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2016 April 10 - 05:06 pm

News Briefs

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

Conn. College System Imposes Hiring Freeze

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The leader of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system has imposed a hiring freeze across all its 17 campuses.

CSCU President Mark Ojakian said that the step is necessary because of a projected budget shortfall and other financial pressures. Ojakian says the freeze will remain in effect for at least the remainder of the fiscal year. He says it is intended as only a short-term measure.

The system oversees four state universities, not including the University of Connecticut, as well as 12 community colleges.

The state government’s budget is at least $220 million in deficit for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

Mass. Colleges Launch Review of Sick Leave Policy

BOSTON (AP) — The Department of Higher Education has launched a review of decades-old leave policies for top officials.

Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago said that he’s asking his staff to recommend changes to existing policies, including those related to accruing sick leave and vacation time and documenting leave time.

Santiago said the review will also look at travel policies at all community colleges and state universities.

The review comes after the former president of Bridgewater State University Dana Mohler- Faria faced criticism for cashing in his unused sick and vacation time for a one-time payment.

Mohler-Faria had also negotiated a lucrative annual consulting contract with the university, but Santiago said that Mohler-Faria has agreed to volunteer his time instead.

Ky. College President To Retire

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — West Kentucky Community and Technical College President Barbara Veazey is retiring after becoming the school’s founding president in 2003.

Veazey will leave her post in June. She told staff and faculty she was “inspired each day by the brightest, most forward thinking group of individuals.”

West Kentucky CTC enrolls more than 9,000 students in western Kentucky and online.

Veazey was appointed president of Paducah Community College in 2002, and when the school consolidated with West Kentucky Technical College in 2003, Veazey was named its first president.

Kentucky Community and Technical College System President Jay Box will visit the campus to explain the search process for the next president.

Sentencing Delayed in For-Profit Scam

MIAMI (AP) — The former chief of a for-profit college called FastTrain must wait until May to learn his prison sentence for defrauding the U.S. government in a multimillion-dollar scam.

Alejandro Amor was supposed to be sentenced earlier this month on his convictions for conspiracy and 12 counts of theft of government money. But after a hearing lasting more than two hours, a Miami federal judge reset sentencing for May 18.

The charges carry more than 100 years in maximum prison time.

A jury convicted Amor of fraudulently getting hundreds of students approved for federal financial aid. Testimony showed FastTrain collected some $35 million in federal aid and loans from 2007 to 2012.

FastTrain had campuses in South Florida, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Clearwater.

Amor’s attorney had contended the fraud was caused by rogue employees.

NY College Resolves Title IX Complaint

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Erie Community College has agreed to resolve a complaint that it doesn’t provide equal access to female athletes.

The settlement announced by the U.S. Department of Education ends an investigation by the department’s Office of Civil Rights. The investigation showed that while women make up about half the students at the Buffalo college, they represent only about a third of athletes.

Under the voluntary resolution, ECC says it will have a new procedure for students to request the addition of certain sports and beginning in the next school year will add sports where there is sufficient interest.

W. Va. College Boosts Tuition By 5 percent

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Not knowing how much money Huntington’s Mountwest Community and Technical College is set to receive from the state for the next fiscal year, the school’s Board of Governors has voted to raise tuition by 5 percent, the highest possible amount allowed by the state.

The Herald-Dispatch of Huntington (http://bit.ly/1Rt46YR ) reports that the board was facing an April 1 deadline when it voted.

The uncertainty stems from the fact that West Virginia lawmakers ended the legislative session last week without balancing the state’s budget.

It is the fourth year in a row the board has voted to raise tuition and fees amid dwindling state funds.

Mountwest officials say they have been planning for at least a 6.5 percent cut in state funding but are bracing for it to be even higher.

Ky. College To Offer Broadband Tech Degree

VERSAILLES, Ky. (AP) — Big Sandy Community and Technical College in eastern Kentucky will launch the state’s first broadband technology program this fall.

The new associate degree program, the third of its kind in the nation, is designed to train workers as the state moves to expand broadband across Kentucky in an attempt to revive the foundering Appalachian economy.

The Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Board of Regents greenlighted the program. It will prepare students to work in installing and splicing fiber optic cable, maintenance, pole climbing and electrical construction.

The program is an outgrowth of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative to expand broadband to eastern Kentucky coalfields in an attempt to bring high-tech job opportunities to the region’s struggling job market.

Mich. Senator Promotes Dual Enrollment

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Gary Peters visited Lansing to promote legislation he introduced in February to make it easier for high school students to earn college credit.

The Michigan Democrat spoke during an event at Lansing Community College. His office said the bill would offer grants to colleges for high school dual and concurrent enrollment programs.

About 1.9 million high school students across the U.S. enrolled in a college course in the 2014-2015 school year, according to Peters’ office. Lansing Community College offers dual or concurrent enrollment programs to more than 700 high school students.

“Access to higher education is increasingly critical to joining the modern workforce and competing in today’s global economy,” Peters said in a statement. “That is why I introduced legislation to ensure a quality education is affordable and accessible for students in Michigan.”

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