BY BRYCE COVERT
Students whose families make less than $125,000 a year and have assets worth $300,000 or less, including home equity but excluding anything that they have saved in retirement accounts, won’t have to pay tuition. Students whose families make less than $65,000 also won’t have to pay for room and board, which can run about another $14,100. Scholarships or grants will cover the costs instead, and the school has a $21 billion endowment. The thresholds were previously $100,000 for free tuition and $60,000 for free room and board.
Students will still have to contribute at least $5,000 a year from part-time work during the school year, working during the summer, and/or savings.
“Our highest priority is that Stanford remain affordable and accessible to the most talented students, regardless of their financial circumstances,” said Provost John Etchemendy in a press release. “Our generous financial aid program accomplishes that, and these enhancements will help even more families, including those in the middle class, afford Stanford without going into debt.” The school says that 77 percent of undergraduates leave without student debt.
That makes Stanford graduates somewhat unique, as about 70 percent graduate with debt, owing an average of $29,000 at the end of last year. Student loan debt has tripled over the last decade. Meanwhile, nearly a third of those who have started to pay back the loans are more than three months behind on payments.
But Stanford isn’t the only place offering free tuition. Princeton offers free tuition to parents who make less than $120,000 and free room and board to those who make under $60,000. Harvard and Yale make tuition free for families who make less than $65,000, while Harvard asks those who make between that level and $150,000 to contribute between 0 and 10 percent of their income.
The idea has also cropped up outside of elite private schools and gone even further. Harper College in Palatine, Illinois recently announced that it will offer two years of community college free for high school graduates who maintain high grades, attendance levels, and community service engagement for four years.
Governments have also gotten in on the action. Tennessee has already started a program that gives all of the state’s high school graduates free tuition at a two-year community college. Chicago also launched a program to give high school graduates with a 3.0 GPA free tuition, books, and fees for community college. And in January, President Obama proposed a plan that would cover tuition costs for all high school graduates who enroll full-time or half-time in community colleges with occupational training or credit toward a four-year degree and maintain a 2.5 GPA.
All of those programs would be moot, however, if the government took a simple step and made all public universities free. Tuition at all public colleges came to $62.6 billion in 2012. The federal government could take the $69 billion it currently spends helping students cover the cost of college through grants, tax breaks, and work-study funds and instead simply cover tuition at those schools for anyone who wanted to attend. That would give all students of all income backgrounds an affordable option, and it could also put pressure on private schools like Stanford and Harvard to reduce their tuition to compete, which has risen 13 percent over the last five years.
One of my favorite songs. I have been singing this for 50 years, but not with such lovely background singers that Peter has gathered.
So thrilled to finally upload this one to facebook! I spent over two years on it, one of my favorite folks songs. Loch Lomond! Stick around for a way to grab Danny boy at the end of the video. — at Luss, Loch Lomond.
Olga PodluzhnayaIgazi misztikus Khomus-Transz! Olga Podluzhnaya Uutai
Olga is a virtuoso on the jaw harp.
Olga Podluzhnaya, an expert performer on the xomus (or “khomus”), a traditional jaw harp. Having passed through a classical musical education while young, Podluzhnaya started to attend xomus lessons. Over time, her skill would grow to the point where Put’ k Sebe can, with justification, describe her on-stage flair as “something absolutely fantastic.
The sounds from this tiny instrument will summon ancient imagery in your mind. Those same images will be accompanied by the voices of nature.”
The soundtrack to a departure from modernity comes in suitably mobile forms.
It was on this day in 1940 that Woody Guthrie wrote the lyrics to “This Land Is Your Land“ – now one of America’s most famous folk songs.
The melody is to an old Baptist hymn. Guthrie wrote the song in response to the grandiose “God Bless America,” written by Irving Berlin and sung by Kate Smith. Guthrie didn’t think that the anthem represented his own or many other Americans’ experience with America. So he wrote a folk song as a response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” a song that was often accompanied by an orchestra. At first, Guthrie titled his own song “God Blessed America” – past tense. Later, he changed the title to “This Land Is Your Land,” which is the first line of the song.
The fact that none of the proposals ever gets implemented is, of course, why the conservative base is so enraged (and flocks to Cruz). In New Hampshire exit polls, half of Republican voters said they felt betrayed by their party. Moreover, the practice of using public policy as red meat has greatly contributed to the coarsening of American politics, creating an atmosphere in which crazy ideas flourish, facts are irrelevant and candidates can make absurd claims that are simply false.
The Democrats since Bill Clinton have, by and large, avoided this path. They have buttressed their policy with real data. The proposals put forward by Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama as candidates were based on evidence, and the math mostly added up. Sure, their plans often contained rosy assumptions about growth and inflation, but to a far lesser extent than Republicans’ proposals. After being seen as profligate taxers and spenders in the 1960s and ’70s, the Democratic Party has convinced many centrist voters that it is the responsible party of governance.
Enter Bernie Sanders, who makes the Republicans look like models of sobriety and scholarly exactitude. The proposals listed on his campaign website add up to around $18 trillion to $20 trillion over the next decade, according to the New York Times. Adding a higher estimate on the health plan from Kenneth Thorpe of Emory University brings the total cost to more than $30 trillion.
This week, four respected economists who served Democratic presidents wrote a letter bluntly pointing out that “no credible economic research” supports Sanders’s economic assumptions and predictions. They were referring to the claims by Gerald Friedman, an economist who has tried to make Sanders’s math work. To do so, Friedman assumes that per capita growth would average 4.5 percent (more than double the rate over the past three decades), and that the employment-to-population ratio would suddenly reverse its long decline and reach 65 percent, the highest ever. Even more magically, productivity growth would rise to 3.18 percent. As Kevin Drum has pointed out in Mother Jones, “there has never been a 10-year period since World War II in which productivity grew by 3.18 percent.”
Sanders’s supporters argue that all this criticism misses the point. Sanders is setting forth an “idealistic” vision on purpose — his goal is to shift the spectrum. But that argument is premised on the notion that, in fact, the United States would be better off with $30 trillion of extra spending, absolutely free public colleges (and thus essentially government-controlled), high tariffs and top marginal tax rates of about 85 percent. It wouldn’t. Even unabashedly liberal scholars don’t believe that the economy would function better under these circumstances.
But this is nitpicking. He is painting with a broader brush, being an authentic man who speaks his mind, willing to present bold ideas geared to capture the imagination. Never mind that establishment elites criticize them as unworkable or divisive or radical.
Am I speaking about Bernie Sanders — or Donald Trump?
The Republican Party and media/propaganda arm is up in arms over President Obama following the Constitution and nominating a replacement for the recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But already the effects of a Scalia-less court are being felt.
And not in the GOP’s favor. Late on Friday – just before 10 pm – the Supreme Court let stand a February 5 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina which ruled that congressional redistricting maps were invalid.
The order is a single sentence:
“The application for stay presented to The Chief Justice and by him referred to the Court is denied.”
The state had been ordered by the district court to redraw two maps within two weeks. In effect, the maps in question were based on the race of voters. Both districts, the 1st and 12th, are majority black districts.
The problem for Republicans is explained by Nadia Prupis at Common Dreams:
The two districts in question for years have been electing black representatives. Three voters in 2013 took legal action to invalidate the districts, which are currently represented by G.K. Butterfield in the 1st, and Alma Adams in the 12th, both black Democrats.
Republicans said, ‘we can’t be having that.’ But a pen taken to a map can make black voters suddenly cease to exist.
According to State Senator Josh Stein, speaking to The New York Times, “North Carolina is a 50-50 state, and yet this map all but guarantees 10 out of our 13 congressional delegations will be Republican.”