BOWLING GREEN, O.—Owens Community College (OCC) and Bowling Green State University (BGSU) have announced that they are pursuing a series of new partnerships that will expand opportunities for students.
The institutions signed a letter of agreement outlining the proposed collaborations, which include adding additional transfer agreements, identifying new opportunities for students by sharing enrollment information, and developing clear program and degree pathways for students transferring between the two schools.
The planned partnerships will culminate in a joint enrollment option – The Owens Pathway to BGSU – that will provide Owens students the opportunity to have a residential college experience. Students planning to transfer to BGSU would live on BGSU’s Bowling Green campus while taking OCC courses there.
According to the leaders of the institutions, the goals of the partnership are to increase degree completion rates and reduce costs for students.
“For our region and Ohio to prosper, it is absolutely essential that we increase the number of college graduates,” said BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey. “To do that, we need to make higher education more accessible at a time of rising costs and dwindling public funding.”
According to OCC President Michael Bower, increased collaboration between colleges and universities in northwest Ohio is key. “Students already have the opportunity to substantially reduce the cost of their college education by completing an associate degree at Owens and moving on to BGSU to earn a bachelor’s degree,” he said. “This partnership will expand and improve those pathways for our students.”
One new “pathway” will be the option for OCC students who plan on transferring to BGSU to live on BGSU’s Bowling Green campus while they are still Owens students. “There are benefits to the residential college experience,” Bower said. “That’s not something we’ve been able to offer in the past. It’s something that I think a number of our students will find appealing.”
The partnership allowing OCC students the opportunity to have the residential experience on the BGSU campus while attending classes at OCC is anticipated to begin fall of 2015.
A more immediate goal of the collaboration is to make transferring between the two institutions even easier.
“We already have transfer agreements in place, but we can do a better job of making it more seamless,” Mazey said. “We want to give students a clearly-defined and smooth path to a BGSU bachelor’s degree on their first day at Owens.”