DES MOINES, IA (02/10/2011)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald is providing free pencils to Kindergarten teachers across Iowa through the Prepare for Basics Program. Fitzgerald understands that Kindergarten Round-Up is an integral part for both children and parents which is why he is providing the materials free of charge. "Our schools have the right idea when it comes to putting the children and parents at ease," Fitzgerald said. "They know that inviting families to check out their school six months before the school year begins will help kindergarteners prepare for their big transition. We offer the pencils as a small gesture of support for our schools." In addition to the pencils, this free program will provide information about College Savings Iowa, the state-sponsored 529 plan created to help Iowa families save for future higher education expenses.

College Savings Iowa lets anyone - parents, grandparents, friends and relatives - invest for college. Iowa taxpayers can deduct up to $2,865 in contributions per beneficiary account from their adjusted gross income in 2011.* 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, visit www.collegesavingsiowa.com or call 1-888-672-9116.

Elementary principals interested in taking part in the Prepare for the Basics program are recommended to register on-line by visiting www.treasurer.state.ia.us and clicking on the financial literacy tab. To guarantee timely arrival, materials should be requested at least two weeks in advance. They 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 income taxes. The availability of tax or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements.

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You deserve a break!  Rivermont Collegiate is excited to formally announce the creation of the Rewarding U Now Scholarship, a renewable academic merit scholarship for students entering grades 9-12 in the 2011-12 academic year.  All qualifying students will be awarded $2,000 toward Rivermont annual tuition, renewable every year they attend Rivermont in grades 9-12 and meet scholarship criteriaThis is a potential value of $8,000 over 4 years! Eligible students must be entering grades 9-12 at Rivermont Collegiate and have earned a current year (2010-11) GPA of 3.85 or higher.  Awards will be prorated for students who qualify for discounts or financial aid and may not be combined with other merit awards.  This opportunity is available to both current Rivermont students and new applicants.  We wish to take as many eligible applications as possible and there is no limit on the number of scholarships to be awarded!

Interested students must submit an official Rivermont application form and one-time application fee of $50, as well as an official transcript from their current school and an original 350-550 word essay.  Applicants will also be interviewed by a scholarship committee.  Application materials and essays must be submitted no later than Monday, March 28th at 4:00 p.m. Interviews with the scholarship committee will take place on Tuesday, April 5th.  Applications are now being accepted.  Essay topics and detailed instructions can be found at www.rvmt.org/scholarship.

This new opportunity is one of a number of options offered to keep a Rivermont education affordable.  Rivermont's goal is that economic standing not be a factor in admission and/or accessibility to the Rivermont Experience.  About 51% of Rivermont families receive some form of tuition adjustment, including need-based tuition assistance, memorial and merit scholarships, sibling discounts, and reciprocal agreements with other local educational institutions.  These opportunities ensure that Rivermont remains proudly committed to ethnic, socio-economic, and religious diversity while also attracting the brightest, most talented and dedicated students.

Rivermont Collegiate is the Quad Cities' only private, independent, nonsectarian college prep school for students in preschool through twelfth grade.  Intimate school environments like Rivermont help close achievement gaps between genders, encourage participation in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, provide meaningful interaction with teachers and advisors, and prevent students from taking refuge in anonymity.  100% of Rivermont graduates are accepted to 4-year colleges and universities and over 90% earn renewable college merit scholarships ($1.4 million in 2009).

What are you waiting for?  Explore Rivermont!  The Quad City community is invited to join us for the 2010-11 Academic Fair, to be held Thursday, February 10th at 6:00 p.m. Immerse yourself in knowledge as Rivermont students share a diverse assortment of projects, from Native American studies to genealogy, as well as performances of living biographies.  Cindy Murray, Director of Admissions, will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about our philosophy, values, and programs, as well as the Rewarding U Now Scholarship.  The public is invited to tour campus and see our students and faculty in action - get a real taste of the Rivermont Experience!

In addition, students and their parents are encouraged to learn more about Upper School (grades 9-12) at Rivermont by attending a special open house - Discover the Difference: Upper School at Rivermont, to be held on Tuesday, February 22nd from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Headmaster Rick St. Laurent and Upper School Faculty will discuss academic expectations, curriculum, extra-curricular activities, college counseling, athletics, and more!  Alumni will answer questions and share their Rivermont Experience and families will have the opportunity to tour Upper School classrooms and common areas.  Additional information about the Rewarding U Now Scholarship will also be provided.

