Shane Broadway, interim director of the state Higher Education Department, explains that this is fallout from state money shortfalls. The department, which had been spending accumulated fund balances to support a wide range of scholarship programs, has spent down the surplus in part because of a rising demand for undergraduate scholarship help. Higher Ed asked the legislature for an additional $7 million to continue all 24 scholarship programs at existing levels. It got only $2 million and legislators directed that all that money go to the Governor's Distinguished Scholarship program, 300 top students who get $10,000 a year. That program was going to be cut by two-thirds without the money and students digitally bombed legislators with complaints.
Somewhat overlooked in the fight to save those scholarships was the department's broad range of other scholarship aid that now must produce $5 million in savings.
It will mean sharp cuts in the 77 entering slots that had been provided in past years in dentistry, podiatry, veterinary medicine, chiropractic, osteopathic medicine and optometry. There are a range of subsidies — all shown at this Higher Ed link. Broadway said, for example, that subsidies for slots at vet school could drop from 12 to 5. (Each school decides which Arkansas students will receive the benefit, not the state of Arkansas.) The final number will depend on how many students already receiving aid continue in school. Enough are completing chiropractic studies, for example, that Broadway anticipates that the state might even be able to fund additional entering chiropractic slots. Broadway said he'd been broadcasting widely, including with a disclaimer on the website, the possibility of cuts in programs.
Professional schools aren't the only area where students will feel cuts. The reductions also will affect scholarship for children of people in the military and for children of law officers who died in the line of duty.
I hope to have a detailed list of projected cuts shortly.
UPDATE: Here are the projected cuts. Broadway cautions they are not firm figures.
On the jump is a note Broadway wrote during the legislative session when a parent raised a question about scholarship cuts. It explains circumstances in more detail:
It's spring and that means it's time to increase tuition for the next college year. UCA got the ball rolling last week with a 3.59 percent increase.
The fiscal affairs committee of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees will discuss increases proposed at the various system campuses tomorrow.
The proposed increases range at the major campuses from 3.5 percent at Fayetteville to 10 percent at Fort Smith. UALR proposes 4.9 percent. Here's a link to the full list.
The UA news release on the meeting (on the jump) notes that state support has been dropping as a percentage of total cost and per student, thanks to a big increase in the number enrolled. (Remember when lottery creators said the amendment would prevent the legislature from decreasing support for higher education? In dollar terms, perhaps. But that is not so meaningful. Meanwhile, the ever shrinking lottery scholarship, is down from $5,000 to $2,000 for first-year students in three years' time.)
What had you accomplished when you were 18? Chances are it doesn't touch Raymond Walter's accomplishments. On Saturday, Raymond, 18, will graduate from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics, physics and economics, a triple major!
From a UA release:
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Raymond Walter was just a sophomore at the University of Arkansas when he was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society. The society’s motto — “let the love of learning rule humanity” — continues to appeal to him.
On Saturday, May 11, Walter will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics, physics and economics, a triple major in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. He is accomplishing the feat at age 18.
What makes his accomplishment even more impressive is that he has a severe form of muscular dystrophy that forces him to use a motorized wheelchair.
“I really do just love learning,” said Walter, who was just 14 when he graduated from high school. “I like to learn as much as I can. I am willing to work and I want to work and learn. There’s an element of ability, for sure, but it wouldn’t mean much at all if I didn’t work as much as I do.”
The Boston Globe reports that a startup enterprise from the University of Arkansas has won $250,000 as the winner of the MIT Clean Energy Prize.
Picasolar is developing technology to improve the efficiency of solar panels. It beat 56 teams from 38 schools for the $150,000 prize, supplemented by a $100,000 prize from the Department of Energy.
Clean energy? Who needs it when we have pipelines and Canadian sand full of tar ready for pumping through Mayflower? It's just a scam. Ask any Republican or Rush Limbaugh. About the green energy industry or climate change.
Also: Did they actually win $250,000 without benefit of $25 million in city taxpayer money to build a tech park? Something's definitely amiss.
Here's more about Picasolar. The backgrounds of the group are really interesting. A thumbnail on their project:
The Hydrogen Selective Emitter (HSE), offers solar cell manufacturers the advantage that is necessary to become profitable in the solar industry. With our HSE technology, manufacturers could increase profits from negative $1 up to $34 per solar panel based on efficiency gains and silver cost savings. For our average 4 million panel customer, that is an increase of $140 million in revenue.
The team earlier won $25,000 in the Donald Reynolds Governor's Cup competition in Arkansas.
A first-generation college graduate from a Magnolia family, Dr. Dunn left a positive mark at Henderson and many friends and admirers, me among them. He continued to teach political science after his retirement.
