Aug 17, 2006
EdFed News Wire

America's Top Student Loan Consolidator
Thursday, August 17 , 2006
Expansion Of UM's M-PACT Plan
By Judith Earley
According to a report from the Higher Education Washington, Inc., NewsLine, the University of Michigan is expanding its M-PACT financial aid program. More than 400 UM students will see the effects immediately and save at least $5,000 a year because of these changes. The M-PACT program replaced student loans with grants for the neediest students and is part of a 10-percent increase in financial aid grants for both new and returning Michigan students. About two-thirds of UM students receive some form of merit- or need-based financial aid.

M-PACT is open to low-income Michigan resident undergraduates and supplements traditional financial aid. Unlike loans, students do not have to repay grants and work-study assistance; and the total M-PACT financial aid package covers their tuition, room and board, books, and other expenses. For example, a typical UM freshman in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts who would receive the full benefits of the expanded M-PACT program would receive $2,500 in federal work-study plus $17,678 in grants from federal, state, and other University of Michigan sources.

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Commission Finalizes Report
By Amy Wong

Washington, D.C. - After 11 grueling months, eight meetings, and numerous emails, the Commission on the Future of Higher Education has finally agreed to send their final report to U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.

The Commission, formed by Spellings, is comprised of a diverse and influential membership. The final report provides recommendations to the White House and state government on how to make higher education more accessible, affordable, accountable, and globally competitive.

However, the report's influential power has been greatly weakened by the criticism surrounding it. After blaming educational ills on universities, the first draft drew heated responses from many higher education organizations. The final draft maintains, albeit with delicate wording, its original point: that universities' high spending is responsible for decreased college enrollment.

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Act Supports Technical Education

Unanimously passed by the Senate, The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act, S.250, would concentrate more effectively on the needs of the American workforce that require skilled workers. The Act is slated to provide opportunities to students seeking technical education that would help them get skilled and high-wage jobs. It would produce further accountability between local training programs and federal educators; make stronger the bonds between the schools, colleges, and businesses; and give more importance to academic studies for technical education supported by federal government, making it on par with other federal education programs. Providing more than $1.2 billion in federal funding, the conference agreement reauthorizes and revises the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act of 1998; if approved by The House of Representatives, it will be sent along for the President's signature.
$6 Million For National Resource Centers

The Department of Education has appropriated $6 million to The University of Minnesota Institute for Global Studies for three National Resource Centers. To be implemented through the Title VI program, the move supports U.S. global competitiveness and national security. The fund consists of three four-year grants that will be utilized in establishing a new National Resource Center primarily for Asian studies and in renewed funding for two already established national resource centers for western European and international studies.

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