Jan. 27, 1997 Vol. I, No. 11


News and Briefs

Student Loan Default Rate Falls to All-Time Low

The national college student loan default rate has fallen to 10.7 percent--less than half the 22.4 percent level of just four years ago and the lowest default rate ever measured, federal officials announced recently.

U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley attributed the decline, which is based on fiscal year 1994 data, the most current available, to a combination of accountability efforts by his department, tough enforcement sanctions authorized by Congress and strong efforts by schools themselves.

Riley also noted that defaulted student loan collections by the federal government and guaranty agencies more than doubled from $1 billion in fiscal year 1992 to $2.2 billion in fiscal year 1996. As a result, net default costs were $249 million in 1996, compared to $1.7 billion in 1992.

The new default rate for fiscal 1994 is down from the fiscal 1993 figure announced last year of 11.6 percent. Federal officials have been tracking student loan default rates since the fiscal 1988 year. Schools with high default rates can lose eligibility for federal financial aid programs.

Borrowers who fail to repay loans face sanctions that can include federal income tax refund offsets, wage garnishment, denial of any further aid and the loss of other forms of loans and credit. However, borrowers also now have options for restructuring payments to avoid defaults.

CSUN Graduate to Take Memento on Shuttle Mission

Astronaut Scott Horowitz, a Cal State Northridge graduate, is planning to take a sweatshirt from his alma mater with him when he pilots the space shuttle Discovery on the second Hubble Space Telescope maintenance mission, STS-82.

Scheduled lift-off from Cape Canaveral is 2:25 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, with a landing set 10 days later. The mission will feature four spacewalks to upgrade the scientific instruments and enhance system reliability.

Horowitz, who also is tentatively scheduled to speak at May 29 commencement exercises for the College of Engineering and Computer Science, graduated from CSUN in 1978 with a bachelor's of science degree in engineering. He received a master's degree in 1979 and a doctorate in aerospace engineering in 1982, both from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

An astronaut since 1992, Horowitz served on the support crew at the Kennedy Space Center for shuttle launches and landings. He flew on the STS-75 shuttle mission last year and has logged more than 375 hours in space.

In November, Horowitz contacted Dorothy Miller, acting dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, saying he wanted to know if there was any object the university wanted him to take along on his next shuttle mission. Miller decided on a CSUN sweatshirt.

However, Horowitz cannot wear the sweatshirt while he is in orbit, although "he can hold it up in front of him," said Dianne Appel, a spokesperson for the college. Horowitz will sign the sweatshirt and it ultimately will be placed in a display case on campus, Appel said.

Service Held for Economics Prof. Richard Friedman

A memorial service was held in Encino last week for Richard M. Friedman, associate professor of economics at Cal State Northridge and the longest-serving teacher in the department, who died Jan. 17 at age 62.

Department Chair Keith Evans said Friedman, who joined the faculty in 1961, passed away following surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. Friedman had undergone a triple heart bypass operation last fall, but had been hospitalized again recently with chest pains.

"I'd known him as a really good friend and colleague for nearly 34 years," said Evans, who arrived on campus in 1963. "He was a true friend. If you had an emergency, he'd do anything to help you." Evans also called Friedman "one of the best natural teachers I've ever seen."

Although his academic specialty was macroeconomic theory, Evans said Friedman made a particular mark in the department through his early interest and expertise in computers, frequently sharing that knowledge with colleagues and students during the past 13 years.

A service for Friedman, a Reseda resident who was one of about 20 full-time faculty members in the Economics Department, was held last week at Valley Beth Shalom temple. He is survived by two children, David and Susan.

Contributions to the Richard M. Friedman Memorial Fund established to aid economics students can be made to the university's College of Business Administration and Economics, referencing the Friedman fund.

Nancy Lulu Falls Hospitalized with Leukemia

Nancy Lulu Falls, Cal State Northridge's director of space planning and management whose work has played a pivotal role in the campus' earthquake recovery, has been hospitalized for treatment of a rare form of leukemia.