For additional information on Rivermont Collegiate, the Rewarding U Now Scholarship, the Academic Fair, or the Discover the Difference: Upper School at Rivermont open house, contact Cindy Murray, Director of Admissions, at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or murray@rvmt.org

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Where:        Rock Island Center for Math and Science, 2101 16th Avenue, Rock Island, Illinois 61201
When:         Thursday, February 10, 2011
Time:           10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
What:          The Ceremonial Ribbon Cutting of IMSA's New Rock Island Region  Field Office located at the Rock Island Center for Math and Science.  IMSA joins forces with educators from the Rock Island Region of Illinois to help students prepare for highly skilled careers as they discover the joys of learning mathematics and science.

The Ceremonial Ribbon Cutting of IMSA's new Rock Island Region Field Office located at the Rock Island Center for Math and Science, featuring Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley and IMSA President Dr. Glenn W. "Max" McGee, will be held on Thursday, February 10, 2011 from 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at the Rock Island Center for Math and Science.  Other officials in attendance will be Dr. RuthAnn Tobey-Brown, principal of Rock Island Center for Math and Science and Dr. Michael Oberhaus, superintendent of Rock Island/Milan School District #41.

In addition to a welcome and comments from state and local dignitaries, the event will also feature a live science demonstration by the IMSA Kids Institute® (KI) conducted by IMSA students.  During the States of Matter:  Does it Matter? science demonstration, 25 students from the Rock Island Center for Math and Science  will see how solids, liquids and gases can change with temperature and through chemical reactions.  In addition,  IMSA on Wheels will perform Science is Shocking for 3-5th graders.

Through its new Rock Island Region Field Office, IMSA joins forces with educators from the Rock Island Region of Illinois to deliver professional development in mathematics and science instruction that focuses on inquiry and discovery; provide after school, weekend and summer mathematics and science programs for children; and address local needs by building and sustaining relationships with the Rock Island Region and coordinating mathematics and science programs with local organizations.

The internationally recognized Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® (IMSA) develops creative, ethical leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  As a teaching and learning laboratory created by the State of Illinois, IMSA enrolls academically talented Illinois students (grades 10-12) in its advanced, residential college preparatory program, and it serves thousands of educators and students in Illinois and beyond through innovative instructional programs that foster imagination and inquiry. IMSA also advances education through research, groundbreaking ventures and strategic partnerships. (www.imsa.edu)
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Maximum Annual Award Maintained at $5,500


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today applauded the Department of Education's release of the new Pell Grant schedules as an important step towards improving access to college.  The schedules determine the Federal Pell Grant awards for the 2011-2012 Academic Year - July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012 - for low-income college students.  The maximum Pell Grant award for this year will be $5,550.  As Chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Harkin led the effort to fully fund the Pell Grant program in the Continuing Resolution that passed the Senate and was signed into law in December.  Additionally, as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Harkin worked to eliminate billions of dollars in wasteful subsidies to banks and redirected that money to increase Pell Grants as part of the reconciliation package that was used to provide technical fixes to the health reform bill last March.

"In our efforts to attract and keep good jobs in America - and to stay competitive in the global economy - we must increase the number of students who attend college," said Harkin.  "Currently, there are millions of bright, young people who want to attend school but simply can't because of finances.  That is where the Pell Grant program provides much needed assistance and makes college more affordable for low-income students.  This is a small federal investment that repays itself many times over with a better paid tax base and a more educated work force.

"I am pleased that today the Department of Education has released its schedules so that schools and students can plan accordingly.  This is truly an important step in increasing access to college for all Americans.  Moving forward it is critical that we do all that we can in Congress continue to fund this program that is helping our economy and our future generations."

The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to over nine million low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education.  Students may use their grants at any one of approximately 5,400 participating postsecondary institutions.  Grant amounts are dependent on: the student's expected family contribution; the cost of attendance (as determined by the institution); the student's enrollment status (full-time or part-time); and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less.  To see the full Pell Grant schedule released today click here.

