The partnership – made official this afternoon at a signing ceremony hosted by GRCC – will allow students to be admitted to both GRCC and WMU during their freshman year, assuming they meet the requirements of the agreement, and be admitted to WMU's Haworth College of Business prior to beginning their junior year. The agreement guarantees that GRCC transfer students who earn an associate degree, with a minimum of a C in each class of the agreed upon curriculum and a 2.5 GPA overall, will be admitted the WMU's Bachelor of Business Administration program.
“Many students use GRCC as a launch pad to four-year universities, and this partnership allows GRCC to offer students a set curriculum and a smooth transition into a bachelor's program at a distinguished institution like Western Michigan,” said GRCC President Steven C. Ender.
In the most recent academic year, 4,392 students transferred from GRCC to four-year schools.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, 2010, the median annual earnings for students who graduate with an associate degree is $39,572, but those who graduate with a bachelor’s degree earn $53,300 on average.
“The numbers don’t lie - on average, students with higher levels of education earn more over a lifetime,” said Ender.
Students will be able to earn an associate degree in two years at GRCC. During this time, a WMU advisor will be available at GRCC twice each month to meet with students in the program. In addition, students in the joint program will take a one-credit WMU Business Enterprise course on the GRCC campus during their freshman year at the college.
"Grand Rapids Community College has long been our partner in providing top-notch higher education opportunities to students," says WMU's President John M. Dunn. "This agreement enhances the way both institutions are able to serve students by ensuring continuity and guaranteeing that every class successfully completed puts a student one step closer to his or her degree goal. Students who enroll in the program will be both Raiders and Broncos from their very first days in college."
WMU will also conduct a yearly audit of all the students in the joint program in order to keep students on track for graduation.
Financial aid will be awarded per the terms of any active consortium agreement between the two schools. Students who want more information on financial aid can visit grcc.edu/financialaid.
Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.
Western Michigan University is a vibrant, public research institution with an enrollment of 25,000. Classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a university with high research activity, WMU offers more than 240 degree programs, including 30 at the doctoral level. The University attracts students from every state in the union and 90 other nations, and its more than 900 faculty members have been trained at some of the world’s finest institutions.