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2010 February 8 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Consolidation of La. Higher Ed Garners Support

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Community colleges, LSU and Southern University could lose their management boards in the coming years, based on recommendations approved by a state higher education streamlining commission.

Gov. Bobby Jindal said he favors consolidating oversight of the state’s 14 public universities, nine community colleges and 40 technical college campuses.

“I’m certainly in favor of a single board,” Jindal said after a recent commission meeting. Jindal said one board offers better efficiency and coordination.

Consolidating boards would require a state constitutional amendment.

However, Jindal also said he supports the review commission’s recommendation to consolidate boards only if the colleges do not make “significant progress” toward certain graduation rate goals by the end of June 2014.

That recommendation of the Louisiana Postsecondary Education Review Commission would merge the LSU, Southern and University of Louisiana systems into one management board, while leaving a second board to oversee two-year colleges. The Louisiana Board of Regents also would be maintained as a coordinating body.

“It gives them a very short period of time to see if they can improve performance,” Jindal said.

About 38 percent of Louisiana’s university students graduate within six years, which is next-to-last in the Southern region, and one percentage point over Arkansas.

  • NY Gov. Proposes Letting Colleges Set Own Tuition

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. David Paterson says the state’s public universities should be allowed to set their own tuition rates.

Right now, all tuition hikes at the State University of New York and the City University of New York must be approved by the legislature.

Paterson presented the proposed change as part of his state budget proposal.

The governor says Albany now “micromanages” everything at the schools, down to the chalk they purchase.

He says that threatens the schools’ ability to adapt to changing educational and fiscal circumstances. The proposal was welcomed by the chancellors of both state universities.

The yearly tuition for state residents at SUNY is $5,070. Residents pay $4,600 at CUNY.

  • Ariz. Sees Increase in Student Aid Applications

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona has seen the third-highest increase among the states in what’s known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

Mesa Community College ranked 20th among colleges where more than 10,000 FAFSA applications were submitted.

Arizona’s Grand Canyon University, a private Christian-based school, ranked fifth.

Grand Canyon University spokeswoman Trish Newman says students received about $5 million in financial aid during the 2008-2009 school year.

Mesa Community College reports a 40 percent jump in the number of students filing FAFSA applications compared with the previous year.

The form is used to determine a student’s eligibility for government and government-guaranteed commercial loans and grants.

Some private scholarship groups, as well as schools, also use the form to determine eligibility for financial aid.

  • Bill Easing College Transfers Clears Kentucky House

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky House has passed a bill aimed at making it easier for community college students to transfer to four-year public universities.

Rep. Carl Rollins, the bill’s lead sponsor, said the measure would ensure a ``clearly defined path’’ to a bachelor’s degree for students starting out at community colleges.

The bill cleared the House on a 97-0 vote Thursday and now goes to the Senate.

Rep. Tim Moore said the bill will lead to more efficiency in higher education and prevent students from having to retake courses once transferring to four-year universities.

As part of the bill, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System would align its general education requirements with bachelor’s degrees programs at state universities.

Also, public bachelor’s degrees would be limited to 120 credit hours, though waivers could be granted for specialized degrees to require extra credit hours.

  • Ivy Tech Sets New Enrollment Record with 8.5% Increase

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ivy Tech Community College has set a new enrollment record with 8.5 percent more students than during the fall semester.

The school says it counted 119,773 students statewide for its spring semester, about 9,400 more than it enrolled last August. Those figures show that the 23-campus system is continuing its fast growth as enrollment has gone up 39 percent since the start of the 2008-09 school year.

Ivy Tech President Thomas Snyder says the school has been able to accommodate the growth by aggressively pursuing cost savings.

College enrollments have been going up across the state and country amid the recession.

  • Search Is Underway for New President of Maine College

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — The Maine Community College System is searching for a new president for its campus in Bangor.

College system President John Fitzsimmons says Joyce Hedlund, who has headed Eastern Maine Community College for 16 years, will become president of the Washington County Community College in Calais beginning in July.

Fitzsimmons says a national search for Hedlund’s successor at the Bangor community college will begin in February.

  • W.Va. Colleges To Get $6M for Clean Energy Job Training

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Workforce West Virginia will receive $6 million in federal stimulus funding to train workers for clean energy jobs.

The funding, from the U.S. Labor Department, is part of a $500 million federal initiative to prepare workers for careers in energy efficiency industries.

The agency says West Virginia’s funding will be used to train current and future workers in building construction, retrofitting and installation jobs.

It also will support two new community college programs and enhance education and training programs’ knowledge of targeted industries.

More than 1,600 workers who complete training are expected to find employment.

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