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In 1984, Grove City College withdrew its participation from the government's Pell Grant Program. Last month, its board of trustees decided that its students will no longer participate in the government's Stafford/

PLUS student loan programs. President John Moore said, "With this step, all of our student aid programs, scholarships and loans will be financed without federal funds. Providing aid to needy students will remain a top priority."Grove City College's decision to withdraw from the Pell Grant program was the result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Grove City College vs. Bell) that federal grants and loans to students constituted federal financial assistance to colleges. That meant colleges were obliged to sign a Title IX "assurance of compliance form" that it didn't engage in sex discrimination.

Grove City College has no history of sex or race discrimination. In fact, the administrative law judge in the case found "there was not the slightest hint of any failure to comply with Title IX, save the refusal to submit an executed assurance of compliance form." Grove City College would not sign the form because it was a blank check subjecting the school to Department of Education current regulations, future interpretations and all amendments.

So, Grove City College opted out of the Pell Grant program and established its own Student Freedom Fund.

Grove City College's recent withdrawal from the federal Stafford/PLUS student loan program completely ends its involvement with government. It spares Grove City College from the 7,000 sections of intrusive regulations governing Title IV of the Higher Education Act - regulations that have cost the college two secretaries. In addition to being costly, they were intrusive, demanding information about faculty salaries, sex and ethnic data and other questions having nothing to do with student loans. In 1997, Grove City College students will be able to borrow money through a private program established by the college and PNC bank.

Located about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh, Pa., Grove City College is a bargain. With a freshman average SAT score of 1240, the school provides an excellent liberal arts education, room and board for less than $11,000 per year. U.S. News and World Report named Grove City as the No. 1 Best Value for "Sticker Price," second most efficient, fifth best discount price and sixth best in academic quality among northern liberal arts schools for 1997.

Aside from being an efficient, cost-conscious operation, Grove City College promotes a moral and civil climate for its students. Alcohol is banned on campus and at college-sponsored functions. Foul language is not tolerated. There's no condom distribution. Pornographic videos and literature violate the student-conduct code. As a result, students are honest, hard-working, courteous and fun to be with. Their parents can be assured that they are safe, both physically and morally. There's none of the decadence, vulgarity and violence rife at some colleges, even those where parents fork over $25,000 and more a year.

There should be more principled college administrations and courageous boards of trustees willing to put their money where their mouths are and stand up to the Washington leviathan.