ECU partners with community colleges to improve transfer access, success

ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton, along with presidents and representatives from 14 eastern North Carolina community colleges, signed a co-admission agreement during a ceremony on June 5.

East Carolina University and 14 community colleges in the surrounding region signed a co-admission agreement Tuesday that is designed to improve transfer student access and success through a collaborative degree completion program.

Students will apply to a participating community college and ECU simultaneously and commit to maintaining full-time status. Upon completing an associate degree, they will seamlessly transition into degree-completion programs at ECU.

“Our most fundamental goal is to make college attendance a far less daunting endeavor for these students who might not think that going to college is within their reach,” said Dr. Ron Mitchelson, ECU provost. “In particular we want these students to understand that the community college/university pathway is very cost effective and to ensure that the transfer from the community college to the university is relatively seamless.”

Mitchelson pointed out that completing the first two years of a four-year degree at a community college can save a student $43,000, according to a national report from the Educational Advisory Board. Other benefits to students include access to ECU libraries and programming through the ECU Office of Student Activities and other organizations, ECU One Card eligibility, joint financial aid counseling and micro-scholarship opportunities, joint academic advising, and a waiver of the ECU transfer application fee.

Participating community colleges include Beaufort County Community College, Carteret Community College, College of the Albemarle, Craven Community College, Halifax Community College, Johnston Community College, Lenoir Community College, Martin Community College, Nash Community College, Pamlico Community College, Pitt Community College, Roanoke-Chowan Community College, Wayne Community College and Wilson Community College.

During a signing ceremony and reception on June 5, ECU’s chancellor, Dr. Cecil Staton, thanked the presidents and representatives of the community colleges for their role in furthering the education of North Carolina students. The co-admission program, he said, will be a boon to both ECU and the community colleges in producing the teachers, nurses, engineers, business leaders and health professionals that the region needs to meet its future workforce demands.

The new co-admission program, expected to begin this fall, provides more access to academic programs and support services than the more narrowly focused articulation agreements that exist between individual community colleges and ECU for specific degree programs. These broader agreements do not supplant those existing bilateral agreements, Michelson said.

“This is precisely the sort of collaboration we need to better serve the people of North Carolina and the east in particular,” Staton said. “We cannot be successful and continue to produce capable and engaged citizens who will go out across the communities of this state and make a difference if we don’t have a vital partnership with our community college system. We value what you do, we value your students, and we value our partnership.”

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