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Archive for November, 2010

Video Game Designers Play Hard and Earn a Small Fortune

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Video gaming is a $10.5 billion industry; and there is no end in sight, as consumers rush to purchase the latest games and systems.

In fact, this past Thanksgiving weekend, Nintendo sold an estimated 1.5 million game systems — 900,000 DS units and 600,000 Wii consoles.

So it is no surprise that there is a high demand for software engineers in a field that is expected to grow faster than most other occupations.

Anyone who loves the idea of designing video games could discover a well-paying and fun-filled career, especially if they pursue higher education credentials.

An online bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or mathematics is one way to conveniently prepare for this exciting career. Training for software engineers who design video games may include computer science, mathematics and graphic design courses, along with other online classes.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software engineers with relevant college degrees should have excellent job prospects through the year 2018. The median annual salary range for the best jobs is between $59,600 and $139,930 according to the May 2009 employment and wages report.

Software engineers who design and develop video games generally work in quiet offices and spend a great deal of time on computers.

Once they create the video games, developers usually test the games by playing them, just as a consumer would, to check for design flaws. They may also attend video gaming conferences as part of their job, in order to remain plugged into trends and projections in the video gaming industry.

Anyone who thinks it sounds pretty cool to design video games and play them at work, might love this creative, interesting and fun career.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

CBO Confirms Stimulus Successfully Created Millions of Jobs

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported today that the $814 billion stimulus package did indeed put millions of Americans back to work.

According to the CBO report, between 1.4 million and 3.6 million people gained jobs in the short period between July and September of this year; with many more jobs on the horizon.

Without the implementation of the president’s stimulus legislation, unemployment rates would also have been much higher than the current 9.6% rate.

The newly-released report injects a heavy dose of truth into the falsehoods that have been circulated by special interest groups and others. Erroneous beliefs about the ineffectiveness of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act factored heavily into recent election results as well.

In addition to the jobs that have been created, most Americans benefited from tax cuts, extended unemployment benefits, low-interest mortgage loans, or other economic recovery programs.

As a result of the improved U.S. economy, retailers are excited and expectant about the probability of a profitable holiday season. Seasonal hiring is a boon this year, with some retail stores — like Kohl’s, JC Penney, and Toys R US, increasing their holiday employees from last year’s numbers.

All of this good news has increased consumer confidence, with Black Friday sales expected to soar — encouraged by early online shopping offers and Thanksgiving Day store openings.

In addition, students continue to flock to online classes, according to the Sloan Consortium, racking up one million new online students for the school year ending in 2009. Online students enjoy the best of both worlds, as they are able to snag a new job while completing their studies at home.

The stimulus package did what it was supposed to do; it created millions of new jobs. And now, those who benefited are stimulating the economy with their dollars, thereby assisting the long-term goal of providing jobs to all Americans who are seeking work.

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Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

New Sloan Report Shows 1 Million New Online Students in 1 Year

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

The newly released Sloan Consortium report brings good news to the beleaguered online education community.

It shows that almost one million new students have enrolled in online classes during a one year period ending in 2009.

Online education is rapidly becoming the preferred form of learning among higher education students; and 63% of the colleges studied in the report consider it to be a “critical” part of their strategic long-term planning.

There are now 5.6 million students taking at least one online class in traditional and online colleges and universities.

This was, surprisingly, the largest 1-year increase in the past 8 years that online education has been studied. It indicates that the economic downturn has not hurt higher education, but has led to an explosion of growth for e-learning.

The report, entitled “Class Differences: Online Education in the United States, 2010“, studied over 2500 higher education institutions in the U.S. that offer online classes. Both Sloan C and the College Board partnered together in compiling the data for the report.

It pointed out that the 21% growth rate in online education enrollments over a year far outweighs the 2% growth rate for the overall college student population.

A record 30% of all college students are currently enrolled in one or more online classes — an all-time high.

The Sloan report addresses a number of other issues relating to online education, including the new higher education rules:

“The proposed regulations, however, would apply to all higher education institutions that provide any form of federal-based financial aid. These new rules would mean possible changes in policies and procedures at all educational institutions, as well as increased reporting requirements.”

It reiterated that the new rules affect all federally-funded colleges and universities, not just the for-profit schools. Many non-profit schools are concerned about the impact the rules will have on their institutions.

Online education continues to grow exponentially; and there appears to be no end in sight. The Sloan report, once again, proves this to be true.

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Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Tuition-free college programs give hope to recession-weary students

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Although news of joblessness and economic ills pours from the media like flood waters, a few glints of sunlight provide a welcome respite from the deluge of doom and gloom.

Expensive college tuition is one of those dreary economic topics. But sporadic bright spots, like the surprising availability of a tuition-free education, is giving hope to both parents and college-bound students.

