Quad Learning has launched a new program to create honors programs at community colleges that will be recognized by and affiliated with four-year institutions across the country. The American Honors program is aimed at producing high-achieving community college graduates that will go on to 4-year programs. Though about 230 students at five community college campuses currently participate, plans to quadruple the number of students by next fall, writes Karen Farkas of The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The American Honors Network, currently made up of 27 4-year institutions, includes Ohio State University and Denison University. Ohio State University has agreed to enroll students who graduate from honors programs at community colleges.
The first group of 17 students graduated last spring and were accepted as transfers to universities including Vanderbilt, Stanford and Georgetown. According to college administrators, the institutions have been impressed by students from the Honors program.
New Jersey’s Mercer County Community College and Union County College will join Community Colleges of Spokane and Ivy Tech Community College in starting honors programs with administrative support from American Honors. Currently, no two-year colleges in Ohio are participating in the program.
The American Honors program was unveiled early this year as a national network of high-quality community college programs and selective four-year colleges committed to enrolling their graduates, writes Doug Lederman of Inside Higher Ed.
“We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made in 18 months,” said Romer, president of American Honors, part of the venture capital-funded Quad Learning. “This network of excellent four-year colleges and universities is going to increase opportunities for some of the super bright students at our community college partners.”
Sometimes community college and four-year systems struggle to work out seamless transfer articulation agreements. Many selective private and flagship public universities continue to enroll very small numbers of community college and low-income students, despite significant rhetoric promising otherwise.
The American Honors vision is to wrap a rigorous academic honors program developed and delivered by the host community colleges themselves within a bundle of American Honors-provided advising and other services that exceed what financially strapped two-year institutions usually manage themselves.
The American Honors will play no role in curriculum development or delivery. It has no plans to become an accredited institution, according to Romer. The curriculum will be delivered in a blended format, including both on-ground and online courses with academic and other advising delivered both online and in person. Mandatory transfer coaching will be provided face-to-face.
Students will be required to pay 40% to 50% more tuition compared to the average for their institutions, but that tuition is still well below the price points of most four-year public institutions.
Community Colleges of Spokane and Ivy Tech are both ramping up their programs. Last winter the college enrolled about 50 students in a pilot program and graduates were accepted at institutions such as Cornell, Stanford and Vanderbilt Universities and the University of Washington.
Lisa Avery, vice provost for strategic partnerships at Spokane, said the college’s two campuses enrolled 147 students this fall. The college received a total of 767 applicants.
About a third of those applicants probably would have considered coming to the community college even if the honors program did not exist, Avery said, but she’s quite confident that the student who moved to the area from California to enroll would not have.