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Quick Takes: HUD Ends Athletes' Loophole, N.H. Moves to Help Students Keep Insurance, Consolidation Savings Analyzed, Colorado Aid System Criticized, Reprieve for Marquette Blogger

January 6, 2006
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued rules to close a loophole under which some college athletes were qualifying to live in federally subsidized housing. Congress ordered the rule change after Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, drew attention to the loophole.
  • The New Hampshire House of Representatives has approved legislation that would bar insurance companies from quickly ending coverage for college students who must leave their studies because of a serious illness, Foster's Daily Democrat reported. Many college students are covered by insurance -- frequently their mother's or father's employer-provided insurance -- that is linked to their status as students. The legislation has strong backing in the state and is known as "Michelle's law" in honor of Michelle Morse, who died of colon cancer in November. A student at Plymouth State University, Morse and her family were stunned to find that any leave she took would endanger her insurance status.
  • The U.S. Government Accountability Office, in a report to Congress, found that using only direct lending to consolidate certain student loans would result in substantial savings for the government. But the GAO also said that the actual impact on lenders and borrowers would be difficult to predict. The report, requested by Democrats in Congress, is one of many studies requested by backers of direct lending or guaranteed loans -- each side seeking new evidence in the debate over which loan program is superior.
  • A new report by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education found that the state's system for delivering student aid was "broken" and that many students don't get the aid they are qualified to receive, The Rocky Mountain News reported.
  • Punishments against a Marquette University dental student who blogged about his drinking habits and made critical comments -- without their names -- about professors and classmates have been drastically reduced, according to The Marquette Warrior Web publication. The new punishments -- three semesters of probation and 100 hours of community service -- contrast with initial ones handed down during the fall term by a student-faculty committee. The initial punishments included suspension from the School of Dentistry until the 2006 fall semester, counseling for “behavioral issues,” repayment of a university a scholarship. The student’s lawyer could not be reached for comment on Thursday, and the university has declined comment.
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