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  • High-Speed Rail: Public Private or Both? | MASSPIRG Students
    the high speed rail line which can result in important transportation assets being operated primarily to boost private profit rather than best advance public needs Delays in the early stages of a project as government and private partners engage in the difficult and complex task of negotiating PPP agreements High speed rail PPPs and efforts toward rail privatization abroad have a mixed track record The report reviews a number of international cases of better and worse cases of contracting in Europe and Asia Public officials should use a set of common sense principles to evaluate public private partnerships and should refuse to pursue PPPs that do not serve the public interest The principles that should guide government s approach to high speed rail PPPs are 1 Governments must only pursue PPPs for the right reasons such as the ability to deliver a public project for lower price or with higher quality rather than use PPPs to avoid budgetary discipline or compliance with governmental standards 2 PPPs must deliver added value for the taxpayer as measured by a comprehensive test that includes all the relevant costs of a high speed rail project 3 PPPs must align private sector incentives with public sector goals ensuring that private sector partners experience penalties and rewards that forward the public s interest 4 PPPs must only be pursued where ample competition exists for the service being put out for bid 5 PPPs must only be pursued by competent well prepared governments with the ability to defend the public interest in contract negotiations monitoring and contract enforcement 6 There must be clear public accountability in PPP projects with one government agency responsible for oversight and holding contractors accountable for performance 7 The public must retain control over key transportation system decisions 8 PPP projects must not

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/reports/ma/high-speed-rail-public-private-or-both (2016-04-29)
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  • 'Textbook Rebellion' Launches Cross-Country Tour | MASSPIRG Students
    in the movement and to raise awareness of new options like open textbooks that are already out there today A new survey released by the Student PIRGs found that 70 student respondents reported not purchasing one or more of their assigned textbooks because the cost was too high Of those students 78 said they generally believed that they would do worse in a course without the required materials There s a growing awareness among professors that textbook costs are an increasing financial burden on students said Dr Charles Stangor Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland and author of an open textbook published by Flat World Knowledge What we need are high quality affordable options like open textbooks and other open resources that give all students access to the knowledge they need to succeed in their courses The Textbook Rebellion was created earlier this year out of widespread frustration with the skyrocketing cost of college textbooks Prices have been rising more than four times the rate of inflation for the past two decades The College Board estimates that the average student will spend 1 137 on textbooks each year Unnecessary new editions expensive bundles and e books that expire are common publishing industry tactics to further increase costs In an economy where a college degree is practically a necessity for securing a good job students need to be able to afford the course materials they need to learn in school said Jamil Scott Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Associated Students of the University of Maryland College Park The Textbook Rebellion coalition released the schedule for the 40 events of its fall semester tour Contact Nicole Allen at 401 484 8104 or nicole studentpirgs org for event details Click here for the latest version of the tour schedule Wed 8 31 University of Maryland Thu 9 1 Rutgers Camden NJ Fri 9 2 Rutgers Newark NJ Rutgers New Brunswick NJ Tue 9 6 UConn Storrs UConn Hartford Trinity College Wed 9 7 UMASS Amherst Worcester State College Thu 9 8 UMASS Boston Boston College Fri 9 9 UMASS Lowell Salem State College Mon 9 12 UMASS Dartmouth Wed 9 14 Indiana University Thu 9 15 University of Wisconsin Madison Fri 9 16 Truman College Wilbur Wright College City Colleges of Chicago Mon 9 19 Colorado University Denver Colorado University Boulder Colorado University Colorado Springs Tue 9 20 University of New Mexico Wed 9 21 University of Arizona Arizona State University Thurs 9 22 University of California Los Angeles University of Southern California Fri 9 23 University of California Irvine University of California Riverside Mon 9 26 University of California San Diego Tue 9 27 University of California Santa Barbara Wed 9 28 University of California Santa Cruz Thu 9 29 University of California Berkeley Fri 9 30 De Anza College City College of San Francisco Mon 10 3 University of California Davis Tue 10 4 Southern Oregon University Wed 10 5 University of Oregon Lane Community College Thu

