higher education

Haslam’s ‘Complete College TN Act’ flops on House floor — a second setback for governor’s higher ed agenda?

A bill cutting state-funded scholarships of college students who complete less than 30 hours of course work per year – part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s legislative package for the year – got more negative votes than positive votes on the House floor Monday.

The “Complete College Tennessee Act” (HB2114) has been promoted by the governor as a means of improving college graduation rates, now reported at 26 percent in two-year colleges and technical institutes and at 57 percent in four-year universities. But some legislators contend it would unfairly penalize students who are working while going to school, who are sidelined by illness for a semester or otherwise have valid reasons for completing 30 hours of credits in three semesters, as the bill requires.

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Lawmaker cites satirical website to nix hazing bill

A lawmaker misquoted an article on the satirical website The Onion in supporting efforts to deep-six a bill targeting hazing among college sororities and fraternities.

“I’m reading right here on The Onion a report about Kentucky seniors who hazed freshman basketball players,” said Rep. Micah Van Huss (R-Jonesborough).

Van Huss appears to have been referring to a 2016 article on the satire website titled: “New Report Reveals Kentucky Seniors Forced To Endure Brutal Hazing From Freshman Players.”

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Campus booze bill fails on House floor

A bill authorizing sale of alcoholic beverages for the first time on a Tennessee university campus during sports events failed on the House floor after critics declared it would set a bad precedent in a state where there’s already ample alcohol available through efforts of the liquor lobby.

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In-state tuition bill dead; sponsor blames election year politics

Sen. Todd Gardenhire says the push to allow some undocumented students living in Tennessee to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges is dead for the year because of election-year politics, reports the Times Free Press. The sponsor of SB2263 let the bill die without seeking a vote in the Senate Education Committee’s last meeting of the session on Wednesday, saying it was sure to fail.

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TBI reports campus crime down slightly overall; theft and DUI offenses up

Press release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has released to the public its annual crime study detailing the volume and nature of crime on the state’s college and university campuses. ‘Crime on Campus 2017’ compiles data submitted to TBI by the state’s colleges, universities, and law enforcement agencies through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS).

Among the report’s findings:

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New presidents named at two TN community colleges

Press release from Tennessee Board of Regents

The Tennessee Board of Regents today (Wednesday) appointed Dr. Shanna L. Jackson as the next president of Nashville State Community College and Dr. Michael L. Torrence as the next president of Motlow State Community College.

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Black says legislature should reject in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants (Update: Lee ditto)

Press release from Diane Black campaign

Nashville, Tenn. – Today, Diane Black released the following statement on the in-state tuition bill currently being debated by the state legislature, which would allow in-state tuition for illegal immigrants:

“I have said many times that if the state legislature were to pass a bill providing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, I would veto it. In-state tuition is a benefit provided to legal residents of our state, and it should stay that way.

“Too many times, so-called conservatives get elected promising to fight against liberal policies, only to embrace them once in office. It’s a shame to see our state legislature do just that, particularly without real debate or even a recorded vote in committee. It’s time for the true conservatives in the legislature to stand up and say no.”

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In-state tuition bill advances from House subcommitee

Gov. Bill Haslam, Rep. Mark White, and Sen. Todd Gardenhire pose for a photo with supporters of offering in-state tuition for students whose parents brought them to country illegally as children. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A House subcommittee on Tuesday advanced a bill to offer instate tuition to students regardless of their immigration status as long as they have spent at least three years in a Tennessee high school.

The bill has the support of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who met with more than 100 students on the steps of the Capitol on Tuesday. Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) said the challenge will be to get his bill through the full Education Administration and Planning Committee, where a similar bill was narrowly defeated last year.

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Slatery among critics of federal move to block state oversight of student loan collectors

The Trump administration is taking steps to shield student loan collection companies from state regulators, over the objections of consumer advocates and even some Republican attorneys general, reports Politico. Tennessee AG Herbert Slatery is one of them.

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Tennessee Tech disavows study used in lobbying, financed by trucking company

The president of Tennessee Tech University has disavowed a study used to help justify the repeal of tighter federal emissions standards for a type of freight trucks, reports the Washington Post. He says that experts now question “the methodology and accuracy” of the industry-funded test.

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