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2014 January 6 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Bookstore Tightens Up After Thefts

BEND, Ore. (AP) — The bookstore at Central Oregon Community College in Bend says it’s improving security after losing $150,000 worth of textbooks to thieves.

Store Director Lori Willis told the college board that students no longer search the store for the textbooks they want. Instead, staff members retrieve books on request.

She said the college’s textbook buy-back program now requires students to have a receipt to prove the book was purchased at the store. Security camera improvements are planned.

The Bulletin newspaper reports that comparable stores typically lose 1 percent to 2.5 percent of gross sales, but the loss at the college store was 4.1 percent.

The thefts were discovered in July during inventory. Willis said the thefts seem organized. Nobody has been arrested.

Willis says the latest inventory shows insignificant losses.

  • Kan. College Opts Not To Ban Smoking

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Tobacco won’t be banned at Garden City Community College after all.

The college’s Board of Trustees was told that a committee recommends designating smoking areas on the campus rather than banning tobacco across the campus.

Brett Cady, a freshman who was on the committee, says having designated areas is a logical step but he believes eventually the campus will be completely tobacco-free.

College President Herbert Swender said the policy will begin this month. He says there will be at least three and possibly up to five designated smoking areas.

  • Vermont Expanding Dual Enrollment

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Five more Vermont colleges will start offering early college programs to high school students starting next year to help get more Vermont students beyond high school, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced.

Vermont Technical College has been offering its Vermont Academy of Science and Technology program for 25 years. Starting next fall, eligible high school seniors can also attend college while finishing high school tuition-free at Burlington College, Castleton State College, Community College of Vermont, Johnson State College and Lyndon State College.

While Vermont’s high-school graduation rate is among the top in the country, only about 50 percent of graduates go on to college, officials said. Many who do not pursue higher education could not envision themselves in college or did not have the family support to envision themselves there, said Vermont State College Chancellor Tim Donovan.

The dual enrollment program will be limited to 18 students each at Burlington College, Castleton State College, Johnson State College and Lyndon State College in the first three years, with no cap on the number of students participating at Community College of Vermont.

Officials expect considerable interest among students. The number of students participating in early college at Vermont Technical College has doubled in the last two years.

  • Bill To Aid Wis. Tech Students Becomes Law

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a pair of bills designed to help students who are pursuing a technical college education.

One bill Walker signed provides incentive grants to school districts that promote career and technical education programs. The grants of up to $1,000 per school district will be available starting next school year.

The other bill Walker signed provides scholarships to full time students at technical colleges. Between one and six scholarships worth $2,250 will be available at each school.

Both measures passed the Legislature unanimously earlier this year. State Superintendent Tony Evers had proposed the incentives last year and thanked Walker for signing the bills into law.

  • Wyo. Community College Tuition On the Rise

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP)—Wyoming’s Community College Commission has voted to raise tuition for in-state students by $4 per credit hour.

The hike means a total increase of about $96 per year for full-time students.

For in-state students, the price per credit hour goes from $79 to $83. The commission has raised in-state tuition by about $4 per credit hour for the last several academic years.

The tuition hike is expected to generate about $941,000.

  • Calif. Pitching Obamacare on Campuses

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Government-funded educators are visiting California college campuses to pitch students on signing up for health insurance.

The effort is an attempt to reach young adults, who are seen as vital to making the Affordable Care Act a success.

Supporters and detractors of the law are fixating on so-called “young invincibles.” Only by collecting premiums from more infrequent users of medical services can insurance plans expect to offset higher costs of treating newly insured older and sicker patients.

The trained educators are becoming regulars at California State University campuses. The effort is funded by a grant from Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange for the public.

  • Ark. Agency Provides $175K For Voke Ed

MARIANNA, Ark. (AP) — The Delta Regional Authority has announced it will provide $175,000 to the STRIVE vocational education program in eastern Arkansas.

Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill announced the investment with state and local officials in Marianna.

STRIVE — or Special Training in Remedial Instruction and Vocational Education — will provide students ages 14-19 from nine public school districts in Lee, Monroe, Phillips, and St. Francis counties with a career and technical skills development program. The program will be offered in partnership with East Arkansas Community College and Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute.

Course offerings will include specialized training in construction trades, cosmetology, computer technology, culinary arts, welding, medical professions, and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning field.

  • Mo. Promotes Training for Health Jobs

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon wants to provide $20 million in grants for Missouri colleges and universities to train an additional 1,200 students for mental health jobs.

The money is to be included in his recommendations for next year’s budget. Nixon says it would address help address a critical shortage of mental health professionals. He says 72 of 114 counties do not have a licensed psychiatrist, while 90 do not have a resident behavioral analyst. Applied behavior analysis is used for treating autism spectrum disorders.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City would receive $4.2 million to train clinical psychologists, child psychologists and advanced practice nurses. Moberly Area Community College would get about $167,000.

  • Wyo. Colleges Look To Improve Graduation Rates

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming community colleges are looking to start a new program that aims to increase the number of students successfully completing college.

Jim Rose of the Wyoming Community College Commission told members of the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee that the commission proposes starting the program in the 2015 fiscal year.

Under the program, about $12 million in funding for the state’s seven community colleges would be allocated based on the number of students that pass courses. The idea is to increase the number of students who graduate.

Currently, only 28 percent of first-time, full-time students graduate in three years from the state’s two-year colleges.

  • Former College Employees Get Prison Terms

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Two former employees of LSU-Eunice have been sentenced to federal prison terms for stealing tens of thousands of dollars in federal money meant to help students pay for a college education.

Marvette Thomas, 60, the former director of the Office of Academic Assistance, received a 14-month sentence. Carra Sergent, also 60 and Thomas’ former assistant at the two-year college, will spend 12 months and a day in prison.

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote handed down the sentences. Foote said Thomas and Sergent had been trusted employees who abused the system. Speaking to Thomas, Foote said, “You betrayed that trust.”

“It is with remorse and extreme regret that I address this court this morning,” Thomas said. “I am truly sorry.”

Thomas and Sergent pleaded guilty Aug. 8 to stealing $159,132 over 3 ½ years.

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