From wsau.com: “Many transfer options available for college students in area” — Obtaining a college degree can be one of the biggest moments in someone’s life. Schools in our area make it easier than ever to start at one campus and end at a different one.

Many colleges and universities offer students the option to transfer courses from one school and then use them towards their completion of a degree at another school.

The reasons for doing so differ. For some, starting at a community college and moving on to a four year school can help them save money.
Other students might want to take a class at one school that isn’t available at another.

Many schools in our area offer a transfer option, including Northcentral Technical College and UW – Marathon County. The close-knit environment of these schools mean students sometimes only need to travel a few minutes up the road to get transfer credits.

“We’re very proud of our community relationships in this area,” says Suzi Mathias, Director of Transfer and Placement at NTC. “We have some very strong collaborations with other colleges and we work with them frequently.”

She says it’s common for students to decide ahead of time to start their degree at NTC and complete a four-year degree at another school. At NTC students can transfer credits to more than 35 institutions.

Transfer directors say the most important thing when helping a student decide where to gain credits is looking at their particular needs.

“I think it’s important for students to be able to move some credits around because plans change,” says Keith Montgomery, Dean and CEO at UW- Marathon County.

One option offered through the University of Wisconsin Colleges is the Guaranteed Transfer Program. You begin as a freshman at a UW campus and receive guaranteed admission to complete a four year degree at another school. You must complete a declaration form, as well as keep a minimum GPA of a 2.0 (2.8 for UW-Madison) as well as complete the number of credits required for junior status into the transfer school.

Visit uwc.edu for more information.

From starjournalnow.com: “Nicolet College’s early childhood education program sees enrollment surge” — Nicolet College’s early childhood education program has enjoyed an enrollment boom in recent years thanks, in part, to greater opportunity for students to earn a bachelor’s degree and a desire by child care providers to have a more highly skilled workforce.

That’s according to Diana Rickert, early childhood education instructor at Nicolet, who recently gave a presentation to the Nicolet College Board of Trustees about program developments.

“Students like what Nicolet has to offer,” Rickert said. “They see the benefits of attending Nicolet on a number of fronts and that’s what’s driving the enrollment increase.”

Currently, 52 students are in the program and that number is expected to nudge higher in coming weeks as new applicants work their way through the enrollment process in order to begin classes at the start of the spring semester in January.

One of the biggest drivers of this trend is the close partnership Nicolet has developed with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Thanks to a credit transfer agreement between the two institutions, students can complete roughly the first two years of their bachelor’s degree at Nicolet and then transfer to UW-Stevens Point to complete the degree.

“Students are realizing that they can save thousands of dollars by starting at Nicolet,” she said. “That’s because of Nicolet’s affordable tuition and because they can live at home, which means they don’t have to pay room and board. Combined, this results in a very significant cost savings.”

With bachelor’s degree in hand, graduates are then eligible to receive their Wisconsin teaching license and teach pre-kindergarten through third grade in a public school system.

An added advantage is the increased level of hands-on, practical experience students get in the associate degree program. Nicolet’s early childhood education program has an advisory committee made up of teaching professionals that offers guidance for program development.

“When they look at rèsumès to fill teaching positions, I’ve heard time and again that applicants who first earn an associate degree rise to the top of the pile,” Rickert said. “The added level of hands-on teaching experience they get with an associate degree on top of what they get with a bachelor’s degree is highly valued by school districts.”

Another factor contributing to the enrollment increase is the state of Wisconsin’s YoungStar program. Launched in 2011, YoungStar ranks licensed child care providers on a scale of one to five, with five being the best rating. The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families then make the ratings public to help parents make child care decisions.

“More than a third of the possible points a program can earn are based upon the educational qualifications of the staff,” Rickert said. “Because of this, we are seeing more people who are currently working in child care enrolling in Nicolet classes. They are learning additional skills that ultimately benefit the children they teach and care for, and also help their employer receive a higher YoungStar rating.”

In recent years, Nicolet has also added a high degree of flexibility to the program, offering classes in the evening, on weekends, over an interactive television network, in an accelerated format, and on-site in the Lac du Flambeau tribal community.

“Everybody’s life situation is different,” Rickert explained. “By expanding the options students have to take classes, we’re making it easier for students to fit college into what are already busy lives.”

From marshfieldnewsherald.com:  Column:  High schoolers able to double dip at MSTC — Technical colleges are specialists in transitioning students from kindergarten through 12th grade into higher education.

