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News in higher education: National highlights with a focus on local institutions

A recent report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education said the percentage of American workers with a college degree will decline by the year 2020 if states dont do a better job of educating their residents. Case in point: Tennessees 13 community colleges are enrolling 8,000 fewer students who are 25 and older this falla 20 percent dropthan they did in 1995. Gov. Phil Bredesen has challenged the TBR to do something big to get more state residents into higher education. Dr. A recent report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education said the percentage of American workers with a college degree will decline by the year 2020 if states don't do a better job of educating their residents. Case in point: Tennessee's 13 community colleges are enrolling 8,000 fewer students who are 25 and older this falla 20 percent dropthan they did in 1995. Gov. Phil Bredesen has challenged the TBR to “do something big” to get more state residents into higher education. Dr. Houston Davis, TBR associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, attributed the drop to several reasons, including the rising cost of college, which tends to squeeze out working adults, and the fact that classes aren't always available at convenient times for daytime workers. (The Tennessean, Nov. 12, 2005)

MTSU and the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions have teamed up to create a new program to promote financial literacy. The new partnership will incorporate six financial literacy lessons into University 1010, a seminar course designed to ease freshmen through the transition to college. The goal is to help college students avoid common financial mistakes, such as taking on too much debt or developing a poor credit history. (The Tennessean, Nov. 15, 2005)

TBR officials are assessing how well its schools are preparing students for a world where business increasingly is conducted across country borders. Just 722 of the approximately 150,000 TBR students are studying abroad this year. Of the students studying abroad, 62 percent attend either MTSU or the University of Memphis. The low participation rate is one reason why system leaders want a more coordinated approach to how Tennessee students are educated with a global perspective. (The City Paper, Nov. 14, 2005)

The State of Tennessee awarded $690,000 to the UT-Martin to strengthen instruction and improve student performance in mathematics and science. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded $968,632 to Eastern Michigan University to train Michigan high school students to be first responders. The PepsiCo Foundation awarded $300,000 to the Purchase College State University of New York to establish a Baccalaureate and Beyond Center. The U.S. Department of Education awarded $15.6 million to California State University-San Bernadino to help under-represented students enter and succeed in college. The National Science Foundation awarded $2.9 million to the University of South Dakota to foster and promote undergraduate research through university partnerships. The U.S. Department of Justice awarded $199,301 to Western Washington University to develop and strengthen effective responses to violence against women. The National Science Foundation awarded $2.3 million for the North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership to reform science education through teacher professional development, implementation of new curriculum materials and development and support of learning communities in the schools. (AASCU e-newsletter, Nov. 16, 2005)