Feb 27, 2015

College scholarships for high school students living with diabetes

High school students living with diabetes face a unique set of challenges when it comes to applying to college.   And organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, the Joslin Diabetes Center, and the College Diabetes Network (CDN) work hard to provide information and tools with which students may evaluate the quality of services and support available on campus for this population of young adults.

In fact, the College Diabetes Network has taken the need for greater information-sharing a step further by creating a network of colleges with CDN Chapters, enabling students to connect with one another about diabetes, learn about the latest diabetes technology, and exchange tips for managing diabetes on campus.

But one aspect of the college experience that isn’t unique to students with diabetes is the need for financial resources to cover the increasing costs of education. 

The Diabetes Scholars Foundation scholarship program was created to support high school seniors with Type 1 diabetes seeking higher education at an accredited four-year university, college, technical or trade school.

These scholarships specifically recognize students who are actively involved in the diabetes community, who have high academic performance, who participate in extracurricular activities, and who have demonstrated they are successfully managing the challenge of living with diabetes.

The following is a partial list of the scholarships currently available through the Foundation: 

  • The Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow’s Leaders Scholarship: Eleven scholarships at $5,000 each, five scholarships at $4,000 each and five scholarships at $3,000 each will be awarded to incoming freshmen with Type 1 diabetes.
  • Novo Nordisk Scholarship:  Five $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to incoming freshmen with Type 1 diabetes
  • Jay Cutler Athletic Scholarship:  Six $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to incoming freshmen with Type 1 diabetes who will be playing a competitive sport in college.  In honor of the Jackie Robinson West Little League Team, one $7,500 scholarship will be awarded to an incoming freshman with Type 1 diabetes and playing college basketball and one $7,500 scholarship to an incoming freshmen with Type 1 diabetes and playing college softball.
  • Type 1 for 66 years:  Two $5,000 scholarships will be awarded randomly to incoming freshmen with Type 1 diabetes
  • The Jay Franke Scholarship:  Two $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to incoming freshmen with Type 1 diabetes and  pursuing an arts degree (music, theatre, dance).
  • Kara Podjasek Nursing Scholarship:   One $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to an incoming freshman with Type 1 diabetes and  pursuing a nursing degree.
  • The Nicky Randazzo Memorial Scholarship:  One $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to an incoming freshman with Type 1 diabetes and majoring in business.
  • Gaspari Science Scholarship:  One $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to an incoming freshmen with Type 1 diabetes and pursing a science major (pre-med, biology, chemistry etc.).

Diabetes Scholars Foundation scholarships are not based on financial need.

High school seniors with Type 1 diabetes are asked to complete an online application which includes several essays and which must be submitted no later than April 15, 2015.

For more information, visit the Diabetes Scholars Foundation website.

Feb 25, 2015

UVa continues to be recognized for quality and value

The University of Virginia continued its impressive showing in national “best value” rankings by earning a top spot among the Princeton Review’s newly-formatted annual ranking of best college values in America.

In “Colleges That Pay You Back,” UVa came in as the top public university and No. 16 overall among the “Top 50 Colleges that Pay You Back”.

This year’s expanded ranking included data collected from surveys of administrators and students at 650 colleges and universities as well as surveys of alumni from those schools conducted by PayScale.com.  

Awarding UVa a “return-on-education” rating of 97 (out of 100), Princeton Review editors praised the University for exerting “a tremendous effort to ensure that its undergraduates have access to an affordable education regardless of economic circumstances.”
Princeton Review also cited UVa has having the No. 8 alumni network in the nation and rated the University as No. 11 on a list of Colleges That Pay You Back (Even If You’re Not Eligible for Need-Based Financial Aid).

“This top ranking from Princeton Review stands as further confirmation that the University of Virginia offers one of the nation’s best values in higher education — an education that is both excellent and affordable," said UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan said. "In addition, the 'return-on-education' data show that a UVa education is a great investment that continues to provide life-long benefits for our students.”

