2+2 Programs: Affordable Stepping Stones to a Bachelor’s Degree

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College is Expensive. Between tuition and living costs like room and board, a bachelor’s degree can be far too costly for many. However, community colleges in partnerships with universities around the country are seeking to make bachelor’s degrees from a 4-year institution more accessible and affordable.

That is why many universities have partnered with local community colleges to offer students 2+2 programs, which allow students to first earn an associate’s degree from their local community college and then proceed to enroll for their last two years at a 4-year university to earn their bachelor’s degree.

These programs allow students to pursue a higher education degree at a much lower cost. Additionally, they give students plenty of flexibility to take courses on campus or online. Essentially, these partnerships smooth the transition to a 4-year institution and provide support for their students to achieve their goal of a bachelor’s degree.

We at NerdScholar wanted to recognize some of the many schools seeking to make education more accessible and affordable for their communities. These 2+2 programs fall into the following categories:

    • Single Major Programs—degree programs specializing in one discipline
    • Multi Major Programs—degree programs specializing in more than one discipline
    •  Online Programs- degree programs specializing in one or more disciplines that allow students ample flexibility to study remotely or on campus

Single-Major Programs 

University of Northern Iowa

University of Northern Iowa (UNI) 2+2 program students are able to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education without the complications of relocation or putting a career on hold. The program, designed for students with place-bound, full-time jobs, allows students to earn an associate’s degree from their local community college and then take 2 years of UNI classes either online or at their community college through the UNI Office of Continuing and Distance Education.

With UNI’s reputation as a premier teacher education institution, this 2+2 program’s students benefit from the focus on hands-on learning and improving teaching practices without having to leave their families or careers behind. Many students enroll in the 2+2 program in pursuit of a career change into teaching. Recently the UNI Continuing and Distance Education instructional team received the Innovators Award for 2013 from the Iowa Distance Learning Association in recognition of their excellent efforts in improving distance education.

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University provides students at Craven Community College, UNC–Wilmington, UNC-Asheville and other community colleges and universities in North Carolina an opportunity to pursue a degree in engineering.

For the first two years students complete pre-requisites and courses at their  local community college or NC university and take NCSU classes through their distance education program Engineering Online. After completing these requirements students are able to transfer to NCSU for their last two years of classes in a variety of engineering degree programs ranging from environmental to aerospace engineering. In the US News and World Report for 2013, Engineering Online was ranked No.7 for their graduate engineering programs and No.9 for computer science and networking.

Middle Tennessee State University

Middle Tennessee State University partners with 12 Tennessee community colleges in 2+2 programs for teacher education in the Interdisciplinary Studies K-6 program at MTSU.

After receiving an Associate of Science in Teaching (A.S.T.) degree at their local community college, students can transfer to MTSU for the second two years to complete their Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. The program is designed for students hoping to teach at the elementary level and is taken primarily online through their TK20 platform.

Lansing Community College

Lansing Community College, in a partnership with the Lansing School District and Michigan State University College of Engineering, start students on their path even earlier– in high school. This 2+2+2 program begins the junior year of high school and opens up opportunities in engineering for students interested in math and science.

Students from Eastern, Everett and Sexton High Schools in the Lansing School District are able to begin their studies towards a career in engineering before they even enter college. During their junior and senior years they visit various firms to learn about different engineering fields. After graduating high school, students enroll in the pre-engineering program at Lansing Community College. 2 years later they transfer to the College of Engineering at MSU and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Lansing Community College and Michigan State University make this program even more accessible with the addition of full-ride scholarships. Students can spend up to 4 years at LCC and 5 semesters at MSU without paying any tuition and complete their engineering degree.

Multi-Major Programs

Onondaga Community College

Onondaga Community College has partnered with the University at Buffalo, SUNY Alfred, Syracuse University and St. John Fisher College in 2+2 programs to provide students with the chance to earn a bachelor’s degree after earning an associate’s degree from Onandaga.

