Education: New opportunities for local students

There is a strong push, statewide, to have students complete an associates degree in one of Arizona's community colleges before enrolling at a state university for their bachelor's degree coursework.

This movement was started to free up resources at the universities for upper-division studies, instead of duplicating the education available at the community colleges.

It was also known that students who start in the smaller, more familiar environment of their hometown are more successful than those who start at the university.

As a result, Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University have worked closely with MCC to create transfer programs that align curriculum at MCC with the university requirements.

A wide array of majors has been available to students, but for some, starting coursework for their bachelors degree at MCC was not possible. Students who wanted to study engineering, for instance, would not have been able to take all the courses they needed to enter the university as a junior with a major in engineering.

Another major that did not have a fully developed transfer program at MCC was secondary education for those people who want to teach at the middle-school or high-school level.

In the fall, however, MCC will offer an associate of science degree in engineering and an associate of arts in secondary education.

The engineering coursework will be equivalent to the first two years of a baccalaureate program in engineering at a university. It will provide the foundation from which students will go on to study in a specific engineering discipline such as civil, aeronautical, chemical, electrical, mechanical, etc.

MCC has provided degrees for those seeking careers in early childhood education and elementary education for many years.

Now students who wanted a career in secondary education will be able to enter the university as juniors with an associates degree in secondary education.

The new emphasis on community-college-to-university transfer benefits students and families financially as well. Students who start at the community college save more than $12,000 in tuition and fees, compared with those who start at the university. That's enough to pay for tuition, fees and books at the university their junior year.

MCC academic advisors can provide more information on these and other transfer programs available in our Mohave County hometowns.

Michael Kearns is the president of Mohave Community College, which serves the people of Mohave County and surrounding communities from four campuses and through MCC-Online. You can send questions for him by e-mail to: mkearns@mohave.edu or by mail to: 1971 Jagerson Ave., Kingman, AZ 86409.