Tuition hikes slowing, College Board finds

    While still on the rise, student fees increased at a slower rate in 2003-04 than in the year before, according to a series of three reports released by the College Board.

    In addition, student aid continues to grow rapidly, though loans have outpaced grant aid for the second year in a row, the group found.

    During the previous year, the average amount paid by students after aid and education tax breaks rose to approximately $1,300 per student. The amount is less than fees charged a decade ago, when adjusted for inflation.

    Fees at public four-year universities had the largest jumps, growing by 10.5 percent, compared to those at private four-year institutions, which increased by an average of 6 percent.

    Student aid rose to more than $122 billion, an 11-percent annual increase. However, the Pell Grant, considered the “cornerstone” of aid for low-income students, has lost almost a third of its purchasing power over the last two decades, one of the studies stated.

    Another report, outlining the value of a college degree, found that higher education provides “monetary and nonmonetary benefits” for society, in addition to correlating to higher pay levels. Specifically, college graduates are less likely to smoke or become incarcerated and are more likely to be involved in their communities.

    UCAB to provide funding for annual APSA event

    Members of the University Centers Advisory Board voted unanimously to appropriate $500 for an annual event to be hosted by the Asian and Pacific-Islander Student Alliance.

    Designed to provide free college counseling to high school students, the event is estimated to cost more than $8,000. In the past, its costs have been covered by money from the university’s student-initiated outreach funding, but state cuts to UC outreach have forced the organization to seek outside sources of funding.

    Though APSA had originally requested that UCAB cover the estimated $504 in costs for audio and visual equipment and technicians, board bylaws limit funding to $500.

    Report credits city council for water votes

    A joint report from the student-run Strategic Community Consulting firm and San Diego Baykeeper environmental group have awarded the city a “B” grade based on votes made by the city council to protect water quality. SCC is operated by UCSD’s Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies.

    The third-annual report card showed a “marked improvement” over the previous year. First initiated in 2002, the report is based on numerical points awarded to individual councilmembers for votes on environmental issues that impact water.

    Councilmembers Jim Madaffer and Brian Maienschein earned the lowest scores, each receiving a “C-.”

    The groups awarded Councilmember Toni Atkins the highest grade. Atkins joins two other lawmakers who have received “A+” grades.

    While the report showed an increase in “B” and “C” grades over the previous year, the report card stated there was a “positive trend” in lawmaker votes.

    Study: Students act responsibly with credit

    College students deserve high marks for handling issues of personal credit, a forthcoming study from the Georgetown University Credit Research Center has found.

    Adult college attendees who qualify for a credit card maintain smaller account balances and lower credit limits and use their cards less frequently than others in the same age group, the study stated.

    Almost 90 percent of college students keep their accounts current, at approximately the same level as older adults, the center found.

    Based on actual account activity, the study, due out in November, also calculated an average balance of $552 for college students’ accounts, or nearly one-third less than the average balance for nonstudent young adults and one-fourth of an average older adult’s account balance.

    Researchers discover gene for brain disorder

    Researchers at UCSD School of Medicine have found a gene for Joubert Syndrome, a condition that affects control of balance and coordination by the brain.

    The disease affects approximately one out of every 10,000 people and manifests itself as excessive folds in the brain and the absence of part of the cerebellum. After five years of research, UCSD scientists made the discoveryat the same time as a research team at Harvard University. Reports from both groups will appear in the November issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

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