Archive for November, 2013

Thanksgiving Letter to a Soldier

Posted by Charlotte Webster



Dear Friend,

We thought of you today, as we were cooking and cleaning, preparing to sit down for a hot, home-cooked meal with family and friends.  We thought of so many empty chairs at so many tables across the country, so many post-turkey naps with your name on them.

We wondered what you’d think of the crazy holiday shopping frenzy – would you join the long lines to get deals or would you be a vocal protester of all those stores that are open on holidays?  Then we realized you would probably laugh – because you’re where you are, without the day off, safeguarding our right to even have the debate.  

When you’re thinking of us, wondering what we’re doing, know that we do the same. Know that we’re forever proud of you, praying for you, counting the days until you’re home. 

We wouldn’t have nearly as much to be thankful for without you. 


The Thankful

Photo credit: via

Five Expensive Things That Are Way Less Important Than Your Education

Posted by Christine A. Shelly

In my experience at Grantham University, there were a few questions that would resurface each year. The most common one is this:  “Why should I get a college degree?”

I get it. College is expensive, finding a good job right now is challenging – even if you already have a degree. And the idea of investing a couple of years of your life and (unless you’re receiving employer or military education benefits) your money without some kind of guaranteed payoff at the end can be unsettling.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, education – a college education – is important. But why is education more valuable than certain luxuries? 

We’ve answered this question several ways before, but I wanted to frame it in a little different way today, just to help keep things in perspective. Here’s a list of things that lots of people spend money and time on that have far less impact on your future security than a college education.


1. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES education versus luxuries land rover

The average cost of a new luxury mid-size SUV is between $45,000 for a Lexus RX and $95,000 for a Range Rover. (US News & World Report 2013 Rankings).

According to the College Board, a “moderate” college budget for an in-state public college for the 2012–2013 academic year averaged $22,261. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $43,289. 

Until the day arrives that a car can get you a job or pay for your groceries, hang on to your reliable, reasonably-priced vehicle (or take the bus).

2. COFFEE education versus luxuries starbucks

Yes, coffee costs significantly less than an SUV, but still – how much does a cup of joe really contribute to your life? Can it get you an interview? Or a promotion?  I think not.

A 2011 Consumerist report says the Average American spends about $1,100 each year on coffee. That’s a lot of money that could be put to better use. Like, say, on tuition, or textbook rental or a high-functioning laptop.

3. PET COSTUMES education versus luxury pet costumes

The National Retail Federation estimates that 22 million people will dress up their pets for Halloween and spend an estimated $330 million on pet costumes alone. Pet. Costumes. $330 million. I’ll wait while that little factoid sinks in.

That works out to be an average of $150 per pet owner. You could rent three textbooks online for the price of Fido’s custom Darth Maul costume and accessories.

4. TEETH WHITENING education versus luxury teeth

The average cost of dental-assisted whitening treatment is about $650 – and the 10 million people who bought over the counter whitening products spent about $140 each year for their shiny smile. 

A shiny smile is a good asset to have, and according to the American Cosmetic Dentistry Association nearly 2/3rds of Americans believe an unattractive smile can hurt your social standing. But you know what can hurt your job standing? Not having an education.

5. TICKETS TO SPORTING EVENTS education versus luxury superbowl tickets

College sports alone can cost at least $50 per ticket per game for students. In fact, according to a survey by ticket distributor TiQ, the average single ticket price to a college football game at one of the top 25 ranked football schools is $161.08. Multiply that by the number of games in a season and if you’re a sports fan, you’re shelling out a lot of cash that could be used toward your future employability. 

It’s your future, and your financial investment. Before you plunk down your hard-earned dollars, think about what you’d rather have. Will you spend your money on discretionary “nice-to-have” items, or on where the real value is- your education and skills?  