The top 15 schools in the overall ranking included some familiar names among private institutions:  Cooper Union (#1), MIT (#2), Harvey Mudd (#3), Stanford (#4), Princeton (#5), and Cal Tech (#6)—all of which coincidently have strong science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) undergraduate programs.

After UVa, the next three top public schools on the Princeton Review list were UC Berkeley (#17), Georgia Institute of Technology (#24), and UCLA (#26). 

And other Virginia schools to be included among the 200 Colleges That Pay You Back were the College of William and Mary, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, the University of Mary Washington, Hampden-Sydney College, James Madison University, and the University of Richmond.

Last month, UVa made a similarly impressive showing on Kiplinger’s Best College Values in Public Colleges for 2015, coming in second place after the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Also named in this ranking were the College of William and Mary, James Madison University, Virginia Tech, the University of Mary Washington, and Christopher Newport University.

And in the U.S. News ranking of “Best Value Schools,” UVa ranked fourth among public national universities after UNC Chapel Hill, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Berkeley.

Feb 23, 2015

Just the facts: The nation’s wealthiest colleges in 2014

Once again, Harvard has the biggest endowment.

Despite all the gloom and doom about college costs and the future of higher education, some schools should be feeling pretty flush these days.

Data gathered from 832 U.S. colleges and universities for the 2014 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments® show institutional endowments returned an average of 15.5 percent for the 2014 fiscal year as compared with 11.7 percent for FY 2013.

The college “endowment” is basically the total value of an institution’s investments—property, stocks, and cash. It mostly comes from donations from rich alums and others, but grows with wise management.  In total, this year’s study represented $516 billion in endowment assets.

Usually colleges use the interest from their endowments to cover worthy expenses like scholarships for students. A college with a huge endowment may be less concerned about getting 100% of tuition from every student and can afford to repair buildings or buy new technology.

And the size of an endowment can be an indicator of the financial health of an institution. Nearly all endowments took serious hits after 2008 and have been working hard to recover since.

In fact, rising return rates have “enabled colleges and universities to increase spending from their endowments to support student financial aid programs, faculty research, and other activities vital to their missions,” according to the National Association of College and University Business officers (NACUBO).

Although the largest endowments mostly support elite public universities or university systems, a handful of public colleges have made it into the top 30 endowments including the University of Michigan (9), University of California (14), University of Virginia (18), the Ohio State University (24), the University of Pittsburgh (25), Pennsylvania State University (27), and the University of Minnesota (29).

And it’s also interesting to look at institutions that experienced significant—well above average—growth in their endowments over the past year.  Among these are Texas A&M (27%), Michigan State (31%), St. John’s University (55%), UC Davis (31%), the New School (40%), Mercy College (43%), Chatham University (29%), Centenary College NJ (213%)

The DC area is home to a number of colleges with endowments among the top 150 in the nation, including the University of Virginia (18), Johns Hopkins University (26), University of Richmond (35), George Washington (57), Virginia Commonwealth University (60), Washington and Lee (63), Georgetown (66), University System of Maryland (95), William & Mary (115), and Virginia Tech (116).

