Education & Schools
On Eve of Obama Visit, Loebsack Urges Action on Bill to Prevent Doubling of Student Loan Rates PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Joe Hand   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:42

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today urged the House Republican leadership to swiftly bring up and pass legislation that will prevent student loan interest rates from doubling, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, on July 1st.  Loebsack is a cosponsor of H.R. 3826, which would ensure the increase does not occur.  If the increase were to go into effect, the average student borrower would have to pay an additional $1000.  Loebsack is a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, which has jurisdiction over this legislation.

“With tuition rising rapidly and far too many Iowans struggling to make ends meet, middle-class families are finding it more and more difficult to pay for college. I strongly believe that every student deserves the opportunity to attend college if they wish to pursue higher education,” wrote Loebsack.  “I grew up in poverty, and I would not have had the opportunity to attend college without financial assistance. It is extremely important that we work to address student loan interest rates because without Congressional action, 7 million low- and middle-income families will be subject to a $6 billion interest rate hike.”

As a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, Loebsack has championed numerous pieces of legislation to increase access to higher education, including:

  • College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) Loebsack helped craft and pass this legislation, which makes college more affordable and accessible for all Iowans by increasing the maximum Pell Grant scholarship and expanding eligibility;
  • Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, H.R. 3221 Loebsack was a cosponsor of this bill, which will save American taxpayers $61 billion by making the student loan process more efficient.  The bill further expanded the maximum Pell Grant available from $5,550 in 2010 to $5,975 in 2017, granting Iowa students more than $291 million for higher education. This bill was the largest single investment in student aid in America’s history, and will make college more accessible, transform the way student loan programs operate and strengthens community colleges.

A copy of the letter Loebsack sent to the House Speaker and the Chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee can be seen here.


Governor Quinn Announces New School Construction Project PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:36

Erie Elementary Charter School Expands Educational Opportunities for Low-Income Students

CHICAGO – April 24, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today continued his commitment to improving education in Illinois by joining students, parents, advocates and community leaders to break ground on an addition to Erie Elementary Charter School (EECS). The state is providing $12 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funds to build the addition, which will help the school expand its innovative curriculum and its use of technology to improve learning.

“We must invest in 21st century facilities that will help provide our children with a 21st century education,” Governor Quinn said. “Supporting early education and elementary schools will increase students’ success in the future and help them realize their full potential, which paves the way for economic growth.”

Erie Elementary Charter School (EECS) opened in 2005 with 80 students in kindergarten through 1st grade. Its programs were based on the strong foundation of the nationally-accredited preschool program at the Erie Neighborhood House, which has been serving and educating Chicago’s low-income immigrant population since 1870. It has since expanded to serve students in grades K-5, and today’s announcement will increase its capacity to serve more than 400 low-income or disadvantaged students in grades K-8.

“Erie Elementary Charter School hopes to close the achievement gap by providing high quality, bilingual education that puts students on the path to success in secondary and higher education,” said EECS Principal Velia Soto. “We are grateful for the state’s support of these critical efforts to offer a quality education for our students.”

The new 16,000 square-foot addition will mean more classroom space for art, music and parent education, as well as extracurricular activities. The building will also host a new gymnasium, a computer lab and expanded staff office and administration space. The facility will also be compliant with the American’s with Disabilities Act and include environmentally safe and efficient processes necessary to quality for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification.

“Education plays a key role in our ability to develop and maintain a workforce that is prepared to meet the challenges of a 21st century economy,” said DCEO Director David Vaught. “This funding will help ensure more Illinois children have access to a quality educational environment and facilities that will give them a leg up and prepare them for the future.”

In his proposed budget, Governor Quinn reiterated his commitment to education, jobs and economic growth by maintaining funding for K-12 and higher education, increasing early childhood funding by $20 million, and calling for a $50 million increase for the state Monetary Award Program (MAP), which provides college scholarships for needy students. Governor Quinn also recently announced $623 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding to help dozens of school districts statewide make critical repairs, additions and technology updates to classrooms. Combined with local dollars, the funding will allow school districts to complete projects totaling more than $1.2 billion.

To ensure the continuation of the state's capital plan and projects like these, which are putting hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents back to work, Governor Quinn has proposed necessary changes to stabilize and restructure the state's pension and Medicaid programs after decades of fiscal mismanagement. The proposals outline up to $85 billion in savings from changes to the pension system (based on current actuarial assumptions), and $2.7 billion in savings from restructuring Medicaid. These changes will lead to greater certainty in Illinois' business climate and help respond to serious concerns from the ratings' agencies. The billions of dollars saved through these reforms are key to the state's ability to ensure that critical capital improvement and road safety projects in Illinois are able to move forward.


