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Higher Education News Clippings Week of June 17, 2007 1018 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Suite 700, Charleston, WV 25301 June 23, 2007 Head cases West Virginia neurosurgeons are having quite a year Football players run high risks of head injuries despite their helmets. The NFL finally is coming to grips with the long-term nature of the problem. The league tapped Dr. Julian Bailes, chairman of the WVU Department of Neurosurgery, to shed light on the situation. Bailes led a study of head injuries in the NFL in 2000, the same year he joined WVU. “This is the first time the NFL is bringing in outside experts,” Bailes said. “We’re optimistic, and glad the commissioner is opening this up.” Other West Virginia neurosurgeons have also been in the news. In April, WVU named its brain center for Dr. Takanori Fukushima, who has brought patients from around the world to Morgantown. In Charleston, the news came from Charleston neurosurgeon Dr. John Schmidt. About 10 years ago, working with physician’s assistant Larry Young, Schmidt had to improvise. What resulted was a technique, hinge craniotomy, that lets doctors better manage the severe swelling that occurs with serious head injuries. In September, Schmidt will publish an article about the technique in the prestigious Journal of Neurosurgery. Only a few years ago, the state’s malpractice insurance situation had deteriorated to the point that West Virginians were at risk of losing such specialists. State leaders faced up to the situation and addressed the problem. Now the news about neurosurgeons has taken a different turn. When West Virginia’s political class does that, state residents reap big benefits — a lesson worth remembering. June 22,. 2007 Administrative changes at Tech part of WVU merger, officials say By James I. Davison A little more than a week before the July 1 merger between the West Virginia University Institute of Technology and West Virginia University, school officials announced on Thursday several administrative changes. Current President Charles Bayless will become provost of WVU Tech, and current Provost Galan “Lanny” Janeksela will return to full-time teaching, according to a WVU news release. “This is the culmination of a long process of development and implementing a plan of merger,” Bayless said in the release. “We will save big bucks by this.” The changes are already effective as of noon on Wednesday, said Scott Hurst, associate provost of WVU Tech. “Those things have been in place and developing over the last year since the legislation was put in place,” Hurst said. “There had been a misconception that as of July 1 these things were going to start to integrate but we effectively are integrated as of [Wednesday].” Other administrative changes include an expansion of Hurst’s supervisory responsibilities and the shift of current admissions director Louis Levy to a new role as dean of students, the release states. Longtime WVU Tech administrator Mike Neese will retire Sept. 30, a decision Hurst said happened “concurrent with this transition.” Under the new structure, several non-academic departments, such as information technology and human resources, will report directly to WVU in Morgantown, Hurst said. Oversight of all academic areas will remain in Montgomery, he added. “I think the primary thing of concern to the community and to the alumni is that we maintain the integrity of the academic units,” Hurst said. “That has always been the intent, that was what was legislated and that is what occurred.” June 22,. 2007 W.Va. State wants to take control of Shawnee Park by Matthew Thompson West Virginia State University wants to take over the management of Shawnee Park from the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Department. The university and Kanawha County Commission are working on a proposal that would allow West Virginia State to assume total management and maintenance duties at the park located at Institute. The agreement must meet the approval of the county Parks and Recreation Board. After a Thursday commission meeting, Commission President Kent Carper said county taxpayers could save more than $100,000 a year if the university takes over the park. "This will be great for the community and the taxpayers," Carper said. "To have a land-grant institution take over the park and utilize it for its students and the community -- it's a great fit." Under the proposal, the county would still own the land where Shawnee is located. In a statement released by the university, West Virginia State President Hazo Carter said, "We are prepared to offer managerial services. We are not looking at ownership at this time." Carper said this current proposal is a positive step for the university to claim full ownership of the park in the future. Carper and Carter have been discussing a possible takeover for more than a year. In April 2006, the two men met to discuss a joint management plan. Since then, Carter has appeared twice before the commission and each time alluded to the university wanting to manage the facilities. The school already uses the park for offices for the staff of the West Virginia State University Land-Grant Extension program. The staff provides activities at the park, including 4-H clubs, musical arts enrichment, dietary programs for seniors, and other health and wellness promotions for all ages. The proposal states the university would manage all facilities including the clubhouse, shelters, fields, baseball courts, tennis courts and pool. West Virginia State and the commission would work together to provide an active police presence at the park. The university and the parks department would also set up an account to deposit revenue from all rental facilities to be used in upgrades for parks facilities. In the second phase of the project, the parks department would help the university learn the operations of the golf course. It will keep its four full-time employees at the course and the workers would remain county employees, not university employees. County Commissioner Hoppy Shores, who acts as the commission representative on the parks board, said the deal would be very beneficial to the parks department. "As long as the property will maintain the same activities for the community, I think the parks board will seriously consider approving this plan," Shores said. Shawnee is one of six parks the county operates. The others are Coonskin, Meadowood, Big Bend, Pioneer, and