Tuesday, January 13, 2015

News Links | January 13, 2015


Obama's free community college plan watched closely here
Spokane's two community colleges [Spokane Community College and Spokane Falls Community College], along with North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene, are closely watching President Obama's plan to provide two free years of higher education nationwide. The White House proposal was rolled out late last week and is largely modeled after a Tennessee program that provides students with tuition-free community college enrollment in that state.
The Spokesman-Review, Jan. 13, 2015

Editorial: Free 2-year college: Great deal for students, public
President Obama has a good idea: free community college. But Washington’s Legislature has largely beat him to it. In most respects, this state’s lawmakers haven’t covered themselves in glory funding higher education. After the Great Recession hit, they relentlessly shifted the cost of college to students, ratcheting up tuition while squeezing the schools themselves. But the Legislature did try to compensate by raising financial aid. Roughly 70,000 students are getting state need grants, which are among the nation’s most generous financial aid deals. Washington also offers the innovative College Bound Scholarship, which promises full tuition – for both two-year and four-year schools – to low-income students who sign up in the seventh and eighth grades. Half the state’s students are eligible. That promise is conditional, though: Participants have to maintain a C average, graduate from high school and stay out of trouble with the law.
The News Tribune, Jan. 12, 2015

Boeing supplier to employ 75 at Sumner winglet plant
GKN Aerospace will set up a winglet assembly plant in Sumner, near Tacoma, after winning a contract to build the new advanced winglets for Boeing’s forthcoming 737 MAX. The 57,000-square-foot facility will open in late 2015 and employ approximately 75 people at full production. This is new work for Washington state. The winglets for the current model of the 737 are built in Austria by carbon-fiber component manufacturer FACC. ... The incentives package granted to GKN includes $400,000 from the Governor’s Economic Development Strategic Reserve Fund, as well as a $100,000 Job Skills Program training grant through the State Board of Community & Technical Colleges.
The Seattle Times, Jan. 12, 2015

Bates student honored with ‘Transforming Lives’ award
Bates Technical College student Raymond Power will receive a $500 Transforming Lives award from the Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges at an event in Olympia on Wednesday, Jan. 28. The annual award honors and recognizes five students and alumni from the state’s 34 community and technical colleges who have overcome significant barriers to achieve their higher education goals . The award demonstrates how Washington community and technical colleges help transform lives through support and education.
The Suburban Times, Jan. 12, 2015

Super Kid Jessica Miller’s got a running start on life
Jessica Miller, 18, is a senior at Everett High School and this week's Super Kid. I hear you're involved with Running Start at Everett Community College. When did you start that program? I started last year as a junior and did it my whole junior year and am finishing my senior year. A couple of my friends were thinking about it and we decided to do it all together. ... What's it like to be on a college campus? I really enjoy it. I get my AA this year as I graduate from high school. I like the freedom. It's an awesome program.
Everett Herald, Jan. 12, 2015

Bates Technical College instructor receives award
Bates Technical College instructor Ed Young received the 2015 Exceptional Faculty Award in a surprise announcement this week. The annual award recognizes a faculty member who infuses their teaching with innovation and provides an exemplary level of work performance that fosters and supports student learning.
The Suburban Times, Jan. 11, 2015

Electric car chargers spark little interest from Cowlitz County drivers
Electric car drivers needing a charge in Cowlitz County are in luck. Too much luck, probably. There are four charging stations in the county, and only Castle Rock’s Cascade Select Market station gets used on a daily basis. The others, all in Longview, have been used sparingly — or not at all — since being installed. ... And the spots reserved for charging at Lower Columbia College’s new parking lot, open since this fall? No charges yet. “I don’t think we have started really promoting it yet,” college spokeswoman Wendy Hall said. “I would say we need to let people know about it.”
Longview Daily News, Jan. 11, 2015

YVCC president: Free college would boost economy
Yakima Valley Community College President Linda Kaminski was just as stunned as others across the country Thursday when President Barack Obama detailed a proposal that would allow students to attend community college tuition-free their first two years. “It’s not a surprise he supports us,” Kaminski said in a telephone interview Friday. “It is surprising the proposal came out the way it did.” The YVCC president said she welcomed the ambitious idea, as the prospect of more highly educated students in the Yakima area could boost the Valley’s economy and culture.
Yakima Herald, Jan. 10, 2015

