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2015 January 19 - 07:28 pm

News Briefs

A summary listing of higher-ed-related news from around the nation

Illinois College Presidents Plan Visit to Cuba

MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — More than a dozen presidents of Illinois community colleges will be heading to Cuba in February to learn about the country’s education system.

The new president of Black Hawk College in western Illinois will be among them. Bettie Truitt says she will explore possible exchange opportunities for students at Black Hawk, located in Moline.

Truitt says the trip was planned before President Barack Obama’s announcement that the U.S. and Cuba will begin taking steps to restore full diplomatic relations.

Altogether, 14 Illinois community college presidents will take part in the Feb. 15-22 trip sponsored by Illinois Community College Board.

The (Moline) Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/1wqKARI ) that the group will visit traditional schools, art schools and a medical school.

They’ll also attend lectures on culture and teaching and tour Havana.

Colleges Adding Global Focus To Programs

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan State University study says that a growing number of America’s community colleges are adding an international focus to their programs.

The study by Michigan State’s International Business Center says that community colleges plan to have 24 percent of their programs “fully internationalized” by 2024. That’s up from 8 percent today.

Lead researcher Tomas Hult, says bringing an international focus to study programs is important in maintaining the global competitiveness of the U.S. workforce.

The university says that Hult developed the International Business Education Index as a way of measuring schools’ performance.

It says that from 309 to 428 of the nation’s 1,132 community colleges have participated in the study since it began in 2008.

NM College Eyes Building for Charter Schools

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque’s public school district and Central New Mexico Community College are teaming up on construction of a building to house two charter public schools on the college’s campus.

The Albuquerque Journal (http://goo.gl/ocdKgq ) reports that an agreement call for the planned building to serve Native American Community Academy and the College and Career High School beginning in the 2017-18 school year.

The agreement is subject to voter approval of bond issues to provide the funding.

The project’s estimated cost is $35 million, but college President Kathie Winograd says more precise costs won’t be known until building designs are complete.

The College and Career High School is already located on the college’s campus, but Winograd says it is outgrowing its current space.

Audit Faults La. College over Pell Grants

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A state audit finds South Louisiana Community College administration did not maintain sufficient controls over the Federal Pell Grant Program for the seventh consecutive year.

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor report says SLCC failed to timely identify students who withdraw, perform the return of funds calculation and return funds to the U.S. Department of Education as required by federal regulations, the audit said.

David Volpe, the school’s vice chancellor for student services, said the auditors are citing technicalities and that SLCC does not lack controls.

The Advertiser reports (http://bit.ly/1tf5wLy ) the audit analyzed the financial trend of the college over the past five years.

SLCC’s tuition and fee revenues have remained consistent as decreases in enrollment have been offset by increased tuition and fee rates.

Report: $34M in Repairs Needed At Texas College

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A report conducted by two architectural firms says more than $34 million in repairs and upgrades are needed at a West Texas community college.

The firms will create a master plan to prioritize the needs at each of the five campuses of El Paso Community College. The plan also will detail services needed for a new campus the college intends to build at the Fort Bliss Army post.

The El Paso Times reports (http://bit.ly/1zFsumu ) the assessment comes as the college projects enrollment to grow to 45,000 students in 12 years. The school has about 29,000 students now.

Officials say campuses lack gathering space for students, have small classrooms, outdated heating and cooling systems, and other problems.

The college has not yet developed a plan to pay for the improvements.

CCRI To Train Veterinary Assistants

WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — The Community College of Rhode Island is offering a veterinary assistant training program this spring.

The program to be offered by the college’s Center for Workforce and Community Education will help prepare students to assist in the care of animals in veterinary offices as well as shelters and animal hospitals. They will also receive training in important office tasks and communicating with pet owners.

The college says in a statement that the demand for trained veterinary assistants is growing, with the U.S. Department of Labor projecting an increase of employment of up to 35 percent in the decade ending in 2016. The 15-week course that starts March 7 costs $1,800 and will be held at the Knight Campus in Warwick.

Mo. Reducing A+ College Scholarship Aid

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri is cutting back slightly on the amount of aid students will receive under the state’s A+ scholarship program.

The program typically provides free community college tuition to students who graduate from high school with at least a 2.5 GPA and meet various other criteria.

But for the spring 2015 semester, the state says it will pay for all but one of a student’s credit hours. That means a student taking 15 credit hours would get a scholarship for 14 hours.

The Department of Higher Education says the change is being made because of a funding shortfall, rising tuition rates and a growing number of eligible students.

Department spokesman Liz Coleman says it will be up to each college to decide how to make up for the decreased scholarship funding.

ND Sen. Touts Apprenticeship Programs

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is encouraging North Dakota businesses and organizations in growing and high-tech industries to apply for federal apprenticeship grants.

The grants are available for apprenticeship programs in industries that the federal government has projected will grow or expand the workforce and are being transformed by technology and innovations.

The apprenticeship programs must be registered with the U.S. Department of Labor before applying for the grants. Eligible applicants include community colleges, employers, business associations, labor organizations, local and state governments and nonprofit organizations.

Heitkamp says apprenticeships are great opportunities for individuals to get hands on experience in high-skilled and high-demand jobs. She says more than 350 apprenticeships are already registered in the state.

W.Va. Approves New College Transfer Rules

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia higher education leaders are finalizing policy changes to help students more easily transfer college credits and earn degrees.

The changes were approved by the state Higher Education Policy Commission and the state Council for Community and Technical College Education within the last two months.

The proposed rules state that a school should accept course credits from another institution if 70 percent of learning objectives are similar between the courses at each school.

However, officials said that there may be exceptions if the 30 percent difference between courses is crucial.

Rules also would require fouryear public colleges to notify twoyear colleges about students that meet “reverse transfer status” and can be awarded an associate degree while continuing work toward a bachelor’s degree.

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