Obama pushes to keep low student loan rates
"We have to educate our way to a better economy," education secretary Arne Duncan said Friday.
April 20th, 2012
04:53 PM ET

Obama pushes to keep low student loan rates

By Jennifer Liberto, CNNMoney

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) - President Obama will use his bully pulpit to urge lawmakers to prevent a doubling of interest rates on federally subsidized student loans.

On July 1, the interest rate on federal subsidized loans will go from 3.4% to 6.8%. That means students taking out loans for the next school year will have to dig deeper in their pockets to pay them off.

"If we want to keep jobs in our country, we have to have an educated work force," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Friday. "We have to educate our way to a better economy."

More than 7 million undergraduates have subsidized student loans, which means the federal government absorbs some of the interest rate for lower- and middle-income families based on financial need.

If Congress does nothing, the cost to students borrowing the maximum $23,000 in subsidized loans is an extra $5,000 over a 10-year repayment period.

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Filed under: CNNMoney • College • Policy
April 20th, 2012
01:30 PM ET

Today's Reading List

Here's what the editors of Schools of Thought are reading today:

NYTimes Schoolbook: With Test Week Here, Parents Consider the Option of Opting Out
In a show of protest against high-stakes testing that they say is counter-productive and doesn’t measure a child’s true ability, some parents are opting to keep their children out of the tests this year.

The Educated Reporter: Will Merit Pay Make Teachers More Effective?
Under a new law taking effect in Indiana, student test scores will now be taken into account in teacher pay raises.  Does this approach work?

WFSB:  Pro-choice, anti-abortion groups clash at UConn; 2 arrested
Two students were arrested on the Storrs campus when they blocked an anti-abortion group’s display.

WAOW.com: Students pledge to stop dirty dancing
Before students at one high school in Wisconsin buy a prom ticket, they have to sign a dance code of conduct pledge.

TurnTo23.com: Local Track Team Flooded With Donations From All Over America
Fremont Elementary's track team has gone from running in flip flops and house slippers to running in real track shoes, thanks to donations that poured in after their story went viral.



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Filed under: Behavior • College • Issues • Teachers • Testing • Today's Reading List
April 20th, 2012
11:13 AM ET

Colorado university hopes to repel stoners on '420' day

By Jim Spellman, CNN

Boulder, Colorado (CNN) - When the clock strikes 4:20 p.m. on April 20, or 4/20, marijuana fans will come out of the shadows to proudly smoke pot in parks and on college campuses across the country. The number 420 has become synonymous with all things marijuana, but exactly why is less clear.

Whatever the number's origin, "420" events across the country have become opportunities to advocate the legalization of marijuana. The expansion of medical marijuana in California, Colorado and other states is making efforts to legalize marijuana more mainstream and making more people comfortable coming out and smoking pot in public, according to Chris Conrad, curator of the Oaksterdam Cannabis Museum in Oakland, California.

One of the biggest pro-pot rallies is the annual smokeout on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder. The rally has taken place for about a decade and, in recent years, attendance has grown, according to university spokesman Bronson Hilliard. Last year, more than 10,000 people showed up to light up on the campus' Norlin quad.

"People fly in from around the country to participate," Hilliard explained. "We don't understand why they have to come to (this) campus."

This year the university is attempting to put an end to the annual ritual. They will shut down the campus to everyone except faculty, staff and students. Violators could face trespassing charges.

A haze of smoke rises above marijuana advocates at the UC Boulder 4/20 rally in 2010.

To discourage students from lighting up, the university has decided to fertilize the grassy area of Norlin quad on Friday.

"We're trying to do things to make it not a fun place to be," said Hilliard. "We are using a fish-based fertilizer. It is a rather foul-smelling emulsifier.

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Filed under: After High School • Behavior • College • Issues
College roommate survival tips
April 20th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

College roommate survival tips

by Jordan Bienstock, CNN

(CNN) It’s that time of year when colleges and universities send out acceptance letters. For prospective students, the euphoria of knowing where they’re heading for that first taste of independent living may be mixed with some anxiety about whom they’ll be living with.

How do I pick a roommate? What if we don’t get along?

Have no fear! The Schools of Thought blog is here with some college roommate survival tips.

Tip #1 – Get started early
Wesley Pickard works in the Residence Life and Housing office at Emory University in Atlanta. “Every university that has a good housing department is going to make roommate-finding software available to students,” Pickard says. “The onus is on the student to take advantage of that.” He says incoming freshmen who aren’t pro-active in the process are often the ones who end up having roommate problems.

Tip #2 – Best friends AND roommates? What could go wrong?!?
A lot. Deciding to room with someone you already know can have its benefits. It’s a built-in support system in an unfamiliar environment. But being friends with someone and LIVING with them are often two completely different situations. If you think you can weather the ups and downs, great. If not, you might want to consider rooming apart in order to keep the friendship together.

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Filed under: College • Practice