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West Virginia State University, BridgeValley sign agreement

By JAKE JARVIS

Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Leaders from West Virginia State University and BridgeValley Community and Technical College signed an agreement Tuesday morning intended to help more students complete a bachelor’s degree.

The “Straight 2 STATE” program, which WVSU President Anthony Jenkins first announced during an annual speech to the university community, guarantees that students pursuing an associates degree in art or science at BridgeValley will be admitted to State.

“It really gets to the crux of how we continue to expand [college] access, how we shorten a student’s time to earn their four-year degree, and how we help students save money,” Jenkins said at the signing.

Students will also be able to enroll concurrently at WVSU and BridgeValley under the agreement, and the two schools plan look for opportunities for “joint staffing, teaching student services and other key support areas.” BridgeValley students will also be able to live on-campus at WVSU residence halls, too.

BridgeValley students will need to decide by the end of their first semester if they want to opt-in to the program, according to a copy of the agreement. Those students will be paired with an academic adviser from WVSU to smooth the transition.

The “Straight 2 STATE” program will begin in the fall of 2018.

BridgeValley President Eunice Bellinger said the agreement holds a special significance because of her school’s history with WVSU. BrideValley came about after two community colleges — Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College and Bridgemont Community and Technical College — combined. Kanawha Valley was a part of the Institute school before it split off in 2008.

“For BridgeValley, this isn’t necessarily a new beginning but a continuing of a relationship that has existed with State …,” Bellinger said. “For us, this is a coming home and bringing the family back together. We’re very happy about this.”

The agreement will stay in effect for at least five years, at which point it will automatically renew unless either institution wants to opt out. WVSU signed a similar agreement with New River Community and Technical College on Monday.

Last Friday, BridgeValley signed an agreement with Marshall University to start offering two bachelor degrees at the community college. That agreement would allow students in BridgeValley’s two-year nursing program to transition smoothly into Marshall’s bachelor of science in nursing degree, according to a news release.

Also under the agreement, the schools will offer a regents bachelor of arts degree — a program designed mainly for adult learners — at the community college.

Reach Jake Jarvis at [email protected], Facebook.com/newsroomjake, 304-348-7939 or follow @NewsroomJake on Twitter.

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