July 10, 2012/The Muskegon Chronicle
By Megan Hart
MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – The road from community college to university is now a two-way street.
Grand Valley State University President Thomas Haas and Muskegon Community College President Dale Nesbary signed an agreement Monday afternoon that would allow students to transfer credits earned at GVSU back to MCC to count toward an associate's degree.
Students who have completed 30 or more credits at MCC can transfer back up to 32 GVSU credits to complete an associate degree, Nesbary said. Before, they would have had to physically come back to Muskegon to complete their associate's degree requirements even if they had taken equivalent classes at GVSU, he said.
“Completing a degree would have been much more difficult in the past,” he said.
MCC has 81 programs and GVSU has more than 200 programs, Nesbary said, so students should be able to complete any of the associate's degree programs at MCC with GVSU courses.
GVSU doesn’t offer associate's degrees, Haas said, so the partnership gives students a way to earn a degree if finances or other circumstances won’t let them complete their bachelor’s. It’s also an option for students who want both degrees, he said.
“This reduces redundancy for students,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s about students being successful.”
Haas said “reverse transfers” are becoming more popular and GVSU has a similar partnership with Grand Rapids Community College. It will likely set up three or four other partnerships this year, he said.
Haas said giving students a “seamless pathway” to an associate's degree increases the odds they’ll further their education, which will attract businesses looking for talented workers.
“They can see the talent is here, and maybe we can keep it here,” he said.