UCSD receives grant for stem cell research

UCSD has received $3.6 million as part of the $3 billion in research grants approved by voters. Specifically, the university will use the funds to offer training in stem cell biology and medicine for a total of 16 scientists currently enrolled at UCSD’s School of Medicine, division of biological sciences, Skaggs School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Jacob’s School of Engineering.

The training will be developed through collaborations between the university, Burnham Institute, Salk Institute and Scripps Research Institute.

“A major goal of this program is to train a cadre of young scientists and clinicians who can apply their background in fields including biology, chemistry, materials science and engineering to solve problems in basic stem cell research and in the development of potential stem cell approaches to understanding and treating human diseases,” stated Lawrence S. B. Goldstein, head of the training program, in a press release.

University fundraising passes $750 million

UCSD’s $1 billion fundraising campaign reached a milestone earlier this month, hitting the $757.7 million mark through donations from over 77,000 alumni, parents and friends of the university. The seven-year crusade for funds, dubbed “Imagine What’s Next,” has been used to finance several priorities, including student outreach and scholarships and faculty retention. Donations also helped launch UCSD’s new pharmacy and management professional schools.

“Today we are more than 75 percent toward our campaign goal, but there is still much work to be done,” Chancellor Marye Anne Fox stated in a press release.

The university said that, currently, half of the donors are friends of the university, 28 percent are alumni, 15 percent are parents, and 7 percent are corporations, foundations and organizations.

Poll reports negative student loan impact

Roughly two-thirds of Americans with student loans say that debt is keeping them from making large purchases such as a car or home, according to an index poll conducted by the Cambridge Consumer Index. Over 20 percent of those surveyed currently, or will in the near future, make payments on student loans. Of those paying off loans, 30 percent find their debt to be a “major burden,” while 34 percent find it to be a “minor burden” affecting purchases of such things as real estate.

Thirty-seven percent also answered that student debt has no effect on their spending habits, an increase from the last year’s 25 percent. Results were complied after a monthly nationwide telephone poll conducted by International Communications Research of more than 800 adults.

Legislation offers aid in wake of hurricane

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee has partnered with Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.) earlier this month to introduce H.R. 3690, titled the Katrina Relief Act, to aid students affected by the hurricane. About 100,000 college students and dozens of colleges have been impacted by the disaster, according to a committee press release. The bill would grant the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education the power to waive the required return of student grants, such as Pell, TRIO and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, when students withdraw from college due to a disaster.

The legislation also gives the secretary the authority to alter the “expected family contribution,” or how much affected families are expected to pay for the current college term and the next academic year.

Finally, the act would defer the payments on college loans for student borrowers who live in affected areas by six months. During this deferment, loan interest will not grow.

UCSD is offering several options for those affected by the hurricane, according to university spokeswoman Pat Jacoby. Options include a late enrollment opportunity for students who did not accept their admission to UCSD, but cannot attend their college of choice because of the hurricane. Undergraduates and graduates who were not offered admissions to UCSD, but cannot attend college because of the disaster, are being offered enrollment with University Extension. The university is allowing a leave of absence or delayed admissions, of up to one year, to students directly affected by the disaster.