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Quick Takes: Charitable Giving Up 3.9%, Texas Debates Alternative Certification, Proposal for Free Community Colleges, New Visa Category, Journalism Schools and New Media, Final TEACH Rules, Veterans' Aid, 4-Day Weeks, Advocate for Deaf Computer Science

June 23, 2008
  • Charitable giving in the United States reached $306.39 billion in 2007, up 3.9 percent in a year, according to "Giving USA," an annual study whose 2008 edition is being released today. Education organizations (which are not limited to higher education) received $43.32 billion in 2007, 14.1 percent of the total and a 6.4 percent increase from the previous year.
  • State officials in Texas, along with leaders of teacher education programs, are rallying behind a plan to toughen the rules for individuals to obtain alternative certification to teach in the state, The Dallas Morning News reported. Alternative certification is popular in many states as a way to attract people in other professions to become teachers, but the push to change the rules follows concerns that the process's requirements are too minimal. Companies that provide alternative certification training and school districts that have difficulty recruiting teachers are opposing the plans to change the rules.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick plans this week to revive his idea of making community colleges free for state residents, The Boston Globe reported. The proposal is expected to be included in broad plans to reform education at all levels in the state.
  • The U.S. State Department is creating a new subcategory in the Exchange Visitor Program for student interns: Under the new final rule, published Friday in the Federal Register and effective July 21, foreign college students can participate in a student internship program for up to one year at each degree level. International educators had welcomed the new subcategory – long delayed after September 11 – to more effectively respond to growing demand for internships.
  • The Tow Foundation on Sunday night announced two grants to reform journalism education and journalism generally -- with a focus on new media. Columbia University's journalism school will receive $5 million to create a center on teaching and research related to new media. And the City University of New York's journalism school will receive $3 million to study economic models for the new era of journalism and to become an incubator for Internet-based journalism services.
  • The U.S. Education Department this morning published final regulations to carry out the establishment of the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program, which was created by the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act. The ballyhooed but unpopular program is designed to provide financial support for undergraduate and graduate students who go on to teach for at least four years in high-need disciplines in high-need areas. The final rules, which were published in today's Federal Register, make virtually none of the changes that had been sought by commenters critiquing the proposed regulations the department issued in March.
  • A study by the Government Accountability Office has found that veterans and non-veterans receive roughly similar amounts of aid through Title IV programs -- the main financial aid programs to help college students afford a higher education. But the GAO found that some colleges do much more than others in reaching out to veterans and letting them know about the federal aid for which they may qualify.
  • With gas prices continuing to rise, more colleges are experimenting with allowing employees to work four days a week this summer on modified schedules. Eastern Kentucky and LeTourneau Universities announced such changes last month. Among the recent announcements: Delaware Valley College, Delta College, Mid-South Community College, Miles College and Okaloosa-Walton College.
  • When Karen Alkoby received her Ph.D. from DePaul University this month, she became the first deaf woman in the United States to earn a doctorate in computer science. Her career goal is to attract more deaf students to the field. Alkoby's next step is a postdoc at the Computer Research Institute in Toulouse, France.
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