Online programs will break down time and distance barriers to degree completion
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Cape Cod Community College today announced a plan to offer a $30,000 four-year associate’s/bachelor’s degree option to students. UMass Dartmouth is discussing similar agreements with other community colleges.
“We are pleased to be working with our colleagues at Cape Cod Community College to lower the barriers to degree completion,” UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman said. “Money, time, and distance too often prevent qualified, potential-filled students from receiving the educational opportunity they deserve. This initiative responds to that challenge and connects Cape Cod students to the innovative faculty at the only Massachusetts research university south of Boston. We believe this is an agreement is an important step toward our shared goal of more efficient and affordable transfer from community college to UMass, which is a goal that President Meehan, Governor Baker, Secretary Peyser, and Commissioner Santiago all share.”
“On behalf of our students, I am delighted that Cape Cod Community College and UMass Dartmouth are partnering to offer more affordable undergraduate education. Recognizing the guidance of Governor Baker and Higher Education Commissioner Santiago for statewide college affordability, we have taken these steps to make the associate and bachelor degrees more attainable. We know how critical increasing both higher education access and degree attainment is to the entire Commonwealth, and being able to provide specific pathways at significant cost-savings with UMass is a first for Massachusetts. We are proud to create this model initiative. We’ve believed strongly for quite some time, that our students would welcome a pathway to the bachelor degree with both a financial incentive to complete the program in a timely manner (6 years), and with a fixed financial cost on which they could depend. This makes degree attainment both affordable and financially predictable. As individuals confront uncertain financial times, this becomes a critical model for future partnerships among community colleges and universities,” stated John Cox, President of Cape Cod Community College.
Both UMass President Marty Meehan and Governor Charlie Baker have called for efforts to streamline transfer from Massachusetts community colleges to UMass campuses and make a 4-year degree more affordable. “This agreement between UMass Dartmouth and Cape Cod Community College is an important step in expanding educational opportunity, and serves as a model for other collaborations between UMass and community colleges,’’ President Meehan said.
“Today’s agreement between UMass Dartmouth and Cape Cod Community College is a stellar example of campus collaboration that directly benefits students and families,” said Carlos E. Santiago, Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education. “This is also an excellent strategy for incentivizing college completion, at a time when Massachusetts needs more college graduates for its high-skilled workforce. I commend campus leaders for forging a partnership that I hope will serve as a model for a statewide agreement in the near future.”
The initiative is designed to help confront a demographic challenge that Cape Cod is facing. From 2010 to 2014, Barnstable County has seen an increase in its 20-24 year old population of 11 percent, but a decline in its 24-44 year old population of 8 percent, suggesting that young families are leaving the Cape. Officials believe one of the assets that can keep families tethered to their community is the availability of high quality and affordable educational opportunity.
The UMass Dartmouth / Cape Cod Community College initiative creates an opportunity for thousands of current associate’s degree holders and the to complete a bachelor’s degree at an affordable rate, and then pursue a graduate degree online removes an enticement to move.
Under the agreement Cape Cod Community College students completing the Associate in Arts Liberal Arts or Associate in Science Business degree programs will transfer into Bachelors of Arts or Bachelors of Science Online Degree Completion Programs at UMass Dartmouth. The UMass Dartmouth degree completion options will include General Business Administration, Liberal Studies, Political Science, and Women's & Gender Studies.
Students will pay $10,000 for the community college portion of the program and $20,000 for the University portion. Students will also be eligible for additional financial aid that could further reduce the cost. The program will save the typical student an estimated $5,000 over the four years.
The program is made possible by UMass Dartmouth’s online offerings, which allow Cape Cod students to remain close to their home or workplace while completing their bachelor’s degree. Other keys to program’s success will be enhanced transfer processes, stronger coordination between UMass Dartmouth and Cape Cod Community College academic departments, and joint academic advising as well as online tutoring and other support services.
This is the second major initiative by UMass Dartmouth to ease the cost burden on community college students in the past year. Last fall, UMass Dartmouth became the first four-year institution in the region to waive tuition ($1,417) to students who have earned an Associate's Degree and maintained a 3.0 or better grade point average at any of the state's 15 community colleges. Those students also remain eligible for additional need- and merit-based financial aid.
UMass Dartmouth currently has about 350 students from Cape Cod and the Islands, and about 1,600 alumni.
More about UMass Dartmouth
UMass Dartmouth, the only Bay State research university south of Boston, distinguishes itself as a vibrant public university actively engaged in personalized teaching and innovative discovery. UMass Dartmouth’s 9,000 students contribute more than 250,000 hours of community service every year and its faculty annually conduct $27 million in research related to the environment, business, health care, life science, public policy, transportation, and other fields that are critical to regional economic, social, and cultural development.
More about Cape Cod Community College
Cape Cod Community College’s main campus is in West Barnstable. It maintains an outreach center in Hyannis, and is about to open a new Aviation Maintenance Training facility at the Plymouth Municipal Airport. It is the only institution providing access to comprehensive higher education on Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. As an Associate Degree granting institution serving the peninsula of Cape Cod and portions of Plymouth County in Southeastern Massachusetts, it encourage students to achieve their educational and career goals, and enriches the region through community partnerships and workforce development. Throughout the year more than 4,000 students take credit courses, with community education, non-credit and workforce programs serving nearly 1000 more individuals.