Top 25 endowment funds by rank order ($000s):
  1. Harvard University $35,883,691 (+11% over FY13)
  2. University of Texas System $25,425,922 (+24.3%)
  3. Yale University $23,900,000 (+15%)
  4. Stanford University $21,446,006 (+14.8%)
  5. Princeton University $20,995,518 (+15.4%)
  6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology $12,425,131 (+14.4%)
  7. Texas A&M University System $11,103,880 (+27.2%)
  8. Northwestern University $9,778,112 (+24%)
  9. University of Michigan $9,731,460 (+16.1%)
  10. University of Pennsylvania $9,582,335 (+23.8%)
  11. Columbia University $9,223,047 (+12.5%)
  12. University of Notre Dame $8,039,756 (+17.3%)
  13. University of Chicago $7,545,544 (+13.1%)
  14. University of California $7,384,410 (+15.8%)
  15. Duke University $7,036,776 (+16.5%)
  16. Emory University $6,681,476 (+14.9%)
  17. Washington University in St. Louis $6,643,379 (+17.5%)
  18. University of Virginia $5,945,952 (+15.1%)
  19. Cornell University $5,889,948 (+11.7%)
  20. Rice University $5,527,693 (+14.3%)
  21. University of Southern California $4,593,014 (+18.7%)
  22. Dartmouth College $4,468,219 (19.7%)
  23. Vanderbilt University $4,086,040 (11.2%)
  24. Ohio State University $3,547,566 (+12.7%)
  25. Johns Hopkins University $3,451,947 (+15.6%)

Feb 20, 2015

NIH expands summer internship program to target disadvantaged students

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) manages one of the most popular and widely-respected summer internship programs in the country.  And it’s one of the most competitive.

A federal agency composed of 27 institutes and centers (IEC’s), NIH is the nation’s primary “biomedical research institution.”  Each IEC has its own focus but they all share the common goal of translating scientific discoveries into treatments and cures for rare and common diseases.

The main NIH campus is in Bethesda, Maryland, but there are other campuses across the United States and summer interns may be invited to work on any NIH campus, including locations in North Carolina, Montana, Massachusetts and Michigan.

For the summer of 2015, NIH has expanded its outreach to students who are generally disadvantaged in the application process.  In addition to its core summer internship program, NIH has created three special subprograms with specific target groups in mind:
  • The High School Scientific Training and Enrichment Program (HiSTEP):  For students within commuting distance of the main NIH campus in Bethesda, this program is designed to introduce students from high schools with a high percentage of financially-disadvantaged families to careers in the sciences and biomedical research.
  • Community College Summer Enrichment Program (CCSEP): This purpose of this program is to increase the number of community college students who participate in the NIH summer internship program and ultimately transfer to four-year colleges and universities.
  • Amgen Scholars Program:  This program is specifically targeted to undergraduates who lack opportunities to carry out independent research during the school year.
All NIH summer internship programs offer stipends of varying amounts, with students generally arriving at the NIH in May or June—start dates are negotiated individually. And stipends are adjusted yearly with the amount depending on prior experience and educational level.

NIH does not provide housing. Every year, however, out-of-area students apply and make their own living arrangements for the summer. Nevertheless, students living in the DC metropolitan area or near one of the other locations have a clear advantage for many of the internships.

To support the program, the Office of Intramural Training & Education sponsors a wide range of summer activities including lectures, career/professional development workshops, and Summer Poster Day. These are incomparable opportunities which can provide the basis for independent research and related science competitions such as the JSHS, Google Science Fair, Intel STS, Siemens, and ISEF.

Summer internships are available for students who will be 16 years of age or older at the time they begin the program and who are currently enrolled at least half-time in high school or an accredited US college or university.

Interested students must apply online by no later than March 1, 2015, and all letters of recommendation are due by March 15, 2015. The application requires
  • a resume
  • a list of coursework and grades (no transcripts need to be sent at the time of initial application)
  • a cover letter describing research interests and career goals (applicants are welcome to specify scientific methodologies or disease/organ systems that interest them)
  • names and contact information for two references.
Individual investigators will review applications to find individuals who will fit most comfortably into their programs or groups and who are most likely to make significant contributions to ongoing projects.  They usually look for applicants who speak and write well, who have some prior successful research experience, who are creative, who take initiative and are self-motivated, and/or who work well in teams.

Because applications are reviewed on a rolling basis from November through April by NIH scientists, students are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible (note that some deadlines may have already passed).  Only completed applications are available for review by NIH investigators and administrators.

For more information as well as tips on how to increase your chances of winning an internship, visit the NIH website