Trilogy
  • University of Arizona + Trilogy
  • University of Central Florida + Trilogy
  • University of Denver + Trilogy
  • University of Kansas + Trilogy
  • University of Utah  + Trilogy
  • UT Austin + Trilogy

EQUIP University + Coding Boot Camp Partnerships are initiatives between the Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships, or EQUIP, an educational organization established by the U.S. Department of Education with the goal of helping students access federal student aid for educational programs offered by non-traditional training providers. EQUIP partners with colleges and universities, including coding boot camps, online courses, and employer organizations in an attempt to access innovative learning and training opportunities that are not part of the current financial aid system for higher education. Students can get financial assistance and college credit for completing a coding boot camp from EQUIP partnerships institutions.

  • Marylhurst University + Episodes
  • SUNY Empire State College + Flatiron
  • Wilmington University + Zip Code Wilmington

Community College Coding Bootcamps are partnerships between community colleges and independent boot camps, similar to the university partnerships. They offer affordable alternatives to the university programs.

  • Central New Mexico Community College + Deep Dive Coding Bootcamp
  • Community College of Allegheny County + Mined Minds
  • Dallas Community College System + Straightliner (also EQUIP)

Independent Coding Bootcamps (University Alternative) are private for-profit schools. There are more than 200 independent boot camps.Some of the most popular are Coding Dojo, Deep Dive, Dev, Epicodus, Flatiron, General Assembly, Holberton, Iron Yard, Level, Mined Mind, Revature, Sabio, Software Guild, Trilogy, Wyncode, Zip Code.

How Can I Tell if Coding Boot Camp is Right for Me?

Bootcamp students have vastly different experience levels and come from all walks of life. The qualities shared by successful boot camp students are drive, willingness to work hard, love of learning, and a strong desire to enter the field.  Other essential skills are the ability to pick up new technologies quickly and a capacity to work on a team collaborating with others. Here is what some boot camps have to say about the ideal candidate for a coding boot camp program and the traits or skills do they have.

“They already have been learning some coding concepts and have a computer to work on code on a weekly basis. They are smart, motivated and driven to succeed.”

–    Liliana Monge, the Co-Founder, and CEO of Sabio (Antioch College partnership)


“Logic and problem-solving skills, grit, tenacity, determination, good communicators.”

–    Samantha Hayoun, Zip Code Wilmington


“The ideal Wyncode candidate is a hardworking, motivated and focused individual who is interested in the power of technology. We do not judge candidates on what they have done to date but rather their potential to be successful.”

–    Juba Mikkola, Wyncode Academy


“Desire to learn with a strong emphasis on a growth mindset.”

–    Matt, Lynn University + Wyncode Academy

What are Some Free or Inexpensive Classes I can Use to See if Coding Boot Camp is Right for Me?

Not everyone needs experience in coding to get accepted to a boot camp, but it doesn’t hurt.  For individuals who do not have much experience in programming, there are many free or inexpensive classes offered online. Before committing to a program, students should see if they like coding by taking one of these classes. Free or inexpensive classes and boot camp prep classes can be found at Code School, Codeacademy, Coursera, Eloquent JavaScript, Flatiron, Free Code Camp, General Assembly, Girl Develop It, JavaScript for Cats, Learn to Code With Me, One Month, Railsbridge, Skillcrush, Treehouse, Udacity, and Udemy.

How Much Does Boot Camp Cost and How Can I Pay for it?

The average coding boot camp tuition is around $11,000.00. Although, there are a few schools that are free to students and alumni. In addition to the cost of tuition, living expenses, and lost wages for the time a student attends the boot camp need to be factored in to estimate the total cost.

The expense of a boot camp is less than a college degree, but federal financial aid is available in some locations that have teamed up with universities. For example, Sabio and  Antioch University have a joint program that offers two paths for students. They can take a six month program and earn a Certificate in Web Development. Or, students can attend Sabio’s six month coding boot camp.earn thirty-six hours of college credit toward a Bachelors of Science degree in Applied Studies from Antioch University. Students get the best of both worlds, participating in the Sabio Boot Camp and working towards a degree at Antioch University and are able to enjoy the benefits of financial aid.

Most students pay for independent boot camp tuition out-of-pocket using personal savings or loans. Coding bootcamp loans are available from third party lenders like Pave, Affirm, LendLayer, Earnest, and Climb. Some boot camps offer payment plans, deferred payments, and have agreements to use a percent of a student’s salary after graduating to pay for tuition. Scholarships are available for minorities, women, military personnel, and other select groups. A list of coding boot camp scholarships is available from Course Report.

What is the Curriculum of the Coding Boot Camp Program?

Most coding boot camps teach a full-stack web development program. A full-stack encompasses the front-end, the interface a user interacts with and the design features seen on a website, and the back-end, where the foundational code allows a website to accept, process and deliver information. Depending on the coding school, the languages taught are slightly different. Most full-stack developers can code with 5 to 6 major languages or frameworks. Because programming languages can be geographically distinct, students should research the area where they want to work to make sure they are learning the most useful languages.

How Should I Choose a Coding Boot Camp?

Different boot camps are meant for various skill sets and these schools are classified differently than other traditional college programs. Absolute beginners should choose a program that is “Zero to” and individuals with some experience should choose a program that is described as “20 to”.

  • 0 to 60 – absolute beginner to moderate ability
  • 0 to 100 – absolute beginner to advanced ability
  • 0 to 200 – absolute beginner to superior ability
  • 20 to 80 –  modest ability to intermediate ability
  • 20 to 120 – modest ability to excellent ability

The location of the boot camp is another major factor to consider. Students who can move should try to attend a boot camp in the city where they are interested in working. A benefit of an in-person program is the face-to-face networking and job placement services. It makes sense to be in the city where you want to live in after boot camp to take advantage of these program benefits. If students have an idea about what kind of work they are interested in doing after boot camp, they can narrow their search.

What are the Admission Requirements for Coding Boot Camp?

Almost all boot camps require an applicant to have a high school diploma. Some schools require U.S. Citizenship, and a few require a post-secondary education. Almost all coding bootcamps have applications that students can fill out online. Many bootcamps require applicants to complete pre-work to demonstrate commitment and a basic competency level. Bootcamp admission rates vary widely among schools. Some of the extremely competitive programs accept less than 6% of applicants while some are trying to get people to attend.

Will Attending a Coding Boot Camp Land Me a Job?

For individuals who are using Bootcamp to change careers, it is important to find a school that offers resume and cover letter assistance, interview preparation, and job placement assistance. The jobs available will depend on the intensity level of the boot camp attended and on prior experience. Forbes Magazine lists 11 Careers You Can Land After Attending A Coding Bootcamp. Other jobs include Front-End Developer, Junior Developer, and a Full Stack Developer.  

How Can I Personally Prepare for My Time at Boot Camp?

To prepare for boot camp, students should organize their personal life so they are prepared to run on autopilot while in school. Before boot camp begins, students can streamline by paying bills early, organize finances, pre-shopping for special dietary needs and staple items, and making sure the closet is full of clean clothes. Any life activities that can be “front loaded” should be completed before boot camp starts! A daily schedule mapping out every day for the entire length of the boot camp can optimize time management during bootcamp. Focused and dedicated student are more successful than unprepared students.

What are Some Things That Can Help Me While I am in Coding Boot Camp?

Hours of sitting in front of a computer can be unkind to your bum and the rest of your body! Students should take a walk every day, maybe during lunch with new boot camp buddies,  to get the blood flowing and help maintain physical fitness. Daily walks will help students stay in peak physical and mental shape. Along with exercise, healthy eating during times of high stress has been shown to fend off sickness and fatigue. Packing your lunch every day and cutting out processed and unhealthy foods can give students more energy and save the time it may take to leave campus and eat.

To reduce strain and fatigue on your eyes, remember to use the 20-20-20 rule daily. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. When using laptops, computers, smartphones, gaming systems and television screens take periodic breaks to give your eyes a rest.

Take full advantage of the resources offered by the school. Job placement assistance, as well as help with resumes and interviewing, are valuable services. Don’t forget to network with classmates while at boot camp. Especially for students who are changing professions, friends made in boot camp may be future co-workers, employers, or employees!

What Happens After Coding Boot Camp?

After coding boot camp, students should be prepared to enter the workforce and be able to secure a job in the industry quickly. It is good practice for all students to maintain professional networks and participate in continuing education. Because coding boot camp programs are young, former boot camp students should consider writing reviews and advice for others who follow.

Set Your Priorities: The Essential Guide to Choosing the Right Management Program http://www.valuecolleges.com/choosing-best-management-program/ Mon, 29 May 2017 18:09:20 +0000 http://www.valuecolleges.com/?p=9380 The internet is full of inspiring stories of visionary businessmen and women who made their fortune on nothing but their own brilliance and dedication – people who dropped out of school, failed miserably over and over, survived disasters and losses, and still came out on top, household names and admired by all.

The thing about those stories is, they’re compelling because they’re rare. There was only one Steve Jobs, and you’re probably not him. For the rest of us, making a successful management career is probably going to start with college, and if it doesn’t start with college – if you start and grow a business from scratch, or start in the proverbial mailroom or some other entry-level position at a corporation – you’re going to find yourself there eventually for the credentials and specialization modern industry expects.

If you’re interested in business, you ought to have a very well-developed sense of value: maybe you’ve done some basic cost-benefit analysis in your head, thinking about whether a management degree would be worth your time. Tons of entrepreneurial books and blogs will tell you you don’t need the degree. But those don’t tell you what is worth it to you.

You could absolutely learn the rudiments and fundamentals of management on your own, by hard work and trial-and-error, but wouldn’t it make more sense – and be a better investment – to make your mistakes and find your path before the stakes get too high? When you have the safety net of a school, and the mentorship of experienced, knowledgeable faculty? When a disappointment is just a disappointment for you, without costing yourself and others their job? If those questions make sense to you, read on – we’re going to explore your higher education options.

[When you are ready, check out our ranking on the best of the best US programs- Top 50 Best Value Master’s of  Management Degrees and our Top 50 Best Value Online Master’s of Management Programs]

 What Kind of Program is Right for Me?

Deciding on the type of program you need means considering your priorities, your current life situation, and where you want to go in your career. It also means taking a serious look at where you want to be in the future – when you graduate, ten years from now, even when you retire. Who you are, and who you want to be, is the key to deciding your fate.

So who are you?

  • Traditional College Age (18-25)
  • Non-Traditional College Age (over 25)

[Read our FAQ for help deciding whether to pursue an online or on-campus Master’s in Management Degree Program]

What experience do you have?

  • Little Job Experience
  • Extensive Job Experience
  • Entrepreneurial Drive

Why are you going to business school?

  • Want to Start Professional Career
  • Seeking Career Change
  • Earn Credentials to Further Existing Career

Traditional On-Campus

Who: Traditional, Non-Traditional
With: Little Job Experience
Why: Start Professional Career

For young, traditional-aged (18-25) college students who may not have much job experience, the smartest choice is probably a traditional on-campus program. The benefits of an on-campus program are particularly important for those who need to prepare for professional life from scratch – without an already-developed set of connections, or practice in the cultural norms of business.

Because, aside from the highly technical skills like finance or statistics that go into a management degree, the most important parts of a management education are the “soft” skills of business – knowing how to present yourself professionally, to talk to other professionals, to develop a personal brand and image. And those things, for young, inexperienced people, are the kinds of skills developed in a good b-school.

An on-campus program can give students better opportunities for mentorship from experienced faculty, and networking with the school’s corporate or government contacts. Internships and first jobs will be easier to secure, and the camaraderie you develop with your student cohort will give you opportunities down the road, when you’re looking for partners or collaborators.

Accelerated (On-Campus or Online)

Who: Traditional, Non-Traditional
With: Extensive Job Experience, Entrepreneurial Drive
Why: Seeking Career Change, Earn Credentials

If you’re returning to school after extensive job experience, you’re probably looking for a graduate degree like an MBA or MiM to advance in your current company, or move into a career that is a better fit. If that’s the case, your priority might be to get it done FAST, trading in some lost income for a greater opportunity later on.

Accelerated programs have become very common in the last decade; almost every major business school offers them in some form, either on campus, at an extension campus, online, or hybrid (a mix of online and on-campus). Most accelerated programs allow students to earn a graduate management degree in only one year or 18 months, but there are stipulations – most of them require several years of work experience, and they are highly intensive; most students will have to study full-time to complete the program in time. Courses are typically scheduled for evenings or weekends.

For traditional-aged students, many colleges also offer accelerated BBA/MBA programs that allow a student to work straight through their bachelor’s degree into a master’s degree, finishing the whole shebang in just five years (as opposed to six or seven in a traditional program). These are for highly motivated students who know what they want and are willing to work for it, because they’re very demanding.

Some universities have also developed bachelor’s-completion to master’s programs for working adults who have some schooling (such as an associate’s degree) but do not have a bachelor’s degree. These programs allow students to complete bachelor’s and master’s courses in a shorter period of time.


Who: Non-Traditional
With: Extensive Job Experience, Entrepreneurial Drive
Why: Seeking Career Change, Earn Credentials

In the 21st century, a master’s degree has become a common requirement for higher-level positions in the corporate world, leading many working professionals to consider their potential for advancement and head back to school to up their credentials.

If you’re one of those students – the working adults who already have quite a few years of professional work under their belt, are confident in their professional skills, and have the network of connections and supporters to accomplish your goals, and only need the credentials to gild your resume – an online master’s degree, like our Top 50 Best Value Online Master’s in Management Programs, is probably your most economical and convenient option.

Whether it’s accelerated or a full 2-year master’s, online degrees meet the needs of the working adult – the flexibility to work around your own professional schedule, the convenience of not having to quit your job or relocate yourself and your family. Classes may be asynchronous (not meeting at any particular time) or synchronous (meeting live at a scheduled time), and some programs may require an on-campus orientation or workshop to build relationships, but no matter the format, online management degrees just make sense for working professionals.

How Do I Choose A College?

The thing to keep in mind with choosing a business school is that, as in all things in life, setting your priorities is a trade-off. A prestigious institution will probably not be cheap, or in a location that is convenient for you; the universities nearest to you in location may not be prestigious, or cutting-edge. The most innovative may not be prestigious, or may require you to move to a different area. In other words, you can’t have it all. Prestige and Innovation may go together, or Cost and Location may go together, but you’re not likely to find the perfect match in every category.

The key to creating the kind of ROI you need is in making up your mind about what constitutes value for you, and what you can do right now. Finding the right balance between reputation, affordability, location, and innovation means having the full picture, and finding the balance that is right for you – not some vague imaginary person, not some general “Student A,” but you, in your lifestyle, family situation, background, and goals.


Who: Traditional, Non-Traditional
With: Little Job Experience, Entrepreneurial Drive
Why: Start Professional Career, Change Careers

We’ve all heard it said: in business, it’s who you know, not what you know. They say it because it’s true – having good connections in whatever field you’re going into can make the difference between a six-figure starting salary or a year and a half of unemployment after graduation.

A prestigious institution looks good on your resume, of course, but the most important thing about a really prestigious institution is that you won’t need the resume – employers will be coming to you, because a prestigious program can set you up with the best internships, link you with highly-placed alumni, and help you with every aspect of career coaching.

On the other hand, if you’ve already been working in a professional capacity and have your network in place – you just need credentials for advancement where you are – prestige probably isn’t as important as just getting the degree. You can more safely focus on other priorities, like location and affordability.


Who: Traditional, Non-Traditional
With: Little Job Experience, Extensive Job Experience, Entrepreneurial Drive
Why: Start Professional Career, Change Careers, Earn Credentials for Advancement

Some programs are great in business fundamentals, the tried-and-true basics that have worked for generations. But 21st century business isn’t the business of your grandparents’ day, or your parents’ day, or even a few years ago. An old UPS tagline bragged that they were “Moving at the Speed of Business,” and that motto quickly took on a life of its own – it’s not a cliche if it’s true. Business today moves so fast, if all you know is the tried-and-true, you’ll be left behind.

The most cutting-edge management programs are the ones that are concerned with preparing students for where business is going, not where it is now. Now, when we say “innovation,” we typically think computers, but that’s not all – innovative management programs bring together a wide range of skill sets and perspectives, from Big Data to classical Greek philosophy (the age-old Stoics are having a heyday in recent years), emphasizing critical analysis, flexibility, and adaptability so that graduates are ready for whatever comes in the future.

A cutting-edge program is good for just about anyone – traditional-aged and non-traditional students at just about every level can benefit from flexibility and adaptability, especially those who have been working for a while and could use something that will increase their value to their current employer or on the job market.

But maybe you’ve already been working for a while in an entrepreneurial capacity, and you know the lay of the land – what you’re lacking is the background, the theory, and the tradition that helps the old guard gatekeepers (the ones holding the money) take you seriously. In that case, maybe the tried-and-true is right for you.