Mid-State Technical College’s, or MSTC, dual credit program allows high school students to “double-dip” by earning college credits while in high school and applying these same credits toward their high school graduation.

When cost is an issue, dual credit is a great way to stretch dollars and reduce the cost of a college education. High school juniors and seniors all across the MSTC district already are enthusiastically taking advantage of the program to jumpstart their college careers. Dual credit courses offered in high schools use MSTC’s college curriculum and are taught by Wisconsin Technical College System certified high school faculty. Since participants are exposed to higher education at an earlier age, the path to a degree and a good-paying career is put on the fast-track.

Technical college dual credit has a proven track record for more than 20 years. We know that more than 20,000 high school students a year receive such credit from technical colleges. This model has thrived in Wisconsin and is considered a gold standard in higher education across the United States.

MSTC employees help ease the transition to college by helping individual high school students with student services such as career planning and financial aid. Dual credit students are more likely to enroll in college and more likely to complete an MSTC degree or certificate. Education doesn’t have to end with a technical college degree; many MSTC students extend their education at a four-year institution.

Our relationships with high schools throughout the MSTC district remain strong. This past academic year, nearly 400 students earned more than 1,000 credits through MSTC’s dual credit program. For these students, dual-credit means a top-quality education in less time for less money. For local businesses, dual credit is another source of well-trained graduates entering the local workforce.

If we are to continue fostering economic development and job creation in our state, we must take the necessary steps to prepare students for college and the world of work. This flexible degree option is an important and effective tool for giving students the skill set and hands-on experience they need to succeed in postsecondary education and the local workforce.

I encourage high school students and parents to investigate the many benefits of dual credit. For more information about MSTC’s dual credit program or any of MSTC’s many other programs and services, call 888-575-6782.

Sue Budjac is president of Mid-State Technical College.

From Madison.com:  Editorial — Bettsey L. Barhorst:  Review for-profit college report before picking school — Last week, the findings of a two-year investigation of the for-profit higher education industry were released.

At best, the report documents predatory recruiting practices and “gaming regulations to maximize profits” at the expense of taxpayers. At worst, the report reveals that these colleges place the desire to fatten their bottom line above the interests of students.

As an institution that is publicly funded, we take offense to that. So should every taxpayer.

Madison College’s mission is to provide accessible, high-quality learning experiences that serve the community. We do that by offering tuition that is 75 percent less than that of the average for-profit college.

We prepare students with the skills and knowledge they need to join the workforce. More than 89 percent of students trained at Madison College are employed within six months, compared to 77 percent of those trained at for-profit schools.

And we invest heavily in programs and services that support student success — not in salespeople and glitzy advertising to recruit students who will assume massive, long-term debt.

The report is available on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee website (search for Harkin report). It outlines many other startling contrasts between for-profit colleges and those that are publicly funded.

Selecting a college is among the most important decisions one will ever make. Choose wisely.

— Bettsey L. Barhorst, president,

Madison College

From morainepark.edu: “Dual enrollment provides Moraine Park students with learning advantage” — When Jasmyn Clough graduated from Beaver Dam High School in 2008, she had completed enough transcripted credit courses to count as two classes in Moraine Park Technical College’s Business Management program. While an accident kept Clough from enrolling at Moraine Park directly out of high school, in 2010, she was able to hit the ground running with two college classes under her belt.

Clough, who graduates this December, isn’t stopping with her Business Management associate of applied science degree. Instead, she is taking advantage of the transfer agreements set in place by Moraine Park and will be entering Cardinal Stritch University at junior status as a Business Management student in the spring of 2013. She’s on a track that will allow her to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in two years.

Clough is a perfect example of how transcripted credits, or dual enrollment, creates an economically savvy, time-saving path to success. “I’m a first-generation college student and am making my family proud by obtaining a Moraine Park associated of applied science degree then continuing my education,” Clough said. “I’m always looking one step ahead and the transfer agreement with Cardinal Stritch is helping me continue this pattern.”

Transcripted credit/dual enrollment has been offered at Moraine Park for almost 20 years. Transcripted credit courses are Moraine Park courses taught in the high school using technical college curriculum, grading policies and textbooks. In addition to Moraine Park, these credits are transferable to all colleges within the Wisconsin Technical College System.

The numbers line up and high school students are saving money through this seamless dual enrollment transition. In 2010-11, high school students in Moraine Park’s district earned over $1.2 million worth of college credits – 4,183 took transcripted credits with a total of 9,871 credits completed. There are 216 transcripted credit agreements with public schools in Moraine Park’s district.

