The word of the day for Blue Mountain Community College and Eastern Oregon University was “seamless.”
At a ceremony at BMCC’s Pendleton campus Wednesday, the presidents of BMCC and EOU signed a memorandum of agreement that enables co-registration and co-enrollment at both schools.
Administrators from both institutions made short speeches thanking the people who made co-enrollment possible, which they said would make the transfer from BMCC to EOU seamless.
With the Timberwolves mascot standing between BMCC president Cam Preus and EOU president Tom Insko, Insko said he was recently in Salem and heard other education officials talk about the difficulties of transferring students from community colleges to a four-year institution.
“In Eastern Oregon, we figure out how to get things done,” Insko said.
In an interview after the ceremony, Mary Jeanne Kuhar, BMCC vice president of instruction, explained how the agreement came together and the practical effects it would have on students.
Prior to the agreement, students needed to register and enroll at EOU and BMCC separately if they wanted to transfer or attend both institutions.
After receiving input from students, the two sides started discussing how to ease the transfer process in January.
As it was, BMCC was already EOU’s largest source of transfers. According to Kuhar, in an average term, 28 students transferred to EOU and 32 were co-enrolled at both schools using the old method.
What they came up with is a co-enrollment program — any student that filled out a special joint application would be admitted to both EOU and BMCC simultaneously. For co-enrolled students, once they feel that their WORK is done at BMCC, they can start taking classes at Eastern without having to restart the application process.
Additionally, both schools will roll out “fast track transfer” opportunities for several programs — anthropology/sociology, biology, business, computer science, fire services administration, physical activity and health, and psychology.
Students in a fast track transfer program who complete an associate of transfer degree with a minimum 2.25 GPA in one of those programs will gain automatic admittance to EOU and transfer scholarship opportunities.
The programs at both schools will be tightly coordinated to ensure that a BMCC transfer won’t have to repeat courses once they get to EOU. The partnership also promises to better coordinate services like financial aid and academic advising.
The co-enrollment agreement will go into effect during the summer term.