(Kansas City, Kan., January 31, 2011) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting grant applications for $1.2 million in funding to support projects designed to research, educate, empower and enable communities to understand and address local health and environmental issues. Eligible applicants from non-profit, faith-based and tribal organizations working in the community of the proposed project are encouraged to apply.

These grants are available to Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska organizations through the EPA Region 7 office in Kansas City, Kan.

Environmental Justice Small Grants funding is available for two categories of projects:

  • Forty grants of up to $25,000 each to support projects that address a community's local environmental issues through collaborative partnerships, and;

  • Four grants of up to $50,000 each to gather better science on the environmental and health impacts of exposure to multiple sources of pollution in communities.

Environmental justice means the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race or income, in the environmental decision-making process. Environmental justice issues often involve multiple sources of contamination, like pollution from several industrial facilities within one neighborhood, environmental hazards at the workplace or home, or contamination resulting from the consumption of fish or other foods.

Environmental contamination can lead to costly health risks and can discourage investments and development in low-income, minority, and indigenous communities disproportionately impacted by pollution. Understanding the impacts of multiple environmental risks can help communities develop more effective solutions to their environmental and health concerns.

The Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) Program is designed to help communities understand and address their exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks.

Applications must be postmarked by March 31, 2011.  For more information, including eligibility requirements, purposes, goals, and general procedures, please visit http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/resources/publications/grants/ej-smgrants-rfp-2011.pdf

or contact EPA Region 7 toll-free at 1-800-223-0425. \

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Crafts, stories, and new friends - it's all happening at Rivermont Collegiate on Thursday mornings!  Children ages 2-4 (and an accompanying adult) are invited to join us for our free Young Scholars program, held the first Thursday of every month from 9:00-10:00 a.m. Youngsters join the current Rivermont preschool class for story time and crafts, while parents and families are invited to learn more about Rivermont, the Quad Cities' only private, independent, nonsectarian college prep school for preschool through twelfth grade.  Join us to explore the Rivermont approach to learning, see our faculty in action, and enjoy oodles of fun with the preschool class!

The next Young Scholars event will be Thursday, February 3rd from 9:00-10:00 a.m. on the Rivermont campus, located at 1821 Sunset Drive, directly off 18th Street behind K&K Hardware in Bettendorf.  Young Scholars is free and open to the community.  Bring a friend!  We can't wait to meet you!

For additional information about Rivermont Collegiate or the Young Scholars program, contact Cindy Murray at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or murray@rvmt.org and visit us online at www.rvmt.org

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Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa made the following comment on data gathered from 850 U.S. colleges, universities and affiliated foundations participating in the 2010 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments® (NCSE).  The study shows that these institutions' endowments returned an average of 11.9 percent (net of fees) for the 2010 fiscal year (July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010). This represented a sharp improvement over the average -18.7 percent return (net of fees) reported in last year's study for fiscal year 2009.  Grassley has a long-standing interest in university endowment pay-out rates, drawing on his oversight of tax-exempt policies as a leader of the Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over tax policy.  Grassley's encouragement of well-funded universities to increase student aid led to some significantly more generous aid policies at several institutions.

"This most recent study strengthens the case for reviewing the investment and payout policies of endowments in the context of tax reform.  Taxpayers and students deserve to understand what they're getting in return for the tax benefits awarded to these institutions.  These endowment managers should consider the challenge presented by the President in his state of the union speech and expand educational opportunities by making college more affordable for more students

"It's good to see that university endowments are starting to recover.  Unfortunately, the recoveries aren't leading to significantly higher payouts.  There are more than 62 institutions with endowments greater than $1 billion and more than half of them are private, tax-exempt charities.  The trends in endowment payout rates show that, even in a good economy, the wealthiest institutions hardly ever exceeded a payout of 5 percent.  The trends also show that my concerns about a 5 percent payout rate being a ceiling rather than a floor are valid.  Private foundations have to pay out at least 5 percent every year, and that's become a ceiling for them.

