College and University Partnership Paves New Path for Students

Yellow flowers on campus

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – An innovative partnership between two area community colleges and two regional universities will keep students on a pathway to a college degree with a variety of transfer agreements that will benefit students whose journey to higher education may have been interrupted.

Entitled “It’s Not Over,” this pilot project brings together Lehigh Carbon Community College, Northampton Community College, Kutztown University and East Stroudsburg University to create opportunities for students seeking an associate degree and ultimately a bachelor’s degree.

Students who were not retained by Kutztown or East Stroudsburg and are in the community college service areas will receive information to help them navigate their credits to their designated community colleges, otherwise known as reverse transfer, to earn an associate degree. They will be encouraged to use that degree to transfer back to the university to earn their bachelor’s degree.

In addition, students who earned more than 60 credits from one of the universities more than five years ago will receive information on how to move those credits to the community college for an associate degree and then a subsequent bachelor’s, or to earn credits that will transfer. Students will need to meet a 15-credit residency requirement at the community college.

First-year students who did not return to their university will have the opportunity and encouragement to persist at the community college and return to the university upon receipt of their associate degree. In order to take advantage of the full tuition benefit of the community colleges, the students must live in the counties that are served by the respective community colleges – Lehigh, Carbon and Schuylkill counties for LCCC, and Northampton and Monroe Counties for Northampton.

The project stemmed from further discussions the presidents had after the signing of the statewide pledge in April confirming that community colleges and universities in the PASSHE system would work together for the benefit of students. The pledge was drafted to demonstrate the commitment to provide high quality affordable academic and career education programs and to contribute to the development of a highly skilled competitive workforce in the Commonwealth.

“This program is further evidence of how important higher education and student success are in the Commonwealth,” says LCCC president Dr. Ann D. Bieber. “And it demonstrates the commitment that our regional colleges and universities have to ensuring that students have choices and opportunities to achieve their degree, while also staying locally, ultimately working and significantly impacting the region’s economic development.”

“This unique regional partnership is all about helping students succeed,” said David A. Ruth, president of Northampton Community College. “It can help students stay on track to earn a degree while at the same time support the workforce needs of regional employers. It’s a real win-win for the community.”

“The primary focus at ESU, and frankly throughout the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and Pennsylvania community colleges, is to satisfy the education needs of our region,” said ESU President Kenneth Long. “We signed a pledge earlier this year to ensure seamless transfer from community college to ESU, and I am excited to expand on that pledge with the ‘It’s Not Over’ reverse transfer initiative. Our goal is to create opportunities for everyone throughout the region to have access to an affordable post-secondary education.

“Kutztown University’s mission to provide affordable high-quality educational opportunities is shared by our fellow State System universities and regional community colleges,” said Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, university president. “Through this partnership, students are provided additional resources and avenues to complete their degrees and contribute further to our workforce across Pennsylvania.”

For information on “It’s Not Over,” contact: