As part of its effort to open doors to four-year schools, Carroll Community College has partnered with Shippensburg University in south-central Pennsylvania to streamline the transfer process and prevent students from losing time or duplicating courses.
Last week's agreement with Shippensburg is the latest in a series of transfer agreements signed by the two-year college in Westminster. The school has similar arrangements with Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., Johns Hopkins Hospital Schools of Medical Imaging, University of Maryland University College as well as all public colleges and universities in Maryland.
Carroll Community College officials expect to finalize an agreement with Howard and Frederick community colleges Thursday for a health care education consortium and are working on a business-focused transfer agreement with Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg.
"Our students transfer everywhere, but this makes it easier for them to see what's possible and what they need to take," said Kristine DeWitt, Carroll Community College's senior director of student development. "Most students come in with a primary interest in going to in-state schools, but these programs maybe broaden those possibilities."
Money-saving extras add value to the arrangement. For instance, Carroll Community College students can take one free class a semester at Hood College in Frederick. They also get a Western Maryland College class for the price of a community college course. Shippensburg is working out the details of offering reduced tuition to Carroll graduates.
Officials at Carroll Community College partially credit such partnerships with increasing enrollment at the college this year. Preliminary estimates show an additional 76 full-time students are enrolled this year. The school typically enrolls about 2,400 students.
"We've heard from parents and other individuals that when they see these kinds of avenues, they see us as a more viable transfer institution," said James D. Ball, the college's vice president of academic and student affairs and faculty dean.
Dual-admission agreements, such as the one signed with Shippensburg, allow Carroll students to earn an associate's degree from the community college while fulfilling general education requirements toward a bachelor's degree at the four-year institution. Because the two schools have agreed on what courses transfer and for how many credits, students can enter the four-year school as juniors without losing credits.
"It may seem unusual for a regional Pennsylvania university to be working with a community college south of the Mason-Dixon line in this type of partnership, but we believe it's a great fit," Shippensburg President Anthony Ceddia said at Wednesday's signing ceremony.
The arrangement also means county students can pay $2,500 a year for a full course load of 30 credits at Carroll for their first two years before transferring to one of the four-year schools for their last two years. Shippensburg charges $14,700 for a year of tuition and board.
Carroll Community College was founded in the late 1970s as an offshoot of Catonsville Community College. It became independent in 1993.
Shippensburg is a small, 129-year-old college about two hours from Baltimore in Pennsylvania's Cumberland Valley. About 6,700 undergraduate and graduate students attend classes in more than 70 academic programs on the 200-acre campus.