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  • Cutting Interest Rates, Lowering Student Debt - Updated | INPIRG
    non profit institutions The vast majority of these borrowers come from low and middle income families According to the Congressional Research Service 75 of traditional aged borrowers with subsidized Stafford loans come from families with incomes below 67 374 The median income for an American family of four is 65 000 Cutting Interest Rates The College Cost Reduction and Access Act reduces interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduates Loans originated during the next four years are set at fixed interest rates of 6 0 in 2008 2009 5 6 in 2009 2010 4 5 in 2010 2011 and 3 4 in 2011 2012 After graduation students can consolidate their loans into one loan at the weighted average of the interest rates of their various loans Interest rates are reset on July 1st for the following school year Findings Lower Interest Rates Will Save Students Thousands of Dollars By lowering interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans Congress saved college students thousands of dollars over the life of their loans We found The average four year college student starting school in 2008 with subsidized Stafford loans will save about 2 570 over the life of his or her loans The average savings for freshmen starting school in 2008 vary slightly from state to state ranging from 2 820 for a student in California to 2 340 for a student in West Virginia Table ES 1 About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action Center Campaign Resources Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campus Internships Volunteer on Campus Campaigns 21st Century Transportation Affordable Higher Education Democracy Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable New Voters Project Stop Subsidizing Obesity Student Consumer Action Network Sustainable U Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports Internships

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/reports/cutting-interest-rates-lowering-student-debt-updated (2016-04-29)
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  • Required Reading | INPIRG
    found examples of bundled books however that are considerably more expensive costing 46 to 48 percent more than the standard edition For example the bundled version of Pearson s International Economics costs 48 percent more than the unbundled version New Covers Old Content Zero Used Books Publishers frequently issue new editions of textbooks often with few substantive changes and even in subject areas like calculus and introductory physics that have not changed significantly in years Once a new edition is issued faculty and bookstores have little choice but to stop using the old edition The result is that the previous edition disappears from bookstore shelves almost overnight limiting the used textbook market We found two examples of new editions that faculty reviewers say lack substantive changes Thomson s Western Civilization 6th edition and Houghton Mifflin s Calculus with Analytic Geometry 7th edition Modern Bundles Resell Sabotage Bundling not only can increase the price of a textbook but also can undermine the used book market Textbooks increasingly come wrapped with one time use components such as one time passwords to websites with problem sets that prevent the entire book package from being resold at the end of a semester Pearson s bundled version of General Chemistry 9th edition is one example of a book with packaged components that eliminate buyback potential Low Cost Options that are Anything But Low Cost Publishers often claim that they offer lower cost options that are cheaper than the standard hardcover text McGraw Hill s Organic Chemistry 6th edition is one example of an allegedly low cost textbook that upon further examination actually has a higher net cost than the standard edition Customized to Limit the Used Book Market Publishers increasingly promote custom books which allow a professor to pick and choose the content he or she wishes to include in the class text While customization can potentially lower the cost of a textbook and create a more focused curriculum custom books also can undermine the used book market At the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign one professor tailored Houghton Mifflin s Psychology 7th edition so specifically for his course that his students will not be able to sell the book back Policy Recommendations Textbooks Should Be Priced and Sold at a Reasonable Cost to Students Publishers should work to keep the cost of producing their books and ancillary items as low as possible without sacrificing educational content Low cost alternatives should be true equivalents of their standard counterparts having equal usability completeness and quality of content When publishers sell textbooks bundled they should sell the same textbooks separately Faculty should give preference to the lowest cost option when the educational content is comparable Publishers Faculty and Universities Should Build a Vibrant Used Textbook Market Publishers should keep each textbook edition and related ancillary items on the market as long as possible without sacrificing educational content Publishers should give preference to print or online supplements to current editions over producing entirely new editions Faculty should

