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Today's News Full Articles for 3/18/2014


Today's News

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

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System News

BSCTC hosts academic meet, finishes second in Division II
By Joshua L. Ball

Big Sandy Community and Technical College, in conjunction with the Kentucky Collegiate Quick Recall League, held a meet on the college's Pikeville campus on Saturday, March 8.

The University of Louisville, University of Pikeville, University of the Cumberlands and BSCTC were the participating schools. BSCTC finished second in Division II.

Members of the BSCTC Quick Recall Team are: Asim Riaz, Zane Maheu, Evan Justice, Jacob Hatfield, Gabriel Vance, Miranda Webb and William Call.  The team is coached by Joshua Thacker and Jane Pixley.

The BSCTC Academic Team would like to thank the following volunteers who worked the meet: Andrea Blackburn, Brandon Gross, Kathy Wagner, Michael Thacker, Joel Vanhoose, Jay Thacker and Tiara Potter.


Blanton using layoff as learning experience
By Joshua L. Ball

​James Blanton’s story isn’t unique, and he hopes his outcome is commonplace for himself and the nearly 6,000 miners in eastern Kentucky out of work – to get retrained and go back to work.

Blanton, 40, was laid off last year after working 10 years for Alpha Natural Resources in Harlan County.  He worked 10 or more hours a day, while commuting nearly five hours roundtrip.

“I loved the work I was doing, and I was able to take care of my family,” he said. “When I was laid off, I felt like my world turned upside-down.”

Blanton attended Prestonsburg Community College nearly 20 years ago but “didn’t take college seriously.”

He added: “If I had known then what I know now, I would have taken it a lot more seriously.”

That has changed this time around.

He’ll graduate in May with an Associate in Science degree from Big Sandy Community and Technical College and has been accepted to Morehead State University, where he hopes to major in radiology or education.

“I’m just in the process, so I have some time to decide,” he added.

Blanton said a college degree with allow him to compete for jobs here – and elsewhere, if needed.

“It’s not dependent upon regulations or markets,” he continued. “My education is mine, and I can use it to build a future for me and my family.”

The choice of returning to college wasn’t easy. “I was a little intimidated,” he said. “Most of the folks in my class were half my age.”

However, it’s been a smooth transition for Blanton. He’s excelling in classes, especially mathematics, which proved to be an obstacle at first.

That’s where he met Professor Toufic Saad. “He brings it down to our level and gives us so many resources to be successful,” Blanton said.

Saad said students like Blanton inspire him each day.

“When you work with students who are terrified of a subject and you give them a firm hold on it, that’s very rewarding,” said Saad. “We believe in our students and their success is a top priority.”

To learn more about the college’s Associate Degrees and transfer options, contact Dr. Patsy Jackson at (606) 889-4711 or email

HCC community convinces Westerfield on allied health building
By Carla Jimenez, Kentucky New Era

Friday afternoon, state Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, was still undecided about a proposed state budget item that would raise tuition on students. By Monday morning, he reluctantly decided to support it.

He set up an open forum Monday with Hopkinsville Community College faculty, staff and students to hear the voices of the people whom it would affect the most.

The issue at hand was the budget passed by the House on Thursday evening that included a new agriculture health sciences and technology building for HCC. The building itself, Westerfield said, he didn’t have a problem with — the issue was how the college planned to pay for the building.

The budget proposes the KCTCS system uses agency-obligated bonds to pay for the construction of the new building, which means that HCC would be on the hook for paying off the bonds. To pay them off, the college would increase tuition by $4 per class hour in fall of 2014, then $8 per class hour in fall of 2015.

Westerfield called this essentially a tax on students, and even though the money seemed negligible, the money still could have gone a long way.

While Westerfield outlined his misgivings, the faculty and staff at HCC convinced him the need for the building was of far greater value than the increased tuition.

Carrie McGinnis, coordinator of continuing education and communication services, said the school was losing students to Madisonville and Paducah every year because HCC couldn’t offer the classes the students needed to complete degrees in health-related fields, like physical therapy.

“We need the building,” McGinnis said. “For our college to thrive and grow, we need the building.”

Additionally, she said the value and the need for the health sciences and technology building would only increase. She said right now there’s a high demand for individuals trained in health sciences, and the demand would continue to rise as the baby boomer generation gets older, requiring more health care.

Jamie Weatherford currently attends HCC with her daughter. Though she’s studying criminal justice, she said the building was necessary to the growth of the college and for the students looking for health sciences and technological training. Many of her friends and her daughters’ friends have to go to school elsewhere to get the classes they need. In fact, her daughter — who wants to study physical therapy — has talked about going to college out of state.