Who: Traditional, Non-Traditional
With: Little Job Experience, Entrepreneurial Drive
Why: Start Professional Career, Seeking Advancement

Location is essential in business – why else do companies congregate in areas like Silicon Valley, the Research Triangle, or Austin, TX? Success attracts success. The same is true of a management education. It’s no coincidence that some of the best business programs are in some of the best business regions.

If you’re choosing an on-campus program, location is as important as prestige (and often go together). Colleges and universities in a strong business city or region can provide access to internships, networking, jobs during school, and placement at graduation. If you’re in a position to move, choose a school in a region that is strong in the field you’re most attracted to – for finance, the Northeast; for technology, Southern California or the Pacific Northwest.

On the other hand, if you need to stay close to home – either for the savings of a public college or university with in-state tuition, or because you already have a career you can’t give up – then finding a degree you can earn in-place becomes more important. That’s another reason online programs are useful to the non-traditional aged, experienced working professional.


Who: Traditional, Non-Traditional
With: Little Job Experience, Extensive Job Experience, Entrepreneurial Drive
Why: Start Professional Career, Change Careers, Earn Credentials for Advancement

Money – it’s the dirty word that college recruiters and marketers generally try to avoid. No doubt, higher education has become more transparent about costs than they used to be, but generally only when their tuition rates are low enough to be a selling point. Otherwise, it’s the same old story – “you can’t put a price on a good education.”

But of course you can, and everybody does. There are a lot of considerations when it comes to financing your management degree. For instance, many elite, highly-prestigious programs, like the Ivy Leagues and their equivalents, will make sure you get grant and scholarship financing if you qualify to get in, since admissions are so demanding that only the best students make the cut. If your family income is low enough, you can probably get an elite education for free.

For those who can’t make it into Harvard and Yale, cost is trickier. Online programs are generally lower-priced, as are public universities, at least for in-state residents. Regional campuses are generally cheaper than flagships, for the public institutions, but that may mean taking a hit on the prestige side. But, just as with location, if you’re a working adult looking for promotion, cost may be more important than prestige.

The Last Word in Value

Value Colleges usually looks at value as a continuum, a balance – there are a lot of considerations, and no school is a one-size-fits-all prospect. So here’s where the work comes in – putting together your factors to create your right balance. This guide is a starting point, a way for you to decide what conditions fit you and what kind of management program is the right choice.

It’s the 21st century; business schools are clamoring for students. You always have a choice, and it’s your market. Put on your thinking cap, write out your situation, and do some analysis. Run the numbers. The right program is out there.

What’s My Major Worth?: The Value of a Master’s Degree in Big Data http://www.valuecolleges.com/guides/big-data/ Sat, 25 Feb 2017 20:42:42 +0000 http://www.valuecolleges.com/?page_id=8423

“Big Data” is one of those terms that gets thrown around that we all pretend to understand, but probably couldn’t really talk about in detail. When we hear in the news about hackers stealing credit card data, or investigators requesting phone records, or a corporation selling information, we know vaguely that we’re talking about Big Data.

But what you may not realize is that Big Data is also a job market. And it’s a massive, growing one. Big Data experts, analysts, and professionals are needed in every employment sector, in every region of the country, and in every part of the world.

If you’re stuck at a level in your career where you’re not satisfied, and you’re looking to make a change, consider a career related to Big Data. It’s changing every day, but it’s definitely not going away.

In this guide, Value Colleges explores the value of a Master’s degree in Big Data.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Big Data

There’s a good chance you’ve never thought about a career in Big Data. It’s possible you’re not even clear on what Big Data is, and didn’t know there were jobs in Big Data. “Isn’t Big Data just lots and lots of computers grabbing information from everywhere? I’m not a computer.”

Sure, it is. And no, it isn’t.

It’s hard to really define Big Data, if not impossible. The problem is, it’s just so – well, so BIG. We can understand what “Big Data” is, basically: in the simplest possible terms, Big Data is the way we make sense and use of the most information humanity has ever generated – more information each day than in the entirety of human history.

But the term Big Data, in a lot of ways, seems to be all things to all people.

For the tech faithful, it’s the next frontier – part of a vast, interconnected virtual world where information is as real as real life, and can be used to solve every problem, whether it means eradicating disease and hunger or making life more efficient, freeing humanity to pursue their dreams, passions, and enthusiasms without fear.

For marketers, businesspeople, and bankers, Big Data means Big Money – all the information that helps them know who buys what, who wants what, and what they’re going to want next. When Netflix already knows what you want to watch, that’s Big Data. When Facebook shows you an ad for something you just made a joke about, that’s Big Data. And one day, when Amazon sends you what you were going to order before you even order it, that will be Big Data too.

For conspiracy theorists and tinfoil-hat paranoiacs, it’s the greatest threat to freedom, the ultimate weapon against human rights, and the most fearful assault on humanity that has ever been conceived, and for many, the only safety or defense is exiting the system altogether, living off the grid and outside of society.

For Homeland Security, defense, intelligence, and law enforcement, it’s the newest front in the War Against Terror, a way to tame the most dangerous Wild West of the modern age, and a new space for law-breaking, as well as the most powerful new tool for catching law-breakers.

All of those perspectives are right, and all are wrong. Because “Big Data” isn’t a thing – it’s just a term we use, a sort of vague catch-all that helps us feel like we have a handle on more information than we can get our minds around.

What gets lost in the talk about Big Data is the reality that Big Data isn’t just computers – it’s people. Big Data is people working in corporate office parks and government buildings, on university campuses and in metropolitan high-rises, in hospitals and in their bedrooms. They’re wearing suits and jeans and pajamas. And each one of those people is a small piece of a big puzzle, and each one is working to make their piece fit into the whole. And the whole puzzle – that’s all the information in the world. Pretty big.

What You Can Do With a Big Data Master’s

Often, when we think of computerization, we think of computers as increasing efficiency and reducing the need for human workers, but that’s a gross misunderstanding. Computerization does cut out certain kinds of jobs (not many switchboard operators in the world today) but the Big Data boom has produced an unprecedented level of need for programmers, analysts, and technicians.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US workforce has a labor gap of more than half a million people in the tech industry. That’s not all Big Data work – it includes technicians, programmers, engineers, and other computer-related jobs – but a big part of the labor deficit is in skilled analysts who can handle the systems that make sense of Big Data.

After all, Big Data isn’t just computers gathering and processing data magically, all on their own. Computers are useless without people to analyze, translate, and interpret the data they collect, and computers can’t function without the people who design the systems, write the software, and organize the projects and teams that make it all happen.

In fact, Big Data has created a demand for human workers that the current job market’s can’t even support. There are possible positions for all kinds of people with all sorts of experience: programmers, project managers, mathematicians and statisticians, marketers, designers, and all-around creatives are all part of making Big Data useful.

Big-picture people find Big Data careers attractive, but Big Data also has its place for micro-focused, super-specialized experts. In its own way, Big Data is the most democratic of all tech fields, because it is so ubiquitous. You may not know programming language from Turkish, but there’s a place for you in Big Data.

But will you really benefit from a master’s degree in Big Data or a data-related specialty? After all, there are so many educational alternatives now, from online certification courses, workshops, and boot camps, to good old-fashioned trial and error, that surely a master’s degree is outdated.

It’s true that much of the tech industry is more entrepreneurial than traditional business, and in many settings, experience and talent is more valued than formal degrees. Heck, a graduate degree might get you laughed out of a lot of Silicon Valley startups.

But that’s what’s unique about Big Data – it’s everywhere. Government agencies, national and international non-profits, colleges and universities, banks and other financial institutions, and businesses that aren’t even remotely related to computers still have a place – in fact, a desperate need – for experts in Big Data. And in almost all those settings, a graduate degree is going to be the standard for managerial positions, if not to get in the door in the first place.

Because Big Data is a new concept, and (as we said before) not a single “thing,” there is no single job in Big Data. There are a variety of positions that take part in Big Data:

  • Research Analysts
  • Computer Systems Analysts
  • Chief Data Officers
  • Information Managers
  • Database Administrators
  • Software Developers
  • Designers

These are just a few. Big Data master’s programs have a place for all of them, depending on the specialization and focus of the program, but until “Big Data Guru” or “Big Data Ninja” are real job titles, the field is going to be have a lot of names to sort out.

There are some very good financial reasons to consider Big Data. The BLS expects jobs in information technology to grow by 12 percent between 2014 and 2024, rather faster than the average for all jobs. But, more specifically, the growth of “cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data […] and the continued demand for mobile computing” is fueling the growth.

Salaries for specialists in these areas are impressive, far above the national median income of $36,000. Database Administrators – the people who keep all this information stored and accessible – made a median income of $81,000 in 2015; Information Security Analysts – who keep it all safe – made $90,000. Research Analysts – $78,000. Computer Systems Analysts – $85,000.

We could go on and on with numbers, but they all add up to one thing – Big Data, and the people who make it happen, get paid.

Where to Go for a Big Data Master’s Degree

First of all, there’s no such thing as a Big Data degree – at least, it’s very rare to find a Big Data degree called Big Data. Some of the more enterprising, marketing-savvy institutions are catching on and changing the names of their degree programs, or tacking Big Data concentrations onto their existing Computer Science or Information Systems degree programs, but the name Big Data is still hard to find.

So what are you looking for when you’re looking for a degree that will get you a Big Data career? It depends on the program. After all, Big Data is a new concept, and even the most technological-focused schools are still catching up on the Big Data train.

If you’re searching for a program, the magic words are usually some combination of Analytics, Data, Systems, Information, and Science. Common degree names include:

Some more specialized degrees include Data Analytics, Business Analytics, or something else paired with “Analytics.”

As for where to find them – these days, nearly anywhere. There are more than 100 colleges and universities in the nation offering online master’s degree programs with some kind of Big Data concentration or specialization, and even more traditional on-campus programs. The list includes Ivy Leagues, top-ranked polytechnics (like Stanford and MIT), top-tier public research universities, small business and technical colleges, and even quaint New England liberal arts colleges.


However, where colleges and universities choose to put these programs tends to be a little more complicated. Many Big Data concentrations are actually in business schools, focusing on Business Analytics and the application of Big Data to marketing and commerce. Computer science schools are the other most common home for Big Data programs; unlike the business schools, the computer science schools tend to offer Big Data programs that are more strictly technical, like Systems Analyst, and more applicable to a wider range of fields and sectors, including government, education, and others.

But that still doesn’t cover it all. Some Big Data programs are housed in mathematics departments; others are in social science. Most programs are interdisciplinary in some way. Because of the complexity involved, a Big Data degree requires the right mix of technical skills, statistical analysis, business and marketing theory, and even psychology and user experience/design. Some degree programs are even developed in collaboration between multiple departments.

It’s important, if you’re searching for a Big Data program that is right for you, that you consider who developed the program and in what department. If you really want to go into marketing or business, a program more focused on social science and sociology might not teach you what you need to know. On the other hand, if you just love working with numbers and data, a computer science or mathematics department’s Big Data program could give you the focus and flexibility to use your skills in more places.

You need to be sure to find the kind of delivery format that’s right for you, too. Because Big Data is computer-driven, it’s been a natural for online education. Most online programs are designed specifically for career professionals and other working adults, who already have jobs and can’t take time away from work and family to go away to school.

Many colleges and universities, knowing the demand on the job market, have developed accelerated programs that students can complete in only a year or 18 months, to get out on the job market faster.

And a great many Big Data-related programs have set up their curriculum so that students do not have to have a computer science or business background, so they can come from a broad range of careers to add Big Data to their skill set.

Summing Up: Value Defined

At Value Colleges, we have a clear, simple idea of what value in education means. It means you learn what you set out to learn, and more. It means that tuition is a means to an end, and that end is an education that give you the power to get you where you want to be, in your career and in your life. It means that the return on your investment – of time, energy, and money – is reasonable, sufficient, and fair.

On all those levels, a master’s degree in Big Data is a value. A Big Data Master’s gives you access to one of the most promising, energetic, and booming job markets in our era. It prepares you for positions beyond the lowest entry-level worker, and opens up the opportunity to make a salary well above the national average. And, though there’s no way to put a price tag on this, a master’s in Big Data gives you the potential for a career that is challenging, transformative, and impactful, having a real effect on your life and world you live in.

That’s how Value Colleges defines value.

Top 50 College Scholarships for 2017-2018 School Year http://www.valuecolleges.com/scholarships/top/ Fri, 23 Dec 2016 04:13:03 +0000 http://www.valuecolleges.com/?page_id=7354 Apply Now: Top 50 College Scholarships for 2017-2018 School YearThe cost of college has been rising faster than the rate of inflation for quite a few years, now, according to the College Board, and that fast increase affects some segments of students harder than others. First-generation college students, non-traditional aged working adults, minority, and low-income students have the most difficulties paying for college, and that difficulty only increases the education gap between the middle class and the rest of Americans.

Fortunately, the unprecedented growth in higher education in the 21st century has been met with a wealth of scholarship opportunities offered from every corner of the nation: nonprofit charities, organizations, and professional associations; private industry; and all kinds of philanthropic foundations. Sources as disparate as the Henry David Thoreau Foundation and Duck Brand duct tape have gathered donors and provided means for students to pay their tuition.

Value Colleges has scoured the landscape of scholarships to uncover opportunities from a range of sources; some fly under the radar, too eccentric for the majority of students, while others offer a great number of options for a variety of demographics. Some advance a specific political or educational agenda, while others highlight creativity, innovation, and fun. Many may be little-known, giving applicants a high chance of winning.

Unlike other scholarship listings, which may be motivated by payola, narrowly focused, or even just random, the Value Colleges Scholarship guide is designed for usefulness, especially for Value Colleges’ key audience – those who need to make their education affordable and practical. That includes scholarships directed toward non-traditional students, minority and low-income students, and other students who put a premium on value.

The Value Colleges 2017 Scholarship list is not a ranking; it is a guide to scholarship options you might have missed. This list is organized chronologically by application deadline, through the year from January to July. In the event scholarships or contests have the same deadline, they are presented in alphabetical order.

VC’s 2015-2016 Scholarship list is also useful for other year-round scholarships available; please do note that the deadline may be different from this year.


New York Women in Communications Scholarship Program

New York Women in Communications, Inc., is a long-standing non-profit organization founded in 1929 to provide support, knowledge, and networking for women in the communications field. With its location at the center of the industry, New York City, NYWIC has thousands of members at all levels of professional experience and income, with students and young executives representing the largest segment of growth. For women in advertising, public relations, publishing, and more, NYWIC makes sure women get their due.

NYWIC offers between 15-20 scholarships for young women in high school, college, or graduate school in the northeast (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania). Students mush be majoring or planning to major in a communications field, and graduate students must be members of the NYWIC. Applicants must fill out an online application and send a resume, essay, two letters of recommendation, and transcripts.

Amount: $2500

Deadline: 1/27/2017


The Point Foundation Scholarships

The Point Foundation is the nation’s largest scholarship organization dedicated to meeting the financial needs of LGBTQ students, founded in 2001 by a group of business leaders motivated to provide much-needed guidance and mentoring to queer youth. Point’s work helps give LGBTQ young people the support they need to prevent dropping out, suicide, and isolation caused by harassment and violence.

Point Scholars are chosen based on a holistic assessment of their needs and achievements, including academic performance, community service, and career objectives. Special consideration is given to young people whose sexual orientation has cost them their family or community. All Point Scholars are given not only their scholarships, but assigned a personal mentor to guide their yearly service projects, with the intention of molding young people to be leaders in the LGBTQ community.

Amount: variable

Deadline: 1/30/2017


Henry David Thoreau Foundation Scholarship

Named for the American Transcendentalist philosopher and naturalist, the Henry David Thoreau Foundation is an environmental action group based in Somerville, MA. The Foundation works to impact the future of environmental science and activism by awarding scholarships and grants to promising students, scholars, and institutions doing cutting-edge, visionary work in environmental sciences and sustainability.

The Henry David Thoreau Foundation Scholarship offers a impressive $20,000 4-year scholarship to 8-10 graduating high school seniors in Massachusetts who plan to study interdisciplinary environmental programs in college. To apply, students must be graduating from a Massachusetts high school and entering college in an environmental major at an accredited institution. Winners will provide a yearly report of their environmental activities as well as a transcript proving academic success.

Amount: $20,000

Deadline: 2/1/2017


Hollister Co. Anti-Bullying Scholarship

The National Society of High School Scholars Foundation is an Atlanta, GA non-profit institution dedicated to improving the lot of minority students in STEM, business, public policy, and other areas in which minorities are underrepresented. The Hollister Co., a west-coast style brand, has partnered with the NSHSSF to offer the Hollister Co. Anti-Bullying Scholarship, a program for students who have been advocates for victims of bullying or succeeded academically despite being bullied.

The Hollister Co. scholarship is open to high school students throughout the US. Applicants must complete an essay of 500 words or less describing their personal experience with bullying, or their efforts to combat bullying in their school and community, along with transcripts, a recommendation from a teacher, and a resume detailing their academic awards and honors, community service, and other achievements. The award is $2500 and renewable for their 4 years of undergraduate studies.

