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2009 April 19 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Obama Taps CC  Leaders for Top Ed Dept. Positions

Two top slots in the Education Department are being filled with community college leaders.

President Obama has nominated Glenn Cummings, dean of institutional advancement at Southern Maine Community College and former speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, to head the Office of Vocational & Adult Education. In that role, he’ll administer programs  related to community colleges, adult education and literacy and career and technical education.

The announcement came a week after Obama chose Martha J. Kanter, chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District in California, to be undersecretary of education.

Kanter has long experience in community colleges. She served as a vice president at San Jose City College and as vice chancellor for policy and research of the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office. She also serves as the national chair of The College Board's community college advisory panel.

Kanter told the San Jose Mercury-News that her appointment choice shows that the Obama administration recognizes the critical role community colleges play in the nation’s educational system.

“I think it's a statement that every segment of education matters,” Kanter said.

Both Cummings and Kanter must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

  • Despite Budget Woes, Arizona Colleges Reject Tuition Hike

PHOENIX (AP) — Tuition at community colleges in the Phoenix metropolitan area won’t be going up despite expected state budget cuts.

The Maricopa County Community College District governing board voted 4-1 against a proposed tuition hike.

The district had been considering increasing fees $5 per credit hour for county residents and $27 per credit hour for non-county residents.

The tuition increase would have created $12.5 million in additional funding for the system, which serves 230,000 students.

“The board recognized the present economic landscape, and to ask for more money out of our students would be like drawing blood from a turnip,” board President Colleen Clark said.

  • Maine Trustees Vote To Hike College Tuition By 2.4 Percent

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — Maine Community College System trustees have voted to raise tuition at the state’s seven community colleges by 2.4 percent next fall.

Trustees said they sought to minimize the increase despite a potential $3.7 million deficit in the coming two-year state budget and an increase in the number of students.

Trustees say that belt-tightening, federal stimulus dollars and the tuition increase should enable the system to address the budget problems in the seven-campus system.

The colleges are experiencing record applications, up to 35 percent higher.

The community colleges currently enroll about 15,000 students.

  • Hoop Tourney Fuels Record Visits to Kansas Salt Museum

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The junior college basketball tournament in Hutchinson helped the two-year-old Kansas Underground Salt Museum set an attendance record.

From March 17 through March 22, almost 3,000 people toured the museum 650 feet underground. That’s 500 more than attendance during last year’s National Junior College Athletic Association tournament.

Museum operations director Gayle Ferrell said it’s encouraging that 2009 numbers were 20 percent higher than those in 2008, given the nation’s economic crisis.

She also noted brisk sales of combination admission tickets to the salt museum and to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Museum.

  • La. Higher Ed Board Doles Out Reductions In Spending

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s public college systems now know how much they may have to cut their budgets next year.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has proposed $219 million in college cuts in the fiscal year that begins July 1, as a way to balance a budget hammered by tax cuts, oil and gas revenue drops and the national recession.

The state’s top higher education board, the Board of Regents, announced how it expects those cuts to be divvied up among college systems.

Under the plans, which are subject to legislative approval, the LSU System would take the biggest hit: a $102 million cut.

The University of Louisiana System would lose $67 million, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System would be reduced by $29 million. The Southern University System would be cut nearly $17 million.

  • Two Oregon Colleges Offer Free Tuition to Laid-Off Workers

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) — It’s never a good time to lose your job.

But now isn’t so bad if you want to attend Klamath Community College or the Oregon Institute of Technology.

The presidents of the two Klamath Falls schools announced that any Oregon resident who was laid off since Oct. 1 can take classes for free during the spring term on a space-available basis.

Students accepted into the program will have to pay for their own books, school fees and parking permit, if needed.

“We all know higher education can open doors, so this is our chance to help our fellow Oregonians in these tough times,” OIT President Chris Maples said.

The schools are taking different approaches to the offer. The KCC program is open to those who lost their full- or part-time or seasonal employment. It has an initial capacity of 30 new students.

Those hoping to attend OIT, meanwhile, can only have lost a full-time job.

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