"These same billion-dollar endowments are also making significantly greater investments in alternative strategies when compared to their smaller counterparts.  These alternative strategies include illiquid investments such as hedge funds and private equity funds, many of which are likely offshore.  They also include investments in commodities and distressed debt.  These strategies may be legal but they're not necessarily responsible.  And when the economy declined and students and their families needed the most tuition assistance, many of these institutions raised tuition and lowered endowment payouts because they couldn't liquidate their investments in these alternative strategies."

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DES MOINES, IA (01/26/2011)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald announced today that the application for the 2011 Robert D. Blue Scholarship is available online at www.rdblue.org. All Iowa residents who plan to attend college in Iowa for the 2011-2012 school year are eligible to apply.

Awards are based on financial need, an original essay, academic achievement and written recommendations. "These scholarships not only help Iowa students financially, but also honor the achievements and potential of the young people of our state," Fitzgerald stated. "Last year, ten outstanding students representing ten counties were chosen to receive awards. Each of the recipients went on to attend a different Iowa college or university."

The Iowa Centennial Memorial Foundation awards the Robert D. Blue Scholarship to Iowa students attending college in Iowa. Governor Blue created the Foundation in 1949 to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of Iowa's acceptance into the union. At that time, a scholarship fund was established to encourage the youth of the state to attend Iowa's fine colleges and universities. In 1990, the Foundation officially named the scholarship to honor the late Governor Blue.

Robert D. Blue Scholarship applications are only accepted online through May 10 at www.rdblue.org. The winners will be announced during the summer. Those who would like more information on the Robert D. Blue Scholarship should visit the website, or call the treasurer's office at (515) 281-3067.

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AMES, Iowa (January 24, 2011) - More than 5,530 Iowa State University undergraduates have been recognized for outstanding academic achievement by being named to the 2010 fall semester Dean's List. Students named to the Dean's List must have earned a grade point average of at least 3.50 on a 4.00 scale while carrying a minimum of 12 credit hours of graded course work.  Students from your area who qualified for the Dean's List are listed below.

Bettendorf, IA
Lauren Paige Anderson; Kelli Nicole Baker; Maggie Elizabeth Beckman; Carolyn Elizabeth Bennie; Emily Kristine Bisbee; Jennifer Marie Blaser; Stephanie Ann Blaser; Jessica Marie Blaum; Kaitlin Janaye Bohn; Brittney Corrine Carpio; Kevin Anthony Emard; Christopher Joseph Foss; Jennifer Ann Garter; Natalie S. Heiderscheit; Aaron Michael Hewitt; Leah Elizabeth Hodgin; Bryce Phillip Johnson; Megan Michelle Johnson; Emily Elizabeth Johnston; Alexander Ernest Krist; Michael Drew Kurtz; Elizabeth, ILene Larsen; Brock Robert Mills; Gordon Theodore Mueller; Mindy Jolene Schlueter; Meredith Kim Sherrill; Heather M. Vandewostine; Elizabeth Anne Volden; Kelly Ann Wagner; Paige Nicole Wear; Andrea Lynne Baker; Ashley Marie Beck; Kimberly Ann Booe; Elizabeth C. Brebner; Benjamin Alexander Britz; Katharine Rosemarie Brown; Matthew Roger Brown; Molly Rebecca Bryant; Sarah Anne Buck; Emily Marcene Doerder; Gabriel S. Domingues; Jared Andrew Evans; Elizabeth Anne Fry; Jenna Corinne Fussell; Matthew Nicholas Gaul; Valerie Sylvie Gilles; Amanda Michelle Haffarnan; Jacob T. Hemberger; Lindsay Jo Hoffman; Morgan Dale Hoke; Carolyn Anne Johnson; Abigail Marie Kline; Deborah Nicole Kraft; Kelsey Lynn Kraft; Jason Carl Kruse; Jesse William Leonard; Julie Christine Leonard; Jessica Marlo Madsen; Elizabeth J. Martin; Clare Kathleen McAndrews; Thomas Ray McGee; Emily Jeanne Misak; Nicole Renee Oldfather; Amanda Lee Oswald; Abigail S. Pritz; Emily Paige Rheinhart; Carter L. Roberts; Carleigh A. Rose; Stefani Nicole Williams; Chad Edward Wisham.


