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2012 November 12 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Ga. Mulls New Funding Formula

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia is making plans that would change the way it funds public colleges in the state, tying the money to performance measures such as graduation rates.

The plan, if given final approval, would mark a drastic change in the way Georgia funds its college system, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

A group appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal has signed off on a draft framework, though many details remain have yet to be finalized.

The amount of money colleges receive would be determined mainly by how well students progress through college and the number of degrees awarded.

The work by the Higher Education Funding Commission represents a dramatic shift from the current formula, which is driven by enrollment and how many credits students take. By adopting such a plan, Georgia would join a growing number of states that connect funding to learning outcomes such as student progression, retention and graduation. Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee are doing this to varying degrees.

The state is emphasizing graduation rates because projections show about 60 percent of all jobs by 2020 will require education after high school.

Only 42 percent of Georgia’s adults currently possess a college degree or certificate.

  • Tenn. Coach Fired After Guilty Plea

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The athletic director and basketball coach at Southwest Tennessee Community College was fired after pleading guilty to illegally cashing Social Security disability checks belonging to other people.

The U.S. attorney’s office for West Tennessee said Benjamin Rhodes, 49, pleaded guilty to two counts related to illegally receiving and cashing about $12,800 in Social Security disability payments.

Using a rental property, Rhodes took in disabled people in exchange for his being named guardian over them. Prosecutors said he diverted payments for at least four men to himself over a five-year period and received and cashed Social Security payments even after they died.

Each count carries up to five years in prison.

Rhodes was named athletic director and head basketball coach at the college in July. He was a star player in the early 1980s for the school, then known as Shelby State Community College, and played two years for the University of Alabama at Huntsville, where he earned a degree in psychology.

He was an assistant coach at Southwest for the past 19 years before being named head coach and athletic director on July 1 following the retirement of legendary coach Verties Sails.

  • Farmers To Get Tech Training Through Grant

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers and farmers-in-training will get some help learning to use the latest technology.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded $277,000 to Fort Hays State University and Hutchinson Community College to promote so-called precision agriculture. It involves using GPS and satellite technology to map fields and precisely apply chemicals and seed and measure the crop yield.

Both schools have farms and will use the money to acquire farm equipment.

Hutchinson Community College will purchase a GPS-compatible grain combine and a farm utility vehicle with soil grid sampling equipment. Its program will have a hands-on focus, with students learning to use and maintain the equipment.

Fort Hays State’s program will focus more on data analysis.

  • New Facility Draws Students To La. College

SCHRIEVER, La. (AP) — Officials at Fletcher Technical Community College have something new to draw prospective students.

In addition to low cost, small classes and easy transfers of credits to four-year universities, Fletcher has a new campus on Louisiana Highway 311.

Director of Admissions Angela Hebert told The Courier that Fletcher officials are proud of the new facilities, which include five new buildings.

Hebert told prospective students at an open house that the new campus is more convenient for students who live outside Houma. It is also a shorter drive from New Orleans.

Besides the new building, school officials pitched the ability to transfer credits to four-year schools such as Nicholls State University.

With Nicholls and other four-year schools set to eliminate remedial classes, officials at both schools have pushed students who don’t immediately meet admissions standards to start at Fletcher.

  • Colleges Ask La. Legislators To Cede Power

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Higher education leaders are again asking Louisiana lawmakers to give tuition-setting authority to college trustees.

Leaders have asked the Legislature to surrender control over public college and university tuition, The Advocate reports.

State Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell asked legislators to consider ceding some control to the four management boards. He said $426 million in state budget cuts since 2008 make it difficult to maintain academic programs and retain faculty.

Louisiana Community and Technical College System President Joe May said funding per student has dropped from about $4,700 to about $2,200 since 2007-08. Technical schools rely more on state funding than tuition.

  • Student Wins Election to Ala. City Council

ROGERSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A 19-year-old nursing student will be joining the Rogersville City Council.

Colby Tucker defeated the incumbent in the city’s recent municipal election to win the Place 2 seat on the council, the TimesDaily reports.

Tucker, a nursing student at Northwest-Shoals Community College, will begin his term Nov. 5. The teen says he started attending council meetings about three years ago.

Tucker and 19-year-old Blake Guinn, who was elected to the Gardendale City Council this year, are among the youngest people ever elected to local government seats, the newspaper reports.

The Alabama League of Municipalities says it does not track the age of officials.

  • Santa Fe CC Offers Green Training Program

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe Community College says it’s using a federal grant to start an alternative education program to teach green construction skills to disadvantaged young people at risk of not completing high school.

The college received a nearly $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Labor Department for the program that will provide training for about 60 students over three years.

Participants will work toward a high school equivalence diploma and learn green building construction skills by renovating and building homes in Santa Fe County.

The first group of students is to start in January.

  • W. Va. College Expanding Its Nursing Program

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — Bluefield State College is expanding its associate degree nursing program in Beckley.

The college will accept an additional 10 students for the 2013 program.

The West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses recently approved the expansion.

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