5 Reasons the GRE Tests Give Students More Options

Accepted by more institutions than any other graduate admissions test, the GRE  revised General Test now provides more options and opportunities for test takers. Here are five reasons why there’s never been a better time to take the GRE revised General Test.

1.    It is the one test that applicants can take to apply to more than 3,000 graduate and business schools worldwide. GRE scores are used for admission to master’s, MBA, Ph.D. and fellowship programs.

The National Children’s Cancer Society Observes 25 Years

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The battle against childhood cancer is ongoing. Over the past 20 years, incidence of children diagnosed with cancer has risen from 11.5 cases per 100,000 children in 1975 to 14.8 per 100,000 children in 2004 — during this same time, however, death rates declined dramatically, according to the National Cancer Institute. Many experts agree that these higher survival rates can be attributed to better medicine — and awareness.
One such organization that delivers essential action, The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS), has established a legacy of providing emotional, financial and educational assistance to children with cancer and their families.
This year, NCCS is marking its 25th anniversary — that’s 25 years of assistance to more than 28,000 children in the U.S. Since its beginning, NCCS has grown and evolved with programs such as the Pediatric Oncology Program (POP), which has distributed over $52 million to families, and Beyond the Cure. This year alone, Beyond the Cure — a survivorship program designed to educate children and their families about the challenges they may face as childhood cancer survivors — has awarded $100,000 in college scholarships to 32 cancer survivors.
“The NCCS recipients show all of us how to successfully turn a challenge into something positive,” says Mark Stolze, NCCS president and CEO. “The Beyond the Cure Scholarship Program is a vehicle to help these individuals move forward with their lives in a meaningful way.”
The programs give children suffering from cancer a better chance to make a full recovery, especially children who don’t have access to quality health care or proper treatment. And POP lessens the family’s financial strain by helping with the ongoing expenses of treatment, such as meal assistance, gas money and, in some cases, health insurance premiums. This gives some added peace of mind to those parents whose incomes have become affected by their child’s illness.
For more information on the NCCS or coping with pediatric cancer, go to www.thenccs.org. To learn more about Beyond the Cure, visit www.beyondthecure.org.

Time-Saving Solutions to Finish Your College Degree

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – It’s a goal of many recent post-high school students — go to a great university and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years. But why is that easier said than done, and what can be done to stay on schedule?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, fewer than 60 percent of first-time students who sought a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent while enrolled at a four-year institution full time completed the degree at that institution within six years.
Degree completion remains at the forefront of the national agenda as experts predict that, in just 10 years, more than 60 percent of all new jobs will require a college education. Organizations such as the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) are increasing efforts to raise graduation rates by presenting alternative ways to earn a degree quickly.
“Time was the biggest obstacle to getting my degree,” says 54-year-old Briana Taravella.
As time advances, the likelihood of degree completion becomes even more remote. But with alternative methods, such as Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), offered by some colleges and universities and services such as LearningCounts.org, completing credits is more convenient for students — especially adult learners.
“I had to work hard every day, but I was able to earn credit that would have taken longer going through classes,” says LearningCounts.org student Taravella as she references her effort to convert her work experiences to college credit through PLA.
As demonstrated by students like Taravella, PLA saves a lot of time toward degree completion. Hundreds of colleges and universities have used this system to award credit for learning gained outside the classroom — such as work experience, civic activity, corporate training and independent studies. In addition to PLA, here is a list of other ways students are earning college credit while saving time:
* Portfolio-based Assessments
* CLEP Exams
* American Council on Education (ACE) Guides
* Evaluation of Local Training
* Challenge Exams
To learn more, go to www.learningcounts.org.

