Ocala.com: Taylor College offers biz program

By Michael Sykes, Correspondent

BELLEVIEW — Taylor College has announced a new business program it hopes to offer in May.

The program will feature courses in business law, managerial accounting and macro and micro economics, said Taylor College community liaison April Shepard. Taylor is offering the program to answer the demand for business-educated individuals in the workplace.

“We have designed these programs with the employer in mind,” Taylor College President Diana Hammond said in a news release. “When employers hire our graduates, they will gain an employee with not only critical thinking experiences, but a vast knowledge of emerging technology.”

The program will be offered over a five-semester period so students aren’t overwhelmed with a difficult courseload, and more than half of the courses will be offered online, Shepard said. Taylor is also incorporating 24 Apple iPads that will be available for students to use in the classrooms.

The program has been approved by the Florida Commission for Independent Education but is awaiting accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education. Students interested are encouraged to get a head start on the applications process, which is to be completed by April 13.

Direct link to article: http://www.ocala.com/article/20120207/ARTICLES/120209762/1005/sports01?Title=Taylor-College-offers-biz-program

New-Press.com: Higher education in building boom

By:Dick Hogan

Higher education is one of the few high points in Southwest Florida’s battered commercial construction industry as private colleges build to keep up with the demand from students seeking to reinvent themselves for today’s job market.

The most visible sign of the trend is Keiser College, which is putting up a 60,000-square-foot building that will serve as its new campus at The Forum, a mixed-use development between State Road 82 and Colonial Boulevard east of Interstate 75.

When it opens this summer, the new campus will be able to accommodate increased enrollment the school expects from an occupational therapy program and other recently added areas of study.

Keiser currently has 300 students in a building it’s been leasing on Colonial Boulevard since coming to Fort Myers in 2010.

Also coming on line this year is a new Hodges University building at its Fort Myers campus at Colonial and Metro Parkway. That building will accommodate 20 more classrooms and a student union.

Art Keiser, chancellor of Keiser University, said local job markets typically drive demand for more education.

For example, he said, because of Southwest Florida’s large population of older people, “This campus is heavily focused on health care and meeting the requirements of health care.”

Keiser keeps its eye on what’s needed, Keiser said. “We sat down and talked to Lee Memorial” about what areas would be best. Now there are programs in diagnostic medical technology and radiological technology and the school just got approved in December for an occupational therapy program.

Joe Turner, public relations coordinator for Hodges University, said health care is the most popular area of study there too, but that security is second place and growing fast.

“The technology is growing by leaps and bounds,” he said. “Cyber security is a huge hot button right now.”

Hodges keeps a close eye on employment trends, Turner said. “We like to listen to what the business community’s looking for.”

Now, he said, the question is, “Who are the people who are being hired to make sure their systems aren’t hacked?”

Direct link to article: http://www.news-press.com/article/20120206/BUSINESS/302060001/Higher-education-building-boom

Stars and Stripes: Take vets out of education funding formula

Stars and Stripes
By Randy Proto

Recent military veterans, who face a higher unemployment rate than any other sector of the population, deserve all the educational opportunities we can give them after they’ve sacrificed so much for the country. In true Washington style, there’s an ironic twist shaping up in the debate about higher education quality, value and accountability — one in which veterans are being used, under the guise of consumer protection, as weapons to attack privately owned colleges and schools. As a result of legislation proposed by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., they may lose access to the very educational opportunities they want: the career and technical education offered by private-sector schools.

Veterans often choose these private-sector for-profit institutions over more traditional institutions for continuing their education. Historically, many made this choice because the trade-oriented education that private-sector schools focused on aligns well with the training format they experienced during their military service.

Convenience is also particularly important to veterans and to nontraditional students generally. Over the past few decades, private-sector schools have expanded their offerings to include many more degree programs and have deeply penetrated the online space, adding convenient degree completion options. Veterans responded positively; some even continued their education while serving. Currently, about 25 percent of veterans using the GI Bill choose to attend private-sector schools.

Today’s battle, being publicly spearheaded by Durbin: how veterans’ tuition should be treated in a formula that determines whether individual privately owned colleges, trade schools and universities survive.

The current formula, which only applies to for-profits and is called “90/10,” requires that students who choose to attend these schools provide no more than 90 percent of a school’s receipts via federal student loans and grants. Exceed the limit for two years and the school closes. Durbin’s legislation would change this formula to 85/15, disqualify schools after merely one year of noncompliance and shift the way GI Bill funds are counted.

The current law puts GI Bill funds in the 10 percent column, not the 90 percent, allowing more veterans to choose the trade-oriented education offered at private-sector schools.

Durbin and other critics of private-sector, for-profit education have been trying to use this formula as a weapon for years, as they know how difficult it is to adhere to. They now argue that veterans’ benefits should be counted in the reverse, pointing to cherry-picked and isolated examples of veterans being targeted by private-sector schools. But, pursuing this path doesn’t protect veterans; it limits them.

What’s the right thing to do? We should ensure veterans are not penalized and have the opportunities they deserve by not counting them in the formula at all. This isn’t a perfect solution, but it is the right choice. Sure, that may not make some of my for-profit colleagues happy, and it certainly won’t satisfy the opponents of for-profit education, but it will do what is right by making veterans’ benefits neutral in the formula.

Veterans should not be used as a tool to pressure a sector of higher education and gain political points. Using them in such a way simply threatens to take educational choices away from them. Veterans, of all people, have earned the right to make their own choice about their educational path.

Politicians and educators alike who are genuinely concerned with determining how well our veterans are being served by higher education can get at the truth simply: request the Department of Veterans Affairs conduct a comprehensive, unbiased survey of all veterans currently attending, and recent graduates of, any higher education institution and compare the results among institutional types. Then we would know, from the veterans themselves, which schools are serving their needs well.

In this age of nearly unlimited ability to ferret out data, using indirect “quality” measures like the “90/10” formula is absurd. Having lived with it, I can tell you firsthand that it has no relationship to quality or to student and taxpayer protection. Smart regulation is very important and necessary. But, like many misguided regulations, 90/10 sounds sensible but provides no real benefit — and some significant detriment to those it purportedly protects.

What would provide real protections are transparency regarding, and accountability for, outcomes across all of higher education. Veterans, taxpayers and all students deserve direct, consistent and comparable accountability and performance standards applied to all schools. To date, the Obama administration has made little progress in this regard.

Our faltering economy has exposed many flaws across all sectors of higher education. We need to correct them. Meanwhile, eliminating GI Bill benefits from this formula is both a way of protecting and respecting our veterans.

Randy Proto is CEO of American Institutes Holdings LLC, a group of five for-profit schools with locations in Florida, New Jersey and Connecticut. American Institutes is focused primarily on the delivery of degree and nondegree allied health-related programs, both residentially and on a distance basis, to more than 2,000 students annually. If Durbin’s legislation becomes law, American Institutes schools will be subject to the 85/15 funding formula.

Direct link to article: http://www.stripes.com/take-vets-out-of-education-funding-formula-1.167651