New program connects NAU to community college students
NAU is partnering with Maricopa County community colleges to give students a cheaper alternative to the usual four-year program.
The partnership, called Connect2NAU, allows students to complete a conventional baccalaureate degree for half the cost of traditional education. The program accomplishes this by extending NAU-accredited classes to a variety of locations outside of Flagstaff, which can then be selected to best suit the undergraduate.
“It’s a joint admission,” said NAU President John Haeger. “It will allow us to be in discussions with community college students as they’re pursuing associate’s degrees.”
Through Maricopa colleges, students will be able to complete an associate’s degree and then go on to pursue their bachelor’s degree here in Flagstaff. The degree programs offered through Connect2NAU include business administration, communication and social science, education, hotel and restaurant management, public management, and many others.
The program allows students to complete up to 90 credit hours at Maricopa County locations and then finish the remaining 30 at NAU for degrees in arts or sciences in interdisciplinary studies, with an emphasis in either humanities or public management.
Andrea Buehman, Maricopa executive director of academic affairs, said students will greatly benefit from the joint admission, which is intended to help students get through college in less time for less money.
“The student is baccalaureate-bound,” Buehman said. “During the first semester at community college, an early access to university advisers makes student goals more attainable.”
By being concurrently admitted to NAU while attending community college, students in the program will have access to online resources, Cline Library, an NAU email account, a Bridge to NAU tutorial and an NAU adviser. Also, the admission application fee for students coming into NAU from the program will be dropped.
“Students can complete a lot of programs without leaving their home campus,” said Patty Moore, NAU’s associate vice president of Extended Campuses. “We have a joint recruiting opportunity to say to students that if you come to our college, not only can you complete an associate’s degree, but you can get a baccalaureate later on.”
Doug Smalls, NAU’s associate dean of Extended Campuses, said the program gives students more opportunities to plan ahead with their degrees.
“We can work with them at a much earlier stage in curriculum,” Smalls said. “Talking about a major in the first semester allows us to help students plan out their progress.”
The partnership will extend to many Maricopa community colleges including Phoenix, Glendale, Mesa, Scottsdale and more.
Haeger went on to say the relationship between NAU and the community colleges is the most crucial aspect of the program’s success.
“This is not something we can do alone, because we have to share student records,” Haeger said. “We have to trust that students will pursue a higher education both through Maricopa County and the university.”
Buehman agreed, describing the partnership as “mutually beneficial to both sides.”
Maricopa County colleges and NAU will provide academic advisers to the students in the program, who will guide participants in their choice of classes throughout their education. Furthermore, anyone who completes the Connect2NAU program with at least a 3.5 GPA will be granted a $2,000 transfer scholarship.
Haeger said he believes the program will be a great, flexible choice for students.
“Different education structures will appeal to different students,” Haeger said. “When a four-year residential experience is not the best fit for a student, we can determine another method to meet their needs.”