Onondaga Community College is joining forces with St. John Fisher College in Rochester to offer students a "two-plus-two" partnership agreement. That means students spend their first two years at OCC, then transfer to Fisher to get their degree.
The two-plus-two agreement creates more certainty for students according to OCC Interim President Margaret O'Connell.
"By starting off from the start by saying, 'I've gotten into Fisher, and I've gotten into Onondaga,' I think it helps a student realize this is the path that they're gonna go," said O'Connell. "Where as we have students who after two years, they're not sure, they have to go through paperwork again to transfer, making sure their courses transfer. This makes it a much tighter package."
O'Connell also says it takes away some of the stigma of attending a community college, and can made a degree more affordable.
It's a growing trend, according to Fisher President Donald Bain, who agrees it can reign in the costs of higher education. Bain says that Fisher also tried to keep costs down for students by graduating students in four years.
"That fifth year, that sixth year adds a great deal of expense. It's in very much our effort to help them finish in four years. And we've found that with the articulation agreements we've had with other community colleges, that success rate is extremely high," said Bain.
Fisher has these two-plus-two agreements with three other community colleges. OCC also has these kinds of agreements with three other schools, including Syracuse University.
This agreement covers 14 programs, including business, computer science and nursing.