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The Best of Our Knowledge # 1044



Who enrolls 3.5 million undergraduate students, 1.1 million graduate students, employs more than 654-thousand faculty members, and conducts nearly two-thirds of all federally-funded academic research totaling more than 34-billion dollars annually?

It is the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. It's comprised of public research universities, land-grant institutions, and state university systems with member campuses in 50 states. In all, the association's membership includes 218 institutions, and is the United States oldest higher education association.

Board Chair of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities is Dr. Daniel Fogel. He's also President of the University of Vermont. TBOOK spoke with Dr. Fogel to learn more about A-P-L-U.

Pat Bradley reports. (6:26)

**(For listeners seeking more information, a website Dr. Fogel mentioned during the above interview is www.collegeportraits.org. And the website for the association he chairs is: www.aplu.org.)**


In our previous story, you heard comments about the difficulties higher education is having with shrinking dollars in the economy. Well, the same holds true for students.

For perhaps the first time, consumers owe more on their student loans than their credit cards. That's an amazing statistic when one thinks about it. According to figures just out from the Federal Reserve, Americans owe about 826-billion dollars in revolving credit, and nearly 830- billion dollars in outstanding student loans. One analyst estimates about 300-billion dollars in federal student loan debt happened in just the past four years.

For some students, the cost of college has become prohibitive. So, just how much should students be willing to spend? And how in debt should parents be willing to go for their children?

Manisha Thakor, a personal finance authority and author, has come up with a basic formula families can use to try and answer those questions.

Manisha Thakor comments. (3:28)

**(For listeners who would like to know more, she's on the web at: www.manishathakor.com.)**


While we're on the topic of higher education and finances what role does the federal deficit play in all of this? That's the subject of this week's Academic Minute.

This week's episode features Dr. Patrick Walsh, Assistant Professor of Economics at Saint Michael's College.

The Academic Minute is hosted by Dr. Lynn Pasquerella, a celebrated philosopher and medical ethicist, and President of Mount Holyoke College. (2:30)


On the lighter side of the money issue a new website is giving higher education a Las Vegas kind of twist allowing college students to bet on their own grades. The site lets students bet on whether they can achieve or exceed a certain grade, with bets starting at around 25-dollars. Students can also purchase "grade insurance" to protect them from failing a class.

Radio Netherlands, Michael Manske and Karl Dowling report. (4:15)

**(If anyone would like to check the website out for themselves, it is: www.ultrinsic.com.)**


A quick update. Just as we were completing this show, U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, announced (two weeks early) winners of the Race to the Top competition - round two.

Ten of the nineteen finalists we told you about a few weeks ago here on TBOOK are sharing in some 3.4 billion dollars. Now, that's the last of the Race to the Top money set aside from the stimulus package 18 months ago.

In a future program, we'll have comments from Secretary Duncan on his hopes to move ahead with even more Race to the Top competitions. He's already talking about rounds three, four, and even maybe five. But there are members of Congress, teachers unions, and other education associations who are not certain this is the appropriate path education reform should follow. We plan to recap that for you in a few weeks.

We'll also be bringing you a story about the highly successful education program at Assistance Dogs of the West in Santa Fe, New Mexico. So stay tuned for those.

Glenn Busby reports. (1:00)