BRCC modifying degree programs for transfer students

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 11:57 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WEYERS CAVE, Va. (WHSV) - Community colleges across the Commonwealth are modifying degree programs, making the transfer process clearer for students in the future.

As part of Transfer Virginia, community colleges like Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) are restructuring or creating new Associate of Science and Art degrees. These new degree programs will give students major focused curriculum to help them identify their strengths and weaknesses before transferring to a four-year university.

In the new agreement, most public universities in Virginia and some private universities/colleges have joined the agreement.

The major specific degree programs will be in “clusters” of degree topics. These can range from physical sciences, social sciences and even liberal/fine arts.

BRCC president John Downey said these changes should eliminate most issues students have with transferring degrees and make the process smoother for students.

“With this program’s definitive structure that SCHEV (State Council of Higher Education for Virginia) is asking us to move towards, I think there will be no surprises and students will be better informed about what course to take here that will transfer to their major,” Downey said.

The program is designed to allow full-time transfer students to do two years at the community college, and two years at the university of their choosing. Dave Urso, vice president of academic affairs, said these changes will make transferring to university significantly easier for community college students.

“We finally get to tell the story that two years means two years,” Urso said. I think for our transfer students in particular that has been missing a little bit. The idea that ‘I’ll spend two years with you but what does it translate to, what does it become?’ Now we can say those two years will be one-for-one. You get to go in and get that exposure, get that opportunity, and hit the ground running your junior year and finish whatever way you want.”

In years past, universities and community colleges in Virginia had a guaranteed admissions agreement. These agreements allowed for accredited and approved associate degrees earned at a community college, to transfer to a public four-year university in Virginia. The transfer student would have all general education requirements waived, leaving them only with classes based on their major.

The old process left room for confusion and distraught as students would learn too late that their program did not transfer, or their credits did not transfer in the way they thought it would. Downey said these new degree programs should be clear, concise and allow students to engage in their subject earlier than usual.

”When Blue Ridge Community College signed a guaranteed admissions agreement with JMU, students would know they were guaranteed a spot at JMU if they did well,” Downey said. “Now what SCHEV wants to do is make sure students know that if they take certain courses here or a program of study here and they graduate, then all of those credits will transfer to a four-year university.”