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/reports/required-reading (2016-04-29)
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  • Exposing the Textbook Industry | INPIRG
    websites such as Amazon com report higher satisfaction 61 rated the site they use as informative and easy to use 77 told us that the site usually lists the price of the book For professors who meet with sales representatives to research textbooks 77 told us that sales representatives rarely or never volunteer the price And even when professors directly asked for the price during a sales meeting only 38 reported that the sales representative would always disclose the price 2 Publishers need to provide unbundled alternatives to bundled textbooks and disclose the availability of these alternatives Bundling refers to the practice of shrink wrapping a textbook with additional materials such as CDs pass codes or workbooks Only 50 of the professors who told us that they assigned a bundled book last semester said that they used the additional materials often One third said that they either could not assign the book they chose without the bundle or did not know if that option was available This finding stands in contrast to the claims of many in the publishing industry that most of their books are available unbundled 3 Most professors we surveyed often find new editions unnecessary Of the professors we surveyed 71 said that new editions of textbooks in their field are justified only sometimes or rarely confirming earlier PIRG research Since new editions are on average 12 more expensive than the previous edition students are spending a lot of money for little educational gain New editions also hamper the used book market the most practical source for most students to access cheaper books Policy Recommendations Textbooks should be produced and priced to be as inexpensive as possible without sacrificing educational value New textbook editions should be produced only when educationally necessary each book should be kept on the market as long as possible with preference given to paper or online supplements over a whole new edition Faculty should have the option to purchase textbooks unbundled whenever a textbook is sold with additional materials it also should be available without the extra materials Publishers should provide faculty with more information on each book s price intended length of time on the market and substantive content differences from previous editions Faculty want and have the right to know how their textbooks choices will affect their students They should have easy access to information about all of the publisher s products low cost formats options for bundling and corresponding price information voluntarily provided at the start of any sales transaction and on desk copies provided by the publisher All textbooks should be available in a genuine low cost edition that contains comparable content in a low cost format Information about these options should be easily available Faculty should give preference to least cost options when choosing their books There should be many avenues for students to access used books including rental programs online bookswaps and bookstore buy back Released Feburary 2007 Related issues Make Textbooks Affordable About Us Our Leadership

