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2011 June 27 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • NC Legislation Lets Colleges Refuse Federal Student Loans

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The state House is sidestepping Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto by trying to allow more than two dozen community colleges to refuse to offer low-interest student loans.

The House passed four local bills, listing campuses that want to stay out of the federal loan program. Perdue can’t veto local bills.

Republicans are working to get around the Democratic governor’s veto of a bill that would have dropped a requirement that all 58 campuses in the nation’s third-largest community college system offer the loans.

College presidents say they worry they’ll be cut off from federal financial aid programs if student loan defaults go too high. Community colleges system Vice President Linda Weiner said each campus is responsible for student financial aid issues and presidents have the leeway to act on their concerns.

  • Iowa Officials Collecting Data On Dual Enrollment Programs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials are beginning to collect college data on students who earned community college credits while in high school.

The education officials want to find out how well-prepared those students are for moving on to college.

The state says more than 38,000 high school students took classes last year for credit through community colleges, accounting for more than 25 percent of the enrollment at the state’s community colleges.

The Des Moines Register is reporting that the state hasn’t tracked passing and failing rates, and officials don’t know whether the courses were as tough as those offered at four-year colleges.

  • Student Claims College Prevents Preaching

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Pellissippi State Community College student is suing the school, accusing officials of violating his rights by not allowing him to preach and hand out Christian literature on campus.

According to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court, a Pellissippi police officer in October 2010 told 44-year-old Mark Dew he had received a complaint about his proselytizing and ordered him to stop.

Dew later was told he could speak about his faith only during specific ministry events or he could apply to solicit on campus for a fee of $30 per day.

Dew is seeking an injunction to stop the college from violating his First Amendment rights. A representative from Pellissippi could not be reached for comment.

  • 81-year-old Vt. Woman Earns College Degree

NORTHFIELD, Vt. (AP) — An 81-year-old woman was among those receiving diplomas at Community College of Vermont’s graduation ceremony.

Jeanee Bernek became the college’s oldest graduate ever when she received her associate of business diploma at commencement ceremonies in Northfield.

Bernek first enrolled in college in 1971 in South Carolina, but put her education on hold.

She and her husband later moved to Vermont where the couple operated the Marshfield Village Store, a business they ran for nearly three decades.

WCAX-TV says Bernek is now planning on working toward a bachelor’s degree. She eventually wants to earn a master’s degree as well.

  • NC College Delaying Plans For New Campus

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Fayetteville Technical Community College has postponed plans for a campus in western Cumberland County because of budget problems.

The Fayetteville Observer reported the school bought 60 acres of land in 2008 and announced plans last year for the satellite campus.

School president J. Larry Keen says he had hoped to start on the new campus sooner. Keen says construction will start when funds are available.

He says the school expects to lose about $5 million in state funding for the coming year. Keen says the school will probably not replace some employees who are retiring or leaving. But he doesn’t expect layoffs.

Keen also says there are no plans to cut programs because of the budget problems.

There are no plans to delay projects on the main campus.

  • Idaho Board Upholds Campus Alcohol Ban

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A proposal to serve alcohol at some on-campus events at the College of Southern Idaho has been rejected.

The CSI trustees voted to deny a request from organizers from one annual event to serve alcohol. Trustees cited concerns about liability and the challenge of deciding which groups should get permits.

The Times News reports the board of trustees of the Twin Falls-based community college gets about five requests to serve alcohol per year.

CSI President Jerry Beck said the decision to keep the campus alcohol free is complicated, but the best decision is to keep beer and wine out of the campus environment.

  • Ore. Lawmakers Approve Military Recruiting Bill

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers have voted to require that military recruiters be treated the same as other employers on college campuses.

The state Senate unanimously approved the measure on a 28-0 vote, sending it to Gov. John Kitzhaber for a signature or veto. The House approved it in April.

The measure applies to universities, community colleges and Oregon Health and Science University. It would allow military recruiters to set up booths at campus job fairs and interview students on campus if other potential employers are authorized to do so.