the Wallace Hartman Nature Preserve. Shawnee, Big Bend and Coonskin, have golf courses. Earlier this year the county sold Sandy Brae Golf Course to a local businessman for $715,000. The money was used to pay off all debts for the parks department. For the first time ever, the parks department is debt free, Carper said. If the Shawnee deal goes through, Carper said the parks department could further enhance its financial status. "They can remain debt free without us having to raise any taxes," Carper said. June 22, 2007 Take Back Tech Committee asks lawmakers to reconsider From Staff Reports MONTGOMERY — Members of the Take Back Tech Committee last week sent a letter to Sen. Robert Plymale and Delegate Mary Poling, chairs of the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability, calling for the delay of WVU Tech’s official transition into a division of West Virginia University. “House Bill 4690 mandates that the WVU Board of Governors approve a strategic plan for WVUIT by April 1, 2007,” the letter reminds the legislators. “The materials that were submitted by Tech personnel to the LOCEA Committee on June 3, 2007, in lieu of the strategic plan did not meet the requirements of HB4690 ... “... No strategic plan exists for Tech, and the mandates of HB4690 remain unfulfilled,” the committee’s members wrote, adding they, along with a large number of the school’s alumni, “implore the LOCEA Committee to delay the transition of WVUIT from a regional status to divisional status of WVU until all mandates of HB4690 are met.” At a meeting of LOCEA earlier this month, Plymale, D-Wayne, questioned the fact that the WVU Board of Governors had not approved the strategic plan. He said LOCEA had been presented with a massive document that had been approved by a steering committee, but not by the board of governors. “I don’t see that in here,” he said. Two years ago, Gov. Joe Manchin proposed moving the WVU Tech engineering department to the Dow Chemical research complex in South Charleston. At that time, the Take Back Tech Committee was formed and a public outcry from the members of the committee, Tech alumni and local government officials led to the Legislature responding with HB4690, designed to preserve Tech as a division of WVU. The plan called for a $3.2 million outlay, which was approved last year in SB603, to expand equipment and make upgrades, but LOCEA learned at the earlier meeting that none of the funds had been spent. Members of the Take Back Tech Committee believe that the planned transition should not go forward until the law’s requirements have been fulfilled. Mineral Daily News-Tribune June 22, 2007 Eastern names interim president By DANIEL SILVER MOOREFIELD - Robert H. Sisk will become interim president at Eastern WV Community and Technical College effective July 1, 2007. Named to the post at an emergency meeting of Eastern's Board of Governors on June 5, Sisk will take the reins at the college after 32 years at South Branch Career and Technical Center in Petersburg, where he has served as its director for nearly two decades. Eastern's Board acted after the college's current president, Alfred R. Hoffmann, announced his decision last March to step down from the top administrative duties. Peggy Hawse, newly-elected Board chair, hailed the one-year interim appointment. “Bob Sisk is respected in our area both as a successful educator and as an individual who relates effectively to many groups: educators, students, businesses, and community leaders,” she said. Hawse noted that as the Board undertakes its search for a permanent successor to Hoffmann, Sisk would remain eligible to apply for that position. As head of South Branch, Sisk partnered with Eastern in several learning projects over the years. He also served as a member of the Founding Board of Advisors that midwifed the college from concept to reality in 1999. And last spring, Governor Joe Manchin appointed him to the college's Board of Governors. As he prepares to take charge of Eastern's future, Sisk faces three main challenges: raising college enrollment, bringing new learning programs to students, and guiding the construction of Eastern's new home off Corridor H through an orderly and successful process. “This is a good nucleus of people,” Sisk told a gathering of college staff in early June, “and I think you're doing all the right things.” While he expects the college to “continue doing what's been working,” he indicated that he will also focus his energies on bringing new programs to Eastern. “Success builds on success, and as more and more Eastern graduates find better jobs at better pay, or move productively on to further college and university learning, the practical advantages of the community and technical college experience will serve as Eastern's best recruiting tool,” Sisk said. The creation of new programs should also draw more students to the college, Sisk noted, reminding the Eastern workers that “recruitment and enrollment of students is everybody's responsibility.” Eastern's new leader also expects an enrollment boost from the construction of the college's new home. “Now that the Governor and the Council (for Community and Technical College Education) have officially approved the contracts, we can look forward to a bright new chapter in Eastern's history,” he said. Workers will soon break ground at the site of Eastern's new building off Corridor H, one exit east of Moorefield. Sisk's own road to his current appointment began in 1969 with a degree in business management from the University of Baltimore, and a certificate in business education from there in 1971. He then joined the Prince George's County public schools as a teacher and coordinator of vocational education. Sisk earned his first Master's degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling from Coppin State College (now University) in 1974, and the following year moved to Petersburg as South Branch's cooperative education coordinator. Promoted to assistant director four years later, Sisk studied for a second Master's degree in vocational technical education, and received it from Marshall University in 1982. Director of South Branch since 1988, and named West Virginia's outstanding career and technical administrator last year, Sisk led the school in August 2006 to statewide recognition as a “WV School of Excellence,” the only career and technical center in the state so honored. June 22,. 