Obama wants to make community college free for everyone
President Obama on Friday outlined a new plan that would make community college free for all students, regardless of income, as long as they make good progress toward earning a degree and maintain a 2.5 grade point average. ... In Washington state, the proposal was met with enthusiasm. “We fully support President Obama’s vision,” said Marty Brown, executive director of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, in an email. “It would be a huge boost to our students and Washington’s economy.  And, nationally, it would  go a long way toward rebuilding the American dream of opportunity and upward mobility.”
The Seattle Times, Jan. 9, 2015

Opinion: The promise of universal community college
Virtually all Americans enroll in high school these days and have the opportunity to attend public schools for free, but a century ago, that was not the case. In 1910, fewer than one in five Americans attended high school; by the start of World War II, three-quarters of high-school aged Americans were enrolled. The result is clear: decades of innovation, economic growth, and social mobility driven by a smarter, more skilled American population. The timing of President Obama’s proposal today to extend this idea to the first two years of college could not be better. Partnering with states, the federal government would make community college free for many students, promising to dramatically expand the number of Americans who attain post-secondary skills. ... Graduates from Washington state’s Walla Walla Community College earn an average annual salary of $42,000 immediately after graduating, growing to $57,000 five years later.
Time, Jan. 9, 2015

Free community college? Local schools and students like the idea
President Obama is grabbing the attention of the younger generation with his idea for two years of community college for free. "Put simply what I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who’s willing to work for it" Did he say free? "Free for everybody who’s willing to work for it" The idea sounds great to Yakima Valley Community College students. ... Better buses won’t turn the economy around
 — but well educated people can — the folks at Columbia Basin College believe this idea could be a win-win for everyone.
KAPP TV, Jan. 9, 2015

Bellevue College leaders, students react to free college plan
Bellevue College students, busy finishing up the first week of the new quarter on Friday, learned about President Obama’s plan to pay for the first two years of community college for roughly 9 million students nationwide each year.
KIRO TV, Jan. 9, 2015

LCC president, local students react to Obama plan for free community college
If Congress grants President Obama his wish, community college students may get two free years of education. Obama unveiled his proposal, called “America’s College Promise,” Thursday evening. Lower Columbia College president Chris Bailey expressed concerns over the program’s estimated $60 billion price tag. “The devil will be in the details,” he said by phone Friday. Bailey estimated LCC’s budget has been reduced 20 percent since 2008 and said Obama’s plan may deepen the college’s woes if, for example, it doesn’t add extra money into the system and simply reallocates federal funding dollars. Bailey was also concerned that the plan could affect funding for non-qualifying programs.
Longview Daily News, Jan. 9, 2015

Editorial: Smoking ban is a big success
Once in a while, voters in all 39 counties of the state agree on something clear-cut and specific, the law is implemented, and is effective. Crazy, we know. But it's important to remember we can get things done, for the greater good. Initiative 901 of 2005, which bans smoking in all public buildings and workplaces has been such a success, accomplishing, for the most part, what voters hoped it would. ... long with hospitals, some college campuses have also banned smoking, including Everett Community College. Again, laudable, but an unintended consequence is that three or four blocks of public sidewalk behind the school have become a de facto smoking area, which is unfair to neighbors, including the elementary school next door. ... In the big picture, smokers (and fewer of them) running out of places to smoke is an excellent thing, quite intended.
Everett Herald, Jan. 9, 2015

CPTC: Surgical Technology instructor granted tenure
Clover Park Technical College is proud to announce Surgical Technology Instructor Ronda Armstrong was awarded tenure by the Board of Trustees Dec. 10. Armstrong graduated from CPTC’s Surgical Technology Program in 2005, and while she worked in the industry she also worked as a lab assistant and substitute for the program. She became a full-time faculty member in 2010 and soon after started the tenure process, where she went through a demanding review process and evaluation by a tenure committee.
The Suburban Times, Jan. 9, 2015

Breaking the stereotype: Number of male nurses up at Centralia College
Centralia College is is bucking national trends with its nursing program, a career field which is typically dominated by women. The college has seen an increase in male students in the past two years with 11 of the 48 being male, accounting for almost 23 percent of its program. The national average is 5 percent.
Centralia Chronicle, Jan. 8, 2015

