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2010 October 4 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Kansas College Loses $426K Federal Grant

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Hutchinson Community College has lost a long-held $426,000 federal grant that funded a program for at-risk students.

College administrators said they were notified that the U.S. Department of Education had denied the school’s application to renew the Student Support Services grant.

Dean of Students Randy Myers said the college had successfully renewed the grant for the last 43 years and that administrators have been exploring the possibility of appealing the decision.

“We are questioning why it was not renewed,” Myers said.

The grant funded academic and social support programs for about 350 at-risk students. First-generation college students, students with a high level of financial need or students with an identified disability were able to qualify for the service. The grant aims at encouraging these students to earn a four-year college degree, The Hutchinson News reported.

The grant also funded salaries of six staff positions. HCC was able to find employment for four staff members in other areas, Myers said.

He said if HCC does not win an appeal or chooses not to appeal, it will have to wait four years before reapplying for the grant.

HCC students receiving support through the grant program had higher retention and graduation rates than comparable students outside the program. And HCC officials said students in the program had an average grade point average that was one point higher than their peers.

  • Mass. Higher Ed Commissioner Critical of Cuts

BOSTON (AP) — The state’s higher education commissioner says continued cuts to public colleges and universities are forcing institutions to choose between affordability and quality while “placing the future of the state in jeopardy.”

Commissioner Richard Freeland criticized state legislators for cutting funds to the state’s 15 community colleges, state universities and the five-campus University of Massachusetts system at a time of increased student demand.

Freeland said Massachusetts has made some of the deepest cuts to higher education in the nation. State appropriation for public higher education has dropped an additional 12 percent since last year, in what he calls a “worrisome pattern.”

  • Program Steers American Indians To Engineering

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Supporters of a new program that aims to recruit American Indian students to become engineers are hoping some of them will return home to help their communities.

North Dakota and South Dakota are taking part in the five-year program, which is being funded by a $4.8 million National Science Foundation grant.

It links four-year engineering schools with community colleges in each state, which is meant to keep students interested in completing their degrees.

The initiative targets areas where poverty, substance abuse, poor school facilities and other problems have caused many students to lose hope of obtaining a college degree.

  • Statistics Show Sharp Rise in Conn. Transfers

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — New statistics show that the number of students transferring into the Connecticut State University System has increased by 44 percent in the last decade.

The statistics, released last week by state education officials, show 3,054 students transferred last year into Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Connecticut state universities. That’s up from 2,124 between 2000 and 2001.

Of those who transferred in last year, 92 percent were Connecticut residents and many transferred from community colleges throughout the state.

David Carter, the university system’s chancellor, says he’s pleased the schools are attracting in-state students at a time when many young adults are leaving Connecticut.

The Connecticut State University System has about 36,000 students and 180,000 alumni.

  • Tribal Colleges Awarded Federal Grant Money

PHOENIX (AP) — Twenty-two tribal colleges in nine states including Arizona have been awarded grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Tribal College Initiative Grant program.

The program provides land-grant institutions with funds for outreach and education services to help meet the needs of Native American communities.

In southern Arizona near Tucson, the Tohono O’odham Community College is getting a $196,600 grant.

The federal funding will be used to equip four classrooms with the latest in technological equipment and furniture to provide an adequate learning atmosphere for students and faculty.

The new center will be the central part of the distance learning program which tribal officials say is needed by the distant communities that form the Tohono O’odham Nation.

  • Fall Enrollment At BRCC Jumps By 3 Percent

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Enrollment at Baton Rouge Community colleges continues to steadily grow, while Southern University’s student enrollment is down another 4 percent, according to recently released college data.

BRCC jumped about 3 percent to 8,340 students, up from 8,104 enrolled last fall. Southern reported a total enrollment this fall of 7,313 students compared with 7,619 last year. While BRCC may now exceed Southern by 1,000 students, Southern still enrolls a higher percentage of full-time students.

Southern Chancellor Kofi Lomotey credited the 300-student dip primarily to state budget cuts to colleges and concerns from potential students about toughened admission standards.

“It’s basically what we predicted,” Lomotey said. “But that’s not to say we’re happy.”

Fewer employees in financial aid, admissions and recruiting offices also have hurt, he said.

“We have less money to recruit,” Lomotey said. “We have fewer courses being offered We have the threat of (academic) degree program eliminations.”

  • Conn. Colleges To Benefit from Broadband Grant

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut is receiving $94 million in federal stimulus funding to extend high-speed, broadband Internet service to more of the state’s schools, libraries and public safety complexes.

Broadband will be extended to 83 schools, 29 libraries and two community colleges in Danielson and Winsted.

Members of the state’s congressional delegation announced the grant money. The funding is part of a $7 billion nationwide investment in expanding broadband access.

HUD Awards Hawaii College $800,000

HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded Kapiolani Community College $800,000.

HUD said that the school intends to use its Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Institutions Assisting Communities grant to renovate and connect culinary and continuing education classrooms.

The department says the result will be the creation of the Kapahulu Learning and Outreach Center. Plans call for the center to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

  • Mesalands CC Prez Sentenced After DWI Arrest

TUCUMCARI, N.M. (AP) — The president of Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, Phillip Barry, has been sentenced to New Mexico’s first offender program after being convicted of driving under the influence.

Assistant District Attorney Susan Stinson says Barry’s sentence includes a year of deferred supervised probation. He must attend a victim impact panel and complete 24 hours of community service.

Barry was arrested on Oct. 16, 2009 and was convicted earlier this month of driving under the influence.

Police said Barry was stopped for speeding. Authorities say beath test results were 0.11 and 0.12. The legal limit is 0.08.

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