Education & Schools
Branstad, Reynolds announce Home Base Iowa Certified Higher Academic Military Partner program PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 12:33

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced the Home Base Iowa Certified Higher Academic Military Partner (CHAMP) program. The program allows Iowa colleges and universities to become CHAMP certified for their ability to educate and assist veterans on campus. The certification will help attract veterans leaving the service to Iowa and help academic institutions market their campus as veteran friendly.

“With 495 veterans hired through Home Base Iowa thus far, it’s clear our veterans’ jobs initiative is a growing success,” said Branstad. “Today’s announcement of the Home Base Iowa Certified Higher Academic Military Partner program is another step toward ensuring service members transitioning to civilian life have the educational resources they need here in Iowa.”

The Home Base Iowa Act was signed into law on May 26, 2014. It passed the Iowa Senate 46-0 and the Iowa House 94-2.

“Governor Branstad and I are pleased to see the continued broad bipartisan support Home Base Iowa continues to receive across the state,” said Reynolds. “With nearly two-thirds of Iowa currently in the process of becoming Home Base Iowa Communities, it’s clear Iowans are embracing this initiative to match veterans with quality careers.”

To become a Home Base Iowa CHAMP campus, education institutions must meet three of the four criteria in each of the three categories below:

1. On-Campus Veteran Resources

a.        Full Time Veterans Services Coordinator or Veterans’ Representative and office.

b.      Veterans Center/study space dedicated to veteran student population with possibility of computers to sign up for benefits or meeting area for Vet Club.

c.       Veterans’ Services Support Group (made up of Veterans’ Representative, Advisors, Faculty, Staff) to address issues veterans face and encourage veterans clubs and meetings.

d.      Career placement assistance

2. Mindfulness of Service Member Transitions

a.       Consistent credit honored for all of the established military training and schools (Joint Services Transcript, Community College of the Air Force credit, ACE recommended credit, CLEP, DSST).

b.      Advanced/Preferential registration dates for student veteran population.

c.       Offer veterans sections for new student orientation.

d.      College President Signature on Principles of Excellence laid out in Executive Order 13607

3. Financial Considerations

a.       Automatic in-state tuition for former active-duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, spouses and children domiciled in Iowa, regardless of residency requirements.

b.      Deferred billing options to ensure timing of VA benefit payments does not hinder academic success.

c.       Deferred billing or options to assist student veterans in purchasing books, tools and supplies required for vocational programs.

d.      Specific scholarship for transitioning service members and/or their dependents.

BACKGROUND ON THE HOME BASE IOWA ACT 

Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds launched the Home Base Iowa initiative in November of 2013 at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge. Branstad and Reynolds named Congressman Leonard Boswell and Casey’s CEO Bob Myers the co-chairs of the initiative.

In January 2014, Gov. Branstad made Home Base Iowa the centerpiece of his legislative plan by stating at his Condition of the State address, “This session, the centerpiece of my agenda is Home Base Iowa. It is a bipartisan jobs plan focusing on recruiting service members to Iowa and matching them with good, high paying careers. […] Our veterans have risked their lives defending our freedom.  To show our gratitude, let’s make Iowa the leader in respect, support and opportunity for veterans.”

Four communities – Greene County, Howard County, Clarke County and Floyd County – have become certified Home Base Iowa Communities.

The Home Base Iowa Act does the following:

  • Fully exempts military pensions from state income tax.
  • Gives veterans, their spouses and dependents in-state tuition at Iowa’s colleges and universities.
  • Allows Iowa’s licensing boards to adopt rules allowing credit for military training and experience in the licensing process.
  • Allows private-sector companies to follow the public sector’s lead by allowing a preference in hiring and promoting veterans.
  • Eliminates the special plate issuance fees charged for plates associated with military service.
  • Expands eligibility for the Military Homeownership Assistance Program, which provides $5,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance.  Additional funding for the program is provided in a separate appropriations bill.