Impact of Running Away Is Chillier Than Winter

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Parents send their children to school hoping and trusting that teachers and school systems are providing a well-rounded, holistic education that’s personalized and supportive.
Now, thanks to an initiative by ASCD, one of America’s leading education associations, anyone interested in preparing today’s youth for success can check whether schools make the grade.
Using the “Grade Your School” tool (www.wholechildeducation.org/gradeyourschool), a resource presented as part of ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative, parents and communities can confirm whether their schools meet the five tenets of ASCD’s Whole Child approach to education. Those tenets are:
1. Each student enters school healthy and learns and practices a healthy lifestyle.
2. Each student learns in an environment that is safe.
3. Each student is actively engaged in learning and connected to the school and broader community.
4. Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.
5. Each student is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment and participation in a global environment.
“The Grade Your School resource really gets you thinking about what an effective, even ideal, learning environment should be. I will use this tool to open the conversation with my child’s school on how parents could work collaboratively with school officials and others to create an even better learning community,” says Sioban Maslar, Silver Spring, Md.
Composed of 14 short multiple choice questions, the Grade Your School tool helps anyone quickly find out how well a school and community are doing to prepare children for the future. ASCD then provides a report card and some tips on how to use the results.
“Each community has educators, families, administrators and counselors working hard to support the success of each learner,” says Molly McCloskey, managing director of Whole Child Programs at ASCD. “The Grade Your School tool is a starting point for anyone to check how these groups are working to support the whole child approach to education, and open a dialogue about how to work together.”
Visit the Whole Child Initiative homepage at www.wholechildeducation.org to learn more.

Are You Prepared to Leave a Legacy?

<b>Are You Prepared to Leave a Legacy?</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – You box toys and shoes for disadvantaged children, collect canned goods and donate to your favorite charity every year — but have you considered leaving a permanent legacy to help support your cause?

Bequeathing money to a charity in your will is one of the best ways to act as a philanthropist through your lifetime and beyond. Many charities rely on legacies to run their programs — some receive as much as 40 percent of their income from bequests.

There are many ways to leave a bequest to the charity or charities of your choice. You can donate all or part of your retirement plan, IRA, 401k, life insurance plan, stock portfolio or estate.

You can even ask a charity to put your money towards a specific cause or program. For example, those bequeathing funds to Running Strong for American Indian Youth (www.indianyouth.org), a nonprofit organization that helps American Indians meet their immediate survival needs while creating programs that promote self-sufficiency and self-esteem, can ask that their money support Running Strong’s community garden program or youth programs.

If you do not specify how you want your money to be used, the charity will most likely add the money to their endowment, where it can be used to support any number of worthy causes.

Many charities offer legacy programs to help potential benefactors give. Americans Helping Americans (www.helpingamericans.org), a nonprofit that helps improve the lives of impoverished people living in Appalachia, created its Americans Helping Americans Legacy Society to recognize those who wish to include the charity in their will.

More than 80 percent of Americans give to charities. But a 2007 survey conducted by Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy found that only 8 percent of all Americans include legacies in their wills. Considering 2009’s rocky economy, that percentage has surely dropped.

Many Americans worry that, by leaving a charitable bequest, they may put their heirs at a disadvantage. But leaving a legacy in your will could reduce the estate taxes that the will’s other beneficiaries need to pay. Gifts given to Running Strong and Americans Helping Americans, for example, are free of federal estate taxes, as well as inheritance taxes in most states.

For more information, visit www.indianyouth.org or www.helpingamericans.org.

It’s Your Choice of Wine: Red, White or Green

<b>It’s Your Choice of Wine: Red, White or Green</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – “Sustainability” is a popular term when it comes to being eco-friendly, but what does it really mean? For California’s vintners and winegrape growers, who subscribe to California’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program, it’s very clear.

“Sustainable practices include the way we preserve and protect the land, water and air, and how we responsibly interact with employees and local communities,” says Kim Ledbetter-Bronson, Chairwoman of the California Association of Winegrape Growers.

Specifically, California vintners and winegrape growers are adopting the following practices in their vineyards and wineries:

* Using alternative energy sources. Growers and vintners use solar and wind power, and biodegradable fuel produced from vegetable oils and animal fats.

* Using sheep, goats, chickens, falcons, owls, dogs, beneficial insects and other creatures to provide a low-impact, natural cultivation method and to manage pests.

* Using “green” building materials such as straw bales, rammed earth, earthen plaster and recycled lumber in winery construction.

* Preserving wildlife habitats and creating nest boxes for owls, raptors and other beneficial birds when designing vineyards.

