Brief asides


POSTED: Monday, August 31, 2009

College tuitions rising past grants

Congress is expected to pass a bill boosting funding for Pell Grants for low-income college students, with the goal of getting millions more American students to complete higher education. But the bill does nothing to address the root cause of most students' debt: College tuition is spiraling out of control, rising at a faster annual rate than even the cost of health care, according to the Associated Press.

When the Pell Grant program began in 1973, average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges was about $438 a year. By last year that average rose to $6,585, nearly $2,000 more than the maximum Pell Grant.

What in the word are they thinking?

The Recession Lexicon at Recessionwire.com, founded by three laid-off women determined to find “;the upside to the downturn,”; compiles the slang of the new era. Two favorites: slasher, as in a person with more than one profession (accountant-slash-yoga instructor), and vicarication, as when even a staycation is beyond the budget, so all one can do is vicariously enjoy someone else's adventure. The site's popularity proves that a sense of humor helps, even in the darkest days.

1 paddle, 2 paddle ......

Lots of aloha was present Friday at an outrigger club's luau, complete with kalua pig, lomi lomi salmon, poi and Hawaiian music. This outing was at Ithaca, N.Y., and topped off the Cayuga Outrigger Canoe Club's first annual Cayuga Ho'e, a 39-mile paddle from Seneca Falls to Ithaca's Stewart Park.

Club member Cynthia Brock, who grew up in Hawaii, noted that outrigger canoeing is a team sport. “;The exhilaration that comes from that—it's really quite special and unique,”; she told Cornell University's Chronicle Online. “;It's very addicting.”;