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ACHE reviews increased budgets for higher education

The increased funding includes $9 million each for need-based tuition assistance programs administered by ACHE.

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The Alabama Commission on Higher Education reviewed the historic $8.8 billion Education Trust Fund budget at its quarterly meeting last week, with a 6.89 percent increase to the community college system and a 7.20 percent increase to state universities.

The budget provides $9 million each for the needs-based Alabama Student Assistance and the Alabama Student Grant Programs. Those revenue streams, along with the Alabama National
Guard Educational Assistance Program, have provided aid for over 83,000 students between 2017 –

“Student success is a top priority of the Commission,” said Jim Purcell, executive director. “It is
beneficial, not only to the individual, but to the state as a whole.”

In addition to paying for college, ACHE will be assisting students in making plans to further their
education through the implementation of the Students’ Right to Know Act that was passed during the
session. The funding allows for the creation of the Student Horizon Database, an interactive online tool providing information related to education and professions that will allow users to access pertinent institutional information and learn more about opportunities available once they complete their degrees.

The commissioners also discussed the implications of AI such as ChatGPT and its impact on education.

“I am looking forward to convening our institutions to learn and discuss the possibilities involved in using this new tool,” said Miranda Bouldin, ACHE chair.

Commissioners also approved new academic programs at the following:

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  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Alabama State University
  • Master of Education in Training and Development and Master of Fine Arts in Integrative Design at Athens State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Public and One Health at Auburn University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences, Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Bachelor of Science in Business Statistics at the University of Alabama
  • Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Media and Master of Science in Global Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Master of Education in Dyslexia Therapy and Master of Science in Data Science at the University of West Alabama
  • Associate of Applied Science in Marine Technology at Central Alabama Community College
  • Associate of Applied Science in Registered Nurse at Enterprise State Community College
  • Associate of Applied Science in Salon and Spa Management at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College
  • Associate of Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Technician at Northwest-Shoals Community College

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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