Education & Schools
Simon to ISU students: Affordability matters PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Friday, 19 October 2012 07:01

Lt. Governor calls for reforms to stabilize college costs

 

NORMAL -- October 18, 2012. After working alongside Illinois State University students in the dining hall today, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon called on federal, state and higher education leaders to work together to make college more affordable for Illinois students.

Simon, who serves as the Governor's point person on education reform, cited national debate over higher education funding as she urged stakeholders to ensure the next generation of students is not priced out of a college credential they need to land a good-paying job.

"We cannot lose sight of our students who must work and borrow to bridge the gap between financial aid and rising college costs," Simon said. "To keep our state competitive in the national and global economy, we need more students to complete college than ever before. The only way we can achieve that goal is if college is affordable. We must work together to rein in costs."

Illinois ranks at the bottom of states when measuring the ability of low-income families to afford the net cost of an education at a public four-year institution in Illinois, and 46th in the net cost as a percent of income for middle-income families, according to the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

Data expected to be released by the College Board next week confirms that the cost of college has outpaced other goods and services for the past 30 years, even as family incomes have declined in the past decade. To pay the bills, students racked up an average of $26,682 in student loans in 2010, up 14.3 percent from three years earlier and more than double what they owed in 1995, according to a Pew Research Center report released in early October.

Shayla Dennis, a senior studying food industry management, is one of many students at ISU and across the state feeling the cost crunch. Dennis was able to save money by earning an associates degree from Illinois Central College, but she still needs to patch together grants, loans and work study to make college possible.

“I live off-campus and don’t have a residence hall meal plan, so my job helps pay for other expenses that quickly add up,” Dennis said. “Pell and Perkins funds help, but working allows me to take out less in loans.”

Simon is visiting all 12 public universities in Illinois this fall to hold College Affordability Summits with students and emphasize that higher education funding must be a higher priority for state, federal and school leaders. After meeting with work study students and shadowing them at the Watterson Commons Dining Center, she outlined three ways stakeholders could work together to keep college affordable:

Consumer protections: Simon supports House Bill 5248, which would require all degree-granting institutions that operate in Illinois to publish online College Choice Reports. The reports would contain information such as net costs, average debt and completion rates in an easy-to-read and easy-to-find format. Unlike the federally proposed “shopping sheet” which provides cost information after a student applies to a school, the College Choice Report would be available to students online before they apply, to help them find a college or university that fits their needs and their budget.

Targeted assistance: To better use state resources, Simon wants to strengthen the Monetary Award Program and insure MAP grants promote college attendance and completion and reduce the achievement gap between low-income and higher-income students. MAP grants are currently awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students based on financial need, but state funding reaches only about half of eligible students. Simon currently serves on a MAP Eligibility Task Force that is evaluating ways to improve distributional equity and encourage timely degree completion. A report to the General Assembly is due January 1, 2013.

Tax relief for middle class families: More than 9 million students and families are taking advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, saving them up to $10,000 over four years of college. Simon supports making this federal tax credit permanent and preventing it from expiring at the end of this year.

“Cutting investments directly related to economic growth doesn’t make sense. We should work together on policies that prioritize education and employment, not shortchange Illinois students and quality employers,” Simon said."Together we could stabilize the cost for public universities and community colleges, following tuition and fee increases that have outpaced inflation, family incomes and available aid over the past 20 years."

Eric Zarnikow, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, cited recent MAP award activity as evidence that affordability should be a key issue for Illinois leaders. For every eligible student who received a MAP grant this school year, another was denied due to lack of state funds.

“MAP is one of the largest needs-based financial aid programs in the country. While approximately 150,000 students will receive an award this year, just as many will be left on the sidelines as a result of limited funding,” Zarnikow said.

“The higher education community looks forward to working with Lt. Governor Simon and state leaders to maintain and restore funding and support policies that will help more students graduate with a quality college education in a timely and cost-effective manner,” said George Reid, executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Illinois State University was the third stop on Simon's affordability circuit. She will visit Western Illinois University Thursday afternoon and SIU Edwardsville Friday.

