Washtenaw Community College, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University and Southern University at New Orleans recently announced a partnership creating a pathway to success for students transferring associate degrees.
Announced ahead of National Transfer Student Week (Oct. 18-22), this news marks the first comprehensive agreement – with benefits such as guaranteed admission and access to in-state tuition – between a Michigan two-year school and a Historically Black College & University (HBCU).
The Washtenaw Community College HBCU Pathway program creates opportunities for student success and transfer equity by providing a clear, direct, affordable and supportive pathway for community college students to attend HBCUs.
In addition to guaranteeing admission to Jackson State (JSU), Mississippi Valle State (MVSU) and Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) for WCC students who successfully complete requirements, the partnership opens access to in-state tuition and scholarships and waives application fees.
Transfer agreements between WCC and other HBCUs will soon be announced.
Representatives from JSU, MVSU and SUNO will discuss a partnership and transfer information during a panel session hosted by WCC during National Transfer Week. Current and prospective WCC students and families, as well as members of the community, are invited to register to attend the virtual session from 6-7:30 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, Oct. 20.
“Creating a pipeline for students success is essential to our mission, and it starts with access, nurturing students with big dreams and helping them realize the opportunities to further their education,” said WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellance.
“Our new HBCU pathway is designed to support students from high school through community college and then through completion of their bachelor’s degree. We are excited to announce our first HBCU partnerships with Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State and Southern University in New Orleans.”
The three HBCUs are rich in history with an extensive offering of undergraduate and graduate programs, including those Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
“I look forward to watching these students matriculate to obtain their bachelor’s degrees and beyond.”
Located in Jackson, Miss., Jackson State University was originally founded in 1877 as a seminary and today has grown into a comprehensive urban research university offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, including at the doctorate level.
Located in Itta Bena, Miss., Mississippi Valley State University held its first classes in 1950, originally to train rural and elementary teachers and to provide vocational education. It now offers comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs in education, the arts and sciences, and professional studies.
Located in New Orleans, SUNO was founded as a branch unit of Southern University and Agricultural & Mechanical College in Baton Rouge in 1956 and offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts and sciences, business and public administration, education and human development and social work.
One of the benefits of the new HBCU transfer pipeline is that it offers an attractive return on investment for college students and families. With a $2,280 average annual full-time in-district tuition, WCC already provides an affordable start to a college education.
“This is the perfect opportunity for me. Having the close-knit community and support services that both WCC and HBCUs offers for biology majors like myself is very important,” said current WCC student Alexia Easley, an Ypsilanti resident and Ann Arbor Pioneer High School graduate. “I’m excited because I know HBCUs provide such a phenomenal impact on STEM students.”
DeVaughn Swanson knows the value of great opportunities an HBCU education provides. The former WCC student transferred to Morehouse College in Atlanta in 2008. He graduated from Morehouse in 2012 and is now a Detroit attorney and Ypsilanti pastor.
“WCC prepared me for Morehouse College by offering rigorous courses and practical student leadership opportunities. I think this partnership is a dynamic idea and further proves that WCC is committed to ensuring the future success of all WCC students,” Swanson said. “This partnership gives students interested in HBCUs something to look forward to and work toward. A person who has been educated at WCC and an HBCU is destined to make a positive impact on the world.”
WCC’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion led development of the alliance to provide additional pathways to success for the college’s diverse student population and is planning high school outreach events to highlight the new HBCU agreements as well as programming and support for WCC students planning to transfer to an HBCU partner.
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