2007 Projects still drawing economic development grant money by George Hohmann The state Economic Development Authority has given preliminary approval for low- interest loans to projects in Cabell, Marion and Greenbrier counties and final approval for loans to projects in Wood, Lewis, Kanawha, Harrison and Roane counties. During its monthly meeting on Thursday, the authority's directors also reviewed the status of projects funded by the Economic Development Grant Committee in 2003. One of the Economic Development Authority's jobs is to administer the $224.8 million in grants awarded to 49 projects around the state in 2003 by the Economic Development Grant Committee. Some projects were slow to start so last year the authority set a Dec. 31, 2007, deadline for all projects to have their funding and contracts in place. A project status update distributed Thursday shows that $185.8 million or 83 percent of the grant money has been disbursed and 27 projects have received all of the grant money awarded them. Authority Executive Director David Warner went over the projects that have not yet drawn all of the grant money awarded them. The projects, grant, amount received as of May 31 and project status, as reported by Warner: * West Virginia University's fire academy, $2 million grant, $542,826 disbursed. Construction underway and should be completed by the end of August. * West Virginia University's Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, $10 million grant, $5.8 million disbursed. "Construction has really ramped up." June 21, 2007 Rising fuel prices, college costs have more teens working -- 2.5 million more by Elaine McMillion Darin McCord, 19, wants to one day run his own business. But for now the Boone County college sophomore spends his summer days washing and detailing Mercedes, Volvos, Jaguars and Land Rovers on the lot of Charleston's Smith Company Motor Cars to pay off a student loan. With summer in full swing, many teens are sacrificing days at the pool with their pals for 40 hours a week at work. The federal Department of Labor says more students are on the job this year than usual, in part to help pay for the cost of soaring gas prices and increasing college tuition expenses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the number of 16- to 24-year-old workers increased by 2.5 million this year, up to 21.9 million. Teens around the Kanawha Valley say rising car insurance costs and education fees, in addition to the skyrocketing price of fuel, are keeping them on the job. McCord said he's one of the lucky ones who also gets to indulge a passion in addition to earning a paycheck. The business management major at West Virginia University's Institute of Technology loves cars. He started working part-time at Smith Company Motor Cars in April, and after completing finals he decided to take on a full-time summer position. Michael McCoy, sales consultant at the dealership, says the business hires many teens for the detailing positions. Six out of the 12 people working in the detail shop are 20 years or younger. Making $6.50 an hour and working 40 hours a week, McCord says his paycheck will go largely toward paying off a student loan and buying gas. McCord says he's fortunate his parents pay for his car insurance. "It's about an hour drive for me (to work)," he said. "Gas prices made going to work and school hard." Of the money he's not putting toward his college education, McCord keeps just a little for recreation -- specifically going to the movies with friends. Like McCord, Blake Chestnut, 17, of Charleston, loves going to the movie theatre. So to Chestnut, it made perfect sense to seek out his first job at Marquee Cinema, and find a way to pay for costly college tuition in the process. The George Washington High School graduate said, on the advice of his parents, he decided to take a year off after high school to work. He wants to avoid having to amass a lot of student loan debt and try to save up enough to pay for at least his first year of college. Chestnut already has deferred a $7,000 scholarship until next fall, when he plans to enter the nursing program at the University of Charleston. He's trying this year to save up $21,000 for tuition and fees. He's making about $5.15 an hour and wants to work 40 hours a week. "My mom and dad didn't want me to start out with a debt right off the bat," Chestnut said. "They wanted me to start somewhere that I could grow into management. I can do that here." After working at the cinema for a little over a month, Chestnut said he's already learned a lot about job responsibility. "They definitely keep you on task," Chestnut said. "It's good because you have a routine you have to keep everyday. You always have to be doing something." Chris Horn, who's been an assistant manager at Marquee Cinema for two years, estimates 18 out of his 30 employees are teenagers who work part time. Horn says during interviews, most teens mention they need a job to earn money for gas and college. With increasing gas prices, Horn says he also has noticed more of his young employees carpool to save cash. Morgan Barnett, 17, took a summer job specifically to pay to fill up her car. She said her parents are paying the pricy out-of-state tuition for her to attend South Carolina's Clemson University this fall, but she knew she'd need travel money. The South Charleston High School graduate works as a lifeguard at Little Creek Country Club. She took her first lifeguard job three years ago at Dunbar City Pool. Working 25 hours a week at $6 an hour, Barnett says she plans to save all of her money for gas -- she spends $30 a week to fill up her Toyota Scion TC -- and for all the extras she'll need at college. "It's hard to part with your own money for gas," Barnett said. Nick Clark, a 15-year-old junior at Cross Lanes Christian School, holds two jobs. He spends one or two days a week mowing and trimming 25 to 30 lawns on Charleston's West Side and the rest working six hours a day for his father's construction business, E.F. Clark & Son. Clark's pay at his father's jobsite is based on his performance, but he typically makes about $7 an hour. His Father, Ed Clark, says the teen's job running heavy machinery requires an enormous amount of accountability and concentration. "We're putting our lives in his hands," Ed said. "This is dangerous stuff. But he can run this equipment as good as any man." Clark also took over mowing so many lawns last summer after a friend left for college and handed over his own clients. He receives $25 to $50 for mowing each lawn. He said with both jobs, he's