Learn about programs offered by community colleges that allow students to earn a two-year degree and then go on to earn a bachelor’s degree either online or at a nearby university.
Students who are serious about earning a four-year degree will find that community college may be a good place for them to begin the process. Thanks to “2+2” programs cropping up across the country, students can now enroll in community college with their eyes set on goals after the associate degree is earned. Through partnerships with nearby universities and online programs, students have a precise educational direction that starts at community college and continues on through the four-year degree program. We’ll take a look at what a 2+2 program offers community college students, as well as examine some of the 2+2 programs going on around the country today.
What is 2+2?
According to a report at the Grand Island Independent, a 2+2 program is one that begins in a community college, with a two-year associate degree or certification program. Coursework taken at the community college then transfers to a four-year program, allowing the student to complete a bachelor’s degree in the same amount of time it would have taken if they had gone to the four-year institution right out of high school. Because the program is a partnership between the schools, students enter community college with a four-year end in sight and select courses at the first institution that will help them to achieve their ultimate goals.
The community college and four-year school work together to ensure all of the courses they offer complement each other for an overall, comprehensive degree program. Whether the second half of the courses are taken on a second college campus or online, the seamless transition process ensures students do not waste any time or money on classes that will not be a good fit for their final goals. Some of the reasons for considering a 2+2 program include:
- Financial savings, since tuition at community colleges is traditionally much less than tuition at four-year schools
- Additional academic assistance for students who need remedial help to succeed in school – this sort of assistance is much more plentiful at community colleges as a general rule
- Community college may be easier to access, allowing students to live at home their first two years of school
- Better college access for first-generation college students, immigrants and others who might not be eligible for immediate entrance to a four-year school right out of high school
- A better fit for mature students who typically enter community college after a number of years in the work force
There are many 2+2 programs nationwide today, as more community colleges partner with four-year schools to offer this service to their students. These programs may open the door for more college applicants, boosting college enrollment and possible college completion across the country. With President Obama’s goal of producing millions more college graduates within the next decade, these 2+2 programs might fill an important niche in helping that goal come to fruition.
Kansas Expanding 2+2 Programs at Community Colleges and Universities
Kansas is one state that has become a true believer in 2+2 programs, as evidenced at both the community college and university level. According to the Independence Community College website, this school provides a number of options for students to pursue bachelor’s degrees at one of the state’s four-year universities after completion of an associate degree through Independence. The school has formed articulation agreements with reputable Kansas schools like the University of Kansas and Kansas State University, as well as schools like University of Phoenix and National American University that offer extensive online programs.
At the same time Independence Community College is expanding its choices in 2+2 programs, Kansas State University is following suit with more agreements with area community colleges. According to a report in the Morning Sun, Kansas State is the first major university in Kansas to complete a 2+2 agreement with every community college in the state. This allows students interested in pursuing a business degree a low-cost option to earning a degree at Kansas State.
“For students, it gives them a clear path to know exactly how their credits can transfer and how they will transfer,” Donna Estill, Fort Scott Community College dean of instruction, told the Sun. FSCC is one of the schools partnering with Kansas State. “It’s an easy way to figure out their plans,” Estill added.
Colorado Students Offered 2+2 Nursing Program
In the Denver Metro area, students who begin their nursing studies at Front Range Community College can now easily extend their nursing studies to a four-year degree through Metropolitan State College of Denver. According to the Metro College website, this program provides students the opportunity to combine the convenience of community college with the resources of a much larger institution. The Metro State courses can even be taken right on the community college campus for even easier degree pursuit.
Iowa Makes it Easier for Adults to Go Back to School
The University of Northern Iowa understands that when adults go back to school, it is a much different experience. Family and job responsibilities make it necessary for students to maintain flexible school schedules – not always possible through a traditional four-year university. To help the process, the college has instituted a 2+2 program, partnering with a number of Iowa community colleges to offer a full education in a flexible environment. According to the school’s website, students have the option of taking classes on campus, online or through interactive classrooms.
The 2+2 concept isn’t necessarily new, but it is definitely gaining steam across the country. If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree, but aren’t quite ready for the university experience, check with local community colleges to find out if there is a 2+2 program that’s right for you.
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