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Md. Scholarship Case Headed to Supreme Court

University of Maryland officials plan to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review an appeals-court ruling that declared the school's race-exclusive scholarship program illegal.

The officials have until the end of next month to make the request in Podberesky v. Kirwan.

On Dec. 30, 1994, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected the university's bid for a rehearing of the court's previous ruling. Last October, a three-judge panel overturned a U.S. district court ruling that found the university's Benjamin Banneker Scholarship program for black students constitutional.

The appeals court said that the university did not prove that the scholarships were necessary to redress past discrimination and that the university's racial climate did not justify the need for such scholarships.

The Education Department has said that race-based scholarships should be allowed for various reasons, including insuring a diverse student body.

Parents and Business

Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley is urging businesses to develop policies that give parents the time they need to get involved in their children's schooling.

Mr. Riley last month met with executives from corporations that he said have developed such family-friendly policies, and unveiled a new publication, prepared by the Family and School Institute.

The book, "Employers, Families, and Education: Promoting Family Involvement in Learning," suggests such practices as flexible work hours and time off for volunteering in schools. Copies can be obtained by calling (800) USA-LEARN.

Direct-Loan Slowdown

Rep. Bill Goodling, R-Pa., the chairman of the House Economic and Educational Opportunities Committee, has joined Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., in introducing a bill to prevent the Education Department from adding additional colleges to the direct-lending program.

Under the program, the federal government makes loans directly to students through their institutions, rather than through private lenders. Current federal law requires that direct loans account for 60 percent of new loan volume by the 1998-99 academic year, but the new legislation would limit direct loans to 40 percent of new loan volume.

Mr. Gordon said the bill would level the playing field between the older Family Education Loan system and the new direct-lending system. The Clinton Administration hopes to eventually replace the older system entirely.

"I think for the short term that clearly the best approach is to have two competing systems," Mr. Gordon said. That way, he added, "you can see who can best serve the taxpayer and the student."

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