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USSA Blog

The Student Scoop

USSA's Blog

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”   -Haile Selassie

If you are interested in having your voice heard on the national level, click here to submit a blog to The Student Scoop!  Entries must be between 100 - 500 words.  Please contact the USSA Communications Department at media@usstudents.org if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

CAL Furthers the DREAM

by Nestor Rivera

As economic times for California continue to show a dim future, California residents and Legislature continue to show support to undocumented students. As the Federal DREAM(Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act failed to pass the US Senate after successfully passing the House this past December 2010, California continues to push for improving the climate for undocumented people in the US. As the support of Senator Barbara Boxer on the US Senate floor debating DREAM and Zoe Lofgren’s stance against “Secure Communities” other CA leaders continue to fight for alternative solutions to resolve what democracy has failed to address in Congress. If legislation such as AB 130 & 131 passes in the CA legislature once again and is signed into law it would ensure students who are of undocumented status to pursue their dreams of higher education in California. As rises in tuition occurring in all three systems of higher education, some foresee double the costs at the University of California within a decade, AB 130 & 131 is the only safety net proposed to keep qualified educated Californians in Higher Ed since the passage of AB 540.

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Obama Administration Releases New Regulation to Protect Students

by Lindsay McCluskey, USSA President

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, the U.S. Department of Education released a final rule on “gainful employment” that seeks to hold career college programs, including for-profit institutions, accountable for student outcomes.  Federal law requires any career college program that receives federal student aid to “prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.”  The new rule finally provides a definition for “gainful employment” so the law can be enforced.

United States Student Association President Lindsay McCluskey issued the following statement on the Department of Education’s new regulation:

“Students welcome the final release of the U.S. Department of Education gainful employment rule as an important first step in protecting students and taxpayers. The issued rule will affect all career college programs, targeting those that routinely saddle students with unsustainable debt they cannot repay and issue degrees they cannot use.  Institutions who fail to meet the new regulations will be ineligible for federal financial aid.

For now, the regulations merely show encouraging progress due it part to a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign waged by the career college industry which has resulted in a final rule much weaker than its original draft. Career college programs will have to fail three different ways in three out of four fiscal years and will not risk losing eligibility until 2016. Numerous investigations and congressional hearings have found overwhelming evidence of widespread abuse coming from unchecked and unregulated career colleges, specifically for-profits. Yet, the regulation is generously lenient in giving these same programs a substantial amount of time to improve their student outcomes.

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Congress Re-Introduces Bankruptcy Protection Legislation to help Students Drowning in Debt

by Getachew Kassa, USSA Legislative Director

Last week, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) in re-introducing the Struggling Students Act of 2011and Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act, respectively. The  legislation would allow private student loans to be dischargeable in bankruptcy by reversing a provision of a 2005 bankruptcy law which gives special protections for private student lenders.

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Investing in Prisons Over Education is not Being Smart on Crime

by Lindsay McCluskey and Robert Rooks

What does it mean to be "tough on crime"? Does "toughness" depend on how many people we imprison? Or should the indicator be whether our society combats crime at its root? Current policies point directly at the former option, but we need to be smarter on crime.

The United States leads the world in incarceration with 2.3 million people behind bars; while we are home to five percent of the world's population, we house 25 percent of its prisoners. That means that one in 31 adults in the United States is currently in prison, jail, or on probation or parole (1). Is this because we have a larger population than most countries and logically imprison more people? Nope. China's population is four times greater than ours, yet China imprisons one million less people, even with its draconian criminal laws. Are Americans inherently more violent than citizens in other countries? The fact that over half our inmates were convicted of non-violent drug offenses suggests that it has more to do with our criminal laws than our nature. Has the incarceration rate risen proportionally with our country's population growth? Well, between 1970 and 2000 the general population rose by less than 40 percent, yet our incarceration rate skyrocketed by 500 percent (2). So how did the world's greatest defender of freedom snatch freedom away from more of its citizens than the harshest of totalitarian states?

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Register today for USSA's 64th Annual National Student Congress!

by Lindsay McCluskey, USSA President

The summer's fast approaching and I'm sure you're looking forward to earning some money, gaining valuable internship experience, traveling, or just kicking back and relaxing with friends.  You could also add building the student movement to the list, if you attend USSA's 64th annual National Student Congress this July 22-27 at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida!

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Click on the links below to visit other blogs by USSA student leaders:

National People of Color Student Coaltion

Women of Color

National Women Student Coalition

The United States Student Association, the country’s oldest and largest student-led organization, represents over 4 million students at over 400 campuses across the nation.  We work to develop current and future leaders and amplify the student voice at the local, state, and national levels by mobilizing grassroots power to win concrete victories on student issues.  Contact USSA Communications Director Jake Stillwell with any questions, comments, or concerns about the Communications Department at media@usstudents.org.

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The United States Student Association
is the country’s oldest and largest student-led organization.

We amplify the student voice by mobilizing grassroots power to win concrete victories on student issues.
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