May Government Relations Update

Your Ticket to the 2012 Elections With another election season in full swing, Rita Ferrandino will be in the middle of all the excitement. In addition to her work with Arc and as the CEO of Chicago Educational Publishing Company and as a founding partner of Arc Capital Development, Rita also serves as the Chair of the Sarasota (Florida) County Democratic Party, which gives her a front-row seat to all the action.  And, as a toss-up area in a swing state, Sarasota will see a lot of action – after all as Sarasota goes, so goes the country. As Rita and the Suncoast area play host to national and statewide candidates, political figures and celebrities, she’ll be sharing all the action on her new blog, RitaFerrandino.com, along with her thoughts on what it all means for Election Day, with a special focus on how education policy is being impacted. You can visit  RitaFerrandino.com to sign up for e-mail updates.

“Green Ribbon” Schools The Department of Education highlighted its Education Green Ribbon Schools program during Earth Week. The program recognized 78 schools in 29 states and the District of Columbia for their efforts in reducing environmental impact and promoting health, wellness and sustainability, in addition to preparing students with the “green” skills needed in the 21st-century global economy. The competition for next year’s awards will open this summer. For more information, visit the DOE’s Web page.

Student Loan Interest Rates With interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans set to double from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1, more than 7.4 million students could be affected. The White House has made the potential increase a focus in recent weeks, but the Senate failed to reach agreement on the issue on May 8. College affordability – including Stafford loans, Pell grants and student debt – will no doubt continue to be an issue during the campaign and for the new Congress that will convene in 2013. As President Obama said in his weekly address on April 21, “In America, higher education cannot be a luxury.  It’s an economic imperative that every family must be able to afford.”  The White House’s Student Interest Rates Web page has information on how students in each state could be affected by higher rates, while a summary of federal student aid programs can be found here.

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