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By CCWeek Staff  /  
2017 July 10 - 04:44 pm

News Briefs

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

Theft from College Results In Prison Term

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A former Lincoln Lane Community College employee has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for taking almost $700,000 from the college.

The State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/2rHQTG2 ) 47-year-old John Martinez pleaded guilty in February to taking the money over a sevenyear period and using it for personal expenses, including travel and alcohol.

U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough sentenced the Springfield resident to two years, five months in prison.

Martinez worked on the college’s telephone system.

Authorities say he admitted to forging supervisors’ signatures to authorize expenditures, causing the college to issue checks to fake vendors.

He would remove some checks from the mailroom before they were sent.

Some of the checks were written to vendors who were his friends. They would deposit them, keep a portion, then give cash to Martinez.

Ivy Tech Plans Organizational Changes

SELLERSBURG, Ind. (AP) — Ivy Tech Community College has announced plans to undergo organizational changes aimed at better connecting campuses with local communities.

The News and Tribune (http://bit.ly/2rzRJEH ) reports that Ivy Tech will have chancellors operating each campus instead of having regional chancellors overseeing multiple campuses. Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann initiated the changes after speaking with more than 750 staff members last summer.

Ellspermann says the regional structure was causing difficulties in serving local communities. She says the goal is to put more “community” in community college with the new structure and place more attention on students.

Campus chancellors will be announced this summer.

Ivy Tech offers more than 150 programs at 32 degree-granting locations across Indiana, serving more than 170,000 annually.

Miss. College Gets $5.1M Grant

RAYMOND, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi community college is getting more than $5 million to return the Upward Bound program to one of its campuses.

Four Upward Bound programs at the Utica Campus of Hinds Community College will help at least 240 students from eight high schools prepare for college, according to a news release.

They will target students from low-income families, potential first-generation college students and students with a high risk of academic failure.

“As a product of the Upward Bound program that was once on the Utica Campus, I truly understand the importance of the program, so it was my goal while writing the grants to include as many schools and students that I could,” said Mitchell Shears, executive director of Title III & Sponsored Grants. He said the school’s last Upward Bound program ended in 2012.

The U.S. Department of Education will pay the $5.1 million grant over five years.

The programs will go through the school year and six weeks in summer. They’ll provide instruction in mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature, foreign languages and other educational and cultural experiences.

Ill. Reduces Fees For College Savings Plans

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs has announced the state is reducing fees and giving more investment choices to people saving money for college in its college savings plans.

Illinois currently offers two funds for people who work with financial planners or investment advisers on their 529 college savings plans, the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/2rHuWsv ) reported. The plans allow people to save money for college and avoid paying taxes on any money withdrawn to pay for college.

Under the changes, people who work with advisers will be converted to a single plan with college savings program Bright Directions. Account holders won’t be required to take any action.

Frerichs said the state also will cut management fees roughly in half and will no longer charge annual fees.

People will have the option to choose from a 12 fund companies including BlackRock, T Rowe Price, Vanguard, and Chicagobased Ariel and Nuveen Asset Management. Each company carries its own fees. Currently, people can only choose Oppenheimer and Vanguard Funds.

Frerichs said the changes will make the state’s 529 plans more competitive than those offered in other states. He said the 529 plans will give families saving for college more options at a lower cost.

The changes are expected to take effect in July.

There are nearly 446,000 Illinois 529 accounts, totaling about $9 billion.

NM Students To See Tuition Increase

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University’s Board of Regents has approved a 6 percent tuition-and-fee increase for the university’s main campus and community college system.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports (http://bit.ly/2s7rgjL ) the regents approved the tuition hike at a special meeting.

An in-state, main-campus student taking 12 credit hours will pay $184 more per semester under the approval, taking the total tuition-and-fee cost to $3,230. A student taking 15 credit hours or more will pay $197 more per-semester.

NMSU administrators asked for the increase, saying the institution has faced steep cuts from the state Legislature in recent years, as well as declines in enrollment.

New Fla. College President Breaks Barriers

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A 30-year employee of St. Petersburg College rode an overwhelming tide of public support to be named the school’s first female and first black president.

The Tampa Bay Times reports (http://bit.ly/2rjECdX) that 53- year-old Tonjua Williams was named recently as the school’s new leader.

Williams will take the reins amid faculty discontent and financial unease, facing down a projected $6 million to $10 million shortfall with little support from a state Legislature that favored state universities this year. She also takes her place among the region’s institutional heavyweights, overseeing a school with some 40,000 students and nearly a dozen campuses and centers.

SPC, the state’s first two-year college, has grown into a school with more than 100 career-focused programs, including bachelor’s degree tracks far cheaper than those of state universities.

La. Limits Questions about Criminal Histories

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s public colleges and universities should have limited authority to ask prospective students about their criminal histories to determine admission, legislators have decided.

The “ban the box” legislation received final passage, after adding some exceptions to the measure by Rep. Vincent Pierre, a Lafayette Democrat.

Schools could ask about convictions for stalking, rape and sexual battery during the admissions process. If a potential student is denied admission because of such a conviction, the applicant could appeal.

After granting admission, colleges also would be able to ask about criminal convictions for a variety of reasons, including to determine if they’ll limit participation in campus programs, financial aid and housing.

Ky. Regents Hike Tuition for Colleges

VERSAILLES, Ky. (AP) — Regents for Kentucky’s community and technical college system have approved a $6 per-credithour tuition increase.

The increase equates to a $108 annual increase for in-state students taking 18 credit hours per year — the average for students in the community and technical college system.

The system’s board of regents also approved tuition that includes a $12 per-credit-hour rate for a total of $324 per credit hour for out-of-state students from counties next to Kentucky. All other out-of-state students will pay $21 more per credit hour for a total of $567 per credit hour.

The tuition rates approved at a meeting followed tuition-setting guidelines from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

Regents also approved a 3 percent raise for community and technical college faculty and staff.

New Program Aids Indiana Foster Kids

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — About 50 Indiana foster children who are entering college will receive additional instruction this summer though a program intended to boost the number of foster kids finishing degrees.

The nonprofit Indiana Connected by 25 is working with Purdue University Northwest, where the incoming freshman will stay in dorms while receiving eight weeks of instruction.

They’ll be taught about financial literacy, math, English, building healthy relationships and navigating campus. Successful participants will get a laptop and eligibility for financial aid.

Advocates say that only 3 percent of foster kids who ageout of the system complete a post-secondary degree.

Ivy Tech Community College, The Indiana Department of Child Services and the Annie E. Casey Foundation also are sponsoring the program.

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