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2014 February 3 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • California Board Approves Limits on College Fee Waivers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) —The governing board that sets policies for California’s 112 community colleges has approved new eligibility requirements for a popular financial aid program.

The Board of Governors for the state community college system adopted regulations that for the first time establish minimum academic performance requirements for students who do not pay per-unit enrollment fees.

Under the new rules, students who do not maintain at least a C-average or complete at least half of the units they attempted during two consecutive semesters would be at risk of losing their fee waivers.

Foster youth are exempt from the policy, which takes effect in the fall of 2016 and includes an appeals process.

The board was required to adopt the restrictions as part of legislation passed in 2012 that is aimed at improving graduation and transfer rates at California’s two-year colleges.

  • Colleges Mark Progress in Iowa Workforce Initiative

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s community colleges are making progress in offering advanced manufacturing education throughout the state.

The Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing Consortium, made up of Iowa’s 15 community colleges, reported that more than 800 people have participated so far in programs funded through a $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

More than 120 individuals have completed a program with a diploma, degree or certificate. More than 650 individuals continue to work toward a credential.

The consortium, which was formed last year, is trying to build training opportunities that offer industry-recognized credentials in fields like welding, machining, industrial maintenance, industrial automation and manufacturing technology.

The group says it hopes to surpass a grant goal of nearly 2,800 program participants over the course of the project.

  • La. College Struggles To Hire Nursing Faculty

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — The inability to find nursing faculty has stalled the start of South Louisiana Community College’s new registered nursing program at least six months.

In August, the college announced it hoped to start classes by early spring, but it’s been difficult to fill two of the four full-time faculty positions, said Christine Payton, SLCC public relations director.

To allow time for curriculum development, Laurie Fontenot, SLCC’s dean for nursing, allied health and safety, says the Louisiana Board of Nursing requires faculty to be in place at least six months before students are admitted.

“Attracting the faculty has been a process,” Payton said. “They can earn a better wage being a nurse, rather than teaching nursing.”

Pay is only one factor.

The job requirements include: a master’s degree in nursing, recent clinical experience and experience in education and curriculum development.

Payton said Fontenot, who holds a master’s degree in nursing, plans to ask the Louisiana Board of Nursing to allow her to also serve as a faculty member in the new program to expedite the start of classes.

  • NY College Failed To Collect $14M in Fees

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) — An audit shows that Long Island’s Nassau Community College failed to collect $14 million in tuition and fees since 2006.

The county comptroller’s audit called the school’s reserves “dangerously low.”

Newsday (http://bit.ly/1gDimhW) reports that the Garden City college failed to send past-due letters to students, collect application fees and properly track employee time and leave.

While recognizing improvements it has made, the audit said the issues if allowed to persist could cause significant tuition increases in the future.

It also said NCC spends more money than other area community colleges.

In response, the school said it already has collected about $4 million in back tuition and fee payments. It says its high expenses are due to higher staffing levels of fulltime and part-time faculty compared with other 2-year colleges.

  • Low RI Math Scores Linked to College Woes

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A new report says Rhode Island students are less likely to finish college — or even go to college at all — if they score low on the math section of a standardized test for 11th-graders.

The report by the state Department of Education and researchers for several organizations was part of a larger effort that tracked more than 12,000 students who entered the eighth grade in 2005 and took the New England Common Assessment Program test as high school juniors.

Fewer than 42 percent of students who scored below proficient on the math test enrolled in college. Only 24 percent of students who scored below proficient were still in college after their freshman year.

School officials say they’re continuing efforts to boost students’ math proficiency.

  • Ga. Considers College Firearms Ban

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia lawmakers will be reviving an effort to expand gun rights, but will be starting over with new legislation and weighing the possibility of giving college presidents and religious leaders the option of whether to allow guns on public campuses and in places of worship.

That’s according to key lawmakers, including Senate Majority Whip Cecil Staton and Rep. John Meadows who were part of a conference committee last session negotiating a deal on various gun bills.

Both said that no action would be taken on the conference committee bill and Meadows is working on new legislation. Staton says one idea under consideration would allow public college and university presidents and religious leaders to decide whether to allow guns.

That’s something House Speaker David Ralston says he’s open to considering.

  • Audit Cites Improvements in College Finances

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A recent state audit has found the finances of Santa Fe Community College are “sound.”

A state auditor’s report cited only about half the number of concerns mentioned in last year’s audit.

The school’s financial well-being has been questioned after its ousted president, Ana “Cha” Guzman, claimed she was fired in December for requesting an investigation into the college’s finances.

Acting President Randy Grissom says the audit shows the school is in good financial shape after administrators worked to address previous issues.

Timothy White, a lawyer representing Guzman in her request for arbitration to get her job back plus back pay, says the latest audit represents the work his client has done.

Guzman has also filed a whistleblower complaint in state District Court.

  • Mass. College Chief Wants To Arm Police

GREENFIELD, Mass. (AP) — The president of Greenfield Community College is proposing to arm the school’s three police officers.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1ahe6ph ) that college officials are concerned it would take too long for local or state police to respond to a shooter.

The proposal by President Robert Pura must be approved by the college’s board of trustees and will likely come up for a vote on Feb. 12. He says he’s not fond of guns but that his proposal comes down to the critical minutes needed to stop a shooter.

Bill Mayrose, the college’s chief of police, said he and two other licensed police officers would complete between 40 and 60 hours of training before they could carry guns.

Student Senate President Kia Burton McLaughlin said it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

  • Tenn. Students Getting Jump on College Math

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A state program is helping high school seniors complete a remedial math course before they start college.

According to The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/1hYfsaB ), the program called Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support started several years ago in Chattanooga as a way to help seniors at Red Banks High prepare for their first college semester while also giving them credit for a math class.

Gov. Bill Haslam suggested Chattanooga State Community College test it on a larger scale. Last year the program, referred to as SAILS, grew to 600 students.

With $1.1 million from the governor’s online innovation budget, 6,000 students are now enrolled in 114 high schools.

  • Iowa College Expanding Branch Campus

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) — Southeastern Community College plans to expand its Keokuk campus.

Administrators unveiled its plans at a public forum. Its priority will be adding a new industrial and manufacturing building.

Officials also want to relocate the bookstore, expand the cafeteria and add new landscaping.

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