aiming to make $10,000 this year. He's already saved enough to buy his own truck, and he's not even old enough to drive on his own yet. Each month he makes a $250 payment on his Toyota Tacoma, puts $20 toward tithing at his church, Bible Center, and he said he spends just 20 percent of earnings for leisurely things such as camping, hunting and fishing supplies. He says what motivates him to work is, "the idea that if you want something, buy it yourself. "If you do it that way you get exactly what you want," Clark said. Ed Clark, 46, said he's happy he's able to train and work with his son at such a young age. "I want him to be here and learn," he said. "My objective is for him to learn about how to deal with people, responsibility and the pressures to make people happy. He is also learning about taxes and tithing." But rising tuition prices also are always on the family's minds. Ed Clark said he pays $2,500 a month to send his three children to Christian schools. Two attend Cross Lanes Christian School and one goes to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Nick Clark said his future plans also include attending Liberty University, but for now he's getting a kick of just spending his days outside working. "I don't like laying around the house," Clark said. "God has given me the ability to work, so I get out and do it." June 21, 2007 UC still pondering use for S.C. office tower by George Hohmann The University of Charleston is still pondering what it will do with the South Charleston office building it received as a gift last year from The Dow Chemical Co. "We're still wrestling with how to best utilize that for the future of the institution," said University of Charleston President Ed Welch. "There are a series of decisions to be made and we're on No. 2 instead of No. 8, which would allow me to give you a definitive answer. "The next real decision for the institution is, where do we place the softball field?" Welch said. The university has made a commitment to create a new softball field by next spring. "We're trying to identify the location for fulfilling that commitment," he said. "We've said that if we don't find another location, we will place it in South Charleston, at that location, and that would give us an anchor for how to best use that property." The softball field would go on vacant land behind the structure, known as Building 82. However, "if you use land for that purpose, you reduce the flexibility for the use of the entire site," Welch said. "We might find a better softball field alternative and, if we did, we would have more options for how to use the South Charleston site," he said. "So the softball field is the next decision point and, after that, we'll know what's on the next option list for South Charleston." Dow Chemical gave the university the 11-story office tower last year. The brick building on MacCorkle Avenue, erected in 1948, has been mostly vacant for three years. The university had originally talked about remodeling the building into dormitory space. But Welch said it has been estimated that would cost more than $15 million. "We've shied away from using Building 82 for a residence hall because of the massive reconstruction that would be necessary, the plumbing and other infrastructure. We think it would be too expensive -- the cost of renovations would not be justified." Last October, South Charleston Mayor Richie Robb urged Welch to turn the building into a law school. Welch replied then that the university had again brought together its graduate professional school committee to recommend whether the university should pursue a second graduate professional school and if so, what that school should be. Last week, Welch announced the university had decided that its next academic expansion will be creation of a graduate school of business, and that it will be located on the second floor of what is now the Boll Furniture building. A company established by Triana Energy founder Henry Harmon bought the Boll building on Virginia Street East, downtown, early this month and announced plans to remodel it into Class A office space. The investors are donating the second floor to the university. As for Building 82: "If it's going to be office space we have one kind of issue," Welch said. "If it's classroom space it's another issue. How many floors do you want to use? There are different code requirements for different floors. It's not as simple a question as I thought it was once upon a time. "The administration and the Board of Trustee's Building Committee are still studying it," Welch said. "The last conversation about it was this (Wednesday) morning." WEST VIRGINIA PUBLIC BROADCASTING June 21, 2007 Turf war in Huntington over two alleys By Kristin Murdock Marshall University officials say they reached an agreement with Huntington mayor David Felinton two weeks ago to purchase two alleys near Marshall’s campus for $10,000. Marshall needs the alleys to proceed with a construction project that includes a new health and wellness center. Huntington City Council unanimously approved the deal last week. But this week, Mayor Felinton vetoed the sale. He says Marshall needs to pay much more than $10,000 if it wants the two alleys. THE WASHINGTON POST June 21, 2007 Student Loan Overhaul Advances Votes Expected By House, Senate By Amit R. Paley Democrats in Congress are pushing to overhaul the nation's student loan system with legislation that would cut federal subsidies to lending companies by as much as $19 billion, channel most of those savings to student aid and ease repayment rules for borrowers. The Senate education committee overwhelmingly approved its version of the legislation yesterday, one week after the House education panel took similar action. Senior Democrats predicted that the bills would come to a vote by the end of next month and would be reconciled without significant difficulty. Momentum for the legislation has grown this year as the $85 billion-a-year industry has come under intense scrutiny. Federal and state investigations have found conflicts of interest among lenders, universities and government regulators. In addition, the Democratic takeover of Congress this year has allowed the party to drive its agenda on student loans for the first time in more than a decade. "This legislation will help reverse the crisis in college affordability," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the education committee. "It will restore balance to our broken student loan system by