The following is from the Aug. 10, 2008, edition of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

Congress acts to make college more affordable


Melody Davenport is a little nervous about having two children in college next year.

She knows that means everything doubles, from tuition bills to meal plans, at a time when college costs and other expenses continue to skyrocket.

But she also knows that help is on the way, now that Congress has passed a bill to use billions of dollars to help students through expanded grants and financial programs. The measure is waiting for President Bush’s signature to become law.

The bill would make Pell grants worth more money and available year-round, require colleges to account for rising tuition bills and even make financial aid applications easier to figure out — all measures some say are needed as America continues to try to field a better-educated work force prepared to compete in the global economy. . .

Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, said, "My sense of the Higher Education Act is that it’s a mixed bag."

The best is the increase in Pell grants, he said. The harder part is requiring more detailed reporting about how universities set tuition.

Read the full story.

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