Amount: $2500

Deadline: 2/1/2017


Optimist International

The Optimist Club International is a well-known, globally-represented volunteer civic organization dedicated to providing opportunities to children and communities for building the future. More than 2500 local chapters work to fulfill the Optimist mission of making the world a better place with community engagement and education. Each local club performs their own activities, but the Optimist International also awards scholarships to deserving students.

The Optimist Club offers scholarships as prizes for three contests administered at the level of local Optimist Clubs: the Essay Contest, the Oratorical Contest, and the Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. A plaque and scholarship of $2500 will be awarded to the winner (the Oratorical Contest may have two winners). Students age 19 and younger who have not entered college are eligible to take part in the contests; those interested in participating should contact their local Optimist Club chapters.

Amount: $2500

Deadline: 2/1/2017


State Farm Good Neighbor Scholarship

One of the best-known insurance companies in the US – especially recognized for their high-profile commercials and catchy jingle putting to music their motto, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” – State Farm is also recognized for their commitment to community service and leadership. The State Farm Companies Foundation contributes to and funds numerous scholarships through companies such as Scholarship America, including the Good Neighbor Scholarship.

The State Farm Good Neighbor Scholarship is dedicates to students who need financial assistance and may not qualify for other kinds of financial aid. The Good Neighbor Scholarship selects 50 graduating high school students who are intending to attend college, technical school, or vocational programs. This award pays for one year of tuition at the students’ college of choice, with some restrictions.

Amount: 1 year tuition

Deadline: 2/1/2017


Bill of Rights Institute “We the Students” Essay Contest

Founded in 1999 by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Bill of Rights Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing schools and teachers with educational materials on the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and other documents and ideas by the Founding Fathers. The Bill of Rights Institute offers educational resources, student programs, and professional development seminars for teachers. 

Rather than a conventional scholarship, the Bill of Rights Institute awards prizes for the “We the Students” Essay Contest, a national writing contest open to all American students between the ages of 14 and 19. Each essay contest has a prompt and educational materials to guide the student. Prizes are awarded up to $5000 for the national winner, with runners up and honorable mention receiving $1250 and $500, respectively.

Amount: $500-5000

Deadline: 2/5/2017


National Geographic Bee Scholarship

The National Geographic Bee is an annual competition sponsored by the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s oldest and largest non-profit scientific support and education organizations. All public, private, and homeschool students are eligible, but the school must be registered as a Nat Geo Bee institution and designate a Bee Coordinator to oversee the selection of competitors. Qualifying students compete in a national contest in Washington, DC.

The national winer receives a $50,000 scholarship, along with other prizes (including lifetime membership in the National Geographic society, a trip, and $500 cash). The 2nd-place winner receives a $25,000 scholarship; 3rd place receives a $10,000 scholarship; all 4th-10th place runners-up receive $500 cash. The National Geographic Bee is highly competitive and open to all states and US territories, and qualifying to compete is an honor in itself.

Amount: $50,000 (winner)

Deadline: 2/6/2017


Davidson Fellows Scholarship

The Davidson Institute for Talent Development is a non-profit organization dedicated to academic excellence and opportunity. Founded by Bob and Jan Davidson, the educational software entrepreneurs known for MathBlaster and ReadingBlaster, the Davidson Institute is dedicated to helping identify and support profoundly gifted students who may otherwise go unnoticed and fail to reach their potential without proper encouragement.

The Davidson Fellows Scholarship is offered for students 18 years old and younger who demonstrate a an advanced level of knowledge in their chosen field, defined as a graduate-student level of engagement with research in STEM, Humanities, or interdisciplinary studies. Applicants must be nominated and apply online with a title and description of their projects. Entries are categorized and evaluated by experts in the field, who determine whether the student’s work qualifies for a $10,000, $25,000, or $50,000 scholarship.

Amount: $10,000-$50,000

Deadline: 2/8/2017


Daughters of the American Revolution - Richard and Elizabeth Dean Scholarship

The Daughters of the American Revolution is a well-known nonprofit women’s organization dedicated to community service through education, patriotism, and preserving historical landmarks and artifacts. Open to any American woman who can show a genealogical relationship to an American Revolution patriot, the Daughters of the American Revolution is a major contributor to scholarships and schools.

The Richard and Elizabeth Dean Scholarship is a DAR program open to any American student attending or planning to attend an accredited higher education institution in the US. As a merit scholarship, applicants must have a 4.0 high school GPA and maintain at least a 3.25 GPA in college. The $5000 scholarship is renewable for four years of college. Two scholarships are awarded each year, and while DAR membership is not required, students may be mentored by a DAR member.

Amount: $5000

Deadline: 2/10/2017


Queer Foundation High School Seniors English Essay Contest

The Queer Foundation is a non-profit based in Seattle, WA, dedicated to empowering and supporting LGBT youth throughout the United States. The foundation provides scholarships to talented, academically and creatively gifted high school and college students who are out, proud, and committed to fighting discrimination in their communities and schools.

The Queer Foundation’s Annual High School Seniors English Essay Contest is open to high school students 18 years old and younger. The contest is designed to encourage powerful and influential writing by, for, and about queer youth; topics can vary from issues of queer youth health to the special educational concerns of queer teenagers. Students submit an essay of 3-5 pages (no more than 10) which will be evaluated for elements including originality, effectiveness, and motivation. Winners receive a $1000 scholarship.

Amount $1000

Deadline: 2/14/2017


Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship

The Jackie Robinson Foundation was founded in 1973 by Rachel Robinson, wife of the baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, who famously broke the color barrier in professional baseball when he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. The foundation’s mission is to work to close the achievement gap for young African-Americans in higher education through scholarships, grants, and service programs. The Jackie Robinson Foundation has been acclaimed as a philanthropic model by sources such as the New York Times.

The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Program works to address the needs of minority college students by awarding as many as 60 scholarships per year and providing comprehensive mentoring to students across the US. In addition to awards for graduating high school seniors, the foundation offers awards for study abroad and graduate schooling. Applicants must send an application and two letters of recommendation highlighting educational merit and community service.

Amount: $7500 (annual; up to $28,000 for four years)

Deadline: 2/15/2017


Military Commanders’ Scholarship Fund

The New York chapter of the American Logistics Association awards the Military Commanders’ Scholarship to the children of active duty military personnel, reservists, or retired service members. The ALA is a non-profit trade association dedicated to expanding and developing the military marketplace through partnership with corporations and businesses in the military channel; they are the best-known and most influential such group, with chapters throughout the US.

The Military Commanders’ Scholarship is awarded each year to provide educational opportunity to the children of military service members. Three awards are offered for each military branch (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard), in the amount of $5000 each. Winners are chosen based on academic achievement, community service, work experience, family circumstances, and other criteria, as well as significant financial need.  Entries are managed and reviewed by Scholarship America.

Amount: $5000

Deadline: 2/17/2017


UNCF/Anthem Corporate Scholars Program

The UNCF/Anthem Corporate Scholars Program is a workforce initiative designed to provide minority students with opportunities for business and communications careers. The United Negro College Fund is the nation’s best-known scholarship program for African-American and minority students, recognized by its long-running motto, “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.” Anthem, Inc, is a healthcare insurance company, the largest in the Blue Cross/Blue Shield network, and the Anthem Foundation provides support for the communities Anthem serves.

An applicant for the Corporate Scholars Program must be a minority student at an accredited college or university in their junior year, majoring in business, communications, computing, or some related field. In addition to displaying strong problem-solving and communication skills, students must be capable of fulfilling an internship in areas including Atlanta, GA, St. Louis, MO, and others (see website for specific cities). Applicants may also qualify for internships with Anthem, Inc.

Amount: $5000

Deadline: 2/17/2017


American Sleep Medicine Foundation High School Video Contest

The American Sleep Medicine Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to foster research and knowledge in sleep medicine. The ASMF awards grants to researchers in sleep studies, encourages young medical professionals to enter sleep research, and provides humanitarian aid and public education on sleep health.

The ASMF sponsors an annual High School Video Contest which awards winners with $1000 (split between the winner and their school). The 2017 contest is titled “Sleep Recharges You.” Students create a 30-second to 2 minute video on the importance of sleep to academic performance and health. Any American high school student may enter, and videos are evaluated in quality, originality, and relevance to young people.

Amount: $1000

Deadline: 2/20/2017


Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship

A non-profit organization based in Baltimore, MD, the Vegetarian Resource Group works to educate the American public concerning issues of health, ethics, and ecology related to vegetarian and vegan life. The VRG publishes journals and cookbooks dedicated to vegetarianism, as well as funding research and learning through scholarships and grants. Through community and media campaigns, the VRG hopes to bring about positive change and promote vegetarian values nation-wide.

The VRG $5000 College Scholarship is available to students who work to promote vegetarianism and veganism in their schools and communities. Three winners are chosen each years: one $10,000 winner, and two $5000 winners. The competition is open to graduating high school seniors who can demonstrate a dedication to peaceful change related to vegetarian diet and lifestyle; applications require an essay describing work the students has done to promote vegetarianism, in addition to transcripts, at least 3 recommendations, and public documentation of their projects or accomplishments.

Amount: $5000-$10,000

Deadline: 2/20/2017


UNCF STEM Scholars Program

Founded in 1944, the United Negro College Fund is the best known scholarship organization in the US dedicated to providing opportunity in higher education to African-Americans and other minority students. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships every year, helping more than 10,000 students and supporting the 37 HBCUs across the nation. With UNCF’s help, young minority students have more than a 70% chance of completing their degree.

The UNCF STEM Scholars Program works to help minority students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs, where minorities are notoriously under-represented and still face significant challenges, including educational access and systemic bias. The program provides scholarships for 500 black high school students preparing to major in a STEM field in college; $2500 for freshmen and sophomores, $5000 for juniors and seniors, and $5000 more for students in a 5-year program. Applications require a series of essays, at least 2 letters of recommendation, and a full application form including information about leadership and community service.

Amount: $2500-$5000

Deadline: 2/23/2017


Discover Student Loans Scholarship Award

Offered by Discover Student Loans, a division of Discover Bank offering private student loans to undergraduates, graduate students, and professional studies students, the Discover Student Loans Scholarship Award is a random-drawing award sweepstakes. High school students or current undergraduate students are eligible, but only those attending accredited, nonprofit universities or colleges.

As a sweepstakes, the Discover Student Loans Scholarship Award permits students to earn up to 3 additional bonus entries by sharing the sweepstakes on social media or encouraging a friend to enter the sweepstakes. Random drawings of 10 entrants are conducted four times a year for a total of 40 winners, each of whom receives a $2500 scholarship to apply to their studies.

Amount: $2500

Deadline: 2/28/2017


American Culinary Federation Education Foundation/American Academy of Chefs

The American Culinary Federation is the largest professional organization for chefs in the world, responsible for raising the position of chef in America from service to professional status. The American Academy of Chefs is the honor society of the American Culinary Foundation, an organization dedicated to mentoring young chefs as well as providing scholarships and grants to students and working chefs to pursue professional careers in cuisine.

The ACF Education Foundation and the AAC have come together to offer scholarships to high school and college students interested in culinary careers, as well as for working chefs preparing for further schooling. Ten culinary students are awarded $2500 scholarships each year; awards are need-based, and applicants must be studying in an American institution. Points are awarded for academic performance, community service, essay, recommendation letters, and involvement in ACF events.

Amount: $2500

Deadline: 3/1/2017


Buick Achievers Scholarship Program

The GM Foundation, the philanthropic wing of the General Motors company, has been providing grants and scholarships for communities since 1976, primarily in the areas of STEM education, safety, environmental sustainability, and disaster relief. One such initiative is the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program, a fund that provides $25,000 annually to as many as 50 students across the US who need significant financial support to attend college.

The Buick Achievers scholarship is open to high school students, graduates, and college undergraduates in the US majoring in Engineering, Technology, or Design programs and displaying a career interest in some facet of the automotive industry. The award is based on achievement, financial need, and public service, and is renewable for up to five years for qualifying engineering majors.

Amount: $25,000

Deadline: 3/1/2017


Engebretson Scholarship Foundation

The Engebretson Scholarship Foundation is a charitable program honoring David J. Engebretson, a South Dakota-born businessman and philanthropist whose giving was dedicated to the needs of children and youth. The Engebretson Foundation has been awarding scholarships to deserving high school seniors in need of financial support for college since 2006.

High school students across the US are eligible for the Engebretson Scholarship, with no restrictions on major or career plans. Applicants must need financial aid and be attending or planning to attend an accredited college or university; a recommendation from a teacher is required. The award is annual, $5000 per semester, and winners may reapply each year to continue the scholarship.

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: 3/1/2017


Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Pro Deo and Pro Patria Scholarships

The Knights of Columbus are an internationally-known Catholic fraternal organization, originally founded in 1882 to provide social benefits to members and their families, meeting needs such as aid for those unable to work due to sickness or disability, or to impoverished Catholic families. Today, the Knights provide services ranging from war and disaster relief to urban financial and food assistance, as well as educational aid.

The Knights of Columbus offer the Fourth Degree Pro Deo and Pro Patria (for God and for country, respectively) Scholarships for America students entering a Catholic college of university, especially the Catholic University of America, the only national, papal-chartered university in the US. Eligible applicants must be entering freshmen at a Catholic institution and a member (or the child of a member) of the Knights of Columbus. Awards are $1500 and are renewable for the four years of college.

Amount: $1500

Deadline: 3/1/2017


Microsoft Corporation Blacks at Microsoft (BAM) Scholarships

Microsoft Corporation is justly famous globally for their dominance in the area of personal computing, having played a major role in ushering in the modern era of technology. But Microsoft is also known for their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social responsibility, not only in their hiring and employment policies (they have top ranking from the Human Rights Campaign, for example), but in their outreach as well.

The Blacks at Microsoft Scholarship initiative is designed to help close a distressing gap in people of African descent in the tech industry and increase opportunities for black students. The BAM Scholarship is for black high school students in the US (including African-Americans and African immigrants and their children) who intend to enter technology, engineering, or tech-related business careers. Two letters of recommendation, a resume highlighting accomplishment and public service, and two short essays are required to apply.

Amount: $5000 (renewable four years)

Deadline: 3/1/2017


Phi Theta Kappa-International Scholar Laureate Program Scholarship

The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society is a national higher education honor society for students in two-year colleges, including community colleges, junior colleges, and technical or vocational schools. Students enrolled in a two-year associate’s program, certificate program, or similar institution, where a PTK chapter is constituted, are eligible for membership, with the benefits that membership provides.

One of the benefits the PTK Honor Society offers is the International Scholar Laureate Program, a tuition scholarship dedicated to study-abroad programs offered by the International Scholar Laureate. Eligible programs include business, diplomacy, engineering, and health care. Applications are judged according to financial need, academic excellence, and community service.

Amount: $1000

Deadline: 3/1/2017


The Gallery Collection Create-a-Greeting Card Scholarship

image source

The Prudent Publishing Company, a family-owned business dating back to 1929, is the maker of the Gallery Collection, a business-to-business mail-order, personalized greeting card line. With corporate clients including Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart, they are the largest such company in the US. The Gallery Collection offers a scholarship contest for US students; winning designs will be incorporated into a greeting card, awarding the student a $10,000 scholarship, as well as $1000 for the student’s school.

Students 14 years old and older in any US state or territory are eligible, including high school and college students. Applicants will submit their design online, where they will be posted on a monthly basis for voting by Gallery Collection customers and fans; the top 10 designs will be evaluated by a panel of judges to determine one winner based on aesthetic appeal, creativity, appropriateness to a greeting card, and other factors.

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: 3/2/2017


The Dream US National Scholarship

The Dream US is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to providing educational opportunity to DREAMers, young people who entered the US as children and are denied access to financial aid and other educational benefits due to their undocumented status. Dream US provides scholarships to students with DACA or TPS status who are legally allowed to live and work in the US, and partners with more than 75 colleges and universities.

The Dream US National Scholarship provides financial aid for DREAMers with with insurmountable financial need. Applicants are considered based on conventional merit such as GPA and test scores, but also on their proven capacity to overcome the adversity undocumented status causes. This continuously renewable award will cover full tuition and fees up to $25,000 for a bachelor’s degree at one of Dream US’s partner institutions.

Amount: Tuition and fees

Deadline: 3/8/2017


UCB Family Epilepsy Scholarship Fund

UCB, a Belgian pharmaceutical and biotech company with a US branch based in Atlanta, GA, is best known for their research into treatments for epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and Crohn’s disease. The 5th-largest biotech company, UCB has also made a commitment to communities, families, and healthcare professionals through their many charitable endeavors, such as the UCB Family Epilepsy Scholarship Fund.