reducing unnecessary lender subsidies." The House and Senate measures differ in several respects, but both propose a sweeping overhaul of federal student loan programs. The Senate version would cut subsidies to lenders by $18.3 billion; the House version would cut subsidies by about $19 billion. The bills would direct up to $1 billion to deficit reduction and put the rest of the money into student aid. The proposals would have borrowers pay no more than 15 percent of their discretionary income for federally backed student loans. They would allow such loans to be forgiven after about 25 years. The Senate measure would gradually boost the maximum Pell grant, the nation's main aid program for low-income students, from $4,300 to $5,400 a year. The House plan calls for a smaller grant increase but would cut in half the interest rates on federally backed student loans, to 3.4 percent. "This is the biggest single investment in college financial aid since the GI Bill," said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the House education chairman. Student loan companies attacked the legislation and said subsidy cuts would reduce benefits to borrowers. Lenders also said the reductions would force some companies out of the market. "The budget cuts would make student loans uneconomical for lenders," Kevin Bruns, executive director of America's Student Loan Providers, an industry group, said in a statement. "One would have to suspend the law of economics to believe these cuts won't be passed on to students and parents in some fashion." But Miller said in an interview that lenders have told lawmakers privately that they could accept the subsidy cuts, which are about the same as reductions President Bush proposed in his budget this year. Many Democrats have long decried subsidies to the lending industry as a waste of taxpayer dollars and have promoted direct lending by the government to students. Republicans have generally sided with the lending industry, contending that the companies bring needed competition to the market. But several key Republicans yesterday supported the Democratic legislation. The Senate committee approved the measure on a 17 to 3 vote, with six of 10 Republicans in favor, including the ranking member, Sen. Mike Enzi (Wyo.). The partisan split was more pronounced in the House education panel, which approved its bill 30 to 16. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (Calif.), the committee's ranking Republican, said he could not support such large subsidy cuts on top of those enacted in a previous Congress. "The concern is that as we drive lenders out of the business, the ones that are going to be hurt the most are the students that need the help the most," McKeon said last week. He also criticized Democrats for cutting interest rates for graduates instead of directing savings to financial aid for students in college. White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the administration was "encouraged by the desire of Congress to follow the president's commitment to focus more federal dollars to students most in need." Both bills would launch a significant initiative that could lead to a revamping of the loan program. They would create pilot "loan auctions" in which companies would bid to participate in the federal loan program by stating the lowest subsidies they would accept from the government. Student loan companies oppose the auction proposal and said it would create instability in the industry. But supporters said loan auctions would allow the market to determine subsidy rates instead of having Congress set them arbitrarily. The money saved would then be passed on to students. "Lenders should compete against each other to participate in the federal student loan program," Kennedy said. The Senate measure would bar lenders from offering gifts and perks to financial aid officers and prohibit other practices uncovered in investigations led by congressional Democrats and New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo (D). The House overwhelmingly approved a similar bill last month. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) expects to bring the student loan bill to the floor in July, said spokesman Jim Manley. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also plans to bring the legislation to a vote by the end of July, Miller said. The legislation is protected by a procedural maneuver known as budget reconciliation. That means it does not face the threat of a Senate filibuster, which would require 60 votes to overcome. June 21, 2007 Few state agencies following new law for disclosing grant money spending by Justin D. Anderson Only a handful of state agencies are complying with an accountability measure that requires disclosure on how state grants are spent, legislative auditors found. At the request of Gov. Joe Manchin, lawmakers in 2005 passed a bill that requires all state agencies to report to the Legislative Auditor's office the amount of the grants doled out, who gets the money and how it is used. Recipients of the grants are also required by the law to prove their compliance with the terms of the grant by conducting independent audits and supplying the results to the granting state agency. The state agencies supply this information to legislative auditors through a computer- based data entry program managed by the state Division of Finance. The auditors then review the information and determine whether grant recipients are in compliance and eligible for future grant funding. If recipients don't perform the independent audits, they could risk being barred from receiving state grants. Basic information from the legislative auditor's review of the grant information is posted on the state Legislature's Web site: www.legis.state.wv.us. As of today, only 12 state agencies have reported any grant information. Those agencies are the Division of Natural Resources, Division of Culture and History, Department of Health and Human Resources, Department of Education and the Arts, Public Service Commission, West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust Board, Division of Highways, Rehabilitation Services, Division of Public Transit, Division of Health, Division of Human Services and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. A $1 million grant for rural health care from the federal Health and Human Services secretary also was reported. "Unless the Legislative Auditor receives the pertinent data about awards, eligible grant recipients cannot be