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News in higher education

Walters State Community College officials have confirmed that two employees of the college were let go in January after an internal audit revealed major discrepancies in transactions involving the schools bookstore.

The internal auditor discovered the discrepancies several months ago, according to school officials who notified the Tennessee Board of Regents.

The TBR then notified the state comptroller of the treasury in Nashville which, in turn notified the local District Attorneys office.

As a result, two school employees were fired last month.
Walters State Community College officials have confirmed that two employees of the college were let go in January after an internal audit revealed major discrepancies in transactions involving the school's bookstore.

The internal auditor discovered the discrepancies several months ago, according to school officials who notified the Tennessee Board of Regents.

The TBR then notified the state comptroller of the treasury in Nashville which, in turn notified the local District Attorney's office.

As a result, two school employees were fired last month.

School officials have said the apparent embezzlement goes as far back as five or six years but declined to speculate on the amount of money that allegedly was taken over time.

No charges have been filed in the case at this time, according to school officials. (Citizen Tribune, Feb. 15, 2007)

A study by Middle Tennessee State University shows private, for-profit career colleges supply about a third of the state's work force with career-level education and have an economic impact of about $330 million.

The Business and Economic Research Center at the Jennings A. Jones College of Business created the report for the Tennessee Association for Independent Colleges and Schools and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

It looks at the state's work force, trends in employment by educational attainment, supply and demand conditions for employees with career-level education, among other factors.

The findings show that private, for-profit career colleges supply nearly 34 percent of the career-level educated workers, about 7,280 students. They have an economic impact of $329.6 million in business revenue, $130.2 in labor income, $10.2 million in state and local taxes and provide 4,288 jobs. (Nashville Business Journal, Feb. 13, 2007)

Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton isn't happy about the large number of college students who lose their Tennessee lottery scholarships.

A recent report from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission revealed that not only do 64 percent of recipients lose the scholarship within two years, but that low-income and African-American students are more likely to lose it than their more affluent white counterparts.

Wharton, a member of the commission, will lead a committee investigating why students lose the scholarships and what policies might need to be changed to help students retain them.

The commission's required annual report showed that students from families earning more than $96,000 retained their scholarships at a 63 percent rate, compared with 42 percent of students from families making less than $12,000 annually. (Commercial Appeal, Feb. 14, 2007)

Boosting Tennessee's college graduation rate depends on significantly improving the curriculum in the state's public high schools, a higher education official recently told lawmakers.

Richard Rhoda, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, told the Senate Finance Committee that higher standards in high school would also lead to more students keeping their lottery scholarships after their freshman year in college.

Rhoda said most students who lose their scholarships remain in college. But about half of students who attend four-year state schools do not graduate, he said. (Knoxville News-Sentinel, Feb. 14, 2007)