Education & Schools
Mackenzie Oak Selected as Hall Director at Illinois College PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Elizabeth Findley   
Friday, 13 January 2012 09:45

JACKSONVILLE, IL (01/12/2012)(readMedia)-- Mackenzie Oak of Taylor Ridge has been chosen to serve on the residence life staff at Illinois College for the 2012 academic year.

Oak, is the daughter of Kevin and Cynthia Oak of Taylor Ridge. She is a graduate of Rockridge High School.

Hall directors, or HD's, serve the college in many capacities: implementing, developing and operating the Residential Life program within their building, and serving as role models for their staff and students. HD's are responsible for creating an environment that promotes positive academic and social experiences.

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success.

Local students make Deans' List for fall semester 2011 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by readMedia   
Friday, 13 January 2012 09:29

ROMEOVILLE, IL (01/11/2012)(readMedia)-- Lewis University announces Dean's List honorees.

Brett Busch is a resident of East Moline, Ill.

Bryce Lough is a resident of Orion, Ill.

These students were among those honored on the Lewis University Deans' List for fall semester 2011.

To be eligible for this honor, students must have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours of credit with a grade point average of 3.25 out of a possible 4.0.  Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally aware, and socially responsible graduates. The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit for further information.



MILWAUKEE, WI (01/11/2012)(readMedia)-- The following local students have been named to the Dean's List for the fall 2011 semester at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis:

Mikhaila Norton of Bettendorf, IA. Norton is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.

Alexa Hackfort of Bettendorf, IA. Hackfort is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations.

Thomas Grabow of Davenport, IA. Grabow is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.

Matthew Noe of Rock Island, IL. Noe is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance.

Bradley Whan of Coal Valley, IL. Whan is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering.

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university that draws its more than 11,500 students from all 50 states and more than 75 different countries. In addition to its nationally recognized academic programs, Marquette is known for its service learning programs and internships as students are challenged to use what they learn to make a difference in the world. Find out more about Marquette at

Treasurer Fitzgerald Reminds Teachers to Register for Free Pencils PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Michael Fitzgerald   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 16:02

Teachers must submit their requests for pencils before the April 1st deadline

DES MOINES, IA (01/10/2012)(readMedia)-- Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald wants every second and third grade teacher in the state to take advantage of the free pencils being offered through Prepare for the Basics program. This no-cost program, which provides pencils for students to use during the Iowa Assessment Test, supplied over 12,800 students with pencils during the 2010-11 school year. "Any teacher interested in participating in the program has until April 1st to submit their requests," stated Fitzgerald. "I really hope all teachers take advantage of this program. It is a small gesture of appreciation for all they do."

The Prepare for the Basics program also provides information to families about College Savings Iowa, the state's 529 plan that is designed to give them an affordable way to save money for college. "Families who begin saving early are better prepared to meet the educational needs of their children. Any little bit that can be saved now will offset what has to be borrowed in the future," Fitzgerald said.

College Savings Iowa lets anyone – parents, grandparents, friends and relatives – invest for college on behalf of a child. Iowa taxpayers can deduct up to $2,975 in contributions per beneficiary account from their adjusted gross income in 2012* Investors do not need to be a state resident and can withdraw their investment tax-free to pay for qualified higher education expenses including tuition, books, supplies and room and board at any eligible college, university, community college or accredited technical training school in the United States or abroad.** For more information about College Savings Iowa, go to or call 1-888-672-9116.

Teachers who would like to take part in the Prepare for the Basics program can register online by visiting and clicking on the financial literacy tab. Materials should be requested at least two weeks prior to testing to ensure timely arrival and will be delivered directly to the participating schools. Supplies are limited, so early registration is advised.

* Adjusted annually for inflation. If withdrawals are not qualified, the deductions must be added back to Iowa taxable income.

** Earnings on non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax on the earnings, as well as state and local income taxes. The availability of tax or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements.


Investment returns are not guaranteed and you could lose money by investing in the plan. Participants assume all investment risks as well as responsibility for any federal and state tax consequences. If you are not an Iowa taxpayer, consider before investing whether your or the designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state's qualified tuition program.

