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  • Obama, Romney focus on student debt as campaign issue | WISPIRG Students
    half of young voters say they are certain to show up at the polls this time They rank jobs and unemployment as their most critical issue according to the survey with the federal deficit and education nearly tied for second place The debate over what to do about the nation s 1 trillion in student loan debt speaks directly to all of those concerns Many graduates have struggled to find jobs in the tight labor market and have fallen behind on their college loans in the process Another study by Pew found that those debts have made it harder for many young people to buy a home and have affected their career choices That has prompted rallies at college campuses across the country calling for an extension of low interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans The rates were reduced to 3 4 percent in 2007 but will double on July 1 for new loans According to the White House about 7 million students would be affected and the increase could cost them as much as 5 000 over the next decade Democratic lawmakers have proposed bills in both chambers that would extend the current rates through next year but some Republicans have balked at the 6 billion price tag On Monday Sen Tom Harkin D Iowa chairman of the education committee said he would introduce new legislation on the issue later this week Romney s support for the issue could help push it through the partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill However the candidate cautioned that the extension should be paid for in a way that doesn t harm the job prospects of young Americans Still the Obama campaign accused Romney of switching positions and supporting cuts to popular Pell Grants And some Democratic lawmakers remained skeptical of Romney s

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/media/sp/obama-romney-focus-student-debt-campaign-issue (2016-04-29)
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  • New York Times: Student Loan Interest Rates Loom as Political Battle | WISPIRG Students
    us in an untenable situation said John P Kline Jr the Minnesota Republican who is chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce The low interest rate stemmed from the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act which reduced interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans over the following four academic years from 6 8 percent to the current 3 4 percent with the proviso that the rates would revert to 6 8 percent this July Extending the low rate would be too costly Mr Kline said We must now choose between allowing interest rates to rise or piling billions of dollars on the backs of taxpayers he said I have serious concerns about any proposal that simply kicks the can down the road and creates more uncertainty in the long run which is what put us in this situation in the first place Mr Kline who earlier this year called the interest rate hike a ticking time bomb set by Democrats said he was exploring other options in hopes of finding a solution that served borrowers and taxpayers equally well When the 2007 law was passed 77 Republicans most of whom are still in Congress voted for it But in the current climate of fractious partisanship new legislation introduced by Representative Joe Courtney to extend the lower rate has 127 co sponsors all of them Democrats Mr Courtney said he was hopeful that some Republican support would be forthcoming as the political stakes became more apparent The visibility of this issue is going to continue to grow as we get closer to the deadline he said The response of students and parents is one of disbelief that interest is going to double at a time when interest rates are so low and I think it s very politically

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/media/sp/new-york-times-student-loan-interest-rates-loom-political-battle (2016-04-29)
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  • Groups target textbook prices to rein in college costs | WISPIRG Students
    and doing it in a way that does not impact income to the university says David Ernst who is spearheading a University of Minnesota project that encourages faculty to adopt cheaper books Commercial publishers typically own the rights to content they produce while the alternative materials often called open textbooks or open educational resources are published under a license that allows the public to access them for free online Typically a print version can be purchased for a relatively small fee Students already are gravitating toward cheaper options including renting or buying used books Those attending four year colleges spent on average 598 in 2010 11 down from 677 in 2008 09 according to national surveys by market research firm Student Monitor More than 40 said they didn t purchase all required books primarily because they couldn t afford them Commercial publishers also are producing lower cost versions Cengage s 4LTR Press which combines print and online content saved students 50 million over the past three years says the Association of American Publishers Several universities including Cornell and University of California Berkeley are cutting deals with publishers to charge students a lower price for an e textbook this semester than what they would have paid on their own The publishers group also argues that their members offer higher quality If you ignore what works in favor of a movement to give something away that may not work then you ve done more damage than good spokesman Bruce Hildebrand says But advocates of open textbooks say the growing array of options are getting better There is so much going on right now says Nicole Allen who directs a textbook campaign for U S PIRG a national public interest advocacy group We re starting to see states and institutions stepping up and

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/media/groups-target-textbook-prices-rein-college-costs (2016-04-29)
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  • Million Dollar Megaphones | WISPIRG Students
    the total was secret money that cannot be traced back to an original source But because of gaps in reporting requirements spending reported to the FEC is only part of the picture When all types of outside spending on television ads related to the presidential race are taken into account just over 50 of the spending has been by dark money groups that do not disclose their donors According to Kantar CMAG data the top five 501 c 4 spenders on the presidential race have spent 53 million through July 1st on advertising in the presidential race alone but our analysis shows these same groups have only reported 420 920 in spending collectively on all races to the FEC through June 30th This means that these groups are currently reporting less than 1 of their total spending The Top 5 outside spending groups have accounted for 58 5 of all outside spending in the 2012 cycle Super PACs continue to be tools used by a small number of wealthy individuals and institutions to dominate the political process Just over 57 of the 230 million raised by Super PACs from individuals came from just 47 people giving at least 1 million Just over 1 000 donors giving 10 000 or more were responsible for 94 of this fundraising Sheldon and Miriam Adelson have given a combined 36 3 million to Super PACs in the 2012 cycle It would take more than 321 000 average American families donating an equivalent share of their wealth to match the Adelsons giving For profit businesses contributed 34 2 million to Super PACs accounting for 11 of their fundraising There are reasons to suspect businesses are contributing much more to nonprofit organizations and trade associations that do not disclose their donors About Us Our Leadership Our