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/reports/exposing-textbook-industry (2016-04-29)
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  • Limited Knowledge | INPIRG
    material at no cost usually through the Web Instead other sources are sought to cover the cost of producing the journal These sources include establishing supporting endowments sponsorship similar in nature to those used in public broadcasting or through fees for article process charged to authors their grants or institutions Open access peer reviewed journals also have impact factors and citation rates that on average are equal to or higher than traditional peer reviewed journals 1 Open Course Materials And Software In 1999 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT launched OpenCourseWare OCW a program MIT uses to make all of its course materials available free online for anyone in the world 2 OCW had 1 100 courses published as of June 1 2005 3 Rice University launched a similar site Connexions which grew from 200 modules to 2 300 in two years 4 Leverage Interlibrary Loan Systems Interlibrary loaning programs allow multiple institutions to share research materials through the Web or a manual delivery system For example the University of California UC interlibrary loan system allows a library to borrow or photocopy an article available in another institution s collections thus providing access to research without significant cost to the reader and capturing efficiencies in the way materials are collected and shared 5 Create Permanent Institutional Archives Administrators and librarians should create permanent standing archives in which researchers at the institution can deposit their work The university system maintains the archive and makes available the research stored within it over the Internet This guarantees free permanent access to the research produced by that university to the university itself other university systems and the public Bulk Purchasing Institutions should purchase journals in consortia with other universities to help lower subscription prices In 2002 the UC campuses negotiating in consortia through the California Digital Library saved 27 million dollars 6 After purchasing the information each of the UC schools had access to it through the Internet Bulk purchasing lowers the prices and maintains user access to vital research UC budget materials give dramatic evidence of the advantages of library resource sharing reporting that if campus libraries independently were to negotiate for license and catalog the 10 000 journal titles and 250 databases in the system wide digital collection they would have to spend an additional 34 million per year 7 Publicly Funded Research Available To The Public The creation of central standing archives for publicly funded research allow free access to valuable information benefiting universities government agencies and the general public Individual professors universities and organizations dedicated to increasing access to research have successfully made initial steps towards solving this problem by implementing one or more of the strategies described here but more rigorous change is needed in order to balance the public s need for advanced research and the publishers profits Released September 2005 Related issues Make Textbooks Affordable About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action Center Campaign Resources Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/reports/limited-knowledge (2016-04-29)
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  • Growing Up Toxic: Chemical Exposures and Increases in Developmental Disease | INPIRG
    as phthalates in the vinyl flooring stain resistant perfluorinated chemicals in the carpet lead old paint and brominated flame retardants in pillows seat cushions and certain electronic devices Objects in the home or products used indoors can release toxic chemicals which then accumulate in household dust which people breathe ingest or absorb through their skin Personal care products such as shampoos lotions deodorant and nail polish can contain phthalates that may be absorbed through our skin Chemical exposures can interfere with key stages of development at levels commonplace in people today Overwhelming evidence from studies with experimental animals and with people show links with many serious conditions throughout a human life According to the U S National Academy of Sciences just under half of all pregnancies in the country end in miscarriage or produce a child born with a birth defect or chronic health problem Chemical exposures could be a factor For example laboratory mice exposed to bisphenol A develop chromosome sorting errors in their eggs that could lead to miscarriage or conditions like Down syndrome The effect persists even into grandchildren that were not directly exposed Premature birth has increased more than 30 percent in the United States since 1981 A variety of chemical exposures could be linked to this trend Studies show that women exposed to higher levels of phthalates and some pesticides are more likely to give birth early or to give birth to smaller babies From 2003 to 2007 the number of parent reported diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD in their children increased more than 20 percent with as many as one in ten children now affected A variety of chemical exposures could be linked to this trend The prevalence of children with asthma has more than doubled since 1980 Children and adults in high phthalate homes and workplaces are more likely to develop asthma symptoms Some phthalates can cause hyperactive immune responses when rubbed on mouse skin The timing of exposure is critically important Often exposures during key windows of development in the womb or early in life are most damaging Windows of vulnerability when a key developmental process is vulnerable to disruption sometimes last only a matter of days and damage can take the form of increased susceptibility to disease which might not become apparent until later in life For example experiments with rats reveal that exposure to a hormonally active chemical on gestational day 17 can cause birth defects in the reproductive system but not if the exposure happens on gestational day 16 Exposure to mixtures of chemicals can cause greater damage than exposure to individual substances alone Traditionally toxicologists have studied chemicals one at a time to determine how hazardous they are This approach is likely to underestimate the potential danger because we are never exposed to just one chemical at a time in the real world Scientists are discovering that mixtures of active chemicals especially when they act on the same underlying mechanism of life can have a greater

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/reports/in/growing-toxic-chemical-exposures-and-increases-developmental-disease (2016-04-29)
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  • Trouble in Toyland: The 26th Annual Survey of Toy Safety | INPIRG
    article can contain more than 1000ppm of each of the six phthalates This year we found two toys that laboratory testing showed to contain 42 000 ppm and 77 000 ppm levels of phthalates These products exceed limits allowed by the CPSIA by 42 and 77 times respectively Choking Hazards Choking on small toy parts on small balls on marbles and balloons continues to be the major cause of toy related deaths and injuries Between 1990 and 2010 over 200 children died from a choking incident This year we found several toys that violated CPSC s small parts for toys standard intended for children less than 3 years old We also found near small part toys that while not in violation of current regulations support our call for the small parts test to be made less permissive Finally we found toys intended for older children that failed to provide choking hazards warnings required for small parts or small balls Noisy Toys Research has shown a third of Americans with hearing loss can attribute it in part to noise The third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed one in five U S children will have some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach age 12 this may be in part due to many children using toys and other children s products that emit loud sounds such as music players The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders advises that prolonged exposure to noise above 85 decibels will cause gradual hearing loss in any age range We found 1 toy on store shelves that exceeded the recommended continuous exposure to 85 decibel limit and 2 close to the ear toys that exceeded the 65 decibel limit when measured with a digital sound level meter Recommendations for Policy Makers Policy makers must ensure that stepped increases in budget authorizations mandated by the CPSIA for the CPSC which increase to 136 million for FY2014 are fully funded in appropriations Policymakers must also continue vigorous oversight of implementation and enforcement of the new law Manufacturers should be required to provide all hazard and health impact information to the state and federal government so agencies can begin to assess the thousands of chemicals currently on the market for which little or inadequate data are available There is overwhelming evidence showing that that the Toxic Substances Control Act is failing our most vulnerable consumers i e pregnant women babies and children Policymakers should take steps to ensure the American people are better protected from toxins in the environment Policymakers should reject well funded special interest efforts to weaken the ability of regulatory agencies to conduct rulemakings or enforce rules designed to protect public health and safety For The Consumer Product Safety Commission CPSC should review and where necessary expand its definition of a small part or small toy to include parts and toys that are larger than the current standard but have been shown to pose a choking hazard to children The CPSC

