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2011 December 12 - 12:00 am


  • Phony Distance Ed Students Take Pima CC for $270K

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Out-of-state scammers who applied over the Internet and posed as online students took Pima Community College for nearly $270,000 in federal aid.

The case is one of more than 100 reported nationwide this year in which fraud rings exploit weaknesses in identity-checking for so-called distance students, who are never physically present in the classroom.

Schools like Pima Community are forced to replace the missing federal funds intended to help low-income students pay for higher education.

Pima spokesman C.J. Karamargin tells the Arizona Daily Star the local frauds were perpetrated by 71 phony students, all from Mississippi. Karamargin credited staffers with catching the fraud fairly quickly or the losses could have been greater.

An assistant director of financial aid at Pima says many online applicants are never screened in depth to see if their information is true.

  • Colleges Back Off Changes in Miss. Recruiting Rules

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi community college presidents have backed off a rule change that would have reduced the number of out-of-state scholarships a school could have given.

The Clarion-Ledger reports the 14 junior college football programs can once again sign up to eight out-of-state players using five scholarships.

The MACJC presidents had cut that to a maximum of four out-of-state signees in an unpopular ruling earlier this fall. Several university and junior college coaches were against the change.

Out-of-state scholarships in other sports also were returned to their previous amount, but the MACJC did not reinstate additional out-of-state scholarships given to border schools. In football, border schools could sign an extra 10 out-of-state players.

MACJC commissioner Jim Southward says the change “would have placed too much pressure on coaches.”

  • Virginia College Wants To Offer Childcare

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Officials at Piedmont Virginia Community College are hoping they’ll soon be able to offer childcare services for students who are parents.

PVCC President Frank Friedman tells the Daily Progress that school officials think there are many potential students who are postponing higher education because they lack childcare. Such a service also would help current students who have children.

Officials at the two-year school hope to start looking at proposals from vendors by 2012, with the goal of having the service in place by fall 2012. The service likely will be able to handle about 60 children.

PVCC wants to model the program in part on the one at Tidewater Community College in southeastern Virginia.

  • Maine Governor Touts Community College System

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Gov. Paul LePage says Maine’s community college system plays a vital role in preparing students for the jobs that will help revitalize the state’s economy.

In a weekly radio address, the governor says community colleges help prepare students for the jobs that are available in the state. But he says he would like to see the community college system attract more students who attend vocational and technical schools at Maine’s high schools.

LePage says he is committed to having the state support Maine’s higher education system, but he says it’s also important for the private sector to show support.

The Campaign for Maine’s Community Colleges recently announced it had raised $11.3 million from the private sector to support the state’s seven community colleges.

  • Iowa Colleges See Small Dip In Enrollment

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Education says enrollment is down a bit at the state’s 15 community colleges.

The 0.6 percent decline in fall enrollment compared to last year is the first drop since 1994.

The Department of Education says the drop followed big increases in recent years, including nearly 6 percent in 2010 and more than 14 percent in 2009.

This year’s enrollment stood at 105,975 students.

The department didn’t speculate on reasons for the enrollment drop.

  • NM Gov. Calls for Moratorium on Construction

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s Higher Education Department secretary says Gov. Susana Martinez doesn’t want to see anymore colleges or learning centers created until she gets an accounting of how the current ones are working.

Secretary Jose Z. Garcia told the Santa Fe Community College board of the governor’s desires during discussion of the college’s plans to build a Higher Education Center for Santa Fe residents to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Garcia noted the governor wants to stop any proliferation of new college campuses until the state reviews what is happening and is sure the state is getting a bang for its buck.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the college’s purchase of the land for the center already has received approval from the Legislature and the Higher Education Department.

  • Kan. Colleges Share $500K in Training Grants

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Six community and technical colleges are sharing $500,000 in job training grants from the Kansas Department of Commerce aimed at partnerships with private companies.

One grant will help Neosho County Community College in Chanute provide training for a new aviation facility planned by Spirit Aerosystems in the southeast Kansas town. Coffeyville Community College, also in southeastern Kansas, will use its grant to train workers for the regional petroleum industry.

Other recipients are the North Central Kansas Technical College, Northwest Kansas Technical College, Washburn Institute of Technology and the Wichita Area Technical College.

Commerce Secretary Pat George says the grants will help provide training for the needs of expanding companies.

  • Neb. College Plans To Add More Housing

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) — Southeast Community College in Beatrice has announced plans to add more student housing.

KWBE reported the proposal to add a third housing unit is expected to go before the school’s board in the next month or two.

School officials say more students have to find apartments off campus because of a shortage of on-campus housing.

During the fall quarter, 231 students lived in campus housing for an occupancy rate of 104 percent.

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