###

 
FREE Lecture Series Open to QC Parents: The Future of STEM & Student Robotics Across Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Brittany Marietta   
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 13:52

What:  Parent Talk – a recurring FREE lecture series open to QC community

When:  Wednesday, 10/24 – 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Where:  Auditorium – Rivermont Collegiate, 1821 Sunset Drive, Bettendorf, IA  (directly off 18th St. behind K&K Hardware)

Topic:  The Future of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) & Student Robotics Across Iowa

Operate on your next chicken or turkey dinner, taking a moment to examine the vertebrae of the neck or hinge joints of the wings.  Discuss oil-eating bacteria in the Gulf on the way to swim practice.  After the big game, calculate how much the university football coach earns per game or per hour.  Sound like weird family activities?  Reconsider!  Future careers, as well as daily life decisions, will increasingly depend on a firm grounding in math and science.  Set your kids on course for a bright future by helping them prepare for their STEM-based world!

Rivermont Collegiate is excited to present Parent Talk, featuring industry experts on education topics.  The October session will feature guest speaker Pat Barnes, Program Director for John Deere’s new STEM initiative, John Deere Inspire.

Join us to explore why STEM is critical to our community, what STEM initiatives are happening in the Quad Cities, and how to get involved and spark your child’s interest in STEM.

Rivermont Collegiate is the Quad Cities’ only private, independent college prep school for students in preschool through 12th grade.  For additional information, contact Rachel Chamberlain, Director of Admissions and Marketing, at 563-359-1366 x302 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Visit us on the web at www.rvmt.org

-END-

 
Simon: College is a prerequisite, not a privilege PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 09:39

Calls for reforms to keep higher education affordable

CARBONDALE – October 15, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon visited Southern Illinois University Carbondale today to urge state, federal and higher education leaders to work together to keep college affordable so thousands of Illinois students can earn the credentials needed for good-paying jobs. This is Simon’s second stop as she holds college affordability summits with students at all 12 public universities this fall.

“To keep pace with the global economy, Illinois needs 60 percent of working-age adults to hold college credentials by 2025. To complete college, students must be able to afford college,” Simon said. “Higher education affordability must be a higher priority. College cannot be accessible only to the privileged when it is a prerequisite for a good-paying job.”

Simon supports College Choice Reports, a standardized report for all degree-granting institutions that would help students analyze real cost, debt and graduation rates across institutions. She is also serving on a state task force that could change the way need-based state grants are awarded to students as early as next school year.

The goal is to stabilize the cost for public universities and community colleges, following tuition and fee increases that have outpaced inflation, family incomes and available aid over the past 20 years. To pay the bills, students racked up an average of $26,682 in student loans in 2010, up 14.3 percent from three years earlier and more than double what they owed in 1995, according to a Pew Research Center report released in early October.

Simon emphasized the need for cooperation among state, federal and higher education leaders to prioritize the investment in higher education and the state’s future. She outlined three ways stakeholders could work together to keep college affordable:

·         Consumer protections: Simon supports House Bill 5248, which would require all degree-granting institutions that operate in Illinois to publish online College Choice Reports. The reports would contain information such as net costs, average debt and completion rates in an easy-to-read and easy-to-find format. Unlike the federally proposed “shopping sheet” which provides cost information after a student applies to a school, the College Choice Report would be available to students online before they apply, to help them find a college or university that fits their needs and their budget.

·         Targeted assistance: To better use state resources, Simon wants to strengthen the Monetary Award Program and insure MAP grants promote college attendance and completion and reduce the achievement gap between low-income and higher-income students. MAP grants are currently awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students based on financial need, but state funding reaches only about half of eligible students. A MAP Eligibility Task Force is evaluating ways to improve distributional equity and encourage timely degree completion.

·         Tax relief for middle class families: Over 9 million students and families are taking advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, saving them up to $10,000 over four years of college. Simon supports making this federal tax credit permanent and preventing it from expiring at the end of this year.

“Cutting investments directly related to economic growth doesn’t make sense. We should work together on policies that prioritize education and employment, not shortchange Illinois students and quality employers,” Simon said.

During her visit, Simon shadowed Christophe Freeman, a federal work-study recipient who works in the Trueblood Dining Hall to help pay for college expenses. Freeman, a junior majoring in cinema production, says that without financial aid, he would not be able to attend school.

“With the financial aid I receive, I can pay for tuition and some other expenses, too.” Freeman said. “My schedule is flexible, I get to work with my peers and I can walk between work and classes, so work for me really is worry-free.”

 

Eric Zarnikow, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, cited recent MAP award activity as evidence that affordability should be a key issue for Illinois leaders. For every eligible student who received a MAP grant this school year, another was denied due to lack of state funds.

