Public Agenda initiated "Students Face Up to the Nation's Finances" as a pilot project in Fall 2007. With a new $500,000 grant that will fund the distribution of classroom discussion guides and other curriculum materials to be used on hundreds of college campuses, along with technical assistance, hands-on help in some classrooms and student organizing around the country, Public Agenda is now shifting its work with students into high gear.

The expanded initiative is being supported by the newly established Peter G. Peterson Foundation and is intended to raise awareness of the many issues involved in America's growing fiscal crisis, spark serious discussion of the problems and policy choices posed by the looming deficit, and motivate students to become active citizens demanding policy changes. Curriculum materials, for use as mini-units in existing classes and as mechanisms for student voices to be heard by leaders and opinion shapers, benefit from Public Agenda's research and analysis of how young Americans think about issues vital for their own and the nation's future.

"Public Agenda is honored to be among the Peter G. Peterson Foundation's first-round grant recipients," said Ruth Wooden, president of Public Agenda. "Our work to engage the general public on these issues over the past two years indicates that young people quickly grasp the severity of the challenges we face and theirs can be extremely compelling voices for taking proactive steps. Students Face Up to the Nation's Finances will engage thousands of young people and bring them into the national discussion of what should be the priorities of our federal government and how we pay for them."

Students Face Up to the Nation's Finances is a natural outgrowth of Public Agenda's successful, ongoing, nationwide citizens' dialogue project, Facing Up to the Nation's Finances. This multiyear collaboration has involved The Concord Coalition, The Brookings Institution, The Heritage Foundation, and Viewpoint Learning. Public Agenda's work on federal finances also has brought it into partnership for public events, Washington briefings, and publications with many other organizations.

The Students Face Up to the Nation's Finances initiative will coordinate with two other organizations being funded in the Peter G. Peterson Foundation's first-round grants – The Concord Coalition and The National Academy of Public Administration, which has been instrumental in the initial piloting of the student program.

This project, to be launched in schools across the country in the fall 2008 semester on approximately 30-40 campuses, will expand to at least 200 campuses by fall 2009 (Year 1) and another 200-250 campuses by fall 2010 (Year 2). What distinguishes this initiative from other worthy efforts to raise awareness about America's fiscal crisis is its combination of learning, dialogue, incentive to action, and research and communications, as well as its integration into existing college courses in public policy, economics, public administration, political science, history, and other fields.

If you're interesting in learning more about this project, please contact Andrew Yarrow at (202) 719-9777, Gail Gottlieb at (202) 719-9752 or Michael Remaley at: (212) 686-6610, ext. 13

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