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Just saying no to student loan requests

washington - The US Education Department will likely deny over 34,000 applications for loans and grants in the coming school year because of a ban on giving federal funds to students with drug convictions. That represents a tripling of last year's denials, in part because of a strict interpretation of the 1998 law. Though US Rep. Mark Souder (R), author of the bill, planned to deny aid only to those receiving funds at the time of their drug convictions, the Clinton and Bush administrations have denied aid to those with previous convictions. Only about two-thirds of this year's expected applications have arrived; the Department of Education anticipates another 3.2 million aid requests - and thousands more denials.

France recruits Thais to study abroad

bangkok - In response to an intensely competitive higher-education market, France is enlarging its operations to attract Asian students - a population that typically favors American, Australian, and British schools. Earlier this year, EduFrance - an agency of the French foreign and education ministries - opened an office in Bangkok. At this week's French education fair in Thailand, EduFrance will woo Thai students, hoping to rekindle a legacy of French cultural influence in Indochina. In other Asian educational expos, France will collaborate with Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Finland to advertise European education and combat the perceived disadvantages of non-English schooling.

Helping the Web reach worldwide

cambridge, mass. - In a quest to weave the Web into the lives of ordinary people, the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is launching Media Laboratory Asia. The lab will connect thousands of Indian villages to the Internet, mostly through "telekiosks" where locals will pay for computer time to dash off e-mail and use the Web. The Indian government plans to spend $200 million on the effort over 10 years, hoping to make technology accessible in very remote areas. Twenty villages have plugged in so far. MIT hopes for 1,000 more connections in the next year and a half.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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