 

“MAP is one of the largest needs-based financial aid programs in the country. While approximately 150,000 students will receive an award this year, just as many will be left on the sidelines as a result of limited funding,” Zarnikow said.

“The higher education community looks forward to working with Lt. Governor Simon and state leaders to maintain and restore funding and support policies that will help more students graduate with a quality college education in a timely and cost-effective manner,” said George Reid, executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Simon’s summit at SIU Carbondale is the first of four such visits this week. Upcoming Affordability Summits include Thursday, Oct. 18 at Illinois State University and Western Illinois University and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville on Friday, Oct. 19.

###

 
American Heart Assoc. Offers Scholarship For Minority Healthcare Students PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Alexson Callahan   
Monday, 15 October 2012 14:46

Go Red For Women and Macy’s Join Forces to Drive Diversity in Medicine

(Des Moines, Iowa October 11, 2012) — Tuition hikes at colleges and universities across the nation are putting the squeeze on many young people and forcing families to find new ways to pay for higher education or consider forgoing college altogether. In an effort to ease the burden to students during these rough economic times and increase the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine, the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women and Macy’s, its national sponsor, offer the Go Red™ Multicultural Scholarship Fund.

Sixteen $2,500 national scholarships are being offered for a second year to multicultural women pursuing higher education in health care. As part of its Go Red For Women movement, the association strives to expand the pipeline of much-needed diverse nursing and medical students and address important gaps in treatment that can lead to heart health disparities.

Candidates must complete an application, personal essay and submit two letters of recommendation. Online applications are available Sept. 10 through Nov. 30, 2012.

“We’re experiencing a shortage of Hispanic and African-American healthcare professionals in Iowa,” says Jacquie Easley, Director of Diversity and Community Services at Mercy Medical in Des Moines and American Heart Association Board Member. “Fewer than .5% of the healthcare professionals in our state are minorities, which doesn’t reflect the demographics of the communities we serve. This scholarship could help change that.”

College tuition rates have outpaced inflation, increasing between 5 and 35 percent — depending on the region and type of institution (public vs. private).

Demand on health care continues to increase, but the number of multicultural women working in U.S. hospitals and medical schools is low — even as the U.S. population becomes increasingly diverse.

“Macy's investment in the Go Red Multicultural Scholarship Fund provides opportunities for multicultural women pursuing degrees in healthcare, helping them to achieve their education and career goals,” said Bill Hawthorne, Macy’s Senior Vice President of Diversity Strategies. "The fund reflects Macy's long-standing commitment to diversity, a core principle within our company, and allows us to extend that commitment into the communities we serve.”

Research shows that numerous ethnic groups — including African-Americans and Hispanics — are disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease and risk factors, confront barriers to diagnosis and care, and experience worse health outcomes than their Caucasian counterparts.

“The American Heart Association is in a unique position to be a leader in helping to eliminate cardiovascular disease and health disparities by providing scholarships to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine,” said Icilma Fergus, M.D., director of the Cardiovascular Disparities Center at Mount Sinai Hospital and president-elect for the Association of Black Cardiologists.

Only 6.7 percent of African-Americans and 7.5 percent of Hispanics made up the total number of medical school graduates in 2010, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

“The American Heart Association’s Go Red Multicultural Scholarship provides a much-needed vehicle during these tough financial times to help minority women achieve their dream of becoming a healthcare professional,” said Dr. Lynne Holden, physician and president of Mentors in Medicine. “There is a unique opportunity to save millions of lives by promoting heart heath and increasing awareness of heart disease, which is the No. 1 killer in the U.S.”

The Go Red™ Multicultural Scholarship is made possible by the Macy's Multicultural Fund. Macy's has supported the scholarship fund regionally in New York since 1998.  In 2011, Macy's and The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women collaborated to offer the scholarship on a national scale. Macy's is a national sponsor of Go Red For Women™ and has helped raise more than $29 million for the cause since 2004. For more information and to complete an application, visit GoRedForWomen.org/GoRedScholarship.

