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June 12, 1996 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-06-12

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4 - The Michigan baily - Jre 12, 1996
Edited and managed by LAURIE MAYK ERIN MARSH
students at t e L Editor in Chief PAUL SERILLA
University of Michigan Editoal Page Editors
nLe otle w(i n1oed, ounsigned editorial reflect the O 'nnnO oft/e
420 M aynard Street Mnaoro of the Dai editorial board. Allotier aricl. letoers and
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 "atoons1"' ((0'"('eeily "fct eopiion ofTin'"' Mch"ga" Diy

T his summer, the University Board of
Regents is expected to approve tuition
costs for the 1996-97 school year. As in the
past, many students are anxiously waiting
to see which avenue the regents will take:
a prudent increase held at the rate of infla-
tion or another staggering hike - adding
to what is already the country's highest
tuition for a public university.
Last year, students and faculty were
pleased and mildly surprised by the modest
increase approved by the regents. By restrain-
ing tuition increases to a reasonable level, the
regents made a strong statement in favor of
affordable higher education. This year, the
regents should reaffirm that commitment.
With the University in fine financial
shape, smaller tuition increases are also a
realistic expectation. Last month, the
administration announced that the
University had reached the $1 billion goal
for the "Campaign for Michigan"
fundraising effort several months ahead of
schedule. Earlier this spring, the state leg-
islature ceded an extra $8 million to the
University from surplus funds this year.
No one expects windfalls like these to
occur on a regular basis, but nonetheless,
students - both in-state and out-of-state

Re tu tion ques tion
Regents face this year's rate increase

-expect and should receive a share of the
University's prosperity.
The arguments against high tuition
have not changed. In recent years, the cost
of a four-year University education has
spiraled upward uncontrollably. As with
most institutions of higher education, the
administration has simply priced the
University outside the range of the average
family. Traditional methods of paying for
college are becoming less viable.
Academic loans simply prolong the
inevitable and few individuals can afford
the crushing burden of debt.
To compound the problem, those few
federal loan programs designed to help col-
lege students are under attack in Congress,
especially in the past two years. A recent
study analyzed how families were pay for
college. As the the proportion of subsidized

loans being awarded dwindle, more and
more families turn to non-subsidized loans
- loans which compound interest while
the student is enrolled. This trend is accel-
erating as non-subsidized loans are
increasingly being offered instead of subsi-
dized loans. Non-subsidized loans are a
poor excuse for financial aid. They maxi-
mize financial burdens instead of decreas-
ing them.
To make matters worse, more families fall
into a middle ground - they do not qualify
for financial aid, yet they find paying for four
years of university tuition is a great burden.
Students assume much of this burden. To
make ends meet - including paying for text-
books, supplies, room and board and other
expensive fees - students must work outside
of class. This invariably affects studies.
Students should not be placed at a disadvan-

tage because they cannot afford to devote the
same amount of time to studying as their class-
mates.
Students expect reasonable increases as
the University reinvests in the campus
through construction and the adaptation og
facilities. However, students also expect
the University to remain responsible and
accountable to its paying customers by
keeping costs down. Its position as a pub-
lic institution demands it serve all and not
only a privileged few.
When qualified students are forced to
reconsider attending the University
because of affordability, the University
also suffers. When the pool of applicants
from which prospective students are drawn
dwindles, the chances of maintaining higl
academic standards are jeopardized.
The regents should follow the example
they set last year - they should not
approve a tuition increase that will signifi-
cantly add to students' already enormous
financial burden. Only when access to a
University education is provided to all -
regardless of financial background - will
the University truly prosper. Students'
opportunity for scholastic achievemenO
should not depend on income.

