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By CCWeek Staff  /  
2017 April 5 - 10:07 am

News Briefs

A Summary Listing of Higher-Ed-Related News from Around The Nation

Oregon Colleges Plan $100M Health Center

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The city of Portland and its three biggest colleges said they are teaming up to build a $100 million education and health center.

If state funding is approved, the building would be constructed downtown at what is now a city-owned parking lot near Portland State University. Besides PSU, the other schools chipping in are Oregon Health & Science University and Portland Community College.

The 200,000-square-foot building would house the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, PSU’s Graduate School of Education and PCC’s dental programs. It also would include a community dental clinic and an office for low-cost mental health services.

It’s the first time the three schools would share programs in one building.

“We are very excited to leverage the power of PSU, OHSU and PCC to train Portland’s future health and education leaders,” PSU President Wim Wiewel said in a statement.

PSU has asked the Oregon Legislature to approve $51 million in bonds for the project.

The city of Portland will contribute $15 million. Additional funds will come from PSU, OHSU and PCC.

Though the project has been designated a top priority by the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission, it’s not a certainty that legislators will approve the full $51 million.

With state funding, construction on the three-school building would start next year. It would likely open in September 2020.

Still in the design phase, the structure is projected to be at least seven stories tall. Besides the academic programs, it would be home to ground-floor retail and restaurants and a Portland city bureau.

Food Pantry Opens On Ivy Tech’s Campus

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A food pantry has opened at Ivy Tech Community College’s South Bend campus to help students and staff who are in need.

The South Bend Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/2nDfueb ) that the pantry carried canned, boxed and packaged food items. It opened this week and is stocked by the Food Bank of Northern Indiana.

Jim Baxter is director of Covering Kids & Families of North Central Indiana which is one of the partner agencies in the effort. He says he knows several students who dropped out of classes because they didn’t have health insurance or their health declined and they couldn’t keep up with schoolwork.

The food pantry is named for Ivy Tech graduate Belinda Whisman who worked for two years to establish the service. Previously a mobile food pantry visited the campus a few times a month.

NC Foundation Sets Up Scholarship Fund

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation says it has established a $100,000 endowed scholarship fund in honor of the late Darryl Hunt, the man who spent nearly 19 years in prison before being exonerated in the death of a Winston-Salem newspaper editor.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2mF1yC8 ) that, starting in 2018, the fund will award a $1,000 scholarship to a Forsyth County resident who’s been convicted of a crime and has served a jail or prison sentence. The money will help defray tuition and fees for students attending an accredited vocational or technical school, community college or college or university.

Hunt was convicted of killing Deborah Sykes in 1984, but DNA evidence led to another man who confessed to the killing. Hunt died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in March 2016.

Calif. Lawmaker Wants Tax To Fund Tuition

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Some California Democrats want to make college tuition free for in-state students by taxing very wealthy residents.

Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman said Monday she’s introducing a bill to create a 1 percent tax on Californians earning more than $1 million per year. The Stockton Democrat says the tax would provide enough revenue to make public colleges tuition free for residents.

The bill comes on the heels of a separate proposal by other Assembly Democrats to make college more affordable. That plan aims to make college debtfree for students by helping cover non-tuition related expenses and expanding aid for community college students.

AB1356 requires a two-thirds vote in the Legislature because it would create a new tax.

Mo. Colleges To Share Training Program

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri’s 12 community college systems are working together to train students for jobs offered by the state’s businesses.

Leaders from the colleges signed an agreement to officially begin the Missouri Community College Workforce Development Network.

The program will help in cases where a Missouri company needs assistance with employee training but the nearest community college doesn’t have a curriculum or expert faculty in that subject, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported (http://bit.ly/2n4Bk KA ).

In those cases, the new network will use resources among all of the state’s two-year schools to meet that business’ needs. For example, schools with the expertise could send information to the community college that needs help, or schools could help each other adopt needed curriculums.

Jeff Pittman, chancellor at St. Louis Community College, said the program is similar to one in Indiana, where he worked before moving to St. Louis in 2015.

“We have a large offering and a lot of skills and faculty here in the St. Louis area,” Pittman said. “A lot of smaller communities may not have the resources we have, so this dissolves the geographic barriers in place for colleges.”

The network starts as community colleges are facing reduced budgets for the current fiscal year and possibly beyond. Shortly after taking office, Republican Gov. Eric Greitens announced he would withhold about $67 million from Missouri’s colleges — almost $12 million of that from community colleges.

“We understand the difficult budget situation facing the state, and with this partnership, we hope to help grow the state’s economy in two ways,” Rob Dixon, executive director of Missouri Community College Association, said in a statement. “First, we want to help Missourians learn the skills they need to earn higher pay, and second, we hope to connect Missouri businesses with the workforce they need to grow and create jobs.”

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