A pledge of $1 million from trustee C.J. Duvall and a $10 million federal loan will help Philander Smith College build a student activities building on the 135-year-old campus. The college board approved the project today.
Duvall, a telecommunications executive and member of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority Board, has already given 60 percent of his pledge. “I’m hoping it would compel others to donate to this effort," he said in a campus release. "These students and this campus deserve our support.”
The first phase of construction includes a student union and dining facility. President Johnny Moore said he supported naming the new facility after Duvall.
Dr. G. Richard Smith, chair of the department of psychiatry at UAMS, will be the new dean of the College of Medicine, succeeding Dr. Debra Fiser.
UAMS news release follows on the jump.
Charles "Cliff" Gibson III, 58, a Monticello lawyer, is Gov. Mike Beebe's latest appointment to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. He succeeds Mike Akin of Monticello in the seat. He'll have a 10-year term.
"Cliff's appointment helps ensure a dependable voice on the Board for the U of A campuses in South Arkansas," Beebe said in a prepared statment. "His sound judgment and calm demeanor will serve the entire system of schools well in the coming years."
Gibson has a private practice and has been Drew County attorney for 12 years. He attended UA-Monticello and is a graduate of the UALR Law School.
Big hire announced at the University of Central Arkansas:
University of Central Arkansas President Tom Courtway announced today that Kelley Erstine will join the UCA executive staff, effective July 1, 2013 as Chief of Staff..
A native of Sheridan, Ark, Erstine is a 1979 graduate of UCA with a degree in journalism. Previously, he served UCA as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, and also served as Vice President for Institutional Advancement. In his new position with UCA, his salary will be $170,000 per year.
“Kelley Erstine knows the University of Central Arkansas very well,” Courtway said. “He is well known throughout the State of Arkansas and this region of the country, and is a proven administrator. He is thoroughly committed to the University of Central Arkansas, and he and his wife, Leslie, are very excited to have the opportunity to return to Arkansas to live and work. He will be a valuable asset to UCA as we continue to move forward. I am very pleased he has agreed to return to UCA.”
Since July 2008, Erstine has served as the chief executive officer of the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina, a state trade association representing approximately 1,000 independent insurance agencies
The tenure of the previous chief of staff, Jack Gillean, ended badly, you might recall. I also recall Erstine's previous stints at UCA including overseeing the UCA Foundation, which had at least a tangential role in the tangled financial life of former President Lu Hardin.
Gov. Mike Beebe has appointed Reynie Rutledge, chairman and CEO of First Security Bank, to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees.
Rutledge is a longtime friend and neighbor of Beebe in Searcy.
He replaces John Tyson, who resigned last month.
The board of trustees at Batesville's Lyon College has voted to do something uncommon these days: It will not raise tuition or fees for the 2013-2014 academic year. In part, administrators said, because of the recent changes to the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship.
Lyon's tuition this year is $23,370.
See the full release on the jump.
Some morning mail musings:
* THE UNIVERSITY OF MONEY: The University of Arkansas yesterday folded on fighting release of documents about multi-million-dollar overspending in its Advancement Division. It wouldn't admit it was wrong in calling these personnel records. It merely said the affected personnel had agreed to the release. The core of it is that a $340,000-a-year division chief hired 20 people that revenue didn't exist to pay. Spending was heading toward a $5 million deficit before the operation got reined in.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported on the released documents this morning. This left me a little sore because I had filed a Freedom of Information Act request for these same documents before the ADG filed the lawsuit that finally dislodged the papers. The UA was going to lose the lawsuit and damn sure didn't want a court precedent on the matter. So they coughed up the documents, but only to the D-G.
So where were the documents I requested? I fired off an e-mail to top flack John Diamond this morning. You could FOI it. I said the university decision to ignore my pending request for the same material in yesterday's release was "chickenshit." UA haughtiness and a devotion to money and power is hardly new (think selling parts of university to wealthy donors and keeping details secret). The more money you have, the more deference you get. Anyway, for your reading pleasure, here are the documents belatedly supplied to me.
* Letter to Democrat-Gazette on the release.
* Related documents:
* Parts One
* and Two
* and Three
* and Fourled from the House chamber yesterday after a disjointed speech. He apparently received some medical attention later. I've been unable to make direct contact, but legislative colleagues tell me, whatever the medical condition he suffered, events of recent days had troubled McElroy. I know exactly the feeling. Thursday, McElroy was visibly upset at an unexpected floor fight by Republicans to oppose an effort to allow the Arkansas Career Education Department to seek money to pay for GED tests. Arkansas has always paid the cost of testing people seeking equivalency diplomas. A change in the test is likely going to require an expensive fee increase, which is expected to discourage people from taking the test. Rep. Debra Hobbs of Rogers, particularly, railed against taxpayer help for these people. (She's built quite a record this session of sneering at money for the needy.) McElroy, who told colleagues he had a high school education himself, said he came to the legislature to help poor people. His speech yesterday followed a lengthy opening prayer, which he mentioned in his floor remarks, by Allen Jackson, a pastor of one of the Republican legislators. It's been described as overtly political. He spoke of the "tremendous victories" on anti-abortion and pro-gun bills and offered prayer for those who voted against such legislation. McElroy told colleagues I've spoken with afterward that he viewed prayer as a religious, not political exercise. Normally, you could view some of these happenings on the House video archives, but neither the portion of Thursday's session when the GED fight was waged nor any of yesterday's events are currently available.
