updated 10/3/2006 7:58:29 AM ET 2006-10-03T11:58:29

U.S. Rep. Mark Foley resigned last week after revelations emerged of sexually explicit instant messages he sent in 2003 to former congressional pages. Here are some questions and answers about the Congressional Page Program and how it works:

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Q: Who is eligible to be a House page?

A: Pages must be at least 16 years old and have at least a B grade point average.

Q: How are House pages selected?

A: The application process to become a page is competitive. Prospective pages first must apply to their individual congressman. From there, finalists' names are submitted to congressional leaders who pick the final pages.

Q: How many pages are there?

A: The House of Representatives has 72 pages at a time — two-thirds of whom are appointed by the majority party, in this case, Republicans. In the Senate, 20 students serve as pages.

Q: How long do students work as pages?

A: In the House of Representatives, pages can work for several weeks in the summer, a semester, or a full school year.

Q: Where do pages live?

A: Pages live in dormitories on Capitol Hill and are charged a nominal room and board fee from their salary. Pages have a supervisor at work and are monitored by teachers and administrators at a special page school. The dorm is monitored by security cameras and Capitol Police.

Q: What do pages do?

A: Pages are "gofers" who deliver letters, legislative material and packages to offices on Capitol Hill. Other duties include staffing cloakrooms inside the House and Senate chambers. There, pages give messages to lawmakers, alert them of votes and answer phones.

Q: What kind of interaction do pages have with members of Congress?

A: The interaction between a page and a member of Congress varies. Some members never speak to pages while others act as surrogate parents to the students, taking them out for meals, buying them snacks and offering advice.

Q: Are pages warned about inappropriate behavior by members of Congress?

A: Pages are encouraged to notify program administrators about any sexual harassment - by congressmen or otherwise. Former pages said Monday that they never were warned about behavior by specific lawmakers, but understood they were to be careful about inappropriate behavior.

Editor's note: Chicago-based AP Business Writer Ashley M. Heher served as a page in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997 until 1998.

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