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The House Education and Labor Committee last week approved a bill that calls for the establishment of a computer network that would link various government research centers.

The education committee amended the bill, which originated in the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, to ensure that educators will be consulted during the network's development.

The network would make it easier for government agencies, research centers, and universities to exchange information via computer. Elementary and secondary schools eventually would have access to the network, according to committee aides.

The bill now goes to the full House.

The Education Department is seeking more than $1.5 million in fines and repayments from a Chicago-based trade school that allegedly bilked the federal government of hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

James B. Thomas, the department's inspector general, and Fred Foreman, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, allege that Roland E. Wesley, the owner of Applied Research Technical Institute, illegally obtained nearly $400,000 in federal financial aid from ineligible students.

The complaint alleges that in 1986 arti officials began enrolling students in seven unaccredited branches of its Carlinshar Institute, an accredited trade school in Bolingbrook, Ill. Carlinshar officials allegedly collected federal aid for 92 students at the branch campuses, however, by falsely saying the students attended the accredited campus, according to the complaint.

The seven Carlinshar branches became accredited in 1987, but closed a short time later, a spokesman for Mr. Foreman said.

The Education Department has proposed allowing colleges and universities with excessive student-loan default rates to continue participating in the Stafford Student Loan program if they meet certain conditions.

A budget bill passed by the Congress in 1990 ordered the department to disqualify schools with default rates of 35 percent or greater over three consecutive years.

Under proposed regulations published in the May 13 Federal Register, schools could appeal their exclusion from the program if they enroll a large number of disadvantaged students, have cut in half their de8fault rates above the 35 percent limit, are located in an economically depressed region, decrease the dollar amount of their defaulted loans, or have a large number of graduates.

Comments on the proposal are due June 12.

The body that accredits college and university journalism schools has threatened to sue the Education Department if it continues to insist that the group cannot use racial diversity as a factor in its evaluations, according to the group's president.

In 1984, the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications began implementing the standard, which looks at the number of minority students, graduates, and professors in programs.

John Levine, the council's president, said Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander's apparent displeasure with such standards prompted the group to consider legal action.

The Secretary last month asked the National Advisory Committee on Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility to examine the standard used by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

The advisory committee has recommended that the department recognize the journalism council for another five years.

Mr. Alexander will have the final say in the matter.

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