UPDATE: I'm informed the videos should all be up by Monday. Thursday a mechanical glitch delayed posting of the GED nonsense. Also, I'm informed Rep. McElroy is receiving treatment at UAMS. Many others have talked to him or heard about the legislative pressure that added to whatever medical condition he's enduring. He's just about the only legislator to lose a bill this session on the floor — having been defeated in an effort to bring elemental fairness (instead of a gift to timber owners) by equalizing the small tax rates assessed to support a local levee district. Republicans wouldn't stand for it, despite committee approval. Then came the stomping of GED test takers and a prayer for the souls of those who believe in a woman's right to choose and resist church as an appropriate place for guns. It's nothing to see when you're feeling poorly. I hope McElroy, with his passion for poor people, returns. Poor folks need every vote they can muster. I'm told he turned in a legislative license plate before leaving Friday and also gave the keys to his car to somebody in Pine Bluff before sticking out his thumb for the rest of the ride to Desha County, where he'd been a successful county judge.
* CHARTER SCHOOL WATCH: Same song, umpteenth verse. The charter schools that succeed — and not all of them do — have an inestimable advantage of committed parents, sometimes committed students and rigid rules that can lead to "out-counseling" for those who don't comply. Real public schools must educate the disengaged and dysfunctional to whatever degree possible. Some charter schools — particularly those with Billionaire Boys Club money — even operate with more money and better facilities. And, now, thanks to Reuters, we know that still more function even further as quasi-private schools:
Charters are public schools, funded by taxpayers and widely promoted as open to all. But Reuters has found that across the United States, charters aggressively screen student applicants, assessing their academic records, parental support, disciplinary history, motivation, special needs and even their citizenship, sometimes in violation of state and federal law.
"I didn't get the sense that was what charter schools were all about - we'll pick the students who are the most motivated? Who are going to make our test scores look good?" said Michelle Newman, whose 8-year-old son lost his seat in an Ohio charter school last fall after he did poorly on an admissions test. "It left a bad taste in my mouth."
CONWAY, Ark. (February 15, 2013) — Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd today is stepping down as President of Hendrix College after 12 years in that position.
The announcement was made at the February meeting of the Board of Trustees, where it was also announced that, after a sabbatical, Dr. Cloyd will return to the Hendrix faculty as a professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations and work in higher education consulting.
University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart today announced that Chris Wyrick, currently the executive director of the Razorback Foundation, has agreed to join Gearhart’s senior administrative team as the next vice chancellor for university advancement.
Gearhart made the announcement at an event held in the lobby of the university’s Administration Building. More than 100 U of A alumni, donors, university students, faculty and staff gathered for the announcement.
UPDATE: A spokesman said Wyrick and the chancellor have signed an offer letter that will establish Wyrick's salary at $279,000 once he assumes his new position.
The rest of the news release follows on the jump. It doesn't recap the discovery that the Advancement Division under Brad Choate's leadership had been discovered to be overspending at a rate of $4-5 million a year. That Choate was removed — at full pay — while a female subordinate had her pay slashed. That the UA has stonewalled request for complete details on the overspending and been sued by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. That the Razorback Foundation, though joined at the hip with the university through ticket sales and pay of coaches and financed in part by premiums on tickets sold by the university for university events, has steadfastly refused accountability of its activities. But you knew all that.
UA Chancellor David Gearhart DOES appreciate UCA deflecting a little attention from the UA coverup of out-of-control spending in the Advancement, for which the man responsible was punished with being allowed to do nothing for almost three times Baker's salary.
Mark Pryor and the IRS are good buddies. How do you think Pryor got his…
You have to wonder from his speech if Carter has aspirations for some other high…
After today's testimony on Capital Hill, you can no longer call the IRS tyranny "mid-level."…
A&E Feature / To-Do List / In Brief / Movie Reviews / Music Reviews / Theater Reviews / A&E News / Art Notes / Graham Gordy / Books / Media / Dining Reviews / Dining Guide / What's Cookin' / Calendar / The Televisionist / Movie Listings / Gallery Listings