On Thursday, President Bush and a bevy of government officials -- including the secretaries of state, education and defense -- announced a wide ranging plan to enhance the foreign language skills of American students.
Several college leaders applauded attention to an area that many view as underdeveloped in the United States. At the same time, others said that they needed more details about the plan -- few of which were released -- and some have expressed concern over the large Pentagon role in it.
It is supposed to be a boon for colleges and students, the one major provision in federal legislation to reduce the budget deficit that makes it easier for higher education to swallow the unpalatable parts of the bill that cut benefits to students. After all, the proposed program would provide $3.75 billion in grant aid for students, a rare injection of new federal funds into higher education at a time of fiscal austerity and budget slashing.