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2010 June 28 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Senators Help Cut Red Tape For Seattle College

SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. Sen. Patty Murray says she and fellow Sen. Maria Cantwell have overcome some very expensive red tape on behalf of Seattle Central Community College.

With repeated letters and phone calls, they encouraged the U.S. Education Department to overturn an earlier decision preventing the college from competing for $2.5 million in federal dollars.

The money to helps low-income students with counseling, tutoring and other services has been going to the college for more than 30 years. An application to renew the grant was rejected in April for being incomplete.

Murray spoke with Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Duncan told her he had changed his mind and the college’s application has been reinstated.

  • University To Offer Aviation Course at NC College

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Students at a college in the state that’s considered the birthplace of flight soon will be able to get a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University in aviation management.

As part of the deal with North Carolina’s Craven Community College, students first get an associate degree in aviation systems technologies there, then transfer into Southern’s aviation management program.

The classes will be taught on weekends.

Faculty from Southern will continue to teach upper-level courses at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, N.C., near the community college’s Havelock, N.C., campus.

The college’s main campus is about 30 minutes away in New Bern, N.C.

  • Trustee Opposes Theater Funds Over Gay Jesus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan community college trustee says he opposes funding “evil things,” citing school support for a theater group that once performed a play depicting Jesus and his apostles as gay Texans.

Grand Rapids Community College is working to close a $3.5 million budget deficit.

At a recent meeting, Trustee Richard Ryskamp objected to $60,000 budgeted for three groups, including $19,000 for the Actors’ Theatre.

In 2003, the troupe presented Terrence McNally’s play “Corpus Christi.”

Ryskamp says the school should consider if groups it funds “are meeting a standard of decency.”

President Steven Ender says the college doesn’t censor the theater.

  • Md. College Profits From New Cell Towers

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — A tree towering above the others near Frederick Community College is actually not a tree at all. It’s a new cell phone tower disguised with artificial evergreen branches.

The 125-foot tower is located on a Frederick County Public Schools site, one of many being built on school properties.

The tower is owned by Milestone Communications of Reston, Va. Cell phone carriers such as T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon lease space from Milestone to improve their coverage in the area.

Milestone pays schools $30,000 up front when a new tower is built and then at least $1,000 a month from the revenue generated by the tower.

  • Kan. College Breaks Ground On New Campus

OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — The Neosho County Community College has broken ground on a new facility in Ottawa.

The Ottawa Herald reported that the 52,000-square-foot building has an expected completion date of January 2011.

A professional wing will house the college’s school of nursing with labs and a simulated hospital. The facility’s interactive wing will include a student lounge, learning center offices and a 100-seat auditorium. And the building’s teaching wing will include classrooms and teacher offices.

Va. Colleges Set New Record For Enrollment

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Enrollment at Virginia’s community colleges reached record levels during the 2009-10 year.

The Virginia Community College System says enrollment at its 23 colleges increased by 7.2 percent, or 18,799 students, to a record 281,243 over the previous year.

Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge saw the biggest jump as enrollment rose by 19.1 percent.

Community colleges also saw a 12.8 increase in full-time equivalency enrollment, which measures credit hours taken instead of individual students. A single FTE represents 30 hours of academic credit per year.

  • Calif. Colleges Turning Away Thousands

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The head of California Community Colleges says the state’s two-year campuses are struggling to meet record demand for classes because of state budget cuts.

Chancellor Jack Scott, who heads the state’s community college system, said that an estimated 140,000 students were turned away over the past academic year and thousands more are having trouble enrolling in summer classes.

He says community colleges have been forced to slash course offerings after the system sustained an 8 percent cut to its overall budget in the 2009-10 year.

  • 13-Year-Old Fights for Admission

LEESBURG, Fla. (AP) — The parents of a 13-year-old girl say their daughter should be allowed to enroll at a community college despite her young age.

Anastasia Megan has nearly finished her high school coursework, and she and her parents were eyeing classes at the Lake-Sumter Community College. Megan’s parents, who home school the girl, say she meets admission qualifications. But her enrollment has been turned down.

College President Charles Mojock said the campus is a different environment than high school with “many adult students having adult conversations on adult topics and that may or may not be suitable for some young students.”

  • Proposal Transfers School For College Use

WASHINGTON (AP) — The University of the District of Columbia could soon expand to a shuttered school building.

In a budget proposal, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray included a transfer of the Patricia R. Harris Education Center from the city’s real estate coffers to UDC. The 358,000-square-foot facility would be used as a campus for the university’s new community college.

University officials say they are thrilled about the new property and will fill it with the right resources. They say early estimates show renovations could cost $21 million.

The move needs full council approval.

  • Feds Give $1M To W.Va. School For Training

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy says West Virginia is getting $1 million to expand weatherization training.

The agency says the grant is one of 34 projects dividing $29 million in federal stimulus funds in 27 states. The aim is to train more workers to make homes and businesses more energy efficient.

The agency says the project will involve the state Community and Technical College System in conjunction with existing training facilities and two new ones planned for the north-central part of the state.

Mo. College Plans To Reverse Fee Increase

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri college plans to rescind a fee increase because it would violate a tuition-freeze agreement with Gov. Jay Nixon.

The Board of Regents at Linn State Technical College had approved a fee increase of $3 per credit hour for the 2010-11 school year.

But college administrators say the board will meet later this month to rescind the fee increase.

The reversal comes after the college was told by Nixon’s administration that the fee increase would count as a tuition hike.

Missouri’s public colleges and universities had agreed not to raise tuition next year in exchange for receiving no more than about $50 million in state budget cuts.

  • Computer Firm Partners with Maine College

SCARBOROUGH, Maine (AP) — A company that provides remote computer support services will use grant money and a partnership with Southern Maine Community College to train up to 350 workers for future employment.

PlumChoice says the initiative was facilitated by the nonprofit economic development group Maine & Company.

It’s being funded through a $550,000 grant from Maine Quality Centers, which is part of the the state’s community college system.

A 72-hour course is specially designed for PlumChoice.

For workers, the grant means they won’t have to pay the typical $1,000 to $2,000 to get certified in the tech support field.

Employees who stay on for six months would get a bonus.

PlumChoice pays tech support people between $20 and $30 an hour plus benefits.

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