Updates

Saving Dollars, Saving Democracy

Millions are being wasted due to antiquated voter registration systems and procedures. U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s survey of 100 counties showed that over $33,467,910.00 of public money was spent on simple registration implementation and error-correction issues in 2008. The Fund finds that a more streamlined and automatic system linking existing databases with the state voter rolls could free up significant resources at the local level.

New Voters Project: 2007-2008 Program Summary

Youth Vote Overview, 2007-2008
YOUNG PEOPLE put another brick in democracy’s foundation this election cycle. An estimated two million more young Americans under the age of 30 cast a ballot than in 2004. This increase followed a primary season in which young voter turnout rates doubled in states across the country—even tripling in Iowa, Mississippi, Florida and Oklahoma, and quadrupling in Tennessee.

Youth Turnout Up Sharply in Key Super Tuesday States

Youth turnout surged in key primary states last night, continuing a striking trend started in the first presidential contests of 2008. “In all the noise of last night’s election, one message was heard loud and clear,” said Sujatha Jahagirdar, Program Director with the Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project. “Young people are tuning in and turning out.”

Course Correction

The Student PIRGs conducted this study to determine how digital textbooks can live up to their potential as a solution.  Through a survey of 504 students from Oregon and Illinois and 50 commonly assigned textbook titles, we confirm three fundamental criteria – affordability, printing options, and accessibility.  We found that publishers’ digital “e-textbooks” fail to meet these criteria, and that an emerging form of digital textbooks – open textbooks – are a perfect match. (August 2008)

Cutting Interest Rates, Lowering Student Debt – Updated

In 2007 Congress passed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. The bill included several provisions to lessen the burden of student debt including:

  • More than two billion dollars a year in additional funding for the Pell Grant program. The Pell Grant helps more than 5 million lower-income students each year.
  • A new Income-Based Repayment program that allows student loan borrowers to repay their federal loans as a percentage of their income. 
  • Reductions in interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans.