NKU and Gateway create easy path from tech degree to bachelor's

Gateway students pay less for NKU courses

COVINGTON, Ky. – Earning a four-year-degree from Northern Kentucky University just got cheaper and quicker for some students who start their education at Gateway Community & Technical College.

NKU and Gateway rolled out a new program Friday called Gateway2NKU that will allow students to begin coursework at Gateway that would ultimately lead to a bachelor’s degree at NKU, including guaranteed transfer of credits. The program would also let students take four courses at NKU at the price of Gateway tuition.

The program means big cost savings for students and ends uncertainty about whether credits earned at Gateway will transfer to NKU. Gateway charges $144 per credit hour compared to NKU’s $337. The loss in tuition will be absorbed by NKU, spokesman Chris Cole said.

The move comes at a time when many college graduates are leaving four-year campuses with ballooning debt and slim job prospects and higher educational institutions are searching for ways to control costs and connect graduates with jobs in growing industries. Miami University and Columbus State Community College rolled out a very similar program Friday, guaranteeing admission to Miami to CSCC graduates with a 2.0 or better grade point average.

Cincinnati State Technical & Community College and University of Cincinnati are working on their own closer collaboration programs.

At Gateway, students who earn associate’s degrees and take courses relevant to a bachelor’s degree are guaranteed admission to NKU. Enrollment fees are waived.

In addition, Gateway students pursuing identified degree paths will also be given NKU student privileges including access to tutoring, intramural sports and Greek and other student organizations.

“This isn’t about our respective missions. This is about our collective mission to serve our students,” NKU President Geoffrey Mearns said at the press conference, held at Gateway’s Covington campus.

Gateway President/CEO Ed Hughes said the schools delivered on the long-held goal of a seamless transition between earning an associate’s degree at Gateway and a bachelor’s at NKU.

“We have broken down all the barriers to success as long as students stay on of these 25 paths,” he said. “Not only will students be able to earn an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in less time and spending less money, but this program will also allow Gateway and NKU to operate more efficiently and effectively by reducing the duplication of programs and services.”

Both institutions have been working toward a simpler method that would allow students -- and their college credits – to transfer between schools. As part of Gateway2NKU, advisors can direct students with certainty to coursework that, if completed and passed, is guaranteed to transfer.

There are 25 programs – what the schools call pathways – that would qualify for the transfer program, including nursing, accounting, computer science, education and criminal justice. The schools plan to add more as the program develops.

Micah Greenhill, 20, spoke about his successful transfer from Gateway, where he earned an associate of arts degree and certificates in general business and business administration, to NKU, where he is pursuing a BA in business administration.

Even without the new program, all of his credits transferred, and he’s on track to graduate in 2015.

“I’m happy to say that I’m experiencing and enjoying the same level of care and attention at NKU that I received at Gateway,” he said.

To be eligible, Gateway students must declare their intention to pursue one of the pathways to NKU and then begin work on an associate’s degree in arts, science or applied science. They must pass basic requirements and maintain a 2.0 grade point average to enroll in an NKU course at Gateway prices. After completing 30 credit hours, Gateway students can enroll in a second NKU course and then two more after completing 45 credit hours.

“We are excited about the possibilities of this partnership,” NKU President Geoffrey Mearns said. “This program will allow Gateway to produce more graduates who then earn an NKU bachelor’s degree. It also represents a new approach to higher education in our region by promoting collaboration and shared resources.”

State Rep. Adam Koenig said the collaboration was the latest in a string of successful merging of services within Northern Kentucky, including the water district, sanitation district, combined dispatch services and others, that were key to a well-run community.

“This is just another step in making sure that Northern Kentucky is the best place to live in Kentucky,” he said.

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