Aug 02, 2007
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Thursday, August 2 , 2007
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President Bush Threatens to Veto Appropriations Bill for Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services

By Nihit Aurora

The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to approve a 2008 spending bill for the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services. This bill proposes increasing the maximum Pell Grant by $390. Additionally, it includes an increase of $2 billion for the No Child Left Behind Act and proposes increasing funding by more than $227 million for a variety of programs addressing issues such as employment, job training, and worker protection.

However, President Bush has threatened to veto the bill in its current form. According to a White House statement of administration policy, the bill calls for around $11 billion more in spending than the president proposed. If approved, the bill would increase discretionary spending for fiscal year 2008 by 9% and increase the budget deficit by 10%.

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Consumers Union Report on College Finance

By Amit Agarwal

A Consumers Union report states that parents and students, when choosing education loans, make mistakes such as selecting expensive loans. The report, "Helping Families Finance College: Improved Student Loan Disclosures," says that there is widespread confusion and misunderstanding among students when it comes to choosing loans for higher education.

Findings of Consumers Union Report

The report finds that the existence of three federal loan types (Perkins, Stafford, and PLUS) with different rates, fees, and terms, along with the aggressive marketing of private student loans, leads consumers to make uninformed decisions which may cost them more than necessary.

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Texas' "B On Time" loan program falls short of funding

Created to encourage students to graduate on time, Texas' "B On Time" interest-free loan program will fall short of funding this year. The program spent $49 million on loans last year and helped 12,800 students. This year, the amount allocated has been reduced to $41 million, enough for only 9,900 students. Additionally, 650 students who took out "B On Time" loans last year will not get them renewed this year. Financial aid officers are trying to create alternative financial aid packages for these students, but they will not be as helpful as the "B On Time" assistance they previously received. Students participating in the program who maintain "B" grade point averages and graduate on time may have their loans forgiven.

West Virginia named among top spenders on college grants

In a National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs survey, West Virginia came in fourth (after South Carolina, Vermont, and Georgia) in terms of how much tax income it spends on college grant programs. According to the report, the state provided $71 million to grant programs in 2005-2006; the equivalent of 20.6% of state tax appropriations was spent on West Virginia's higher education institutions. The biggest merit-based program in West Virginia is the PROMISE Scholarship Program, while its biggest need-based program is the Higher Education Grant Program.

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