Latest twist in student loans: Peer-to-peer lending

As traditional lending sources such as banks and government agencies pull back, a growing number of peer-to-peer lending sites are entering the student loan market, BusinessWeek reports. Because of the credit crunch, conventional lenders are making it tough for any but the most creditworthy borrowers to qualify for private college loans. Now, a new breed of student lender is trying to get students to return the snub–by writing off the Sallie Maes and Citibanks of the world in favor of relying on friends, family, and even perfect strangers to finance their college loans. "It’s not a solution to the credit crisis in student loans by any means," says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of financial aid web site finaid.org. "But the idea of using peer networks to raise money is intriguing." In recent months, peer-to-peer lending sites such as Prosper and Virgin Money USA have introduced student loans or started marketing existing offerings to families looking for college funds. Others, including startups GreenNote and Fynanz, are focused exclusively on making college loans. Analysts say the sites are benefiting from a confluence of trends–a growing acceptance of peer-to-peer lending and fallout from the credit crunch…

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John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation provides fellowships for advanced professionals in all fields (natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, creative arts) except the performing arts. Fellowships are not available for students.

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Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Program

The Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Program (URR) makes grants to nonprofit educational organizations that are established to research, display, interpret, and collect artifacts relating to the history of the Underground Railroad.

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Blackboard launches new Facebook application

Course-management giant Blackboard is hoping that a new Facebook application will help it reach students even when they’re trying to avoid studying, Inside Higher Ed reports. The new Facebook application mainly replicates the functionality of colleges’ and high schools’ Blackboard sites, where students can log in, download course materials, post to message boards, upload assignments, and check grades. Rather than add social-networking functionality to its existing interface, Blackboard’s strategy is to bring its services where the students already are and capitalize on Facebook’s ubiquity and collaboration capabilities. In doing so, the company is implicitly conceding that students are less inclined to flip through Blackboard pages to kill a few spare minutes. "This is specifically to take advantage of the fact that college students spend a tremendous amount of time on Facebook," said Karen Gage, Blackboard’s vice president of product strategy. "I think that what we know that socializing with your friends is more fun than studying."

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Advanced Placement Incentive Program

The Advanced Placement Incentive (API) program awards competitive grants designed to increase the successful participation of low-income students in advanced placement courses and tests. The program expands opportunities for low-income students to take college-level classes and earn college credit while still in high school. The program also supports efforts to raise the rigor of the academic curriculum for all students attending high-poverty high schools. Deadline for notice of intent to apply is June 6, 2008; application deadline is July 7, 2008.

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Justices overturn girl’s MySpace conviction

The Indiana Supreme Court has overruled a judge who placed a middle school student on probation for posting an expletive-laden entry on MySpace criticizing her principal over school policy on body piercings, the Associated Press reports. In February 2006, Greencastle Middle School Principal Shawn Gobert discovered a web page on MySpace purportedly created by him. The plaintiff, identified in court papers as "A.B.," who did not create the page, made derogatory postings on it, including one that noted Gobert could no longer control her and that she would wear her piercings as she wished. The state filed a delinquency petition the next month alleging that A.B.’s acts would have been harassment, identity deception, and identity theft if committed by an adult. The juvenile court dropped most of the charges but found A.B. to be a delinquent child and placed her on nine months of probation. The judge ruled her comments were obscene. The state Supreme Court noted that a key post appeared in a private section of a MySpace site that was not intended to be viewed by the public, but only by friends who had been invited by the user. The principal was able to view it only after gaining access from another student who had created the site. A.B. therefore had no reason to expect that Gobert would see her post, the high court said in its eight-page ruling…

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International Reading Association Travel Grants

These grants provide support to educators from any country in attending association-sponsored meetings that are held outside the educators’ own continent. Applicants must be members of the association or one of its affiliated groups.

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CATCH Resident Funds Program

The Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) Resident Funds program supports pediatric residents in the planning of innovative, community-based initiatives that increase children’s access to medical homes or specific health services not otherwise available. These community-based projects should lead to the development of successful CATCH projects that can be replicated in other communities. A pediatric resident must lead the project and be significantly involved in proposal development and project activities.

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Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Leavey Awards

The application must conceive and implement and innovative course, program or project which develops, among students, a deeper understanding and appreciation of the American private enterprise system. The nominee’s program, course or project must be operating or initiated during the previous academic year.

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The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation Grants

The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation provides equipment and Quickball grants to youth organizations, schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, local governments and community nonprofit groups that meet our eligibility requirements, in order to support the growth of youth character education, as well as promote youth baseball and softball. At least 50 percent of the children served must be eligible for free and reduced lunch.

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