« PreviousContinue »
In the past, our Elmer Holmes Bobst Library the anchor of NYU's library system has benefitted greatly from Title II grants for strengthening research libraries. We have used these grants for innovative joint projects with other New York libraries to convert bibliographic records into computerized form, making more widely available, for example, information about the impressive collections in art and architecture at NYU'S famed Institute of Fine Arts. Our Tamiment Institute Library of Labor History has also received funds to catalog its unique holdings and make them more accessible to scholars around the country.
Title II has been vital to academic libraries. Congress has recognized the worth of this measure and has consistently rejected attempts by the Administration over the last decade to kill the program. Even as I applaud the survival of Title II, I must note that Federal library programs have never been generously funded. This is one area that deserves more attention rather than neglect.
Another topic long of concern to me is international education. Just twenty-five years ago, I was chief sponsor in Congress of the International Education Act of 1966 a forerunner of Title VI of the Higher Education Act.
Can anyone doubt the soundness of the investment the United States government has made in foreign language and area studies, in scholarly research about foreign affairs and in international exchanges?
Title VI has been the keystone of that investment, helping develop a highly-trained cadre of scholars and teachers in foreign language and area studies.
The primary programs in Title VI are the National Resource Centers and the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships. The modest funds supplied through Title VI leverage greater contributions by colleges and universities themselves.
New York University is today a partner in three National Resource Centers:
1) The Joint Center for Near Eastern Studies, in which our Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies has since 1967 participated with Princeton University.
The New York University and Columbia University Consortium
for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, which was designated a National Resource Center three years ago; and
Our latest addition: The New York City Consortium for
Next year, 18 NYU scholars, supported by FLAS fellowships, will pursue advanced language and international studies in conjunction with these centers.
As we scan today's headlines and hear the television reports about the extraordinary developments in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union -- only last week I welcomed Boris Yeltsin to NYU -the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, the coming of Europe in 1992, the emerging linkages among the countries and peoples in our own hemisphere -- the importance of supporting interdisciplinary scholarship about these areas of the world seems obvious.
We need to invest far more then we have been doing in learning about other countries, cultures and peoples and Title VI is an essential part of this effort.
Another valuable component of the Higher Education Act is Title IX, which authorizes fellowship and traineeship programs for graduate and professional study.
Eight years ago, I served on the National Commission on Student Piñanoial Assistance and shaired the Oraduate Education Subcommittee of the Commission. In December 1983, the Commission issued a report on graduate education which enjoyed the unanimous support of its twelve members among them, the distinguished Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Bill Ford, and the distinguished Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts and the Humanities, Claiborne Pell.
In that report our Commission called for increased support for graduate students, including fellowships and research and training assistantships. "Unless adequate student aid is available," said our Commission, "the nation will not be able to attract the talented young people it needs into graduate education."
Title IX is the fulcrum of financial support for graduate and professional students. And I am pleased that, partly in response to our graduate education report, Title IX was expanded in 1984 to include the Jacob K. Javits fellowships for gifted college graduates to pursue advanced study in the arts,
humanities and social sciences.
New York University and its students currently receive support from five of the seven programs under Title IX, including those to encourage minority and disadvantaged students to pursue graduate studies, to assist students who want a career in public service, and to help law students gain clinical experience.
The Bush Administration, as you know, has proposed dropping some Title IX programs, and consolidating the remainder, along with the Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships and library career training grants, into a single package of competitive grants for graduate students in areas of national need.
I, for one, view this notion as little more than an effort to reduce funds essential to graduate education in the United States.
Finally, I want to comment on the title of the Higher Education Act that represents the largest and most far-reaching financial commitment of the Federal government to opportunity for postsecondary studies: Title IV.
As one of the architects of several of the programs that now constitute Title IV, I can assure you that they were a direct expression of the concern of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress that an opportunity for a college education should not be denied any talented, motivated student because uf financial need.
Toward that end we constructed a fabric of student aid programs, including Guaranteed Student Loans, College Work Study and Pell Grants, which have provided millions of American young people the chance to go to college. Our commitment was simple and straightforward: desire and ability, not wealth, should be the key to educational opportunity in the United States.
