Thursday, August 24, 2006

Need a grant to finish college? You can't study evolutionary biology

The New York Times reports this morning that evolutionary biology has disappeared from the links of approved majors for low-income students applying for the National Smart Grant Program.

The National Smart Grant Program provides $4,000 grants to low-income juniors and seniors in sciences, engineering, and certain foreign languages. The application process requires students to use the code assigned to their major from a list (PDF) provided by the Department of Education. The list is drawn from a much larger list of academic subjects compiled by the department

According to The Times, evolutionary biology is coded as 26.1303 and should be on the list of science majors "between line 26.1302 (marine biology and biological oceanography) and line 26.1304 (aquatic biology/limnology)." Yet for some reason it is missing.

The Times quotes spokeswomen from the Department of Education as saying that the omission was "inadvertent" and will be corrected.

I certainly hope that this is an error, but given the influence of anti-science elements in the religious right over the Bush administration, I can't help but wonder if they took it out on purpose. I plan to check the list daily to see if they have corrected the error.

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