In fact, some parents are choosing to relocate to areas where their children will be eligible for a free college education down the road. The lure of a debt-free graduation is an offer many parents, and students, cannot refuse.

Most free-tuition scholarship programs require a minimum 3.0 or above grade point average (GPA) at high school graduation, residency for a specified amount of time in the school district or state offering the free tuition, and maintenance of at least a 2.5 GPA while attending college.

Students must primarily attend public or charter higher education schools to receive the full benefit of these scholarships. Those who choose private in-state colleges or universities may receive a lesser amount of scholarship money; and family income levels may influence eligibility.

Listed below are a few of these remarkable free-tuition programs:

  • The New Haven Promise is one of the newest free-tuition programs. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, which is home to Yale University, the program will provide full or partial tuition scholarships for eligible students to study at any Connecticut public college or university. High school graduates with a 3.0 GPA who have attended New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) since kindergarten will receive full paid tuition. Those who have attended for the last 3 years of high school will receive 65% paid tuition.
  • The Hope Scholarship gives Georgia’s top high school graduates the opportunity to attend public colleges and universities in Georgia for free. Paid tuition and fees apply to those who graduated from high school with at least a 3.0 GPA.
  • Say Yes to Education, in partnership with Syracuse University, offers free tuition assistance to students in the Syracuse City School District (SCSD). Eligible students who spent 10th-12th grade in Syracuse public high schools and are enrolling full-time in an eligible college or university will be able to attend college for free. Other grants and scholarships will be taken into account in calculating how much funding students will need in order to be guaranteed free tuition.
  • Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program pays all of the tuition and fees for eligible students at public Florida colleges and universities. Students also receive a small stipend for books and supplies. The high school GPA must be at least 3.5, with specific requirements for SAT scores. Students must also complete 75 community service hours. Those who are lacking in one or more of these areas may be eligible for 75% paid tuition with the Florida Medallion Scholars Award.

Several colleges and universities offer free tuition to all students who are accepted into their programs, including Moody Bible Institute (Chicago) and Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia). However, competition is keen for places in such schools. A number of colleges and universities also offer free tuition to National Merit Scholars, valedictorians, low-income students, or those who major in specific career areas (i.e. education, nursing or engineering).

The thought of paying for college should not be a sore subject. Parents and students who plan ahead may discover an oasis of financial ease as the college years trickle by peacefully and debt-free.

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Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

New Online Students Enjoy Free Trials in For-Profit Schools

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

In an effort to increase graduation rates and success in online classes, two of the largest online universities are now offering a free 3-5 week trial period to prospective students.

According to the Sacramento Bee:

“Kaplan Higher Education, which enrolls 112,000 students, announced it would let prospective students attend the first five weeks of class without charge. The University of Phoenix, the country’s largest for-profit school, recently introduced a mandatory three-week orientation to screen out unprepared students before they borrow.”

Students will be able to try out online learning without paying tuition or taking out student loans until after the trial period.

They will not risk any money until after they have had ample time to complete a few assignments and consider whether they want to remain enrolled.

There is no obligation to continue after the trial period ends.

These are just a couple of the for-profit schools that are responding to new federal legislation that requires for-profit schools to disclose graduation rates.

In light of this legislation and in order to help students achieve their dreams of receiving a college diploma, some online schools are increasing their efforts to insure greater success for their students.

This is a great time for potential students to take advantage of these free trials to find out if online learning is the way to go.

After all, going to school doesn’t get much better than “free”.

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Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Freshman college year on sale for $999

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

The word “sale” adorns most merchandise advertising these days, especially as the winter holiday season quickly approaches.

But now, the word has found a new home — in online higher education.

A young company, called StraighterLine, claims that it can provide the full freshman year of required college courses for a set price of $999. Or if students choose, they may pay $99 a month plus $39 per course for up to 10 classes.

Either way, students can save thousands of dollars on their college education, while conveniently studying online.

StraighterLine is no diploma mill. The company provides rigorous online classes; and students have access to instructors with master’s and doctorate degrees. About 2,000 students are enrolled in their program.

The Washington Post refers to StraighterLine as “. . . a serious education company and a force that could disrupt half a millennium of higher-education tradition.”

The Baltimore Sun states, “Company officials point out that its courses have been reviewed and recommended by the American Council on Education, the main organization that evaluates courses and their credit equivalency.”

The basic online courses, designed for college freshmen and others, include English composition, math (algebra, calculus), accounting, economics, business statistics, general chemistry, introduction to biology, and business communication.

However, StraighterLine is not an accredited online school; and students should verify that the school to which they are transferring will accept the classes for college credit. StraighterLine maintains a list of colleges and universities that agree to accept the courses.

Perhaps StraighterLine is a front-runner and visionary that signals the flurry of tuition sales and college cost-saving strategies to come.

But for now, at least some students have a new option to consider for saving education dollars.

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Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida