AP NEWS

STC, WGU Texas to offer a streamlined, affordable path toward bachelor’s, master’s degrees

May 14, 2019

South Texas College and Western Governor’s University Texas entered a partnership to make higher education degrees more accessible in a signing agreement ceremony on Monday.

The partnership will make it easier for students to obtain a bachelor or master’s degree, STC president Shirley Reed. It will allow for more affordability, flexibility and provides another option for a transition toward obtaining higher levels of education for community college graduates and employees.

STC graduates, faculty and staff are eligible for a 5% tuition discount if they pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree at WGU Texas. Scholarships may also be available to students who undergo this route.

“This is one more option for students, and I think students deserve options and these programs are online, so that facilitates completing the bachelor’s degree while you’re working, (or) raising a family,” Reed said.

WGU Texas Chancellor Steven Johnson said community colleges are “critically important for the future of the state” and for the Valley especially. The “competency-based” education, is a model where students can move along a course based on how well they progress through the material, which provides flexibility for students who are working or have other responsibilities. The partnership also keeps tuition “as affordable as possible.”

WGU Texas offers online programs and the institution understands the needs of a demographic that attends community college, he said. Information technology, healthcare, business and education are among the fields the institution offers to draw students into in high-demand professions.

Students can go to a transfer office and advisers help relay a streamlined process toward their degree, he said.

“(To) best align our programs, so from the student perspective, it’s just an easy, clean process if they want to come to our university.” Johnson said.

“Sometimes the path from the community college to the university is not always seamless, it can be a bumpy process sometimes… they understand community colleges, they understand the kind of programs we offer, the high quality of programs,” Reed said.

Some universities may not have the same perspective for community colleges while WGU “is going to be very welcoming to our students,” Reed said.

A higher education populace will benefit the growth of the region, and lead to a higher quality of life, she said.

A regional representative will assist students through the admission process, obtain financial aid and scholarships and other support, she said.

“They’ll have somebody close by to work with our students and employees… we’re not just signing an agreement and we each go our way, we need to maintain this relationship.” Reed said.

jhoang@themonitor.com