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/reports/wi/million-dollar-megaphones (2016-04-29)
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  • Million-Dollar Megaphones | WISPIRG Students
    money that cannot be traced back to an original source But because of gaps in reporting requirements spending reported to the FEC is only part of the picture When all types of outside spending on television ads related to the presidential race are taken into account just over 50 of the spending has been by dark money groups that do not disclose their donors According to Kantar CMAG data the top five 501 c 4 spenders on the presidential race have spent 53 million through July 1st on advertising in the presidential race alone but our analysis shows these same groups have only reported 420 920 in spending collectively on all races to the FEC through June 30th This means that these groups are currently reporting less than 1 of their total spending The Top 5 outside spending groups have accounted for 58 5 of all outside spending in the 2012 cycle Super PACs continue to be tools used by a small number of wealthy individuals and institutions to dominate the political process Just over 57 of the 230 million raised by Super PACs from individuals came from just 47 people giving at least 1 million Just over 1 000 donors giving 10 000 or more were responsible for 94 of this fundraising Sheldon and Miriam Adelson have given a combined 36 3 million to Super PACs in the 2012 cycle It would take more than 321 000 average American families donating an equivalent share of their wealth to match the Adelsons giving For profit businesses contributed 34 2 million to Super PACs accounting for 11 of their fundraising There are reasons to suspect businesses are contributing much more to nonprofit organizations and trade associations that do not disclose their donors About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Local Chapters

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/reports/million-dollar-megaphones/sp (2016-04-29)
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  • Apples To Twinkies 2012 | WISPIRG Students
    and driving up medical costs by hundreds of billions of dollars The rise in obesity has many causes but one of the most important is the increased prevalence of high fat heavily sweetened junk food Between 1995 and 2011 American taxpayers spent over 277 billion in agricultural subsidies Most subsidies went to the country s largest farming operations mainly to grow just a few commodity crops including corn and soybeans Most of these commodity crops are not simply eaten as is Among other uses food manufacturers process them into additives like high fructose corn syrup and vegetable oils that provide a cheap dose of sweetness and fat to a wide variety of junk food products Thus Americans tax dollars directly subsidize junk food ingredients Key Findings Between 1995 and 2011 18 2 billion in tax dollars subsidized four common junk food additives corn syrup high fructose corn syrup corn starch and soy oils which are processed further into hydrogenated vegetable oils Healthier agricultural products receive very little in federal subsidies Since 1995 taxpayers spent only 637 million subsidizing apples which is one of the few fresh fruits or vegetables that have a significant federal subsidy If subsidies for junk food ingredients went directly to taxpayers to allow them to purchase food each of America s 141 million taxpayers would receive 7 58 to spend on junk food and 27 cents to spend on apples each year enough to buy 21 Twinkies but just half of one Red Delicious apple The 18 2 billion in subsidies for junk food ingredients that taxpayers have shelled out since 1995 is enough to buy 49 billion Twinkies Placed end to end they would circle the globe 125 times Since 1995 the lion s share of agricultural subsidies has gone to a very small number

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/reports/wi/apples-twinkies-2012 (2016-04-29)
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  • Textbook Rebellion | WISPIRG Students
    semester including one that cost 200 dollars But she s lucky compared to some I know students that actually just don t purchase their textbooks said Zeller They use friends textbooks or go to the library or try to get a hold of on line sources but a lot of them can t afford it with the cost of school Nicole Allen Textbook Advocate for WISPIRG the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group will be visiting 40 campuses over the next six weeks raising awareness and promoting options such as open textbooks which are available on line She s accompanied by two giant characters representing the rebellion The textbooks that are done are first class they re really high quality they re beautiful texts said UW s Paustian who has produced his own microbiology textbooks They re just charging too much money About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Local Chapters UW Madison UW Stevens Point 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 Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable New Voters Project Stop Subsidizing Obesity Don t Get Ripped Off Big Red Go

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/media/wi/textbook-rebellion (2016-04-29)
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  • Experts share the "power to save energy" with local organization | WISPIRG Students
    sharing its knowledge for free with an organization looking to save money Funding is cut donations are hard to come by so we need to as a facility streamline and cut down our bills so that we can put our money into helping our clients says Kim Carey an accountant at the Bolton Refuge House Thursday Eau Claire AmeriCorps WISPIRG Energy Service Corps members walked through the Bolton Refuge House In bedrooms and offices they looked for ways to cut energy use the domestic abuse shelter In the refrigerator it looks like in the back there it s set to coldest Jenna says One thing that we can do is actually turn it to the regular cold setting They re replacing light bulbs with more efficient ones and posting tips for families who use the shelter The women when they leave here we can give them some tips so that when they do have their own house or apartment they can save some money and some energy as well Jenna says In many cases the recommendations are small but savings will add up over time I m hoping to see a real change in our light bills for next year Kim says Saving energy allowing money to be put toward what s most important Energy Service Corps home assessments are free and open to businesses homeowners renters and landlords in the Chippewa Valley About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Local Chapters UW Madison UW Stevens Point 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 Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable New Voters Project Stop Subsidizing Obesity Don t Get Ripped Off Big Red Go Green Sustainable U Protect Wisconsin s Lakes Energy

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/media/wi/experts-share-power-save-energy-local-organization (2016-04-29)
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