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blacks can benefit from tuition discountNorth Dakota College Presidents Defend Tuition Discounts

North Dakota college presidents are defending tuition breaks for graduate students and students who arrive from outside the state and country, saying they offer needed diversity, brainpower and economic benefits.

“Our tuition discounting is an important strategic tool … in terms of recruiting – recruiting the talent we need to operate in the laboratories, to recruit the talent we need to help with our research discoveries and technology development,” said Richard Hanson, interim president of North Dakota State University.

Hanson was among the college presidents who spoke Wednesday to the Legislature’s interim Higher Education Committee, which is exploring the impact of tuition waivers on the state university system’s finances.

During the 2008-09 school year, North Dakota’s 11 public colleges and universities extended $27.3 million in tuition discounts or waivers to more than 9,400 students, according to a university system memo presented Wednesday to lawmakers.

Of those, almost $24 million in discounts were given at the discretion of individual schools; the rest were required by state law or Board of Higher Education policy. For example, North Dakota National Guard soldiers get tuition breaks, as do college employees.

North Dakota State and Dickinson State University were the most generous. Dickinson State granted tuition breaks equal to 21.1 percent of its total tuition income during the 2007-08 year, while North Dakota State forgave 13.2 percent of its tuition. At the University of North Dakota, the amount was 6.7 percent.

NDSU’s recently reported $2.5 million budget deficit has prompted further scrutiny of its waiver program, and Hanson told lawmakers he is taking “a very close look” at the school’s policies. But Hanson said he regards tuition discounts as important to the school’s research success and the state’s economy.

“We create jobs, and we have impact, profound impact, on the economic development of the state,” Hanson said.

Sen. John Andrist, R-Crosby, said the Legislature may want to review restrictions on colleges’ ability to grant tuition breaks.

“Waivers, which all of us would concede are an important piece of the puzzle, nevertheless transfer to higher tuition rates for our own kids,” Andrist said.

Richard McCallum, Dickinson State’s president, said his school uses waivers to reduce out-of-state tuition rates to “just a little bit more” than what state residents pay.

The policy helps fill Dickinson State’s residence halls and provides more business for its bookstore and meal programs, McCallum said. Each student also spends an estimated $8,700 annually in the Dickinson community, he said.

“We are enriched by the multicultural perspectives that students bring to the classroom, and bring to our campus life,” McCallum said.

Andrist said state colleges and universities need to account for significant differences in their tuition discount policies. He noted to McCallum that the tuition percentage for Dickinson State’s waivers was almost three times greater than Minot State University, which forgave 7.4 percent of its tuition income.

“I’d like to have an understanding of why institutions that seem comparable to us, there’s such a large variation,” Andrist said.

SOURCE: The Associated Press

BBB Initiative Arms Small Business Owners With the Tools to Protect Business and Customer Data

Better Business Bureau and partners Symantec Corporation, Visa Inc., Kroll’s Fraud Solutions and NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association today launched a new national education initiative to help small business owners overcome any previous reluctance to taking the necessary steps to protect their sensitive customer and business data, so they won’t become the next victim of a data breach.

Data security threats affecting small businesses are both external and internal, but many owners fail to recognize the potential for a breach or take the necessary protection steps until it’s too late.

“While data breaches affect businesses of all sizes, many small business owners aren’t taking the necessary steps to create ongoing data security policies and practices, including training their employees,” said Steve Cox, President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “Many small business owners recognize the importance of data security but don’t understand how vulnerable they really are, may feel intimidated by the issue or think that they lack the resources to implement a sound strategy. As a result, data thieves often target small business owners, stealing both the sensitive financial information of the business and its customers.”

BBB’s Data Security–Made Simpler provides small and medium business owners with the guidelines and right-size resources they need to build a data security plan and put it into action right away. BBB’s Data Security–Made Simpler includes turn-key guidance to help small business owners:

–? Identify their data loss vulnerability points — electronic and paper-based

–? Develop a data security policy that both protects sensitive data, ensures its availability and restricts access

–? Identify and deploy the right kind of tools to protect sensitive data, based on their type of business

–? Communicate their data protection policies to customers as a strategy to strengthen the business – customer trust relationship and differentiate their company from their competitors

–? Know what to do if they believe they’ve been a victim of a data compromise

In addition to providing free and easy-to-understand guidance through www.bbb.org/data-security/, the network of community-based BBBs across North America — as well as partners Visa Inc., Symantec Corporation and Kroll’s Fraud Solutions — will reach out to small businesses to encourage an increased focus on data security.

