CREDIT RATING EASES LOAN APPROVAL

by Gram Gemoets

Contributing Writer

Students may be glad to know that student loans will now become more accessible because of UH's respectable credit history.

UH's default rate on student loans is less than 10 percent, far below the Texas average of 25 percent, said Robert Sheridan, director of financial aid.

Student loans come from banks and banks look more favorably on loan applications submitted by schools with good credit, according to a survey by the Department of Education.

The school's low delinquency rate has allowed UH to continue their participation in the Federal Family Education Loan Program, formerly the Guaranteed Student Loan Program, though many institutions may be cut from the program.

One in four graduates of Texas universities, colleges and trade schools are either late repaying or fail to repay their loans altogether, according to the survey. The national default average is about one in six, according to the survey.

With UH graduates paying their loans on time, the UH system is a leader in loan repayment. UH has a better rating than both UT and Texas A&M, according to the survey.

"As of September 3, 8,600 loan applications have been processed through the UH system," said Sheridan. "At the last same time last year time, we had 6,900 processed."

This represents a 25 percent increase in the amount of loan applications approved at UH. The amount of money ready for distribution is approximately $24 million, said Sheridan.

Students wondering how to pay those outrageous tuition bills should consider applying for a loan, Sheridan said. While UH tops the list of schools with low delinquency rates, banks are eager to back UH students with loans.

The average student loan for 1993 is about $2,800 according to figures from the financial aid office.

Loans are not the only form of help available to those applying for financial aid. Grants and work-study programs are additional forms of aid, said Sheridan.

The Department of Education compiles default statistics each year to determine if a school is eligible to participate in its loan program.

"A default rate of 40 percent for one year would disqualify a school from participation," said a source from the Department of Education. "A default rate of 30 percent for three consecutive years would also disqualify a school."

According to Sheridan, UH's default rate is only 8.6 percent while the national average is 17.5 percent. This places UH well below the national average and clear from danger of elimination from the program.

According to the Department of Education, the most common defaulters are one and two-year career training schools.

Delinquent loans cost taxpayers $2.9 billion in 1992, according to a survey by the Department of Education.

 

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NEW BREED OF FRONTIERSMEN LOOSE ON THE FIELD

by Kenny McIntire

News Reporter

The UH Frontiersmen will take the field again this football season in an attempt to rejuvenate the original spirit of the 1940s.

Dressed in their new cowboy hats and dusters, the Frontiersmen will attend every Cougar home game and sound the familiar air-raid siren, "The Blaze," after every UH touchdown.

A very used Blaze was originally donated in 1990 by the Whelen Engineering Company.

The Frontiersman used the old, tattered siren until a new one was donated in 1991 by the parents of David Blazik, a former student and Sigma Chi fraternity member who passed away last year.

The Frontiersmen were originated in the 1940s along with Frontier Fiesta, and with the revival of that event comes the revival of the Frontiersmen. They hope to promote university spirit among students and the community.

"I feel that the fans have come to expect the siren after every score, and that we have started a tradition that should continue on with the new era of football," said Tom Dalton, Frontiersman and former Sigma Nu Commander. "We really want to give the fans something to identify with."

The 10-member group is chosen from junior and senior students who are often involved in other organizations that have shown an effort to create spirit. "We usually chose upper-classmen because they have been at the university longer and have shown the desire to get involved," said Pat Brown, Frontiersman, Sigma Nu and vice president of the Student Programming Board's Special Events Committee.

Besides showing spirit at athletic events, the Frontiersmen also promote spirit to visitors and alumni, said Brown.

"We speak to alumni groups and to visitors to try and show them that the university has some spirit and that we are trying to promote a good image of the university," Brown said.

Besides indicating a touchdown, The Blaze also has some historical significance. "It is an oil field siren that signifies the link between Houston and the petroleum industry," Brown said.

The Frontiersmen will go to all home and away Southwest Conference football games, but cannot bring The Blaze to away games because of conference rules.

"The interviewer from Prime Network asked us what cowboys were doing in California," said Dalton. "I thought that the exposure was really important and a lot of fun."

 

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FACULTY WAGING WAR ON ATHLETICS

by Kristine A. Fahrenholz

Daily Cougar Staff

The Faculty Senate will discuss terminating UH's role in the Southwest Conference at a meeting on Sept. 22.

