Quick Takes: Education Budget Bill Becomes Law, Black College Rankings, Tuition Rise in Florida Defies State Officials, $200M for Claremont McKenna, Dorm Rooms and Prison Cells

September 28, 2007
  • President Bush on Thursday signed legislation that will sharply increase spending on Pell Grants and cut the interest rate on some student loans in half over five years, as college and student groups celebrated and administration officials and Congressional Democrats both took credit for the bill (or at least parts of it). Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) said he was "proud that the Democratic Congress has provided the greatest investment to help students and parents pay for college since the G.I. bill and has delivered on our promise to make college more affordable and accessible for families." He added, though, that the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 also showed that Democrats could work with President Bush on important priorities. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings credited President Bush for promoting the Pell Grant increase, but expressed concern about the damage that the legislation's cuts to lenders might do to the guaranteed student loan program.
  • U.S. News & World Report, under fire over its ratings of colleges, is today releasing a new one: of historically black colleges. Spelman College comes out on top, followed by Howard University, Hampton University, Morehouse College, and Fisk University. The methodology used is similar to that for the rankings of all colleges and is based on a survey of reputations, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, alumni giving rates and other factors.
  • Florida’s Board of Governors voted unanimously Thursday to raise tuition for the state’s public universities by 5 percent, The Miami Herald reported. The vote represents an open act of defiance of the Florida Legislature, which historically has controlled tuition rates, and of the governor, who vetoed an increase approved by the Legislature earlier this year. The Board of Governors followed up on the veto by filing suit, arguing that a 2002 constitutional amendment establishing the statewide board also gave it authority over tuition.
  • Claremont McKenna College on Thursday announced a $200 million gift, from a trustee and alumnus, Robert Day. One purpose of the funds will be to create new academic programs in which students can combine liberal arts education with an education in business and finance -- either during their undergraduate program or through a one-year master of finance program immediately after an undergraduate program is completed. The new options are meant to be an alternative to a traditional M.B.A.
  • More Americans lived in college dorm rooms than in prison cells in 2006, a change from 2000 when the reverse was true, according to U.S. Census data released Thursday. News reports on the Census information, which examines the status of citizens who live in "group quarters," found that while dorm dwellers outnumber prisoners in the general population, black and Hispanic Americans remain far likelier to be imprisoned than to live in campus residences.
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