As 21st Century employers continue to seek a highly-trained workforce, the marketable value of a college education has never been higher. At the same time, the rising costs of a college education force growing numbers of families and students to seek federal financial aid.
In FY 2012, according to the Department of Education (DOE), federal student aid programs provided about $142 billion in grants and loans to 15 million students. Although a large portion of these funds are paid directly towards tuition, many students also receive a portion of their aid to cover the costs of textbooks or living expenses. To facilitate these direct student payments, many colleges have partnered with financial firms that provide debit cards and/or bank accounts.
These disbursement products can serve as a revenue opportunity for colleges; but they may not be the best deal for students.
Big talk this week is the leaked sex tape between "Love and Hip Hop Atlanta" stars Mimi and Nikko. If you haven't heard about this or at least heard, seen or read a "shower rod" joke in the past few days, you must be living underneath a rock...a very large one.
Admittedly, I've been spending a little time under that rock myself. I have never watched an episode of the show. Before this week I couldn't have picked Mimi or Nikko out of a line up. However, I know them both quite well now. Possibly more than I'd really like.
OK, first off, it's not really a sex tape; it's a "DVD." A sex tape is a video between two people that is meant to be kept private. This was a production with a professional cameraman that was made for retail. Ever since Kim Kardashian made the spotlight for a "sex tape" there seems to be never-ending quests for 15 minutes of fame...or the extending of it, that is.
Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it's down to $134 billion.
People who believe in public belt-tightening applaud drops like that. I understand why: there are many reasons to reduce government spending. But in this case they're wrong. We need to boost the government's investment in R&D, not slash it.
Let's begin with the federal government's record, which is nothing short of impressive:
One of the best-kept secrets over the past 50 years is that, proportionately, Republicans in Congress supported passage of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act by a much wider margin than Democrats.
As CNN.com reported, "The Guardian's Harry J. Enten broke down the vote, showing that more than 80 percent of Republicans in both houses voted in favor of the bill, compared with more than 60 percent of Democrats. When you account for geography, according to Enten's article, 90 percent of lawmakers from states that were in the union during the Civil War supported the bill compared with less than 10 percent of lawmakers from states that were in the Confederacy."
This is from a report from CNN, not FOX, the network despised by liberals.
Covering the three-day celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act at the University of Texas last week brought back a string of memories – some fond, some bitter. As a son of the South –Tuscaloosa, Ala., to be specific – I saw first-hand how the region was transformed from America's version of apartheid to one that is perhaps more genuinely accepting of African Americans than any other geographical section of the country.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton – all white Southerners who grew up in the Jim Crow South – played a significant role in the region's transformation. But that didn't happen in a vacuum. Each was pushed and challenged by the modern civil rights movement, a multi-racial movement, with blacks serving as chief architects that prodded the U.S. to have its deeds mirror its professed ideals. (George W. Bush, a wealthy Texan, is omitted from this discussion because he did nothing significant to advance civil rights. In fact, his appointment of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court represented a setback to the cause of civil rights.)
While Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); Whitney Young of the National Urban League; NAACP Executive Director Roy Wilkins; John Lewis, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Roy Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) receive the lion's share of publicity about the movement, the true heroes were the everyday men and women of the South who risked their jobs and lives to be treated as equals.
When John and Ann started working on Jan. 1, 2013, John had an immediate advantage. Because women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn, it took Ann until last Friday (April 11, 2014) to earn the same amount of money that John earned in the calendar year of 2013.
The issue of unequal pay is so important that President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act 50 years ago. While we have come a long way, baby, the pay gap has remained stubborn. This is why President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act as soon as he assumed office.
This year, to commemorate National Equal Pay Day (that's the day Ann finally earns as much as John), the president signed an Executive Order protecting workers from retaliation when they speak of unequal pay in the workplace (one of the ways employers can maintain unequal pay is to make discussing pay grounds for firing). The president, through the Secretary of Labor, is also requiring federal contractors to provide data on pay, race, and gender to ensure that employers are fairly paid. Furthermore, the Senate is considering the Paycheck Fairness Act, which may pass the Senate, but not the House of Representatives.
I first heard someone at a black student union party refer to herself – and to me, by extension – as a "regular black." The music had made a quick turn from the latest rap song to a Caribbean dancehall mix.
"Oh, I'm regular black; I don't dance to this music."
Well, this "regular black" continued dancing, but I was intrigued by the term.