Decrease in interest on student loans

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You may not have to spend the rest of your life paying back student loans; interest rates just got slashed from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. On Jan. 17, the House of Representatives voted yes on the College Student Relief Act a bill that slashes interest rates on student loans. The change is set to take effect on loans that are issued after July 2007. “The College Student Relief Act will give millions of people across the country their chance to pursue the American dream, rather than being relegated to the margins because they could not afford a college degree,” said Congressman Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo, San Francisco), in an email to The SkylineView. Attending college can be a bit intimidating, especially when thousands of dollars of debt is in many students’ futures. Although the cut does not put more money into Federal grants, it does make borrowing money from the government a little less stressful. Sabrina Patton, a Skyline student says, “I am relieved because I am a struggling college student paying my way through school, playing basketball and working fulltime, […] this will help me achieve my goals of earning my BA in music” In hopes that more students will continue going to college, the government will gradually reduce interest rates over the next 5 years, ending the cut at 3.4 percent in 2011. How much money is spent on interest does matter, imagine all of the things students could do with the money that is saved every month. “Students will save thousands of dollars, making it possible for them to pay off their debts and not be saddled with them for years after graduation.” continues Lantos. “Setting up a more forgiving student loan system is a critical step towards making higher education accessible and affordable to all Americans.”The brand new student activities center opened to the students at the beginning of the new year, at the onset of the 2007 spring semester.The new building six brought together portions of the school that were scattered all over the campus to a now central location, making campus life more accessible for both students and faculty alike. The two story building six is now the home to the cafeteria, bookstore, the security office, associated students office, and other features both new and old.”It’s going to be beneficial to both the campus and the staff,” said Jeff Hodges, Chief of Security at Skyline College. “It’s a great space for us, it’s a lot bigger.”Most are pretty happy with the new building, and its spacious interior, modern look and easy accessibility. Building six is one of the first in the state of California to be constructed under the design-build provisions of Education Code 81700, which allows for the campus to have direct communication with the architects to design a building that best fits the needs of the campus as well as speed up the time in which the building is completed. Both faculty and students had input in the design of the building making it as functional as possible.The second floor contains the new office of the Associated Students, Student Activities office, numerous, spacious conference rooms, and a second student study lounge. Not to mention a view overlooking Pacific Heights through large windows.Even though the Student Activities office is in a quieter area of the student activities building, than they were in building two, they have more room and are still more accessible. The previous Student Activities office was separated by cubicle walls in the former cafeteria in building two, but are now in a large area of their own, which is more open so that the people working inside of the student activities office can actually see when students are walking by and students can actually get to the office without passing by it several times. “Because this is the student center this is the right area [for the student activities office],” said Golda Gacutan, who is filling in for Amory Cariadus, while she is taking leave for personal reasons.The first floor holds the eating area, cafeteria, café, security office, bookstore and cyber lounge for students to use their own computers with access to the Internet without having to go to a lab or the library. Instead of having to walk across campus to get food and coffee, now students and faculty have to walk only a few dozen feet to get from the café to the cafeteria. The rear of the first floor holds a very professional looking bookstore, with more cash registers, and more space for books, clothing and snacks. The front of the building is devoted for eating and leisure, there are a good number of tables for students to eat at, and a fireplace next to the café that keeps students warm in between classes as they drink coffee, eat food or just talk with each other.”I love it [the building],” said Phil Jolley, manager of the El Capitan Café. “It makes me happy to be at work now, it’s such an improvement.”Although it is still too early to tell if there is increased traffic to the cafeteria and café, Jolley believes that the new location will compliment both eating venues. The security department is also very excited about their move to building six. They are now in a more central place on campus and are no longer pushed off to a small corner office like they were in building two. “It’s quite an upgrade for the staff,” Hodges said. “Their spirits are flying high.”Those upgrades include, lockers for all of the security officers, more desk space, to incorporate their computers and other work, and more importantly a greater ease of accessibility for the students and vice versa. Hodges hope that the new area will allow for better communication between the students and security department and that students will be encouraged to find the security office and interact with the staff. Students are quite happy with the new building as well. “It’s awesome,” said Noah Landry. “It’s really bright, warm and inviting.””I really like the fireplace and how it’s much more open,” agreed Chuck Bonnici. Both students appreciated the architecture, view, set up of the building, as well as the addition of the conference rooms, and the ease of locating everything inside of the building. However there are a few things that both students wished they also added, like water fountains and a television in the cafeteria area, and a microwave that was accessible without having to ask the cooks to heat up food from home. Aside from the very minimal and minor problems that Bonnici and Landry have voiced, most people agree with Hodges when he says that the main draw of the building to the campus is the ease of accessibility for both the students and the staff.