High school drop outs getting a second chance
KEPR is checking back on a program that allows high school drop outs to go get their diploma *without going back to their old high school, and without settling for a GED. KEPR looked at the High School Academy [a partnership with Columbia Basin College] and how it can help many of our local dropouts. ... The program has already grown incredibly since it started a couple of years ago but the director says there are still plenty of seats left to be filled.
KEPR TV, Jan. 7, 2015


Measuring substance
Lawmakers will continue to look for ways to measure the value of a college degree. Acknowledging this, a group of three higher education associations say they want to help that conversation be more informed and comprehensive. The groups, which represent the various sectors of public higher education, on Thursday released a draft discussion guide for how to track what happens to students after college.
Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 9, 2015

Editorial: STEM scholarship plan right for Spokane
A unique public/private scholarship program is putting down roots in Spokane, which should enable more area students to take advantage of a program that can work for them, and the state’s economy. Spokane County has been underrepresented in the pool of applicants for Washington State Opportunity Scholarships, and therefore underrepresented among the winners. But the hiring of a senior program officer for the region should raise the program’s profile. It fits Spokane well.
Spokesman-Review, Jan. 9, 2015


Obama proposes bill to protect student data, but not in higher education
The abundance of data being collected on students has been celebrated as an opportunity to “personalize” education. But privacy advocates have long warned that digital paper trails might leave today’s students exposed if their personal information fell into the wrong hands. The White House announced on Monday that it would be taking up the cause of student privacy, pushing legislation that would “prevent companies from selling student data to third parties for purposes unrelated to the educational mission,” according to a news release. However, the bill, called the Student Digital Privacy Act, would focus on students in elementary and secondary schools, not college students, according to Obama-administration officials.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 13, 2015

Olympia Watch: Besides money, what will lawmakers debate?
Washington state lawmakers convene today in Olympia, where hulking budget decisions loom. ... Some lawmakers want to see more students taking college classes while still in high school. Two bills already filed in Olympia would expand the state’s College in the High School program to include 10th graders, instead of only 11th and 12th graders. The program offers college-level academic courses in high schools for a fee.
The Seattle Times, Jan. 12, 2015

New higher ed federalism
President Obama’s proposal to make community college free could rearrange the relationship between the federal government, states and colleges. Behind the talk of a free two-year college education is a shift in the federal government's role. Conservatives are saying the president’s plan may go too far — calling it a federal regulatory regime dressed up as a free tuition plan. For others, a federal government that spends more than $140 billion a year on higher education is justified in attempting to get the right bang for its buck. The White House said its effort would involve "restructuring the community college experience."
Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 12, 2015

The thought that counts
Community college advocates like the spirit of President Obama's blockbuster free community college proposal. It’s the details, many still unknown, that worry some. The White House wants $60 billion over a decade to go toward filling in tuition gaps for all Americans who meet the plan’s requirements. Several leaders at two-year colleges applauded the bold funding request, which they said could help millions of people, many of whom otherwise might not have considered attending college.
Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 12, 2015

Federal promise unveiled
President Obama traveled here Friday to make his first full-fledged pitch for tuition-free community college, as White House officials confirmed that the ambitious proposal would cost about $60 billion over the next decade. Speaking to several hundred students and faculty at Pellissippi State Community College, Obama presented his plan as an economic imperative. He also said it was based on responsibility -- of individual students, of colleges and of states in boosting their spending on higher education.
Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 12, 2015

What students pay at community colleges now — and how Obama’s proposal might change that
President Obama just proposed a partnership between the federal government and states that would waive two years of tuition at community colleges for students who meet certain criteria. That sounds significant — and it is. But to grasp the real impact of the plan, it’s important to understand what students pay to attend community college right now. How might the proposal change that?
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 9, 2015

Who has a stake in Obama’s free community-college plan?
President Obama’s proposal to make community college free is getting an enthusiastic reception from two-year colleges and their advocates across the nation. Not surprisingly, though, representatives of other higher-education sectors aren’t quite so bullish. One of their greatest fears: that the plan, if enacted, could end up pushing a large number of students away from their institutions and into community colleges. Here’s a look at several groups of institutions with something at stake—and at how they’ve responded to the proposal.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 9, 2015