"We're going to call for the university to get out of intercollegiate athletics, " said George Reiter, president of the Faculty Senate.

The Faculty Senate's Executive Committee voted to propose a resolution to cut out intercollegiate athletics Wednesday Sept. 22.

"(Athletics) is a large program consuming a lot of resources," Reiter said.

The 1993-94 intercollegiate athletic's budget is $8,100,000, said Roland Sparks, Athletics Department business manager.

Monies are derived from tickets, bowl games, the Southwest Conference and NCAA participation, Sparks said.

Student fees provide 27 percent of this budget, he added.

"I obviously disagree (with the proposal), but will look forward to articulating how the athletic program will be relevant to this institution's mission, " said UH Athletic Director Bill Carr.

"Athletics enhances the quality of life on campus if done properly," he said, "and that will occur."

Jason Fuller, president of the Students' Association, said he supports intercollegiate athletics.

"I think we should analyze what has happened at other universities that have done away with intercollegiate athletics, " he said.

Fuller added that enrollment, endowments and alumni support would probably be effected if UH's part in the Southwest Conference is terminated.

"Intercollegiate athletics is an integral part of academia, " he added.

Fuller added that faculty and students at Rice University voted to get rid of athletics, but the university's executive board left athletics intact.

Ending athletics would deny opportunities for scholarships, said Alvin Brooks, UH head basketball coach.

"If you poll the faculty, very few are for an athletic department that does not pay its own way," said Ernst Leiss, president-elect of the Faculty Senate.

"Athletics is not part of the central mission of the university," he said.

"I think in times such as these, with the university undergoing reshaping, everything in the university is questionable," Carr said. "We will take our turn to undergo scrutiny."

 

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THESES NOW STATE, PUBLIC PROPERTY IF IN LIBRARY

by Annette Baird

Daily Cougar Staff

The recent controversy over whether or not universities are violating federal law when they place their students' theses in libraries has been resolved.

In response to an earlier interpretation from the Department of Education, a clarification was issued Sept. 1.

Originally, the department indicated that students' theses could be considered educational records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and could not be released without the student's written consent.

While student theses are clearly educational records, they differ in that they are published or made available as research sources through the institution's library, said Leroy S. Rooker, director of the Family Policy Compliance Office, in a statement issued by the Department of Education.

An educational institution would have obtained a student's permission to make their work available publicly before hand, perhaps in connection with notifying the student of specific course requirements, Rooker said. Consequently, an institution does not have to obtain a student's signed consent to place a thesis in the library, Rooker said.

The existing practice at UH requires students to provide two copies of their theses; one copy goes into the archives and special collections, the other goes into circulation, said Kathleen Gunning, assistant director for Public Services and Collection Development at M.D. Anderson Library.

The fact that students are aware they have to pay for the creation of two books and hand the copies to a library is a form of consent, said Gunning. "This has been standard practice for years," she said.

Under FERPA (also known as the Buckley Amendment), an educational institution requires written consent before releasing identifiable information. Educational records are defined as those directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency or institution.

"I'm glad the decision didn't go the other way, because it would have been a nightmare trying to get hold of past and present students for a written consent," Gunning said.

 

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SPERM DONORS: THE MONEY'S IN THEIR GENES

by Jenalia Moreno

Staff Writer

Most male college students never conceived they could multiply their college fund in such a fertile way. However, with a biweekly visit to a sperm bank, they can produce up to $ 400 a month.

Sperm donors can go into a basic examining room supplied with assorted magazines and a specimen cup, and come out minutes later with $50.

"We don't want the monetary value to be that much of an incentive," said Brent Hazelrigg, assistant lab director at Fairfax Cryobank, a Houston genetic and infertility lab. "Because then people do sell themselves out.

"We want someone who honestly believes that this is the thing to do."

Fifteen UH students and one professor are active donors at Fairfax Cryobank, which is located in the Medical Center.

Baylor University also has a large sperm bank, mostly supported by the donations of their students.

Donated sperm is used to artificially inseminate women having difficulties conceiving children.

In one year, about 30,000 births are conceived by a donor's sperm and 35,000 by the husband's sperm through artificial insemination, Hazelrigg said.