#####

About Go Red For Women

Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s solution to save women’s lives. With one out of three women still dying from heart disease, we are committed to fighting this No. 1 killer that is preventable. GoRedForWomen.org, a premier source of information and education, connects millions of women of all ages and gives them tangible resources to turn personal choices into life-saving actions. We encourage women and the men who love them to embrace the cause. For more information please visit GoRedForWomen.org or call 1-888-MY-HEART (1-888-694-3278). The movement is nationally sponsored by Macy’s and Merck & Co., Inc.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Our mission is to build healthier lives by preventing, treating and defeating these diseases – America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers. We fund cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit americanheart.org.

image001.jpg


 
American Heart Assoc. Offers Scholarship For Minority Healthcare Students PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Alexson Callahan   
Monday, 15 October 2012 14:46

Go Red For Women and Macy’s Join Forces to Drive Diversity in Medicine

(Des Moines, Iowa October 11, 2012) — Tuition hikes at colleges and universities across the nation are putting the squeeze on many young people and forcing families to find new ways to pay for higher education or consider forgoing college altogether. In an effort to ease the burden to students during these rough economic times and increase the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine, the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women and Macy’s, its national sponsor, offer the Go Red™ Multicultural Scholarship Fund.

Sixteen $2,500 national scholarships are being offered for a second year to multicultural women pursuing higher education in health care. As part of its Go Red For Women movement, the association strives to expand the pipeline of much-needed diverse nursing and medical students and address important gaps in treatment that can lead to heart health disparities.

Candidates must complete an application, personal essay and submit two letters of recommendation. Online applications are available Sept. 10 through Nov. 30, 2012.

“We’re experiencing a shortage of Hispanic and African-American healthcare professionals in Iowa,” says Jacquie Easley, Director of Diversity and Community Services at Mercy Medical in Des Moines and American Heart Association Board Member. “Fewer than .5% of the healthcare professionals in our state are minorities, which doesn’t reflect the demographics of the communities we serve. This scholarship could help change that.”

College tuition rates have outpaced inflation, increasing between 5 and 35 percent — depending on the region and type of institution (public vs. private).

Demand on health care continues to increase, but the number of multicultural women working in U.S. hospitals and medical schools is low — even as the U.S. population becomes increasingly diverse.

“Macy's investment in the Go Red Multicultural Scholarship Fund provides opportunities for multicultural women pursuing degrees in healthcare, helping them to achieve their education and career goals,” said Bill Hawthorne, Macy’s Senior Vice President of Diversity Strategies. "The fund reflects Macy's long-standing commitment to diversity, a core principle within our company, and allows us to extend that commitment into the communities we serve.”

Research shows that numerous ethnic groups — including African-Americans and Hispanics — are disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease and risk factors, confront barriers to diagnosis and care, and experience worse health outcomes than their Caucasian counterparts.

“The American Heart Association is in a unique position to be a leader in helping to eliminate cardiovascular disease and health disparities by providing scholarships to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine,” said Icilma Fergus, M.D., director of the Cardiovascular Disparities Center at Mount Sinai Hospital and president-elect for the Association of Black Cardiologists.

Only 6.7 percent of African-Americans and 7.5 percent of Hispanics made up the total number of medical school graduates in 2010, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

“The American Heart Association’s Go Red Multicultural Scholarship provides a much-needed vehicle during these tough financial times to help minority women achieve their dream of becoming a healthcare professional,” said Dr. Lynne Holden, physician and president of Mentors in Medicine. “There is a unique opportunity to save millions of lives by promoting heart heath and increasing awareness of heart disease, which is the No. 1 killer in the U.S.”

The Go Red™ Multicultural Scholarship is made possible by the Macy's Multicultural Fund. Macy's has supported the scholarship fund regionally in New York since 1998.  In 2011, Macy's and The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women collaborated to offer the scholarship on a national scale. Macy's is a national sponsor of Go Red For Women™ and has helped raise more than $29 million for the cause since 2004. For more information and to complete an application, visit GoRedForWomen.org/GoRedScholarship.

#####

About Go Red For Women

Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s solution to save women’s lives. With one out of three women still dying from heart disease, we are committed to fighting this No. 1 killer that is preventable. GoRedForWomen.org, a premier source of information and education, connects millions of women of all ages and gives them tangible resources to turn personal choices into life-saving actions. We encourage women and the men who love them to embrace the cause. For more information please visit GoRedForWomen.org or call 1-888-MY-HEART (1-888-694-3278). The movement is nationally sponsored by Macy’s and Merck & Co., Inc.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Our mission is to build healthier lives by preventing, treating and defeating these diseases – America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers. We fund cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit americanheart.org.

 


 
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