Students taking classes at Anne Arundel Community College soon will be able to finish their degrees at University of Maryland University College with a minimum of academic, bureaucratic or financial hassle.
The two institutions announced a new partnership yesterday that will allow for the seamless transfer of credits from the community college to the university adult education center, which caters to part-time students.
The partnership enhances the area's most extensive and well-developed bachelor's degree programs that can be completed without much time, travel or expense, UMUC President Ben Massey boasted at yesterday's announcement.
When students enroll at AACC, they can apply for UMUC's four-year degree program. Their AACC credits will transfer automatically, unless they fail classes, according to spokeswoman Debbie McDaniel-Shaughney.
While AACC credits -- hours spent in a classroom -- already may be transferred to any school in the 11-institution University System of Maryland, the partnership will allow for class transfers. That means students will have an easier time fulfilling specific course requirements for degrees.
The 12,000 students at AACC may take classes that count toward a degree at UMUC for the $58 per credit the community college charges rather than the $181 UMUC fee.
McDaniel-Shaughney said the partnership will work the other way too. UMUC students will be able to take part of their remaining 24 upper-level credits at AACC, when they are available there, and "get some financial relief."
Adults who work full or part time can conveniently receive a cheaper education without worrying about receiving a shoddy one, Massey said.
Under the partnership, students don't have to travel to UMUC branches in Annapolis, College Park, Shady Grove or Waldorf, or shell out the extra money to take upper-level credits, McDaniel-Shaughney said. But UMUC probably will require that students finish most of their upper-level classes there, she said.
The idea for the partnership came about when some students found they were taking lower-level classes at AACC that didn't necessarily fit into their four-year degree, said Julian Jones, a UMUC vice president.
"Certain kinds of majors require certain kinds of things to be taken on a freshman level," Jones said. Students majoring in business, computing and general studies will benefit the most from the new partnership because those majors have specific entry-level courses students must take before moving on to advanced classes.
UMUC is the only University System of Maryland school that specializes in degrees for those already in the work force. It has offered classes overseas since 1949 and offers classes over the Internet, Jones said.