Colorado Northwestern Community College students could begin taking their education to the next level without leaving home.
On Tuesday, CNCC officials signed an agreement with Colorado State University that would allow CNCC students to earn their bachelor's degree online through the four-year institution.
"I think it's a good start," CNCC president John Boyd said. "We'll see where it goes from here.
"It's the beginning of the direction where we want to go."
CNCC and Colorado State forged the understanding after the university created an alliance with the Colorado Community College System.
The partnership will allow students in the Community College System, of which CNCC is a member, to earn their degrees through Colorado State University-Global Campus, an online program.
"The purpose of this is to give all those Coloradans who can't get to a campus the ability to get a four-year degree," said Richard Schweigert, Global Campus CEO.
Students can enroll in CNCC classes next semester and start earning credits that would apply to a Colorado State degree. However, Boyd cautioned that it may take several days for CNCC's counseling staff to get "on board" with the program.
Once enrolled, students can earn an associate's degree from CNCC, then get their bachelor's degrees online through Global Campus. Students could use CNCC facilities and counseling services as they worked toward their bachelor's degrees.
CNCC is tailoring programs for the Colorado State partnership, including some reverse degrees. These programs would allow students to take degree-specific courses at CNCC before completing their general education classes with Colorado State. These programs could be offered in energyrelated programs as well as those in nursing and dental hygiene.
Boyd stressed that these options still are only possibilities. Colorado State and CNCC will continue discussions to determine what degrees they will offer in the partnership.
Global Campus, formerly known as Colorado State University-Colorado, began its first round of classes Sept. 1 and has about 300 students enrolled across Colorado. About 40 of those students are from the Community College System.
Partnering with the Community College System was a logical step for Colorado State.
"We wanted to build a strong partnership with the Community College System because what they do, they do very well, and we think that that's a great benefit to people" in Colorado, Schweigert said. "It just makes sense that we partner with them and not compete against them."
Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org