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Unemployment Problems for College Grads; Fla. Senate Allows Student-Led Prayer in Public Schools

Long-Term Unemployment Problems. According to a new study from the Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative, college graduates, once they are unemployed, are just as vulnerable as high school dropouts to long-term unemployment. The study showed 35 percent of unemployed college graduates have been without a job for more than a year, the same rate as unemployed high school dropouts. "Relatively speaking, there's still a payoff to going to college. The college degree still has some vaccination effects against becoming a long-term unemployed person,” said Gary Burtless, labor economist at the Brookings Institution. [Huffington Post]

You Can Pray If You Want To. The Florida Senate has passed a measure allowing student-organized prayer in public schools. The bill allows individual school boards to set how and when students can lead prayers. This permits students to lead prayer at mandatory school events as long as there is no faculty involvement. Groups like the Anti-Defamation League and American Civil Liberties Union have lobbied against the bill and have called it unconstitutional. The groups predict that any school board that adopts these policies will be sued. [Orlando Sentinel]

No More Bottles. The University of Vermont has joined a dozen other college campuses, which in the past three years have banned the sale of bottled water on campus in an effort to reduce plastic waste and save students’ money. "The arguments, not just environmentally but economically, make quite a bit of sense," said Niles Barnes, who helps coordinate an anti-bottled water campaign for the Colorado-based Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The International Bottled Water Association says bans on water bottles does not necessarily lead to more drinking of tap water, but instead could lead to more drinking of sugary sodas. [Reuters]

Cheaper And Quicker? What’s The Catch? During his State of the Union address and a speech at the University of Michigan, President Obama announced new proposals to encourage colleges to keep tuition affordable. A few small private colleges had implemented similar plans before the president’s announcement, and it appears it has worked. These schools have cut tuition and helped students graduate in fewer semesters. But some critics worry institutions will have to take shortcuts, hire lower quality faculty, and make classes easier to accommodate the tuition cuts. [Reuters]

Leor Reef is a journalism intern with Campus Progress.

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