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2011 October 3 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Ex-President Gives $487K to Ore. College

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The former president of Chemeketa Community College has completed what the school says is the largest gift in its 41-year history, nearly half a million dollars.

The Salem Statesman Journal said the $487,000 is in what’s known as a charitable remainder trust.

It will complement a scholarship program aimed at diversity that Gretchen Schuette began as president of the college from 2001 to 2007.

For five years, investment earnings were distributed to Schuette’s family, and as planned, the remainder of the trust principal was given to the Chemeketa Community College Foundation.

The foundation will oversee investment, and earnings will provide scholarships for students, beginning this year.

  • CC Enrollment Falling in Illinois

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — Fewer students are headed to Illinois community colleges.

The Daily Herald reports that the latest statistics from the Illinois Community College Board show a 2 percent drop in the number of community college students in spring 2011 compared with spring 2010. The newspaper reports that enrollment has remained flat or fallen at six of seven community colleges in Chicago’s northern and western suburbs.

Officials at several of the schools say they think students can’t afford not to work and don’t have extra time for classes. Statistics also show that students are paying at least $15 more per credit hour compared with 2006.

The largest decrease was at McHenry Community College with 3.6 percent fewer credit-seeking students.

Nevada Colleges

  • Consider Diploma Requirement

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Community colleges in Nevada might soon require a high school diploma or its equivalent to enroll.

Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the idea is to establish a minimum benchmark for enrollment.

And President Michael Richards of the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas says students are more successful in college if they’re ready when they start.

More than half the state’s 114,000 college students attend community colleges. CSN alone has 44,000 students. But officials say only it has a 9 percent graduation rate.

Educators say that state budget cuts mean community colleges need to be more selective — and rethink their open enrollment policy.

The state Board of Regents is considering enacting the new rules in the fall of 2012.

  • NY Fire Cos. Offer Tuition Reimbursement

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Volunteer fire companies in New York are trying a new way to attract members: community college tuition reimbursement.

The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York has a new program that will allow student-volunteers to be reimbursed for up to 80 credit hours from a local community college. Participants will be eligible to have up to 100 percent of their tuition reimbursed depending on their grades and membership standing in a volunteer fire company.

About three-quarters of New York state’s firefighters are volunteers, and many companies say they are stretched thin.

  • Not Funny? Ill. College Course Offers Help

CHICAGO (AP) — If you’re someone who can’t ever remember a good joke or your timing is always off when you get to the punch line, there may be help at hand.

A suburban Chicago community college is offering a course designed to improve comedic skills.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the humor classes at Harper College will be free and open to members of the community. A stand-up comic from Fox Lake, Ill., Dobie Maxwell, is one of the instructors.

He says the idea isn’t to teach people to be comics but simply to show them how to make laughter a bigger part of their lives.

There course is entitled, “From Humor to Health: Comedy and Healthy Living.” That alludes to how humor can supposedly alleviate stress and strengthen relationships.

  • Ga. Colleges Aiming for Global Partnerships

ATLANTA (AP) — The Technical College System of Georgia is opening a center to expand the global outreach of the state’s 25 colleges.

Commissioner Ron Jackson says the International Center for Technical Education housed at the system’s office in Atlanta will focus on creating international partnerships to help with curriculum, faculty training, system management and accreditation.

He said the center will also work with the state Department of Economic Development and the University System of Georgia to the state recruit international businesses.

Sanford Chandler, president at Chattahoochee Technical College, will lead the center. At Chattahoochee Technical, Chandler has formed partnerships with colleges in China, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Kenya.

  • Groundbreaking Held for New WV Education Center

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — New River Community and Technological College’s Raleigh County campus is one step closer to reality.

Officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center. The Register-Herald reports that the 78,000-square-foot building also will house classrooms, teaching laboratories, a students’ commons area, student service, support spaces, and faculty and staff offices.

The $17.5 million complex is the product of a joint effort among New River, the Higher Education Policy Commission and the Higher Education Foundation.

Most of the project’s funding comes from the sale of the 2009 Community and Technical Colleges Lottery Revenue Bonds. The college anticipates moving into the building by 2013.

  • Mich. Colleges Sign ‘Reverse Transfer’ Pact

HANCOCK, Mich. (AP) — Six colleges and universities in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula have forged a formal agreement to help students get a degree in reverse.

The “reverse transfer” agreement allows students to apply academic credits awarded at the bachelor’s degree level to an unfinished associate’s degree.

Finlandia University President Philip Johnson says the option will help give students a degree they can use to enter the workforce while working toward a bachelor’s degree. He says an associate degree is “a valuable credential” in the job market, as evidence of career preparation.

Joining the Finlandia in the program are Gogebic Community College, Michigan Technological University, Northern Michigan University, Lake Superior State University and Bay College.

  • Tenn. Colleges Sign Transfer Agreement

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Officials say a new agreement between Jackson State Community College and the University of Memphis will allow Jackson State students to be admitted into the four-year university while still enrolled at the two-year school.

Officials from both schools say the program will help Jackson State students make an easier transition to the University of Memphis.

The program is open to Jackson State students who have taken fewer than 30 credit hours toward their associate degree.

  • Baltimore Grads Heading to 2-Year Colleges

BALTIMORE (AP) — Researchers say the number of Baltimore City high school graduates enrolling in four-year colleges is dropping, as more are heading to two-year schools.

The Baltimore Education Research Consortium at Johns Hopkins University found that the percentage of city public school graduates headed to two-year institutions rose 12 percent over four years to more than 51 percent in 2010.

It also found that less than 6 percent of those who started at a two-year college earned a degree in six years. That compares to more than 34 percent who went to four-year schools.

  • Schmitz Eligible For Release in Early 2012

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge in Birmingham has re-imposed a 30-month sentence on former Alabama state Rep. Sue Schmitz. Schmitz was one of 17 people who were convicted or pleaded guilty during a federal investigation of Alabama’s two-year college system.

Officials tell the Birmingham News that she will be eligible for release early next year.

Her attorney, William Clark, said she could be eligible to be moved to a halfway house this month.

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