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2010 January 11 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • In-State Tuition For Illegal Immigrants Challenged

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas law that allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at colleges and universities is facing a legal challenge.

David A. Rogers with the Immigration Reform Coalition of Texas says the lawsuit filed in Houston alleges the state is violating federal law and seeks an injunction to halt the practice.

The lawsuit names the University of Houston, Houston Community College and Lone Star College systems.

UH law professor Michael A. Olivas, who helped draft the Texas statue, says federal law allows states to pass their own legislation regarding in-state residency for undocumented students.

In-state tuition is generally cheaper than fees for out-of-state residents.

  • Number of Conn. Degrees Continues Upward Climb

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut officials say state colleges and universities awarded about 38,000 degrees in spring 2009, almost 4 percent more than in 2008.

The state Department of Higher Education says it’s the eighth consecutive year of growth, and that the number of degrees earned over the last decade is up 28 percent.

Officials credit the increase to what they call the “baby boomlet,” children of the baby boom generation who are graduating.

The number of associate degrees granted at Connecticut community colleges also reached a record high of almost 5,600, a 10 percent increase in one year.

Manchester Community College led the way with 704 degrees conferred in the 2008-09 school year.

  • RI Leaders Say Budget Cuts Will Take Heavy Toll

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The president of the Community College of Rhode Island is warning that the school might have to “shut the door” to new students even as enrollment is reaching an all-time high.

Ray Di Pasquale told the House Finance Committee that CCRI has already frozen more than 120 positions and has cut everything from travel expenses to professional development. The school was asked to cut $3.4 million.

He says enrollment is booming during the economic downturn. But because of dwindling state aid, he warned that the college might not be able to take any additional students.

The presidents of the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College, the two other public colleges in the state, also appeared before the committee to detail the cuts they’re making.

  • Expiration of Wyoming Nursing Program Nears

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Laramie County Community College officials say ending a state program intended to reduce the nursing shortage in Wyoming will have drastic consequences on its nursing school.

The Wyoming Investment in Nursing program that started in 2003 will expire in 2011 unless state lawmakers extend it during their budget session that starts in February.

School President Darrel Hammon says the college would lose $353,000 in state money if the program is allowed to expire.

The program offers loans and grants to students accepted into nursing programs at the University of Wyoming and community colleges in Wyoming. The program also brings instructors to the schools.

  • Ala. Colleges Seek More Funds In Lean Times

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Higher education in Alabama is seeking more money for next year, even though legislative fiscal experts predict no extra money will be available.

Legislators in Montgomery have been hearing budget requests for the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2010.

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education recommended that the funding for four-year colleges be increased more than 10 percent to $1.1 billion.

Alabama’s two-year college system sought an increase of 13 percent to $423 million. The new two-year college chancellor, Freida Hill, acknowledged that’s not likely to happen and asked legislators to consult her department when making cuts in the request.

  • Ivy Tech to Offer Late-Night Classes in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Looking for something to do late at night?

How about going to college?

Ivy Tech Community College says it will offer “moonlight madness” classes at its downtown Indianapolis campus this spring semester, which begins Jan. 11. Classes will run from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Classes will be available in math, English, psychology and history.

Ivy Tech central Indiana Chancellor Hank Dunn says the late-night classes are designed to provide an option for students who find it difficult to take classes at traditional times. The courses also will take advantage of parking spots and classrooms that normally sit empty at night.

  • NC Program Aims To Curb Dropout Rate

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — About half of a $4.5 million gift to North Carolina’s largest public school district is creating a scholarship program for black males at a low-performing high school with a high dropout rate.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials announced the donation from the C.D. Spangler Foundation.

C.D. Spangler Jr. says he hopes to improve graduation rates at West Charlotte High School, his two daughters’ alma mater.

Black males graduating from the school will receive $1,000 scholarships to any University of North Carolina campus or Central Piedmont Community College, which will share $2 million for the program.

West Charlotte also received $50,000 to pay college application fees of all students, and $150,000 for dropout prevention.

  • Group Pushing To Improve Miss. Graduation Rates

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A legislative task force studying Mississippi’s higher education system has made recommendations it believes will lead to more people earning degrees.

The Graduation Task Force approved a report that recommends establishing a state-level achievement council that would set long-term goals and publish annual reports.

Other recommendations include creating a seamless transition from community college to universities, and providing funding incentives for schools to improve graduation rates.

Senate Universities and Colleges Chairman Doug Davis of Hernando says most of the proposals won’t require legislative action.

House Education Chairman Cecil Brown acknowledges Mississippi needs to improve educational attainment, but says the state is on par with the southeastern region.

  • Valley Forge President Is Stepping Down

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. (AP) — The president of the Valley Forge Military Academy in suburban Philadelphia is stepping down.

A spokesman says Charles A. “Tony” McGeorge has resigned to join a consulting firm.

McGeorge has been the academy’s president since July 2005.

The chairman of the school’s board of trustees, William Floyd, will serve as acting head while officials conduct a search for a permanent successor.

In April, McGeorge announced plans to build a $32 million academic facility that would allow the coed junior college to more than double its enrollment. But some alumni have been at odds with the academy during McGeorge’s time and have challenged the leadership of Valley Forge’s first civilian president.

In the spring, they gathered more than 1,000 signatures on petitions calling for his ouster.

  • Congress OKs $1M for Three Md. Colleges

MOUNT AIRY, Md. (AP) — Congress has approved $1 million for a new health-care training center for community college students in three Maryland counties.

Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski said the complex will be built in Mount Airy and be shared by the Carroll, Frederick and Howard county community colleges.

Mikulski says the center will help meet the rising demand for health-care workers from dental hygienists to paramedics.

  • Gillette College Opening New Technical Center

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Gillette College is celebrating the opening of its new $36.8 million Technical Education Center.

The 74,000-foot Tech Center will house the college’s diesel technician program, culinary academy, welding center and industrial electronics program. It will also house classes for students in the engineering and mining technology programs.

With the addition of the new building, all of the college’s programs will be located on campus.

The state and Campbell County split the project cost, which sits on 13 acres contributed by the city of Gillette.

The building includes an underground cistern to store up to 30,000 gallons of rainwater from a roof collection system.

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