SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) today announced a new partnership with Western Governors University (WGU) that allows Ohio community college graduates to seamlessly transfer their coursework to WGU while also receiving discounted tuition to the accredited, online university.
"The needs of adult college students are different than those attending straight out of high school. Ohio's community colleges understand that because we have adult students in our classroom every day. Those students need the option of having different and flexible pathways if we want more of them to finish their bachelor's degree," said Jack Hershey, President of the OACC. "By partnering with an online, competency-based university, Ohio community colleges are once again responding to a call from Governor John Kasich and doing our part to help increase the number of Ohioans who will obtain a bachelor's degree and advance in the workforce."
The idea to expand online, competency-based education options for Ohioans, particularly adult students and workers, as well as the idea to establish more transfer pathways in the state that allow students to complete their first three years of education at a community college, were both part of a higher education reform package offered earlier this year by Governor John Kasich. Today's agreement moves the ball forward on both of the Governor's proposals.
Under the terms of this agreement, WGU will:
- Offer Ohio community colleges' graduates and staff a five percent tuition discount.
- Graduates and staff of OACC colleges will also be eligible to apply for scholarships offered through the WGU Institutional Partner Fund. Scholarships are valued up to $2,000.00.
- Prepare seamless associate degree to bachelor degree articulation agreements for all related degree programs in education, business, Information Technology and health professions.
- Create a 3+1 transfer option for OACC colleges' nursing graduates who possess an Ohio RN license and are employed as a nurse.
- OACC college nursing graduates who are eligible for the 3+1 program may also enroll in the MS, Nursing bridge programs, in nursing education or nursing leadership and management. The BS, Nursing degree is awarded to the 3+2 student as they progress toward the MS, Nursing degree.
- WGU will work with OACC colleges to develop a reverse transfer program. The reverse transfer program will permit OACC college students, who may transfer to WGU without an associate's degree, to obtain an associate's degree from their OACC college, while enrolled in a WGU bachelor's degree. Upon completion of the associate's degree, these students will be eligible for the 5% tuition discount.
"Even before signing this partnership, we have already seen 500 graduates from Ohio community colleges go on to earn their bachelor's degree from Western Governors University, but that is a number that we now expect to see grow significantly," said Hershey. "A similar partnership in the State of Washington saw that state's numbers of graduates grow to over 5,000 within five years. We believe that similar growth is possible in Ohio, because WGU is proving itself to be an institution that is very accommodating to the needs of transfer students. "
Established in 1997 with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, WGU now serves more than 74,000 students nationwide and has more than 70,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation's leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. It has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and has been named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies. The university's 2015 Annual Report is now available online.
The Ohio Association of Community Colleges represents the trustees and Presidents of all 23 Ohio Community Colleges.
Contact for media inquiries:
Joan Mitchell – VP of Public Relations
Contact for enrollment information:
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SOURCE Western Governors University