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Issue: "Sciavo: Saved by the bill," Nov. 1, 2003

The education market is expanding in Colorado, where a voucher law signed last spring by Gov. Bill Owens would allow 20,000 students in 11 underperforming districts to attend a school of their family's choosing. In early October, more than 80 private schools announced their interest in serving Denver public-school students who receive the vouchers.

"Freshman fall" often surprises college students with first-quarter grades-and their parents with first-time tuition bills. Average annual tuition at private colleges or universities this year is $18,000, a 5.8 percent increase from last year. Over the past decade, tuition and fees at both public and private institutions have risen 38 percent, after adjusting for inflation. Republicans on the House Education & the Workforce Committee, led by U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.), have launched "College Cost Central," a website that canvasses citizens on the "college cost crisis."

The D.C. voucher bill remains tangled in end-of-session appropriations haggling in Congress. The Senate, well behind the House in passing the 13 appropriations bills that fund government agencies, is likely to fold its remaining appropriations bills into an "omnibus" bill. Proponents are hopeful that such an omnibus would include the D.C. choice plan. With talk of an early November congressional adjournment, time is short.

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Jennifer Marshall
Jennifer Marshall

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