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2009 September 7 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • NC College Adds Six-Month Job Retraining Program

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina community college is the latest in the state to launch a job training program that can be completed in six months or less.

Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh has announced focused training programs in health care, office administration, building trades, customer service and biotechnology.

Community colleges statewide are using federal recovery funds to quickly train students in a dozen high-demand fields including carpentry, plumbing, welding and auto body repair.

Nearly every one of the state’s 58 community colleges will be launching JobsNOW programs by the end of the year.

  • Ore. Wins First Round Against College Fund Manager

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon has won the first round in its legal battle against the former investment manager of a state college fund by preventing the lawsuit from going to federal court.

U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan has remanded the case to Marion County Circuit Court in Salem, rejecting an attempt by OppenheimerFunds to avoid the jurisdiction of Oregon state court.

Attorney General John Kroger and Treasurer Ben Westlund sued OppenheimerFunds for $36 million for falsely promoting a high-risk college investment plan as “conservative.”

Lawyers for the state argue plan managers turned it into a hedge-fund like investment that took extreme speculative risks.

Oppenheimer’s Core Bond Fund, valued at $89 million in the state’s college savings plan last September, caused big losses in eight of 15 Oregon college investment portfolios.

  • Few Ala. High School Grads Ready for College Work.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A report by college entrance exam administrators shows that only 16 percent of the students who graduated from Alabama high schools in 2009 were adequately prepared for core college subjects.

Administrators of the ACT test released a report that showed the state’s high schoolers are ill-prepared for college-level work in four core subjects: English, math, social studies and science.

About three quarters of Alabama seniors took the ACT. Their average score was 20.3 out of 36, lower than the national average of 21.1

The ACT is a voluntary test that colleges in the South often use to determine admission and scholarship distribution. Alabama has seen a rise in the number of students taking the test over the last few years. The test costs $46 and can be taken multiple times.

  • Task Force Looks for Ways To Improve Wis. Aid System

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A task force will look for ways to improve Wisconsin’s system of awarding financial aid to low-income college students.

The Higher Educational Aids Board voted to create the task force, which is expected to look at how other states award grants and make recommendations for change.

Board member Jeffrey Bartell of Madison says he believes there’s a better way than Wisconsin’s current system of awarding money based on when students apply. Eligible students who apply after the money runs out are out of luck.

Bartell says he believes that’s a “somewhat arbitrary” system and wonders whether other factors should be considered.

  • Idaho Eases Path For CC Students Transferring to 4-Year Schools

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — The University of Idaho is partnering with nearly a dozen community colleges in three states to help students more easily transfer and complete bachelor’s degrees.

Students completing associate degrees at the Idaho, Washington and Oregon community colleges will be able to, at the same time, finish general education requirements toward a bachelor’s degree at the university under the agreement.

The transfer program will allow students in 700 programs to follow a four-year plan toward their degree.

The university says transfer students are one of its biggest areas of enrollment growth this fall.

The university expects that its enrollment will increase this fall by about 12 percent compared to last year.

  • SD Tribal College Gets Federal Grant for New Tech Center

FORT YATES, N.D. (AP) — Sitting Bull College on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation is getting a $1 million grant from the federal Education Department for a career and technical education center.

The 14,000-square-foot facility is part of the new $40 million campus the college is working on.

Vice president Koreen Ressler says the project also will be a training tool — the grant requires students to build the facility as part of their coursework. Construction is to begin in October.

The college says it has raised about $23 million of the $40 million campus cost.

  • Ivy Tech, Purdue Teaming Up for Agriculture Program

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Ivy Tech Community College in Lafayette is working with Purdue University’s College of Agriculture on a program that will let students enroll in both schools at the same time.

Students in the Pathway Program will work toward a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Purdue. Students will co-enroll in both schools and will take classes at both colleges as they work on their undergraduate degree.

Once a student completes the requirements for an associate degree in agriculture from Ivy Tech, they will be guaranteed admission into Purdue’s College of Agriculture.

Students will be able to apply for the program through a website to be developed this fall. The program will begin accepting students this fall for the fall of 2010.

  • Michigan Colleges Collaborate on Justice Degree

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Macomb Community College criminal justice students now can move more easily from a two- to a four-year degree program under a collaboration with the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Professor Kevin Early heads the Dearborn school’s criminal justice program, which has more than 500 students majoring or concentrating in it.

Early said the arrangement is his program’s fourth such partnership. The others are with Henry Ford, Wayne and Oakland community colleges.

The arrangement means Macomb students can transfer up to 62 credit hours toward a bachelor’s degree at Michigan-Dearborn.

  • President of ND College Stepping Down After 5 Years

NEW TOWN, N.D. (AP) — The president of Fort Berthold Community College is stepping down this fall.

Russell Mason Jr. says he plans to pursue other interests and spend time with his family.

Mason began his career at the college as the admissions director and registrar in 1986. He has held various positions since then, and has been the president the past five years.

  • New Idaho CC Predicts Enrollment Will Triple in Spring

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The president of Idaho’s newest community college says student enrollment for next spring semester is expected to triple compared to this year.

Bert Glandon says the increased demand for an affordable education has been fueled by the economic downturn.

College officials say they are taking aggressive steps to handle the influx of students, including adding staff members.

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