Another set of college rankings – but Washington Monthly says it uses the best …

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Case Western Reserve University, Ohio State University and Oberlin College fared well in the annual College Guide and Rankingsreleased Monday by Washington Monthly magazine.

The nonprofit magazine covering politics, government, culture and the media, measures institutions based on three criteria: civic engagement, research and social mobility.

It says its measurements align with the upcoming plan by President Barack Obama to rate colleges.

The administrations new ratings, which are scheduled to go into effect in time for the 2015-16 school year, will include measures of access, affordability and outcome.

Instead of crediting colleges that reject the most applicants, Washington Monthly gives high marks to institutions that contribute to society, enroll low-income students, help them graduate and dont charge a fortune to attend, the magazine said. Well-known colleges that are routinely lauded by the US News amp; World Report fare much worse when ranked by Washington Monthlys measures. On the other hand, colleges that are routinely buried in the bottom tiers are top performers.

It said its rankings should be used as an alternative to US News amp; World Reports college rankings — to be released Sept. 9.

It ranks national universities, liberal arts universities, masters universities, and baccalaureate colleges. It also includes lists of colleges that give students The Best Bang for the Buck, and affordable elite colleges.

Case Western Reserve Universityranked ninth, dropping from fourth last year, with an overall score of 85 out of 100.Ohio State Universityranked 18th, moving up 10 places from last year. In northeast Ohio, Kent State University was 214th, dropping 8 spots; theUniversity of Akronwas 215th, rising 22 spots and Cleveland State University was 240th, rising 13 spots.

Oberlin Collegeranked 10thin the liberal arts college rankings, rising 4 spots andHiram College ranked 82nd, rising eight spots.

John Carroll Universityranked 28th in the masters universities category, the same as last year.

Hiram and Ursuline College were listed in Best Bang for the Buck, which ranks economic value.

The magazine said it also included lists of Americas Worst Colleges to provide information to low-income and first-generation students who may apply to colleges that it called dropout factories, where students are unlikely to graduate and prices, debt levels and student loan default rates are high.

It identified 20 schools in four categories overall (net price, student debt, default rate and graduation rate), completion rate, a colleges student debt statistics using its borrowing rate and how well they graduate minority and low income students.

The only Ohio school on a list was Central State University, which was ranked third in the debt statistics category, where up to 90 percent of students borrow and many default.

Twelve of the 20 colleges are historic black colleges and universities, which the magazine acknowledges treads on the uncomfortable territory that underlies many debates about higher education, and will surely be considered by the Obama administration ratings makers: How should we think about historically black colleges and universities?

Stories and college ranks can be found onwashingtonmonthly.com.

Ultimate Guide to Week 1 of 2014 College Football Season

The wretched stink of the offseason is wearing off, and real college football is (finally!) almost back in our lives.

Last weeks FCS kickoff was a suitable appetizer, but the real (FBS) schedule kicks off with Abilene Christian at Georgia State Wednesday night before a stream of high-profile games on Thursday, Friday and straight through the weekend.

In preparation for this all-you-can-watch football buffet, weve put together a handy little guide to help keep things together. It highlights all of the biggest storylines, games, matchups and players youll want to keep track of during the first week of the seasonplus more.

The start of the College Football Playoff era brings myriad questions, but nothing about the CFP can change the fact that college football has, and will continue to have, the best regular season in sports.

The five-month sprint beginshellip;now!

College football by the Vegas odds: Sports book preview of the ACC

Never in college football history has a group of 13 conference teams collectively looked so helpless.

In the ACC this season, Florida State is akin to a primordial beast. The other teams in the league are sand gnats.

A couple might manage a tame bite in a closer-than-expected game, but it’s hard to imagine them endangering the Seminoles even if they all combined their efforts.

The Seminoles’ stature is staggering. The defending national champions are a minus-400 (risking $4 to win $1) favorite to win their third straight conference title at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Since the creation of super conferences — an admittedly small window dating only three seasons — no team has ever seen a number that low attached to its name in the preseason futures. The closest comparison is 2012 Oregon, which was minus-250 to take the Pac-12 a year after advancing to its only BCS National Championship Game.

The Ducks failed to win the conference, getting snapped off by Stanford in the second-to-last week of the season. But Oregon’s trail in 2012 was fraught with far more formidable obstacles than Florida State’s in 2014.

