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UIS helps California community college students earn degree

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UIS encourages students through an innovative path to degree completion, as they’ve established an online joint enrollment program with a California community college.

Raymond Schroeder, associate vice chancellor of online learning says that UIS was “asked by the League for Innovation in the Community College to pursue a more formal joint venture agreement, called Learning First, with Coastline Community College in California, where students have fewer options for courses than in the past due to severe cuts in higher education.” The pilot program will be based on the UIS degree completion model, which was first developed in 2000.

California has a shortage of ways for students to complete degrees because of the decrease in funding for higher education. This program is a way to help students complete their education at a four-year university, as well as increase enrollment at UIS.

In 2012, The Learning First program was in the developmental stages of their pilot program. It was believed to increase online presence from students. Learning First was made possible by a grant provided from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was awarded to the League for Innovation in the Community College.

According to Schroeder, “The League received funding to facilitate the University of Illinois Springfield, University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Penn State University World Campus setting up degree completion programs. UIS’ program is in Computer Science; UMass’s is in Business Administration; and Penn State in Psychology.”

Computer science was a likely choice for UIS because it is a very popular professional applied degree for students attending Coastline, said Karen Moranski, associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education. UIS saw interest in these students. Each institution in this program chose a different degree. For UIS, computer science has worked well with currently enrolled students and out of state students, according to Moranski.

Thirteen students from Coastline will be a part of this program. Under this program, UIS created a 1-2-1 model in which students would begin by completing 30 credit hours at a community college, in this case, Coastline. The next 60 hours of the program incorporates UIS and Coastline credit hours. This would allow the student to receive an associate’s degree. During the transition period from associates to bachelor’s, the students would receive advising and other services from their school. In the last part of the program, students will earn their final 30 hours from UIS.

Through this program, students who once had limited options now have the opportunity to earn a four year degree from home.

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Award winning, student run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield..
UIS helps California community college students earn degree