Commissioners were given some good news at today’s quarterly meeting of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.
“Thanks to funding increases from the Alabama Legislature there will be more scholarship and grant money for students attending higher education institutions,” according to ACHE Executive Director Jim Purcell. “The budget that begins October first has increases for all of the student assistance programs that are administered through ACHE,” said Purcell.
One of those is the need-based Alabama Student Assistance Program (ASAP). It received a 23.39 percent increase from last year, while the Alabama Student Grant Program will be getting a 3.8 percent plus up. This fall each program will now have over $7 million to distribute to qualified applicants.
“College affordability in Alabama has consistently been a goal of the Commission during my tenure,” said Chairman Charles Buntin. The Dothan resident was appointed to the ACHE board in 2015 and was elected chairman last year.
More funding will also be available through the Police Officer’s and Firefighter’s Survivor Educational Assistance, Alabama National Guard Educational Assistance and Alabama Math and Science Teacher Education Programs.
Student assistance to help pay down the cost of attending college is a major asset, but where will they go to live and work once they get their degree? Keeping four-year college graduates in the state is the goal of an $800,000 project called Retain Alabama. ACHE will be partnering with the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama in developing and implementing the Retain Alabama initiative.
“Alabama’s workforce needs to benefit from college graduates remaining here for employment,” said ACHE Vice Chair Miranda Bouldin Frost. Bouldin Frost represents the Huntsville area on the Commission, a high-teach area that could use more STEM graduates to fill jobs. Currently, one out of five out-of-state bachelor degree graduates are still working in Alabama one year after graduation.
The following academic programs were approved:
1. Athens State University
Bachelor of Science in Homeland and Corporate Security
2. Jacksonville State University
a. Master of Science in Education in Mathematics Education Leadership: Mathematics Specialist (K-5)
b. Bachelor of Science in Education in Computer Science Educator
c. Bachelor of Science in Education in Middle-Level General Science
d. Bachelor of Science in Education in Middle-Level Mathematics
e. Bachelor of Science in Education in Middle-Level General Social Studies
f. Bachelor of Science in Education in Middle-Level English Language Arts
3. University of Alabama
Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Systems Engineering
4. University of Alabama in Huntsville
a. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry
b. Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology
c. Master of Science in Atmospheric and Earth Science Substantive Extension/Alteration
5. University of West Alabama
Master of Science in Sport Management
6. Drake State Community and Technical College
Certificate in Patient Care Technician
7. Enterprise State Community College
Associate of Applied Science in Digital Arts
8. Northeast Alabama Community College
Associate of Applied Science and Certificate in Building Construction Technology
9. Southern Union State Community College
Associate of Applied Science and Certificate in Aviation Maintenance Technology
10. Wallace State Community College-Selma
Certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration
11. Request to Amend Post-Implementation Conditions:
a. Alabama State University: Master of Arts in History
b. University of North Alabama: Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Science
12. Troy University
Consolidated Program Inventory