“I encourage high school students to inquire about dual enrolled options with their counselors,” said Moraine Park president Sheila Ruhland. “If you are seeking avenues for cost savings and time shortened programs as you enter college, enrolling in these classes as a high school student is an excellent first choice!”

Taking it to the next step of transferring from a two-year to four-year degree, Moraine Park has a full-time Academic Support and Transfer Specialist who works to secure agreements and support students as they transition from Moraine Park to a bachelor’s degree path. In 2011-12, more than 150 Moraine Park students were guided through the transfer process.

“The college currently has agreements with 36 four-year institutions, said Karla Donahue, Moraine Park academic support and transfer specialist” From those 36 colleges and universities, students can choose from 111 different specific program pathways.

At Cardinal Stritch, for example, 15 different degree options exist for Moraine Park students to choose from when they decide on the transferring option.  Every spring, Moraine Park holds a Transfer Fair when representatives from the 36 colleges with transfer agreements in place come to offer information and chat with Moraine Park students interested in transferring. Attending the Transfer Fair is how Clough became interested in attending Cardinal Stritch.

Diane Sexton had the idea of lifelong learning in mind when she enrolled in the accounting program at Moraine Park.  A solid associate of applied science foundation at Moraine Park, combined with an easy transition to Ottawa University, based out of Milwaukee, allowed Sexton to continue learning. She eventually obtained a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration, and a master’s degree in business administration, also from Ottawa.

Students who complete their associate of applied science degree through Moraine Park can apply up to 80 credits toward an Ottawa University bachelor’s degree. Online and face-to-face programs are available to students in areas including business administration, health care management and accounting.

“The transition from Moraine Park to Ottawa University was extremely easy,” said Sexton. “My instructors at Moraine Park provided me with a very strong education in accounting which set me up for success at Ottawa.  Moraine Park got me back into the swing of going to school, and Ottawa allowed me to continue learning by accepting all of my credits from Moraine Park, allowing me to achieve my bachelor’s degree quickly.”

Dual Enrollment/transcripted credits, and transfer agreements continue to play a role in Moraine Park’s offering of flexible and convenient degree options. For more information on dual enrollment at Moraine Park, visit morainepark.edu/transfer.

From ntc.edu: “NTC partners with Viterbo University – Addiction Studies” — “This is our first agreement for the new AODA track to transfer into a bachelor’s program that focuses on addiction,” says Tammy Gorski, Human Services Faculty, NTC. “This is a great chance for our students to continue with their education.”

Students graduating NTC will enter Viterbo with junior status.  All classes are offered online with the exception of one summer session.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for graduates of NTC’s Human Services, AODA program to maximize their transfer credits and complete a bachelor’s degree in Addiction Studies,” says Alissa Oelfke, Director, Center for Adult Learning – Viterbo. “The arrangement of online courses, together with the summer seminar, gives these students the ability to work full-time jobs and still fit being a student into their busy lives. We are very happy to be a part of this partnership with NTC.”

For more information regarding transfer opportunities visit http://www.ntc.edu/transfer.

From marshfieldherald.com: “UWSP, MSTC expand Bridge program” —  An expanded partnership between two central Wisconsin higher education institutions soon will give students additional opportunities to adjust to college life while they gain entrance into a four-year program, officials said.

Starting this fall, the Mid-State Technical College/University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Bridge program, which allows students who fall just short of meeting UWSP admissions requirements to take MSTC classes, will take place on the UWSP campus, said Beth Smith, associate dean of general education for Mid-State Technical College.

“The new idea and the thinking is the sooner students are acclimated to the UWSP campus and services and everything that a four-year campus entails, the better,” Smith said.

Courses previously took place on the Mid-State campus, but thanks to a decision last month by the MSTC District Board, students now will be able to attend classes on the university campus.

Created several years ago, the program allows as many as 30 participants to take MSTC courses — three in social sciences and one in communications — in order to achieve admission to the university, Smith said. They then can apply the 12 general education credits they earn toward their graduation.

This type of program is not unusual, with various other technical colleges and universities across the nation providing similar opportunities.

Both Mid-State and UWSP are able to identify potential program participants, who want to pursue a four-year degree but fall short of the requirements, Smith said. Most students in the program are recent high school graduates, as well as first-generation college students, she said. The 30 students attend the same classes as a group.

“They will be their own learning community,” she said. “This will also help them navigate this early part of their higher education.”

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