* Using cover crops and compost to prevent erosion, attract helpful insects that prey on pests and enrich healthy soils.

* Being a good neighbor and giving back to the community.

* Adopting winery and vineyard water conservation practices.

The good news for consumers: The increased attention to detail that these sustainable practices require results in higher-quality wines.

“California wine is ahead of the curve in adopting sound environmental practices, and we will continue to lead in sustainable wine growing,” says Robert P. Koch, president and CEO of the Wine Institute.

For more information, visit www.wineinstitute.org, www.cawg.org or www.sustainablewinegrowing.org.

Tips for Selling Your Gold Jewelry

<b>Tips for Selling Your Gold Jewelry</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Given the turbulent stock market and the soaring price of precious metals, selling gold for cash has become big business, and consumers are attempting to “cash in” in record numbers. You have likely seen billboards, flyers or television ads for companies offering to buy your gold.

“Before you set out to sell your precious baubles, do your research,” advises Amanda Gizzi, spokesperson for Jewelry Information Center (www.JIC.org).”Taking a few simple precautionary steps will help protect you and your gold investments.” Before you can cash in, you should do the following:

Determine why you want to sell: It is important to evaluate why you want to sell your gold jewelry in the first place. Keep in mind that heirlooms, like most gold jewelry, often have strong sentimental attachments that make it difficult to put a price tag on them. Gizzi notes, “If you are determined to sell your gold jewelry, ideal candidates to consider are earrings with a missing partner and broken or outdated items.”

Get an independent appraisal: Once you have determined which items you want to sell, be sure to get an independent appraisal to find out the estimated resale and melt-down value of the pieces. An independent appraisal should come from someone who is not looking to buy or sell the jewelry. Getting an appraisal will not only tell you the jewelry’s value, but will also confirm the karatage — a determining factor in the price evaluation.

Check the value of gold daily: The price of metals fluctuates daily. Check on trusted Web sites such as www.gold.org and www.kitco.com to track the daily value of gold. However, keep in mind that the daily gold quote is not directly transferable to the price you’ll receive. Rather, it gives you a reference to help you determine the best time to sell.

Get multiple quotes: Like most savvy shoppers, you probably shop around to find the best deal on anything from cars to eggs. As you set out to sell your precious gold, it is important to get multiple quotes. The price offers can vary widely. If you are considering a mail-in program, never send your jewelry to a company that does not offer you insurance.

Shop with a reputable jeweler: When selling your gold items, you should deal with a reputable jeweler. Check with your local jeweler to see if they are member of Jewelers of America (www.jewelers.org), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry retail marketplace. Recent reports have shown that local jewelers offer higher prices than their mail-in program competitors. Most importantly, you can have peace of mind knowing that your gold jewelry is in good hands.

For more information on gold and fine jewelry, visit Jewelry Information Center at www.JIC.org.

Want to Save the Earth? It’s All in the Reusable Bag

<b>Want to Save the Earth? It’s All in the Reusable Bag</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Each year, consumers use between 500 billion and 1 trillion single-use plastic bags worldwide. While some do reuse plastic bags, most end up in landfills, if not in the world’s oceans, causing over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths each year.

Each reusable grocery bag can eliminate 1,000 plastic bags over the course of its lifetime. Even better, consumers can purchase reusable grocery bags that benefit good causes. For example,

two organizations that benefit poverty-stricken families, Americans Helping Americans (www.helpingamericans.org) and Running Strong for American Indian Youth (www.indianyouth.org), recently started printing their logos on grocery bags containing 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic.

So, why do so many people fail to carry reusable bags? Despite the planning that goes into creating shopping lists, it is mostly a store-time decision when deciding what they will use to carry their groceries.

For shoppers who want to get the most out of reusable bags, keep these tips in mind:

– Keep some extra bags spare. Purchase several bags. Keep some in your car and in a visible location in your home. Fold lightweight bags, and keep them in your purse or a large pocket.

– Designate bags for different purposes. Label separate bags for vegetables, meat and fish. You might also want to purchase one or two insulated bags for frozen or refrigerated foods. If cold foods sweat and dampen the bags, let them air-dry on a clothesline before storing them.

