an at im
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
CAPITOL HILL AND CAMPUS
The first in an four-part series
on how federal legislation
would affect college students
Lawmakers want more
information on how aid,
tuition costs are decided
By JULIE ROWE
Daily Staff Reporter
The United States House of Representatives over-
whelmingly passed a bill last week that will renew
and update the Higher Education Act, which regulates
financial aid and national higher education policies.
The updated bill would increase the amount of
money provided by federal Pell grants and simplify
the student aid application process.
The bill aims to hold colleges accountable for rising
tuition costs by requiring they provide more informa-
tion on how price tags are decided. Universities would
also be required to provide the government and stu-
dents with more information regarding financial aid
Currently, universities are required to send infor-
mation regarding university finances, tuition costs
and student aid to the Department of Education.
The new bill would add hundreds of new reporting
The information gathered will be published online
throughthe Integrated Postsecondary EducationData
System, making it available to students and families.
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said in a discussion
on the House floor that increased university report-
ing will provide families with the information they
need when choosing colleges.
"We saw the need for sunshine and transparency
in college costs," McKeon said. "We recognized that
colleges and universities were not being held account-
able to consumers. There were no consequences for
schools that engaged in massive unexplained tuition
increases year after year."
Wilbanks said the University of Michigan dedi-
cates a great deal of effort to reporting information on
"every aspect of its enterprise," but said policy mak-
ers need to be mindful of the challenges of collecting
large amounts of data. She said the increased report-
ing could be burdensome to universities.
"A lot of organizations these days are looking for
ways to minimize the amount of bureaucracy," Wil-
banks said. "This adds to it in some ways."
See EDUCATION, Page 7
LSA senior Paul Despres and School of Education junior Ryan Bruder stretch out before the Dance Marathon Hootenanny Hustle - one of many events scheduled this week to raise money for
Dance Marathon. Participants ran around Angell Hall to lift spirits and raise funds for children in need of pediatric rehabilitation.
Obscure policy letome dodge requirement
Students can petition
advisers to opt out of
By MARA GAY
For many students, the University's
two-year foreign language require-
ment is a chore.
But for those with language dis-
abilities, completing a sequence in a
foreign language can be downright
What many students don't know,
though, is that even students without
a documented learning disability can
petition the University for a foreign
language waiver that will exempt them
from the requirement altogether.
LSA sophomore Brittany Stem-
bridge said she's an 'A' student. But
when she started her Spanish 100
course earlier this term, she knew
right away it would be too difficult for
"The professor talked primarily
in Spanish, so it was very difficult to
understand what she was saying," she
said. "I took a test and I didn't do so
badly, but I figured it was going to get
After dropping the class, Stem-
bridge talked to her academic adviser
to find out whether she could opt out
of the foreign language requirement.
In order for students to obtain a for-
eign language waiver, they must peti-
tion the Academic Standards Board,
which requires students to write a let-
ter detailing their difficulties with the
language and submit at least one letter
of support from a professor. They then
take the Modern Language Aptitude
Test - a two-hour exam measuring
skills correlated with the ability to
learn a foreign language. Using the
exam results and letters of support,
the Board decides whether to grant
the student a waiver.
Split into five parts, the exam mea-
sures skills like listening comprehen-
sion and memorization. It's given
twice a semester, and students who
have taken the test said it's somewhat
"It was really weird," said Stem-
bridge, who took the test last week. "It
was like a made-up language."
Part of the exam actually is admin-
istered in a made-up language, said
Stuart Segal, the associate director
and coordinator of Services for Stu-
dents with Learning Disabilities,
which administers the exam. Segal
said that while some of the test is in
a fake language, the final section is
written in Kurdish.
"In one part of the test we mea-
sure short-term memory," Segal said.
"You're given 20 words and then we
see what you remember."
Though the exam is evaluative and
students don't technically pass or fail
it, Segal said there's no way to pre-
vent students from trying to bomb the
exam on purpose.
"You can purposefully tank the
test," Segal said. "It's something that
we're well aware of and we wonder
Segal said the committee would
notice, though, if a student's test
results were wildly different from
"We compare the results of the apti-
tude test with your academic record,"
he said. "If you bomb the exam and
you got into the University, it's usually
going to be pretty obvious, and you're
not going to get what you want."
When asked how often waivers are
granted to those who apply, Segal said
"frequently," but that there were no
official statistics to prove his estimate.
Many students said their academic
advisers told them about the exam, but
that the option isn't well publicized.
LSA sophomore Ebony Sunday said
she heard about the exam from her
friend's older sister.
See LANGUAGE, Page 7
* RICH RODRIGUEZ LAWSUIT
Rodriguez lawsuit headed
. back to state court level
cision to remove court - in this case, Monongalia
County Circuit Court, where the
se from federal university first filed the suit on
.rt voids coach's West Virginia wants the court
S crdi to force Rodriguez to pay the $4
million buyout clause in his con-
tract, claiming that Rodriguez
ByANDY KROLL violated his
Daily News Editor contract when-
he signed a
the latest twist in West letter of intent
La University's $4 million to become
iagainst Michigan foot- Michigan's ',
roath Rich Rodriguez, a new head I ,y
1 judge ruled yesterday to football coach
the case back to the state on Dec. l. RODRIGUEZ
where the suit was origi- On Jan. e ,
District Court Judge John lawyers successfully filed to
ruled that because West move the case to a U.S. District
ia University is an "arm or Court, arguing that the case
ge" of the state of West Vir- involved multiple states when
the case belongs in a state Rodriguez signed the letter of
intent. After signing the letter,
Rodriguez received a Michigan
driver's license, signed a lease on
an apartment in Michigan and
was registered to vote in Michi-
While the case was in federal
court, Rodriguez filed a $1.5 mil-
lion letter of credit through the
Bank of Ann Arbor, founded by
Athletic Director Bill Martin,
which said he had the means to
pay that amount if a federal court
found him liable.
But Rodriguez's letter of credit
only applied if the case was heard
in federal court, meaning it now
has no value.
On Jan. 29, Jeffrey Wakefield,
an attorney representing West
Virginia, asked the federal court
for permission to investigate
whether Rodriguez was a citizen
See LAWSUIT, Page 7
Warren pushes water conservation bill
track usage of water
By SARA LYNNE THELEN
State Rep. Rebekah Warren (D-
Ann Arbor) led a town hall meet-
ing at Palmer Commons yesterday
to garner support for legislation
that would regulate water usage
in the state of Michigan.
Thirteen people, including
some students and employees of
Warren, attended the discussion.
Warren said Great Lakes fresh-
water supplies are at risk because
there aren't adequate restrictions6 .;
on who can dump into and take
from the lakes.
Warren, who also heads the
House Committee on Great Lakes
and Environment, said the bill's
supporters are trying to find a
bipartisan, bicameral solution PETER SCHOTTENFELS/Daily
to the problem with Michigan Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) urged listeners in Palmer Commons yesterday
See WATER, Page 7 night to support a bill to conserve the Great Lakes'freshwater supply.
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