Obama's Budget Proposes Cuts to Career and Technical Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that President Barack Obama's recent proposed budget would make millions of dollars in cuts to student aid to preserve the Pell Grant program, the primary college financial aid program for low-income students. Under the president the maximum award was increased to $5,550. To maintain a maximum Pell award of $5,550, the president's fiscal 2012 budget would eliminate the in-school interest subsidy on loans to graduate students and end a policy that allows students to receive two Pell Grants in a single year. Some 9.6 million students are expected to receive the awards next year, up from six million in 2008. The budget also calls for a 20 percent cut in funding for career and technical education, threatening to undermine the president's goals of reducing unemployment and graduating five million more Americans with certificates and degrees by 2020.

Inside Higher Ed Covers Growing Trend of Campus Food Pantries

A shaky economy with an uncertain job market is contributing to a surge in popularity of campus food pantries, reports Inside Higher Ed. Three pantries at Iowa State University, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of California, Davis have opened in the past month. Last year's National College Health Assessment revealed that finances for the past 12 months were "traumatic or very difficult to handle" for 35.2 percent of students. The two biggest financial issues facing college students are joblessness and education cuts.

Second Nature to Provide Sustainability Planning Aid to Campuses

Second Nature has received a $554,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation to develop a program that will help financially strained and minority-serving institutions build capacity toward climate action and sustainability planning. The program will provide fellowships for sustainability champions on campuses, establish sustainability-focused career mentors and offer workshops, learning institutes and skills trainings. It will also help prepare under-resourced institutions for topics like climate disruption impacts, campus green revolving loan funds and evaluating carbon risk in the institution's supply chain.

Diversity Remains Scarce on College Governing Boards

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the majority of college trustees are white, male and over 50 years old, according to the results of two surveys released in November by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. Whites account for 74.3 percent of the trustee spots at public institutions and 87.5 percent at private institutions, compared with 77.7 percent and 88.1 percent, respectively, in 2004. Women and minorities have gained little ground in the six years since the association's last survey. At 28.4 percent, the share of women serving on governing boards today is almost 2 percent less than it was in 1997. The two surveys yielded responses from 195 public institutions and 507 private institutions.

Enviro Defense Fund Promotes Diversity in Enviro Leadership

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has announced an expansion of its efforts to develop campus sustainability projects and promote greater diversity in environmental leadership within minority-serving institutions. EDF has been working with minority-serving colleges in North Carolina since 2009 with programs that focus on energy efficiency, curriculum development and student engagement including Climate Corps and Alpha Goes Green. EDF will expand its partnerships with minority-serving institutions to those in Texas and New York in 2011, with plans for further expansion to other states in 2012.

Chronicle of Higher Ed Releases '2010 Diversity in Academe'

Admissions officers are devoting more attention to increasing the numbers of low-income students, says The Chronicle of Higher Education's new report, "2010 Diversity in Academe." According to the report, there is also heightened interest in making the professoriate more socioeconomically diverse and interest in diversity abroad is on the rise.

Montgomery County CC Receives Kresge Fellowship

Montgomery County Community College (PA) has received a 2010 Kresge Foundation Fellowship Award. The fellowship program provides college and university executives with the information and networks necessary to become successful green building leaders for their institutions. The foundation focuses on assessing some of the critical challenges faced by under-resourced colleges and universities to implement green building on their campuses.

Western New Mexico U Offers Free Solar Energy Courses

Western New Mexico University will offer two new courses on solar energy this fall to laid-off workers and those already employed in the solar, construction or electrical fields at no cost. The courses will be offered in partnership with the Southwestern Area Workforce Development Board under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Applicants who are selected to participate will have the opportunity to take the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners PV Entry Level exam upon completion of both courses.

Rochester Inst of Technology Expands Options for Native Americans

The Rochester Institute of Technology (NY) has partnered with the Ganondagan State Historic Site to enhance opportunities for Native American students and to promote the benefits of indigenous technologies. Students and faculty will have greater access to research opportunities in native science and technology and will be able to explore indigenous solutions to creating sustainable environments. The collaboration will also promote RIT's Native American Future Stewards Program, which offers academic and social support to Native Americans looking to attend college. In addition to these activities, RIT has formed a Native American Advisory Council including leaders from the Iroquois Tribes and government officials from the state and local levels.  The Council will assist RIT in increasing opportunities for Native American students and expanding partnership opportunities between the University and New York's Native American Communities.

College Fraternity Partners with Env'l Defense Fund for Diversity

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the nation's oldest black fraternity, and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) are launching a transformational partnership to increase the number of diverse environmental leaders on university and college campuses and in communities of color. The Alpha and EDF partnership will educate the fraternity's student and alumni chapters about climate change, environmental justice, energy efficiency, clean energy, and green jobs. Sustainability projects designed by students and alumni will help African American and other populations become more involved in public health and environmental issues caused by air and water pollution and social inequity. The fraternity has 5,000 student members on more than 350 US campuses and 95,000 alumni members.

Washington & Jefferson College to Educate Needy Students

Washington & Jefferson College (PA) has signed on to the Youth Engaged Service (YES) Prep School IMPACT Partnership program, which aims to guide economically disadvantaged children to college and beyond. The student population at Yes Prep schools which are based in Houston, Texas, is approximately 90 percent first-generation college bound, 80 percent economically disadvantaged, and 95 percent Hispanic or African American. Campuses in the IMPACT Partnership program commit to helping with college expenses through scholarships, work study programs, and small student loans. W&J will host six students from YES Prep schools this fall.

U California Berkeley Awarded $16M for Campus Diversity

The University of California, Berkeley has received a $16 million donation to support diversity initiatives, including five endowed chairs, one of which will be devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equity, and a new $1.6 million scholarship fund for students who transfer from community colleges and who are more racially and economically diverse than those who enroll as freshman. The gift is intended to support both research and teaching on diversity and to cultivate a campus built on fairness and acceptance.

Weber State U Launches Free Tuition Program

Weber State University (UT) has launched a program to provide free tuition to Utah residents whose annual household income is equal to or less than $25,000 and who are Pell Grant eligible. The goal of "Dream Weber" is to make higher education accessible to students from socioeconomic backgrounds that wouldn’t typically pursue higher education because of a lack of financial resources. The program is made possible through private donations designated for scholarships for under-served populations with acute financial need. These private donations, combined with federal and state financial aid funds, will finance the program, which will begin in the fall of 2010.

U Toledo Expands Free Tuition Program

The University of Toledo has expanded its UT Guarantee scholarship program to include 15 additional areas of Ohio. The program was originally created to offer high-achieving, financially-challenged students a no-out-of-pocket-tuition-and-fees option to students in the state's 6 largest cities.

Kent State U Trumball Announces Scholarships for Laid Off Workers

Kent State University’s (OH) Trumbull campus has announced plans to provide a one-time scholarship to new students who have recently been laid off from a full-time position, effective for the spring 2009 semester. The offer is available on a pilot basis and can be applied to the tuition cost of up to 12 credit hours.

Rice U Expands No-Loan Policy

Rice University (TX) has expanded its no-loan policy for the 2009-2010 freshman class from a $60,000 income limit to an $80,000 limit. Under the new policy, incoming freshmen who qualify for need-based aid with family incomes below $80,000 will not be required to take out loans to pay for college. Almost 18 percent of this year's freshmen were from families with incomes under $80,000. For a family whose income is above $80,000 and who demonstrates need eligibility, Rice will meet 100 percent of the student's need, and the student's loans will not exceed a total of $10,000 over four years at Rice.