SOURCE: PR Newswire

Business Matchmaking Launches Expanded Small Business Procurement Initiative

Business Matchmaking, the nation’s leading public-private small business procurement initiative, has announced an expanded 2010 event schedule designed to encourage more small businesses to pursue government and corporate contracts.

The non-profit program, started by the Small Business Administration and HP six years ago, has enabled over 75,000 free face-to-face meetings between entrepreneurs and buyers representing all government agencies, as well as Fortune 500 corporations. The results have been several billions of dollars in awarded contracts, with a growing percentage going to women, minority and veteran owned growing companies.

“We are finding new unexpected entrepreneurs entering the procurement arena,” said Brian Tippens, HP’s director of Supplier Diversity. “They include a large number of female and minority veterans back from the Iraq war unable to find employment and recent graduates in the same boat. Business Matchmaking is providing a uniquely effective and efficient means for reaching out to help them get started and to grow.”

In addition to regional face-to-face selling events in Los Angeles (March 16), New York (May 12), Nashville (August 18) and San Antonio (October 13), Business Matchmaking will host training workshops designed to help start-ups become familiar with procurement opportunities and how to team with other companies in sessions in Raleigh, Kansas City and Minneapolis.

SOURCE: PR Newswire

Free Teleseminar Coaches ‘How to Give Your Business an Extreme Marketing Makeover’

A free teleseminar entitled “How to give your business an extreme marketing makeover” has been announced by 10-Day Marketing Makeover for Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 12:00 p.m. EST.

According to Gil Effron, who heads the organization, businesses used to be able to get away with just about anything when it came to marketing. “But that was before the bubble burst,” he said, “and the old ways no longer work.”

“In the same way that a coat of fresh paint or some caulk around the kitchen sink can’t save a house in need of serious repair, the Do-It-Yourself Marketing Makeover teleseminar helps participants take an extreme, radical, no-holds-barred approach to transforming their unproductive marketing into a powerful tool that boosts the bottom line,” he added.

The Do-It-Yourself Marketing Makeover teleseminar is specifically designed for smaller and medium-sized businesses that have not updated or restructured their marketing approaches and strategies since the economy plummeted. It walks business owners and those responsible for their company’s marketing step-by-step through what they need to know in order to conduct their own marketing makeovers.

“We begin by analyzing a business’s current marketing. Then we build a case for why an extreme marketing makeover is not only the best option, but only option for most businesses,” Effron said.

Advanced registration for the free one-hour teleseminar is required. For additional information, call 877-838-1838 or visit http://www.10daymarketingmakeover.com/feb10.

SOUCE: PR Newswire

Fifth Annual Small Business Summit to Focus on Strategies for the New Economy

On March 16th, 2010, hundreds of small business owners will come together with business and tech providers to share strategies for business growth in the current economy. This happens at The Fifth Annual Small Business Summit 2010, an all-day event which takes place at Digital Sandbox in New York City. The Summit has continued to grow in attendance and sponsorship over the past five years. The 2010 theme is “Business & Technology: Strategies for the New Economy”.

New this year is the Small Business Strategy Award, which will honor one small business that has thrived and achieved milestones despite the economic downturn.

“We are looking to recognize entrepreneurial and strategic excellence that has led to significant increased profits, expanded market, and/or improved market position. If yours is one such company, and you are registered to attend, we invite you to apply,” said Marian Banker, MBA, Summit Co-Producer, Business Leadership Coach, and President of Prime Strategies.

In addition to receiving the award and prize, the winner will have the opportunity to introduce their business and tell their story. The deadline for award applications is March 1, 2010.

The Summit aims to provide businesses with a strategic edge and empower entrepreneurs to transform uncertainty into opportunity. Speakers and panelists will present effective ways to grow a small business as well as how to apply “big business strategies” on a small business budget.

Early Bird (before March 1st) registrants will pay $149 for the all-day event. More information on the Summit and the award can be found at www.smallbiztechsummit.com.

SOURCE: PR Newswire