determined properly," according to a report released Tuesday by the Legislative Auditor. "The implications of this are that possibly dozens of grant-awarding state agencies are not providing historical information that is intended to safeguard the intended use of state awarded grants." The governor's office says state agencies just need more time to get their acts together, since the law requires the information from all state grants awarded since 2003. "It's my understanding that the implementation process and rules took some time to be developed," said Manchin's spokeswoman Lara Ramsburg in an e-mail response to the Daily Mail. "And since the final guidance was given a few months ago agencies are now working on gathering all of their data since 2003 that, I believe, is required. "Once that is completed, the process should go much smoother in the future." According to the legislative auditor's findings, the database for state agencies to report the grant information has been operational since Oct. 2006. State officials who attended a state Auditor's conference in Sept. 2006 were informed of the database, but there was no other notification given to state agencies by the Finance Division, the report stated. The legislative auditor followed up with an e-mail to all state agencies on April 9, 2007 informing the agencies of the reporting requirements and the existence of the database. The audit says there is some indication that more state agencies are preparing for compliance. Sen. Vic Sprouse, R-Kanawha, was minority leader when the bill setting up the reporting law was passed during the fourth special session of 2005. He co-sponsored the bill with Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, D-Logan. Sprouse said he didn't think there was any subterfuge going on as to why the grant information isn't getting reported. He said he believes the state agencies aren't informing grant recipients of the audit requirements, the very problem that prompted the law in the first place. "There needs to be some accountability in that process of feeding back exactly how that money's spent," Sprouse said. PARKERSBURG NEWS PARKERSBURG SENTINEL June 20, 2007 WVU-P has lowest baccalaureate tuition in state By MICHAEL ERB, Staff Writer PARKERSBURG — West Virginia University at Parkersburg has the lowest baccalaureate degree tuition and the second-lowest community college tuition in West Virginia, according to state numbers. The college announced fall baccalaureate program tuition prices this week of $1,250.40 a semester for out-of-state students and $912.48 a semester for in-state students. WVU-P's in-state 2007-08 baccalaureate tuition/fees increased by 4.72 percent or $113 annually and its community college tuition/fees for state residents increased by 4.52 percent or $79 annually. "We are committed to providing opportunities for area residents to pursue affordable college degrees and programs," WVU-P President Marie Foster Gnage said in a release Tuesday. "It is our mission to deliver opportunity and it's also our vision to be a regional campus of choice. Affordability and accessibility go hand in hand." Officials anticipate about 4,000 students will enroll at the school this fall. Increases in on-line course offerings, additional associate programs and the availability of five baccalaureate degrees have contributed to the expected growth, they said. "We continue to pursue delivery of quality, demand-indicated programs," Gnage said. "Our institutional strategic plan envisions more programs and new facilities in the near future to advance our academic endeavors." Tuition and fees at the state's public-supported institutions were recently approved for the 2007-08 academic year by the respective institutional and state governing bodies, including the West Virginia University Board of Governors, the WV Council for Community and Technical College Education and the WV Higher Education Policy Commission. The state's second lowest baccalaureate tuition is $1,992 per semester for in-state residents at Bluefield State College where tuition increased by 9.21 percent for 2007-08. Tuition at Southern and Eastern Community and Technical Colleges were the state's lowest for community colleges at $888 a semester for state residents following a 4.23 percent tuition increases at both institutions. Tuition at West Virginia University increased by 5.50 percent and Marshall University's increase was 5.06 percent. June 20, 2007 Senate Panel OKs Higher Education Bills Aimed at Boosting Teacher Preparation, College Access By Alyson Klein The Senate education committee today approved sweeping bills aimed at encouraging colleges to partner with struggling school districts to provide extensive classroom experience for prospective teachers, and boosting college access for disadvantaged students. The teacher-training provision, part of a broad, long-awaited measure reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, would combine the three current grant programs that help states and universities prepare and recruit K-12 teachers into a single initiative that would enable colleges to collaborate with high-need districts. Under the legislation, which the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee approved on a bipartisan vote of 20-0, colleges and districts would receive grants to enable master’s degree students to spend one year working alongside effective mentor teachers in high-need schools while the students took their graduate-level education courses. In exchange for agreeing to teach in a district for at least three years, students would receive a stipend to help cover their living expenses. To qualify for the grants, districts would have to have a significant percentage of students living in poverty and considerable teacher turnover, among other characteristics. The grants could also be used to bolster field experiences for college students seeking an undergraduate degree in teaching and to establish induction programs to provide extra assistance and training for first- and second-year teachers. Induction programs receiving the grants would have to offer beginning teachers ongoing support from a mentor and time to collaborate with other teachers. “There’s a lot of potential here, particularly for school reform,” said Jane E. West, the vice president of government relations for the Washington-based American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. “You’re going to attract teachers who are already committed to teaching in