“I wouldn’t mind paying the extra tuition,” she said. “If it gets us that building, I wouldn’t mind.”

Jay Allen, president of HCC, said the funding mechanism for the new building wasn’t ideal. He wasn’t fond of making students pay more tuition, but it was the only solution proposed.

Additionally, it has been long since the college has shown any physical signs of growth. He said the newest building on campus was the tech building constructed 17 years ago. If the state budget passes with the proposed allied health still included, it could take another three years to raise the money to get it started, making it 20 years since the school had constructed a new building.

“And in my mind, that is not acceptable,” he said. “We have got to do better.”

At the end of the forum, Westerfield said all the viewpoints had convinced him. He said the budget would include many more items, and the inclusion of HCC’s allied health building in the Senate’s budget wasn’t a foregone conclusion. But if it was included and he still had to vote against the Senate leaders' budget, it would not be because of the allied health building.

“I may not love how it has to be done, but I’m not against it,” he said. “This has my support.”

​Source: Kentucky New Era

Rep. Mike Denham: Budget not perfect, but it still moves Kentucky forward in key ways
By Rep. Mike Denham,

When it comes to the state’s budget, the past six years can be summed up in four words: Do more with less.

There hasn’t been much choice, given that spending has been cut by $1.6 billion since 2008 and the state workforce is the smallest it has been since the 1970s. Some agencies have seen spending reduced by more than a third, while classroom funding for elementary and secondary education has been held steady for far too long.

Kentucky is not alone when it comes to budget cutbacks, of course, but we have been able to avoid some of the more drastic decisions other states have taken. At the same time, reforms in such areas as the criminal justice system have shown that, with the right data-driven approach, we truly can do more with less.

All of this experience helped immensely in writing the two-year budget that the Kentucky House voted for last Thursday.

The budget does not contain all that we would like – even with moderate growth, some cuts are still necessary – but it does move Kentucky forward in key ways.

That can be seen in the greater focus we have put on education. We recommend putting nearly $190 million in new money over the next two years for kindergarten through high school and another $60 million for textbooks, teacher training and school-safety programs. This is the first time since 2008 these programs have seen an increase.

At the postsecondary level, we believe the time has come for a new wave of construction on the campuses of our universities and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. There are more than 45 major projects altogether.

For our youngest children, we would like to expand the preschool program so that it reaches more children whose families earn less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

We also voted for restoring more than $100 million in federal cuts to a childcare-assistance program, a move that will help parents in 10,000 families continue working.

Several thousand Kentuckians would benefit from an expansion of Meals on Wheels; more than 1,200 slots would be added to three programs that help those with intellectual disabilities; and hundreds of Kentuckians would continue to be served by early screening programs for several types of cancer.

The House budget includes raises for school and state employees, and there is adequate funding for state government’s retirement system, fulfilling the ongoing promise called for in last year’s far-reaching pension reform, which is designed to save billions of dollars in the years ahead.

These are just some of the highlights of the budget, which will now be reviewed and revised by the state Senate. By the end of the month, leaders from both chambers will look for a compromise that a majority of legislators can support. Once signed into law, the two-year budget will take effect July 1.

The budget may have been the dominant news of last week, but the House voted for several other bills that are prominent as well. Several of those have ties to the medical profession.

House Bill 310, for example, would keep those under 18 from using a tanning bed unless they have a prescription from a doctor. About a half-dozen states have already taken this step.

House Bill 123 would have the Department of Public Health provide information on its website related to the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and have doctors give this information to patients beginning treatment for this disease.

House Bill 157, meanwhile, is poised to become law. It calls for continued-education training requirements for certain groups of doctors to include information on better recognizing head trauma in young children. This would be primarily for pediatricians, family practitioners, radiologists and emergency and urgent care doctors.

Two other bills passing the House last week would boost economic development for the state. House Bill 483 would help AK Steel make needed upgrades in Ashland, while House Bill 396 will help General Electric as it prepares to invest several hundred million dollars in its Louisville operations.

The legislative session is now three-fourths complete, so the pace will pick up considerably as we head toward the end of the month and the House and Senate look for resolution on dozens of issues.

If you would like to let me know your thoughts or concerns about any of these bills, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My address is Room 329E, Capitol Annex, 702 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, KY 40601; or you can email me at

To leave a message for me or for any legislator by phone, call 800-372-7181. For those with a hearing impairment, the number is 800-896-0305.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Rep. Mike Denham, a Democrat from Maysville, has represented House District 70 (Bracken, Fleming and Mason counties) since 2001.