In my judgment, the constellation of Federal student aid programs represents one of the shining glories of American public policy. These initiatives have made it possible for millions of students to attend colleges and universities who only two decades ago would not have been able to do so.
Here at NYU, for example, almost two-thirds of all full-time undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid, the bulk of which comes from Federal programs. During the past academic year, these students received, from all sources, $60.8 million in aid.
Not surprisingly, every time legislation to continue the
authorization of HEA is considered, it is Title IV that provokes the most debate. The battles are even more heated in times of fiscal constraint. The issues you on this committee face include: directing aid toward poor or middle-class college students, the growing imbalance between grants and loans, and the problem of rising loan defaults.
From my perspective, as leader of a major private university, I recommend, as you examine Title IV, the following guidelines:
Pell Grants: To recapture the buying power of Pell Grants, which has eroded considerably in recent years, and to make them the tools of access for which they were designed, maximum awards should be increased substantially from the current $2,400 and adjusted annually to keep pace with inflation.
The Bush Administration has urged an increase in the Pell grant maximum, but would pay for the rise by simply eliminating 400,000 students from eligibility. By targeting the majority of Pell funds to families with incomes of less than $10,000, the Administration would make it even more difficult for many needy I reiterate, needy -- students from lower and middle-income families to qualify for grants. This would be unwise policy and I fully agree with Senator Pell who said of the Bush proposal: "The need is for more grants for more students not more money for fewer students."
I suggest further that determination of Pell awards be tied in some manner to levels of tuition, and that larger grants be given to freshmen and sophomores. Such "frontloading" of Pell grants would encourage students to postpone borrowing and thereby alleviate heavy debt burdens.
Finally, Congress should certainly consider
I hope favorably the proposal of Senators Kennedy, Simon and other members of both houses to make Pell Grants an entitlement.
Guaranteed Loans: I join the majority of leaders in the higher education community in recommending increased loan limits for the Stafford loan program.
Student Loan Defaults: I realize the Committee will be closely examining the issue of student loan defaults. The loan default issue calls for correcting some misconceptions.
Here let me explain that college students are not necessarily more negligent than other beneficiaries of Federal programs.
Indeed, the default rate for student loans is lower than that for many other Federal loan programs, such as Small Business Administration and farm relief loans.
I think it also important to emphasize that student loans are intended to go to persons of modest economic means. These are people who often have no credit records or earning history, persons to whom banks would not make unsecured loans. In other words, without Federally guaranteed student loans, many young people would not be able to go to college at all.
Your Committee is already aware of studies that show that a substantial volume of defaults occurs at profit-making trade schools. In fact, although students in proprietary schools account for 22 percent of loans, they account for 44 percent of loans currently in default. Their default rate is 39 percent, compared to ten percent for four-year colleges. At NYU, I may add, it's lower still under four percent!
Here I in no way want to argue that postsecondary institutions should be exempt from evaluation or criticism.
Indeed, I agree with policies that set a certain maximum allowable default rate (the current rate is 35 percent) before institutions are rendered ineligible to receive guaranteed loans.
From the point of view of the students themselves, who often graduate from college with sizable in many cases, unmanageable -- debt, I favor allowing loan recipients to stretch out repayments and consolidate various loans. In this way, the government can be paid back and students kept from going into default.
Campus-Based Programs: The campus-based programs Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, College Work Study and Perkins are a vital ingredient in the student aid mix. As you know, campus-based aid is distributed directly to colleges and universities, which then add their own funds and distribute the aid to students.
In reviewing these programs, Congress should, so as to be responsive to changing student needs, consider giving campus administrators more flexibility in transferring funds from one program to another.
The Bush Administration wants to kill all Federal contributions to the Perkins Loan program, which provides institutions money for loans to needy students. Withdrawal of such funds would cause hardship on many campuses, including New York University, where we rely on Perkins loans to supplement other sources of aid.
Now I have looked briefly at four titles of the HEA. panel will spend the greater part of two years immersing
You on this