The UCB Family Epilepsy Scholarship Fund is open to US students who live with epilepsy or provide care for family members with epilepsy. Thirty $5000 scholarships are awarded each year to students demonstrating academic excellence and personal achievements, while 2 $10,000 Epilepsy Leader scholarships are awarded to students showing exceptional community service, advocacy, or inspirational leadership. Applicants must submit an essay, 3 recommendations, and a medical history, as well as an optional artistic presentation.

Amount: $5000-$10,000

Deadline: 3/10/2017


American Foreign Service Association National High School Essay Contest

The American Foreign Service Association represents the members and retired members of the United States Foreign Service, including employees of the State Department, Foreign Agricultural Service, US Agency for International Development, and more. In addition to acting as a professional organization and labor union for foreign service workers, the AFS promotes diplomacy and foreign service through educational programs for students.

The AFS National High School Essay Contest is open to high school students in grades 9-12; public and private-school students in the US or US territories, and US citizens living in foreign countries, are eligible. Students are encouraged to think and write about pressing international issues such as the refugee crisis, and the winner of the contest receives $2500, a visit to Washington DC, a meeting with the Secretary of State, and a scholarship to a Semester at Sea.

Amount: $2500

Deadline: 3/15/2017


ICMA-RC Public Employee Memorial Scholarship Fund

The ICMA-RC is a retirement benefit provider offered by the International City/County Management Association, a professional association of local civic leaders and managers. The ICMA-RC began with a grant from the Ford Foundation in 1972, and has grown into a major retirement planning option for public servants, with more than 500,000 participants.

The ICMA-RC offers the Public Employee Memorial Scholarship Fund, an opportunity reserved for the children of those who have died in public service, such as police officers, firefighters, and other city, county, and state employees. Applicants must provide documentation proving their eligibility, and be enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited higher education institution, including 2 and 4-year colleges and universities. Winners may reapply for up to $10,000 over the course of their schooling.

Amount: up to $10,000

Deadline: 3/15/2017


National Coalition Against Censorship - Youth Free Expression Film Contest

Founded in 1973 to protest the Supreme Court decision Miller v. California, the National Coalition Against Censorship helps coordinate more than 50 nonprofit organizations across the US to protect free expression. The NCAC works with local communities to mediate arguments over censorship where they take place, as well as educating and advocating for free speech to the public, lawmakers, and the media.

The Youth Free Expression Film Contest challenges young filmmakers 19 years old and under to make a 4 minute video addressing a free speech topic. Applicants will post their film to YouTube and write a short essay explaining their intentions; all work must be original. The winning contestant will receive a $5000 scholarship to the New York Film Academy; runners-up will receive prizes of $1000, $500, and $250 in cash.

Amount: $250-$5000

Deadline: 3/15/2017



American Legion - National High School Oratorical Contest

A veteran’s organization founded in 1919 by American WWI veterans, the American Legion is known throughout the US for their work advocating for veterans’ rights, assisting and supporting veterans’ hospitals, and memorializing veterans and casualties of war. In addition to their community service and lobbying, the American Legion promotes education in veterans’ issues, patriotism, and civic duty.

One such educational program is the National High School Oratorical Contest, an annual event encouraging high school students to speak for 8-10 minutes on the US Constitution. The contest is open to high school students 19 years old and under, US citizens or legal residents. National winners receive an $18,000 prize, $16,000 for second place, and $14,000 for third place; all contestants who make it to the national level of competition will receive a $1500 prize.

Amount: $1500-$18,000

Deadline 3/18/2017


UNCF General Scholarship Program

The United Negro College Fund is one of the nation’s greatest forces for providing educational opportunity for minority students, first-generation college students, and and low-income students. Since 1944 the UNCF has supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities, giving billions of dollars in grants, scholarships, and other aid, and helping more than 400,000 students earn college degrees who otherwise would not have been able to afford an education.

The UNCF General Scholarship Program is open to any student currently enrolled in a UNCF Member College, made up of 36 HBCUs, including institutions in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and more. The General Scholarship is need-based, and students must fill out a FAFSA form to demonstrate need, as well as maintain a 2.5 GPA. Individual awards up to $5000 are available.

Amount: up to $5000

Deadline: 3/24/2017


Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda Scholarships

The largest international student association of its kind, the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda is dedicated to building student leadership and providing career development opportunities for business students. That work includes seminars and workshops, national competitions, and community service organized for and by FBLA-PBL members.

The FBLA-PBL offers numerous scholarship opportunities through its member institutions, which includes nationally-competitive, career-focused colleges and universities like Arizona State, Southern New Hampshire University, and Johnson & Wales University. These scholarships range in amount from $1000 to as much as $10,000, depending on the institution’s awards.

Amount: variable

Deadline: 3/27/2017


Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contests

A nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the Objectivist philosophy of author Ayn Rand, the Ayn Rand Institute is based in Irvine, CA and was founded in 1985. As the Center for the Advancement of Objectivism, the ARI is primarily concerned with educational efforts such as providing Rand’s books to schools and students, organizing lectures and courses, and providing a voice for Objectivism in the media.

The Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contests offer numerous opportunities for students in the US to win cash prizes, some small, some very substantial, to help with their schooling or personal pursuits. Three contests – dedicated to Rand’s major works, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged – are available for different levels of high school and college students, from 9th grade to undergraduates and graduate students, with award levels ranging from $50 for honorable mention to as much as $20,000 for the most challenging.

Amount: $50-$20,000

Deadline: 3/29/2017


Becas Univision Scholarship Program

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund has been providing students of Hispanic and Latino heritage educational opportunity since 1975. Besides offering numerous scholarship awards, and giving out over $500 million over its four decade history, the HSF also works to educate Hispanic families and students about the possibilities open to them, educationally, professionally, and civically, through school and community programs.

The HSF provides scholarship awards for high school, community college, undergraduate, and graduate students of Hispanic descent, largely need-based scholarships ranging from $500 to $5000 dollars. Applicants must be Latino in origin (including US citizens, permanent legal residents, and DACA or otherwise eligible non-citizens), complete a FAFSA application to prove financial need, and demonstrate a solid GPA of 3.0.

Amount: $500-$5000

Deadline: 3/30/2017


Walmart Associate and Dependent Scholarships

Everyone knows Walmart; as the world’s largest company (when measured by revenue), and the world’s largest private employer, Walmart is the most successful family-owed company in history. Due to their size, Walmart’s economic footprint is massive, with their charitable giving coming close to or exceeding $1 billion annually. Walmart’s giving has been particularly focused on education and disaster relief.

Walmart offers two scholarship funds for their associates and their associates’ dependents. Walmart employees who wish to return to school, can apply for the Associate Scholarship Program to receive benefits for an accredited college, university, or community college, or to pursue a degree through Walmart’s partnership with American Public University. The children and dependents of Walmart employees can apply for the Dependent Scholarship Program and obtain up to $13,000 over four years for a college education.

Amount: up to $13,000 (Dependent)

Deadline: 4/1/2017 (Dependent)


Penguin Random House - Annual Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest

One of the largest publishing groups in the world, Penguin Random House publishes books for children and adults under more than 250 imprints, including Signet Classics, a line offering affordable, high-quality paperback editions of classic books. Penguin Random House’s dedication to social responsibility is deeply ingrained in their corporate culture and evident in their many outreach initiatives.

The Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest is one such initiative. Now in its 21st year, the Signet essay contest gives high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to win one of five $1000 scholarships. Contestants are judged by a panel on their performance on a short, 2-3 page essay on a selected topic (in 2017, one of five prompts about William Shakespeare’s The Tempest). The winning students’ school or public libraries will also be awarded the full library of Signet Classics editions.

Amount: $1000

Deadline: 4/14/2017


Fleet Reserve Association Education Foundation Scholarships

The Fleet Reserve Association is a nonprofit group chartered by Congress to protect the retirement, pay, and other benefits of current and retired Sea Service members, including service members of the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. In addition to congressional lobbying for veteran’s rights, the FRA honors service members with awards and congressional receptions, and supports education with grants and scholarships.

The FRA sponsors more than a dozen scholarships named in honor of esteemed members and their families. Each of these scholarship awards are targeted toward different eligible groups, such as the children and dependents of medical personnel, students planning to major in engineering or aeronautics, or students going to graduate school. Most awards are $5000 and may have special requirements.

Amount: $5000

Deadline: 4/15/2017


BHW Group Women in STEM Scholarship

The BHW Group is a web and app development company in Austin, TX, one of the nation’s most innovative, entrepreneurial tech industry hubs. The group has become one of the best known and most trusted in the region, with clients including the University of Texas and TASER International. Ranked as one of the best places to work in Texas, the BHW Group is also committed to community engagement.

To help close the gender gap in the tech industry, and meet the needs of young women interested in science, the BHW Group has developed a Women in STEM Scholarship program. Any woman pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics program in the US is eligible. Applicants should write a short essay of 500 to 800 words on the role of apps in their life, or what their favorite app means to them.

Amount: $3000

Deadline: 4/15/2017


Arborjet Taking Root Scholarship

Arborjet is a Massachusetts-based company specializing in tree health and protection. Arborjet’s tree-injection system provides control for invasive pests without spraying or applying pesticides to the soil, making a more eco-friendly solution that does not leach into the rest of the environment. Besides their business interests, Arborjet also takes public service seriously, with educational programs and outreach.

Arborjet sponsors the “Taking Root” College Scholarship Program, which encourages high school students who are interested in plant-related college majors and careers, including horticulture, entomology, or environmental science. The scholarship provides $1000 awards to 10 graduating seniors nation-wide, giving students a leg up on entering the field.

Amount: $1000

Deadline: 4/17/2017


Digital Responsibility E-Waste Scholarship

Digital Responsibility is an initiative begun by a group of Silicon Valley professionals to call attention and raise awareness of the environmental dangers of digital waste – the tens of millions of tons of discarded cell phones, computers, and other digital devices that pollute the environment with plastics and heavy metals. Several sponsors have come together to provide funding for education and scholarships helping young people make a difference.

The E-Waste Scholarship is an essay contest sponsored by Digital Responsibility. Students enter the contest by filling out an online application and providing a 140-character tweet-ready summary of why e-waste matters. Ten finalists will be chosen to write a 500-1000 word essay expanding on their short statement; one winner will then be selected and awarded a $1000 scholarship. No age limit applies, and the contest is open to any high school, homeschool, college, or graduate school student.

Amount: $1000

Deadline: 4/30/2017


Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship

The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, a national organization recognizing two-year college students, offers a scholarship sponsored by Coca-Cola, the Leaders of Promise Scholarship. As the nation’s largest honor society of its kind, PTK is recognized at community colleges, junior colleges, and technical/vocational schools across the US.

The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship is open to current and new Phi Theta Kappa members to provide financial help and give members the opportunity to build their leadership skills with the PTK society. Two hundred $1000 awards are given out each year, with 25 of those specifically set aside for military service members or veterans.

Amount: $1000

Deadline: 5/1/2017


Society of Women Engineers Scholarships

The Society of Women Engineers is a nonprofit organization founded in 1950 to support women working in the engineering field, and to encourage young women to enter engineering education. Today the SWE works to improve inclusivity in the engineering field through education, grants, scholarships, networking, and advocacy. Their scholarships are especially effective, having given out over $750,000 in 2016 alone.

The SWE offers scholarships at two different levels: one for freshmen, and one for sophomore, upper division, and graduate students. To apply, students must be enrolled in an ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology)-accredited program, and be studying engineering, engineering technology, or computer science. SWE also has Reentry/Non-Traditional Scholarships for women returning to college and the workforce.

Amount: $1000-$15000

Deadline: 5/1/2017


Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship

Phi Theta Kappa benefactors Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf fund this named scholarship from PTK, the nation’s leading honor society for two-year college students. The Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship is a sort of emergency scholarship to provide one-time support to current students who have encountered an unexpected financial hardship and need extra financial assistance to finish their two-year associate’s degree or certificate.

Applicants must be current members of Phi Theta Kappa enrolled part-time or full-time in a two-year institution and earning their first degree. Only students who are near completing their degree with at least 45 earned credit hours are eligible. The student must have encountered some unexpected financial hardship, such as sickness, natural disaster, or loss of employment to qualify. Up to 15 applicants will be awarded $1000 scholarships.

Amount: $1000

Deadline: 5/2/2017


Richard L. Resurreccion Public Safety Scholarship

Sponsored by the International Public Safety Leadership and Ethics Institute, a nonprofit corporation founded in 2006 to encourage and facilitate excellence in public safety, the Richard L. Resurreccion Public Safety Scholarship is offered to members of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year college students. The scholarship is named in honor of Richard L. Resurreccion, a Professor Emeritus of CSU Long Beach and nationally-recognized expert in public safety.

The Resurreccion Scholarship is awarded to two-year students whose interest and action in public safety warrants recognition. The scholarship is open to current PTK members in a public safety-related associate’s degree program, such as Criminal Justice, Fire Technology, Public Safety Administration, and more. Two $1000 scholarships will be awarded to the applicants whose applications are selected by the International Public Safety Leadership and Ethics Institute.

Amount: $1000

Deadline: 5/2/2017


Duck Brand Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest

One of the stranger and more fun scholarship contests comes from Duck Brand, makers of Duck Tape. With the Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest, high school students are encouraged to make their own prom wear out of Duck Brand duct tape, in both single and couple categories. Past winners have included colorful designs inspired by flowers and plants, vintage French styling, and Western formalwear.

Eligible applicants must live in the US, US territories, or Canada, and have no relation to the Duck Brand. The applicants must make their own prom clothing and accessories out of Duck Brand duct tape, though other materials may be incorporated; the clothes must be original creations and not have won any other awards. First place winners are awarded $10,000 each.

Amount: $1000-$10,000

Deadline: 5/31/2017


Wells Fargo CollegeSTEPS Sweepstakes

One of the world’s largest banks, Wells Fargo has a history dating back to the storied Pony Express, and is one of the most respected and successful businesses in existence. Wells Fargo provides all levels of bank service, from local community banking in the form of savings and checking accounts and mortgages, to wholesale banking for major corporations and businesses.

Wells Fargo also offers private student loans to undergraduates and graduate students, as well as loan consolidation programs. College students can sign up for free educational materials about money management and paying for college from Wells Fargo, and those who do so by June 30, 2017, are automatically entered in the CollegeSTEPS scholarship sweepstakes. Twelve recipients, 6 high school students and 6 college students, will be randomly drawn for awards of $5000 each.

Amount: $5000

Deadline: 6/30/2017


LendingTree Scholarship

A Charlotte, NC-based online broker website, LendingTree provides an exchange for banks and other lenders to compete for mortgage, auto, business, student, and other loan services. By linking customers to many different lenders, LendingTree gives consumers more options to find the best products for their needs.

LendingTree offers a scholarship for high school seniors who place a college education as their highest priority and need financial support to reach their goals. The competition is open to US students with proven academic excellence and at least a 3.5 GPA. To apply, students must complete an online application and record a short, 30 second video about their college goals. Winner receive an award of $2500.

Amount: $2500

Deadline: 7/15/2017


PFLAG Chapters Scholarship Programs

The largest family organization for LGBTQ people, their families, and their allies, PFLAG was founded in 1972 to provide a platform for families to express their support of queer loved ones, promote diversity and inclusion, and educate the public about queer issues. With 400 local chapters, comprising more than 200,000 members, PFLAG is making a difference across the US.

PFLAG chapters in many US states and cities offer scholarship programs for young LGBTQ students to pursue their college and career goals. Each individual chapter creates their own requirements and rules, including LGBTQ activism, community service, or persevering through abuse and bullying. Award amounts vary, and deadlines for 2017 are generally in the spring, primarily March through May.

Amount: variable

Deadline: March-May


Redfin Scholarship

The Redfin Scholarship is a biannual scholarship that is open to current college students and high school seniors across the nation. Redfin is a next-generation real estate brokerage that combines full-service agents with modern technology to provide premier real estate customer service. The scholarship program is Redfin’s way of helping students on their journey through college and beyond.

To be eligible students must be a legal U.S. resident, be a graduating senior or current college freshman, sophomore, or junior. All applicants must hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher. An 800 word essay is required along with the application. The essay should answer the following question: “When the population of a city grows, low-income people are often forced to move to more affordable areas outside of the city. Many initiatives have been proposed or implemented to keep affordable housing within city limits. Identify one such initiative and discuss its pros and cons.” Essays are judged on the thoughtfulness of the response, the quality of the composition, and the grammatical accuracy.

Amount: $2500 biannually

Deadline: 7/31/2017

Silicon Valley Everywhere: The Essential Guide to the TechHire Initiative http://www.valuecolleges.com/guides/techhire-initiative/ Wed, 23 Nov 2016 17:29:40 +0000 http://www.valuecolleges.com/?page_id=7033 tech-hire-initiative

For all the talk about the booming tech economy, there’s a fact that doesn’t get nearly enough attention: there’s a considerable shortage of qualified workers, and a large hole in the tech workforce. How large? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 500,000 – that’s how many jobs are open in the tech field. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are still without work.