Davenport, IA
Hannah Marie Adams; Derek Reid Attwood; Nicholas C. Borcherding; Fabian Andres Briesmoore; Matthew Allen Burmeister; Margaret Marie Carlin; John Michael Crispin; Jacob Timothy Fetterer; Ashley Marie Fishburn; Marinda R. Gacke; Kelly Jean Goossen; Tony Hoang; Kelsey Jane Hoeksema; Kathleen Marie Hoil; Malcolm Andrew Kelly; Danielle Marie Kimler; Nicholas Aaron King; Laura Beth Klavitter; Luke William Klenske; Aubrey Erin Krug; Austin Miles Laugen; Sarah Elizabeth Miller; Jeffrey Michael Moritz; Lindsay Diane Moss-Taylor; Anna Elizabeth Mullen; Adam Nguyen; Kara, NHu Nguyen; Thanh Kim Nguyen; Andrea Marie Oake; Alison Margaret Perkins; Nathan S. Premo; Mohammed Ashiqur Rahim; Brittany Michelle Redmond; Kelsey B. Regan; Aleah Nicole Salisbury; Daniel Lee Sedam; Brian Michael Smith; Matthew James Stegemann; Caitlin Erin M. Toppler; Jeramie Lee Vens; Caitlyn Marie Warner; Ashley Nicole Blackwell; Cara Jo Blake; Rebecca Joy Briesmoore; Matthew T. Darmour-Paul; Darryl Deleon; Brett Christopher Ebert; Anne Marie Harre; Emily Marie Kenneke; Pantelis Korovilas; Kristin Suzanne Magnus; Megan Grace McDonagh; Britney Jean Meier; Bryce Taylor Sandry; Brian Vincent Skalak; Brittany L. Springmeier; Lauren N. Westerdale.

Moline, IL
Courtney Elizabeth Carson; Jordan Catherine Dean; Mark Andrew Krismanits; Alex James Michl; Christina Elizabeth Mital; Daniel Joseph Siroky; Caleb Jack Spiegel.

Riverdale, IA
Amy K. DCamp.

Riverdale, Ia
Peter F. Joers.

Rock Island, IL
Danielle J. Cram; Laura Elizabeth Debarr; Taylor Marie Downing.

On January 23rd - 29th, 2011, school choice advocates across the nation will unite to shine a spotlight on effective education options for every child.  National School Choice Week was created to raise awareness about all forms of educational choice, including charter schools, independent schools, magnet schools, and home schooling, and the need for an effective educational system that offers parents the freedom to choose their children's education.  Over 150 organizations, leading policymakers, and opinion leaders are "all in" for this mission, including The Center for Education Reform, American Federation for Children, Alliance for School Choice, Children's Scholarship Fund, Association of American Educators, Foundation for Excellence in Education, and many more.  School Choice Week isn't about raising one education model above others or doing away with public schools, but about reforming the system so that every parent has the power to choose the education that fits their individual child.

Educational alternatives give parents the opportunity to choose a setting that will work best for their children, resulting in an education that will pay dividends for a lifetime.  The best way to find the right fit for your child is to visit a variety of schools, talk with admission representatives and faculty, take a school tour, and even take your child to a sporting event, school play, or science fair to experience extracurricular options and get a feel for the school climate.  Most importantly, ask questions!  Inquire about the curriculum, how quality and achievement are measured, student-to-teacher ratio, faculty teaching experience, availability of independent study and accelerated classes, and school accreditation.

How will you observe this week of focused attention on education alternatives?  We suggest you explore the options in your community!  Join us for an Open House at Rivermont Collegiate, on Thursday, January 27th from 6:00-8:00 p.m.  Rivermont is the Quad Cities' only private, independent, nonsectarian college-prep school, serving students in preschool through twelfth grade.  At Rivermont, a challenging curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, and knowledge application and small class sizes ensure focused attention and individualized instruction.  What are you waiting for?  Drop in to explore our philosophy and curriculum, take a tour of campus, and get answers to all your questions about Rivermont!

Rivermont Collegiate is located at 1821 Sunset Drive, directly off 18th Street behind K&K Hardware in Bettendorf.

For additional information on National School Choice Week, visit http://schoolchoiceweek.com

For additional information on Rivermont Collegiate or Thursday's Open House, contact Cindy Murray at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or murray@rvmt.org

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