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/news/textbook-rebellion-launches-cross-country-tour (2016-04-29)
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  • Ripoff 101: Tips for Saving on Textbooks | MASSPIRG Students
    alarming rate and our student boards decided to launch an investigation into the cause of high textbook prices I have to admit at first we were a little alarmed by the results Textbook prices were rising at 4 times the rate of inflation and publishers were artificially inflating their prices Our staff and students released a series of reports which got a lot of media attention and faculty and congress responded Since 2004 several states have taken legislative action and last summer the national textbook price disclosure law went into effect Now we ve teamed up with other student faculty college and affordable textbook groups to launch a coalition called the Textbook Rebellion which will present a united front against textbook rip offs Good luck Make Textbooks Affordable Textbooks Add new comment Comments aecdbdfv November 5 2012 11 32pm Zsnanytw Canada Goose Jackor Mbxcpeqk Lid Coach Outlet Store Online Jidm reply About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community College Mass College of Liberal Arts MassBay Community College Middlesex Community College North Shore Community College Salem State University UMass Amherst UMass Boston UMass Dartmouth UMass Lowell Westfield State University Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campaigns Make Textbooks Affordable 100 Renewable Energy Stop Overuse of Antibiotics Get Big Money out of Politics New Voters Project Hunger and Homelessness Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports DONATE Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get hands on experience and make a difference Get Info Students in Action Like Us Follow Us RSS Contact Blog Posts by Campaign Make Textbooks Affordable Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable Make Textbooks Affordable New Voters Project Newsroom Blog Media Hits

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/blogs/latest-updates-blog/ripoff-101-tips-saving-textbooks (2016-04-29)
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  • UMASS Dartmouth Fall 2011 Accomplishments | MASSPIRG Students
    delivering 10 000 signatures 1 400 from here on campus asking the state legislature to update the Bottle Bill By joining together and funding MASSPIRG here at UMass Dartmouth we ve been able to accomplish a lot Thanks for your support Of course there s still a lot to be done on all of our campaigns I m excited for next semester Thanks Saraline Joseph UMass Dartmouth Add new comment About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community College Mass College of Liberal Arts MassBay Community College Middlesex Community College North Shore Community College Salem State University UMass Amherst UMass Boston UMass Dartmouth UMass Lowell Westfield State University Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campaigns Make Textbooks Affordable 100 Renewable Energy Stop Overuse of Antibiotics Get Big Money out of Politics New Voters Project Hunger and Homelessness Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports DONATE Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get hands on experience and make a difference Get Info Students in Action Like Us Follow Us RSS Contact Blog Posts by Campaign Make Textbooks

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/blogs/latest-news/ma/accomplishments-8 (2016-04-29)
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  • Westfield State Fall 2011 Accomplishments | MASSPIRG Students
    the high cost of textbooks and affordable solutions The tour collected 10 000 petition signatures and was featured in 100 news stories By joining together and funding MASSPIRG here at Westfield State University we ve been able to bring about some great results Thanks for your support Of course there s still a lot to be done on all of our campaigns I m excited for next semester Thanks Kat Dolan Westfield State University Add new comment About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community College Mass College of Liberal Arts MassBay Community College Middlesex Community College North Shore Community College Salem State University UMass Amherst UMass Boston UMass Dartmouth UMass Lowell Westfield State University Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campaigns Make Textbooks Affordable 100 Renewable Energy Stop Overuse of Antibiotics Get Big Money out of Politics New Voters Project Hunger and Homelessness Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports DONATE Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get hands on experience and make a difference Get Info Students in Action Like Us Follow Us RSS

