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May 5, 2007

CFCC to offer new degree options
Partner with UNCP, FSU

By Veronica Gonzalez
from the Star News

Cape Fear Community College students who want to earn a bachelor's degree but can't get into UNCW will soon have an alternative close to home. They will be able to earn a four-year degree in some disciplines from UNC-Pembroke or Fayetteville State - right here in Wilmington.

On Thursday, the University of North Carolina system presented a plan to CFCC whereby students can apply to UNC-Pembroke or Fayetteville State University and take classes either at CFCC or elsewhere in Wilmington. And they'll be able to do so starting in the fall.

The agreement also means that CFCC students who earn an Associate in Applied Science degree can pursue a bachelor of science degree from those universities.

Historically, few options have existed for students who earned an AAS degree.

"I'm pleasantly surprised," said CFCC President Eric McKeithan on Thursday.

Both universities plan to offer a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies. At UNCP, that means students can follow one of six tracks: management and information technology; criminal justice and English; criminal justice and social work; English and mass communication; music and information technology; and business administration and information technology.

Additionally, Fayetteville State will offer a bachelor of science in criminal justice.

Earlier this year, McKeithan spearheaded the idea of providing

an alternative for his graduates who wanted to pursue a bachelor's degree but didn't have the grade point average, money to pay for the University of North Carolina Wilmington or ability to leave the area.

The agreement applies to students who graduate with a grade-point average between 2.0 and 2.5 and are not accepted into UNCW.

It also could apply to students who graduate with a GPA higher than 2.5 but still are not accepted to UNCW.

"We wouldn't have known this was an issue if the students hadn't brought it to our attention," said CFCC spokesman David Hardin. "We're really just responding to what the students were saying."

CFCC's plans to partner with UNCP were put on hold when UNCW administrators said they wanted the UNC system and N.C. Community College System to weigh in on the issue.

UNCW Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo said Friday that university officials wanted an open discussion with the UNC and community college systems before any decisions were made to figure out how to best serve the region.

"We're pleased more students will have access to higher education, and I really don't think it's going to have much effect on us," she said. "We're happy to be part of the solution for students who are not eligible to enter UNCW."

Students from CFCC who graduate with a 2.5 GPA are eligible to transfer to UNCW under an agreement between the two entities, but that doesn't automatically ensure they'll get in.

"We want to accommodate those students who don't meet our agreement standards and get them access to higher education as well," DePaolo said about the new access to UNCP and FSU.

With the UNCP and FSU agreement, students "will be able to stay here now and get degrees, so we're excited," Mc-Keithan said. "We are removing obstacles."

The way the agreement would work is students would apply to UNCP or Fayetteville - both of which are in the process of developing a bachelor's in interdisciplinary studies. UNCW does not offer such a degree.

"UNCW can continue to raise their admissions requirements," McKeithan said. "For those people that can't get in, here is another local and affordable option for them. It'll certainly provide opportunities we haven't had in the past."




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