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2013 January 7 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Georgia To Link College Funding To Graduation, Success Rates

ATLANTA (AP) _ Georgia’s public colleges and universities will have to earn the money they get from taxpayers by helping more students get a degree.

The change is part of a new funding formula approved by a commission appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal.

The new formula links the state funding colleges receive to their improving student success and the number of degrees or certificates awarded, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The plan, which won’t go into effect for a couple of years, represents a drastic shift from the current system that focuses on enrollment and how many credits students take, with little attention paid to whether they ever graduate.

Deal and others have said that Georgia’s state’s economic future depends on colleges producing a more skilled workforce to attract and keep employers. Deal said the new formula is a key step toward achieving that goal.

“This actually is probably one of the most important final pieces in the puzzle,” Deal told the commission.

The governor has asked all schools in the university and technical college systems to develop detailed plans on how they will help more students earn a degree.

  • Ivy Tech Eyes Tax Refund Money Bills

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Ivy Tech Community College is joining a program that docks the income tax refunds of students who owe money on their tuition bills or haven’t repaid financial aid after withdrawing from classes.

Ivy Tech will start using the state’s tax intercept program in 2013 in an attempt to collect nearly $9 million in past due bills.

In the past few years, Ivy Tech, with more than 100,000 students, has written off at least 3 percent, or more than $8 million, in uncollected student fees.

Chris Ruhl, Ivy Tech’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, said while the school expects 1 percent to 1.5 percent of its entire general fund will be lost to uncollected bills, it’s making changes to limit those losses.

“Obviously every dollar is precious to us,”he said. “Every organization, especially ours, wishes to collect every dollar we bill.”

The tax intercept program will apply to students who owe money for the 2011-12 academic year and thereafter, with Ivy Tech asking the state Department of Revenue to divert part or all of tax refunds for those people to cover the debts.

A similar system is by the state to collect back child support.

Ruhl said Ivy Tech students will be notified if their accounts are forwarded to the state and they can appeal the intercept.

  • Former Instructor Pleads Guilty to Theft

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A former math instructor and grant administrator at Fort Peck Community College has pleaded guilty to using nearly $20,000 in grant money to fund personal travel during times he claimed to be traveling to work-related training and meetings.

Jerome Bruce Seaman of Poplar pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Great Falls to theft from an Indian tribal organization receiving federal grants. Sentencing is set for March 18.

Prosecutors alleged the 61-year-old Seaman submitted false hotel receipts and other records for 12 personal trips he took between December 2009 and March 2011. He was paid nearly $9,700 in wages for the trips — pay to which he was not entitled while taking what prosecutors say amounted to unauthorized personal leave.

  • Police: NY Book Store Worker Stole $50K

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities say a former employee of the book store at a northern New York community college has been charged with stealing more than $50,000 from the school.

Police in Watertown said 41-year-old Nancy Lear took the money from the Jefferson Community College book store by making false computer entries that showed books in inventory that didn’t exist. Officials say that allowed her to receive cash in exchange for the nonexistent books.

Police say the thefts occurred from April through November of this year. A discrepancy with the inventory was discovered by another book store employee on Nov. 30.

Lear was charged with grand larceny and falsifying business records. She is free on her own recognizance.

  • Ky. Education Report Finds Mixed Bag

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A report released by a nonprofit education group says while Kentucky students are making improvements in achievement, the state remains behind key areas such as preschool enrollment and per-pupil funding.

The Top 20 by 2020 report by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, an education advocacy group based in Lexington, looked at how the state stacks up against 20 key nationwide measures.

The report found that in five categories, Kentucky is already in the top 20, including science and reading scores for fourth- and eighth-graders and the number of community college students who complete an associate degree in three years.

In 10 categories, Kentucky is on target to reach the top 20 by 2020. Those include average teacher salary and adults with a high school diploma or equivalent.

Areas in which the state is moving too slowly include the percentage of high school students earning AP college credit, eighth-grade math scores and percentage of full-time college students completing a bachelor’s degree in six years, the report said.

  • Long Lost RI College Ring Found, Returned

NEWPORT, R.I.(AP) — A community college class ring lost decades ago has been found and returned to its owner in Rhode Island.

WLNE-TV reports a man found the Bristol Community College class ring deep in the sand on Second Beach in Newport. It reads CHF on the inside, which was how its finder was able to find the owner four years later.

The 1982 graduate Charles H. Fallows has Alzheimer’s, so his wife, grandchildren, and two daughters accepted the ring.

The man’s daughter, Cheryl Cantara, called it “a nice little miracle for us.”

Fallows’ family says he was 40 and working two jobs when he got his associate degree at BCC, so the class ring meant a lot to him.

  • Bowling Green Tech Changes Name

VERSAILLES, Ky. (AP) The Kentucky Community and Technical College System Board of Regents have approved a name change for Bowling Green Technical College.

The board voted to rename the school the Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College. A statement from KCTCS says the board used a community-based selection process that generated 295 names.

In 2010, the college was granted status as a comprehensive community and technical college, allowing it to offer associate in arts and associate in science degrees.

And last year, the college signed an agreement with Western Kentucky University that allows students to jointly enroll at both schools.

  • Ivy Tech Partners With City Police

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ivy Tech Community College and Indianapolis police are forming a partnership that will give officers discounts on taking criminal justice classes while teaming them as mentors to students.

The plan is to have a maximum of 15 Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers and 15 traditional students in each classroom. The officers will receive 78 percent tuition discounts for taking the classes.

Officers must commit to attend off duty, and IMPD is advocating that selected officers be guaranteed time off/flex time for the semester to complete this course.

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