University officials said Falls was admitted earlier this month to the Norris Cancer Hospital at the University of Southern California and has begun undergoing chemotherapy. Falls can receive cards, but not visitors, phone calls or gifts such as flowers.

Art Elbert, CSUN's vice president for administration and finance, said Falls lately had been feeling ill and been bothered by back pains. When she was first admitted to a hospital to check on those problems, doctors ultimately discovered the leukemia.

Because Falls probably will be hospitalized for some time, Elbert said Maureen Shideh, coordinator of academic space management in Academic Affairs who has worked closely with Falls on reconstruction projects, has been transferred for now to administration.

Lisa Palley, who works with Falls, said Falls wanted to thank campus community members for their good wishes and support. Falls will need blood transfusions as part of her treatment. Palley said a blood drive is now being organized, with details to follow.

For further information, Palley can be reached at x5970. Cards can be sent to Falls at the following address: Nancy Lulu Falls, Room 305, Norris Cancer Hospital, 1441 Eastlake Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90033.

New Systems Manager in ITR

Rick Ostrich is the new systems manager in Information and Technology Resources at Cal State Northridge.

He brings with him more than 15 years of experience in data processing and more than 10 years in data processing management.

Immediately prior to joining the CSUN staff, Ostrich spent 11 years with the outsourcing division of Litton Computer Services. At Litton, he managed many complex systems on a variety of computers.

At Northridge, his first challenge has been to address stability and performance problems on the new HP-UX servers, which have larger capacities.

New Library Loan Policy for Faculty

Beginning in February, books and other materials borrowed from Cal State Northridge's Oviatt Library by faculty members will no longer be automatically renewed.

Faculty members must either bring the materials into the library or renew them by telephone into an automated system, said Nancy Fernandez, chair of the Faculty Senate Library Committee. Faculty members will have the entire month to do so.

Faculty members keep books and other materials borrowed from the library for a year, Fernandez said. Some faculty have as many as 500 books checked out, but Fernandez said, that "is not a bad thing, necessarily."

"It's a generous policy that is intended to be supportive of the faculty," she added. "It hasn't been abused."

Fernandez said the new method will help the library keep a better inventory of books lost or destroyed during the 1994 earthquake.

Jewish Studies Program Gets $14,000 in Gifts

The Jewish Studies program at Cal State Northridge has received two recent gifts totaling $14,000 that will help enrich its offerings.

In one case, an anonymous donor gave the program $4,000 in memory of Evelyn Rosenkrantz, who died last summer of complications from a stroke at age 75. The donor said Rosenkrantz, a longtime resident of Sherman Oaks, had served as an inspiration and "source of wisdom."

University officials said that donation will support a new class on contemporary Jewish religious expression. The course will examine new religious movements and writings centered on mystical study and meditation, outreach movements, and other topics.

In the other case, comedy writer Mickey Ross and his wife, Irene, donated $10,000 to the Jewish Studies program. The Rosses, who live in West Los Angeles, have donated a total of $75,000 to the program in recent years.

Mickey Ross has written for such television shows as "The Jeffersons," "All in the Family," and "Three's Company."

"Students are always so impressed and highly gratified that private individuals, like the Rosses, care so much about their education," said Jody Myers, coordinator of the Jewish Studies program. "Such gifts teach students to value their opportunity to learn."

CSUN Center Receives $30,000 Cancer Research Grant

The Joseph Drown Foundation has awarded a $30,000 grant to Cal State Northridge's Center for Cancer and Developmental Biology to research cell adhesion.

The center, directed by biology professor Stephen Oppenheimer, involves graduate and undergraduate students in research related to the causes of cancer. The grant is the eighth CSUN has received from the foundation.

Oppenheimer said the university is "tremendously grateful for the foundation's support." He added, "This kind of funding from private organizations is absolutely critical and has been a major factor in our success.''

January 27, 1997