Reporter’s Notebook – Community College Daily

Dual enrollment bill reintroduced in Senate. Fundraising to expand Unmudl NEH scholarships to expand humanities. Dual enrollment bill reintroduced in Senate

A bipartisan team of senators last week reintroduced legislation to expand the use of federal grants for higher education institutions to support dual or concurrent enrollment initiatives and early college programs.

The Making Education Affordable and Accessible Act (MEAA)—reintroduced by Sens. Gary Peters (D-Michigan), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), and Mike Braun (R-Indiana)—would provide colleges enable and universities to use the Title VII Fund of the Higher Education Act for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) to:

Conduct dual or concurrent enrollment programs as well as early college high school programs. Provide teachers in these programs with professional development. Assist program students in covering education-related expenses such as tuition and fees, books, and transportation. Support activities such as course design, course approval processes, public relations, student counseling and support services.

A press release from the Legislature said the MEAA has support from a wide group of educational organizations and institutions, including community colleges.

“Dual-credit programming gives students the opportunity to boost their college experience,” said Steve Robinson, president of Lansing Community College (Michigan), in the publication about the bill. “Opportunities like dual matriculation and early colleges allow students to earn college credits while still in high school and save families thousands of dollars in tuition and fees. The Making Education Affordable and Accessible Act fills a gap for our most vulnerable students by reducing the financial burden that prevents some school districts from funding these opportunities. This not only benefits individual districts and students, but also the workforce and the wider community by helping more students earn the certificates and degrees they need to make a difference.”

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Collect donations to expand Unmudl

Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) joins other investors to raise more than $1 million in new funding for Unmudl, the Skills-to-Jobs Marketplace, a company that enables learners to learn at the same time Universities to register for online and face-to-face courses from several municipalities.

CNM is a founding college of Unmudl, allowing learners across the country to take courses offered by a consortium of community colleges and employers. Unmudl facilitates access to staff training and job-related further education and retraining courses in various professions and sectors.

“CNM is thrilled to see Unmudl achieve a number of growth milestones, and we are now excited to see the organization continue to develop new and creative ways to meet the diverse needs of working learners,” said Tracy Hartzler, President and Chair of CNM the Steering Council of the Unmudl.

The need for an upskilling and reskilling system is growing as traditional career advancement and work routes into retirement have changed or even disappeared, CNM said in a press release. As an example, the college cited its accelerated technology boot camps, as well as new programs in other high-demand areas such as mechatronics.

Unmudl also serves as a resource for employers to search their database of learners for certifications and training that can be quickly customized to meet employer needs. More than 55 employers have hired staff from courses on Unmudl to fill positions, the college said.

NEH Humanities Extension Scholarships

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) on Tuesday announced $35.6 million in grants for 258 humanities projects across the country, including a handful of community colleges.

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NEH noted that this funding cycle marks the first round of awards under its new Spotlight on Humanities in Higher Education grant program, which supports humanities teaching and research projects that benefit underserved populations at small-to-medium sized colleges and universities. Among the colleges receiving a grant under the program is Stanly Community College in North Carolina, which will receive $25,000 for a year-long project to transform liberal arts courses, currently textbook dependent, into open educational resources.

In addition, Central Oregon Community College will use $60,000 for a two-year project to expand a liberal arts lecture series to include on-campus events and integrate presenter content into the curriculum. New York’s Queensborough Community College and the CUNY Research Foundation will use their $24,500 for a year-long project to expand a joint first-semester reading program to reach students in two pre-college programs.