Colleges unveil transfer agreement
University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College students wanting to transfer to the university down the road will have a “seamless” and “foolproof” time doing so, the college’s chancellor said Thursday.
The college and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock unveiled a redesigned program Thursday that its leaders said will ease transfers for students, reduce costs for students and increase the state’s college graduates. The program is called a “2+2” agreement, one used by many colleges and universities to allow students to earn an associate’s degree at a community college and transfer into a four-year university to complete a bachelor’s degree.
Pulaski Tech and UALR have had at least 15 similar programs in the past, said college chancellor Margaret Ellibee. But not to this degree, UALR Chancellor Andrew Rogerson said.
“Well, we haven’t had that many articulation agreements, so that’s the main difference here,” Rogerson said. “So, of course, we have traditionally taken a lot of students from Pulaski Tech who transfer in, but less than 1 percent of them are coming with an associate degree and a lot of them are coming with credits they don’t need.
“So we wanted to do something about that because that’s not very efficient and it’s not very affordable. So we put our heads together, and as a result of that, we’ve come up with this pathway which articulates into an amazing 44 bachelor’s degrees.”
UALR also has partnered with Rock Region Metro to allow free bus rides to all of its students, staff and faculty. Pulaski Tech students and employees have had similar access since 2016.
The announcement comes as the state is switching to a new funding method for its public colleges and universities. The method is moving from one based largely on enrollment to one based largely on student success — students’ headed toward a high-quality certificate that leads to a job or a college degree. Under the new model, universities also will be measured on a student’s time to degree and the number of credits the student has at graduation.
The two schools started working on the redesign shortly after Pulaski Tech joined the University of Arkansas System in February, Ellibee said. Pulaski Tech has fed students into UALR for more than a decade, she said.
“I think what makes this one so special is that it is the absolute best in articulation because students don’t have to repeat,” she said.
Transfer students can get off course if they take courses that don’t count toward their major or if they have to repeat courses, the chancellors said. Taking more courses than necessary means students are shelling out more money for tuition and fees and cost of living, Rogerson said. Ultimately, those students may not graduate or graduate on time.
This fall, Pulaski Tech students will be advised about the possibility and will have specific courses mapped out for them, Rogerson said. UALR also is hiring a recruiter specifically for Pulaski Tech students to work alongside the transfer adviser/coordinator, he said. The adviser/coordinator was the most helpful for Anthony Freeman, 25, who is starting at UALR this fall after graduating from Pulaski Tech last spring.
Freeman originally planned to transfer to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville’s engineering program, a more technical program, he said. He changed course his last year at Pulaski Tech and decided to go to UALR, where he earned several scholarships and will study architectural and construction engineering.
“My transfer experience is pretty easygoing,” he said. “It’s pretty much not too much of a hassle when you’re on the plan already, when you have guidance, something like the 2+2 program.”
He and his adviser/coordinator created his UALR schedule before he graduated from Pulaski Tech, he said, and he has the rest of his time at UALR planned out. So far, he’s been debt-free, too.