low-income schools. … What a great way to turn around a school that’s in need of improvement.” But the “challenge is going to be funding,” Ms. West added. The measure doesn’t authorize or recommend a specific amount of money for the teacher-training grants, and the type of programs it encourages schools to develop can be expensive to operate, she said. To pour more resources into university-district partnerships, the legislation would eliminate two other federal programs aimed at helping prepare teachers. One offers grants to states to improve their teacher education programs, while the other is aimed at teacher-recruitment efforts. Senators on the committee wanted to focus federal resources on helping colleges improve teacher training and were drawn to teacher “residencies,” which help prospective teachers develop their skills in a classroom setting, similar to medical residencies, said a Democratic Senate aide. The higher education act was last reauthorized in 1998. It was scheduled for renewal in 2003, but Congress has completed a comprehensive reauthorization bill, instead of opting for numerous extensions. Increased Access The Senate education panel also approved a second bill that would trim subsidies to government-backed student lenders. The bill is part of a larger measure aimed at reducing the federal deficit by making changes to mandatory spending programs. The bulk of the savings generated by the bill—about $17 billion—would be used for student aid, much of it to bolster access for poor students. Another $1 billion would be used for deficit reduction. Under the measure, Pell Grants, the main federal college-aid program for needy students, would increase to a maximum of $5,100 next year, rising to $5,400 by 2011. Under current law, the maximum Pell Grant during the 2007-08 academic year will be $4,310. “The buying power of the Pell Grant has deteriorated,” Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D- Mass., the chairman of the education committee, said during the June 20 hearing. “Student indebtedness has exploded.” The student-lending bill was approved on a largely bipartisan vote, 17-3. Three Republicans, including Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., voted against the measure. Sen. Gregg argued that while he supported the measure’s goals of increasing access to college for low-income students, the bill would “dramatically increase the growth of government.” He suggested the student-lending provisions be incorporated into the Higher Education Act, not the broader deficit-cutting measure, so that senators could consider the changes on their own merits. Student borrowers who go on to careers in public service, such as teaching, would get extra repayment benefits. For instance, beginning teachers in Massachusetts earning a salary of about $35,000 and carrying the average student debt of about $18,000 would see their monthly payments drop from $209 to about $148. The students would no longer have to continue making payments after 10 years. The legislation would also cap a borrower’s loan repayments at 15 percent of their discretionary income, and would forgive loan balances after 25 years. The measure would aim to protect working students by increasing the amount of their income that could be sheltered when determining their eligibility for federal loans and grants. The measure also puts new oversight on relationships between colleges and student lenders, after an investigation this spring by New York state Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo uncovered such practices as lenders allegedly offering financial-aid administrators expensive gifts in exchange for a spot on the school’s list of preferred lenders. Colleges would have to explain how the loans offered by recommended lenders benefit students and their parents. They would also have to disclose any relationships between the lender and the college, or payments made by lenders to college staff members. Lenders would have to provide student borrowers with clear information about the loans they offer, including interest rates and repayment plans. The measure would also call for the U.S. Department of Education, working with the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, to develop a price index based on annual changes in tuition and fees at different types of colleges, such as two-year public colleges and four- year private colleges. Colleges that raised their tuition beyond the price index would be placed on a watch list. The secretary of education would make that list public, along with information on state appropriations for higher education. Cynthia A. Littlefield, the director of federal relations for the Washington-based Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, said her organization supports the approach because “it is very consumer- oriented. We have always said [to lawmakers], ‘Don’t put limits on tuition pricing; let the consumer decide if a price is too high or not.’ ” A similar budget-trimming measure approved by the House Education and Labor Committee on June 13 would help increase the maximum Pell Grant to $5,200 by 2011. That legislation would also provide up to $16,000 in grants annually for undergraduate students who committed to teaching for four years in shortage areas, such as special education, in high-poverty schools. The Senate panel also approved an amendment to the student-lending measure, introduced by Sen. Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., that would establish a competitive grant program to help school districts improve their high school graduation rates. The program would provide matching grants to districts that partnered with a college and nonprofit organization. The money could be used to improve curricula, offer accelerated coursework to help 9th graders catch up, identify students at risk of dropping out, and provide college counseling services. Districts with a graduation rate below 70 percent, either for at least two subgroups or for the student population as a whole, would be eligible. The grants would be authorized at $25 million a year in fiscal 2008 and 2009. June 20, 2007 Some Colleges to Drop Out of U.S. News Rankings By ALAN FINDER ANNAPOLIS, Md., June 19 — The presidents of dozens of liberal arts colleges have decided to stop participating in the annual college rankings by U.S. News and World Report. The decision was announced Tuesday at the end of an annual meeting of the Annapolis Group, a loose association of liberal arts colleges. After