Daunting House task tackled
By Fitz Steele State Representative, Harlan Daily Enterprise

The House of Representatives tackled the daunting task of passing a budget for the Commonwealth of Kentucky this week and given the difficult economic times in which we still navigate, we are proud of our proposal.

While much of the House budget mirrors Gov. Beshear’s plan, we did make significant changes in areas including education, health and human services and economic development.

Over the next two years education would see

· $189 million in new money over the biennium for classroom funding (SEEK) which includes a 2 percent raise for local teachers/school employees in 2015 and 1 percent in 2016.

· $60 million for textbooks, school safety, teacher training

· $1.2 billion (compared to $366 million last year) in university bonds for more than 30 projects.

· $170 million for 17 KCTCS projects, the biggest overhaul since it was formed in the late 1990s. Other public/private funding would cover one-fourth of costs.

· $22.3 million in KEES scholarships

· $2 million a year for 500 Coal-county scholarships, doubling the current amount.

· 80 new slots for WKU’s Gatton Academy; 100 new slots for Governor’s Scholars and the Governor’s School for the Arts programs.

· $60 million for Bucks for Brains

Our proposal would support women, children, seniors and families with

· $500,00 each for domestic-violence shelters and rape crisis centers

· $1 million to continue colon-cancer screening for uninsured Kentuckians with a match from Kentucky Cancer Foundation.

· $1 million to increase breast and cervical cancer screenings.

· $16 billion over the biennium to cover 1.1 million Medicaid eligibles, including those with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

· $6.6 million for the HANDS program to help new parents in high-risk communities.

· $111 million for the childcare-assistance program, which was scaled back following federal cutbacks, helping 10,000 Kentucky families.

The budget includes 1,243 combined new slots for several programs that help people with disabilities stay in their community and Meals on Wheels would add 3,500 more people.

The House budget proposal would also include a tiered system of raises for state and LRC employees. Those earning less than $27,000 would get a 5 percent raise; those earning more than $50,000 would get 1 percent. All employees would get a 1 percent raise in 2016.

We also gave $1.6 million to improve enhanced 9-1-1 services; added $6.1 million for the Commonwealth’s and County attorneys; boost Judicial Branch salaries of the lowest paid workers with $7.7 million each year; and $30 million for our PVA’s to restore their funding, plus another $2 million to cover additional costs.

Considering the tight fiscal restraints our state still must operate within, I believe we have crafted a good plan that will allow government to operate and fulfill its responsibilities while providing good basic services to the people of Kentucky.

Even with the primary focus on the budget the House continued to pass legislation which is now being considered by the Senate to include.

· HB 123 would publish breast cancer information about breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, surgery, and reconstructive options.

· HB 232 would require businesses, corporations and government entities to notify consumers immediately of any unauthorized breach and acquisition of their personal or financial information.

· HB 310 would prohibit anyone under age 18 from using a tanning bed at a facility without a prescription.

· HB 311 measure would allow parents to request that their children get vaccinated against HPV (human papillomavirus).

· HB 396 would expand a state incentives program for GE’s Appliance Park in Louisville.

· HB 483 would extend an agreement for AK Steel to qualify for state incentives to upgrade the plant and add environmental controls.

· HB358 would expand the Department of Corrections’ current Farm Operations Program to all correctional facilities throughout Kentucky

· HB359 would allow courts to order, as a condition of pre-trial release, an offender to wear a continuous alcohol monitoring device during some or all of the time before their trial begins.

· HB475 would allow a local option election for Kentucky State Parks to sell alcohol on their premises. The measure would only apply to parks in counties that are already wet or moist.

With the passage of the budget, we will continue the swift pace for the next few weeks. You can stay informed of legislative action by logging onto the legislative Research Commission website at or by calling the LRC toll-free Bill Status Line at 866-840-2835. To find out when a committee meeting is scheduled, you can call the LRC toll-free Meeting Information Line at 800-633-9650.

Source: Harlan Daily Enterprise

Community College selected as top 150 in nation
By Jess Raatz , WFIE-TV

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has named Madisonville Community College as one of the nation's top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. This is the college's third consecutive year to be selected. MCC President Dr. Judith L. Rhoads said she was thrilled that MCC was named. "Our faculty and staff are committed to establishing and nurturing a learning-centered college. Our daily mission is to create permanent change in the lives of our students."

The $1 million dollar Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

The Aspen Institute identified the top 150 community colleges through an assessment of institutional performance, improvement, and equity on student retention and completion measures. "It is an honor for Madisonville Community College to be recognized by the Aspen Institute for a third year in a row. This college is dedicated to improving the quality of life in our service area by providing the very best education possible. We take great pride in the success of our graduates as we watch them take their places in positions of leadership and service in the community," stated Dr. Deborah Cox, MCC's Chief Academic Affairs Officer.

