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2011 June 13 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • El Paso CC Students Send Project Into Space Aboard Shuttle

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Three El Paso Community College students sent their science experiment into space aboard the shuttle Endeavour.

Jarisma Rodriguez, Michelle Holguin and Diana Pahman watched the shuttle launch in Florida, the El Paso Times reported.

Test tubes containing samples from their project on the “Effect of Microgravity on Biofilm Formation by E. coli on Polystyrene Particles” shot into space with the shuttle.

The students kept further samples safe on the ground, and they plan to analyze and compare those that stayed behind with the ones that went into space once the shuttle returns.

“We found (biofilm growing on polystyrene particles) to be a huge problem with water stations,” said Pahman. Biofilm is a mass of microorganisms that form slime.

“We want to see the difference of how the biofilm forms,” said Rodriguez. “We want to see if there is something we can do to destroy it or control its growth.”

Holgiun said they hope their research will lead to a development in anti-bacteria treatment.

  • Feds, Maricopa Agree To Settle Bias Lawsuit

PHOENIX (AP) — The Maricopa County Community College District has agreed to pay nearly $68,000 to settle a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit that alleged it discriminated against non-citizens in hiring.

The district was accused of requiring newly hired non-citizens who legally could work in the U.S. to present work authorization documents beyond those required by law. It did not require U.S. citizens to provide the documents.

The district will pay nearly $46,000 in civil penalties and more than $22,000 to two applicants offered jobs but not allowed to begin work. The district agreed to change its hiring practices to make sure all applicants are treated equally.

The district said it believed the tax form it used was needed to comply with the law and agreed to the settlement to avoid legal costs.

  • Minn. System Marks Milestone In Distance Ed

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minneapolis woman has become the 100,000th online student this year at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

She’s 28-year-old Rose Youngmark, a mother of six who lives in north Minneapolis who recently registered for a geography course at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park.

A preliminary estimate for the system’s online enrollment in the 2011 fiscal year is 107,032, up from 95,749 in 2010. That’s a nearly 12 percent increase.

Online education has become an important part of MnSCU’s offerings.

A preliminary analysis by the system shows that 19.5 percent of full-year credits offered in fiscal year 2011 were available in classes with an online component. That’s up from 17 percent the year before.

MnSCU serves about 277,000 students per year in credit-based courses.

  • Okla. House OKs Guns-on-Campus Legislation

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahomans with a license to carry a concealed firearm could keep their weapon secured in their vehicle on CareerTech campuses under a bill approved in the Oklahoma House.

The last surviving gun bill of the session was approved on a 75-5 vote, despite opposition from officials with the vocational educational system that the proposal could pose a safety risk. The bill now heads to the Senate for final consideration.

Lawmakers have rejected several other firearms-related measures this year, including one that would have allowed the open carrying of firearms and another that would have allowed concealed carry permit holders to carry their weapons while on college campuses.

Supporters say the measure only applies to individuals who have obtained a concealed carry license, which requires training and a background check.

  • Website Explains Changes in Ga. Scholarship Plan

ATLANTA (AP) — The technical colleges in Georgia have started a new website explaining how changes to the HOPE scholarship system will affect students.

Technical colleges Commissioner Ron Jackson said it’s important that current and prospective students under what’s needed to qualify for the state scholarship and know how they can use it.

Facing a drop in state revenue, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a law this year making deep cuts to the HOPE program.

Only the highest-scoring students — those who earn a 3.7 GPA and a 1200 on the SAT as well as the valedictorian and salutatorian at each high school — will still receive a full scholarship. Others would receive 90 percent of the current tuition rate.

The new website is http://www.tcsghopeinfo.com.

  • Arkansas Trustees OK Tuition Hike

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) — The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees has approved tuition hikes for the upcoming academic year.

The board voted unanimously Friday for 6 percent tuition increases for the Fayetteville, Little Rock and Monticello campuses. Tuition at Pine Bluff will rise by 5.9 percent and students at Fort Smith will see a 7.1 percent hike.

Students enrolled in the university’s two-year community colleges will see slightly higher tuition increases, topping out at 9.6 percent at the Morrilton campus. The Batesville campus will see a 6.5 percent hike, while Phillips will see a 7 percent increase. Tuition will increase by 8.4 percent in Hope and by 9.1 percent at Cossatot in De Queen.

The university system says the tuition increases will help pay for facility maintenance, technology and rising benefit costs.

  • Va. Community College System Tuition To Rise

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Students at Virginia’s community colleges will see tuition and fees rise by at least $9.50 per credit hour for the 2011-12 school year.

In-state students at almost all community colleges will pay $119 per credit hour, up 8.7 percent from $109.50. An in-state student taking 30 credit hours over two semesters at typical two-year schools would pay $285 more for the academic year, or $3,570.

Officials said tuition would have been higher without more than $9 million in additional state funding for the 23-school system in this year’s budget.

The board also increased the tuition differential for Northern Virginia Community College by $2.80, to $17.15 per credit hour.

  • Owensboro Gets Online Boost as College Town

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — A new website that brands Owensboro as a safe and exciting college town is being touted as an economic marketing tool for the western Kentucky city.

OwensboroU.com is a collaborative effort between the four colleges that have campuses in the city — Owensboro Community & Technical College, Western Kentucky University-Owensboro, Kentucky Wesleyan College and Brescia University.

Nick Brake, the president and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp., told The Messenger-Inquirer that the idea is to increase college enrollment to attract business.

“Economic development has long been based on the location decisions of companies,” Brake said. “The overall goal of our partnership is to focus on the location decisions made by college students and their parents.”

He said educational attainment drives the new economy and the hope is to increase the community’s college enrollment from 8,000 to 10,000.

  • Fed Dollars Aid Library, Campus Project in E. Ky.

OLIVE HILL, Ky. (AP) — An eastern Kentucky city is getting more than $600,000 in federal grant money to turn a former high school into an education center with a library and a satellite technical college campus.

First lady Jane Beshear announced a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant and a $125,000 energy efficiency grant for the project in Olive Hill.

Plans call for the community education center to house a public library and a satellite campus for the Ashland Community & Technical College. The nearest public library is 40 minutes away.

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