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/reports/in/trouble-toyland-26th-annual-survey-toy-safety (2016-04-29)
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  • INPIRG | Together we can make change happen
    data and projections from independent sources to provide a detailed picture of repeal s impact on young adults The evidence reveals that young people would face significant costs if the Affordable Care Act is repealed More 12 06 2011 Report Toward Common Ground Bridging the Political Divide to Reduce Spending Our nation faces unprecedented fiscal challenges as the commitments we ve made now and into the future far outpace our fiscal capacity Congress the President s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and citizens across the country must grapple with very difficult decisions about how we can put our fiscal house in order More Pages first previous 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 next last Visit Our Blog INPIRG Homepage About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action Center Campaign Resources Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campus Internships Volunteer on Campus Campaigns 21st Century Transportation Affordable Higher Education Democracy Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable New Voters Project Stop Subsidizing Obesity Student Consumer Action Network Sustainable U Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports Search form Search Students in Action Like Us Follow Us RSS Contact Students in Action Student leaders educate the campus about income inequality during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week We collect petition signatures lots of them Hunger and Homelessness intern Roua Aboukhadijeh collecting interview footage on campus for a short film on poverty Students campaign for High Speed Rail Fast Trains ARE Cool Students volunteer at a local garden for the National Hunger Cleanup Volunteers wear the textbook mascot costumes to educate students about affordable textbook alternatives Students posing with the textbook Rebellion books We Want Cheaper TEXTBOOKS Textbook Rebel and Mr 200 drew attention to outrageous textbook prices Six media

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/home?page=20 (2016-04-29)
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  • INPIRG | Together we can make change happen
    for everything you need to know to organize the oceans campaign on your campus More Pages first previous 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 next last Visit Our Blog INPIRG Homepage About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action Center Campaign Resources Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campus Internships Volunteer on Campus Campaigns 21st Century Transportation Affordable Higher Education Democracy Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable New Voters Project Stop Subsidizing Obesity Student Consumer Action Network Sustainable U Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports Search form Search Students in Action Like Us Follow Us RSS Contact Students in Action Student leaders educate the campus about income inequality during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week We collect petition signatures lots of them Hunger and Homelessness intern Roua Aboukhadijeh collecting interview footage on campus for a short film on poverty Students campaign for High Speed Rail Fast Trains ARE Cool Students volunteer at a local garden for the National Hunger Cleanup Volunteers wear the textbook mascot costumes to educate students about affordable textbook alternatives Students posing with the textbook Rebellion books We Want Cheaper TEXTBOOKS Textbook Rebel and Mr 200 drew attention to outrageous textbook prices Six media outlets covered a stop on the Textbooks Rebellion tour to promote affordable alternatives to outrageously expensive textbooks Tell Congress Don t Double Our Rates Take Action On July 1 student loan interest rates on federal student loans will double driving up loan costs for 8 million students by 1 000 per loan Jobs for Graduating Seniors Learn more and apply If you are ready to dig in and start solving the problems that confront our country consider a job with U S PIRG Join our team of interns and volunteers

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/home?page=17 (2016-04-29)
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