– Put your reusable bag on your list. When you write out your shopping list, make a note to remember your bag.

– Think beyond the grocery store. Keep one or two bags for non-food use, and take them with you when you go to the mall or convenience store.

– If you do forget a reusable bag, purchase a new one. Hopefully, if you purchase enough new bags, you will start remembering to take them to the store. Make your money count by purchasing bags from reputable charities like Americans Helping Americans and Running Strong for American Indian Youth. For more information, visit www.helpingamericans.org and www.indianyouth.org.

When School Success Requires Donations

<b>When School Success Requires Donations</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – For most families, back-to-school season means shopping for new backpacks, school supplies and clothes. Yet, many American children attend school without basic supplies or even shoes.

Families living on American Indian reservations and in Appalachia — a region extending from New York to Mississippi — face extreme poverty. It’s not a matter of uncontrollable spending, but of homes without running water or electricity, families without food, and children without warm clothes, shoes or access to basic health care.

Children rarely escape poverty if they are unable to attend school, and certain charitable organizations are working to help these families receive the necessary supplies so that their children may have a proper education. One non-profit organization, Running Strong for American Indian Youth (www.indianyouth.org), funds several programs on the most impoverished Indian reservations. The program supplies basic school supplies like backpacks, pens, paper, pencils, scissors, crayons, erasers, glue, rulers, sharpeners and notebooks to children in need. In 2008, Running Strong donated school supplies to 3,383 children in seven states.

Running Strong’s Back-Pack Food Program at the Takini School on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation makes sure that children do not go hungry on weekends, when they don’t eat a meal at school. Every Friday, volunteers fill 200 children’s backpacks with food.

“We have noticed that the whole family is able to survive off the food, so we now include items for the whole family,” said Food Bank Manager Anthony Hanson.

In Appalachia, the non-profit group Americans Helping Americans (www.helpingamericans.org) runs its “Bare Feet” program to take children shopping for new shoes. As a result, over 1,212 children enjoy a warmer, safer walk to school.

Parents shopping for back-to-school supplies might want to consider using last year’s lunchbox or backpack, and try donating the difference to one of the organizations working to improve the lives of America’s most impoverished schoolchildren.

For more information, visit www.indianyouth.org or www.helpingamericans.org.

Web Site Helps Consumers Find Free Medications

<b>Web Site Helps Consumers Find Free Medications</b> (NU) – Millions of Americans have turned to the Internet for cheaper prescription drug prices, but they may be surprised to learn that for millions of consumers, the best deals are available from pharmaceutical companies in the form of patient assistance programs.

In 2003, patient assistance programs helped uninsured or underinsured patients obtain nearly 18 million prescriptions. The estimated wholesale value of medicines distributed through patient assistance programs is almost $3.4 billion.

To continue to help doctors and low-income patients take advantage of free and significantly discounted medications, America’s pharmaceutical companies are launching a new Web-based tool on www.helpingpatients.org, a site that gives eligible patients and health care providers “one-stop shopping” for available patient assistance programs.

The new feature provides easier and faster access to 40 different patient assistance programs and more than 400 medications.

“In the past, you had to determine which programs you were eligible for and then fill out a separate application for each program,” said Alan F. Holmer, president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. “Now, all you need to do is answer one short set of questions. Then the computer tells you which programs you are eligible for and creates separate applications based on your answers, clearing the confusion and cutting the time you or your health care provider would spend answering the same questions over and over again on different forms.”

After printing out the form, the site provides instructions for attaching certain documentation, completing the documents and obtaining the signature of the appropriate health care provider.

In accordance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations, none of the personally identifiable information is retained. To ensure that the information is highly secure, all of the forms are encrypted to require a password that only the patient and health care provider knows.

HelpingPatients.org also contains an online database of more than 185 patient assistance programs. The database was created and funded by the pharmaceutical industry.

Consumers can download a free copy of the patient assistance program directory at www.helpingpatients.org or at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Web site, www.phrma.org.

PhRMA also publishes a printed version of the directory, which lists programs, the companies that offer them, available medicines, basic eligibility requirements and contact persons.