Each program has different major possibilities for students, ranging from Aerospace Engineering to African-American Studies. Depending on their associate’s degree, students can choose which institution and major program to transfer to for completion of the bachelor’s degree. Students in the 2+2 program apply to Onandaga and their transfer school simultaneously to guarantee admission and a seamless transfer after earning their associate’s degree.

The partnership with St. John Fisher, begun in November of 2012, has opened up additional major options. For example, the Nursing Online Bachelor of Science Degree program is now available and allows students, including practicing nurses, to work around their schedules with a flexible and accelerated path towards their bachelor’s degree.

Milwaukee School of Engineering

The Milwaukee School of Engineering allows students with an associate’s degree to continue their education and earn a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, Electrical Engineering, Electrical Engineering Technology, Management Information Systems or Technical Communication.

MSOE supports its students and opens doors to different disciplines through its 2+2 programs. For example the Electrical Engineering Technology program not only admits students with an Associate of Applied Sciences degree in Electrical Engineering Technology, but will also admit students with other A.A.S. degrees, allowing them to complete prerequisites at other college campuses. In December of 2012 MSOE signed a new agreement with Fox Valley Technical College to start a new 2+2 program for construction management between the two schools.

Towson University

Along with 6 Maryland Community Colleges Towson University offers students the chance to earn a bachelor’s degree in a variety of programs from Allied Health to Forensic Chemistry to Film and Media Studies.

Towson’s partnership with these community colleges opens up possibilities for students to complete their bachelor’s degree while already equipped with an associate’s degree. In the fall of 2013 Towson will enroll its first students at the Northeastern Maryland Higher Education Center (NMHEC) to earn a B.S. in Information technology. This program will allow students with an associate of applied science in Computer Information Systems from Harford Community College to earn their bachelor’s from Towson without having to relocate. 

Towson also offers teacher education and nursing cohorts at multiple satellite locations throughout the state, including Hagerstown, Waldorf, and Shady Grove.

Online Programs

Kansas State University

Kansas State University has partnered with Kansas’ 19 community colleges creating a statewide 2+2 program network. Students first earn an associate’s degree at their local community college and are then able to enroll in online courses at Kansas State.

The online courses allow students who are unable to relocate to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Ideal for students returning to their education, often with families and full-time jobs, the K-State 2+2 program opens the door to higher education. As Nathan Legleiter, a 2+2 program student from Barton Community College, says “There’s no way I could work full time, spend time with my family and travel between Great Bend and Manhattan for a degree…but this works great for me. In the evenings I put the kids to bed at 7:30 p.m. and then I go down to the basement and study.

Ivy Bridge College

Ivy Bridge College partners with 6 colleges and universities across the country in 2+2 programs. Students spend their first two years enrolled in online courses at Ivy Bridge College and then are able to transfer to any of the 6 partner institutions to finish their bachelor’s degree

Ivy Bridge College enables students to limit the costs of their first two years of college and either stay at home or continue a previous career while earning their associate’s degree.

After two years of online courses, students can either continue online courses offered by Walsh College or Westminster College or enjoy an on-campus education at Tiffin University, City University of Seattle, Concordia College Chicago or Simpson University. With the flexibility to live wherever is necessary, students can continue careers or care for families while simultaneously earning a bachelor’s degree.

 Morgan State University

Morgan State University is striving to make engineering degrees more accessible to associate’s degree holders seeking to further their education.

Morgan State allows students to complete the second two years of a bachelor’s degree program completely online to eventually earn a degree in engineering.  Designed for students who already have an associate’s degree from another university of community college, Morgan State is the only accredited program that allows students to complete all required lab work entirely online and earn a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree without having to leave homes, families and jobs.

At the signing ceremony of the 2+2 agreement between Morgan State University and Harford Community College on October 5th, 2011 Morgan State President Dr. David Wilson ushered in the new program: “it’s more than just having 55 percent of our population with baccalaureate degrees. It is about having those baccalaureate degrees in critical areas, in areas that will drive innovation, in areas that will drive, if you will, a region’s, a state’s and a nation’s competitiveness”

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