By MATT COMBS
BECKLEY, W.Va. — A crowd of education professionals gathered at New River Community and Technical College Monday to initiate a new partnership in higher education in West Virginia.
Aptly titled the “Straight 2 State” program, the new partnership will combine the efforts of New River and West Virginia State University (WVSU) to streamline the post-secondary educational experience.
Through the program, New River students who graduate with their associate degree will be granted automatic admission into WVSU in their selected major with all of their credits earned at New River CTC going toward that selected major and towards graduation.
At the signing ceremony, WVSU President Anthony Jenkins shared his excitement for the new partnership.
“What I’ve seen over my time in higher education, is that students work hard to earn their A.A. degree,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins added that while four-year universities often accept all of the credits from community colleges, oftentimes those credits do not apply to a student’s choice of major and therefore not to that student’s graduation.
“In my opinion, that’s unfair to the student and it’s misleading,” Jenkins said.
Now through “Straight 2 State”, the worry of having credits that amount to basically nothing is relieved.
“That’s really the actual beauty of the program,” Jenkins said. “How do we shorten the time to degree completion? How do we save students money? And how do we help more West Virginians earn a two-year or a four-year college education?”
New River President Marshall Washington was also excited for the program to get under way.
“What I’m most excited about is our students won’t be wasting resources,” Washington said. “This is about our students. It’s about them getting to their goal much quicker.”
Washington also added that students at New River will have direct access to a WVSU adviser, not only remotely but in person.
According to Jenkins, the program is the first of its kind in West Virginia and is situated perfectly to transition outstanding students from the two-year level into the four-year level.
“Students who have started at the two-year institutions and transferred into four-year institutions, they are great students and all of the research shows that,” Jenkins said. “They graduate on time. They have higher retention rates. That’s the type of student that we want to continue to create access for at West Virginia State University.”
Jenkins continued by saying that students who take advantage of the program will be transferring into a school that was ranked second in the state for a public university.
“They’re going to receive a quality education at West Virginia State University,” Jenkins said. “We’re going to receive a quality student and that’s a great match.”
The program will take effect in the Fall 2018 semester and New River students will have to express interest in the program by the end of their first semester.
“We are one step further in educating more West Virginians and having them leave our institutions and add to and add to an educated citizenry, which is going to impact the workforce development of our state,” Jenkins said. “I can’t think of anything that is more profound or greater for all involved parties.”
Email: [email protected]; follow on Twitter @mattcombsRH
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