Males can freeze their sperm before a surgery that could affect their sperm count. Later, their wives may use that sample to be artificially inseminated.

"The reason there's such a demand for donor semen is because it's the single cheapest treatment," Hazelrigg said.

"With $150, (a woman) can get donated semen, whereas if you try to use the husband's marginal semen, it's a $1,000 treatment every insemination."

In order to become a sperm donor, applicants must fill out a lengthy medical and genetic history questionnaire.

Sperm banks ensure the anonymity of both the donors and recipients. Recipients of the specimen can select from a donor list which includes race, blood type, ethnic background, phenotypic characteristics, special interests, hobbies and years in college.

"With artificial insemination, the woman is having genetic input, carrying the child, going through the pregnancy and having the child," Hazelrigg said.

Donors undergo a physical exam. Then they give a blood, urine and semen sample. They must be healthy males between the ages of 18 and 35.

Only about 5 percent of the men who apply are accepted as donors, Hazelrigg said.

Fairfax Cryobank tests donors for sexually transmitted diseases before accepting the donors.

Every month, donors are tested for HIV and Hepatitis C and every six months for infectious diseases.

Donated sperm are quarantined for six months before they are released.

Because 8 percent of males are color blind, Fairfax also does genetic testing including a color blindness test, Hazelrigg said.

Fairfax was also one of the first sperm banks to test for cystic fibrosis. One in 25 Americans are carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene.

An average sperm count is 50 million sperm cells per milliliter. About 80 percent of men are turned down because of semen quality, Hazelrigg said.

"They're normal, but not good enough for us," Hazelrigg said. "Five percent of the applicants are probably going to need some help and may come back to us when they want to have a child."

Sperm cell counts are decreased by a variety of factors, including smoking, alcohol, heat and other toxins, Hazelrigg said. Donors are asked to abstain sexually for at least 48 hours before providing each specimen so their sperm count is not too low when they donate.

After the specimen is produced, it's analyzed for sperm count, abnormalities, motility, white blood cells, the ph level and the percent of cells alive, Hazelrigg said.

Then it's frozen in liquid nitrogen for a minimum of six months. It's analyzed again after it's thawed and shipped anywhere in the United States and to many foreign countries.

Fairfax has other labs in Austin, Bryan and Fairfax, Virginia. Interested applicants may contact the Fairfax Cryobank at 799-9937.

 

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MC KEE KEEN AT TOUR STOP

by Rebecca McPhail

Daily Cougar Staff

After a seven year absence, Maria McKee blew back through Houston Thursday and proved she was definitely worth the wait.

Last time through, McKee was fronting Lone Justice and opening for U2. This time, the diminutive songstress is leading her own band and sounding decidedly more mature. The plaintive, girlish vocals of Lone Justice have been replaced by warmer, graceful vocals full of power and nuance.

After a rousing opening set by acoustic guitarist David Gray, McKee and company took to the stage and promptly blew the doors off the place with the Lone Justice standard, "East of Eden." Her powerful voice served as a rallying cry reaching the far corners of the club. Afterward, McKee served up a trio of country-tinged tunes from her latest release, <I>You Gotta Sin To Get Saved<P>.

During "I'm Gonna Soothe You," the problem with McKee's backing band became apparent. An abrupt departure by the guitarist left McKee handling lead guitar duties -- something she seemed unprepared to do.

"We're still looking for a guitarist," she explained to the crowd. "I still don't know all the parts."

McKee's inexperience was further highlighted several songs later when the she stopped "Panic Beach" mid-song.

"I wrote the song and I can't remember the chords," she mumbled.

McKee solved the problem for the rest of the show by concentrating on piano and organ-driven songs from her first solo album.

The slower pace gave McKee a chance to highlight her crystal clear vocals on songs like "Breathe" and "Nobody's Child."

The newly-christened Rockefeller's West (with its Southwestern decor) was a fitting venue for McKee's country-tinged melodies. Although, the cavernous club did have it's drawbacks.

"Y'all stand up front," McKee admonished during the show, "so I don't have to shout over this canyon here."

McKee is part of a still rare breed in pop music -- women who are successful in their own time, on their own terms. Her show proved she'll still have what it takes for many years to come.

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