It’s important to realize that those are not all high-expertise, computer-genius jobs for child prodigies who built their first computer out of scrap parts at three years old. In fact, more than 40% of these jobs don’t even need a bachelor’s degree. They are jobs in a wide variety of areas, from computer repair to coding to software engineering, in sectors ranging from the healthcare industry to banking and government. Many of these jobs require only an associate’s degree, certification, or accelerated training program to get started. In other words, the barrier to entry isn’t high – it’s just that not enough people realize they can do it.

What is TechHire?

The TechHire Initiative is a nation-wide plan designed by the National Economic Council to meet the tech labor gap head-on. In 2015 the U.S. Department of Labor committed $100 million to create opportunities for working adults, unskilled workers, and low-income or unemployed Americans to receive alternative, non-traditional instruction in computing-related fields.

hackers-bootcampphoto credit: Flickr/Sebastiaan ter Burg CC 2.0

The idea behind TechHire is to create an ecosystem that fosters skills development, provides job opportunities, and rewards workers based on “mastery, not history,” as the TechHire site puts it. That means working adults are given a chance no matter where they come from or what kind of educational background they may have.

The White House expects the TechHire Initiative to fill at least 120,000 of the open tech jobs across the US, with the government program partnering with some 200 employers (and growing). TechHire targets the most vulnerable workers – the unemployed, the disabled, the undereducated, and international STEM graduates from US universities.


It’s the hope of the Department of Labor and National Economic Council that the TechHire Initiative will solve some problems in our labor market – namely, the waste of energy and talent that comes of having working-age people unemployed, and the drain of jobs to outsourcing by companies who can’t find American tech experts to fill the posts. Most concerning, 16% of 15-29 year olds are out of work and/or out of education – meaning they may never enter the job market.

Clearly something must be done, and solving this problem takes the effort of a whole nation – individuals, communities, businesses, and government.

Who’s Making TechHire Happen?

To make this renaissance happen, the TechHire Initiative is appointing 51 TechHire communities to become funnels for directing trained talent into the tech market. The essential components of the initiative are:

Community Leaders- To enlist all of the other necessary players into the TechHire Initiative (like educators and employers), community leaders in every TechHire community have to come of the fore. Take Chattanooga, TN, where the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and the Chattanooga Technology Council have signed on as partners.

Government Agencies- Local and state governments take part in the TechHire Initiative by providing funds, personnel, and promotion. For example, in Albuquerque, NM, the City of ABQ IT Division and the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions are TechHire partners.

Training Partners- An experimental mix of conventional academic institutions (including community colleges and public universities) and private partners (such as coding boot camps, tech academies, and training agencies). For instance, in Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead State University are working along with Fullstack Academy and Code Louisville to offer both traditional degrees and non-traditional certifications.

Employers- A key to success in the TechHire Initiative is getting buy-in from regional and local employers. If employers don’t sign on, all of this effort is wasted. Fortunately, some of the world’s top Fortune 500 companies have pledged to hire; in Raleigh, NC, for example, some of the Research Triangle Park’s leading lights, like IBM and Red Hat, are prepared to take on TechHire workers.

TechHire communities are diverse, running the gamut from major metropolitan cities (such as New York, Atlanta, and San Francisco), up-and-coming urban centers (like Raleigh, NC, and Chattanooga, TN), and regions hard-hit by demographic changes and economic hardships (including Eastern Kentucky, and Flint, MI).

The tech industry has also embraced the TechHire Initiative; after all, they are the ones who benefit most. The new alternative tech-education firms – such as coding boot camps – have especially found TechHire to fit with their models. For example, Pluralsight, an Iowa-based, online learning resource, is offering 50 of their most relevant courses for free, including:

  • General Tech (DevOps, Cloud Computing, Software Engineering)
  • Front End Web Development (HTML5, JavaScript)
  • Tech Support (Hardware, Software, Networking)
  • Data Science (Excel, SQL, Data Analytics)
  • Job Skills (LinkedIn, Jobe Searching, email)

The time for something like the TechHire Initiative has come, and the tech community is ready for it.

Who is the TechHire Initiative for?

TechHire’s success stories have come from all walks of life, from coal miners whose jobs were lost when mines closed down, to factory workers laid off by outsourcing, to skilled laborers who were unable to practice their craft because of disability. Whether native-born Americans or new immigrants, from rural or urban communities, in the south, the midwest, the west, or the north, they are people who are typically left out of the hiring process.

The TechHire Initiative seeks out potential workers who may lack traditional educations, training in computer science, or access to the tech job market, and helps them find ways to combine their knowledge and experience of the real world with technical skills that can be learned in just weeks or months by a highly motivated individual.

But the revolution that TechHire is initiating doesn’t just start with working and unemployed adults; it’s also seeking to make sure that at-risk youth don’t find themselves in that position in the first place. One such project is the CTE Makeover Challenge, a Department of Education contest for high schools to develop makerspaces and earn grants for tech education.


The CTE makerspace concept is tied to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, known to policy wonks and school administrators just as Perkins. The Perkins Act distributes more than $1 billion a year to high schools and postsecondary institutions to fund Career and Technical Education Centers, in an effort to encourage young people to go into technical careers.

The CTE Makeover Challenge gave qualifying schools access to a CTE Makeover Bootcamp, giving teachers and students 6 weeks of support, resources, and expert knowledge to build and design their perfect spaces for facilitating creative projects. Ten schools were awarded $200,000 each for designing places for hands-on learning, practical problem-solving, and critical thinking.

What Can I Do?

Individuals interested in taking part in the TechHire Initiative are invited to go to TechHire.org and fill out a contact form for more information.

If You Are a Worker: TechHire communities are organizing all over the country. If you are in one, or live near one, find out more about what is going on in your community at TechHire.org. You could be getting trained for a new career within days.

If You Are a Business Owner: Newly-minted tech professionals are some of your best potential resources. Not only have they learned the latest technology and skills – they’re more than happy to put them into practice in a way that will make you money. Consider hiring new workers from the TechHire community. You’ll wonder why you ever overlooked them before.

If You Are an Educator: Everyone with knowledge and the desire to help has a place in the TechHire Initiative. TechHire is partnering with a variety of educational outlets, from community colleges to boot camps.

If You Are a Community Leader: Your influence could be the catalyst for an explosion of learning, making, and creating. Getting your organization involved can make sure TechHire has the support and guidance it needs. Organizations do not have to be tech-related – if they can connect TechHire with the people who need it, they’ve done their job.

What’s the Upshot?

Compared to some of the epoch-making employment and education undertakings of the 20th century – movements like the Works Progress Administration, that helped dig America out of the Great Depression, and the GI Bill, that helped millions of veterans return to civilian society and build the American economy after the struggle of WWII – the White House TechHire Initiative may seem humble. But in its scope and vision, not just for now but for the future, TechHire may prove to be a legacy for a whole generation.

The TechHire Initiative brings together public and private, for-profit and non-profit, tradition and disruption, convention and innovation, and it makes those connections at all levels of civil life, from the local community to the federal government. It touches on some of the most America of worries: job security, economic stability, family cohesion, and individual dignity. It looks to those who have been left behind by progress, and those looking forward with uncertainty, and affirms that they can take their part in the American Dream too.

Forget internet buzzwords and Silicon Valley jargon and remember this: TechHire is a chance to do something great, and all it takes is a little push. Get out there and try.

25 Best Online Degree Jobs for 2017 http://www.valuecolleges.com/rankings/best-online-degree-careers/ Wed, 26 Oct 2016 16:14:10 +0000 http://www.valuecolleges.com/?page_id=6405 Online degrees are becoming as mainstream as online dating, but just like with online dating, many people are still skeptical; “Sure, it’s convenient,” you may say, “but can I really get a good job with an online degree?”

Short answer: Yes. Long answer: With the right online degree, graduates can do much better than just getting a job; they can earn the credentials to get high-income, respected professional careers that will not just pay the bills, but provide a lifelong source of job security, satisfaction, and esteem.


The “right online degree” is the important part. Obviously, a degree from a fly-by-night diploma mill will not get you far at all, while an online degree from an accredited, well-known college or university will carry just as much weight on the job market as a traditional degree. There’s also the matter of what field to go in. An online degree in Russian literature is going to be about as useful on the job market as a traditional degree in Russian literature, but a degree in an in-demand field will make graduates stand out when they’re on the job hunt.

Value Colleges has put together their 2017 ranking of the best careers you can get with an online degree. Our ranking was drawn from statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as these two rankings:

Notice that these careers require a range of educational levels. Some entry level positions can be obtained with only a certification, diploma, or associate’s degree, while other professions will require a bachelor’s or master’s degree to get through the door. In many cases, you can begin a career at the entry level and earn a higher credential via convenient, flexible online degree programs while you are working and gaining experience in the field.


Nurse Anesthetist

The task of putting a person to sleep for surgery is one of the most essential, and one of the most precarious, in medicine; it’s a job that carries a lot of risk, especially for patients who are very young, very old, or in especially poor health. That job goes to the Nurse Anesthetist, and the person trusted with that job needs to be well prepared. Nurse Anesthetists are advanced practice nurses who provide pain management and, of course, anesthesia before and after surgery, obstetric procedures, and diagnostic tests.

Becoming a Nurse Anesthetist requires an advanced degree, usually a 4 year nursing degree and an MSN degree. Nurse Anesthetists must also earn Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) certification, a challenging certification requiring a bachelor’s degree, RN license, a year of experience, and passing a CRNA program and exam. However, all of that work is well worth it: Nurse Anesthetists can make an average of $104,740 per year, or $50 per hour, according to the BLS, which also finds the field growing by as much as 31%. It’s an amazing option that can be obtained with just an online degree. Get in now, though; the BLS estimates that by 2025 the field will require a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Drexel University MS in Nursing Anesthesia
Texas Wesleyan University MS in Nursing Anestesia
Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia DNAP (Hybrid distance learning)


Nurse Practitioner

wikimedia commons

If you’ve had a physical, been for a checkup, or visited an urgent care center recently, the odds are better than average that you saw a Nurse Practitioner rather than an MD. Also referred to as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN), Nurse Practitioners have taken on an ever-increasing role in the American health care system, as shortages of both doctors and nurses have stretched clinics and primary care facilities thin. NPs organize patient healthcare, attending to both primary and specialty care: everything from diagnostic tests and exams, keeping records, counseling patients, and doing research alongside doctors.

To become a Nurse Practitioner, you must earn an MSN degree; no lower degree qualifies nurses for the position. That means, of course, a 4-year bachelor’s followed by 2-3 years of a graduate program, and all the attendant licensures and exams. Nurses who already have their lower degrees can usually earn an online master’s conveniently. But when BLS statistics show that an NP can expect a salary of $98,190, and a positive job growth outlook of 31% – much faster than the national average – a job as a Nurse Practitioner proves to a be great investment.

VC’s top choices offering online degree:
Georgetown University NP-C or FNP-BC (Board Certified)
Herzing University MSN-FNP


Operations Research Analyst

When a company or government agency has a data-related problem to solve, they turn to an Operations Research Analyst. ORAs may have to spend some time on-site, making inspections to determine what kinds of problems are plaguing their employer, but most of their time will be spent at a computer running mathematical models, analyzing statistics, or data mining. It’s a heavily mathematical career, one that requires a high level of computer savvy and the insight to turn numbers into solutions, whether for increasing efficiency, saving money, or transforming losses into wins.

Operations Research Analysts need to be steeped in computing and mathematics, but the only degree necessary to break into the career is a bachelor’s. A master’s degree, of course, will give prospective ORAs a better chance on the job market, and the option for a higher position, but talent and drive are the key components. The BLS sees the job outlook for Operations Research as a very fast-growing field, growing at a 30% rate, and the median pay is around $78,630, or $37.80 per hour – possibly more, if you become the guru employers fight over. And all it takes is a strong online degree.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
University of Central Florida  MS Operations Research
University of Maryland – University College  MS Data Analytics
Ashford University  BA Operations Management and Analysis


Software Developer

Software development isn’t magic, but for those not in the field, it can often seem that way. The Software Developer is the creative leader and manager who unifies the vision and determines the overall structure of a software project. The job varies depending on the nature of the project – a very large project for a major company may have a number of developers, all with a different goal, leading a whole team (or teams) of programmers, while on a smaller job, the developer may also be writing code and testing beta software. Developers may also perform maintenance and collaborate with other specialists.

Like Operations Research, the entry-level education to become a Software Developer is a bachelor’s degree, though a master’s degree will provide a more direct line to a managerial role. For obvious reasons, the job market for Software Developers is growing (17% according to the BLS); there is more demand for programming than existing professionals can accommodate, and people are needed to lead and guide projects. To meet the demand, online degree programs are popping up like mushrooms. For that demanding work, median pay is around $100,690 per year, though obviously high-performing developers can make much more.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Western Governors University BS Software Development
Bellevue University BS Software Development
Full Sail University BS Software Development


IT Manager

While the Software Developer combines a creative role with leadership responsibilities, the IT Manager is all business. An IT Manager’s position requires them to plan and organize everything involving computers for a company. That means tasks from making sure hardware and software are updated or replaced, to doing financial research and making cost/benefit analyses on the organization’s computer needs. The IT Manager hires and organizes systems analysts, developers, security people, and other specialists who make sure computer operations run smoothly.

As with other computing careers, an IT Manager may only have a bachelor’s degree, though in an increasingly competitive field, a master’s degree can still provide an advantage. Median pay for an IT Manager, according to BLS, is an impressive $131,600, amazing for a position that may only need a BS degree. And while much computing work is being outsourced, an IT Manager has a lot more job security than a programmer or analyst, since their direct input and oversight is needed. The field is growing at an impressive 15%, and an online degree is all that is needed to start.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Kaplan University AAS Information Technology, BS Information Technology, MS Information Technology
Walden University  (MISM) Master’s of Information Systems Management
Grand Canyon University MS or BS-to-MS Bridge


Computer Systems Analyst

How does the IT Manager know what work needs to be done to improve a company or organization’s computer network? That would be the job of the Computer Systems Analyst. The CSA examines computer networks, runs diagnostics tests, studies usage and procedures, finds weaknesses, and otherwise works to make sure that computer networks are running as efficiently and effectively as possible. It’s a problem-solving career, requiring strong reasoning skills and thorough knowledge of the workings of computers and of business computing practices.

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In most cases, a Computer Systems Analyst needs only a bachelor’s degree to get in the door. Chances are, if you’re good enough with computers to seriously consider becoming a systems analyst, then an online degree program will work just fine for you. The BLS sees median incomes for Systems Analysts coming in around $85,500, and the field is growing very fast (21%) as cyber security, new technologies like cloud computing, and ever-increasing globalization make computing the foundation of just about all business.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
American InterContinental University BS Network Administration
University of Maryland University College BS Computer Science with recommended minor in Information Systems Management
University of Florida Online BS Computer Science


Biomedical Engineer

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We love stories about medical breakthroughs and the scientific marvels of the modern world, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, most people have no idea how those things happen. The laboratories we see in news stories may look like sci-fi wonderlands, but all of the equipment, computer software, and procedures have to be designed by someone. That someone is the Biomedical Engineer, a job that uses the practical problem-solving of engineering to create the tools that make medical testing possible.

The most basic level of Biomedical Engineering can begin with a bachelor’s degree, though master’s and doctorate degrees in biomedical engineering are the norm for high-ranking professionals who lead teams or design major facilities. The median pay, according to the BLS, is around $86,220 per year, and as the healthcare field continues to expand, the job outlook is extremely good – rising at 23%. After all, someone has to make all that magic happen.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Colorado State University Online ME (Masters of Engineering – Biomedical Engineering Specialization)
Case Western Reserve University MSBME in Biomedical Engineering
University of Southern California MS Biomedical Engineering



Flickr image by James Lee

Numbers. As many a mathematician will tell you, it all comes down to numbers. And if you’re good with numbers, as well as analyzing, interpreting, and organizing data, you have the makings of a statistician. Data means nothing without someone to analyze and make sense of it, and those who can explain data in such a way as to make it practically useful in the real world are highly in demand – whether that means helping a business better appeal to its demographics, helping the government get aid funding to the people who really need it, or playing moneyball in the big leagues.

It’s a bit tough to get reliable statistics on statisticians – no joke – simply because statisticians work in virtually every field at a variety of income levels, from Wall Street to non-profits, from academia to government. But according to the BLS, the median pay for Statisticians is $80,110 per year. With Big Data becoming ever bigger, the need for qualified experts to interpret and analyze data is growing by as much as 34%. You’ll need a master’s degree for most entry-level positions in statistics, but for someone already working in a similar field, an online degree can be obtained pretty conveniently.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Penn State World Campus Master of Applied Statistics
NC State University MS Statistics
University of Idaho MS Statistics


Registered Nurse

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There are a few constants in the job market – we will always need teachers, police officers, firefighters, and nurses. And as the healthcare industry is growing by leaps and bounds, particularly as the largest American generation in history, the Baby Boomers, reach their retirement years, we can be certain that the need for nurses will continue. Registered Nurses do the grunt work of healthcare, directly caring for patients, explaining treatment, and providing support in every kind of healthcare facility, from nursing homes to military hospitals.

