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2011 October 31 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Kan. College Sued Over Cost Of Records

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A student journalist is suing Johnson County Community College over the price it charged for public documents.

Twenty-one-year-old Marcus Clem says in the lawsuit that the college was trying to stall release of emails by charging the student newspaper $47,426 for seven months of emails.

The Kansas City Star reports that the emails involve a former college employee who was fired and the employee’s supervisor.

After the newspaper, The Campus Ledger, reduced the request to 20 emails, the college said it would cost nearly $10,000.

College executive Joe Sopcich says the college was not trying to block publication of the emails. But he says the request was so broad in scope that it would have required a significant amount of time and expense to fulfill.

  • Jury Won’t Hear Lawsuit Against School

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A judge has ruled that 14 former nursing students at for-profit Virginia College in Jackson will not get their lawsuit against the school heard by a jury.

Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill ruled that the grievance falls under an enrollment agreement and must be settled by a third party. Attorneys for the students have said the agreement is invalid because of alleged fraud.

The Clarion-Ledger reported that the students said they discovered a day after graduating from a 15-month pilot program in September 2010 that it was not accredited. As a result, they said they were not allowed to take the state nursing license examination.

The students said they each paid about $25,000 for the course but had nothing to show for it but a piece of paper.

“Virginia College engaged in fraudulent conduct so as to induce my clients to sign a contract and then seek to hide behind a bogus arbitration provision contained in the contract,” said Warren Martin, one of the students’ attorneys. ``Plaintiffs will certainly appeal the trial judge’s ruling.’’

Don Keith, a spokesman for Virginia College’s corporate office, said the students were fully informed when they signed the agreement. Keith also said arbitration is an acceptable way of settling legal disputes that saves both sides time and money.

Under the arbitration agreement, students will have hearings in Birmingham, Ala., the headquarters of Education Corp. of America, which operates Virginia College.

  • Conn.’s Largest 2-Year College Expanding

MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) — The largest of Connecticut’s 12 two-year community colleges is expanding with a satellite campus in downtown Manchester under an arrangement between the state, town and a regional bank.

The plan involves transforming a former men’s clothing store building into classrooms, office space and other facilities for Manchester Community College.

It currently has more than 7,500 undergraduate students taking courses for credit and thousands more in non-credit and extension courses. Classrooms, parking lots and other facilities are often full at its main campus, about 10 minutes from the new downtown site.

First Niagara Bank joined Manchester and state leaders to announce specifics of the arrangement, in which the bank will donate the building to the town and the community college will become the major tenant. The Buffalo-based bank’s $1.3 million gift includes the value of the building and an undisclosed cash donation for support of the college.

Officials from the bank, state Board of Regents for Higher Education and the town of Manchester say the donation will benefit both sides by giving the college more space for programs and drawing more people downtown.

  • CCAC Closing Downtown Pittsburgh Site

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Community College of Allegheny County will close its downtown Pittsburgh campus at the end of the year and combine those operations with another site on the city’s North Side.

The college’s trustees say the move will save about $500,000 a year, which is necessary because it is losing $3.5 million in annual state funding and another $2.5 from the county. Nobody will be laid off, however, and the trustees believe the move will help students in the long run.

That’s because it will consolidate its Pittsburgh operations at a building on the North Side where students will have free parking and access to the school’s library, advisers, and other staff.

  • Xavier University, Delgado CC Agree On Joint Programs

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Xavier University has signed an agreement to develop programs with another New Orleans institution, Delgado Community College.

The agreement calls for Xavier and Delgado to explore opportunities for collaborations, including a process for joint academic programs, dual admissions, the seamless transfer of students from the community college to Xavier, and scholarship opportunities at Xavier for qualifying Delgado students.

Xavier President Norman Francis said in a news release that the agreement helps the two different institutions with their joint goal of providing educational services to New Orleans area residents.

  • Enrollment Up at Maine Colleges for Ninth Straight Year


AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Enrollment at Maine’s seven community colleges has hit a record high for the ninth straight year.

Officials say 18,548 students are enrolled at the state’s community colleges this fall. That’s an increase of 4.3 percent, or 769 students, over a year ago.

Enrollment has grown each year since the schools changed from a technical college system to a community college system in 2003. Enrollment has gone up 83 percent in that time.

Maine Community College System President John Fitzsimmons said the colleges this year had to turn away many qualified applicants because the schools are at or over capacity.

  • Agreement Gives Students Clear Path To Transfer to UNH

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) — Students from Great Bay Community College will have a clearer path if they want to transfer to the University of New Hampshire thanks to a new agreement that outlines what they need to do to move into upper-level courses.

The agreement outlines specific courses students must take at the community college in order to transfer into several majors at UNH’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. In addition to taking biology, chemistry and other courses, students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average to be admitted to UNH under the program.

Officials say the agreement will help students who know they want a bachelor’s degree in a life science area but are more comfortable starting their college experience at a more affordable school.

  • Kan. Food Science Program Boosted With $1.7M Grant

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Garden City Community College will receive a $1.7 million federal grant to help expand its food and animal science program.

The Garden City Telegram reports that the grant from the U.S. Department of Labor will go toward training workers to inspect restaurants, meat packing and food processing plants, cafeterias and other places that serve food to the public.

The college says there is a growing demand for inspection services because of a new federal law that gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority to order food product recalls. The measure also requires more inspections and focuses those inspections on potential risk.

GCCC is one of seven partners in a consortium receiving similar grants.

  • Tallahassee Lawyer To Head Florida College System

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Tallahassee bond lawyer is the new chancellor of the Florida College System.

Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson named Randy Hanna to the post.

Hanna will succeed Will Holcombe, who is retiring, on Nov. 14. The system includes 28 community and state colleges.

He is former chairman of the Tallahassee Area Chamber of Commerce and has served on several higher education boards.

Hanna’s currently on the University of West Florida Board of Trustees.

He also has served on Florida A&M University’s board and chaired the now-defunct State Board of Community Colleges.

Hanna has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, an MBA from Emory University and law degree from Florida State University.

Holcombe has been chancellor for four years. Before that he was president of Broward College.

  • Education Agencies Join Forces on Ky. Dual Enrollment Plan

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Three Kentucky education agencies are working together in a new project that lets high school students earn college credit.

The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s Office of Career and Technical Education, the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System are joining together to offer dual credit opportunities for students in a single agreement.

Education and Workforce Development Secretary Joseph Meyer says the programs not only can engage students at risk of dropping out but can also inspire all students to attempt more challenging courses.

The agreement was one of the recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Transforming Education in Kentucky, according to a statement from Gov. Steve Beshear’s office.

  • HS Juniors in NC Will Take College Entrance Exam


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s public schools chief says the state is ready to require a college entrance exam for high school juniors in March to determine whether students are learning curricula and are prepared for college.

Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson says her department has cobbled together funds to offer ACT tests to the roughly 100,000 11th graders. Atkinson told a legislative committee the first test will serve as a baseline for future classes.

Atkinson says the new effort includes 10th graders taking an ACT pretest and seniors following a vocational or technical path to be assessed on skills. The News & Observer of Raleigh first reported Atkinson’s comments.

The $5.5 million needed for the effort will come from unused funds or money saved if a writing test is eliminated.

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