In addition to the Home Base Iowa Act, Branstad also signed Senate File 2352 in 2014.

Senate File 2352 an Act relating to the additional homestead credit for certain disabled veterans and including effective date and applicability provisions.

For more information on Home Base Iowa, please visit www.HomeBaseIowa.org.

 
Branstad, Reynolds applaud Board of Regents vote to continue tuition freeze for Iowa students PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 09:29

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today released the following statements applauding the Iowa Board of Regents’ action, which is the first step toward freezing tuition at Regent universities for the third-straight year.

“We’re pleased the Iowa Board of Regents continues working with us to give Iowa students access to affordable, high-quality education in Iowa. We look forward to working with the Board of Regents on our initiative to provide Iowa students a variety of fixed-priced four-year degrees. Upon receiving the Revenue Estimating Conference’s December report, we will begin crafting the state budget with hopes to continue the tuition freeze.” – Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad

“I commend the Iowa Board of Regents for their ongoing commitment to affordable higher education.  Governor Branstad and I believe that Iowa can take another step by implementing four-year degrees for $10,000 and a tax credit initiative to align charitable giving with student debt reduction.” – Iowa Lt. Gov.  Kim Reynolds

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Treasurer Fitzgerald Helps Teachers Prepare Students for the Iowa Assessment Test PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Karen Austin   
Thursday, 23 October 2014 13:14

DES MOINES, IA (10/21/2014)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald is offering Iowa teachers pencils to be distributed during the annual Iowa Assessment Test. The treasurer's program, Prepare for the Basics, offers free #2 pencils to be distributed by teachers. Last year, the program distributed over 29,000 pencils to schools statewide. "Testing helps teachers monitor the growth of students' basic skills," Fitzgerald said. "This program is a small gesture of appreciation to our teachers for their hard work."

Along with the new pencil, students will receive information to take home about College Savings Iowa, the state-sponsored 529 plan. College Savings Iowa offers families a tax-advantaged way to save money for their children's higher education. Participants who are Iowa taxpayers can deduct contributions up to $3,098 per beneficiary from their 2014 adjusted gross income, and there are no income or residency restrictions.* "Families that save early are better prepared to meet the future educational needs for their children," Fitzgerald stated. "Saving ahead of time may reduce the need to borrow for college."

Teachers who would like to participate in the Prepare for the Basics program can register online at IowaTreasurer.gov. Participants can register by clicking on the tab For Citizens, then clicking on the Financial Literacy tab, which will take you to the Prepare for the Basics section. Program materials will be sent directly to the participating schools. Supplies are limited, so early registration is advised. For more information about College Savings Iowa, please visit CollegeSavingsIowa.com or call 1-888-672-9116.

*Adjusted annually for inflation. If withdrawals are not qualified, the deductions must be added back to Iowa taxable income. The availability of tax or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements.

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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 www.collegesavingsiowa.com 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. Vanguard Marketing Corporation, Distributor.

College Savings Iowa is an Iowa trust sponsored by the Iowa State Treasurer's Office. The Treasurer of the State of Iowa sponsors and is responsible for overseeing the administration of the College Savings Iowa 529 Plan. The Vanguard Group, Inc., serves as Investment Manager and Vanguard Marketing Corporation, an affiliate of The Vanguard Group, Inc., assists the Treasurer with marketing and distributing the Plan. Ascensus Investment Advisors, LLC, provides records administration services. The Plan's portfolios, although they invest in Vanguard mutual funds, are not mutual funds.

 
Braley Touts Plans to Fight for Iowa Families and Students, While Ernst Would Eliminate Department of Education and Jeopardize Federal Student Aid PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Sam Lau   
Thursday, 23 October 2014 08:13
Ames, IA – Bruce Braley today visited Iowa State University to discuss the clear choice in the US Senate race on college affordability and highlight the importance of voting early in this year’s crucial midterm election. Joni Ernst has admitted the consequences of her policies would be “very painful and we know that.” While Bruce continues traveling the state and talking to Iowans about his plans to fight for all Iowa students and families, not just the wealthiest few, Joni Ernst puts her special interest agenda ahead of Iowa’s families and would eliminate the Department of Education, privatize student loans, and increase costs for Iowa students and families.