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Most RNs have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, and must pass licensure exams for the state they practice in. Often nursing education prepares nurses specifically for these exams, and many programs will prominently advertise their high passing rates. It’s one of the best-paying jobs out there for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, with the BLS median around $67,490. Because of the unprecedented demand (the job outlook has RN jobs growing by 16%), many, many accredited and trustworthy online degree programs have appeared in recent years to meet the need for nurse education.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Capella University RN-to-BSN
Old Dominion University RN-to-BSN
Grand Canyon University RN-to-BSN, BSN-to-MSN, DNP Online


Mechanical Engineer

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Mechanical Engineers design the tools, machines, and equipment that make the modern world possible. They are not the lofty, theoretical engineers, or the big-picture civil engineers, but the ones who figure out the details of how to make things happen, then get the job done. This is the largest and broadest group of engineers, and they do everything from designing mechanical apparatuses to making more effective tools.

The job outlook for Mechanical Engineers isn’t as explosive as many jobs in the computing field, for example, but with the modern world becoming more and more mechanized – and our machines becoming more complex – it’s still a significant growth area, up 5% in BLS statistics. The baseline degree for a Mechanical Engineers is a bachelor’s, and with the increasing need for good engineers, many schools are implementing online programs. With a median salary of $83,590 for Mechanical Engineers, it’s one of the best bachelor’s out there.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
University of North Dakota BS in Mechanical Engineering
The University of Alabama (‘Bama by Distance) BS in Mechanical Engineering
University of Illinois Online MS in Mechanical Engineering


Financial Advisor

There are more independent contractors, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and self-employed people than ever before in our modern economy, and the safety nets that once existed for professionals – guaranteed pensions, life insurance paid by employers, and cost-of-living raises – are mostly a thing of the past. Never before have people needed financial advice so badly, and never before has the Financial Advisor been in such demand.

The BLS job outlook for Financial Advisors is incredible – at least 30% growth. That growth is due to a number of factors, the biggest being that the Baby Boom population is aging at one end, while the second baby boom, Millennials, are coming of age and beginning jobs, families, and businesses. As a result, there is more need for financial advice than ever before, from retirement and estates to setting up college funds and investments. With a median income of $89,160, Financial Advisors can make a highly rewarding career with an online degree.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Liberty University Online BS in Business Administration with concentration – Financial Planning
University of Maryland University College BS Finance
Walden University BS in Business Administration


Marketing Manager

Advertising is no longer the exclusive boy’s club of Mad Men, or the freewheeling, see-what-sticks atmosphere of yesteryear. Marketing is an art, a science, and a big business, pulling together creative professionals, market analysts, statisticians, and all sorts of disparate minds to launch and direct large advertising campaigns. Someone has to keep all those ducks in a row, and that’s the job of the Marketing Manager.

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In today’s economy, marketing saturates every industry and field – according to the BLS, less than a third of Marketing Managers actually work for an advertising agency, leaving the other in every sector from government to education. BLS median pay puts Marketing Managers at a yearly salary of $124,850, an amazing income for a job that requires only a bachelor’s degree – though it also requires a whole lot of organization, leadership skills, and imagination. Not surprisingly, the field is growing, faster than average at 9%; someone has to come up with the next Most Interesting Man in the World.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Southern New Hampshire University BS in Marketing
Colorado State University – Global Campus BS in Marketing
Ashford University BA in eMarketing


Information Security Analyst

As anyone who’s had their Amazon or eBay accounts hacked can attest, cybersecurity is one of the most pressing concerns of our age, and eCommerce is only a part of it: the banking industry, energy infrastructure, and national security are all potentially at risk from hacking, cyberterrorism, and electronic theft. Information Security Analysts are the ones tasked with finding weaknesses in systems, figuring out new protections, and ensuring that viruses and hackers are kept out of our most important systems.

That’s not an easy job, and it’s definitely not a job just anyone can do. It takes more than just strong computer skills to be an Information Security Analyst – it takes an understanding of how systems work, how people exploit them, and how we solve the problems we create. We don’t have nearly enough of them, and the field is growing by 18%. Security Analysts make much-deserved good money, around $90,120 on average. A bachelor’s degree is the entry point, and if you’re good enough with computers to be a Security Analyst, an online degree is probably the way to go.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Western Governors University BS IT- Security, MS Cybersecurity & Information Assurance
PennState World Campus BS in Security and Risk Analysis – Information and Cyber Security Option
Southern New Hampshire University BS in Information Technologies with concentration in Cyber Security


Health Administrator

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With the healthcare industry at an all-time high, and still growing, the need for qualified managers, executives, and leaders has never been greater. Healthcare Administrators are the people who oversee the business and organization of healthcare facilities so the doctors and nurses can do what they do best – treat patients. A Healthcare Administrator may be an executive over a hospital or manage a division or clinic, but their jobs are largely the same in whatever context: make sure everything is within regulations, direct personnel, keep finances in order, and ensure a stable setting for healing.

The average salary for a Healthcare Administrator, by the BLS, is $90,500, but pay can go up much higher for hospital executives and other high-ranking managers. With a bachelor’s degree, an administrative assistant or secretary can make a move into management, increasing their income considerably, and an online program can allow a working adult to keep their job while doing it. There’s a lot of work to be had, with 17% growth nationally, so now is a good time to get into a secure profession.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Colorado State University Global Campus BS Healthcare Administration and Management
Kaplan University BS in Health Care Administration
University of California – San Francisco MS in Healthcare Administration and Inter-professional Leadership



Being an accountant can be a thankless job, no doubt, with all of the accountant jokes and stereotypes, not to mention the blame when numbers don’t add up. But there’s nobody people want and love more come tax time than a good accountant. Whether you’re a corporate accountant keeping track of earnings, payments, and expenses, or a certified public accountant helping ordinary people manage their money, it’s a job that is always needed and always in demand.

Even with an online bachelor’s degree, the median salary for an accountant is $67,190, and there’s much more to be made for a good accountant who can turn losses into profits and vice-versa. According to the BLS, job growth is expected at 11%, considerably faster than average. Since accounting is pretty much all numbers and computers, there is no shortage of accredited, trustworthy online accounting degrees on offer at any kind of institution, from major public research universities to tiny private business schools, making an accounting program one of the most accessible online degrees around.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Washington State University – Global Campus BA in Accounting
Saint Leo University BA in Accounting
UNC, Kenan-Flagler Business School online MAC Program (Master of Accounting)


Web Developer

Websites don’t just happen, and if you’ve ever tried to do anything more complex online than post to a blog, you know just how much goes into building a great site. Sure, there are all kinds of digital tools today to help people make an easy website in minutes, but for real functionality, businesses have to call a qualified Web Developer. While a web designer can make a site look impressive, it takes a developer to make it all work, from coding to user experience.

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Web Developers work in a wide range of industries and positions, from freelancers building websites for clients to full-time employees of major corporations who need to keep their employer’s site on and working every day, all the time. While many freelance developers are self-taught, and corporate developers may do some on the job learning, the standard entry level education is an associate’s degree. Income can vary widely, but the median according to BLS data is $64,970, with job growth expected at an excellent 27%. It looks like Web Developer will be a reliable career for quite a while.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Colorado Tech (BSIT) Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology – Web Development
Full Sail University BS in Web Design & Development
Arizona State University Bachelor’s of Applied Science- Internet & Web Development


Environmental Engineer

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As people become more aware of the dangers of pollution and the need for proactive solutions to environmental damage, the role of the Environmental Engineer becomes more and more important. Environmental Engineers are the people that government and industry turn to when they need to clean up our messes; they use environmental science, engineering, and biochemical expertise to determine dangers and determine the best way to alleviate them.

It’s a challenging job, and one that requires experts to go just about anywhere – no hanging around a lab or office all day long for the Environmental Engineer. Environmental Engineers may start out with a bachelor’s degree, though a master’s or doctorate may be necessary for higher-level positions. Fortunately for working professionals, many online degree programs are beginning to appear. With a 12% job growth rate and a median salary of $84,560, Environmental Engineers are well-compensated for their work.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
California State University – Fullerton online MS in Environmental Engineering
University of Wisconsin- Madison MS in Environmental Engineering
Worcester Polytechnic Institute MS in Environmental Engineering


Civil Engineer

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If you drove over a bridge today, walked a greenway, or even flushed your toilet without worrying where the water would go, you made use of a Civil Engineer’s work. Civil Engineers are some of the most important people in the modern world, because most of the things we consider modern, from sewage systems to airports, exist because Civil Engineers designed them, led teams of managers and workers to build them, and ensured that they would last for decades (or longer).

Obviously, civil engineering is not something you learn to do at a weekend seminar. A bachelor’s degree is the absolute minimum, and for higher-ranking leadership positions, a master’s degree is usually necessary. Many large research universities and smaller colleges have developed online civil engineering master’s degrees for those who already have a bachelor’s and are working in the field, to make the process more convenient, and it’s a good thing – with all of the development and construction going on the in US, the field is growing by 8%. For all that schooling, Civil Engineers make a sizable median income of $82,220.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Norwich University Master of Civil Engineering (MCE)
Old Dominion University Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology (BSET)
Ohio University MS in Civil Engineering


Database Administrator

The era of Big Data is truly here, and the masters of all that information are the Database Administrators. Without Database Administrators, all would be lost – literally, since Database Administrators are the ones who manage information storage systems, make and use software to organize it all, and do much of the cybersecurity work that keeps information storage databases safe from hackers (see also #13, Information Security Analyst).

Database Administrator is a highly technical profession, requiring quite a bit of specialized education and a great deal more experience. To break into the field requires at least a bachelor’s degree, and many working Database Administrators find themselves returning to school – often in an online degree program – to increase their credentials to a master’s degree, which can help lead to higher salaries than the BLS median of $81,710. As we increasingly live online, and our information becomes ever more precious, the BLS expects job rates for Database Administrators to increase by 11%.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Western Governors University BS Data Management & Analytics
Southern New Hampshire University BS in Information Technology – Database Administration
University of Denver Master’s in Database Design and Administration


Computer Support Specialist

Computer Support Specialists are a varied lot; the field is a broad one, and can encompass conventional employees who work for a corporation, providing support for IT teams, or those who provide help for end-users having difficulties with their personal computers. Computer Support Specialists may work conventional 9-5 jobs, or they may work night shifts, weekends, or other odd hours to provide service any time their clients need it.

Because the field is so wide, Computer Support Specialists may have anything from a simple certification to a master’s degree; it depends on what kind of position they hold, who they work for, and whether they work in managerial positions or not. For the average support job, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is sufficient, and those are readily available from a variety of online degree programs. Median pay, according to the BLS, is $51,470, but it can be much higher, or lower, depending on your place in the hierarchy. Computer Support Specialist jobs are growing by 12%, meaning there is plenty of room in the field for any level of education or experience.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Northcentral Technical College AA in Information Technology – Computer Support Specialist (IT-CSS)
Penn Foster Career School Career Diploma Computer Support Technician Training
Baker College AAS IT Support Specialist


Computer Systems Administrator

When most people think of computer careers, they think of the people using the computers – the programmers, analysts, designers, and so on. But it’s important to remember that computers are physical machines – wires, circuits, and other components powered by electricity. The person who puts all those machines together into networks, tests the components, and makes sure that all is running efficiently and seamlessly, is the Computer Systems Administrator. In other words, if the Computer Systems Administrator is doing their job, no one notices.

Fortunately, that invisible expertise doesn’t go unrewarded; the median pay for Computer Systems Administrators, according to the BLS, is $77,810, an excellent salary rate for a profession that only requires a bachelor’s degree to begin. Job growth in the field is only somewhat faster than average at 8%, but with a guaranteed need, and online degree programs readily available, it’s a secure option for people with computer skills.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Bellevue University BS in Systems and Network Administration
Trident University International BS Computer Science
Dakota State University AS and BS in Network and Security Administration


Substance Abuse Counselor

It’s a sad but true fact that a Substance Abuse Counselor will never be without work. Whether in mental health or medical facilities, group homes, social services, churches, or prisons, Substance Abuse Counselors help people struggling with damaging and debilitating addictions. Substance Abuse Counselors use a variety of therapy programs, including support groups, one-on-one counseling, and a mixture of medical and psychiatric/psychological therapies.

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With a job growth rate of 22%, Substance Abuse Counseling is a field that shows no signs of slowing down, and as public awareness and understanding of substance abuse increases, the role of Substance Abuse Counselor has a permanent place in our society. The level of education needed to become a counselor varies; some people can work with a certification or license, but in general, a bachelor’s degree is necessary. Online degrees and degree-completion programs are fairly common for those who already have an associate’s. A median pay of $39,980 is not as high as other careers on the Value Colleges ranking, but according to BLS projections, it’s a secure profession, and one that is crucial.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Walden University MS in Addiction Counseling
Liberty University Online MA in Addiction Counseling
National University AS in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling


Medical Secretary

As with nursing and health administration, the growth of the healthcare sector has created an unprecedented demand for Medical Secretaries. As any medical professional will attest, no doctor’s office, hospital office, or healthcare facility can function without a Medical Secretary. From record keeping and checking in patients, to keeping supplies and equipment ordered and organized, the Medical Secretary makes sure the clinical experts have everything they need to do their jobs.

Many Medical Secretaries find work with only an associate’s degree and on-the-job training, and an online degree or certification is a perfect place to start for a working adult who already has organizational or clerical experience. Median pay varies depending on the level of responsibility, the size of the facility, and other factors, but the BLS places the median salary at $30,590. With job growth at a much higher-than-average 23%, aspiring Medical Secretaries can expect plenty of options in the future.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:

Penn Foster Career School Medical Administrative Assistant Diploma Program
Kaplan University Medical Office Administration Certificate Program
Herzing University Medical Office Administration Diploma, Associate’s and Bachelor’s available


Community Service Manager

The need for managers is a given in business and industry, but most people wouldn’t think of the importance of good managers in the public and non-profit sectors. But public service is one of the biggest industries itself, between all of the municipal, civic, and government services that provide value and quality of life to communities. Community Service Managers run parks and recreation programs, senior centers, after-school facilities, and much, much more, organizing, hiring, and administrating the services that we often take for granted.

Job growth for Community Service Managers is high (10%), especially in programs relating to elder care and to the healthcare system, as increases in those related areas increase the demands on non-profit and public sector programs. Whether working for city, county, or state government, or for the many non-profit community service agencies out there, managers are expected to have at least a bachelor’s degree. For their expertise and experience Community Service Managers can expect a median income of $63,530, as well as the satisfaction that comes from making their communities better places.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
University of the Cumberlands BS in Human Services
Antioch University BA in Human Services Administration
University of South Carolina – Palmetto College BS in Human Services


Human Resource Specialist

Who manages the hiring process for corporations, hospitals, government, and every other organization? Who makes sense of the overwhelming tangle of retirement, insurance, and other benefits plans and explains them to employees? Who provides training and guidance to new employees, and keeps existing employees in the loop and on the ball? Human Resources Specialists, that’s who.

The income of a Human Resource Specialist may vary. The BLS median pay is $58,350, but some roles, like recruitment specialists who travel around the country to colleges, career fairs, and other events to find the best new hires, may make quite a bit more. A 5% growth average for the field suggests that there is as much need as ever for HR experts, and while a bachelor’s is necessary for responsible Human Resources Specialists, entry-level positions may start with an associate’s degree, earning a bachelor’s online while working in the field.

VC’s top 3 choices offering online degree:
Colorado State University – Global Campus BS in Human Resources
Saint Joseph’s University MS Managing Human Capital
Villanova University MS in Human Resource Development

Top 10 College Campus Radio Stations http://www.valuecolleges.com/rankings/best-10-college-campus-radio-stations/ Mon, 26 Sep 2016 16:04:49 +0000 http://www.valuecolleges.com/?page_id=5891 College radio is one of the last places on earth where advertisers don’t dictate the play list, subversive speech is encouraged and strange sounds don’t mean you should call the plumber. Young people across the nation are bringing back lost recordings, introducing the next big thing, embracing multiculturalism better than your average anthropologist and giving a voice to the millennial generation that shakes up the stereotype they have been saddled with.


Since the early 1960’s when the FCC started handing out class D licenses to small, 10-watt radio stations, college radio has been airing the voice of the next generation and it is beautiful. Some college radio stations are completely student run. The college provides a building and a budget and the students do the rest. Some stations are run like classes and are formal training grounds for future DJ’s and sound engineers. But what they all have in common is they put innovative programming on the airwaves and give their students a unique chance to broadcast what America’s young people want to hear. Here are the 10 Best College Stations on the air right now.


