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2013 March 4 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Accreditation Threats Lifted from Calif. Colleges.

EUREKA, Calif. (AP) — Two fewer California community colleges are at immediate risk of losing their accreditation.

The Times-Standard of Eureka reports that Humboldt County’s College of the Redwoods learned that the agency that accredits colleges in the West had upgraded the school to a probationary status.

Cuesta College in San Luis Obisbo received similar news, with its accreditation level raised to the least serious warning category, according to the San Luis Obisbo Tribune.

Both schools had spent the last year on the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges’ “show-cause” list, the agency’s most severe disciplinary sanction and just one step shy of revoking accreditation.

City College of San Francisco must submit a plan for retaining its accreditation by March 15.

  • Ark. House OKs Bill Altering Scholarship Rules

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas House has approved new award amounts for higher-education scholarships, making changes to the lottery-funded program that proponents say are needed to keep it solvent but others have argued would limit students' ability to afford college.

Lawmakers voted 69-21 to pass a measure that would create a tiered structure of awards that starts at $2,000 for freshmen at four-year colleges. The award would then increase by $1,000 each year, maxing out at $5,000 for seniors.

Students who are enrolled full-time at two-year colleges would be eligible for a $2,000 scholarship each year. The proposal also increases from $12 million to $16 million the aggregate amount of scholarships that the state can fund for nontraditional students — those who did not enroll in college immediately following high school.

The measure now moves to the Senate's education committee. If approved by the Senate and signed by the governor, the changes would take effect for next school year. The 32,829 students already in the scholarship program will continue to receive funding at the existing levels, according to Shane Broadway, the state's Interim Higher Education Director.

Broadway said the Department of Higher Education had not yet taken a position on the proposed changes. Gov. Mike Beebe is still reviewing the financial projections associated with the program, spokesman Matt DeCample said.

Supporters of the proposal said lottery funding can't sustain the current payout of $4,500 per year for university students and $2,250 for community college students. The changes, they argued, are needed to ensure the program stays in the black.

  • Toyota Gives Corollas to Miss. Colleges

BLUE SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) —Toyota has donated 29 Corollas to agencies in Pontotoc, Union and Lee counties and two community colleges in Northeast Mississippi.

Itawamba Community College and Northeast Mississippi each got seven vehicles, and emergency management agencies in Pontotoc, Union and Lee counties each received five.

Officials at Itawamba Community College say the cars will be the focus of automotive technology studies.

Toyota officials say the donation was part of the Japanese automaker’s nationwide program to donate cars used for teaching. The vehicles are drivable but aren’t certified to go on roads.

Emergency management agencies and fire departments will use the cars to train for automobile accidents.

Students at ICC will have the opportunity to practice disassembly and assembly of features that their current cars don’t have.

  • Feds Open Probe Of Maricopa Colleges District

PHOENIX (AP) — The Maricopa County Community College District says it is cooperating with a federal investigation of a college’s administration of a federally funded program that pays students for community service work.

The Arizona Republic reports that that the fraud and theft investigation includes looking into whether students were paid for community service when they were actually doing other work or being paid for work performed before they enrolled in the program.

Court documents submitted by agents to obtain a search warrant allege that college officials falsified student timesheets and fraudulently certified ineligible people for payment under Project Ayuda of the Americorps Program.

District spokesman Tom Gariepy says the district is cooperating with the federal investigation and conducted its own internal investigation

  • W. Va. Colleges Partner on 4-Year Degrees

INSTITUTE, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia State University and Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College are partnering to make it easier for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in five career fields.

The schools said that the agreements are part of efforts to meet the changing economic needs of the region.

Under the agreements, students can begin their education at the community college level and then complete their degree at WVSU.

The agreements are in areas of criminal justice, art, history, English and health sciences leadership.

WVSU President Brian Hemphill says the move will help students graduate sooner and begin contributing to the growing economies in West Virginia.

  • Ivy Tech CC To Train Workers 50 and Older

GARY, Ind. (AP) — Ivy Tech Community College in northwestern Indiana has been selected to be part of a national program that will assist adults age 50 and older to learn skills in health care, education and social services.

Ivy Tech-Northwest is one of 17 colleges picked nationwide to take part in the Plus 50 Encore Completion Program sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges. The school has campuses in Gary, Valparaiso, East Chicago and Michigan City.

The college will help participants complete degrees or certificates in high-demand occupations that give back to the community.

  • Miss. College Consolidates Services

BOONEVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Northeast Mississippi Community College has consolidated student service offices under one roof.

NEMCC President Johnny Allen says the school’s administrative services were scattered through six different buildings and that wasn’t how the school wanted to treat students.

The building is named after longtime board member T. Jack Ramsey, who has spent close to three decades supporting the college and the students.

The now vacant buildings will be transformed into a bookstore and offices for some of the staff. The rest of space will be converted into classrooms.

The 37,000-square-foot center relocates student services offices including admissions, records, financial aid, business and counseling to one building. The center also includes space for support services such as the college’s print shop and computer services division.

  • CCRI President Wins Regional Education Award

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The president of the Community College of Rhode Island and the head of the Rhode Island Foundation are being honored for their work in higher education.

The New England Board of Higher Education has named CCRI President Ray Di Pasquale a recipient of a lifetime achievement award.

The group says CCRI has enjoyed near-record enrollments during his tenure and that he spearheaded a $5 million capital campaign. Di Pasquale has also served as chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Governors of Higher Education.

Rhode Island Foundation CEO Neil Steinberg and his organization are being recognized with a state merit award. The group cited the foundation’s support of middle and high school retention programs, charter schools and professional development initiatives.

The awards ceremony will be in Boston this month.

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