This Week in College News: Obama Unveils Student Loan Debt Relief Plan

By Sam Coren and Megan Kenslea Staff

Obama Announces New Federal Student Loan Relief Plan

President Obama announced a new federal plan for student loan repayment that would make


it easier for students to repay federal loans. The new “Know Before You Owe” plan, which the president enacted through executive order, would allow graduates to limit federal loanrepayments to 10 percent of discretionary income beginning in January. President Obama unveiled the plan Wednesday in a speech at the University of Colorado – Denver.

The president told students that both he and Michelle Obama could empathize with their struggles repaying loans. “We were paying more on our student loans than we were paying on our mortgage each month,” President Obama said. “How do we make college more affordable, and how do we reduce your burden?” While the plan will help out students with federal loans, private loans remain unchanged.

Smith College Professors “Punk” Campus

Rumors that Smith College would go completley locovore and vegetarian flooded campus last week, leading students to protest to the administration – until it was revealed that two logic professors had planted the rumor. For a class on rhetoric and argumen, logic professors instructed students to feed the rumor by splitting into two groups, one for the move and one against.

Students got creative in their efforts to spread the rumor, even sending a representative from the Smith Healthy Living Club – which does not actually exist – to a the school television station to speak about the move. By the time word got out about the prank, the administration decided to join in on the fun, and Smith College President Carol Christ visited the class pretending to fire the two tenured professors.

Optional SAT Subject Tests Confuse U.C. Applicants

Students applying to colleges in California’s UC system have mixed feelings on a new admissions policy change for Fall 2012. In a bold move, the schools in the U.C. System announced this week that it will make SAT Subject tests optional for admissions. Previously, applicants to UC schools including University of California – Los Angeles and University of California – Berkeley were required to submit SAT Subject test scores if they were applying to specific majors. Now the majors which previously required the tests will “recommend” the tests, which has resulted in concerns about the advantages and disadvantages of taking the tests.

Colleges Launch Midnight Classes

Colleges across the country have begun offering midnight classes catering to students with children and inflexible jobs, USA Today reports. Midnight classes first took shape at an overcrowded Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, when a professor volunteered to teach a course at midnight. “We found out there are many more folks than we’d imagined in the Boston area who are working third shifts,” said Bunker Hill president Mary Fifield. “It’s a population that we didn’t know existed.” Some community colleges around the country have followed suit.

New NCAA Rule Could Shut UConn Out of March Madness

A new NCAA rule passed this week could shut out men’s basketball defending champions University of Connecticut from the 2013 college tournament. Changes adopted Thursday require athletes to meet a two-year average score of 930 or a four-year average academic score of 900 on the NCAA Academic Progress Rate. UConn scored 826 for the 2009-2010 acaemic year, and is expected to score 975 for the 2010-2011 academic year, which would give the school a two-year average of 900.5, and a four-year average of 888.5.

UConn President Susan Herbst said in an email that while she supports the new rules, she hopes the NCAA can find a way to institute in the current season, rather than during later seasons. “Students who have enjoyed academic success should not suffer because of the shortcomings of individuals who played in prior seasons,” Herbst said in an email.


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