MCC was selected from a national pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes. The formula used to select the colleges was devised by expert analysts at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems in consultation with an expert advisory committee convened by the Aspen Institute. The data focus on student retention and completion was considered from three perspectives - Performance (retention, graduation rates including transfers, and degrees and certificates per 100 "full-time equivalent" students); Improvement (awarded for steady improvement in each performance metric over time); and Equity (evidence of strong completion outcomes for minority and low-income students)

MCC has submitted an application containing detailed data on degree/certificate completion (including progress and transfer rates), labor market outcomes (employment and earnings), and student learning outcomes. Delivery of exceptional student results for all students is evidenced by the implementation of innovative programs such as MCC's First Semester Experience advising program for all new student students, Problem Based Learning, and curriculum restructuring resulting in programs such as Advanced Integrated Technology and Nursing Integrated Program. Efforts to reduce student achievement gaps have been enhanced through programs such as TRiO Student Support Services, RISE (Retain, Integrate, Support, Education), and the Emporium model of instructional delivery for math.

Ten finalists will be named in fall 2014. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data from states and transfer data from the National Student Clearinghouse. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and a few finalists with distinction in early 2015. The Aspen Prize is funded by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Joyce Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Lumina Foundation.

Source: WFIE-TV

KCTCS Begins Presidential Search
By Robin Stevens, WKDZ-FM

​As the Kentucky Community and Technical College System begins the search for its next president, the Board of Regents has announced the selection of a presidential search consultant and committee. The 19-member committee will be aided by the Association of Community College Trustees, a Washington, D.C., firm. Although a 19-member committee may seem excessive, Chair of the KCTCS Board of Regents and search committee co-chair P.G. Peeples says there's a good reason for the committee's size.

ACCT's job will be to develop the position and institutional profiles, recruit candidates, evaluate candidate application materials and provide reference checks. With 16 colleges and more than 70 campuses across Kentucky, Peeples says the job ahead is an important one.

Current and founding KCTCS President Michael B. McCall announced in November his plan to retire January 15, 2015. Peeples says the Board of Regents wants the transition to be as smooth as possible, because KCTCS is such a valuable resource.

ACCT has nearly 40 years of experience conducting national searches for multi-campus colleges and systems including the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, the Alabama Community College System and the Los Angeles Community College District.

Source: WKDZ FM

MCC Offers Two New Human Services Certificate Options in Fall 2014
By Joyce Riggs/SurfKY News

​Madisonville Community College announces two new certificate options for the Human Services program available in fall 2014 – Aging Services and Substance Abuse Recovery Coach.
“These certificates are on the pulse of the areas of need and future growth in the field. As our population ages, we will need to have professionals prepared to serve that sector of our community. The same is true for professionals needed to assist in fighting the drug epidemic and to assist those with addiction problems in overcoming their addiction,” stated Natalie Cooper, Human Services Program Coordinator.
Completion of the Aging Services certificate will prepare graduates to:
 •Manage the emotional, psychological, and physical challenges of the aging clients.
 •Manage issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act as it pertains to assessing community resources.
 •Identify processes for recognizing and reporting issues of neglect and abuse.
 •Analyze various assistive technologies and interventions available to geriatric clients.
 •Interpret family dynamic issues as they pertain to the geriatric clients.
 •Identify disease processes related to brain injury and mental illness.
 •Manage issues related to clients and the confidentiality of client information.
The new Substance Abuse Recovery Coach certificate will provide training for students to:
 •Understand the nature and progression of chemical abuse and dependency
 •Manage the emotional, psychological, and physical challenges of clients in substance abuse recovery.
 •Manage issues related to clients and the confidentiality of client information.
 •Analyze the etiology, progression and processes involved with change
 •Implement strategies for prevention, intervention and treatment.
 •Interpret family dynamic issues as they pertain to the clients in substance abuse recovery.
 •Understand addictions through the bio-social model.
 •Manage group dynamics as they pertain to counseling mental health clients.