two days of private meetings here, the organization released a statement that said a majority of the 80 presidents attending had “expressed their intent not to participate in the annual U.S. News survey.” The commitment, which some college presidents said was made by a large majority of participants, represents the most significant challenge yet to the rankings, adding colleges like Barnard, Sarah Lawrence and Kenyon to a growing rebellion against the magazine, participants said. U.S. News says it provides a valuable service to parents and students in its yearly evaluations, which are based on factors that include graduation and retention rates, assessments by competitors, selectivity and faculty resources. Critics say the ranking system lacks rigor and has had a harmful effect on educational priorities, encouraging colleges to do things like soliciting more applicants and then rejecting them, to move up the list. “We really want to reclaim the high ground on this discussion,” said Katherine Will, the president of Gettysburg College and the incoming president of the Annapolis Group. “We should be defining the conversation, not a magazine that uses us for its business plan.” The association did not take a formal vote and each college will make its own decision, Dr. Will said. The members of the Annapolis Group also decided to develop their own system of comparing institutions. The group intends to work with other higher education organizations to come up with a common format with comparable data. “They will do what they will do,” Michele Tolela Myers, president of Sarah Lawrence College, said of U.S. News and World Report. “We will do what we will do. And we want to do it in a principled way.” Brian Kelly, the editor of U.S. News, said the magazine applauded any effort to come up with new data. “If they come up with some new data, fine,” Mr. Kelly said. He was also conciliatory toward the presidents who said they would no longer cooperate with the magazine. “If a few presidents don’t want to participate, we understand,” he said. Mr. Kelly said more than 50 percent of the presidents, provosts and admission deans who were sent the annual survey of colleges’ reputations continued to fill it out. “We think the vast majority of presidents and academics are still supporting the survey,” he said. He left no doubt that the magazine would continue to produce its annual rankings. “We take our critics seriously, but we also think our ranking is valuable,” he said. The decision by the Annapolis Group comes on the heels of an effort this spring by a dozen college presidents, several of whom belong to the association, urging colleges to pledge not to participate in a critical section of the U.S. News rankings — a survey in which its asks presidents and other senior academic officers to rate the reputations of other colleges and universities. That survey is weighed more heavily in the magazine’s rankings than any other factor. Many presidents who favor no longer participating in the U.S. News rankings said they expected the magazine to be able to continue to produce its annual rankings because much of the data on things like admission and graduation rates are publicly available. Colleges report most of that data to the federal Department of Education. But many presidents said it was time to disengage from the magazine. “Frankly, it had bubbled up to the point of, why should we do this work for them?” said Judith P. Shapiro, the president of Barnard College. “It is a way of saying, this is not our project.” Other college presidents who attended the meeting were more cautious. Anthony Marx, the president of Amherst, which is ranked second among liberal arts colleges, said he was not ready to stop cooperating with U.S. News and wanted to continue to discuss the issue. Lloyd Thacker, the executive director of the Education Conservancy, a nonprofit group that is campaigning to reduce the impact of rankings on college choice, was invited to talk with the presidents at the meeting. Mr. Thacker said he was heartened by the decisions, adding, “I think it gave permission to those presidents who were sitting on the fence to act in the public interest.” June 17, 2007 Pierpont C&TC to offer fed contract class By Katie Wilson FAIRMONT — Pierpont Community & Technical College of Fairmont State is providing business owners with the tools necessary to get and keep contracts with the federal government. The Center for Workforce Education at Fairmont State, in partnership with the West Virginia Small Business Development Center and the U.S. Small Business Administration, is presenting a federal government contracting series to the business community. This Federal Acquisitions Management Certificate program is delivered through a series of two-day seminars with a focus on topics and issues related to the acquisition and management of federal contracts. The program is being offered this year following a very successful inaugural run last year, said Paul Schreffler, director of economic development and workforce education for Pierpont C&TC. “We have many companies in this area that do contracts for the state and even the (U.S.) defense department,” Schreffler said. “To work in that world, they have to understand the specifics of federal acquisitions regulation.” Schreffler noted the program includes sessions on how to procure work from the government, perform it, report it, manage contracts, negotiate procurements and other important aspects of dealing with federal contracts. “We’re trying to be proactive and support companies in the area that want to do government business,” Schreffler said The Continuing Education Certificate Program in Federal Acquisition Management will begin in July and will be completed in December. It consists of 96 total classroom hours presented in six two-day segments of 16 hours each (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day). To attain a certificate, students must attend and complete the requirements of all six segments. The total cost of the program is $600 for each participant. However, if someone wishes to attend individual two-day segments, each segment is priced at $125 per participant. The facilitator for this program is Barbara Weaver of the Office of Government Contracting, U.S. Small Business Administration. Classes are held at the Center for Workforce Education located in the Veterans’ Square building in downtown Fairmont at 320 Adams St., Suite G01.
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