GREENSBORO – There are fancy names for the partnerships UNC Greensboro announced last week to make it easier for students from Guilford Technical Community College and Alamance Community College to transfer to UNCG and earn bachelor’s and in some cases master’s degrees.1
But for UNCG Provost Dana Dunn, it’s about building expectations – especially among students who are the first in their families to go to college.
“This program is about developing expectations early in a student’s time at a community college,” said Dunn. “They’re thinking about graduating with a four-year degree from Day One.”
Under the programs, students file a single application for admission to both schools, with the fee waived at UNCG.
- The “G2” (G-squared) partnership with GTCC lets students aim for any of five UNCG majors: Accounting, Biology, Business Administration: Business Studies, Drama, and Psychology. Community-college students must take 15-17 hours of coursework per term, maintain at least a 2.0 GPA and meet regularly with an advisor.2
- Participants in the “Spartan Passage” partnership with Alamance Community College are eligible to complete most majors at UNCG. They would even have an option to pursue accelerated, five-year master’s degrees in Communication Studies, Computer Science, Applied Economics, English or Geography. The community-college students must take 15-17 hours of coursework per term, maintain a 2.0 GPA – 3.5 for master’s candidates – and meet regularly with an advisor.3
UNCG already welcomes about 1,600 new students from community colleges every year, Dunn said. But now UNCG advisors will be on hand at both community colleges to make sure the courses students take will count toward their intended degree.
“This program has real potential to shorten time to degree,” she said. “What this program will do is save students time, because they will proceed along a structured path, and also save them a substantial amount of money…. We think this will help hold down student debt.
“We believe it will be a key driver of student success … especially retention and graduation rates for students from underserved communities,” she said.
The UNCG programs are in line with Higher Expectations, the UNC System’s strategic plan, which calls for increasing pathways for low-income, rural and first-generation students – especially through community-college transfers – and smoothing their transition to public universities.4
“This new partnership is designed to bridge the gap for students in our state, making it easier and more affordable for them to get their degree in a shorter timeframe, and get them into the workforce sooner,” UNC System President Margaret Spellings said of the new programs.5
The transfer programs also align with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Frontier Set, an effort to improve graduation rates and attainment especially among low-income, first-generation and students of color. UNCG and GTCC are among 30 institutions nationwide that are part of Frontier Set.6
The majors in the G-squared program with GTCC are all high-demand majors, Dunn said, and the majors offered might expand over time. She noted that instructors from the schools have worked together to arrange the courses and make sure they progress toward a degree.
“We are all in this together. These are not ‘our’ students – we have the same mission collectively,” she said. “We really do believe that this program is going to drive economic development in the region by producing more workers with four-year degrees.”
Other UNC-community college dual-enrollment programs
UNCG isn’t the only UNC institution that offers dual-enrollment programs with community colleges:
- UNC Chapel Hill’s C-STEP program is a guaranteed admission program that focuses on low- to moderate-income students. It serves 200-250 students who attend community college before enrolling at Chapel Hill.
- Eagle Connect at NC Central University even allows Durham Technical Community College students to live in NCCU residence halls to ease their transition to a four-year university.
- UNC Charlotte’s Passport Program is a bridge program that makes students more competitive for admission and increases their likelihood for success. Selected applicants are invited to do their first year of coursework at Central Piedmont Community College. They receive academic support from both CPCC and UNC Charlotte, and they receive priority in transfers to the university for their second year.
- Winston-Salem State’s Dual Admission Program offers students who are initially denied admission dual enrollment at WSSU and Forsyth Technical Community College, where they first earn an associate degree before transferring to WSSU.7
- Fayetteville State University offers “2+2” programs with Fayetteville Technical Community College, particularly in Nursing.8
- Western Carolina University offer a program that lets nursing students spend three years at a community college before spending their final year at WCU – all for less than $20,000. At least five other UNC institutions offer similar programs.9
4 https://www.northcarolina.edu/sites/default/files/unc_strategic_plan.pdf, pp. 7-11.