Merten Supports Federal Legislation to Help Students in Math, Science Fields

Posted: April 12, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

George Mason President Alan Merten will join Congressmen Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) today for a press conference as they announce the introduction of new legislation to forgive interest on undergraduate student loans for math, science, and engineering majors who agree to work five years in their field upon graduation.

While the need for science and engineering positions in the United States has grown five times the rate of the civilian workforce as a whole since 1980, U.S. colleges and universities have experienced a steady decline in the number of American students earning science and engineering degrees. The bill is designed to help reverse this trend.

“Our economic, political, and health care successes are very dependent on science and engineering,” Merten says. “I congratulate our political leaders for this initiative, and I challenge our political, academic, and business leaders to make science and engineering education a national priority.”

In 2000, Asian universities accounted for almost 1.2 million of the world’s science and engineering degrees, European universities (including Russia and Eastern Europe) accounted for 850,000, and North American universities accounted for only about 500,000, according to the most recent statistics available to the National Science Foundation.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will also speak at the press conference in favor of the legislation.

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