Reporting crime
Bill would require open campus police logs
C ommunity police document crime statistics so that the public can assess the relative
safety of its environment. While state and city police are required to make such
records accessible to the public, the sad truth is that at most colleges around the United
States, campus police are not held to the same standards.
However, a bill currently under debate in Congress would require all institutions with
their own police or security forces to keep a daily log. The logs would detail infractions
reported to police and include the names of anyone arrested and charged in connection
with crimes. More importantly, the proposed law would make the records available to
the general public.
The rationale behind the proposed legislation is simple: the public has the right to
information about crimes occurring in its community, and college communities should
have the right to information about the activities of their campus police. While the
University's Department of Public Safety has offered open records to the public
since1988, only a few campuses around the country employ similar practices. In fact,
only seven U.S. states require their college police departments to keep public daily logs.
As a result, there is some concern that the lack of required disclosure results in the
withholding of crime information from the public. As it is, not all crime is reported to
campus police, an obvious trend when comparing the number of sexual assaults report-
ed to counseling centers and the number reported to the police. Without disclosure laws,
universities may be tempted to selectively conceal crimes which they feel endanger their
reputation. Campus communities should wonder if publicly released documents accu-
rately portray the criminal activity at their institutions.
Due to the open-log policies at DPS, little would change at the University if Congress
passes the law. On the other hand, campus police departments at other universities that
do not offer logs now would find themselves required to release specific crime statis-
tics. Those who oppose the legislation do so primarily out of concern for the privacy of
individuals involved in cases chronicled in the logs. The logs include information on a
variety of incidents - everything from felonies to civil infractions.
This is not to say the new law would necessarily represent a great intrusion into the
lives of people affected by campus crime. A number of safeguards are already written
into the proposed bill. Most important to those worried about privacy issues is the fact
that the names of victims, witnesses and suspects who have not been formally charged
would be exempt from the logs. Only the names of those actually arrested and charged
with a crime - information readily available from other sources - would be required
inclusions in such records. Given these exemptions, the law makes sense - the com-
munity should embrace any measure making campus police forces less secretive and
more responsible to those they are sworn to serve and protect.

Clinton's proposal encourages higher ed
E lection years encompass two constants: intense political fighting and campaig4
promises. While these promises are sometimes earnest intentions to carry out a spe-
cific program, often they are simply political ploys aimed at attacking opponents and get-
ting elected. Last week, President Clinton announced a program which would provide
middle-class families with children in college tax credits for the first two years of their
education. While the proposal itself is certainly a worthwhile suggestion at making high-
er education more affordable, its purpose must not be lost in campaign battles.
Clinton's plan aims at making the first two years of college affordable for all
Americans. It proposes that a families earning up to $100,000 a year could choose
between a single $10,000 deduction for the entire family or a $1,500 tax credit for each
eligible child. These credits would be available for two years. The program is estimate*
to cost $43 billion over the next six years. It would be financed in part by closing a tax
loophole for multinational corporations that do business in the United States, auction-
ing off radio frequencies for wireless services, and increasing international airline
departure taxes.
Several aspects of the proposal deserve recognition. First, the tax credit would be avail-
able to all students entering any two- or four-year college. However, continuing the credit
into the third year would require satisfactory academic progress - maintaining a B aver-
age - and the absence of drug felony convictions. These are worthy requirements which
would link student responsibility with government assistance.
Clinton's tax credit also attempts to eliminate the barriers to higher education among
low-income families. Many such families file their taxes with a standard deduction (an
hence do not itemize) and would have lost out on his original proposal for the $10,00
deduction. But by offering the choice between a deduction and a $1,500 direct tax credit,
many of these families will still be able to benefit from the program.
Higher education is a precious commodity in our new economy. It places an emphasis on
knowledge and skills rather than physical labor. Clinton describes education as "the great
continental divide between those who will prosper and those who will not in the new econ-
omy." Fifteen years ago, a typical worker with a college degree made 38 percent more than
a worker with a high school diploma. Now the gap has increased to 73 percent. By provid-
ing all American children with the opportunity to receive two years of college, the income
gap will hopefully shrink.
The political aspect of the proposal is the tax cut. Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas) is expectee
to announce his own tax cut proposals - foreshadowing a Clinton-Dole battle of tax-cutting
proposals. With the budget deficit looming, that is a potentially dangerous road to travel.
Hopefully, Clinton's education proposal won't get lost in the politicking and the government
can take meaningful steps towards removing the barriers to education.

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