The measure would bring Oregon law in line with a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision. The Oregon University System has told lawmakers that university policies already give the military the same access as civilian employers.

  • Ala. College To Become Tobacco-Free

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — Students and staff soon won’t be able to smoke or chew tobacco on campus at Wallace Community College.

The college is going tobacco-free starting Aug. 22. The ban extends even to private vehicles on campus.

Anyone in violation will get a warning for the first offense and a $25 for each subsequent offense. Tickets not paid within seven days double in cost.

Student life coordinator Ryan Spry said the college wants to promote “a more healthy campus.” Until now, smoking was allowed only in designated areas at Wallace, but policing that was difficult for campus officials.

Calhoun Community College also bans tobacco on campus.

  • Casino Tax Cut Reduces Funding to Colo. Colleges

DENVER (AP) — Colorado gaming regulators won’t reconsider cutting the tax rate on casinos by 5 percent.

The move will return millions of dollars in annual revenue to the industry. That money otherwise would go toward community college scholarships, historic preservation and other state expenses.

The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission approved the rate reduction, which takes effect July 1, after the industry complained that it has suffered three consecutive years of net losses., according to the Denver Post.

The state Community College System and History Colorado estimate they may lose nearly $3 million a year in funding at a time when budgets are already tight.

  • Improper Credit Card Use Found At SC College

DENMARK, S.C. (AP) — Denmark Technical College is promising to give its employees better training on the use of state-issued credit cards after a special review found more than $14,000 in improper purchases were made.

College President Michael Townsend Sr. told The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg that the school and its employees will be held responsible for any misuse of the cards. He says he thinks most of the charges came from employees not being properly trained on what expenses can be put on the cards.

The state Technical College System reviewed eight months of bills after getting a tip on a fraud hotline. Officials found $14,000 in improper charges on the cards including personal meals and gasoline. The review also found nearly a third of the $24,000 in authorized charges weren’t properly documented.

  • More Than 150K Ark. Students Apply for Aid

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Higher Education Department says more than 150,000 students have applied for scholarships or financial aid for the coming fall semester.

The agency says it has already told 12,000 students who graduated from high school in the spring that they have qualified for Academic Challenge Scholarships. Those awards are funded by the Arkansas lottery.

Students getting lottery scholarships will receive $4,500 if they are attending a university or $2,250 if they go to a community college. Those amounts are 10 percent less than lottery scholarship recipients from last year’s class are getting. More university students than expected applied last year.

The department says 70,000 of this year’s applications were for Academic Challenge scholarships. About 31,000 lottery-funded scholarships were awarded last year.

  • Holloway Gets Sixth Term as Panel Chair in NH

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Paul Holloway has been elected to serve a sixth one-year term as chairman of the board of trustees for the Community College System of New Hampshire.

Holloway joined the board in 2004 and was first elected chairman in 2006.

During his tenure, CCSNH has gained greater autonomy, restructured many of its practices, and seen a 34 percent surge in enrollment in the past three years alone.

Holloway says the state’s community colleges play a critical role in providing opportunities for New Hampshire residents. He says his focus now is on providing education and training for high-demand, high-paying jobs.

The state community college system has seven schools.

  • Firm Hired To Promote Mont. 2-Year Colleges

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s university system has hired a marketing company in an attempt to attract and enroll more students in its two-year colleges.

The percentage of undergraduate students enrolled in two-year programs is 29 percent in Montana, which trails the national average of 46 percent.

But that’s still an improvement from 2001, when just 17 percent of undergraduates went to two-year Montana colleges.

The Independent Record reports the university system has now hired Strategies 360 Montana to promote the two-year schools.

The program is funded through a $1.77 million grant from the Lumina Foundation for Education.

John Cech, deputy commissioner for two-year and community college education, says the program continues an effort that began years ago to expand the scope of the two-year schools.

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