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By CCW Staff  /  
2009 June 15 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Wis. Legislative Panel Approves Tuition Break For Immigrants 

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Some illegal immigrants would qualify for in-state tuition at Wisconsin universities and technical colleges under a plan adopted by the Legislature’s budget committee.

The Democratic-controlled committee voted 12-4 along party lines to allow illegal immigrants who graduate from Wisconsin high schools and have lived in the state three years to qualify for resident tuition rates.

Debate over the issue has been politically charged for years.

Democrats say giving illegal immigrants access to higher education is the fair thing to do. Republicans say it makes no sense since they will not be able to get good jobs here after they graduate.

The committee’s version of the budget still must be passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor to take effect.

  • Third College in West Virginia Adopts New Name

MONTGOMERY, W.Va. (AP) — Another West Virginia community college has renamed itself ahead of a July deadline for schools that were once linked to four-year institutions.

The Community and Technical College at WVU Tech in Montgomery is now Bridgemont Community and Technical College.

In announcing its new name, the school becomes the third of five community and technical colleges to change their names after a 2008 law separated them from four-year university partners. Earlier, West Virginia State CTC became Kanawha Valley CTC, and Fairmont State CTC became Pierpont CTC.

The other two schools, Marshall CTC in Huntington and West Virginia University at Parkersburg, have until July 1 to change their names or strike an agreement with the larger schools on trademark use.

  • Board Delays Decision on Tax Credits for K.C. College

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A state finance board has delayed a decision on awarding tax credits to a Kansas City community college because of concerns that it might violate its policies.

Metropolitan Community College is seeking $3 million in tax credits from the Missouri Development Finance Board to help complete a $27 million health education building.

The college had been encouraged to apply for the aid when Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder was chairman of the board.

But after Democrat Jay Nixon took office as governor in January, he named his Department of Economic Development Director Linda Martinez to take over as the board’s chairwoman.

Martinez and other Nixon appointees say the proposed tax credits could violate a board policy against awarding aid to health or public educational facilities.

  • Va. Colleges Approve Increased Tuition, Fees

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Students at Virginia’s community colleges will see tuition and fees increase by $6.55 per credit hour for the 2009-10 school year.

In-state students at almost all state community colleges will pay $92.70 per credit hour, up from $86.15. An in-state student taking 30 credit hours over two semesters would pay about $2,781 in tuition and fees in 2009-10, up 7.6 percent from about $2,585.

The State Board of Community Colleges set the rate and said the increase would have been much greater had the system not been allocated $38.8 million in federal stimulus funds over the next two years.

VCCS officials said a record-setting 16,000 new students — both traditional students and laid-off workers — enrolled in the system over the last two years, and spring semester enrollment was up more than 7 percent. More than 30 new community-college buildings are opening statewide to increase capacity.

The board also increased a separate tuition differential for Northern Virginia Community College by $3 per credit hour to $11.35. The school, one of the nation’s largest, says the increase is needed to accommodate the needs of the region’s exploding population.

  • Gates Foundation Grants Will  Boost Colleges On Both Coasts

SEATTLE (AP) — The Gates Foundation is giving $350,000 to King County programs that help low-income adults with full-time jobs finish community and technical colleges.

The money will fund six projects this fall run by the Seattle-King County Workforce Education Collaborative.

The Seattle Times reports the foundation also is giving $560,000 to The City University of New York to boost community college graduation rates.

  • Neb. Schools To Train Wind Turbine Mechanics

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska’s community colleges are stepping up to train workers who can install and maintain wind turbines, which have boomed across the state in recent years.

Northeast Community College in Norfolk is planning to start a one-year wind energy technician diploma program this fall to train students to maintain commercial and residential wind energy systems.

Western Nebraska Community College’s Sidney campus is developing a similar, somewhat shorter program to do the same thing.

Susan Williams-Sloan of the American Wind Energy Association says about 800 new wind technician jobs were created across the country last year, and there’s a demand for more.

She says wind technicians usually make about $25 an hour.

  • Missouri Foster Children Could Get Free Tuition At State Colleges

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Some Missouri foster children could receive free tuition to public colleges and universities.

Legislation passed last week would provide up to four years of college tuition for foster children in “good academic standing” who complete 100 of community service each year.

The grants could begin for freshmen enrolling in fall 2010, but would be subject to funding in the state budget.

Missouri would join at least 18 states in offering college aid to foster children.

Children’s advocates have pushed for the legislation for years. They say the state effectively is the parent for foster children, who have little way to afford college on their own. Supporters also say the promise of free tuition would motivate more foster children to finish high school. 

  • Portland CC Student Makes Bid To Save on Energy Costs

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland Community College student wants to stop the waste of electricity that powers idle school computers when students and staff aren’t around.

Jason A. Smith, who is studying to be an electrical engineer, proposes having the computers automatically switch to standby mode if no one uses them for 15 minutes.

As simple as the idea sounds, it could save PCC a lot of money in energy costs. Smith estimates that the energy saved will represent, conservatively, $50,000.

“That’s a teacher’s salary,” he told the Daily Journal of Commerce in Portland.

The average campus computer draws 105 watts of electricity when no one is using it, he said.

Multiply that by the 2,250 computers on the PCC Sylvania campus, and you get more than 236 kilowatts of energy.

Computers that can go into low-power standby mode, however, use only about 2 percent of the energy of powered-up computers two or three watts, Smith said.

As the student senate representative for sustainability, Smith is uniquely positioned to do address the issue. He also has some skills that should help him take a scientific look at the computers on campus.

He already has pre-engineering and general science associate degrees, and he is finishing his math, science and engineering prerequisite classes before starting at Oregon State University this fall.

“I did a bunch of tests,” he said. “I took the watt meter on campus and tested the monitors and everything to see how much energy they use.”

Energy Star, the federal energy conservation program, has free software available to address the issue. The problem is the college first must sign a potentially complicated agreement.

  • Cerritos College Newspaper  Struggling To Stay in Print

NORWALK, Calif. (AP) — Cerritos College newspaper editors are trying to find a way to keep their paper, Talon Marks, in print.

Though the 4,000-circulation paper will continue to publish online, administrators say the paper will produce two print editions a year instead of the current 25.

Talon Marks editor Scott Watkins says that’s a problem because the community relies on the print edition.

The community college’s administrators have also cut the class that produces the 53-year-old paper in anticipation of a tight budget.

Fine Arts dean Connie Mayfield says only 12 students enrolled in the newspaper production class last semester, and it was among a number of classes being targeted for low enrollment.

Staffers have begun a petition online to keep the paper in print.

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