The Ducks were favored by single digits in three games that year. For the Seminoles to have a single spread of less than minus-10, Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston would have to come down with an injury. Or the entire starting lineup would need to get suspended for a grocery-store raid on crab legs.

And, even then, reaching single digits might not be guaranteed depending on the week. The Golden Nugget opened lines on Florida State’s eight most challenging games — The Citadel, Syracuse, Boston College and Virginia were left off the board in the Games of the Year — and just one had a spread of less than minus-17.

That was the Nov. 15 trip to Miami, where Florida State was only a 14.5-point favorite. Football Outsiders’ metrics calculate the Seminoles’ probability of an undefeated regular season at 67 percent.

There’s a 95 percent chance, per Football Outsiders, that the Seminoles win at least 11 games. The odds might not go that far, but they aren’t wildly removed either.

Accounting for the house’s hold, conference future odds give Florida State a 60 percent chance to win the ACC. Moneylines to win games outright aren’t out for anything beyond the first week, but roughly projecting them yields somewhere around a 55 percent likelihood of the Seminoles going 12-0.

The potential for what Florida State, which enters the year as the 3-to-1 favorite to repeat as national champions, could do to opponents is truly devastating. The Seminoles return more starters in 2014 than they did in 2013, when despite an average line of minus-29 per game, they finished 11-3 against the spread and covered by an average of 17 points in the wins.

They could conceivably have nine players selected in the first two rounds of next year’s NFL Draft, including Winston, left tackle Cameron Erving and defensive end Mario Edwards as virtual first-round locks.

The annual discussions of the best college football team challenging the worst NFL squad are frivolous at best, but as many as half of Florida State’s opponents this year will get more points than the Seminoles would if they were to play the Jaguars.

That’s as much of a commentary on the state on the ACC as it is a testament to Florida State. The odds wouldn’t tower over the rest to that extent if the Seminoles played in the SEC or Pac-12.

It’s not all negative for the ACC. The league posted its first winning record against the spread versus nonconference opponents in five years last season at 34-28-1 despite another losing campaign in bowl games.

But this looks like a rebuilding year — if such thing can exist for an entire conference — with all but three teams breaking in new quarterbacks. Only one team other than Florida State — Clemson at 75-to-1 — is listed at less than 100-to-1 to win the national championship at the Superbook.

It’s amazing to think that sports books with Games of the Year lines had Clemson favored by 2.5 points against Florida State at this time last year. The number swung all the way to Florida State minus-5 by kickoff in Death Valley, with the 50-14 stomping proving there’s value to be found on the preseason lines.

Aside from that ignominious result and a handful of other notable letdowns, the departing tandem of quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins left a lofty legacy at Clemson. They presided over the best three-year stretch in school history by both traditional and betting measurements.

Boyd and Watkins covered in 60 percent of their games at Clemson and guided an explosive offensive to go over the total in 55 percent. Look for the latter to flip this season, as the Tigers transition to a defensive-minded identity.

Discounts can drive down the cost of auto insurance

You dont pay sticker price for your car, why should you pay full price for your car insurance? There are lots of discounts available that might reduce your monthly premium.

Bankrate.com just surveyed the marketplace and found that all of the top 10 auto insurers offer a discount for bundling – thats when you insure both your home and your car with the company.

There are also discounts for insuring multiple vehicles, having a vehicle with an anti-theft device or daytime running lights. You might qualify for a newer vehicle discount.

It can vary what they mean by new, but typically were talking three years old or less and they will knock some dollars off your premium, explained Doug Whiteman, an insurance industry analyst with Bankrate.

Its always expensive to insure a teen driver, but your son or daughter may qualify for a price break if theyre a good student. And You may qualify for a discount based on your occupation.

If youre a teacher for example, youre probably not going to be on the road as much as somebody who is working for sales for a living and making a lot of sales calls, Whiteman said.

More Info: Who Offers the Most Car Insurance Discounts?

Students who had been written off head to college

In the basement of St. Cecilia Parish in the Back Bay, the men and women of College Bound Dorchester flipped their tassels to the other side of their mortarboards and cheered.

