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Southwestern, ACC Sign Articulation Agreement

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    Southwestern University President Jake B. Schrum shakes hands with Stephen B. Kinslow, ACC district president/CEO, after signing an articulation agreement.

Agreement will make it easier for honors students from ACC to transfer to the university

Southwestern University has signed an agreement with the Austin Community College District that will make it easier for honors students from ACC to transfer to the university.

The agreement targets students in ACC’s Honors Program who are interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree within a liberal arts environment. It clearly spells out which ACC courses will be accepted by Southwestern if students want to transfer to the university.

“This will help students at ACC know which courses to take if they are interested in continuing their education at Southwestern,” said Ron Swain, chair of the task force at Southwestern that worked out the agreement with ACC.

Under the terms of the agreement, any student enrolled in ACC’s Honors Program who has completed 24 hours of coursework and has a 3.4 cumulative GPA will be automatically granted admission to Southwestern.

“Honors students from Austin Community College who are accepted into Southwestern University will benefit from the school’s national reputation for excellence,” said Hazel Ward, the ACC dean who oversees the school’s Honors Program. “ACC’s Honors Program is proud to be associated with such a wonderful institution.”

For students who transfer to Southwestern before completing their associate’s degree, the agreement also provides that Southwestern courses will be counted toward completion of a degree from ACC.

“I am excited about the opportunity to provide a clear path to students from Austin Community College,” said Southwestern University President Jake B. Schrum. “I hope students who want a liberal arts education will take advantage of this.”

Already, more students transfer to Southwestern from ACC than from any other institution. University officials hope this agreement will increase the number of transfer students from ACC. There currently are 1,209 students in ACC’s Honors Program who would be eligible to take advantage of the agreement.

“The Austin Community College District is committed to ensuring access to higher education,” said Dr. Stephen B. Kinslow, ACC district president/CEO. “Agreements such as this one offer students a seamless transition into a baccalaureate degree program and will ultimately assist us in narrowing the State’s education gap.”

Southwestern officials also noted that the agreement was a way that Southwestern could contribute to the state’s “Closing the Gaps” initiative, which seeks to increase the number of students in Texas who earn a bachelor’s degree. Currently, only 26 percent of Texans ages 25 to 65 have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.

This is the first “articulation agreement” that Southwestern University has signed with a community college. University officials hope to pursue similar agreements with other community colleges in the near future.

ACC has articulation agreements with 32 universities, but only three are targeted to students in its Honors Program.

Southwestern University also hopes the agreement will help increase the diversity of its student body, which is one of the goals of its Strategic Plan for 2010. University officials noted that for participating students, the agreement will make the cost of earning a Southwestern degree half of what it might otherwise be.