Community College News

Stay abreast of all the news and reports impacting community colleges. This section covers the latest news stories, from campus protests to Wal-Mart partnerships. Read community college reactions to the latest State of the Union address, identify schools receiving big donations, and analyze the latest laws impacting community colleges and their students.
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A number of Florida community colleges notified faculty and students last week about a potential security leak that may leave them vulnerable to identity theft. According to a report on Wakulla.com, as many as 126,000 individuals at six Florida colleges may have found their personal information inadvertently posted on the Internet between May 29 and June 2 of this year.
 
The colleges have notified affected individuals that the leak occurred, but what steps should they take to protect their personal and financial records? 
 
Who is Responsible?
 
A report on SC Magazine states that a glitch in the College Center for Library Information's software led to the leak. According to the CCLA website, this organization provides automated library services and electronic resources to many Florida colleges. The organization determined that the leak occurred during a software upgrade, and they were unaware of the problem until a student reported finding personal information during a Google search.
 
"We pride ourselves on protecting private information and deeply regret this inadvertent exposure," CCLA CEO Richard Madaus said in a statement posted on SC Magazine, as well as other news publications. Madaus added, "I apologize to those involved for any worry or inconvenience this may cause them. We will continue to enhance our technology to safeguard all of the information entrusted to us."
 
Who was Affected?
 
Six Florida colleges were included in the leak, including:
 
       ·        Broward College
 
       ·        Florida State College at Jacksonville
 
       ·        Northwest Florida State College
 
       ·        Pensacola State College
 
       ·        South Florida Community College
 
       ·        . . . read more

Community colleges often see a growth in enrollment during economic recessions, as recently laid-off workers look to gain more marketable skills and new high school graduates hope to save money on college tuition. However, the current booming popularity of community colleges can also be attributed to President Obama, who is being hailed as the "Community College President."

Community college teachers, students, and administrators have been buoyed by Obama's continued focus on these historically under-appreciated institutions of higher education. Obama believes that community colleges must play a key role in helping America to recover from the recession and to regain its place as an educational leader in the developed world. 
 
If Obama’s recently unveiled American Graduate Initiative is carried out, community colleges could see an unprecedented period of growth over the next decade.

Obama's Ongoing Support for Community Colleges

When Obama and his vice president Joe Biden were sworn into office, community college administrators were hopeful that their institutions would finally receive more support from the federal government. Joe Biden's wife, Jill, is a professor at Northern Virginia Community College, and she called community colleges one of America's "best-kept secrets" at a speech in July.
 
During his campaign, Obama spoke regularly of the importance of community colleges in keeping America economically and educationally competitive in the 21st century. Now, almost a year after he took office, the Obama administration's support for these lower-cost and open-enrollment institutions of higher education has proved to be robust and meaningful   Obama . . . read more

While many community colleges have educational incentives to provide reform for convicted criminals, some political leaders are taking an opposing stance.  According to recent reports from the San Francisco Chronicle, “Some of the nation's worst sex offenders will no longer be eligible to receive generous educational financial aid packages while they are confined in treatment centers under a bill approved by Congress.” 
 
As political leaders and college presidents strive to balance their budgets amidst a struggling economy, one of the first programs to be eliminated is the financial aid and grants that were available for individuals guilty of serious crimes.
 
Fighting for Reform
 
In exploring the recent amendments denying convicted criminals of free tuition and grants, one must first understand how these free college opportunities were even initially created.  In truth, allowing convicted criminals to gain access to free publically funded courses was a mere oversight in a much larger educational overhaul.  As The Hoya, Georgetown University’s central newspaper, explains, the House of Representatives passed a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act in 2008.  This act was reinstated in order to provide individuals with enhanced financial aid benefits, and the act allowed individuals to access to aid with less obstacles and hassles.  As a result of this bill, students were able to apply for and receive federally funded student aid Pell Grants throughout the entire year.
 
Unfortunately, while most students found the Higher Education Act to be highly beneficial, experts failed to see the implications . . . read more

Community college presents students with an array of benefits, ranging from dramatic savings in tuition costs to being prepared for recession-proof careers. However, North Carolina has taken its community colleges to the next level, pioneering innovative programs that increase student enrollment and improve graduation rates. Through its 58 different community college campuses, North Carolina has won several accolades for its accomplishments, including helping students graduate early to enter into the job market, as well as allowing high school students to attend college tuition-free. 
 
High School Students in North Carolina's Community Colleges

According to “Diverse Issues in Higher Education,” students in select areas of North Carolina, such as in the city of Sanford, may be eligible to earn free college credits while still in high school.
 
Created in 2007, eligible students can apply for the “Lee Early College” program (LEC). By engaging in LEC, high school students attend courses at the nearby Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) campus. Inspired in part by former Governor Easley’s educational agenda, “It’s part of Gov. Mike Easley’s Learn and Earn Early College High School educational initiative in which students graduate in five years with both a diploma and an associate degree, with all credits transferable if they choose to enroll at a four-year institution as a junior post-graduation.”
 
In the first year of its inception, 73 students were able to take advantage of completely free college courses while earning valuable credits. Growing in popularity, the . . . read more
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