“We believe these credentials will work well as a complement for any health professional as well. It will give them added knowledge into these two important human needs,” shared MCC’s Chief Academic Affairs Officer Dr. Deborah Cox.
According to the recent report of Kentucky’s Target Industry Sectors, rapid growth has been seen in the health care and social assistance sectors over the last several years.
Significant growth is projected in areas such as nursing care facilities, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, and services for the elderly and persons with disabilities.
“Data released on projected growth shows 7,026 additional jobs in the field by 2018. From this same data, we see that there is a 25 percent deficit in the number of skilled professionals to fill those jobs,” noted Cooper.
MCC implemented the online Human Services program in fall 2013 to prepare individuals for entry level positions in agencies and institutions which provide social, community, educational and mental health services. Upon program completion, graduates are prepared to seek employment in various areas such as child care facilities, mental health settings, chemical dependency settings, hospitals, educational institutions, correctional facilities, geriatric settings, child and youth centers, and social service agencies.
To learn more about the Human Services program, contact MCC’s Enrollment Center at (270) 824-8621 and/or visit MCC’s website.
Source: SurfKY News
Information provided by Joyce Riggs

Eastern Kentucky camp counselors send all six of their children to Hazard CTC first
By Evelyn M. Wood/KyForward

Rick and Cathy Franklin have homeschooled all six of their children and all six have or will be attending Hazard Community and Technical College.

Three of the children have won national writing contests and Rick credits English professor Ron Reed for helping his children in his classes.

“HCTC professors care about the students and pushed our kids to excel,” Rick said, noting that the positive college experiences keep him sending his children to HCTC. He said three of his sons especially enjoyed taking physics classes with professor Jeremy Wood.

The Franklin children all have demonstrated great success. David, 27, is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree from Moody Graduate School. He served as the associate youth pastor at Davidson Baptist Church under pastor Pete Youmans from 2010 to 2013. After attending HCTC, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

Brianna, 24, will graduate in August with a Massage Therapy degree. She earned a bachelor’s in nursing from Cedarville University in Ohio. She has worked as a nurse in the Pulmonary Unit at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, since September 2012.

Zachary, 22, has worked for Hoover Vacuums at their headquarters near Cleveland, Ohio, in the product development department since July. He earned a bachelor’s in Marketing, Business Administration and Finance from Cedarville in 2013.

Alanna, 20, is a junior at Cedarville where she has a double major in Early Elementary Education and in Special Education.

Cody, 19, is a freshman at Cedarville majoring in pre-med. Their sixth child, Ellora, will be a freshman this fall at HCTC.

Rick Franklin’s mother and father were both teachers and he credits his wife, Cathy, for her strong organizational skills in providing the education for their six children. Besides this task, the couple work for Camp Nathanael where they teach, and wear many other hats in keeping the camp going.

Education for his family is very important and he’s glad his children can benefit from the caring faculty at HCTC. “They learned the disciplines they needed to succeed in college while at HCTC,” Rick said.


Young Masters art show recognizes local students’ talent
By Kat Russell, Kentucky New Era

Artwork from more than 250 local elementary, middle and high school students is on display at the Hopkinsville Community College Auditorium Gallery and will remain there through the end of March.

The annual Young Masters Youth Art Exhibit has been going strong for more than 10 years and aims to encourage creativity and allows young people to experience being in a real art show.

Margaret Prim, executive director of the Pennyroyal Arts Council, said the show is in conjunction with National Youth Art Month, which is this month, and is a joint effort between the council and the Kiwanis Club.

"We wanted to recognize local students," Prim said. "It's not a juried or judged contest. Every student who participates gets a certificate, and it's a nice way for us to create a nice reception for them to be involved in."

Public, private and home-school students participate in the show.

It consists of pencil drawings, paintings, watercolors, sculpture and mixed-media pieces by students ranging from first grade to 12th grade. Each piece was created in an art class.

"We work with the local art teachers and they make the selections — we ask them to select 10 to 15 pieces from their schools," Prim said.

Thursday evening was the show's opening reception, and Prim said more than 400 people came to see the show and watch their children receive their certificates.

Among the students there was second-grader Rachel Cavanah, 8, from University Heights Academy.

Rachel, who had a snowy tree scene on display, said this was her first time participating in an art show and that she was in awe.

Rachel said she loves her art class and she likes to draw what she feels and do watercolors. She wants to continue participating in shows.

Rachel's mom, Sarah Cavanah, was also at the reception and she said she was surprised by the quality of the show.

"I thought it was really neat …,"she said. "I was really surprised at how well everything was displayed and organized and all the different kids — the fact that they had home-school kids involved — and it just seemed like a really neat, all-encompassing thing for the whole county."

Cavanah said it was a proud moment for her and an encouraging one for Rachel.

"I was really proud and happy," Cavanah said, "and I hope all the participants were too."

Source: Kentucky New Era

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State News

Students have potential to lose $76M in KEES
By Shelby Rogers, College Heights Herald

Students receiving Kentucky state financial aid could receive less money over the next two years with the proposed state budget.

