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2013 February 18 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Lon Morris College Sold at Auction

JACKSONVILLE, Texas (AP) — The oldest junior college in Texas has been sold at auction, with much of the property going to the local school district and an office supply company.

Oklahoma-based AmeriBid said the auction of Lon Morris College that started Jan. 14 has been completed, with winning bids totaling about $2.2 million. The two-year college located in the East Texas town of Jacksonville filed for bankruptcy and suspended classes last year.

The Jacksonville school district’s purchases included the administration building, gymnasium and athletic fields. Jacksonville-based office supplier 11 x 17 Inc. bought most of the academic buildings, the chapel and student residences.

The Lon Morris chief restructuring officer, Dawn Ragan, says proceeds will be used to pay creditors and the school’s former employees.

  • Ivy Tech Targets Tax Refunds

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) — Students who owe Ivy Tech Community College money will have their tax refunds diverted to cover the debt under a new policy the statewide college system is implementing.

Ivy Tech is asking the Indiana Department of Revenue to divert the refunds through a tax intercept program that’s commonly used to collect unpaid child support.

The move is the latest effort by the college system to collect on money it’s owed. Ivy Tech loses out on about $12 million each year because of student-owed debt, which amounts to about 1.5 percent of the college’s general fund, Chief Financial Officer Chris Ruhl said. Collection agencies are only able to recover about $1 million a year.

The tax intercept program, which also is used by Purdue University, has been available for years, but this is the first time Ivy Tech has implemented it, Ruhl said.

Ruhl said most of the money owed is not related to overdue tuition but is instead tied to federal financial aid programs such as Title IV and Pell Grants.

Students who receive such aid and drop a class before attending 60 percent of the 15-week period owe the federal government money. But they actually owe the school money, because Ivy Tech has to pay it back.

Debtors will be notified of the policy and have 30 days to appeal.

  • Middle College Sees Dip in Enrollment

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — Commonwealth Middle College has seen a drop in participation as funding concerns stopped two western Kentucky school districts from sending a new class through the program.

The drop comes one year after the school recorded its highest enrollment.

Marshall and McCracken county school districts launched the program with 100 high school juniors and seniors in 2009 by partnering with West Kentucky Community & Technical College. Paducah Public and Graves County schools joined in 2011, expanding the program to 160 students in 2012.

Paducah and Graves will not enroll juniors in the program next fall.

Marshall County Schools Superintendent Trent Lovett told The Paducah Sun that hopes to make the program self-sustaining haven’t worked out.

Middle College students take high school classes and college courses in place of elective classes.

  • Delgado CC Laying Off 46 Employees

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — About 10 percent of Delgado Community College’s 465 employees are being laid off.

Chancellor Monty Sullivan said the layoffs are a consequence of the school’s $13 million deficit and declining enrollment. Sullivan says no teachers will lose their jobs in this action.

College spokeswoman Carol Gniady tells The Times-Picayune the 46 people who will lose their jobs are classified and unclassified employees, categories that include secretaries, clerks, bookkeepers and maintenance personnel.

  • Fla. Colleges Accept $10K Degree Plan

MIAMI (AP) — Gov. Rick Scott says all 23 state colleges offering four-year degrees in Florida have accepted his $10,000 tuition challenge.

The Republican governor made the announcement at Miami-Dade College.

Scott in November challenged the schools to hold tuition to $10,000 for selected four-year degrees. That’s more than $3,000 under the average for the state colleges. They already charge about half as much as Florida’s public universities.

Florida has 28 state and community colleges but five of the schools offer only two-year degrees.

Scott wants the low-cost degrees to be “in fields that will provide the graduates with the best opportunity for employment.”

  • 4 Campuses Joining TVA Energy Project

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Four East Tennessee college campuses have been selected for a new energy efficiency program.

The Tennessee Valley Authority announced that the universities and colleges taking part in the EnergyRight Solutions for Higher Education program are Cleveland State Community College, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, East Tennessee State University and Maryville College. Each campus will select projects to improve energy efficiency and raise awareness of the need to conserve energy.

The campuses will get funding for projects and staff, consulting support, energy audit training and an online energy tracking tool for measuring the results of the projects. Student interns paid a stipend by TVA will implement the projects.

  • W. Ky. College To Keep Offering Adult-Ed Courses

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — The West Kentucky Community & Technical College has resolved issues around inaccurately reported test scores that led to the facility returning funds to the state.

Janett Blythe told The Paducah Sun that WKCTC won a bid to keep providing adult education services to residents of McCracken and Graves counties. State officials had said previously that WKCTC could lose its contract.

The state began investigating the school after a complaint that test scores were being altered. An audit found inaccuracies with student academic level gain percentages over at least three years, which allowed the school to collect $137,324 it wasn’t qualified for.

WKCTC president Barbara Veazey said the school cooperated with the investigation into matter. Records show that at least seven employees resigned amid the probe.

  • Wyo. Senate OKs Presidential Search Bill

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A bill that would allow the selection of University of Wyoming and state community college presidents to be closed to the public advanced quickly Friday in the Senate, despite the desire of some UW faculty members to have a greater say in the selection process.

House Bill 223 won unanimous endorsement from the Senate Education Committee and later received a quick affirmative first vote on the floor before the full Senate.

The bill, which has been on a fast track since it was first introduced on Jan. 22, has already passed the state House of Representatives and faces two more floor votes in the Senate.

Proponents of the bill argue the university could attract more quality candidates in a closed search process. Opponents contend an open process could be helpful in making the right choice.

  • Partnership Plans Kentucky Career Center

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) — A partnership between Hardin County Schools, Western Kentucky University, Central Kentucky Community Foundation and Elizabethtown Community & Technical College will lead to an Early College and Career Center in Elizabethtown.

The Hardin County Board of Education voted to accept land that will be used for the center.

The center, which will be adjacent to the community college, will play a multitude of roles, including allowing high school students to take courses in career pathways such as health science and engineering.

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