Few people who knew the 41 graduates as they struggled through their teenage and young-adult years thought they would make it past high school. And many of those who graduated Wednesday night had dropped out, but are now heading to college.

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$16.3M total: Extra money OK’d for PCB cleanup at Riverfield School

$16.3M total: Extra money OKd for PCB cleanup at Riverfield School

Genevieve Reilly

Published 7:34am, Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Here’s the simple solution to your airplane legroom woes

1) How can I get more legroom on United?

If youre flying United Airlines and want some more legroom, you are in luck. They are happy to give you a more spacious coach seat in exchange for some extra money. The product is called Economy Plus and if you value legroom you should use it.

2) How can I get more legroom on American?

If youre flying American Airlines and want some more legroom, you are in luck. They are happy to give you a more spacious coach seat in exchange for some extra money. The product is called Cabin Extra and if you value legroom you should use it.

3) How can I get more legroom on Delta?

If youre flying Delta and want some more legroom, you are in luck. They are happy to give you a more spacious coach seat in exchange for some extra money. The product is called Economy Comfort and if you value legroom you should use it.

4) How can I get more legroom on Southwest?

Southwest is ruining my snark by not offering an exact parallel to the coach seat with more legroom product offered by the other three major US carriers. However, Southwests Business Select product is both less-luxurious and less-expensive than the business class products sold by the other airlines. If you want some extra legroom, consider paying up.

5) Why should I have to pay more for comfort?

Because the cost of flying an airplane — in terms of staff, fuel, etc. — is largely fixed regardless of how many human beings are actually seated on the plane. Consequently, the price of operating the plane needs to be divided up among the passengers. The more people who fit on the plane, the cheaper each ticket can be. The more space a person wants to take up, the more expensive each ticket can be. Charging less for smaller seats and more for larger seats makes good sense.

6) Im tall, isnt this unfair?

Tall people have a lot of advantages in life, including earning more money. Indeed, the correlation between height and income is even stronger than most studies show because efforts to calculate a pure height pay premium normally control for gender and men earn more than women across the board. One great thing about having extra money is that you can use it to ameliorate a wide variety of problems — for example by buying more spacious seats on airplanes.

7) Are you seriously defending these greedy airlines?

Theyre not really that greedy. As of 2011, in the entire recorded history of the US airline industry, cumulative earnings have been negative $33 billion. Airlines lost some more money in 2012. Theyve been mostly profitable in 2013 and 2014 but its not clear that will last past the next spike in oil prices or a new recession. Its a kind of miserable business to be in, and thats why the people in it need to try to be smart about charging customers for taking up space on planes.

Paying Off Debt Is All About Prioritizing

If you have a lot of debt, or simply more than you would like to have, its definitely a good idea to make paying it off a priority. However, to make your efforts as effective as possible, you need to pay off your debt in the right way. There are some types of debt you need to get rid of as soon as possible, some that should be your second priority, and some that is actually OK to make the minimum payment and let the loan term play out.

Heres how to prioritize paying off your debt and why its so important to your bottom line.

Highest interest means highest priority
Before you do anything else with your extra money, including setting it aside to invest, you need to get rid of your high-interest debt. For most people, this refers to credit cards, but there are some borrowers with auto and other loans that have double-digit interest rates.

Survey About Auto Insurance

Have a minute? We’d love to hear from you about your auto insurance needs. Please complete the survey below.
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This article originally appeared as on Spry Living

Final Preseason Win-Loss Projections for Every Power 5 College Football Team

Its finally here. At long last. Game week.

When Georgia State and Abilene Christian kick off Wednesday night in the Georgia Dome, the 2014 FBS college football season will officially begin. Itll kick into higher gear on Thursday and hit its stride on Saturday with games spread throughout the weekend.

Fans across America are anticipating the season and looking forward to seeing just how their favorite teams 2014 season will unfold. Were here today with a look towards just that.

While this is far from a perfect process, weve taken a look at every Power 5 conference team and tried to project their 2014 records.

We looked at the teams 2013 record, their returning starters, any changes in the coaching staff and of course their 2014 schedule to determine how 2014 will unfold. Will there be some surprises? Some flops? Sure. Its an imperfect method, but this is a baseline for just how 2014 will progress for all 65 Power 5 conference teams, as well as Notre Dame.