Partnerships between community colleges and four-year institutions have become increasingly common, but a new agreement between Harper College and Roosevelt University comes with an especially attractive and unique component.
The Dual Degree Program will offer students scholarship opportunities and tuition discounts based on their Harper GPA when they matriculate to Roosevelt.
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"We're trying to make it as affordable and accessible as possible for these students to come to a private institution," said Douglas Knerr, Roosevelt's Schaumburg campus provost.
Harper President Kent Ender and Roosevelt President Chuck Middleton will meet Thursday afternoon on Harper's Palatine campus to sign the agreement.
Students enrolled in the program, which covers 35 types of degrees, are guaranteed acceptance to Roosevelt after completing their associate degree at Harper. Officials say the transfer will be seamless because advisers and counselors from each school will help students develop and follow academic plans, ensuring no credits will be lost.
There are numerous financial incentives, as well.
Roosevelt's Schaumburg and Chicago campuses both will offer a $15,000 and $12,000 per year scholarship to a high-achieving Harper student. Harper students in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society will receive $1,000 scholarships. In addition, students with at least a 2.0 GPA at Harper will qualify for a tuition discount ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 per year.
Roosevelt's tuition will be about $26,000 next year.
"We want to incentivize students we know can be successful," Knerr said. "We don't just see this as a short-term investment. This is about building lifelong relationships with students."
Harper is already the biggest community college feeder into Roosevelt, but Knerr said officials hope the program helps grow enrollment, currently at 6,620 total undergraduate and graduate students.
Maria Moten, Harper's dean of enrollment services, said partnerships such as these are helpful to create a pathway so students can get a jump on a bachelor's degree.
"This agreement will be very attractive to students," she said. "The commitment Roosevelt has made is pretty substantial."
Any student who meets Roosevelt's admission requirements and any other program-specific requirements can participate. Moten said the best time for students to apply is during their second semester. They must attend Harper full-time and have completed 12 to 30 credit hours to be eligible.