Jul 19, 2007
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Thursday, July 19 , 2007
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College Admissions Are Still Beyond the Reach of the Economically Underprivileged

By Surajit Sen Sharma

College education is still a dream for almost 20 million of the nation's working poor adults, according to a report released on July 7 by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP). IHEP reports that in 2005, working poor adults between the ages of 24 and 64 earned an average salary of $19,000 per year compared to an average salary of $56,000 for non-poor adults. Even with monetary aid, studying at a state university is beyond the means of most working poor adults. The average cost of tuition and fees at universities stands at about $13,000, which is excessive for those with low incomes.

The government-funded report, "College Access for the Working Poor: Overcoming Burdens to Succeed in Higher Education," is built upon data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal sources.

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Support for DREAM Act Strengthens in California

By Amit Agarwal

Students from across California accompanied by immigrants' rights activists gathered at San Francisco's Civic Center to show their support for the DREAM Act. The students, who went on a week-long fast, came from such far-flung areas as Orange County, Los Angeles County, the Central Valley, and San Jose.

The nation provides undocumented students access to public education at K-12 schools. After completing high school successfully, some wish to acquire college educations. However, when they apply for state or federal financial aid, authorities turn them away. Under current law, undocumented students admitted to colleges in the U.S. are denied financial aid for higher education. These students may include bright and talented individuals who have the potential to become lawyers, teachers, doctors, or other in-demand professionals.

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House passes College Cost Reduction Act

The College Cost Reduction Act has passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a large majority (273 to 149). The bill cuts almost $19 billion in subsidies to student loan providers and transfers the funds to Pell Grants and other federal student aid. Although most Republicans voted against the bill, 47 joined the Democrats in supporting it. Rep. Howard P. McKeon and a number of other Republicans said that the bill would hurt small lenders, driving them out of business. Author of the bill Rep. George Miller, supported by his fellow Democrats, said the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 (H.R. 2669) was the most important piece of legislation in higher education funding since the G.I. Bill was passed in 1944.

Senior aides to President recommend veto of H.R. 2669

According to a White House statement of administration policy (SAP), senior aides to the President have recommended that he veto H.R. 2669, the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, if it is presented to him in its current form. The statement contends that the House student loan budget reconciliation bill "fails to target aid to the neediest students currently in college and creates new mandatory federal programs and policies that are poorly designed and would have significant long-term costs to the taxpayer." The White House highlighted a number of problems with the bill. It said the bill does not allocate enough Pell Grant funding and that the reduction of student loan interest rates, a costly proposal, would benefit students only after they leave school.

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