STEUBENVILLE - The president of Eastern Gateway Community College joined officials from Ohio University Friday afternoon to sign a memorandum of understanding to allow EGCC students to pursue a bachelor's degree at OU's Eastern Campus in St. Clairsville.
"We think this is a long term relationship and commitment from our side," announced Dan Evans, Ohio University executive dean of regional campuses and vice provost for strategic initiatives during a Friday afternoon press conference at the EGCC Pugliese Training Center.
"We began building partnerships three years ago, and now we are announcing an agreement with Eastern Gateway as our 13th partner. I consider that a sign of good luck," noted Evans.
"I would like to echo those sentiments. Our students now have a new opportunity to complete a four-year degree. We are very pleased to join the other 12 community colleges who have partnered with Ohio University. We already have students who transfer to the OUE campus in St. Clairsville. This partnership will provide the students with support and allow them to achieve their dreams," said Laura Meeks, president of EGCC.
"You bring a powerful source of support for our students," she added.
According to Richard Greenlee, dean of the Ohio University Eastern Campus in St. Clairsville, "we have already seen students transfer from Eastern Gateway to our OUE campus and they have always been very well prepared. We believe the Ohio Valley is where we should be."
"We are pleased and proud to be working with a fine institution like the Eastern Gateway Community College to develop articulation agreements that provide seamless pathways for their students to complete an Ohio University baccalaureate degree," said Greenlee.
Meeks suggested the new partnership will make a four year bachelor's degree available at a low cost for area students.
"Jefferson County students can attend Eastern Gateway for free. They just have to pay for books and supplies. Now after two years the students can transfer to Ohio University Eastern at a reduced tuition rate and will only pay for books and the cost of travel," said Meeks.
"I have been asked when Eastern Gateway will become a four-year college. But that isn't part of our mission. The mission of a community college is to offer associate degrees in order to prepare students to get a job or allow the student to transfer their credits to obtain a four-year degree. This is another chance for our students to continue their education," continued Meeks.
"We already have partnerships with Kent State University and Youngstown State University. I am very excited about our partnership with Ohio University," stated Meeks.
EGCC spokesperson Ann Koon said 70 percent of students at the former technical college were interested taking classes for a job.
"We now see 50 percent of our students taking two years of classes at Eastern Gateway as the first step in pursuing a four-year degree," said Koon.
Meeks said the collaboration between Eastern Gateway and Ohio University will offer individuals who have earned an associate degree in a technical field from Eastern Gateway an opportunity to complete a bachelor's degree from Ohio University without leaving the region.
"Two degree programs are expected to be offered initially as part of the agreement, providing Eastern Gateway students with flexible options to meet degree requirements. Eastern Gateway students in the program may earn a bachelor of technical and applied sciences degree by maximizing transfer of credits earned as part of the college's associate of applied science or applied business degree programs. In addition, Ohio University's bachelor of criminal justice degree will provide a convenient and affordable advancement path for those Eastern Gateway students who have completed an associate degree in a criminal justice area. The institutions anticipate adding other program options in the future," Meeks explained.
"While pursuing their bachelor's degree, students will have the option of taking some of the required academic courses from Eastern Gateway. Courses taken from OU may be completed in online format or conveniently in-person at OU's Eastern Campus in St. Clairsville," remarked Meeks.
Eastern Gateway Community College is a state, comprehensive institution of higher education serving Columbiana, Jefferson, Mahoning and Trumbull counties in eastern Ohio.
The main campus is the Jefferson County Campus in Steubenville, which was established September 23, 1968.
Eastern Gateway participates in a tuition reciprocity agreement for enrolling students from Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel and Tyler counties in West Virginia.
Career training and transfer programming are offered in more than 60 majors for more than 3,000 students annually.
Ohio University was chartered in 1804 and currently serves 29,000 students at the main campus in Athens and five regional campuses.
(Gossett can be contacted at email@example.com.)