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2011 April 18 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • UMass Woos Community College Graduates

BOSTON (AP) — A new program is aimed at making it easier for graduates of two-year community colleges to attend — and afford — the University of Massachusetts flagship Amherst campus..

Community college students with a grade point average of 3.0 or better would be guaranteed admission to UMass-Amherst with free tuition. Those with a GPA of at least 2.5 percent would also be guaranteed admission and would be eligible for financial aid and other services.

The current in-state tuition at the university is $1,714 a year.

Gov. Deval Patrick and UMass-Amherst Chancellor Robert Holub unveiled the program on at Roxbury Community College in Boston.

University officials say more than 500 community college graduates transfer to UMass-Amherst each year and about 70 percent of them go on to receive a bachelor’s degree.

  • Kansas College Offers Free Classes For a Day

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — It turns out paying nothing for college classes is pretty popular.

A northeast Kansas community college is again offering its Free College Day, with a variety of one-time, 45-minute class offerings.

Johnson County Community College first offered the program in 2009 as part of its 40th anniversary celebration. It attracted between 1,500 and 2,000 people to campus.

This year’s version takes place the afternoon of April 30. The school says in a news release that faculty and staff have volunteered to teach more than 220 of the 45-minute classes, on such topics as ``The History of Rock ‘n Roll’’ and ``Investigating Paranormal Phenomena.’’

Participants also will be treated to live entertainment.

  • Maricopa County Colleges Raise Tuition By 7%

PHOENIX (AP) — It will cost more to attend a community college in Maricopa County. The college district board has approved a 7 percent tuition increase.

That means a the cost of a credit hour will rise from $71 to $76.

The Arizona Republic reports the governing board approved the tuition increase by a 4-1 vote. The district says it was forced to charge more for classes because of deep cuts in state funding.

The higher tuition is expected to bring in $12.5 million to the district.

  • RI Lawmaker Proposes Student Loan Tax Break

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island legislator is proposing tax breaks that would make it easier for students at state colleges to repay their loans, while also spurring business.

Under the bill proposed by Rep. Christopher Blazejewski, graduates of the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and the University of Rhode Island would be eligible for a tax credit of up to $8,900 a year.

Businesses would be eligible for the same credit on corporate taxes if they choose to help employees repay those loans.

Blazejewski tells The Providence Journal the bill is intended to attract employers to Rhode Island and put graduates of public colleges into high-paying local jobs.

  • Former Employee Accused in Theft Of Loan Money

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former Southern California community college financial aid officer and an accomplice have pleaded not guilty to allegations that they swindled the government by taking out federal student loans in straw borrowers’ names.

Prosecutors said that former Compton Community College staffer Millicent Cook and alleged accomplice Gwendolyn Renae Harris engineered a scheme that netted them more than $56,000.

A grand jury indictment accuses Cook and Harris of applying for Pell Grants between 2003 to late 2006 using the names and Social Security numbers of people they recruited to serve as student applicants. They then allegedly shared loan disbursements with the phony students.

Both defendants are free on $5,000 bond. They’re scheduled to go to trial in May.

  • Ariz. Budget Cuts Mean Tuition Hike Likely

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Education budget cuts mean a likely tuition hike at state community colleges.

Coconino Community College officials say they expect a modest tuition increase as its state contribution falls by about $1 million.

The proposed round of state cuts could have the college asking for gradual tuition increases of about $3 per credit hour per year for each of the next three years.

Tuition climbed from $75 to $85 per credit hour last fall.

College president Leah Bornstein tells the Arizona Daily Sun 44 percent of the Flagstaff school’s budget comes from tuition and fees, 40 percent from property taxes and 15 percent from the state.

School officials say they have already instituted various money-saving moves from turning off hot water in restrooms to cutting about 20 lower-enrollment programs.

  • Kansas College Tables Tobacco Ban for Now

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — A proposal to ban smoking at Garden City Community College has been tabled, at least for now.

The Student Government Association led a campaign to ban all forms of tobacco from the campus. But Micah Kasriel, adviser to the group, says the issue has been stalled by concerns over how to enforce it.

The Garden City Telegram reported that the school’s Board of Trustees supported the ban. But faculty members and some college administrators questioned whether the school would be able to enforce the ban, or if it was practical to take action against violators.

Kasriel says the SGA plans to continue its efforts to expand the school’s anti-tobacco policy beyond current city ordinance and state law.

  • Interim President Gets Full-Time Dodge City Job

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Trustees of Dodge City Community College have chosen Don Woodburn as the school’s new president.

Woodburn had been serving as interim president of the southwestern Kansas college since January. The previous permanent president, Richard Burke, retired last June.

The Dodge City Daily Globe reports the Board of Trustees approved a two-year, three-month contract with Woodburn this week. It takes effect April 1.

Woodburn is a former president of Coffeyville Community College, in southeastern Kansas. He’s also a former dean of the University of Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.

Dodge City’s trustees have called him a good fit for their school because of his background in rural colleges.

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