Students Without Access to Laundry Machines Can Wash Clothes for Free at This High School

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Some schools offer more than just an education: It's becoming more common for schools to provide pantry items and toiletries to students who may not have access to such necessities at home. As CNN reports, West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey is building on this trend by installing an on-site laundromat that's free for students to use.

The new facilities were inspired by the West Side High students who don't always have clean clothes to wear to class—either because they don't have laundry machines at home or don't have homes at all. Principal Akbar Cook noticed that many of these kids were being teased by their classmates for wearing dirty clothes, and he suspected that was leading some of them to skip class. Absenteeism is a major problem for West Side High, with 85 percent of students chronically missing school.

Cook tried to tackle the issue by switching to darker uniforms, which should have allowed students to wear the same outfits for longer without attracting attention, but the clothes-related bullying didn't stop. Then, two years ago, he applied for a grant from a foundation connected to a Newark-based utility company and used the $20,000 he received to open a laundromat for the school.

The laundry room is housed in an old football locker room, and it features five washers, five dryers, and a selection of detergents. Between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., students are welcome to use the machines under the supervision of an adult staff member.

The free laundromat will be open to students beginning on the first day of school, Tuesday, September 4. To help keep the facilities stocked with detergents, dryer sheets, fabric softeners, and other laundry products, you can donate items directly to the school through its Amazon Wish List.

[h/t CNN]

Yale Is Offering Its 'Science of Well-Being' Course for Free Online

Chainarong Prasertthai/iStock via Getty Images
Chainarong Prasertthai/iStock via Getty Images

Even if you’ve heard that money or career success won’t necessarily make you happier, it’s still hard to resist the impulse to correlate your own well-being to external factors like those. Why are we so bad at predicting what will make us happy, and how can we figure out what actually does the trick?

These are just a couple questions you’ll be able to answer after completing “The Science of Well-Being,” a Yale University course currently being offered for free on Coursera. According to Lifehacker, the 10-week course consists of about two to three hours of reading and videos per week, and you can work at your own pace—so you can definitely take advantage of a free weekend to fly through a few weeks’ worth of material at a time, or postpone a lesson if you’re swamped with other work.

The class is taught by Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos, who will lead students through relevant research on how we’re wired to think about our own well-being and teach you how to implement that knowledge to increase happiness in your life. Since the coursework is task-oriented and the course itself is aimed at helping you build more productive habits, it’s an especially good opportunity for anyone who feels a little overwhelmed at how vague a goal to “be happier” can seem.

As for proof that this is definitely an undertaking worth 20 hours of your time, we’ll let the previous students speak for themselves: From 3731 ratings, the course averages 4.9 out of 5 stars.

Though the course is free, an official certificate to mark your completion—which you can then add to your LinkedIn profile—will cost you $50. Enroll on the Coursera website, and check out 23 other science-backed ways to feel happier here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

[h/t Lifehacker]

The University of Texas at San Antonio Is Offering Free Tuition to Thousands of Students

Prostock-Studio/iStock via Getty Images
Prostock-Studio/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re a resident of Texas with college ambitions but face some financial hardship, there’s good news coming out of the University of Texas at San Antonio. This week, the school announced a program called Bold Promise, which will cover tuition for thousands of students annually.

To be eligible, enrollees must be first-time freshmen living in the state, ranked in the top 25 percent of their high school class, and have graduated less than 16 months prior. Once enrolled, they must maintain a 2.5 grade point average each semester. The adjusted gross income of their family cannot exceed $50,500.

UTSA is currently ranked 293 to 381 by U.S. News and World Report in national universities. The school hosts roughly 32,264 students, with an average annual tuition of $9722 for Texans and $24,722 for out-of-state attendees. The acceptance rate is roughly 79 percent.

Incoming students have until January 15 to submit an application, but no separate Bold Promise form is required. The program officially begins with the fall 2020 semester and will cover four years of education. UTSA says the cost will be covered by scholarships, grants, and other exemptions on the state and federal levels. Students will also have the chance to apply for financial aid to cover boarding expenses. UTSA estimates 4000 students will be eligible for the program.

The University of Texas-Austin instituted a similar offer earlier this year, with free tuition for a four-year program offered to students with household incomes of $65,000 or less. Colleges in Michigan and New York have also implemented tuition programs.

[h/t KSAT]

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