October 30, 2009
By David Jackson
Get ready for another debate over the meaning of a “saved job.”
Seeking to stay ahead of the unemployment story, the White House reports today that its $787 billion stimulus bill has created or saved 650,000 jobs; it also claims that when you count all the effects of the stimulus, particularly tax cuts, the bill has actually created or saved 1 million jobs.
According to a White House statement, “tens of thousands of state and local governments, private companies, colleges and universities and community organizations across the country submitted reports on how they have put Recovery Act funds to work through September 30th. ”
The Republican National Committee sent out a memo noting there is no way to define a “saved job,” but notes that since February the economy has lost more then 2.6 million actual jobs; the unemployment rate is now 9.8% and could crack double digits when new figures come out late next week.
“It is clear the Obama Administration is trying to cover up economic reality by manufacturing job numbers out of thin air,” said an RNC memo.
Behind these numbers, a political argument. The Obama administration says it inherited a bad economy, and that without acting, things would be even worse and those same jobs wouldn’t be there; they tout the recent spike in the economic growth rate, 3.5% between July and September.
Republicans say things aren’t getting any better and that the only thing the stimulus bill has contributed to the economy is a higher federal deficit.
October 21, 2009
By Justin Pope
Average tuition prices rose sharply again this fall as colleges passed much of the burden of their own financial woes to recession-battered students and parents.
Average tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose 6.5 percent, or $429, to $7,020 this fall, according to the College Board’s annual “Trends in College Pricing” report, out Tuesday. At private colleges, the average list price for a year rose 4.4 percent to $26,273.
Those figures hide wide variations: Public college students in California, Florida, New York and Washington saw double-digit percentage increases, while the University of Maryland used federal stimulus money to freeze tuition this year.
More importantly, the estimated net price — what the average student actually pays after accounting for financial aid — was much lower, about $1,620 at public four-year colleges, and less than $12,000 at private ones. Though higher than last year, both figures are still lower than five years ago, thanks to increases in financial aid from the government and from colleges.
The figures do not include room, board and other living expenses.
Higher education once again failed to keep its price increases anywhere near the overall inflation rate. During the period covered by the College Board report, consumer prices declined by 2.1 percent. So accounting for inflation, the latest increase at public colleges felt closer to 9 percent.
“Every sector of the American economy is under stress, and higher education is no exception,” said Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education. “It’s regrettable, and it’s yet another piece of disappointing economic news that affects families.”
Students also borrowed more to pay for college — but much more from the government and much less from other lenders such as banks.
Estimated private borrowing collapsed from around $24 billion in 2007-2008 to less than $12 billion last year, the aid report estimates.
That decrease came after years of rapid expansion in student borrowing from the private sector, a trend that worried some experts because private loans generally have higher interest rates.