{College Nation}

California aims for highest minimum wage in U.S.

University of California-Davis

DAVIS, Calif. – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reached a deal with state legislators Aug. 28 to raise the state minimum wage to $8 per hour by 2008. The governor publicly promised to sign the bill, which has not yet been passed, when it reaches his desk in January 2007.

According to the deal, the increase from the current $6.75 hourly wage will happen in increments over the next two years, beginning with an increase of 75 cents on Jan. 1, 2007.

State minimum wages, although not required by law, have risen above the federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour in over a dozen states. States such as Alaska, Washington and Vermont have already passed legislation to exceed $7 per hour.

California’s wages have recently been of interest with Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco in the city’s effort to raise wages for residents to $8.50 per hour. However, with the enthusiasm over this victory for low-wage workers, experts still warn that minimum wages were designed to increase annually in proportion to inflation, a job that has not been done since the 1950s.

Courtesy of The California Aggie

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Enrollment plummets at New Orleans universities

Louisiana State University

BATON ROUGE, La. – Many universities in New Orleans have restored the necessary facilities to accommodate their students, but some schools were unable to increase student enrollment to pre-Katrina status.

Winston Brown, Xavier University’s dean of admissions, said that Xavier, one of the more damaged universities, is familiar with the struggle to get students to return.

“We expect our freshman class to be about half of what it usually is,” Brown said.

Brown said 75 percent of Xavier’s students returned when the campus reopened in spring 2006.

Older students represented the highest percentage of students who returned to Xavier.

“The higher the classification, the more likely a student returned because they were already established.”

Brown is optimistic about the long-term future of Xavier.

“We think it’s going to take us about two to three years to get back where we were,” Brown said.

The institution is trying to encourage more students enrolled before Katrina to return. “We are trying to keep the lines of communication open and keep the students and parents updated on the condition of the city,” Brown said.

Courtesy of The Daily Reville


Concerns over text-messaging injuries lead to consumer alert

Oklahoma State University

STILLWATER, Okla. – In 2005, the American Society of Hand Therapists issued a consumer alert about the overuse of electronic handheld devices.

In the statement, the society stated that the extended use of these devices was causing an increased number of tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome cases.

Symptoms of these and similar ailments include swelling in the thumb or wrist, difficulty with fine movements of the thumb and stiffness.

People experiencing these or similar symptoms are advised to take breaks from continuous texting or typing, and to use both hands and alter between thumbs and index fingers while texting.

Courtesy of the Daily O’Collegian


Public and private school graduates’ debt almost equal

University of Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A recently released study conducted by the Project on Student Debt found that graduates of public colleges and universities accumulate almost as much debt as their peers at private institutions.

The study found that University of Virginia graduates from the class of 2005 had an average debt burden of $15,176 compared to $13,890 in 2001. At the University a significant driver of this higher level of indebtedness is private loans, which rose in volume from $2.5 million in 2004 to $6.3 million in 2006, according to Director of Student Financial Services Yvonne Hubbard.

In the state of Virginia, the average public-school student graduates with $16,124 of debt, while their private counterparts graduate with $17,817 of debt.

Courtesy of the Cavalier Daily