In Race for Tuition-Free College, New Mexico Stakes a Claim 全美最大方 新墨西哥州提供州民免費讀大學
As universities across the United States face steep enrollment declines, New Mexico's government is embarking on a pioneering experiment to fight that trend: tuition-free higher education for all state residents.
After President Joe Biden's plan for universal free community college failed to gain traction in Congress, New Mexico, one of the nation's poorest states, has emerged with perhaps the most ambitious plans as states scramble to come up with their own initiatives.
A new state law approved in a rare show of bipartisanship allocates almost 1% of the state's budget toward covering tuition and fees at public colleges and universities, community colleges and tribal colleges. All state residents from new high school graduates to adults enrolling part-time will be eligible regardless of family income. The program is also open to immigrants regardless of their immigration status.
Some legislators and other critics question whether there should have been income caps and whether the state, newly flush with oil and gas revenue, can secure long-term funding to support the program beyond its first year. The legislation, which seeks to treat college as a public resource similar to primary and secondary education, takes effect in July.
Although nearly half the states have embraced similar initiatives that seek to cover at least some tuition expenses for some students, New Mexico's law goes further by covering tuition and fees before other scholarships and sources of financial aid are applied, enabling students to use those other funds for expenses such as lodging, food or child care.
"The New Mexico program is very close to ideal," said Michael Dannenberg, vice president of strategic initiatives and higher education policy at the nonprofit advocacy group Education Reform Now. Considering the state's income levels and available resources, he added that New Mexico's program is among the most generous in the country.
Dannenberg emphasized that New Mexico is going beyond what larger, more prosperous states like Washington and Tennessee have already done. Programs in other states often limit tuition assistance to community colleges, exclude some residents because of family income or impose conditions requiring students to work part time.
Research Ties Aerosol Levels To Frequency Of Hurricanes 空汙讓颶風變多或變少 端看住處
Global warming can affect hurricanes, in part because a warmer ocean provides more energy to fuel them. But it is not the only factor in play: A study confirms that, for the frequency of hurricanes, the effects of particulate air pollution are even greater.
Over the past four decades, the new research shows, the decline in pollution in the form of tiny aerosol particles from transportation, energy production and industry in North America and Europe was responsible for the increased numbers of hurricanes and other tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic.
A growing body of research has shown links between tropical cyclones and global warming.
The new study looked at the numbers, not the strength, of these kinds of storms. Its author, Hiroyuki Murakami, said it shows that reducing or increasing anthropogenic aerosols "is the most important component" affecting frequency.
In recent decades, aerosol pollution has declined, perhaps by as much as 50%, in North America and Europe as a result of laws and regulations that reduce emissions from sources like vehicles and power plants. Hurricane seasons in the North Atlantic over roughly the same period have been more active, with a greater number of storms, than in previous decades.
In the North Atlantic, Murakami found, the decline in aerosols led to warming that had two effects on tropical cyclones. First, less pollution resulted in more ocean warming, which meant there was more energy for storms to form.
The pollution decline led to warming of the land as well, and the combined warming affected atmospheric circulation, weakening winds in the upper atmosphere. That in turn led to less wind shear, the changes in wind speed and direction that can affect how cyclonic storms develop. Less wind shear meant that storms formed more readily.
Murakami's simulations showed a different mechanism at work in the Pacific. There, he found, increasing aerosol pollution, largely from China and India, led to cooling of the land surface. This reduced the temperature difference between the land and ocean, weakening the monsoonal winds that develop there. That, in turn, led to fewer tropical cyclones, including typhoons, the Pacific equivalent of hurricanes.