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#GranthamUniversity #militaryauthority #college #bynr

What is a MOOC? A funny name for a challenge for learners

Posted by Christine A. Shelly

grantham.edu_MOOC-alternativeThere are plenty of reasons to get your degree, but higher costs and a staggering lack of time have driven many students to seek alternatives. One of those alternatives, an unfortunately-acronym-ed category of online instruction called MOOCs, has received a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. 

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses – and though many claim they are revolutionary, they raise some challenging questions for students who are actively seeking a way to advance themselves in today’s often dicey job marketplace.

The premise behind MOOCs is straightforward: Who wants to spend tens of thousands of dollars to sit on your backside listening to a lecture when you could take coursework from some of the biggest names in academia online for free? In this case, the old adage is proving true: You get what you pay for. 

The MOOC model was a proposition that was intended to turn traditional education on its end. Classes are usually comprised of video lectures, assignments and discussions (interactive) – very much along the lines of what you’d get in a more conventional college, only free. And, in most cases, without the benefit of earning an actual, bona-fide degree for your effort.

Students – all of us, really – need to have something meaningful to work toward – whether it’s a sought-after degree in a competitive field, leveraging military training toward a second career, or gaining professional certification. Personal growth and lifelong learning arguments aside, students need to be able to earn something that employers recognize and assign worth to.

While the MOOCs continue to sort out their business model, there are, in fact, numerous accredited, high-quality, affordable degree programs that are recognized and valued by employers. Grantham University is one of them. 

Have you considered taking or have you taken a MOOC class?  What was your experience?  Tell us in the comments.

Read the rest of the MOOC story here.






#GranthamUniversity #mooc #highered

Navy SPECOPS Teams Told to Stop Wearing “Don’t Tread on Me” Flag

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

militaryauthority.com_don't-tread-on-me-SEALs-patchBecause we all know that if there’s one thing special operators absolutely religiously adhere to, its regulations on the wear and use of utility uniforms. 

According to one report in the conservative Daily Caller, an email went out through Navy petty officer support channels directing Navy personnel to cease and desist wearing the Naval Jack or Gadsden Flag patches on their uniforms – something apparently traditionally done by Navy SEALs. 

Both flags feature a rattlesnake and the words “Don’t tread on me.” It was not immediately clear which flag the Navy operators wear, though the Naval Jack is more closely identified with naval tradition. In fact, a Navy-wide directive instructs all U.S. Navy ships to fly the Naval Jack for the duration of the War on Terror

But someone in the Chuck Hagel Department of Defense or Obama’s White House is now having second thoughts about the flag.

The Naval Jack dates back to 1775, though the earliest versions did not include the snake or the description: Just 13 alternating red and white stripes. The snake and inscription appear to have been added sometime before 1880.  

A March 2010 order, NAVADMIN 116/10 specifically authorizes the wear of the Naval Jack “Don’t Tread on Me” flag or patch for Naval personnel assigned to or serving with Army units at the discretion of the local Army commander. 

It is not clear why Navy officials made this change, and whether the change was specific to certain commands within the Navy or will be implemented Navy-wide. 

VA Proposes Change in Appeals Process

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk US Dept of Veterans AffairsThe Department of Veterans Affairs is proposing a change in the way it handles appeals, according to a recent entry in the Federal Register. According to the VA’s proposal, “there are two major components of these proposed changes. The first is to require all claims to be filed on standard forms prescribed by the Secretary, regardless of the type of claim or posture in which the claim arises. The second is to provide that VA would accept an expression of dissatisfaction or disagreement with an adjudicative determination by the agency of original jurisdiction (AOJ) as a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) only if it is submitted on a standardized form provided by VA for the purpose of appealing the decision, in cases where such a form is provided. The purpose of these amendments is to improve the quality and timeliness of the processing of veterans’ claims for benefits.”

The public has 60 days to comment on the change before it becomes official. VA executives can then enact the new policies as written, make changes based on the public’s input as well as their own judgment, or scrap the plan altogether. You can read the full proposal and comment on it by clicking on the link above.


Will you comment on the proposed changes? Let us know what you say to the VA in the comments below.