Since 2009, state financial aid programs have lost $100 million from diverted lottery proceeds, and might take an additional $76 million hit over the next two years under Gov. Steve Beshear’s current budget proposal.

WKU students currently receiving need-based aid will experience more competition for the funding and less money, according to a new study from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

The two hardest-hit state programs would be the College Assistance Program (CAP), which assists lower-income students, and the Kentucky Tuition Grant (KTG), which focuses on private college attendees. The biggest financial program offered by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority is the merit-based Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) program.

“Not only is the state failing to fulfill its own requirements — it is underfunding need-based programs even more once eligibility is taken into account,” Jason Bailey of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (KCEP) said. “While KEES is fully funded…CAP and KTG are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.”

KEES funding is in no danger from the proposed budget. All students meeting the criteria for the award will be guaranteed their funds from the state.

Approximately half of the state’s financial aid goes to the merit-based Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship program which was created in 1998. In 2012-2013, the average award was $1,180 per year to full-time students, and KEES recipients earn up to $2,500 per year.

By law, all but $3 million of the lottery’s revenue funds financial aid programs. However, in 2014 alone the legislature diverted $24 million to fill holes in the state budget.

An estimated $43 million will be diverted in 2016 under the proposed budget, according to the Office of the State Budget Director.

Students may apply for state need-based aid such as CAP beginning Jan. 1 of each year, but the money typically runs out by February, greatly affecting community college students looking to transfer into one of the state’s public universities.

Created in 1994, CAP serves as the state’s primary need-based financial aid program but only receives a third of the funding.

Currently, the Senate is debating the budget. The House’s version passed last week and did little to change the outlook for state public universities and colleges. While elementary instructional materials and preschool funding decreased nearly $20 million in the House, that money was not reallocated to public universities.

In a separate report, the KCEP’s Ashley Spalding noted that KEES funds typically go to higher-income students whose higher education isn’t as dependent on receiving financial aid.

“Higher-income students are not as price sensitive as low-income students and typically will attend college whether or not they receive scholarships,” the report said.

WKU already faces a $1.8 million budget cut under the proposed budget’s 2.5 percent decrease to public universities and colleges.

Ann Mead, vice president of Finance and Administration, said decisions need to be made by the first week of April to prepare the budget for June’s Board of Regents meeting.

“Divisions are considering reduction scenarios, but there is nothing definitive yet,” she said.

Source: College Heights Herald

Kentucky House OKs public-private partnerships bill
By Staff, The Lane Report

Legislation to allow the use of public-private partnerships to finance major government projects in the commonwealth has cleared the House by a vote of 82-7.

The bill would give public agencies more flexibility to work with private industry on capital projects and services by allowing new projects to move forward without state-appropriated funds, said Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville, sponsor of House Bill 407.

The bill was amended by the House to prohibit tolls on interstate projects linking Kentucky and Ohio, and to clarify which entities could take part in projects approved by the quasi-governmental Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority.

HB 407 now goes to the Senate.

Source: The Lane Report

National News

Talk About Class
By Nicole M. Stephens, MarYam G. Hamedani and Mesmin Destin, Inside Higher Ed

During January’s White House opportunity summit, policy makers and higher education leaders announced over 100 new initiatives designed to bolster first-generation and low-income students’ college success. While students who overcome the odds to gain access to college bring with them significant grit and resilience, the road through college is often a rocky one.

First Lady Michelle Obama described the obstacles that first-generation and low-income students commonly confront. No stranger to these challenges, she said:

You’re in a whole new world. You might have trouble making friends because you don’t see any peers who come from a background like yours. You might be worried about paying for classes, and food, and room and board because you have never had to set your own budget before. You might be feeling guilty when you call home because Mom and Dad are wondering why you didn’t get a job so you could help support their family. Those are the kinds of obstacles these kids are facing right from day one.

Even among the select group that make it to college, first-generation and low-income students, on average, find it harder to fit in, receive lower grades, and drop out at higher rates than do students from higher income backgrounds with college-educated parents (i.e., continuing-generation students). Study after study demonstrates that the financial, academic, and psychological barriers that these students encounter can significantly undermine their performance.

The summit shined the national policy spotlight on this persistent social class achievement gap. Our own and others’ research shows that these feelings of exclusion and difference that the First Lady described are key factors that fuel the gap. While all students tend to question whether they belong and have what it takes to succeed, these concerns are magnified for first-generation and low-income students because of the mismatch they experience as they enter this “whole new world” of higher education.