Drexel University

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WKDU, 91.7, Drexel University, not only plays a variety of amazing tunes but they manage to keep up with the entire music scene in Philadelphia, which is no small task, Their website keeps a running list of who is playing where and how old you have to be to get in, a pressing concern for your average college student. WKDU may take a little getting used to if you are a new listener since the genre switches hour by hour. But soon you’ll learn to love the funk one hour and punk the next or to only tune in during certain parts of the day. You should also browse the station’s website for its impressive recordings of in-studio interviews, just about everyone tours through Philly and many of them stop by WKDU!

Listen here online


Seton Hall University

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WSOU 89.5  Seton Hall University, began broadcasting on 89.5 FM on April 14, 1948 thanks to the inspiration and dedication of Monsignor Thomas J. Gillhooly, the station’s first faculty director. I’m sure he could not imagine then that it would one day become the largest college radio station in the New York Metro Areo or devoutly dedicated to “screamer” bands. For the past 30 years WSOU has played a mix of heavy metal, punk, emo, hardcore and post hardcore music. They have a dedicated fan base of community listeners but they are committed to their school roots as well. You can find every school event, sport score and happening on their website. They also keep students up to date on current events in the news without losing their appeal or sounding preachy, newsy and uncool. This is only possible when it is truly student run as this station has been for 68 years.

Listen here online


Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University is bringing hope and opportunity to the people of the Appalachian Mountains in the form of professional and technical excellence.
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The first thing you notice when you visit the website for WASU 90.5, at Appalachian State University is that it was built for the digital age, not to be dialed up with an antennae at 90.5 FM in 1986 in your Volkswagon Jetta on the way to the Dairy Queen. They have readily available podcasts, links to social media, an iphone app and a listen live button that is much larger than their call numbers. They are an alternative station, playing indie rock music and they are not trying to get anyone old enough to listen to music on a radio to hear them, ever. They have cooking shows and sports shows and do a great job of appealing to the student body. WASU has a big presence in a little town.

Listen here online


DePauw University

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WGRE, 91.5 out of DePauw University is another oldie-goldie. It started as a 10-watt broadcast in 1949. It has grown over the years, modernized with the times, and with a recent, $100,000 upgrade, has become a state of the art facility. The station has been on the top ten of Princeton Review’s college radio rankings for the last 15 for good reason. They play a steady stream of alternative rock, helping to introduce up and coming indie rock musicians and keep college students from having to listen to main stream music for 67 years. They also do a great job of reporting school news and piping in the Associated Press feed so that students aren’t totally cut off from the real world. WGRE is a solid, well rounded station that has proven it is here to stay.

Listen here online


North Carolina State University

North Carolina's land-grant institution, North Carolina State University is crucial to STEM research and education in the state and throughout the south, and a bargain besides.
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WKNC 88.1 out of NC State University operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is student run and commercial free and provides listeners in the greater Raleigh-Durham market with “music that doesn’t suck.” The station lives up to its promise with an eclectic mix of underground hip-hop, indie rock, and alternative metal. They also support local bands, local music venues, festivals and local breweries by promoting events and singing their praises. If you want to know what is hip to do, cool to listen to and fashionable to consume then all you have to do is tune in.

Listen here online


University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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WUTK 90.3, also known as New Rock 90, broadcasts out of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. They have a strong enough signal to be picked up easily for 30 miles and are the 5th most popular station in the grater Knoxville market. They play a mix of cutting edge up and coming bands, techno, rap, electronica, rock-a-billy, punk, and old school rock and roll favorites. They appeal to a wide audience and provide a very pleasurable listening experience since they are commercial free and span many decades and genres.

Listen here online


University of California Berkeley

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KALX 90.7 out of University of California Berkeley started out as a project in a cigar box connecting dorm rooms with actual wires in the early 1960’s. Since Berkeley was known for housing free thinkers even then and the civil rights movement was just starting to take off, the school was a little hesitant to allow students to freely broadcast on the radio waves. So a team of dedicated students broadcasted through the homemade wiring system for nearly four years before they got an actual radio station. Since then they’ve been a staple to the entire Bay area. Now with live stream and an iphone app they can broadcast to the world. Since the Bay area has one of the most cutting edge music and art scenes in the world lots of people tune in to see what might be the next great things and lots of locals tune in to hear what is going on where. They are a big part of a very happening scene.

Listen here online


Texas State University

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KTSW 89.9 is the student run station of Texas State University but their broadcast range extends all the way from San Marcos to Austin along I35. They play a mix of indie, hip-hop, rock, electronic and more. They are also the official station for Rattler Football and Bobcat Athletics, several syndicated shows and a handful of news programs. They appeal to the entire student body, even the ones who don’t like music. For the ones who do love music they host a live two day music festival every year that is free and open to the public called the My Radio Festival, aka MR FEST. It has grown over the years to attract thousands of participants from the surrounding community and bring lots of positive publicity to the station.

Listen here online


Howard University

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WHUR 96.3 out of Howard University is one of the only university-owned commercial stations in the U.S. They broadcast a jazz heavy, relaxing sound from Washington, DC all the way to Baltimore. Half a million listeners tune in daily for shows like “Original Quiet Storm” to help them chill at night. I’m sure lots of candlelight dinners have been served with WHUR on the radio in the background. WHUR was the first radio station in the Washington area to broadcast in HD. The station has won numerous awards, including the prestigious NAB Marconi for Best Urban Station of the Year and NAB Crystal Radio Award for Excellence in Community Service.

Listen here online


University of Washington

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In 1972, KEXP 90.3, the student radio station of the University of Washington, got its start playing rock albums. But now it isn’t your normal radio station. Now they don’t even call themselves a radio station but a dynamic arts organization. The staff is made up of 40 DJ’s, they play indie and alternative rock tunes, host events on the street, and video stream famous artists. They are also the first station to produce real-time playlists. They can produce cutting edge things like that thanks to funding from billionaire investor Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project. Who knows what they will come up with next! They are a station to watch and likely to top next year’s list thanks to their innovative approach to the radio.

Listen here online

(Like this? Then check out our Comedy Guide –  College Comedy Improv: More Than Just Clowning Around)

Top 10 Most Popular Liberal-Leaning Colleges for 2017 http://www.valuecolleges.com/rankings/top-10-most-popular-liberal-leaning-colleges/ Sun, 25 Sep 2016 23:58:21 +0000 http://www.valuecolleges.com/?page_id=5604 Using statistics from over 880 colleges that are considered liberal-leaning, we determined the following schools to be the most popular schools to attend for 2017. Finally, by comparing tuition by semester and fees per credit hour, Value Colleges developed this list of the Top 10 Most Popular Liberal-Leaning Colleges in the United States. Typically speaking, liberal colleges are politically left, accepting of different gender identities and sexual orientations, diverse, and known for being extremely tolerant and culturally sensitive.


courtesy of Fibonacci Blue/CC 2.0

In addition, many liberal colleges tend to be less strict and often academics focus on student/faculty collaborations and out of the classroom learning. Often functioning as liberal arts schools these colleges may offer a liberal arts education but their belief systems tend to focus on liberal positions politically, economically, environmentally and socially.


Evergreen State College

The Evergreen State College is an accredited public liberal arts college and a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, located in Olympia, Washington, USA.
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Located in Olympia, Washington, Evergreen State College prides itself in offering an education free from endless prerequisites and disconnected classes. Rather, their programs explore the many sides of a theme or topic, which encourages students to take an active and conscious awareness towards how their subject of study can influence the world socially, economically, politically and environmentally. As a progressive college, Evergreen has a strong national reputation as a leader in developing interdisciplinary academic programs that bend traditional boundaries and produce community leaders.

Evergreen State College students are able to obtain their degrees of choice in the quickest way possible, ensuring savings in higher education costs. Nearly 50% of the university’s 2013 graduates left with a degree and zero debt, and over 88% of the university’s graduates are employed or pursing professional or graduate studies within one year after college!

Tuition: $217 per credit hour


University of Vermont

The University of Vermont, officially The University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, is a public research university and, since 1862, the state of Vermont's sole land-grant university.
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University of Vermont, located on the shores of Lake Champlain, prides itself in offering the same resources as a major research institution while still maintaining the feel of a smaller liberal arts college, with about 10,000 undergraduates enrolled each year. Diversity and an inclusive environment is a top priority for University of Vermont, a value that is represented in the student body and faculty and, according to the Center for Cultural Pluralism this value system continues to carry over into the classroom and all facets of learning at UVM.

The University of Vermont also offers a comprehensive set of financial aid options including loans, scholarships, and a monthly payment plan option that can be used for payments on all tuition or just a portion of the tuition owed.

Tuition: $15,096


Wheaton College

Wheaton College is a private, non-profit, four-year Christian liberal arts college "in the evangelical Protestant tradition" located in Wheaton, Illinois, a suburb 25 miles west of Chicago.
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Uniquely an evangelical college, Wheaton College believes in educating the whole person and this liberal view of education extends into all departments and classrooms. The Wheaton community is diverse and stretches worldwide through engaging other cultures through academics and missions all across the globe. As a transformative liberal arts school, it is Wheaton’s goal to educate students beyond the classroom through interdisciplinary and inclusive study.

Wheaton College believes that a higher education should be available to all students and in turn the college awards a number of grants and scholarships annually. In addition, students can apply for financial aid for student loans or work study opportunities.

Tuition: $34,050


Clark University

Clark University is an American private research university located in Worcester, Massachusetts, the second largest city in New England.
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As innovators in liberal arts based research programs, Clark University is best known for it’s LEEP value system, which pioneers a model for higher education combining experimental learning opportunities with a liberal arts based curriculum. LEEP stands for Liberal Education and Effective Practice. The university offers 30 majors and minors with the opportunity for 14 accelerated degrees. These accelerated degrees include their fifth year of study tuition free!

Clark University is one of the nation’s best colleges for students seeking a superb education with great career preparation and at any affordable price, as recognized in The Princeton Review’s just-released book, “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck.”

Tuition: $42,800


Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College is a liberal arts college for women in South Hadley, Massachusetts, United States. It was the first member of the Seven Sisters colleges, and it served as a model for some of the others.
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As a significant woman’s college in the United States, Mount Holyoke College was founded in 1837 and has since been a leader in woman’s education around the world. Historically and today Mount Holyoke provides an intellectually adventurous education in both the sciences and the liberal arts through a variety of stimulating internationally recognized programs.

The college is proud to boast an exceptionally diverse staff and student body with and is proud to carry a campus wide curriculum that celebrates individualism and diversity. And since it’s founding, Mount Holyoke has unfailingly satisfied access to a college education for women from all socioeconomic backgrounds and offers competitive and strong financial aid packages for all students that can include loans, grants and scholarships.

Tuition: $45,680


Smith College

Smith College is a private, independent women's liberal arts college with coed graduate and certificate programs, located in Northampton, Massachusetts, United States. It is the largest member of the Seven Sisters.
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Smith College’s strong investment in diversity and individualized acceptance is supported by The Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, and these values extend beyond the classroom and are reflected in all facets of teaching at Smith. Smith College believes that this open and accepting environment is essential for students to achieve their highest level of academic excellence. The college is proud to be environmentally sustainable as well, and students are expected to integrate their learning across disciplines to further support and protect our environment.

Financial aid at Smith College is inclusive and students have the options to apply for loans, grants and scholarships. In addition, the college offers a semi-flexible monthly payment plan for tuition payments made directly to the college.

Tuition: $47,620


Grinnell College

Grinnell College is a private liberal arts college in Grinnell, Iowa, U.S. known for its rigorous academics and tradition of social responsibility.
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Grinnell College believes that by offering a diverse community of faculty, staff and student body, and through teaching social responsibility to all students, alumni will grow and learn to become moral, intellectual and healthy individuals in society both locally and globally. As a leader in social justice education, Grinnell focuses on this mission campus wide. The Social Justice Action Group works towards justice, peace and towards positive social change with missions that promote volunteerism, build global understanding, and fight hunger.

In the 2015-2016 academic year over $58 million dollars in financial aid awards were allotted to 87% of the college’s students, with an additional gift aid award amount of over $50 million dollars.

Tuition: $48,322; $1,510 per credit hour


Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College, is a private liberal arts college located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia. Founded in 1864, Swarthmore was one of the earliest coeducational colleges in the United States.
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Always an innovator in creating leaders both locally and globally Swarthmore College provides a liberal arts education and engineering curriculum that promote individualized learning, provide volunteer opportunities, and initiate projects that explore some of societies greatest challenges. With a community based learning system, the classroom at Swarthmore extends beyond the campus and into the world.

A Quaker legacy of responsibility guides the college’s cause for teaching social responsibility, simple living, and conservation of resources environmentally and economically, with sustainability at the core. In fact, about 50% of Swarthmore students receive some sort of scholarship assistance and a total of 70% of the students enrolled share over $44 million dollars in financial aid and work opportunities on campus annually.

Tuition: $48,720


Carleton College

Ranked among the nation's best colleges, Carleton College is a small, private liberal arts college in the historic river town of Northfield, Minnesota.
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Carleton College, nestled in the historic river town of Northfield, Minnesota, is widely recognized for it’s strong and varied liberal arts curriculum with over 1,000 courses and 32 majors to offer. Carleton promotes individual growth and learning, plus community strength locally and globally through asking difficult questions that encourage innovative, forward thinking. At the same time, the colleges strong roots in civil deliberation, ethical action and academic integrity nurtures students to become community leaders near and far.

As a leader in diversity, Carleton College welcomes students of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds. Offering some of the most vigorous financial aid programs available in the United States today, Carleton is committed to meeting 100% of financial need for all of their admitted students for all four years of that students enrollment.

Tuition: $48,987


Skidmore College

Skidmore College is a private, independent liberal arts college in Saratoga Springs, New York. Approximately 2,500 students are enrolled at Skidmore pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in one of more than 60 areas of study.
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Skidmore College, located in beautiful Saratoga Springs in upstate New York, is a front runner in service based learning in the United States. Up to 50% of Skidmore’s student body participates in community service and fundraising proceedings every year and the university offers more than fifty service-based courses annually. With creativity at the core of learning at Skidmore, students are encouraged to bring creative thought to the classroom, which leads to creativity and innovation later in their fields of study and the workforce. Competitive research programs engage student and faculty year-round, including the grant based Summer Student-Faculty Research Program.

More than 20% of the schools operating budget is put towards financial aid, coming to about $42 million dollars annually. In the 2015-2016 school year 40% of students received need based grants, 45% received some sort of financial aid and 50% were given the opportunity to work on campus.

Tuition: $50,684

Top 10 Bike-Friendly College Campuses for 2017 http://www.valuecolleges.com/rankings/top-10-bike-college-towns/ Sun, 25 Sep 2016 16:49:53 +0000 http://www.valuecolleges.com/?page_id=5741 Whether your school of choice is a large university or a small liberal arts college, if you’re an avid cyclist or simply want to cut down on your motorized vehicle use, you’ll benefit from knowing which colleges and universities qualify as being bike friendly.


There are a few ways to determine if your school of choice is going to provide the value you need. For many, tuition is one of the most important parameters used to make the big decision, but there are other factors that come into play. Some people are looking to go to school in the city, some prefer a more pastoral setting, and some look at the level of bike-ability a college or university offers.

Founded in 1880, the League of American Bicyclists represents bicyclists in the movement to create safer roads, stronger communities, and a bicycle-friendly America.  As part of this effort the League publishes a list of America’s Bicycle Friendly Universities (BFU’s) which recognizes colleges and universities for “promoting and providing a more bikeable campus for students, staff and visitors”. The best BFUs include large research universities, urban universities, and small liberal arts colleges.


Here, Value Colleges take a look at the best of the best. The first five on the VC ranking are universities who currently hold a platinum rating from the League of American Bicyclists. The second half are the top five small liberal arts colleges that also made the cut and are recognized as Bicycle Friendly Universities. They are listed here in the order they appear on the BFU Award List.


Stanford University

Stanford was the first university to receive a Platinum designation from the League of American Bicyclists.
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Stanford is top of the list with a Platinum-level rating because of its large number of bike-related programs and resources. Stanford promotes biking in many ways, such as by making route maps available, offering bike safety classes and providing repair stands.

If you watch Stanford’s Then and Now presentation which is housed on the university’s website, you’ll learn that “bicycling has been a popular method of getting around Stanford since the university’s beginnings and, today, there are about 13,000 cyclists on the Stanford campus every day.”

Stanford’s bike program includes numerous support programs for safe biking as well as making taking transit with your bike easier. Bike racks are available on all Stanford Marguerite buses.  If you attend Stanford, among other bicycle-related activities, you can take part in their free bike safety classes. You can even rent or purchase a folding bicycle.

BFU Award Level: Platinum

Number of Students: 16,176


University of California, Davis

UC Davis was founded in 1905 and it is known for outstanding academics, sustainability and valuing the Northern California lifestyle.
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Home to the US Bicycling Hall of Fame, Davis, California, has been called “The Bicycle Capital of America” because so many people there ride bikes. It has a history of being a bike friendly place. The streets are wide, it has a great network of greenways and bike paths, and there are no extreme hills. Indeed, Davis may have more bikes than any other city.

