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In strong defiance of Republican attempts to reduce federal governmental control over educational policies, President Clinton has vowed to resist plans for reorganizing federal grant and loan programs for college students. "We must deal with rising education costs by creating solutions that provide greater access into college, not by decreasing available assistance," Clinton said last month. But as outlined in his 1997 budget plan released last week, Clinton decided to cut up to $10,000 for college tuition and other degree programs. According to Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs Carol Scheman, the University provides $47 million for in-state University students. While Clinton has encouraged the federal government to play a major role in organizing student aid programs, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) proposes that the private sector should serve as the primary source for lending programs. Clinton claims that proposed Republican cuts in education and training would deny millions of students an education and the opportunity to compete for quality jobs. "We cannot sacrifice our nation's future by cutting the number of students able to attend college or narrowing eligibility to Pell Grants and student loans," Clinton said. Pell Grants are the major government loans provided to undergraduates. During his three years in office, Clinton has increased the size of the maximum Pell Grant by nearly $300, to $2,620. The presidential campaign will likely highlight several points of contention between congressional Republicans and Clinton. Clinton has proposed and won congressional approval of the direct-lending program. The program bypasses middlemen such as federally subsidized guarantee agencies and banks by giving federal loans directly to students. The Education Department oversees the loans. Clinton claims that the program, which accounts for 40 percent of loans to students, saves the government money. Clinton and Dole also disagree over allowing researchers to experiment on tissue from aborted fetuses. Although the National Institutes of Health have not yet financed fetal tissue research, Clinton lifted a 15-year ban on such research in 1993. But in order to pass temporary budget proposals and reopen the government in January, Clinton had to agree to sign a bill that barred fetal tissue research until March 15. Republicans are also leading efforts to abolish the Education Department. Clinton has expressed his full support of the department, which was established in 1979. "The department is smaller and less bureaucratic," Clinton said. "Cutting education in order to balance the budget is wrong." Affirmative action has also come under fire in Congress since the 1994 elections. Clinton has said that he feels affirmative action programs have succeeded and will continue to prove beneficial. "My administration's recent review of our affirmative action programs found that it remains a useful tool for widening economic and educational opportunity," Clinton said. "Women and racial and ethnic minorities now attend once overwhelmingly white and sometimes all-male schools." Several other programs have caused strife between Clinton and Congress. Although Clinton has backed the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts, his budgets have contained little new money for the programs. Clinton has promised to veto legislation that would eliminate interest subsidies on student loans while borrowers are in college. He has also called for increases in federal subsidies for biomedical research, especially about AIDS and women's health. In 1993, Clinton proposed and won congressional approval of AmeriCorps, a national service program that helps college students pay their tuition. AmeriCorps allows students to volunteer in schools, hospitals and parks, and earn money for college simultaneously. Clinton has said he plans to continue supporting the program if he is reelected. He has also advocated reductions in Medicare payments to hospitals, many of which are run by universities. Clinton's ideas for the future include giving $1,000 merit scholarships to the top 5 percent of graduating seniors at every high school. He also proposes to expand the federal work-study program from 700,000 students now to one million by the year 2000. Clinton wants to provide a tax deduction of up to $10,000 for college tuition and job training as well. He has also considered giving workers $2,600 vouchers for attending community or vocational colleges as well. "I am proud of the scholars and researchers who are responsible for important discoveries -- of the ability of our schools to educate and train professionals in every field," Clinton said. "I consider uncertain funding and inadequate resources to be the greatest weakness of American education," he added. "For many children from working and poor families, rising tuition costs are making a college education more difficult to obtain."

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