“A college education is the gateway to economic opportunity, but too often, the rising cost of tuition and other college costs are putting that dream out of reach,” said Braley. “Few issues are more important for Iowa families than a strong education, and the choice couldn’t be clearer. My opponent would eliminate the Department of Education, privatize student loans, and increase costs for Iowa students and families. While Sen. Ernst may think that we need extreme policies that would inflict, in her words, ‘painful,’ consequences on Iowa’s families, I’ll never stop fighting to expand access to a quality college education. Iowans need a Senator who fights for all families and students, not just the wealthiest few.”

While Braley is working to reduce the burden of college costs, Joni Ernst said she'd do away with federal student loans and Pell grants, which could put college out of reach for the hundreds of thousands of Iowans who rely on that aid annually for their education. As a report released recently by Braley for Iowa shows, State Sen. Ernst’s plan has devastating consequences for Iowa students and families, including:

Across Iowa, eliminating the Department of Education would:
  • Eliminate the Pell Grants that 111,000 students receive.
  • Eliminate the 228,000 federal loans that have been distributed to Iowa students
  • Force Iowa Students Receiving Pell Grants To Pay Up To $5,730 More Per Year For College – Or $22,295 over four years
  • Force Iowa Students To Take On Thousands In Debt Through Private Lenders
  • Slash Federal Work-Study Aid For More Than 4,000 Iowa Students
At Iowa State University:
  • 6,271 students received Pell Grants to attend Iowa State University
  • ISU graduates with student loan debt owed on average $24,300 in federal obligations
Braley has made college affordability a priority throughout his time in Congress. In addition to working to expand the Pell Grant program and keep student interest rates and payments low, he has introduced legislation to renew tax credits that offset tuition and college costs. Braley also supports legislation that allows people to refinance student loans to lower interest rates.

Braley also emphasized today the importance of voting early in this year’s crucial midterm election. Voting early by mail or in person is the simplest and easiest way to cast a ballot. Iowans can vote early in person from now until November 3, or they can vote by mail anytime between now and Election Day.  Iowans can find their early voting location or can request a ballot to vote by mail at vote.brucebraley.com.

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Local students earn Central College presidential scholarships PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Laura Billingsley   
Thursday, 23 October 2014 08:03

PELLA, (10/20/2014)(readMedia)-- Area students earn presidential scholarships from Central College for their commitment to high academic achievement.

Annie De Vries of Eldridge is a recent graduate from North Scott H S and is now a freshman at Central College.

Tegan Hoover of Leclaire is a recent graduate from Pleasant Valley H S and is now a freshman at Central College.

Sarah Kersten of Davenport is a recent graduate from Davenport Central H S and is now a freshman at Central College.

Jacob Logan of Bettendorf is a recent graduate from Bettendorf H S and is now a freshman at Central College.

Alexis Lotspeich of Davenport is a recent graduate from Davenport West H S and is now a freshman at Central College.

Lauren Parsons of Davenport is a recent graduate from Davenport West H S and is now a freshman at Central College.

Adam Sargeant of Bettendorf is a recent graduate from Pleasant Valley H S and is now a freshman at Central College.

Central's presidential scholarships range from $14,500 to $18,500 and are renewable for four years. Central evaluates scholarships based on a combination of cumulative high school GPA and ACT/SAT composite test score results.

Central College is a residential liberal arts college dedicated to the education of 1,500 undergraduate students. Founded in 1853, the college is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America and NCAA Division III athletics. Central is a recognized leader in study abroad as a result of its international, residential programs. The college is located in Pella, Iowa, a thriving community of 10,000 two minutes from the state's largest lake and 40 minutes southeast of Des Moines. Learn more at www.central.edu.

 
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