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2010 April 6 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Report: Calif. Students Miss Out on Grants

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A new report is showing that California community college students are missing out on as much as $500 million in unclaimed federal aid.

Officials with the nonprofit Institute for College Access and Success in Berkeley say their report shows about 500,000 of the 2.9 million community college students in California could be eligible for a Pell Grant.

Each student could get from $400 to $5,350 to help cover expenses at a time of severe budget cuts and rising student fees.

But the report says California students are applying at a lower rate than students from other states. Some students say they don’t know about the grant; others say they find the application process too complicated.

Community college officials say federal policymakers are working to help streamline the process.

  • Ala. Chancellor Objects to Board Criticism

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s new two year college chancellor, Freida Hill, said she’s offended by criticism of her lobbying efforts made at a meeting of Alabama’s state school board.

Hill told board members at the meeting on that she had given a legislative agenda to college presidents and asked them to contact their legislators.

Board member David Byers Jr. told Hill, “If that is where you are, that is going nowhere and that’s not good enough.”

“I consider that an insult,” Hill said as the meeting ended.

Byers said during the meeting that he is unhappy with the system’s lobbying efforts at the Statehouse at a time when there is an education budget crisis. Hill, who was hired in December, defended her relationship with legislators, saying her office provides lawmakers with timely information.

She said the system was handicapped when its lobbyist, Anita Archie, resigned in late December to accept a similar post with the Business Council of Alabama.

  • LA Colleges To Fight Bond Money Waste

LOS ANGELES (AP)—The Los Angeles Community College District will appoint an inspector general after reports that it misspent some of the $5.7 billion that voters approved for campus construction.

College trustees unanimously voted to establish the position after a staffer reported that some of the bond money was used for things not permitted under the state Constitution, such as travel and public relations.

The district’s bond counsel, Lisalee Anne Wells, told the board she didn’t know how much money had been misspent.

The trustees also voted to create a whistleblower program so employees can report waste, fraud or corruption in the program.

The bond money was approved by voters in 2001, 2003 and 2008.

  • Tuition Increase Likely For La. 2-Year Schools

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Most of the state’s two-year institutions are on track to increase tuition by at least 5 percent in the fall, and they’re adding a new $32-per-year student fee.

The new fee will help pay for a nearly $40 million student information system for two-year colleges to make registration, class scheduling and finances all online and uniform statewide.

The Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors approved the tuition and fee increases. The tuition increase still needs approval from a legislative budget panel before it can take effect.

The tuition increases would be the third straight year of 5 percent boosts approved by the Legislature. If pending legislation is approved, LCTCS President Joe May said schools might increase tuition by 10 percent in the fall.

  • Conn. Proposes Forgiving Loans For Unemployed

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut lawmakers are pushing legislation that would subsidize higher education to help reduce unemployment.

The legislature’s Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee has recommended a bill that would forgive loans for students who work in green jobs, life sciences and health information technology.

The committee proposed a separate bill that would waive up to $5,000 in tuition per year for up to two years for unemployed or lower income students who enroll in regional community colleges. Students must earn a degree in yet-to-be-defined high-demand fields, emerging industries or entrepreneurship program.

Representative Roberta Willis, co-chairwoman of the committee, says top lawmakers hope to work with Gov. M. Jodi Rell to draft one bill with elements of both and include funding.

  • Immigrants Paying In-State Tuition in Texas

DALLAS (AP) — Thousands of illegal immigrants paid in-state tuition or received other financial aid at public colleges and universities across Texas during 2009.

Figures from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board show about 1 percent of all Texas college students, in the fall semester, benefited from a 2001 law granting such in-state tuition.

The Dallas Morning News reported that the figure topped 12,000 students who are illegal immigrants, not legal permanent residents or not U.S. citizens.

A challenge to the state law was filed in December by the Immigration Reform Coalition of Texas. The law requires students to attend school in the state for at least three years before graduation from a Texas high school. Students also must file an affidavit saying they plan to seek permanent residency.

  • Miss. College Plans 11 Percent Tuition Increase

BOONEVILLE, Miss. (AP) — It will cost more to attend Northeast Mississippi Community College beginning this fall.

The school’s board of trustees approved an 11 percent hike in tuition effective July 1. The increase will raise tuition from the current $945 per semester to $1,050 per semester for Mississippi residents.

NMCC President Johnny Allen tells the Daily Corinthian that he recommended the increase amid cuts in state funding combined with higher costs of operation.

Allen says the increase is modest compared to what other community colleges have done across the state.

  • New Campus Center Planned By Dixie State

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) — Dixie State College will build a new campus centerpiece for a library and other facilities.

The Utah Legislature authorized $35 million for the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons building.

It will be the largest facility on campus with five stories and 170,000 square feet of floor space.

President Stephen D. Nadauld says the first floor will be devoted to student services, with a library and electronic learning center occupying the next three floors and a career center on the top floor.

The same spending bill passed by the Legislature for Dixie State set aside $29 million for a Salt Lake Community College administrative complex.

  • Neb. Ag College Tries To Bring Soldiers Home

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is working with the military to urge soldiers who are leaving active duty to come back home to Nebraska to start farms, ranches and businesses.

Under a program the school in Curtis has branded “Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots,”’ the military and school are working together to attract the former soldiers

The programs help students get a foothold in farming, ranching and businesses by teaching them the skills they need.

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