Drexel Ending Degree Program at 3 Philadelphia-area Community Colleges


Drexel University, pictured above, is phasing out a degree program at Burlington County College, Montgomery County College and Delaware County College.Drexel University, pictured above, is phasing out a degree program at Burlington County College, Montgomery County College and Delaware County College.

Drexel University previously offered a degree program at three Philadelphia-area community colleges — an unusual partnership that has already begun to be phased out as of last month. Under the partnership, community college students who had obtained an associate degree were able to earn a four-year Drexel degree on site, taught by Drexel faculty members.

The arrangement had allowed students to be able to earn a four-year degree at the same site without disruption and at two-thirds the cost of the annual tuition at the main Drexel campus.

In an interview with Inside Higher Ed last year, Drexel College president John Fry said that despite the discounted tuition rate, the Drexel program was a financially sound proposition.

The partnership started with Burlington County College in 2006, and grew to offer 10 majors in the STEM, management, culinary arts and hospitality fields. Per an announcement on the Drexel University at BCCC webpage, current full-time students will be able to finish out their programs on-site. Part-time students are advised to contact their academic advisors.

At BCCC, some 300 students are currently enrolled in the program.

Greg Volpe, BCCC director of communications, told Diverse that questions relating to the timing of the decision should be addressed to Drexel.

Similar partnerships at Montgomery County College and Delaware County College began last year and will also be phased out. A statement on MCCC’s website said that students would be able to finish out their degrees on Drexel’s university city campus, at the same discounted rate.

DCCC students, on the other hand, will be offered “several options for completing their bachelor’s degrees,” according to the announcement on its website. Tina Heuges, the director of Drexel at DCCC, said that she had been given a similar explanation for the phasing out of the program.

“I don’t really know anything [about the decision] — university communications told us that they are re-evaluating their community college partnerships and that they are going to strengthen their transfer articulations,” Heuges said.

Drexel’s director of media relations, Niki Gianakaris, emailed Diverse an official statement from the university addressing the sudden change.

“After almost a decade of offering Drexel degree programs at select community colleges, we now believe that students are best served by completing their degree on Drexel’s campus, where they will have access to the full Drexel experience, including interactions with a wide range of faculty and other students and to all of the resources available on campus,” the email read in part.

Drexel “will take all steps necessary,” according to the statement, to ensure that currently enrolled students will be able to complete their degrees at the same tuition rate.

Julie Walters, the associate vice provost for external programs at Drexel, wrote in an email that the official statement was the “most up to date information” on the subject. As vice provost for external relations, Walters oversees the Drexel programs at the community colleges.

Lori Doyle, senior vice president of university communications at Drexel, said that the official statement was “all that we’ll be providing.”

“It’s completely accurate,” Doyle said, adding that she did not anticipate that the university would come forward with further information in the near future.