The University may have gained allies in yesterday's election, with the two major Democratic victors saying they will bring a tempered enthusiasm for the University and for all of higher education to their offices. Support from Senator Harris Wofford and Mayor-elect Edward Rendell could translate into favorable treatment of the University and their counterparts. Wofford, a former president of Bryn Mawr College, said he favors increasing financial aid for middle-class students and restructuring the formula for distributing financial aid to college students. Many of these proposals would favor the University's financial aid program, which is struggling to meet the financial burden of all of its undergraduates and has discussed dropping need-blind admissions in the future. Wofford will sit in the Senate during the debate and vote on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which distributes financial aid to students and universities. The Senate Education Committee's version of the proposals include raising the limits on how much money students may borrow for their undergraduate education by $325 for a students' freshman and sophomore year and $1000 every subsequent year. The House Education Committee's version would nearly double the current loan limits of $2625 for a student's first two years and $4000 afterwards. Wofford said he favors increasing the amount of money students can borrow, and he also favors proposals which would drop the value of a parent's home and savings from determining financial aid. "This administration continues to propose cutting aid that goes to middle-class families," Wofford said in an interview last month. The senator also supports a proposal to change the federal work-study program which would require students to work in the community for their work-study money. However, Wofford said colleges and universities should scrutinize more carefully how they spend federal research money, adding that university boards of trustees and student newspapers should look into an institutions' finances. Mayor-elect Rendell said in August he has not ruled out charging the University "user fees" -- payments for fire and police protection, sanitation and other city services. But he added he has reservations because the fees could translate into higher tuition for college students. Charging the University user fees has been part of Mayor Wilson Goode's last two drafts of a five-year financial plan, although city officials said they had not determined how much they would charge the University. University officials have balked at the proposal, saying the University pays more than its share to provide its own police and sanitation services.Comments powered by Disqus
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