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Riley Moves on Issue of Race-Based Aid

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WASHINGTON--Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley last week announced that he wants to act quickly on the long-simmering issue of race-based scholarships, and hinted that he would favor relatively little restriction on such aid.

The Bush Administration had drafted a policy stating that making college aid available only to members of one race violates federal civil-rights law unless it is intended to remedy past discrimination. It agreed to delay final action until the General Accounting Office completed a study on the issue.

Mr. Riley last week sent letters to lawmakers and the G.A.O. asking that the study be expedited.

He also wrote to college presidents, assuring them that he intends to quickly clear up "confusion'' on the aid issue and that they need not change their programs in anticipation of the new policy.

"I believe race-based scholarships can be a valuable tool for providing equal opportunity and for enhancing a diverse educational environment for the benefit of all students,'' Mr. Riley wrote, hinting that he agrees with college officials' argument that race-based aid should be legal for the purpose of promoting campus diversity.--J.M.

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