Hundreds of employees at Bergen Community College apparently overpaid their New Jersey and federal taxes for years, The Bergen Record reported. The overpayments were the result of incorrect calculations about life insurance policies that are covered by the W-2 forms employees receive to do their taxes. The college has issued new W-2 forms and is advising employees that they may want to file amended returns for prior years.
Federal spending on the Pell Grant Program declined slightly during the first half of the 2012-13 award year compared to the same period during the previous two years, according to new data released by the American Association of Community Colleges. Almost all of the spending decrease is for Pell recipients who attended community colleges and for-profit institutions. The number of recipients at public two-year institutions declined by 193,339, according to the association, with Pell spending on that sector dipping by $358 million. Recipients at for-profits were down 115,322 with a corresponding decrease of $131 million in spending. The program's cost also declined in the previous fiscal year.
A committee of Colorado's House of Representatives killed legislation Monday that would have allowed the state's community colleges to offer four-year degrees, citing concerns about whether the state could afford to create new degree programs, the Associated Press reported. Most of Colorado's university leaders had opposed the bill, which officials of the Colorado Community College System said would allow programs only in fields where there was no competition with existing four-year institutions.
Valencia College has a national reputation as a leading community college, but President Sandy Shugart and some trustees have appeared to be having tense relations of late. The Orlando Sentinel reported on e-mails from Guillermo Hansen, one of the trustees who have been critical of Shugart. Hansen complained in an e-mail about his daughter not being interviewed for a job at the college. In addition he complained about the college not moving to advertise publications that might reach Latino students. Hansen is the owner and editor of a bilingual publication for Latinos. Hansen said that he was raising legitimate issues of importance to the college and its students.
One of the negative impacts of budget cuts on California community colleges in recent years has been the elimination of many (and, on some campuses, of most) summer courses, which for many students are key to completing their programs. The Oakland Tribune reported that, with the restoration of some cuts because of a tax measure approved by voters in November, this summer will be better. Chabot College will have 50 more courses this summer than last. The Peralta Community College District is adding back 70. Some college report that they will be back to their 2010 levels of offerings.
Pima Community College has responded to a scathingly critical report by a site team from its regional accreditor, which recommended that the Arizona institution be placed on probation. While the college said it takes the criticism seriously, it pushed back on certain findings in the report. For example, it clarified that the now-suspended effort to tighten admission standards was aimed at incoming students who perform at or below 7th-grade level. College administrators did not think these changes constituted a mission change. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association is set to consider the probation recommendation next week.
An independent report requested by the board of Roxbury Community College found that the Massachusetts institution had violated campus safety laws and may have lost track of significant sums of money,The Boston Globe reported. The investigation was requested after the departure of the last president and several board members, amid various allegations about the college. One finding was that the college had failed to investigate sexual assault complaints about two employees. New board members and administrators have said that they are already working on some of the issues identified in the report, and said that they would continue efforts to improve management of the college.
California's community colleges would be serving 600,000 additional students if the system had not absorbed $1.5 billion in budget cuts over four years, according to a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California. Since 2007, the state's 112 community colleges have been forced to substantially reduce staffing, which in turn led to a 21 percent dip in course offerings, the report found. And first-time students were the most likely to be turned away, with a 5 percent enrollment decline even as the number of California high school graduates increased by 9 percent.