Sep 27, 2007
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Thursday, September 27 , 2007
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Bill May Increase Federal Financial Aid

By Gitanjali Hazarika

Bill May Increase Federal Financial Aid
Legislators from Wisconsin are hoping that President Bush will sign a bill to decrease student loan interest rates and increase student grant eligibility this week.

If passed, this piece of legislation, the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 (H.R. 2669), will provide the single largest investment in higher education since the 1944 GI Bill. If the bill is signed into law, nearly 70,000 Wisconsin college students will benefit from a boost to their share of federal financial aid. Almost 68,000 of the 76,000 Wisconsin students who take out loans to attend college each year receive Pell Grants.

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FAFSA Will Soon Only Be Available Online

By Amit Agarwal

The U.S. Department of Education will no longer send out paper copies of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Instead, the department wants to encourage students to access the FAFSA online. According to Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the American Council on Education, beginning with the 2008-2009 school year, the department will stop routinely mailing paper applications to high schools.

The Department of Education will also create a PDF version of the FAFSA that will be available on various federal student aid websites, such as Schools will also be able to access the PDF at Students can complete the PDF form of the application on the computer or by hand and mail it in for processing.

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Carson to introduce bill targeting textbook costs

Publishers and universities will be required to disclose their hidden textbook costs if Rep. Julia Carson (D-IN) has her way. Carson is expected to table a bill shortly that will create "an open discourse on the costs of higher education and eventually ensure that students will be able to access affordable study materials." The escalating costs of textbooks are making acquiring a college education difficult for many students, says a report published by the Government Accountability Office. The average price students at four-year institutions have to pay for their textbooks—approximately $898—is calculated to be equal to almost 27% of their tuition costs. Rep. Carson said the problem intensifies at two-year institutions, where the average cost of textbooks equals almost 72% of students' total tuition costs.

Stanford develops International Outreach Program

A new International Outreach Program (IOP) at Stanford University headed by Reinhold Steinbeck is reinventing methods for helping students learn. In a joint effort by Stanford University and several African and Latin American universities, researchers are looking for new ways to prepare "students for work in the borderless world of the future." The IOP, which is based at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), is supporting the pilot project under the guidance of political science professor Coit Blacker. Professor Blacker said the project aims at "expanding Stanford's outreach efforts into other regions with new interdisciplinary content and innovative approaches to learning and teaching."

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