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Quick Takes: Clinton's Science Plans, 'Minimal' Progress at Education Dept., Call for Free Community Colleges, FTC Plans to Probe Lenders, Smith Bars Coke, Educators Seek Release of Scholar in Iran, Colleges That Help Employees Adopt

June 1, 2007
  • Sen. Hillary Clinton, the front-runner in the Democratic race for the presidential nomination, on Thursday called for major increases and some shifts in emphasis on federal science spending. Clinton called for a 10-year plan to increase spending by 50 percent on basic research at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Energy Department's Office of Science. Within those funds, Clinton called for spending at least 8 percent of research budgets on "high-risk research." And she called for tripling the number of NSF fellowships while increasing the size of awards by at least a third. At the National Institutes of Health, Clinton would like to see a 50 percent budget increase over 5 years and a doubling over 10 years. Clinton also said she would change the role of science broadly in federal policy. "It is important to reinvigorate the Office of Science and Technology Policy to ensure that the president receives objective, fact-based advice. Hillary Clinton will reverse the Bush administration’s irresponsible politicization of science," said the Clinton plan.
  • The U.S. Education Department has made only "minimal" progress at fixing various loan oversight programs that lack proper internal controls, according to a new report from the agency's inspector general.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick plans today to call for the state's community colleges to be free for all graduates of the state's high schools, The Boston Globe reported. Charges would be eliminated by 2015. The Globe reported that there is no price tag attached nor is there a plan to find money for the efforts, but the governor is working to appoint a commission to work on the details.
  • Rep. George Miller, a California Democrat who is chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, said the Federal Trade Commission has agreed to investigate deceptive marketing practices by companies offering private loans to students. Miller requested such an investigation last month, after releasing online some examples of the practices that he believes fool students. Thursday he released a letter in which FTC officials said they shared his concerns and would investigate.
  • Smith College has announced that it will not let Coca-Cola Corporation bid to do any business at the college, ending five decades of dealings with the beverage giant. The college cited concern over Coke's business practices in India and Colombia. Smith's president, Carol T. Christ, in a letter to Coke, said that "as a private college with a public conscience, Smith College takes issues of human rights and environmental sustainability very seriously." Corporate critics of Coke have been gathering support from colleges, although the company strenuously denies that it engages in unethical conduct.
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators issued a resolution at its business meeting Thursday in Minneapolis urging the government of Iran to immediately release Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari. Esfandiari, who directs the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, has been imprisoned in Tehran since May 8, charged with “seeking to topple the ruling Islamic establishment.” The NAFSA resolution comes as academics continue to step up their protests of Iran's actions with letters and petitions.
  • New York, Cornell, Ohio State and Stanford Universities (in that order) are the top college employers with regard to benefits provided to employees who adopt children, according to a report on the best employers for adoptive parents, released by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
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