Bush claims that education is a priority for him. College costs are rising, state governments are cutting higher education funding, and Bush is restricting access to college by working against affirmative action and Title IX programs. Through implementing a new regulation governing financial aid, the Bush Administration is gutting funding for 84,000 of America’s college students.
Ø “The Department of Education estimates that 84,000 students would lose Pell Grant eligibility altogether as a result of the [Bush] regulation.” A New York Times Editorial stated “The formula was supposed to be revised yearly, but went untouched for a decade. Then suddenly, the Education Department revised the formula — but used state tax data from 2000, before the recession that has sent state taxes rising again.” [“Punishing the Pell Grant Program” New York Times Editorial October 29, 2003]
Ø Bush’s regulation negatively impacts more than just federal assistance. Offering an amendment to reverse the Bush regulation, Democratic Congressman Dave Obey (WI) said, “On May 30, 2003, the Administration quietly issued a new regulation to put an additional financial squeeze on millions of college students and their families by cutting their deduction for state and local taxes in the student financial aid eligibility formula. As a result, many of these families can expect to pay more toward college expenses next year and receive less in federal financial aid…[T]he federal student aid formula is widely used in distributing all types of aid, the Administration’s proposal affects not only Pell Grants and federal student loans, but also state and institutional assistance.”
Ø Pell Grants used to cover 80% of public-college tuition—25 years ago. Now, it covers only 40%.
The maximum award of the federal Pell Grant program, created to encourage low- and middle-income students to attend college, covered more than 80 percent of public-college tuition a quarter-century ago but covers only about 40 percent today. Faced with high tuition, up to 25 percent of the low-income students with grades and scores that make them prime college material no longer even apply. [“Punishing the Pell Grant Program” New York Times Editorial October 29, 2003]
Ø "[Democrats] were able to stop these punitive changes," said Senator Jon Corzine, a New Jersey Democrat who introduced legislation that ultimately yielded a deal… [A] House-Senate conference committee said they had agreed to halt the new financial aid rules for at least a year. [Lawmakers Move to Halt Cuts in Aid for College, New York Times, 11/21/03]
Ø Voting primarily along party lines in the U.S. Senate, 44 Democrats, 6 Republicans and 1 Independent voted to overturn Bush regulation to gut college aid for 84,000 students. [“Senate Blocks Changes in Student Aid Rules” Reuters 9/10/03]
Annual Report: College More Costly in Bush Economy
Ø Tuition costs at public colleges rose more rapidly last year than at any time over the past three decades, according to a report released yesterday. After adjusting for inflation, costs were up 13 percent for the year and 47 percent for the past decade. The annual report by the College Board, which collects data from more than 4,000 institutions, said tuition and fees also rose substantially last year at private colleges and universities, but at a slower rate than in the public sector. If room and board costs are included, the average student now pays $26,854 a year to attend a private university, and $10,636 to attend a public university in his or her own state. [“Tuition Soars at Public Colleges: Costs Up 13% for the Year, 47% for the Decade, Study Says” Washington Post 10/22/03]
Ø The College Board, which owns the SAT, released its annual Trends in College Pricing report…documenting cost increases that have been particularly steep in recent years because of big cuts in state funding. The report said that 60 percent of undergraduates are using financial aid packages to help pay for college. [“Private, Public College Costs Rise Again” Associated Press 10/21/03]
· In 2003, Democratic California among those states with little or no increases in cost.
California, Maine, Hawaii, New York and Pennsylvania showed little or no increase in public two-year tuition from the past year. [“Study: Public college tuition soars” Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal 2/11/03]
· Bush’s Texas increased by 20% college tuition costs at its state 4-year colleges and universities. [“Study: Public college tuition soars” Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal 2/11/03]
Ø Using the Martin Luther King National Holiday weekend as a backdrop, Bush challenged the University of Michigan’s Affirmative Action Plan. “At their core, the Michigan policies amount to a quota system that unfairly rewards or penalizes perspective students, based solely on their race. [“President Bush Discusses Michigan Affirmative Action Case: Remarks by the President on the Michigan Affirmative Action Case” White House Press Release 1/15/03]
…as opposed to being based solely upon social and financial privilege. [See Talking Point on Legacy.]
Ø Corporate: “General Motors, 3M, Abbott Laboratories, American Airlines, Ashland, Bank One Corp., Boeing, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Eastman Kodak, Eli Lilly, Ernst & Young, Exelon, Fannie Mae, General Dynamics, General Mills, General Motors, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg, KPMG International, Lucent Technologies, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Pfizer, PPG Industries, Procter & Gamble, Sara Lee, Steelcase, Texaco, TRW, and United Airlines filed a legal brief siding with the university.” [University of Michigan, Press Release, 5/31/2001]
Ø Military: “Among the military leaders signing onto the brief were former defense secretaries William Perry and William Cohen; Gen. Schwarzkopf, who commanded the first Persian Gulf War; and Adm. William Crowe, Gen. Hugh Shelton and Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, all former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” [Deadline Arrives for High Court Affirmative Action Briefs, Fox News Channel 2/20/03]
Ø Bush Administration: National Security Advisor Condolezza Rice, Secretary of State Colin Powell [Rice says race can be 'one factor' in considering admissions, CNN Inside Politics 1/18/03; Interview On Black Entertainment Television's Youth Town Hall 2/20/03]
Ø Using Yale’s Legacy Tradition, Bush traded on the family name to get into the university. “With his mediocre grades and college board scores totaling 1206 out of a possible 1600, Yale was no sure bet for Bush… But Yale, his father's alma mater, came through.” [“The evolution of George W. Bush” USA TODAY 7/28/2000]
“In 1964, however, legacy was still important at Yale, where [his grandfather] Prescott Bush sat on the board of trustees, and George W. need not have applied elsewhere.” [“This Bush a 'late bloomer'” Boston Globe 8/3/2000]
Legacy: Affirmative action for the academically challenged, socially privileged ones, where the children of former graduates get a pass on the merit requirements for college entrance.
Ø The Bush Administration wants to make compliance with gender equity in education purely a voluntary matter. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits gender discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. The threat of a lawsuit to ensure compliance has been effective in enforcingTitle IX. The Bush Administration wants to change compliance from being mandatory to being voluntary. In other words, make it easier to discriminate by making compliance voluntary. Houston Chronicle reporter Fran Blinebury said it best when she wrote “Yes, that always has worked so well with industry and the environment, with corporate crooks allowed to police themselves.”
[“Tinker with football's excesses, not Title IX” Houston Chronicle 2/3/03]
Ø Women and Girls Defeat Bush. In July 2003, the Bush Administration backed down from reversing three decades of progress in protecting women and girls from gender discrimination. “[S]ince the passage of Title IX in 1972, women's participation in sports has increased more than 400 percent at the college level and more than 800 percent at the high school level.” [“Feminists Celebrate Title IX Victory” NOW Newsletter 7/14/03; “Further Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Guidance Regarding Title IX Compliance” Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education 7/11/03]
George W. Bush…
America’s College Students.