(Columbus, OH) – Under a new partnership between Otterbein University and Columbus State Community College (CSCC), Central Ohio students will be able to earn both an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree in four years for less than the cost of attending most of Ohio’s public four-year universities.
A cornerstone of this dual admission program is shared academic advising so that students are always aware of the progress they are making on both their two-year and four-year degrees. The program also connects student services on both campuses, as well as creating shared curricular and co-curricular opportunities.
“Students will have two campuses, but one unified student experience,” said Kathy Krendl, president of Otterbein University. The public-private partnership was announced at the 2017 Central Ohio Compact Summit by Krendl and CSCC President David Harrison.
For several years, Otterbein and CSCC have offered great transfer opportunities, and students transferring from CSCC to Otterbein have successful retention and graduation rates. Many 2+2 agreements are offered that align curriculum between different colleges, but don’t address the social and cultural issues related to transferring, nor do they do anything specifically about affordability.
“This program addresses the other issues, as well as simplifying the transfer process itself,” said Jefferson Blackburn Smith, vice president for enrollment at Otterbein. “Students in the program don’t need to apply to transfer to Otterbein once they earn their associate degree. They will already be Otterbein students.”
Otterbein is investing in students coming through the partnership by creating a special, reduced tuition rate for students who earn an associate degree and a 2.75 grade point average. The four-year cost of the program, based on current tuition costs, including books, is just $43,188. Neither CSCC nor Otterbein have raised tuition in at least the last four years.
“College affordability has become a limiting factor for many,” said Rebecca Butler, vice president of enrollment management and student services at CSCC. “This partnership offers a tremendous opportunity for students to earn two meaningful degrees without incurring deep loan debt.”
As part of a dual admission program, participants will not need to complete a transfer application to Otterbein if they initiate and complete the program at CSCC. The initial pilot covers five academic areas: Business, Communication, Education, Engineering and Health and Sport Sciences. The program will expand to include most other academic programs in future.
“This is all about access and affordability,” said Blackburn Smith. “It is student-centered one hundred percent. It’s designed to eliminate as many barriers to student success as possible.”
The program will be non-residential to help with overall costs. Students will live at home to reduce costs but have access to resources at both campuses, including faculty and advising.
Recruitment for the program will start this fall.
Otterbein University is a small private university nationally-recognized for its intentional blending of liberal arts and professional studies through its renowned Integrative Studies curriculum and its commitments to experiential learning and community engagement. Otterbein is a recipient of the 2015 Carnegie Community Service Classification; a finalist for the 2014 President’s Award for Economic Opportunity Community Service; and has been honored With Distinction by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll since the list’s inception in 2006. It stands in its category’s top 10 percent in U.S. News & World Report’s guide to “America’s Best Colleges.” Otterbein offers more than 70 undergraduate majors; seven master’s programs; and a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP). Its picturesque campus is perfectly situated in Westerville, Ohio, America’s fifth friendliest town (Forbes), just minutes from Columbus, the 15th largest city in the country. Otterbein’s commitment to opportunity started with its founding in 1847 as one of the nation’s first universities to welcome women and persons of color to its community of teachers and learners, which now numbers 2,400 undergraduate and 500 graduate students. Otterbein remains committed to its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its spirit of inclusion, and welcomes people of all backgrounds to Otterbein’s Model Community. To learn more about Otterbein, visit www.otterbein.edu.