FWD. New bill to make colleges more accessible to women

AnneM (AnneM@edc.org)
Thu, 26 Feb 1998 10:13:53 -0500

Message forwarded from WISENET by Anne McAuliffe <AnneM@edc.org>
Subject: New bill to make colleges more accessible to women

Date: 2/26/98 9:56

(FYI, on a gender equity issue...)

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Daily News 2/26/98

Supporters of New Bill Say It Would Make
Colleges More Responsive to Women's Needs


A leading Democratic Congressman introduced legislation
Wednesday that he said would make colleges more accessible
to female students.

Representative Dale E. Kildee, the ranking Democrat on the House
of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce,
said he would push for changes in the Higher Education Act that
would allow students who attend college less than half time to
receive Pell Grants. Such students are not now eligible for
federal student aid under the law, which is up for renewal this

The Michigan Democrat's plan, called the Women's Higher
Education Opportunity Act, also would allow students to use
Pell Grants to pay a greater share of their child-care expenses
than they can pay now. The proposal also would increase the
availability of graduate fellowships for women and members of
minority groups in fields in which they are underrepresented,
such as mathematics, science, and engineering.

In addition, the bill would require colleges to collect and
disseminate more-accurate statistics on campus crime,
particularly the numbers for sexual assaults.

"Today, more than ever, a university degree is the ticket to
success in the American economy," Representative Kildee
said during a press conference Wednesday. "For too long,
women students have not had that equal opportunity for
education and success. We believe this legislation will help
open wider the doors of American universities for women."

Janice Weinman, executive director of the American
Association of University Women, joined Mr. Kildee at the
press conference. She said that higher education had changed
"profoundly" since the Higher Education Act was first passed,
in 1965. Now, she said, more than half the nation's college
students are women, yet colleges continue to serve women's
needs poorly. The association helped draft the legislation.

"College campuses in this country may be ivory towers," Ms.
Weinman said, "but they are hardly towers of equity."

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat from the
District of Columbia, agreed. She noted that the
"non-traditional student who isn't going to get out of college in
four years is increasingly the student of the future and the
student of the present."

The legislation also would require colleges to make
information about gender equity in their athletics programs
easily accessible to prospective students. By law, institutions
that receive federal aid already must collect data on their
athletics programs, but the information is not made easily
available to the public, the association said.

In addition, the bill would change some provisions of the
Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act, which
requires institutions that receive federal aid to disclose
information about campus safety policies and crime statistics
annually. The legislation would require colleges to collect
better crime statistics -- particularly on sexual assaults -- for
both their campuses and the immediate vicinity. It also would
broaden the definition of "campus," which is so narrowly
defined that crimes that actually occur on campuses are
underreported, according to the association.

The bill also would provide federal or state grants for
improved teacher-education programs. Some female
Republican lawmakers, such as Representative Constance A.
Morella of Maryland, have come out in support of the

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