Education & Schools
Treasurer Fitzgerald Encourages Iowans to Observe College Savings Month PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by readMedia   
Friday, 02 September 2011 09:38

DES MOINES, IA (09/01/2011)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald announced today that Iowa has joined other states in declaring September as "College Savings Month" in an effort to increase awareness among families about the importance of saving for their children's higher education expenses.

College Savings Month is a time when families are encouraged to explore the benefits of saving through a 529 plan like College Savings Iowa. Studies have shown that children who have money saved for school are almost four times more likely to attend a four-year college than those with no account.* This makes saving ahead of time one of the most significant things families can do to help make college a reality for their children. By starting early, saving a little at a time and making smart investment choices, parents can make their savings work for them.

"I want families to know it's never too early to start planning for their child's future education," said Fitzgerald. "As a way to raise awareness about the importance of saving for higher education, College Savings Iowa is giving away a free $1,000 account. I encourage Iowans to register today for a chance to win and jump start their college savings." To register, visit

College Savings Iowa is an affordable, tax-advantaged option for families who are saving for their children's higher education. It takes just $25 to open a College Savings Iowa account, and anyone – parents, grandparents, friends and relatives – can invest on behalf of a child. Participants who are Iowa taxpayers can deduct contributions up to $2,865 per beneficiary account from their adjusted gross income in 2011 and there no income or residency restrictions.**

Investors do not need to be a state resident and can withdraw their investment federally tax-free to pay for qualified higher education expenses including tuition, books, supplies and certain room and board costs at any eligible college, university, community college or technical training school in the United States or abroad. To learn more about College Savings Iowa, go to or call 1-888-332-7545.

*From the Center for Social Development study: The Role of Savings and Wealth in Reducing "Wilt" between Expectations and College Attendance. William Elliott III and Sondra Beverly, 2010.

**Adjusted annually for inflation if withdrawals are not qualified, the deductions must be added back to Iowa taxable income. The earnings portion of nonqualified withdrawals may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax, as well as state and local income taxes. The availability of tax or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements.


Augustana College students to study in London PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by readMedia   
Thursday, 01 September 2011 08:28

ROCK ISLAND, IL (09/01/2011)(readMedia)-- Forty-five Augustana College students are studying contemporary and historic Britain and Europe from the heart of one of the world's greatest cities, London. The Fall Term in London program offers students a chance to explore the area while studying with Augustana and British faculty.

From your area this includes:

Kayla Ferguson, a junior from, Orion, Ill. majoring in liberal studies.

Anna Tunnicliff, a junior from, Bettendorf, Iowa majoring in history.

Timothy Gillman, a senior from, Rock Island, Ill. majoring in geography.

John Peters, a senior from, Milan, Ill. majoring in history.

Laurel Williams, a senior from, Milan, Ill. majoring in communication sciences & disorders and English.

"London is a rich historical and cultural center," said Dr. Catherine Carter Goebel, professor and chair of art history at Augustana. "I particularly look forward to sharing its wonderful museums and fabulous art collections with our students. Studying art history through firsthand examination of some of the finest artwork in the world, as well as visiting relevant historic sites, is an exciting opportunity both for our Augustana students as well as their professor."

Joining Dr. Goebel in London will be Dr. Peter Kivisto, professor of sociology, anthropology and social welfare at Augustana. Five courses will be offered during the London term, including sociology and art history taught by Augustana professors, in addition to British history, theatre and contemporary politics taught by local faculty. Included with coursework and as part of the program are several group excursions in and around London, including guided tours of landmarks, museums, theatrical productions and a soccer match, as well as day trips to such historic sites as Stonehenge, Salisbury, Bath and Oxford.

Traveling around and learning more about Great Britain and Europe is what attracted Martin King, a senior geography major from Oswego, Ill., to sign up for the study-abroad program. While in London, students will live in student apartments in the Kensington neighborhood. They will be based in Glasgow during a one-week excursion in Scotland.

Of the 45 Augustana students enrolled in the London program, 39 applied for and received $2,000 through the college's Augie Choice program to help pay for expenses. Augie Choice provides students with the opportunity for the kinds of learning that will make them stand out when they start careers or go on to graduate school.

For more information, contact Keri Rursch, director of public relations, at (309) 794-7721.

PACT (Parenting All Children Together) PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 09:12

Davenport, Iowa -- On September 6, Iowa State University Extension of Scott County, Lutheran Social Services of Iowa and Genesis Bright Beginnings will sponsor the parenting support and education program PACT (Parenting All Children Together) for an eight week series. The program is financially supported by Scott County Kids Early Childhood Iowa. The program is designed to educate and offer support to parents and caregivers of children age birth through five years old and reside in Scott County.