Rivermont Academic Invitational PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Rachel Chamberlain   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:17

Wednesday, April 25th  9:00am-2:00pm

200 Middle School students from 23 schools around the Quad Cities will come together on Wednesday, April 25th to compete in the 5th Annual Rivermont Academic Invitational (RAI). This year's theme is The Human Body. 

The Rivermont Academic Invitational is an academic team competition providing youth of the Quad City Area with opportunities to strategize and problem solve in both individual and collaborative settings. It is the goal to provide challenges which foster creative, visionary and critical thinking and encourage students to identify local, global and environmental relevance.  Activity designers and judges for this competition are professionals from many local businesses.

The competition takes place on Wednesday, April 25th from 9:00am-2:00pm on the Rivermont Collegiate campus located at 1821 Sunset Drive, Bettendorf, IA 52722.

For more information about the Rivermont Academic Invitational contact Leigh Ann Schroeder 563-359-1366 ext. 343

News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:15

Farm Bureau awards $180,000 to current and future college students

 WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – April 23, 2012 – Iowa students are preparing themselves to become the future leaders of agriculture and are interested in a variety of areas ranging from genetics to business to education to nursing. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) has awarded $1,000 scholarships for tuition to 180 students who plan to study agriculture at their chosen colleges and universities.

In addition, Clayton Robison of Henry County was named the recipient of the Daniel Johnson Memorial Scholarship, a one-time $500 award for a student from one of eleven counties in southeast Iowa: Keokuk, Washington, Louisa, Muscatine, Wapello, Jefferson, Henry, Des Moines, Davis, Van Buren and Lee.  The scholarship is awarded in honor of the late Daniel Johnson, a former Iowa Farm Bureau director, farmer, volunteer firefighter and school board president.

“These scholarships help students pursue their dreams and so many of those career aspirations include agriculture or support jobs in rural communities. We’re honored to help these future leaders get a start in their academic pursuits and help them with their educational goals,” said IFBF Community Resources Director Barb Lykins.

First-time Farm Bureau scholarship recipients include 54 graduating high school seniors or students currently enrolled in their chosen college or university.  Students are eligible to renew the scholarships for up to four years by maintaining a minimum grade point average of 2.5 and by being a student in good standing with the college or university.

Six recipients were selected from each of the nine IFBF districts.  Scholarships were awarded to children of Farm Bureau members who plan to or currently attend an accredited college, university or community college to earn two or four-year degrees.

First-time applicants were asked to write an essay indicating the contributions they expect to make to agriculture and the rural community.  They also were selected based on their academic achievement, financial need, community and extracurricular involvement and letters of recommendation.

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Editor’s Note: First-time scholarship winners (listed alphabetically by hometown), parent names and future or current college are listed below.


Ackley, Samantha Roelfs, Jim and Kandi Roelfs, Iowa State University

Alburnett, Dustin Lange, Timothy and Rhonda Lange, Iowa State University

Ashton, Michelle Fischer, Doug and Janelle Fischer, South Dakota State University

Audubon, Stacey Bruch, Brian and Nancy Bruch, Des Moines Area Community College

Chariton, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Tim and Darcy Fitzgerald, Iowa State University

Chariton, Tyler Folkerts, Todde and Michelle Folkerts, Central College

Clearfield, Matthew Kerns, Steven and Becky Kerns, Iowa State University

Clutier, Kelsey Upah, Duane and Gail Upah, Iowa State University

Columbus Junction, Delaney Howell, Dale and Dana Howell, Northwest Missouri State University

Corning, Haley Holbrook, Jerry and Tracy Holbrook, Iowa State University

Corwith, Katelyn Terhark, Bruce and Jackie Terhark, North Central University

Decorah, Kilah Hemesath, Keith and Linda Hemesath, Iowa State University

Delmar, Landon Rorah, Greg and Mary Lou Rorah, Kirkwood Community College

Donnellson, Derek Vandenberg, Brad and Sue Vandenberg, Kirkwood Community College