The University of California, Davis is the second school to earn the esteemed Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly University ranking from the League of America Bicyclists.

With 20,500 bicycles on campus a day, the 5,300-acre campus is where the bicycle roundabout, which is now used at other schools to handle the large number of bicyclists on campus, was invented.

UC Davis was founded in 1905 and it is known for outstanding academics, sustainability and valuing the Northern California lifestyle.

BFU Award Level: Platinum

Number of Students: 33,300


Colorado State University

Students and faculty alike take advantage of the bike friendly terrain at Colorado State University.

Colorado State University resides in a community known throughout the nation for its love of bikes. Colorado State’s Campus Bike Advisory Committee’s mission is to promote a safe and enjoyable bicycle experience through awareness, planning and education. They encourage the environmental benefits of bicycles as affordable green-transportation for CSU’s campus community and CSU is alive with bikes. There are  more than 23,600 bikes registered to be on campus on any given day and CSU is very proud to be one of only five schools in the country to attain Platinum status as a Bicycle Friendly University.

Regarding the university’s award Lynn Johnson, vice president for Operations said “While riding a bike has always been a mode of choice on campus, we’ve particularly made great strides in the last few years in infusing bicycling on and to campus into our infrastructure. This recognition is a great demonstration of our commitment to sustainability, as well as to providing safe, smart commuting options to our students, faculty and staff.”

While CSU is considered a  Best Value Online Colleges for 2017, it also offers a thriving, very bikeable campus life to those looking for a more traditional university experience.

BFU Award Level: Platinum

Number of Students: 31,725


University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota understands the value of biking no matter if it's once a week or every day of the year.
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At U of M they know that cycling to school has many benefits – like being a healthy and affordable way to get around. If you attend the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities you can participate in The Zap!, a bike commuter program which provides an incentive for cyclists. You can get prizes and for riding your bike around campus. The program uses something called Dero ZAP RFID hardware and software – which is an automated bike commuting recognition system developed at the University of Minnesota. So, you don’t have to track your biking data – you focus on enjoying the ride while the equipment records your trip.

Additionally, there are over 9,000 bicycle racks, or hoops, located around campus making it easy to store your bike while you’re inside and lockers are available to rent.

BFU Award Level: Platinum

Number of Students: 51,000


Portland State University

PSU has many programs designed to support and promote cycling.
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Portland State University is located at the center of what is known as “the city of roses” and it is one of the fifty most affordable college towns in the U.S.  Portland, Oregon is famous for its environmentally conscious lifestyle, with its high walkability, large cycling community, and more than 10,000 acres of park space. It’s no surprise that the university has achieved Platinum status as a Bicycle Friendly University.

Portlad State University has many programs designed to promote and support cycling and more and more students and staff use bikes to get around PSU every year. The university’s efforts aren’t limited to university organizations. Portland State partners with the city of Portland and other businesses to enable and support a biking culture. BIKETOWN is Portland’s bike share system with 1,000 bikes at 100 stations across the central city and close-in neighborhoods. If you tour PSU you’ll see the bright orange Nike-sponsored Biketown bike share stations. For a fee of five dollars a month PSU students can sign up for a BIKETOWN membership. PSU has stations in four locations across campus.

The PSU Bike Hub is an on-campus bike shop for PSU students & employees.  They offer short-term bike rentals to PSU students and the general public.  The Bike Hub also runs a VikeBike program for PSU faculty and staff which provides a free commuter bicycle.

Because of the rainy season many cities in the Northwest are known for, the University plans bike challenges to get people out and riding. PSU also has multiple covered bike garages where you can park your bicycle and keep it dry, as well as use free repair stands. Clint Culpepper, bicycle program coordinator for the PSU BikeHub said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for people to try bike commuting. It’s fun, healthy, less expensive and often much quicker than driving or riding transit.”

BFU Award Level: Platinum

Number of Students: 28,241


Bowdoin College

In the quaint New England town of Brunswick, Maine, Bowdoin offers bicycle enthusiasts a beautiful ride to class any season of the year.
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Small coastal New England towns like Brunswick, Maine where Bowdoin College is located have a certain undeniable charm. Not only is Bowdoin on the list of Bicycle Friendly Universities with a Silver-level designation, but the town of Brunswick has earned the League of American Bicyclists “Bicycle-Friendly Community” title.

Bowdoin has a student-run Yellow Bike Program, whose mission is to provide an affordable means of communal transportation for the Bowdoin community in a healthy and environmentally friendly (carbon-free) way, and in the process, help alleviate parking and traffic issues on campus and in Brunswick.

The Yellow Bike Club enables members to rent bikes and locks. Trained peer mechanics keep the bikes rolling, and Yellow Bike offers a training course each winter.

Bowdoin, with its flat campus and picturesque New England setting, is a top notch college in a town with programs and infrastructure that supports a thriving cycling culture.

BFU Award Level: Silver

Number of Students: 1,834


Dickinson College

At Dickinson, you can take a Red Bike out for the day or just a few hours.
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Dickinson College was founded by Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  If you visit the Dickinson College website, you’ll learn that the college was chartered in 1783, just days after the conclusion of the American Revolution with the specific purpose of preparing the citizens and leaders who would ensure the success of the new democracy.

Dickinson, follows a tradition of encouraging students to be enterprising and active by engaging their communities, the nation and the world and provides a very bicycle friendly college experience.

While there, you’ll have access to Dickinson’s bicycle co-operative called The Handlebar, which is run by volunteers.  There you can learn how to fix your own bike. If you put down a $25 refundable deposit you can rent a Green Bike for the semester. These bikes are built by volunteers from The Handlebar.

Dickinson offers free use of their well-known Red Bikes to students and their families, visitors, staff, and faculty. Take a Red Bike out for the day or just a few hours.

As far as parking goes, Dickinson definitely has you covered. You can use one of their many indoor or outdoor bike racks as well as store your bike long-term during the summer and winter breaks when you’re not at school.

At Dickinson, the Bicycle Advisory Committee continues to focus on enhancing the cycling culture and promoting a Bike Friendly Dickinson.

BFU Award Level: Silver

Number of Students: 2,396


Champlain College

Champlain College's bike friendly campus earned it a Silver designation from the League of American Bicyclists.
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Founded in 1878, Champlain College® is a small, not-for-profit, private college overlooking Lake Champlain and Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain’s career-driven approach to higher education prepares students for their professional life from their very first semester.

Champlain has a safety program which offers helmets for purchase at a low cost, two indoor bike storage rooms that can be used by residential students and employees and they partner with the Chittenden Area Transportation Management Association (CATMA) to bring a bike/walk rewards program to members of the Champlain College community.

CATMA gives people who bike 24 times in a 60-day period a $15 gift card for spending at any one of three local businesses. Participants will gain entry into a quarterly prize drawing whenever they log your commute.

Champlain College is a particularly bike friendly campus earning it a Silver-level ranking and was named the #1 Most Innovative School in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges 2016 ranking for making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

BFU Award Level: Silver

Number of Students: 3,780


Pomona College

Pomona College is dedicated to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
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Established in 1887, Pomona College is a private liberal arts college in Claremont, California, about 35 miles east of Los Angeles and within an hour of the mountains, desert and California beaches.

Pomona students use bikes to get around campus and take advantage of the many bike racks available. Pomona Students can also be found riding their bikes into the nearby Claremont Village.

Green Bikes is a student-run group at Pomona that repairs and services student, faculty, and staff bicycles for free and also sells new and used parts at discounted rates.  The Bike Giveaway, a semesterly raffle, awards over 300 students with free bikes for the semester.

Green Bikes is one of many campus resources at Pomona that exemplifies the college’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

BFU Award Level: Bronze

Number of Students: 1,581


Colorado College

Visit Colorado College's Bike Co-Op for refurbished bicycles or to find out about bike-related campus events.
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According to US News and World Report, Colorado College is a private institution that was founded in 1874. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 2,118, its setting is city, and the campus size is 90 acres. Colorado College was ranked number 24 in the 2017 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges.

The Bike Co-op at Colorado College supports the school’s bike culture and sustainability initiatives by providing bicycle maintenance education, refurbished bike sales, and monthly events to engage the campus community.

At the college’s Bike Auction and Gear Sale students can look at and buy cruiser bikes for ten to twenty-fie dollars, bid on auctioned bikes, and bargain for used outdoor gear.

In fall 2015, CC students launched CCycle — a campus bike-sharing program that provides affordable alternative transportation for students. Students paid $15 each for membership giving them access to a fleet of 10 cruisers.

Strong support for a bicycle culture isn’t the only thing that’s interesting and good about Colorado College. It also operates on a “Block plan.”  Implemented in 1970, the “Block Plan” is allows students to study a different subject every three and a half weeks instead of balancing several throughout a semester. Students take one course at a time and professors teach one, with each block covering the same amount of material as a semester system.

BFU Award Level: Bronze

Number of Students: 2,096

Top 10 Green Colleges for 2017 http://www.valuecolleges.com/rankings/top-10-green-colleges-for-2017/ Sun, 25 Sep 2016 13:10:00 +0000 http://www.valuecolleges.com/?page_id=5627 Green colleges are all about sustainability, conscious living and learning, and making social, environmental, plus local and global impacts in positive ways across the country. Here at Value Colleges we focused on green colleges with an enrollment of at least 750 students and schools that were featured within the Top 50 Green list from the Princeton Review.


Value Colleges strives to educate students on what colleges give them the best value financially and academically while also meeting the personal needs of each individual student. The Green colleges listed here all offer top-notch sustainability programs and teach green living.


Portland State University

Portland State University is a public, nonprofit, coeducational research university located in the southwest University District of downtown Portland, Oregon, United States.
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Through research, education and action, Portland State University advances and leads students in understanding and practicing lifelong sustainability solutions. In fact, Portland State University is the most affordable public research university with integrated sustainable practices found in Oregon. With over 29,000 students from diverse backgrounds, the campus proudly serves it’s mission to “let knowledge serve the city.”

Dedicated to collaborative learning, students’ educations extend beyond the classroom and into real-world situations in order to put to use the sustainable practices learned in the classroom. Financial aid is available to all students in the forms of loans, grants, scholarships and work study opportunities.

Enrollment: 21,980

Tuition: $11,847


University of Vermont

The University of Vermont, officially The University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, is a public research university and, since 1862, the state of Vermont's sole land-grant university.
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A longtime leader in sustainability teaching, the University of Vermont is located in the bustling city of Burlington. In 2014 the university led a Campus Sustainability course, which examined the operational aspects of campus sustainability using it’s own campus as a case study. The Office of Sustainability fosters overall sustainable teaching and learning on the campus and beyond through research and outreach.

The Center for Sustainable Agriculture, founded in 1994, is a Vermont leader in teaching and exercising sustainable agricultural practices! Farmers and stakeholders across the state use programs out of the University of Vermont in order to address the varied needs of the state’s vibrant food system. Most students receive financial aid combining student and/or parent loans plus grants and scholarships.

Enrollment: 10,973

Tuition: $15,096


University of California in Santa Barbara

The University of California, Santa Barbara is a public research university and one of the 10 campuses of the University of California system.
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University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB) has long been praised for its top-tier research programs in environmental and sustainable areas of study, which are offered in each degree level including undergraduate. For example, the Stewards of Nature is the UCSB natural reserve system that has been supported by student and faculty research and management.

Drawing off local and beautiful Santa Barbara, the university thrives in a living and learning environment day-to-day and in each area of study. The faculty, student and staff community is characterized by this culture of hands on learning and interdisciplinary study, which plays a direct role in our local, global and multicultural society. Distributing over $2.2 million dollars in scholarships total and with aggressive financial aid options, the University of California in Santa Barbara ensures their college experience is affordable for all students.

Enrollment: 2,209

Tuition: $20,607


American University

American University is a private research university in Washington, D.C., United States, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, although the university's curriculum is secular.
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Well-known and regarded American University prides itself in providing meaningful educations that support and celebrate diversity, inclusion, and sustainability economically, socially and environmentally. At American University students can expect to balance their class time with hands on, career-advancing experience locally in Washington, D.C. and beyond.

The Office of Sustainability was founded in 2009 to help further American University’s mission to have a low carbon impact and their Zero Waste program has sense run successfully and improved over the years. Offering 68 bachelor’s degrees, 71 master’s degrees and 10 doctoral degrees, these tried and true practices extend into all departments and facets of learning at American University.

Enrollment: 7,909

Tuition: $21, 278


Warren Wilson College

Warren Wilson College is a private four-year liberal arts college near Asheville, North Carolina, in the Swannanoa Valley.
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Since it’s inception, Warren Wilson College, located in the breathtaking Appalachian Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, has prided itself on being the United States sole liberal arts college with a national student body that functions within integrated work and service programs. All students are actively engaged in community based research programs in all departments and areas of study and through this research, explore the complexities that filtrate our local and global society today. Students and faculty take a cross-disciplinary approach to education and problem solving.

Warren Wilson is a work college, meaning students receive two educations for the price of one: an academic education and an education that promotes practical skills and job training that focuses on employability. Students take part in caring for and maintaining a fully self-sufficient campus. In fact, for the tenth time since 2005, the Fiske Guide to Colleges has named the college as a ‘Best Buy’ among private colleges and universities nationwide. Warren Wilson offers the best academic experience in relation to the cost of attendance.

Enrollment: 824

Tuition: $33,260


Lewis and Clark College

Lewis & Clark College is a private liberal arts college located in Portland, Oregon. It has an undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences, a School of Law, and a Graduate School of Education and Counseling.
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Lewis & Clark College proudly educates their students with a public conscience and calls itself “a residential campus with a global reach.” With sustainability and green living at it’s core, all three of the colleges schools, including the College of Arts and Sciences, strive to combine liberal learning with local and global collaborations in and out of the classroom.

As just one small part of it’s sustainability efforts, Lewis & Clark boasts green buildings on and throughout the campus. Located in the bustling city of Portland, Oregon, Lewis & Clark is a leader in sustainable practices. Research, campus actions, and programs like the Environmental Studies major all add to Lewis & Clark’s green missions.

Enrollment: 2,209

Tuition: $43,382


Willamette University

Willamette University is a private liberal arts college located in Salem, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1842, it is the oldest university in the Western United States.
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Willamette University, located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, provides more than just a place to study among abundant beauty. The university is deeply committed to pursue connections between it’s location, the environment and sustainable living. With the 305-acre Zena Forest nearby, countless opportunities are available for students to gain hands on environmental learning, especially including the university’s specialized programs such as the sustainability management area of interest or the sustainable law certificate.

Willamette proudly extends it’s sustainable teachings into all facets of education on and off campus, and into all departments of study and students are encouraged to carry these sustainable practices out of the classroom and into their day to day lives.

Enrollment: 2,384

Tuition: $46,900


Dickinson College

Dickinson College is a private, residential liberal arts college in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, United States.
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Dickinson College, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, strives to be a leader in creating a world that is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. Sustainability programs are infused into nearly every aspect of the college. In addition to the main campus, study abroad campuses are used as living laboratories, places that nurture goal oriented learning and service opportunities for sustainable living worldwide.

Top-notch sustainability programs such as the Center for Sustainability Education, Dickinson College Organic Farm, Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring, and the Dickinson Energy Dashboard make Dickinson a leader in sustainable education worldwide.

Enrollment: 2,420

Tuition: $47,717


Middlebury College

Middlebury College is a private liberal arts college located in Middlebury, Vermont. The college was founded in 1800 by Congregationalists making it the first operating college or university in Vermont.
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Boasting the oldest environmental studies program in the country, Middlebury College is proud to be leader in sustainable and green colleges nationwide. The college provides students and faculty with an atmosphere of exploratory learning which leads students to tackle and understand real-world problems while earning their degree.

The Office of Sustainability and Integration is a staple on the Middlebury campus and it aims to support and implement initiatives that better the environmental, social and economic impacts across campus operations. The college also offers at least one sustainability class in each of it’s 34 academic departments, such as Environmental Studies or Environmental Writing, which supports the pursuit of literary writing about the environment, sustainability, and the natural world.

Enrollment: 2,542

Tuition: $49,648


Cornell University

Cornell University is an American private Ivy League and public federal land-grant doctoral university located in Ithaca, New York.
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As a private, Ivy League university, Cornell University has long been a major global leader in climate change and sustainability research and is currently recognized as a top-ten research university in the world! All fourteen university colleges and schools serve as living laboratories where students and faculty develop, test and then implement strong solutions for some of the worlds most challenging social, economical and environmental issues.

Offering programs in agriculture, nutrition and food safety, and the Cornell Cooperative Extension for environmental and natural resource programs, sustainability and community engagement are at the forefront of Cornell’s teachings. The university still follows it’s founding vision of providing a school where “any person can find instruction in any study” through robust financial aid options.

Enrollment: 14,315

Tuition: $50, 953