Nation in brief

Bill may lessen textbook price burden
(U-WIRE) KENT, Ohio – Students could receive up to a $1,000 tax credit for textbooks under a bill proposed by Congressman Tim Ryan.
Ryan testified before the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee about the bill on Thursday. Under its current form, HR 4243 would give up to a $1,000 credit to students or their families for books required for college classes.
Ryan, whose district includes Kent State University, the University of Akron and Youngstown State University, said in a teleconference with student reporters that he had several reasons for introducing the measure.
He cited the rising cost of tuition across the country. More than 250,000 people in the United States are eligible to go to college but cannot because of the costs, he said.
Recently, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education gave Ohio and many other states failing grades on affordability. “This $1,000 tax credit is a big step to help these students (afford college),” he said.
Congress has reacted positively to the idea, Ryan said. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a congresswoman from the Cleveland area, told him about the cost of her son’s textbooks. Another man told Ryan about his grandson’s $300 textbook.
Ryan said he wants the public to know about the bill and said he expects to see bipartisan cooperation for the proposal because many members of Congress have children in college.
Ryan said he expects Congress to end session before it acts on his bill, but it will be picked up again in the next session.
“As we see an increase in tuition, students are getting killed on the cost for textbooks,” he said. “They buy a book for $100 and get $5 back.”
Tufts offer grants for alcohol-free parties
(U-WIRE) MEDFORD, Mass. – Students looking to host nonalcoholic alternatives to fraternity house basements are just a short application away from receiving funding for social events, thanks to Tufts University Health Services.
Director of Drug and Alcohol Education Margot Abels worked with students this summer to create a program that will give money to student groups that hold alcohol-free social events.
“Basically it’s free money floating around given out to student groups to use,” Tufts Community Union Treasurer Jeff Katzin said.
Abels said the party grants will offer alternatives to people who want to go out but don’t want to consume alcohol.
“Sponsoring nonalcoholic events provides a lot of social opportunities where people don’t have to drink,” Abels said.
She argued that a lack of alcohol-free social events has contributed to increasing problems with student drinking on campus. Abels said drinking unsafe levels of alcohol is not just a result of parties serving alcoholic drinks, but is also due to the unavailability of other events on campus.
“There weren’t any frat parties during (freshman orientation week), yet we still had plenty of (Tufts Emergency Medical Service) calls,” Abels said.
The funding will come in the form of “mini-grants” of up to $300. The Alcohol and Drug Program at Health Services will offer around 10 to 12 mini-grants throughout the year though that number may increase.
Abel thought of the “mini-grants” idea after facing some disappointment last year. The Alcohol and Drug Program planned to hold a nonalcoholic version of the popular drinking game Beirut tournament last semester, but the event never took place.
“Better I fund people rather than having people excited over something that doesn’t happen,” Abels said. “I don’t think it makes sense for me to design events. It’s not the best use of my time.”
?compiled by Ryan Holeywell

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