A collection of Higher-ed-related News Summaries from Around the Nation
Mich. Nonprofit Seeks To Bring Back College Grads
PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — A nonprofit serving St. Clair County hopes offering financial incentives will attract college graduates who have moved out of the area.
The Community Foundation of St. Clair County plans to offer three $10,000 “reverse scholarships” early next year. The goal is to help graduates with their college loan debt and bolster the area’s workforce, the Times Herald of Port Huron reports (http://bwne.ws/1Li1v0x ).
Foundation president Randy Maiers said the nonprofit already awards about $200,000 annually in scholarships to send students to college. The “reverse scholarships” are funded by an anonymous donor and Maiers said they are meant to draw talent back.
“That’s the idea, why do we have to do (just) front-end scholarships?” Maiers asked. “Is that some sort of law? What if we just waited until after they graduated with student debt?” Maiers said grant recipients won’t be required to stay in the area for work for a certain length of time, but if they move, they will forfeit portions of their award.
Reverse scholarships are often used in medicine to recruit new physicians to practice in underserved areas, trading loan payments for the doctor’s commitment to work.
Applicants must be graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering, arts and math who live outside St. Clair County. They must have completed a viable vocational, associate or bachelor’s degree program within the past seven years and still have student debt.
La. Education Leaders Call for Restored Funding
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A panel of college leaders says Louisiana will fall further behind if it fails to shift its priorities and restore financial support for higher education.
At the same time, The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1Llt4KQ) the leaders say the state, particularly Baton Rouge, is well-suited to spur future economic growth if it can substantially increase the number of students who not only make it to college but go on to complete two- and four-year degrees.
Already near the bottom when it comes to adults earning college degrees, Louisiana will fall further behind if it fails to shift its priorities and restore financial support for higher education, a panel of college leaders said.
LSU Chancellor and President F. King Alexander says higher education has sustained some of the steepest cuts in the nation in per capita funding during the past several years, yet Louisiana spends among the most per capita in the country on its prisons.
Alexander warned that drastic cuts some have called for, including closing state colleges, would make things worse.
Speaking before about 70 people at Baton Rouge, the leaders were nevertheless bullish on the possibilities if the state increases higher education funding. They focused in particular on current and future partnerships with public school districts such as East Baton Rouge Parish, the second-largest in Louisiana.
Alexander said Louisiana has an opportunity to not only help more children attend college but to help more make the transition from twoyear colleges such as Baton Rouge Community College to four-year colleges such as LSU. Currently, only about 6 percent of two-year college students in the state successfully make that leap, he said.
“I could easily see that going from 6 to 20 percent,” he said.
Maine Logger Training Program Launched
MILLINOCKET, Maine (AP) — Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, three community colleges and a heavy equipment dealer are creating a program to train mechanized logging operators.
Peter Collins from Milton CAT said the heavy equipment dealer is donating $1.2 million worth of equipment. Additional support is being sought from the “Put ME to Work Program,” which was enacted by the Maine Legislature and provides $1 million for the next two years to support creation of new job training programs.
Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, Washington County Community College in Calais, and Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle are backing the program, establishing instruction in three of the most heavily forested regions of Maine.
Calif. College Enrollment Falls From 2008 Peak
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Enrollment is falling at California community colleges while some schools struggle to find qualified math instructors.
The Sacramento Bee reports (http://bit.ly/1jpW2Pc) the recession brought community colleges in the state to peak enrollment in 2008 at 1.8 million students. That figure is now below 1.6 million, and officials credit an improving labor market as well as the discouragingly long lines and crowded classes during the 2008 peak.
Yuba Community College District officials say they are struggling to find qualified instructors in high-demand core classes like math. Sierra Community College District could not find enough instructors to offer more summer math courses.
The Los Rios Community College District spokesman says officials want to add science instructors after additional math and English faculty were hired this year.
Miss. College Joins in Tobacco Ban
DECATUR, Miss. (AP) — East Central Community College will become the next state institution to ban tobacco anywhere on campus.
WTVA-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1R1Dpfa ) school leaders say the change will take place on Jan. 1 and affects students, faculty, staff and visitors on all ECCC campuses.
Smoking has been banned in the buildings at ECCC since 1996. The change was part of the college’s 2020 Vision strategic plan.
The ban also applies to electronic cigarettes.
ECCC will become the 11th community college in the state to place a ban on tobacco products on campus.
Ark. Colleges Get Grant for Work- Based Training
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services has awarded $4 million to Arkansas Community Colleges to support work-based training programs in certain industries.
The funding is part of the Arkansas Sector Partnership initiative, which supports training programs in the advanced manufacturing, health care, information technology and skilled construction industries. Arkansas Community Colleges, which was formerly known as the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges, represents all public community colleges in the state.
The 12 schools participating in the program are: Arkansas Northeastern College, Arkansas State University-Beebe, Arkansas State University-Newport, Black River Technical College, East Arkansas Community College, Northwest Arkansas Community College, Pulaski Technical College, South Arkansas Community College, Southern Arkansas University Tech, Southeast Arkansas College and University of Arkansas.
Ohio Colleges Partner To Expand Degrees
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio University is partnering with a Columbus community college to expand degree offerings in central Ohio.
The university in Athens last week announced the agreement with Columbus State Community College to offer courses toward a health care-related OU degree at community-college prices at a center in the Columbus suburb of Dublin.
The Integrated Education Center can serve 2,000 students per semester. Columbus State students will be able to complete an associate’s degree at Columbus State’s tuition prices, then seamlessly transfer to Ohio University to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
Calif. Student Trustee Could Face Recall
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A student trustee is drawing criticism over Holocaust comments that a community college official called abhorrent and contrary to history.
The Sacramento Bee reports (http://bit.ly/1N0Tqnq) student trustee Cameron Weaver told an editor with American River College’s student newspaper The Current that he wasn’t going to say the Holocaust didn’t happen, but that he didn’t know the answer.
Web editor Barbara Harvey says the story has sparked talk of a recall.
Los Rios Community College board president Dustin Johnson said in an email that Weaver’s comments were troubling to the board and abhorrent to the views of its members.
The 26-year-old is in his third year at the college. He is paid an $8,500 stipend as student trustee.
Weaver sent a letter to trustees saying the story didn’t reflect his views.
NH Colleges Sign Transfer Agreement
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — Students who get an associate degree at Great Bay Community College can soon transfer into more than 20 bachelor’s and master’s programs at the University of New England in Maine.
The collaboration enables students who successfully complete coursework leading to an associate degree from Great Bay to matriculate into specified UNE programs, if accepted, with up to 63 transferable credits towards their bachelor’s degree.
Ed Dept. Gives Tech Grant to Ga. College
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Augusta Technical College a $3 million grant to help improve the educational outcomes of black, male students.
The funding is a successor to a 2011 award.
College officials said the money will support academic advising and other student services.
The grant will also support learning assessments and teacher training.