A summary listing of higher education news from around the nation
Virginia Colleges See Slowing Enrollment
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Enrollment growth at Virginia’s public colleges and universities is expected to slow over the next six years, unlike private institutions in the state.
Overall, public two- and four-year schools expect a 5 percent increase by 2021-2022. Four schools anticipate a decline in enrollment.
The forecast is brighter at private, nonprofit higher education institutions. Enrollment growth at these schools is expected to grow by 32 percent—largely due to the growth of online programs at Regent and Liberty universities.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1MRJwVP ) reports public and private institutions submitted enrollment projections to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. If the projections hold, Virginia would see 11 percent enrollment growth overall, from 530,213 students last academic year to 590,894 by 2021.
The projections are raising some concerns amid the push to ensure Virginia can meet the economic demand for a more educated workforce. Still, officials should not worry just yet, SCHEV Director Peter Blake said.
The largest enrollment dip is in the Virginia Community College System’s projection, which anticipates 3 percent growth by 2021 after an anticipated four years of declining enrollment. “Community colleges are notoriously difficult to project, because they ebb and flow with an unpredictable economy,” Blake said.
Judge Dismisses Ultrasound Suit Filed against Florida College
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by former students in a Florida community college ultrasound program who say they were punished for objecting to a policy that encouraged students to undergo an invasive vaginal procedure to become better technicians.
U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell dismissed the lawsuits brought by two students against Valencia State College and two instructors.
The judge said the school had qualified immunity and that the students’ claims to violations of privacy and free speech had little merit.
The lawsuit said that instructors told them the procedure was voluntary but that students who refused were browbeaten and their academic standing was threatened.
In the procedure, a probe is inserted into the patient’s vagina. The school has stopped having students practice on each other.
Former NY Coach Charged with Forging Player Transcripts
MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. (AP) — A former basketball coach of a suburban New York community college has been charged with using forged transcripts to help star players transfer to NCAA Division I colleges.
Tyrone Mushatt was arraigned in Mount Pleasant Town Court on nine counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument.
Mushatt coached men’s basketball at Westchester Community College.
Prosecutors say he altered the grades on some of his players’ transcripts between 2012 and 2014. They say the bogus transcripts were sent to seven colleges including St. John’s University, Quinnipiac University and Florida A & M.
The Journal News (http://lohud.us/1RgoONo) reports defense attorney John Pappalardo said in court the college’s internal investigation determined Mushatt wasn’t involved in altering the transcripts.
La. College Breaks Ground On New Maritime Safety Center
MORGAN CITY, La. (AP) — South Central Louisiana Technical College has broken ground on a new maritime safety training center that is expected to partner with a similar facility in Houma once it is built.
Officials from the college, with campuses in Morgan City, Reserve and Thibodaux, joined the Louisiana Community and Technical College System board and state and local officials to celebrate the opening of the Hugh & Byrnes Young Marine & Petroleum Safety Training Center.
South Central will build the $3.7 million building using state and private money.
College Projects Feeling Effects of Illinois Budget Stalemate
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The state’s shutdown of building projects is being felt most at its colleges and universities.
An Associated Press analysis of state records shows Gov. Bruce Rauner’s order to stop work affected 218 jobs worth $707 million.
More than 65 percent of that money — $463 million — is tied up in 81 projects at 27 colleges and universities. Educators have scrambled for alternate space.
The projects remain idle because there’s no budget agreement.
Halted classroom renovation at the University of Illinois’ veterinary school forced officials to relocate 100 students.
A building at Olive-Harvey Community College in Chicago was supposed to open this month, but is one of 11 state projects that will need to be temporarily enclosed to protect it from winter weather at a total price of $2 million.
Stabbed Student Sues Oregon College for $3 Million
BEND, Ore. (AP) — A college student has filed a lawsuit against Central Oregon Community College, claiming officials brushed aside his pleas to assign him to a different dorm room before he was stabbed by his roommate.
The Oregonian reports (http://goo.gl/igR0h4 ) James Briles filed the lawsuit in Deschutes County Circuit Court. Documents say Briles lived in a dorm at the school in fall 2014 and became uncomfortable with his new roommate, 22-year-old Eric Norgaard.
The suit says Briles told officials he wanted to switch rooms because Norgaard repeatedly yelled loudly and angrily “about seemingly nonsensical things” and Briles didn’t feel safe.
Documents say Norgaard attacked Briles after Halloween night 2014. Norgaard is facing attempted murder and other charges.
College spokesman Ron Paradis told The Oregonian the college had just learned of the suit and had no immediate comment.
Harassment Suit Against Former Women’s Coach Dismissed
SHERMAN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge in North Texas has dismissed a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against a former Paris Junior College women’s basketball coach.
The lawsuit accused Sean LeBeauf of sexually harassing one of his players while coaching in Paris, 100 miles northeast of Dallas. LeBeauf is now an assistant coach at Arizona.
Tate in December 2013 filed the lawsuit accusing LeBeauf of sending her suggestive texts, then cutting her playing time and threatening to pull her scholarship when she rebuffed his advances.
Paris Junior College officials denied Tate’s allegations.
Wyo. Lawmakers Consider More Money for Scholarships
SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) — State lawmakers are working to make changes to Wyoming’s Hathaway Scholarship in response to the increasing cost of tuition at the University of Wyoming and the state’s community colleges.
The Sheridan Press reports (http://bit.ly/1knZmL2 ) the Joint Education Committee proposed drafting legislation that would provide more money for scholarship recipients.
The Hathaway program awards four merit-based scholarships that range in amount from $840 to $1,680 per semester to students who pursue higher education in the state. It is unclear how much the awards would increase under the draft legislation.
According to the Department of Education, the number of students receiving Hathaway scholarships has declined by more than 10 percent since 2010.
Legislators are expected to discuss changes to the scholarship’s eligibility criteria at a Dec. 15 meeting.
RI College Faculty Reject Tentative Contract
WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — The union representing faculty at the Community College of Rhode Island has rejected a tentative contract proposed by state education officials.
The Providence Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1Mt9o8w ) the president of the CCRI Faculty Association says more than 70 percent of members voted against the Council on Post-Secondary Education’s proposal.
The college’s full-time faculty have been working without a contract for more than two years.