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/blogs/latest-news/ma/accomplishments-6 (2016-04-29)
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  • New Laws, Free Books and Textbook Rentals Could Help Curb Rising Costs This Fall | MASSPIRG Students
    difficult to consider cost on behalf of students The new law empowers professors to readily identify lower cost options that suit their instructional needs said Dr D Steven White Professor of Marketing International Business at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on a conference call last month Another requirement in the law is that colleges must provide the list of assigned textbooks for each course during registration which means that students will now have months rather than weeks or days to save up and shop around for the best deals The law also limits bundling a notorious practice used by publishers to drive up costs Read more about the law here http www studentpirgs org textbooks heoa Open Source Textbooks Another exciting development is that affordable alternatives are on the rise Open source textbooks which are commonly hailed as the next step will be used in hundreds of new classrooms starting this fall including two of White s courses Open textbooks are college texts offered online under a license that allows free digital access and low cost printing Unlike conventional e books which can be expensive and highly restrictive open textbooks are free online and hard copies are affordable 20 40 in most cases White estimates that his switch to open textbooks will save his students more than 11 000 The Open College Textbook Act which was introduced in Congress by Senator Dick Durbin D IL would establish a federally funded competitive grant program to create more open textbooks Read more about open textbooks here http www studentpirgs org open textbooks Rental Textbooks Although prices continue to skyrocket students have gained new ways to escape paying full fare Textbook rental programs are at the top of the list having spread like wildfire over the summer to colleges across the country Starting this fall students at literally thousands of colleges could save hundreds by renting their books either on campus or online through websites like Chegg com or BookRenter com Read our tips to save on textbooks here http www studentpirgs org textbooks tips Although these new developments will not cause textbook prices to drop overnight cash strapped students should find them at least somewhat heartening In the words of Waller With textbook costs so high we need all the help we can get About the Student PIRGs The Student Public Interest Research Groups is a national network of non profit non partisan student advocacy groups that work on public interest issues pertaining to the environment consumer protection and government reform The new figure on inflation was calculated from Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index PPI data which measures the average change of wholesale prices over time For inflation on textbook prices we compared the PPI for College Textbook Publishing for 1990 210 2 and 2009 628 to the PPI for All Finished Goods for the same years 119 2 and 172 5 respectively The outcome was that the increase in the PPI for textbooks is 4 4 times the increase

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/news/new-laws-free-books-and-textbook-rentals-could-help-curb-rising-costs-fall (2016-04-29)
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  • New Federal Law Will Curb Skyrocketing Textbook Costs | MASSPIRG Students
    D Steven White Professor of Marketing International Business at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth The new law empowers professors to readily identify lower cost options that suit their instructional needs 2 Publishers must offer unbundled versions of textbooks Bundling or the practice of packing textbooks with CDs pass codes and other ancillaries that often go unused can increase costs 10 50 according to PIRG research From now on students will have the option to purchase only the items they need 3 Colleges must include the list of assigned textbooks during course registration With advance notice students can plan ahead for the full cost of their next term and they have time to shop around for the best deals on their books More cost saving options are available now than ever before Students can save hundreds by shopping for discounts online renting and trading used books with other students said Nicole Allen Textbooks Advocate for the Student PIRGs The next step is to make sure textbooks are affordable in the first place Another theme that emerged was that open source textbooks would play a prominent role in future efforts to reduce costs Open textbooks are digital books that unlike conventional e books are licensed to be free online and affordable to purchase in print While currently available for a limited number of courses budding efforts to create open textbooks including publishing company Flat World Knowledge and Durbin s legislation promise greater availability in coming years White is one of thousands of professors nationwide already exploring the use of open textbooks in college classrooms This fall he estimates that switching to open textbooks will save his 98 students approximately 11 000 Affordable high quality alternatives like open textbooks could mean serious competition for traditional publishers noted Dr White Especially now that professors

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/news/new-federal-law-will-curb-skyrocketing-textbook-costs (2016-04-29)
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  • Risking Our Future Middle Class | MASSPIRG Students
    The tens of thousands of dollars in high interest loans I ll have to repay at graduation will benefit the banks but keep me in a financial hole This is a generation of 18 29 year olds unemployed or involuntarily out of the workforce added Gregory Cendana President of the United States Student Association With jobs scarce higher education should be an accessible training ground but instead it is under siege Risking Our Future Middle Class documents that debt has become a generation defining characteristic for today s young adults For instance private student loans typically have uncapped variable interest rates reaching as high as 18 in recent years and they cannot be deferred in the event of job loss Young adults need tools to save and build assets for the future otherwise they ll be dragged down by a predatory financial market noted Caleb Gibson of Demos We need more disclosure fair pricing and protection from the excessive risk taking of banks Senator Dick Durbin D IL recently sponsored an amendment to the Wall Street reform package that would ensure that private loans from the country s largest student lender Sallie Mae fall under the CFPB s authority Too often students who don t realize the long term impact of their loan decisions fall victim to high interest rates and predatory lending We owe it to them and their families to make sure higher education remains accessible by putting strong protections in place that prevent abusive practices in private student lending Similar legislation passed the House in December According to Americans for Financial Reform a coalition of more than 250 reform organizations including U S PIRG USSA and Demos industry opponents of the strongest parts of the reform package have been spending almost 1 4 million a day since

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/reports/risking-our-future-middle-class (2016-04-29)
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