By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
RICHLANDS, Va. —
Colleges in Southwest Virginia and southern West Virginia now have an agreement that will let graduates of some programs at the Virginia institution use their class credits at the West Virginia college.
The Bluefield State College W. Paul Cole Jr. School of Business and the Southwest Virginia Community College Business, Engineering, and Industrial Technology Division have completed four agreements for associate degree programs at SWCC, officials with both college said Monday. For graduates of these programs, credits earned at SWCC will be accepted into the business administration baccalaureate program at Bluefield State.
Presidents from both colleges signed the agreement at the SWCC campus. After putting their signatures on the final documents, they spoke about what the new arrangement means for students in both communities.
“Really, the community colleges are all about helping students go on, and get their four-year degree and above if that is what they would like to do” Dr. Mark Estepp, president of SWCC said. “We would like for our students to stay in the region, stay in the area. Bluefield State is not very far away from us and we’ve always had a good relationship with them, and we’re just adding to that. That’s what we have going on here today.”
The agreement helps two-year students continue their education, said Dr. Marsha Krotseng, president of BSC.
“And it’s really all about partnerships — and we have a wonderful partnership with Southwest Virginia Community College — and to be able to provide students the opportunity to take their two-year degrees here and seamlessly move into the four-year degree program at Bluefield State,” Krotseng stated. “They can either do that in person or they can do it online so they don’t have to leave home. That’s the really exciting part of this.”
Associate degree programs in the agreements signed Monday include: the A.A.S in Business Administration; A.A.S. in Business Technology-Accounting major; A.A.S. in Business Technology-Management major; and the A.A.S. in Business Technology-Management major/Marketing Communications specialization.
Graduates of these programs will qualify for the Metro tuition rates at BSC, which provides a “significant reduction in normal out-of-state tuition,” according to a statement issued Monday by BSC. The BSC Business Administration degree program is offered both on campus and by distance learning though a combination of streaming video and online classes.
“These articulation agreements are beneficial to both Bluefield State College and Southwest Virginia Community College, but more importantly, to the students who can now build on an associate degree from SWCC by attending BSC,” said Dr. Steve Bourne, dean of the BSC W. Paul Cole Jr. School of Business.
Monday’s agreement benefits students in many ways, said James Dye, dean of the SWCC Business, Engineering, and Industrial Technology Division said.
“In addition to the reduced tuition option along with and the ability to complete courses from home, students will be able to decrease the overall cost for completing a baccalaureate degree with BSC. This exciting initiative will be beneficial to many families and we are excited to be able to participate.”