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Can you work your way through college?

Can you work your way through college?

Molly Berg | Mar 19 2013 |  · · ·  Tags: education, working in school, college debt

In an article by The New York Times, several college students were interviewed about their debt-free education. These students excelled academically and worked nearly full-time jobs to avoid colossal debt when they graduated.

One of the students, Steve Boedefeld, enrolled in the military and did several tours of duty to save money before coming to college. He now goes to Appalachian State University and works 15 to 20 hours a week as an electrician. He forgoes time with friends to be with his family and study when he’s not working to support his education.

Zack Tolmie, a graduate of New York University, saved $8,000 before coming to college. When he arrived, he worked as a waiter and took on extra shifts. Along with the help of a merit scholarship, Tolmie was able to graduate debt free. Since graduating, Tolmie found a full-time job in New York City.

Zack and Steve are not the norm. College debt has risen to $1 trillion over the past few decades and will continue to increase. Most students accumulate some kind of debt before graduation.

Many JRF scholars balance school, work and family responsibilities. Four out of five JRF scholars are the heads of their households, whether they are single parents or caring for disabled partners or simply the only ones earning income. For some, working is not an option, it is a given. A job puts food on the table, keeps the water and power on, and makes sure a family has a place to live.

Despite all of these responsibilities, JRF scholars are succeeding. We often see 4.0 GPAs and more than 80% have graduated or are still enrolled in class.

How do you balance work and school? Post your comments below.

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Celebrating International Women’s Day

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Molly Berg | Mar 06 2013 |  · · ·  Tags: molly berg, women, supporting jrf

March 8 may not seem like a particularly special day. But to those who know it as International Women’s Day, it symbolizes how far women have come in the quest for gender equality.

Compared to other holidays, International Women’s Day is relatively new. It was created in the early 1900s during a period of oppression and inequality for women.  Unhappy with their status in society, women began demanding voting rights and better pay for their work.  In 1909, International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in the United States. Eleven years later, women would be granted the right to vote with the 19th amendment.

International Women’s Day is now an official holiday in countries all over the world including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cuba, Ukraine, Russia and Zambia.  Many celebrate this holiday by giving gifts to the important women in their lives, like many do on Mother’s Day.

The United Nations joins in by announcing a theme for each year that highlights specific a issue. This year’s theme is “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.” The theme is sponsored by the UNITE campaign, which is led by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable,” said Ban Ki-moon.

Many Jeannette Rankin Fund scholars have faced the horrors of domestic violence and challenges that accompany it, like being single parents and sole providers for their families. Through their strength and determination, they now inspire other women to pursue better lives.

Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to low-income women ages 35 and older who have a vision of how their education will better themselves and the community. Education is critical in finding opportunities in the work force, especially for women seeking better pay and working conditions.

Join the cause and make a difference this International Women’s Day! UNITE by participating in International Women’s Day events and honoring special women in your life with a donation to Jeannette Rankin Fund.

What are your plans for March 8th? Share with us in the comments below.

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The move to massive online classes

The move to massive online classes

Molly Berg | Feb 16 2013 |  · · ·  Tags: molly berg, education, mooc

Interested in taking a free course from a nationally-recognized professor? You can through the increasingly popular massive open online courses, or MOOCs for short. MOOCs are online courses that allow a large number of participants to take a course for free. Distance education has grown in popularity over the last few years and from that, MOOCs were born.

However, MOOCs are not quite the same as an online class you’d pay for through a college. MOOCs often do not offer credit; instead the institution might mail you a certificate for completing the course. It can also entitle you to bragging rights. Who wouldn’t want to say they’ve taken a class from an Ivy League school? Although the courses are free, and can be done anywhere with internet, many struggle to complete them.

Right now, I’m pursuing my undergraduate degrees at the University of Georgia. For most of my life I’ve been in school and I enjoy the structure of classes and assignments. However, I won’t take a MOOC until I graduate and finish my current course work. I plan to enter the work force full-time when I leave UGA, but if free MOOCs are still available, I will likely end up taking one to get a certificate.

With MOOCs, there’s really nothing to lose. For no cost, you can take classes from widely acclaimed professors and learn valuable information. The classes are also a nice addition to your resume!

What do you think? Would you take a MOOC for free? Or would the lack of structure and credit keep you from pursuing it? Share your comments below. For more information click here

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JRF alumna publishes book

JRF alumna publishes book

Molly Berg | Jan 31 2013 |  · · ·  Tags: molly berg, jrf news

JRF scholar alumna Valerie recently published a book called Raising Amazing Grace…and Tyler, and Megan, a guide for single parents raising young children. The book was inspired by Valerie’s work as a counselor and her experience raising her sons, now ages 15 and 17.

Though the book was recently published, Valerie began her writing career a decade ago, with one of her boys in kindergarten. While he was at school, she joined a writing group where members would share stories and get feedback. Over the years, the group continued to meet and write together. As Valerie collected more of her writing pieces, she soon realized that they were all about parenting.

With the support of her friends, Valerie decided to compile a book made up of her parenting articles.  Valerie met with several publishers and soon found National Writers Press, a publishing company that offered her a book contract. Published in January 2013, Valerie’s book is now available for order.

In addition to the completion of her novel, Valerie has her bachelor’s degree in Human Services and her master’s degree in Community Counseling. She works as a counselor in her community, specializing in adolescent counseling. “I enjoy being a person that people feel comfortable talking to,” she says. “My passion is helping young people feel like they have value.”

Valerie credits JRF with helping her pursue her bachelor’s degree. “My experience with JRF was so positive,” she says. “They were so encouraging. To find an organization that supports people like me helped me change my life.”

When Valerie isn’t counseling or spending time with her children, she also blogs and maintains a website. Her website, Parents Village, is designed for people who are co-parenting. Through the website, parents and guardians can share information about the child in a safe and confidential format.

As a mother, counselor, and author, Valerie wears many hats. JRF scholars like her inspire others to take the initiative and pursue their dream career.

Congratulations on all your accomplishments, Valerie!

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Throw your hats high at JRF’s High Hat Party!

Throw your hats high at JRF’s High Hat Party!

JRF | Jan 30 2013 |  · · ·  Tags: jrf news, high hat party, supporting jrf

It’s that time of year again! As Athens transitions from Winter to Spring, the staff here at Jeannette Rankin Fund are gearing up for the High Hat Party! This event is one of our major fundraisers that provides support to women working to conquer poverty. Come celebrate scholars who are throwing their hats high at graduation!


Sunday, April 14th

at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education

from 1-3pm


There will be live music from Atlanta Harmony Celebration!, activities for children by Wild Child Arts, and fantastic auction items. Tickets are $30 and tables of eight are $300. Don’t forget to wear a wacky, stylish, or fun hat to the party!

Online reservations are now closed. If you haven't registered but would like to attend, please email info@rankinfoundation.org with who will be attending. You will be able to pay at the event.

For a Google map of parking options, click here.

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