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Community college presidents say the structure of the Tennessee Education Lottery scholarship program is deterring students from attending two-year colleges.

Students going to four-year colleges get $3,300 a year while students at community colleges receive $1,650 a year, a difference that discourages some scholars from applying to two-year schools, they said.
Community college presidents say the structure of the Tennessee Education Lottery scholarship program is deterring students from attending two-year colleges.

Students going to four-year colleges get $3,300 a year while students at community colleges receive $1,650 a year, a difference that discourages some scholars from applying to two-year schools, they said.

"The dilemma is the psychology of it, which none of us foresaw," said Dr. Jim Catanzaro, president of Chattanooga State Technical Community College. "We found out that there are greater bragging rights to say you're getting $3,300 than $1,650, even if the net effect is largely the same."

The scholarships are structured to cover about 75 percent of tuition costs. Tuition at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is $4,500 a year, while Chattanooga State costs $2,142.
The number of lottery recipients attending community colleges this year, the second year of the program, increased about 74 percent from 4,179 last year to 7,454 this year. However, the number of four-year college students with lottery scholarships more than doubled from 12,966 to 26,507.

State Sen. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, who lobbied for decades for a state-run lottery, said the idea of increasing how much money community college students get is an idea that has "not really germinated" with lawmakers.

"I don't foresee that happening," he said. "Students who meet the admission standards at the four-years are going anyway. If (the lottery) makes it economically feasible for them to go to a four-year school, they should."

Rep. Tommie Brown, D-Chattanooga, said she would support increasing the lottery awards for community college students as long as colleges work together to help students transfer without a hitch. The state's colleges have been working on articulation agreements to ensure that students' credits transfer from one campus to another.

Dr. Brian Noland with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission said he has been approached with the idea of increasing scholarships for two-year students, but he favors waiting a few years before changing the two-year-old program significantly. The lottery scholarship program needs more time to mature, he said. (Chattanooga Times Free Press, April 24, 2006)

In a financial climate that has seen the University of Memphis increase tuition and student fees, the U of M has managed to allocate $252,913 to provide 388 university employees, faculty members and students with cell phones.

The U of M's athletic department alone accounted for 78 of the issued cell phones.

"We are moving toward being all wireless," said Dr. Shirley Raines, U of M president. "Spending $200,000 on cell phones when our entire budget is $326 million doesn't sound that far off.

"That figure may be high when comparing this year to last year, but I doubt it," she said. "Often cell phones help us cut down on long-distance expenses as well as help us work away from campus out in the community."

The ability to be able to provide 24-hour availability to the office and work outside of the campus area is why several faculty members need cell phones, said Barbara Belzer, assistant dean of distance learning.

"I received my cell phone when I worked off campus and needed to be able to stay in contact with the university,” Belzer said. "Now, as an administrator who deals with online students, I need to be able to be contacted after hours."

Although cell phones have helped administrators work after-office hours, administrators are not the only employees receiving phones. A list of cell phone records included six students, nine maintenance personnel, 13 professors and 13 names that had no listing under the U of M's directory, along with numerous administrators.

Despite school policy restricting U of M cell phones from students, some students employed by the university were provided university-funded cell phones, according to school records.

"The University of Memphis does not provide any U of M student a cell phone," said Curt Guenther, U of M media relations director. "Any students who have phones work for the U of M and have a good reason for having them."

But students are not the only nonadministrative personnel receiving free airtime. According to university records, the U of M issued cell phones to employees at the child care center, a photographer assigned to photograph Raines at public events, campus recreation employees, a Holiday Inn van driver and hourly temporary employees among others. Three different U of M administrators also have received two phones, including Raines.

The U of M paid an average of $652 for every issued phone during the last fiscal year, according to records. (Daily Helmsman, April 26, 2006)

Officials at the University of Tennessee have been planning since November for the worst case scenario of bird flu, and some of the measures may be drastic.

Canceling classes, special events or even shutting down the University of Tennessee may sound extreme or even far-fetched if the bird flu breaks out in Knox County, but experts say it will hit the U.S. and warn that extreme measures could quickly become a reality.

"The way birds circulate around the world, we're all going to be exposed,” Student Health Services Administrator Jim Boyle said.

College campuses are more vulnerable because many people are concentrated in one area. The flu spreads like the seasonal flu when people cough or sneeze.

Browning adds, "UT has around 1,000 international students, not to mention the various staff and faculty who are traveling abroad."

The Centers for Disease Control is circulating a checklist for colleges to get them started on pandemic flu planning, and UT is using it. One idea being considered to keep the bird flu from spreading is canceling any large gatherings of people.

UT's Neyland Stadium is the largest gathering place in Knoxville. At any one time, there could be 107,000 people in the stadium. Having a football game with no fans filling the seats is an idea being considered.

"It would totally be a television audience versus the 100,000 people that show up at the game every game day," Boyle said.

UT is in the early stages of planning and since there is no vaccine, education and social separation are the primary ways to keep people well. (www.wate.com in Knoxville, April 26, 2006)

Crime reported on Tennessee college campuses fell by more than 2 percent last year, but not all Memphis area schools felt the drop.

Christian Brothers University, which has about 1,830 people on campus, saw a big jump in reported assaults, from four in 2004 to 26 in 2005, according to the 2005 Crime on Campus report released recently by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations.

According to the report, larceny and theft are the most common campus crimes, but statewide they decreased by nearly 4 percent last year. At CBU, car thefts doubled from the year before, burglaries jumped from two to 15.

The University of Memphis, with roughly 21,600 students and staff, had a rise in car thefts, with 13 reported and nine the year before. But that's still half the number it was in 2003. There were four robberies in 2004 and another four in 2005.

LeMoyne-Owen College's only significant jump was in assaults, from four in 2004 to 13 in 2005. The college has a campus population of roughly 880. There were no robberies, three burglaries, 26 thefts, three car thefts and 26 vandalism reports.

Rhodes College had a significant decrease in assaults, from seven in 2004 to one last year. But comparing 2005 with 2004, burglaries more than doubled, from eight to 21 offenses, and thefts rose from 33 to 52. (The Commercial Appeal, April 26, 2006)

Memphis students now have another higher education option with the recent opening of the Memphis campus of National College of Business and Technology.

Founded in 1886 in Roanoke, Va., National College has evolved from a standard college to the multicampus incarnation it is today. The school, which has multiple campuses in Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, specializes in specific job training and degrees leading up to MBAs in business administration, EMT training, radio and television broadcasting and paralegal training, among other areas.

The 15,000-square-foot Memphis campus will have computer labs, as well as videoconferencing for students to take classes offered at other campuses. The school will have capacity for 600 students and is looking to have 40 to 50 faculty members for a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio, including local business community members who are interested in teaching part time.

Frank Longaker, president of National College, says having both traditional and nontraditional teachers ensures students get the proper instruction and that they get up-to-date, real life experiences.

"Wherever we've gone, we've found our strategy of getting students in and out quickly works," he says. "Our focus is on training people for initial jobs and career changes." (Memphis Business Journal, April 24, 2006)