College-educated workers are taking jobs that don’t require degrees

In a packed pub in midtown Manhattan, Ryan Flagherty is surrounded on three sides by people clamoring for his attention, the Los Angeles Times reports. He spins one way and pours a shot of vodka into a glass, then turns around and wedges a lime into a bottle of Corona, pushing it across the counter. Ignoring the annoyed gaze of a bulky man on his right, he turns again to a touch-screen register to ring up the sales. It’s just a minute out of the grueling, physically demanding eight-hour shift that will last long into the night. But Flagherty, 28, isn’t complaining. With the generous tips of New Yorkers and his pick of shifts, he pulls in around $80,000 a year as a bartender. It’s more than he was offered for various office jobs he considered when he arrived in the city, even though he’s highly educated. “I have a master’s in economics and I’m bartending in New York,” he said with a shrug. “It’s a good way to make money.”

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California spends billions on community college students who drop out

California and other states are spending billions of tax dollars on community college students who drop out before completing their studies, according to a report released Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports. The report by the nonprofit American Institutes for Research found that from 2004 to 2009, federal, state and local governments spent nearly $4 billion on full-time community college students who dropped out after their first year. In California, expenditures on such students over the five-year period totaled $480 million, far more than any other state…

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Nearly 75% of California high school grads go to college, state finds

The California Department of Education said Thursday that nearly three-quarters of California’s high school graduates went on to higher education, a statistic made possible by a recently developed statewide student tracking system, reports the Los Angeles Times. Using data from the 2008-09 school year, the education department found that about 75% of students who graduated from California public schools enrolled in a college or university in the United States…

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Audit slams ‘shoddy’ oversight of L.A. community college projects

A state audit released Wednesday questioned more than $140 million in construction spending by the Los Angeles Community College District, including $28.3 million sunk into campus projects that were later canceled because of poor planning, the Los Angeles Times reports. The district spent construction funds on promotional photography, public relations tours and other impermissible activities, put millions into building projects not on its approved list and generally exercised weak oversight of its $5.7-billion construction program, state Controller John Chiang’s office found…

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Salary plan for San Diego State president stirs furor

California State University is proposing to pay the new president of its San Diego campus $100,000 more annually than his predecessor, a move that is raising hackles as the university grapples with another round of student tuition hikes amid deep state funding cuts, reports the Los Angeles Times. If the plan is approved Tuesday by the Board of Trustees, San Diego State President Elliot Hirshman would receive annual compensation of $400,000–$350,000 from the state and an annual supplement of $50,000 from the campus’ nonprofit foundation…

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Contributions to college-savings 529 plans are rising sharply after falling during recession

Fear of rising college tuition is trumping fear of the stock market, reports the Los Angeles Times. Contributions to government-sponsored college-savings programs are rising sharply after sinking during the recession. The amount of money flowing into the programs, known as 529 plans, has surged 75% in the last two years but remains well below its 2006 peak, according to a recent study…

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Faculty groups form campaign for higher education

Decrying what they said is an “assault” on higher education, college faculty groups from California and other states launched a national campaign Tuesday for a larger voice in education funding and policy decisions, reports the Los Angeles Times. At a Washington, D.C., news conference, faculty leaders from California, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and other states said they have formed a new initiative, the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, that will bring together faculty, students, labor and nonprofit groups…

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Mind controlled apps hit the market

Science fiction fans who have dreamed of having “the force” are in luck. Two apps–controlled and operated by mental power–are now on sale in the Apple App Store from app developer MindGames in Iceland, reports the Los Angeles Times. The technology works using headsets that read brain waves and are essentially simplified and portable versions of electroencephalograph–or EEG–machines used in hospitals for decades to record brain activity…

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Spending cuts will affect nearly every federal agency

The largest domestic spending cut in U.S. history will upend almost every federal agency and slash programs dealing with healthcare, transportation and education, but will give the Pentagon an extra $5 billion, according to aides familiar with the negotiations, reports the Los Angeles Times. It preserves funding for some of President Obama’s cherished initiatives, including the healthcare and Wall Street overhauls and his education program, Race to the Top. But four of the president’s policy czars get the ax: healthcare, climate change, cars and urban affairs…

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Rep. Rand Paul unveils $500 billion in federal budget cuts

The freshman Republican congressman, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) would nearly eliminate the Department of Education and do away with the Energy Department, reports the Los Angeles Times. Hours before a State of the Union address expected to focus on government spending, Washington has come down with a case of budget-slash fever. Sen. Paul has unveiled his plan to cut $500 billion from the federal budget in a single year–a path that would transform the federal government and dramatically curb its reach into American life. Paul’s budget cuts more than five times as much as House Republican leaders have advocated and faces little chance of winning support, even from within his own party. Still, the “tea party” favorite’s plan demonstrates one pole in the coming budget debate. His plan would cut in half funding for the Department of Commerce and nearly eliminate the Department of Education. It would eliminate the Department of Energy, which oversees environment regulation and enforcement…

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