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New Agreement Helps Students Transfer from Community Colleges to Mars Hill and other Private Universities

Ncicu Comm Col Dl BhPresident Lunsford speaks with Methodist University President Ben Hancock at the signing ceremony for the articulation agreement with NC Community Colleges

The presidents of the NC Community College System and NC Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) today signed a revised Independent Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (ICAA) that better defines transfer options for students between the two systems, saving North Carolinians money and potentially shortening the time to degree attainment. Mars Hill University President Dan Lunsford was among the NCICU member institution presidents who participated in the formal signing ceremony.

“This signing, joined with our revised agreement with the UNC system in 2014, brings North Carolina’s higher education alignment to a new level,” said Dr. R. Scott Ralls, System President of the NC Community Colleges. “It means increased access and opportunity for our community college students and clearly defined pathways to success at both public and private higher education institutions in our state. I commend the NC Independent Colleges and Universities for proactively working toward this agreement for the benefit of both systems’ students and their families.”

“This new agreement will provide an earlier introduction of transfer students to the four-year independent college or university they want to attend,” explained Dr. A. Hope Williams, president of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU). “The additional step will make the transfer process more efficient and effective for students and for our colleges and universities. North Carolina’s private colleges and universities have strong relationships with our state’s community colleges and we look forward to expanding our work together.”

The NCICU Board approved the revised ICAA at its annual meeting in March 2015, and the State Board of Community Colleges officially adopted the revised articulation agreement in May 2015. Since that adoption, 22 of the state’s 36 independent colleges and universities, which are listed below, have signed the agreement.

The ICAA moves community college students toward their four-year degree goals by clearly defining transfer pathways and how earned credit hours fit into the requirements of signatory institutions. The ICAA:

  • Identifies foundational courses that will transfer to all signatory institutions to meet general education requirements
  • Improves the success of transferring students through required coursework that ensures students will map their academic pathway to the desired independent institution
  • Encourages community college students to complete an Associate in Arts (AA) or an Associate in Science (AS) degree before transferring by guaranteeing entry as juniors with full transfer credit

The ICAA is consistent with the recently signed comprehensive articulation agreement between North Carolina Community Colleges and the University of North Carolina system, meaning students will have the same transfer guarantees regardless of the type of senior North Carolina institution they attend.

Approximately 2,000 community college students transfer to one of North Carolina’s 36 independent higher education institutions each year. The revised ICAA, updated from the previous articulation agreement signed in 2007, is effective for new college transfer students in the fall of 2015 at the signatory colleges and universities.