For more information about the College Savings Iowa 529 Plan, call 888-672-9116 or visit to obtain a Program Description. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information are included in the Program Description; read and consider it carefully before investing.

Obama administration backtracks on student loan announcement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 15:55

Last year, Senator Grassley asked President Obama for clarification on the legal authority to implement the components of the President’s announcement that he was taking unilateral action to reduce select borrower’s student loan obligations.  Click here for Senator Grassley’s letter.  The inquiry was based on the implication in the President’s comments that he intended to go beyond the laws passed by Congress.

The subsequent response from the Secretary of Education indicated that, while the White House announcement had referred to changes to the Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan that go beyond a law passed by Congress in 2010, the Department of Education was actually beginning the process to change the regulations governing the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan, an older program with a more flexible authorizing statute that gives greater discretion to the Secretary of Education.  Moreover, while the White House’s October announcement stated that this was part of a “series of executive actions” he was implementing and provided specific details about how the initiative would work, the Secretary of Education’s response to Senator Grassley explained that the Department of Education was actually initiating a negotiated rulemaking process by which various stakeholders will meet to negotiate the final details of the new regulations.  Click here to read Secretary Duncan’s letter.  In other words, the President’s announcement is just an initial proposal and the actual details have yet to be determined.

Here’s a comment from Senator Grassley about this revelation:

“I am glad to know that the Department of Education may not be flagrantly ignoring the law after all as President Obama’s announcement initially implied.  However, the misinformation in the White House announcement that erroneously steers interested students to the IBR plan is still a potential source of confusion for students and financial aid advisors.  I hope the White House will issue a correction.  I also continue to have concerns about the potential costs of this initiative given the Secretary’s refusal to answer my detailed questions about how the Administration’s cost estimate was calculated.”

For additional background, the October 25, 2011, press release issued by the White House cited the fact that, “Current law allows borrowers to limit their loan payments to 15 percent of their discretionary income and forgives all remaining debt after 25 years” and gives a website for more information about the Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan before going on to point out that, “…Congress enacted, a plan to further ease student loan debt payment by lowering the IBR loan payment to 10 percent of income, and the forgiveness timeline to 20 years. This change is set to go into effect for all new borrowers after 2014—mostly impacting future college students.”  The White House announcement then states, “Today, the Administration is proposing to offer even more immediate relief to many current college students by giving them the chance to limit loan payments to 10 percent of their discretionary income starting in 2012.”  Or, as the President said in his remarks at the University of Colorado the following day, “So today, I’m here to announce that we’re going to speed things up.  We’re going to make these changes work for students who are in college right now.”

News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Alvaro Macias   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 15:51

BETTENDORF, Iowa –Ascentra Credit Union was recently awarded $10,000 through two grants to help the organization’s financial education efforts in our community in 2012.  The funds will be used for real-world financial literacy programs like “Banzai!”  The grants were provided by the National Credit Union Foundation and the Iowa Credit Union Foundation.

“When 18 to 24 year olds are the fastest growing demographic declaring bankruptcy, it’s clear that there is a need for young people to be more financially savvy,” Ascentra Credit Union’s Community Development Coordinator Alvaro Macias said.  “For that reason financial education for young people is now more important than ever.”

Ascentra realizes teachers need resources for an often mandated, but also often underfunded curriculum of financial literacy.  As a not-for-profit financial institution that promotes financial education to its members, teachers can count on an organization that shares the same values to provide a free, comprehensive, quality financial education program.

Banzai has been requested by 19 in 2011 area teachers and Ascentra plans to at least double that to 35-42 teachers.  If you are a teacher, and interested in Banazai please visit to learn more and sign up to receive free materials for your classes.  You can even see how your state's financial literacy standards align with Banzai.

Some of the schools that have used Banzai include Davenport North High School, Assumption High School, Williams Intermediate School, Rock Island High School, Moline High School, Prince of Peace High School and many more.

“By preparing students with a solid understanding of how to manage their money, they will be better prepared when starting out in life and stepping out into the real world,” Macias added.

For more information about Ascentra Credit Union please visit  To learn more about the National Credit Union Foundation visit  To learn more about the Iowa Credit Union Foundation visit

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