More needs to be done on campuses to raise awareness about how college environments can be unfamiliar and unwelcoming places to students who do not hail from middle and upper class worlds. Efforts to do just that are cropping up — from Massachusetts Institute of Technology to Northwestern University to Stanford University— at colleges and universities across the nation.

Our research provides compelling evidence that talking about social class equips first-generation and low-income students to succeed. In our recent study, published in Psychological Science, we invited first-generation and continuing-generation students at the beginning of the school year to attend a one-hour program designed to help them transition to college. Unbeknownst to them, half of the students attended a “difference-education” program while the other half attended a “standard” program. In both programs, newly minted first-years at an elite university listened to a diverse panel of junior and senior students talk about their transition to college, challenges they faced, and how they found success. In the difference-education program, however, panelists’ stories also included a discussion of how their social class backgrounds mattered in college. In the standard program, panelists did not reveal their social class.

We found that the difference-education program closed the achievement gap between first- and continuing-generation students. First-generation students had higher year-end grade-point averages and better learned to take advantage of college resources that could help them succeed — like seeking mentorship and extra help from professors — than their peers that participated in the standard program. An added bonus was that all students who participated in the difference-education program — both first- and continuing-generation — gained a deeper understanding of how students’ diverse backgrounds and perspectives mattered in college than their peers in the standard program. They also experienced a smoother college transition — they were less stressed, felt like they fit in socially, and were more connected to their home and school.

When we talk with educators and administrators about the success of this research, many are inspired to start a program like ours and reap the rewards; yet, they also voice trepidation. What happens if talking about social class leads students to feel threatened? What if students are not receptive to the message? What if we get accused of stereotyping or stigmatizing students because of their backgrounds?

These are understandable concerns. Talking about difference is threatening to many people, especially since Americans don’t like to talk about social class. Drawing on key insights from social psychology and multicultural education, engaging students in a conversation about how their different backgrounds matter can be instructive and empowering for all involved. But, you need to do it in the right way. Below we outline key guidelines that educators should follow:

  • Show how all students can experience college differently – the success of this type of program hinges on framing it as relevant to all students, rather than as a “diversity initiative” directed only at disadvantaged students who need extra help. A unique benefit of our approach was that all students learned about how their backgrounds can shape what they experience in college. We recommend that both the senior students who share their stories and the incoming students who participate in the program are first- and continuing-generation. First, it will ensure that first-generation students do not feel “singled out” or stigmatized as students in need of extra help. Second, it will help students learn about each other’s different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. Representing difference as a normal part of the college experience — and life, more generally — is a crucial lesson in today’s increasingly diverse world.
  • Start with a solid foundation — the college transition is rife with uncertainty. Our own work and that of others consistently shows that these types of transitional programs benefit students the most when they are conducted during or immediately after students’ first weeks on campus. Students’ initial social and academic experiences are the foundation upon which the rest of their experiences will be built. Give them a strong foundation right away.
  • Let senior students share their own stories — incoming students need to be able to see themselves and hear their own voices reflected in the stories the older students tell. To do this, select a diverse group of students who take pride in their backgrounds and are comfortable discussing their social class (in addition to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and so on). This sends a strong signal that difference is a source of pride and strength rather than shame.
  • Don’t be afraid of the negative (but offset it with the positive) — incoming students need to hear the real stuff, not an idealized version of what other students have gone through. First-generation students confront a lot of adversity during the college transition. For example, many struggle to choose a major, identify a future career path, or reconcile their life back home with their new life in college. They need to learn about the obstacles they are likely to face, but also need to understand that each obstacle is surmountable when they use the right strategies and rely on their resilience.
  • Deliver a powerful (but subtle) message — we know that Americans don’t like to talk about class. We recommend giving students a subtle nudge to show them how it matters — through hearing other students’ stories — rather than telling them directly that class is something that they need to watch out for. Encourage them to think about and apply what they learn to their own lives and let them come to their own conclusions. Give students the chance to process the information and make it their own – for example, by writing an essay or making a video about what they learned to share with next year’s incoming students.

Colleges and universities have a responsibility to prepare students for success in our increasingly diverse and multicultural world. When done the right way, transitional programs have the potential to help to make this “whole new world” of higher education a less alienating, and more welcoming place, for all students — especially for those who need it the most.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

State Student Success Centers promote collaboration
By Ellie Ashford, Community College Daily

The Student Success Centers initiative brings together all the community colleges in a state to build a coherent approach to improve student completion and persistence based on best practices.

The program was launched by Jobs for the Future and the Kresge Foundation in four states that do not have a strong centralized community college system: Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Arkansas. The Student Success Centers in those states serve as a separate entity within the state’s association of community colleges.

