A system that allows community-college students to transfer credits to the state’s seven public universities is nearly complete – a milestone in the decades-long effort to create transfer agreements that benefit students and their checkbooks.
Students can now save money by attending one of Ivy Tech Community College’s 23 campuses for two years before transferring to one of the state’s more expensive public universities, such as Indiana or Purdue. A semester at Ivy Tech, the state’s community college system, costs less than $1,400, while a similar semester at IU runs about $3,700.
“It’s a great idea to get the classes you need,” said Angel Fecteau, who attends Ivy Tech now but will transfer to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis this fall. “You don’t want to take out loan after loan after loan.”
Lawmakers have been pushing for easier credit transfers since the 1990s, but officials say some colleges and universities resisted those efforts, fearing that losing students to community colleges could cost them money.
But in recent years the state has encouraged some students to attend two-year colleges and satellite campuses since admission standards were raised at flagship universities.
In 2005, the Indiana General Assembly mandated that at least 70 community college courses should transfer to public colleges, and asked the Commission for Higher Education to establish a dozen two-year degree programs that could transfer to similar programs in state schools. The deadline to meet the requirements was June 30, but authorities say the last steps of the program will be finished in October.
Indiana and Purdue universities will accept more than 100 Ivy Tech courses at their main campuses, and will allow Ivy Tech two-year degrees such as communications and nursing to transfer into similar four-year programs there.
“Many Ivy Tech students are first-generation students,” said John Whikehart, chancellor of Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus. “We’re providing access to public education to many more Hoosiers who may want to continue that education at a four-year institution later.”
Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said the credit transfer system will allow more residents to become educated. He said that should be a top priority since Indiana has one of the smallest populations of adults older than 25 with four-year degrees.
“This helps encourage, in many cases, adult students to come closer to maximizing their intellectual and skill capacity,” he said.
Enrollment at Ivy Tech has grown over the past decade, but Indiana still falls behind other states. About 21 percent of Indiana’s full-time undergraduates enrolled in community college, compared with 45 percent nationally.
“We have a long way to go,” said Stan Jones, Indiana’s commissioner for higher education. “There are so many more students that need that opportunity.”
Byrne says restructuring, recommendations coming in 2-year system.
– Associated Press
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