Students from Butler County Community College and three other area community colleges can take classes at Robert Morris University, at the cost of community college classes, while they are working toward their associate degrees under an agreement the schools signed Thursday.
Beginning with the fall 2021 semester, the RMU Gateway initiative will allow a community college student to be admitted directly to Robert Morris and take up to 12 credits at the same time that they earn an associate degree from their community college.
Tuition for those credits will be equal to what students pay at the community college.
Nick Neupauer, BC3 president, joined the presidents of RMU and Beaver County, Westmoreland County and Allegheny County community colleges in announcing the initiative in a meeting that was livestreamed.
“This is a historic event,” Neupauer said.
He said BC3 is proud to be part of the dual admission program because it allows students to obtain RMU credits at BC3 prices.
“We don't make a move that isn't student-centered,” Neupauer said.
Students enrolled in the RMU Gateway program are eligible to live in university housing and purchase the university's meal plan while they complete their associate degree.
After a student has completed their associate degree, they will transfer to RMU, where they will be eligible for annual scholarships ranging from $3,000 to $12,000 per year, depending on their grade-point average, in addition to any other financial aid for which they qualify.
“RMU Gateway is the next chapter in the university's history of offering multiple pathways for students to earn a college degree and launch a great career,” said Chris Howard, RMU president.
“This not only puts college within reach for more and more students, but it also bolsters our commitment to ensuring that Western Pennsylvania has the highly skilled professional workforce it needs to sustain economic growth,” Howard said.
As of the Fall 2020 semester, 265 students who transferred from the four community colleges were enrolled at RMU.
Students in the RMU Gateway program can pursue many of the university's undergraduate degree programs, and the university will accept for transfer all credits that students earn as part of their associate degree at a community college through program-to-program articulations.
This includes credits earned through lifelong learning programs, military coursework, professional portfolios, prior learning assessments and related programs.
To support RMU Gateway students, the university plans to launch the RMU Transfer Success Center.
This will be a one-stop shop for students to access all university services, including academic advising and financial aid. Each transfer student will be assigned to a transfer success counselor.