“Parenting is the most important job we will ever have. It is also the toughest! What we provide our children from birth through age five stays with them for the rest of their life. With this huge responsibility, we need to work together. This series will bring together parents and caregivers who want the very best for the children in their life,” said Jennifer Best, Extension Educator and PACT instructor.

The upcoming PACT series will be the second time the program has been offered to the Scott County community. The last series ending in June was very successful. “It was very rewarding to watch the families open themselves up to the learning process,” said Marisa Bloom, Families Program Assistant. “A lot of learning was happening and families were forming bonds and creating informal support systems with their peers. PACT is a needed resource for these very reasons.”

For participating in the PACT program member will receive a free meal at every session, free childcare while adults are learning, a free gift at each session, bus tokens to get to the sessions if transportation is needed, $40 worth of items chosen by the participant if they attend at least 5 of the 8 sessions, fun and friendship with other families, and great information to help parents and caregivers help their children be all they can be.

For more information about PACT or to register, contact Marisa at the Iowa State University Extension office at 563-359-7577 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Webinar to Address Flood Recovery for Cropland PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 09:10

AMES, Iowa -- As waters recede from farmland that has been covered for several months by Missouri River flooding, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Extension are jointly planning a workshop for Monday, Sept. 12 to address cropland issues. The workshop will be conducted via webinar at several viewing sites in both states from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Extension agriculture staff will host the workshop sites and facilitate questions to the panel.

Topics to be covered during the webinar and extension presenters include: sedimentation and debris removal, Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension ag engineer; managing post flooding soils -- flooded soil syndrome, Mahdi Al-Kaisi, ISU Extension soil specialist; cover crops for soil health, Paul Jasa, UNL Extension engineer; and leases and crop insurance on flooded land, William Edwards, ISU Extension farm management specialist. Rick Koelsch, UNL associate dean of extension, will moderate the panel.

“It is important for us to share information with those tasked with caring for farmland post flooding, but it is also important for Extension to hear the concerns and specific issues these folks have on their land,” said Shawn Shouse, extension ag engineer and planning committee member. “There is science that we can apply to this situation, but there is much that comes from farmer experience.”

Physical damage to farm ground may include obvious things like erosion and sand deposition. But some effects are invisible, having to do with the loss of soil microbes and soil structure. Land managers need to start planning and acting as the waters recede so that the soil can be productive again for next year.

“Using webinar technology helps us reach the most people on both sides of the river without having them travel great distances,” said John Wilson, UNL Extension educator and event co-chair. “It also allows for informal discussion at each site among those who have been most affected by the flood and with extension staff.”

In Iowa, the workshop will be held at the following ISU Extension offices: Fremont County in Sidney, Harrison County in Logan, Mills County in Malvern and Monona County in Onawa. ISU Extension in West Pottawattamie County is hosting the session at the Lied Multipurpose Center, 3501 Harry Langdon Blvd, Council Bluffs and Woodbury County Extension is hosting at a site to be determined. Nebraska viewing sites will be in Auburn at a site to be announced, in Blair at the Blair City Hall Council Chambers, in Dakota City at the USDA Service Center, in Falls City at the Courthouse, in Omaha at the Douglas/Sarpy Extension Office and in Tekamah at the City Auditorium. The Extension agriculture educator hosting the workshop at each location will be available after the webinar to address additional questions and concerns, if needed.

The webinar also will be available in South Dakota at the Davison County Extension Complex in Mitchell and in Kennebec at the Lyman County Courthouse. Further information on the Flood Recovery for Cropland Workshop, including additional sites and information as it becomes available, is available on ISU and UNL extension websites: and


Commercial Ag Weed, Insect, Plant Disease Course Set for Nov. 16 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 09:09

Scott County will offer the Commercial Ag Weed, Insect and Plant Disease Management Continuing Instructional Course (CIC) for commercial pesticide applicators Wednesday, November 16, 2011. The program will be shown at locations across Iowa through the Iowa State University Extension Pest Management and the Environment (PME) program.

The local attendance site is the ISU Scott County Extension office. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the course runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The registration fee is $35 on or before Nov. 9 and $45 after Nov. 9. To register or to obtain additional information about the CIC, contact the ISU Scott County Extension office by phoning 563-359-7577.

The course will provide continuing instructional credit for commercial pesticide applicators certified in categories 1A, 1B, 1C and 10. Topics to be covered include protecting groundwater and other nontarget sites, phytotoxicity, pesticide stewardship, pests and pest management.

Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Continuing Education Units (CEUs) in Soil and Water Management and Pest Management will be offered at this program. Please bring your CCA number if interested.

Additional information and registration forms for this and other courses offered by the PME program can be accessed at


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