Dubuque, Michael Bahl, Martin and Linda Bahl, Iowa State University

Early, Isaac Jepsen, Lonny and Tracey Jepsen, Iowa State University

Eddyville, Nathaniel Harris, Terry and Lois Harris, Dordt College

Fairfield, Whitney Taglauer, Brian and Sherry Taglauer, Iowa State University

Galt, Adelai Swanson, Stuart and Lori Swanson, Iowa State University

Grafton, Marena Bartz, Merlin and Lisa Bartz, Iowa State University

Granville, Sterling Schnepf, Richard and Sharon Schnepf, Iowa State University

Greenfield, Rob Mensing, Bruce and Di Mensing, Iowa State University

Grimes, Lyndsey Niebuhr, Steven and Cynthia Niebuhr, Iowa State University

Griswold, Abigail Leighton, Scott and Angela Leighton, Iowa State University

Guttenberg, Kellie Walters, Barbara Wall and Marvin Walters, Iowa State University

Harlan, Nathan Ohms, Neil and Melanie Ohms, Iowa State University

Henderson, Samantha Keast, Russell and Diane Keast, Iowa State University

Hubbard, Becky Cook, Jeff and Val Cook, University of Northern Iowa

Jesup, Chelsea Bearbower, Don and Sue Bearbower, Upper Iowa University

Jewell, Calvin Carlson, Brad and Karleen Carlson, Iowa State University

Kellerton, Claire Andresen, Lyle and Stacey Andresen, South Dakota State University

Le Mars, Rebecca Clay, John and Kimberly Clay, Iowa State University

Madrid, Spencer Larson, Mike and Kathy Toms, Iowa State University

Manchester, Mikaela Boss, Todd and Donna Boss, Iowa State University

Mapleton, Kay Drenkhahn, Daniel and Julie Drenkhahn, Briar Cliff University

Montezuma, Kendra Doty, Daniel and Shawn Doty, Iowa State University

Moulton, Madison Probasco, John and Brenda Probasco, Iowa State University

New Sharon, Alexandra Ferguson, Brett and Carrie Ferguson, Iowa State University

Palmer, Amber Butcher, Joe and Beth Butcher, University of Northern Iowa

Plainfield, Kelsey Peters, David and Barb Peters, Wartburg College

Prole, Andria Harper, Amy and Craig Harper, Simpson College

Rockwell City, Tate Klocke, Doug and Paula Klocke, Iowa State University

Runnells, Sarah Stewart, Rob and Krista Stewart, Des Moines Area Community College

Sac City, Lauren Houska, Pete and Nancy Houska, Iowa State University

Sioux Center, Micah Rensink, Mark and Deb Rensink, South Dakota State University

Solon, Rebecca Haugland, Brett and Lisa Haugland, Kirkwood Community College

Spirit Lake, Keith Byers, Mark and Karen Byers, Drake University

St. Ansgar, Hailey Meitner, Leland and Barb Meitner, Iowa State University

State Center, Celene Slifka, Darrell and Cheryl Slifka, Iowa State University

Toledo, Tara Gray, Terry and Julie Gray, Kirkwood Community College

West Liberty, Avery Meyers, Mike and Pam Meyers, Iowa State University

What Cheer, Adam Striegel, Mike and Suzette Striegel, Iowa State University

Winfield, Clayton Robison, Chris and Sharon Robison, Iowa State University

Worthington, Jenna Lansing, David and Rebecca Lansing, Coe College

University of Nebraska-Lincoln honors local students at All-University Honors Convocation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Tom Simons   
Thursday, 19 April 2012 15:52

LINCOLN, NE (04/19/2012)(readMedia)-- University of Nebraska-Lincoln undergraduate students will be honored in conjunction with UNL's All-University Honors Convocation April 22 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts, including 26 seniors who will be recognized as Chancellor's Scholars, the university's highest undergraduate academic honor.

Students are recognized at Honors Convocation for their cumulative academic achievements (as opposed to Dean's List, which is for one semester). Honorees include:

➢ Chancellor's Scholars, students who graduated in December or who will receive their degrees in May or August and have maintained 4.0 grade-point averages on all collegiate work at UNL and elsewhere;

➢ Superior Scholars, seniors graduating in the 2011-12 academic year who have been recognized at Honors Convocation each year of their enrollment;

➢ High Scholars, students other than Chancellor's Scholars and Superior Scholars who are in the top 10 percent of their class.

Students from this area who will be honored include:

Bettendorf: Hannah Marjorie Kurth, junior, High Scholar , College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Bettendorf: Kera Anne Linn, freshman, High Scholar , College of Arts and Sciences.

Bettendorf: Nathaniel Robert Sullivan, sophomore, High Scholar with a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average, College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Davenport: Samantha Walton Adrales, freshman, High Scholar , College of Arts and Sciences.

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