The idea is to create “a centralized hub of energy, convening and policy development around student success,” said Caroline Altman Smith, senior program officer at the Kresge Foundation, which awarded each center a $250,000 annual grant for two years.

The centers host summits for college leaders, carry out collective fundraising, inform policy initiatives and serve as state policy partners for the Achieving the Dream program.

Kresge announced plans to fund three more centers this month. A new Student Success Center in New Jersey will be housed at the state’s community college association, but the other two follow a different model. The California center will be a joint partnership of the Community College Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation for California Community Colleges, and the Connecticut center will be housed at the state’s Board of Regents for Higher Education.

Leveraging effective practices

The centers provide “a unique opportunity to leverage and scale effective college practices across multiple institutions,” said Gretchen Schmidt, program director for postsecondary state policy at Jobs for the Future. “They can bring more people to the table from colleges with similar initiatives to create a learning community within the state focused on student completion and success.”

“It’s also a way to establish an entity in a state with a decentralized structure that can attract funding from foundations that want to invest in more than one institution,” she said.

The goal is to connect dots on all student success initiatives that might be underway in a state, added Smith.

Learn more about the Student Success Centers initiative at an April 6 session at the American Association of Community Colleges' Annual Convention in Washington, D.C.

“Each state doesn’t necessarily have the bandwidth to figure out what is being learned, so all community colleges in the state can benefit from the initiatives being carried out in the state’s Student Success Center,” she said.

Smith sees the centers as serving a “knowledge management role” by determining what community colleges have learned from their attempts to improve student success and spread that knowledge to other community colleges in the state.

On the same page

Michigan doesn’t have a governing authority to bring colleges together, so its new center will provide “a venue for colleges to collaborate that didn’t exist before,” said Christopher Baldwin, executive director of the Michigan Center for Student Success. “That’s been a significant step forward.”

For example, he noted that nearly all the community colleges in Michigan have signed on to the American Association of Community Colleges' Voluntary Framework of Accountability.

“There’s no way that would have happened without the Success Center — not because they are opposed to it, but because the colleges are so autonomous. Now they understand they need to act collectively.”

Baldwin said the Michigan Success Center conducts two large summits every year and supports a network of people who come together regularly to discuss such issues as assessment and placement, student mobility among institutions and financial aid.

The center also serves as a point of contact for grant opportunities to support such projects as Credit When It’s Due, which promotes reverse transfers, and Project Win Win, which encourages former students who’ve earned 50 or more credits to get their associate degree.

The Michigan center is also taking an active role in advocacy on student success policy — on such issues as transfer, articulation and dual enrollment — on a state level.

Joining forces

The Texas Success Center was just launched in October but has already gotten started on a number of fronts. Several leadership teams composed of practitioners and experts from across the state have been formed to address college readiness, transfer and articulation, measuring and funding success and workforce issues. Another team is focusing on professional development across all of those areas.

The team dealing with measuring success is developing recommendations for implementing a new Texas law that requires a portion of funding for community colleges to be based on a set of metrics, said the center’s executive director, Angela Oriano, who's based at the Texas Association of Community Colleges.

The readiness team will help community colleges prepare for a new statewide assessment for incoming college students.

“Given the profile of the typical college student and how competitive our state colleges are, this is a big issue for community colleges,” Oriano said.

The team will make recommendations to help students get through development courses, catalog what colleges are already doing and determine which pre-assessment and non-course competency-based options are most effective.

Including K-12

Another state law requires high schools to develop college readiness courses, so the Texas Success Center will convene a task force for community college, K-12 and education policy experts to make recommendations on the content and structure of those courses.

In addition, the center is planning a “Pathways to Progress” institute in September and is inviting each Texas community college to send a team of three to five people. The event will comprise three “mini-institutes” on the state’s new readiness test; the implementation of Mathways, which has been adopted by all Texas community colleges; and the Texas Completes initiative.

Each of these sessions will include “guided focus time for the teams to complete an action plan to take back to their campus,” Oriano said.

Source: Community College Daily

Photo of the Day

Donia Massey of Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKYCTC) presented the SKYCTC Player of the Game Trophy to Amaya Lasley of South Warren High School at the KHSAA Region 4 basketball tournament game between South Warren High School and Logan County High School held March 6th at the Allen County High School Gym. SKYCTC Player of the Game recognitions were presented at each of the Boys and Girls 4th Region Tournament games and each game was broadcast on the Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College Sports Network on ESPN 1450 AM and Howdy 103.7 FM.
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