Alabama colleges

Tuition is rapidly increasing at many colleges and universities across the country, but Birmingham-Southern College will now be moving the other direction.

University officials say they will reduce tuition and mandatory fees by more than 50 percent starting in fall 2018.

"The marketplace spoke, and we listened," BSC President Linda Flaherty-Goldsmith says. "We want to make sure that the best and brightest students have access to the kind of personalized, challenging, hands-on educational experience that BSC provides."

The University of South Alabama and Spring Hill College, both in Mobile, have announced a new partnership allowing students to take courses between the two schools.

The new setup, called cross-registration, will take effect next January for the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester. Full-time undergraduate students at both universities will be allowed to enroll for full-credit courses at either university. The students will pay all tuition for those courses at their home school.

Some displaced ITT Technical Institutes students will start hitting the books again this week.

Many students of the now-defunct school have enrolled at local universities and community colleges in Alabama. Lawson State Community College is one of several schools offering help to students affected by ITT’s closure. They have invited many former ITT students to enroll in their second fall mini-term.

Students may face challenges in transferring credits. Regionally accredited institutions only accept credits that meet certain standards.

The executive director of Alabama’s Commission on Higher Education plans to retire at the end of this year.

The commission announced yesterday that Gregory Fitch will end his 45-year career in education this year. He has led Alabama’s coordinating board for higher education since July 2006.

Fitch says he notified the commission of his retirement plans in June. Vice Chairman Randy McKinney of Gulf Shores has been tapped to lead the search committee to find a replacement director.