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California has $115 million for OER

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May revised budget, released last week, proposes a $115-million investment in zero-textbook degrees and open educational resources, along with additional spending for higher education IT. The revised budget lays out the details for how the governor wants to spend an unexpected surplus of $75.7 billion after officials last year forecasted a $54 billion deficit. Emily Bamforth has the details.

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West Texas A&M president makes thousands of personalized student welcome videos

It took two months for West Texas A&M President Walter Wendler to record 3,000 welcome videos for admitted students for the fall 2021 semester, improvising in 16-18 seconds spurts as student names and majors appeared before him on a teleprompter. While the initiative so far has taken hundreds of hours, Wendler said he believes these videos are a preventative measure against the enrollment challenges universities face across the country that have not yet critically hit West Texas A&M and its rural location in the state’s panhandle, but that may be on the way. Emily has it.

Alabama schools get technology, security funding

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill last week that will supply school systems and universities throughout the state with more than $282 million for one-time purchases on technology upgrades, facility repairs and security measures. The funding, which includes nearly $206 million for K-12 schools and more than $76 million for higher education, was taken from the state’s Advancement and Technology Fund. Though Alabama is expected to get about $4.5 billion for education across three rounds of pandemic relief, this state funding is allowed for several uses not currently permitted by the federal funding, such as transportation and deferred maintenance. Colin Wood reports.

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