Reporter’s notebook

  • Bill proposes lower threshold for foreign gift reporting
  • Part-time police academy in Michigan
  • At the forefront on climate change

Bill proposes lower threshold for foreign gift reporting

House Republicans have introduced a bill that would reduce the foreign gift reporting threshold for colleges and universities from $250,000 down to $50,000, and a gift of any amount from “countries of concern,” such as China.

Reps. Michelle Steel (R-California) and Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina), chair of the Education and the Workforce Committee, on Wednesday introduced the Defending Education Transparency and Ending Rogue Regimes Engaging in Nefarious Transactions (DETERRENT) Act, which the lawmakers say will bring “much-needed transparency, accountability, and clarity” to foreign gift reporting requirements for colleges and universities across the nation.

The bill is the first in a series of bills to reform the Higher Education Act, according to a GOP release.

The lawmakers said the legislation intends to protect against the threats posed by foreign adversaries that funnel billions of dollars into U.S. colleges and universities to gain access and influence. Higher education institutions that run afoul of the proposed law could face a series of repercussions such as fines and the loss of Title IV funding.

Part-time police academy in Michigan

Starting in January, Oakland Community College (OCC) will offer its first part-time basic police academy for those who can’t attend the area’s largest police academy full-time. 

“The demand for police officers continues to be high, but many individuals can’t attend the academy full-time due to job and family commitments,” David Ceci, the Michigan college’s dean of public services and director of law enforcement training, said in a release. “By offering a part-time academy option, we can train more students to help fill the increased demand for officers in our community and the state of Michigan.”  

The part-time academy will run three to four weeknights and every other weekend from January 22 through September 20. OCC’s full-time academy runs five days a week with some weekend classes from January 22 to May 24. Both academies use the college’s Combined Regional Emergency Services Training site. Students who successfully complete the training and pass the state licensing exam are eligible to become police officers in Michigan. 

Program candidates are either self-sponsored or employed by a police agency, according to the college. The cost of the academy for self-sponsored candidates is $6,600, plus the additional costs of uniforms, appropriate sidearm and duty gear. Those who qualify for Michigan Reconnect (a state-funded last-dollar scholarship for students 25 and older), veteran benefits or other financial aid can apply those funds to the program.   

At the forefront on climate change

West Los Angeles College (WLAC) is positioning itself as a leader in climate change education, training and advocacy in California.

The college is the only two-year institution in the state that boasts the California Center for Climate Change Education, and the campus also has the first and only Climate Change & Environmental Studies Associate Degree program among the 116 California community colleges.

In two weeks, October 24-26, WLAC will host its first Climate Action Palooza, a three-day conference on sustainability and green jobs that will include students and industry leaders. Among its goals is to grow public awareness of the state’s massive investment and ambitious plans to fight climate change, as well as the college’s programming around those areas.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.