Delaware County Community College & West Chester University Strengthen Existing Forces to Bolster Student Success
During a virtual ceremony held with their students today, West Chester University President Dr. Christopher Fiorentino and Delaware County Community College President Dr. L. Joy Gates Black announced a strengthened dual admission agreement that now enables qualified, enrolled Delaware County Community College students to earn an associate degree and then transfer seamlessly to West Chester University in a parallel major with opportunities not typical of such agreements. Qualified Delaware County Community College students will now be able to transfer to West Chester University with guaranteed housing, a renewable scholarship, and success coaching. The announcement comes at a time when students have increased need amidst an unyielding pandemic.
Already 245 current students at Delaware County Community College will benefit from the enhanced dual admission program. On average, one out of every three transfer students to West Chester University hails from Delaware County Community College.
“We are here to celebrate the signing of a new dual admission agreement that will provide an affordable pathway to a bachelor’s degree,” announced President Gates Black. “Under this agreement, graduating high school seniors and Delaware County Community College students who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree at West Chester University will, upon signing an Intent to Enroll form, receive conditional admission to the University. This dual admission program requires that students complete their associate degree at Delaware County Community College prior to transferring to West Chester University, but all credits taken at Delaware County as part of an associate degree will transfer in their entirety….We are excited about what this means for our students and our communities.”
Through the enhanced agreement, participating students who complete their associate degree at Delaware County Community College will be eligible for more than 20 associate degree programs that will transfer into parallel programs at West Chester University.
“At West Chester University, program participants will receive a renewable scholarship award of $2,000 per academic year, up to $4,000 in the course of their studies,” said President Fiorentino. “Additionally, they will be offered guaranteed campus housing, if they desire, once our campus re-opens fully. The pandemic has brought unparalleled challenges to our communities and heightened the need to create accessible and affordable pathways to higher education. I am very proud that West Chester University and Delaware County Community College are working collaboratively to address this critical issue.”
In addition to the presidents of the two institutions, the virtual ceremony featured two students who have made the successful transition from Delaware County Community College to West Chester University, and act as motivation for future students.
“Not long ago, I was an alcoholic and homeless. Today, I am sober, blessed with a home, a wonderful family, and a purpose,” said WCU student Frederick Shegog of Drexel Hill, who transferred from the College to the University in 2020 as a member of Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society, one of Coca-Cola Foundation’s 207 Leaders of Promise scholars, and a Phi Theta Kappa All-PA scholar, who receives full tuition to the University.
“This past spring, I graduated from Delaware County Community College, where I majored in communication. In 2022, I will graduate from West Chester University, where I am majoring in communication with a minor in leadership through WCU’s Honors College.”
“As a person in recovery, I am passionate about wanting to help others suffering from substance abuse disorder. During my time at Delaware County, I created The Message, LLC, a motivational speaking company that I use to share my story, which WCU embraces….WCU Communication Professor Dr. Elizabeth Munz is helping me obtain my first publication at a national conference, and Delaware County and WCU professors have offered to help edit my first book.”
Delaware County Community College’s 2020 Commencement speaker, and now WCU student, Meredith Adams of Radnor, also spoke about her journey.
“Before Delaware County Community College, I had a really difficult time with college and really didn’t know what to expect,” said Adams, a first-generation college student who attended two different four-year institutions of higher learning before finding her home-away-from-home at Delaware County Community College.
Having earned an associate degree in liberal arts from the College, Adams is now majoring in accounting and finance at the University, with a minor in civic and professional leadership in the Honors College.
“Throughout my college career, my major did change a couple of times, which is okay! Delaware County really helped me calm down and focus on what I liked and what fields I could see myself in….Because of the existing agreement between the College and the University, I will be leaving school with very little debt, which will allow me to get ahead in my career….Fast forward to now, I am loving West Chester. I feel so welcome, even with starting completely virtual.”
In their remarks, each student also acknowledged the extensive support that they have received from the two institutions; both have benefited from agreements that enabled them to transfer all of their credits so they could begin as juniors at WCU.
To participate in the dual admission program, eligible students must receive their associate degree and meet all University degree, major, and grade point average requirements. The University’s biomedical engineering, social work, exploratory studies, sports medicine, and traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) major programs are not part of this new enhanced dual admission agreement.
As the two institutions of higher learning work together to increase educational opportunities for area students, the strengthened dual admission agreement is the latest of several collaborative agreements. In March of 2018, the two institutions signed an articulation agreement that brings WCU to the College’s Marple Campus to offer the third and fourth year of students’ Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree. In addition, Delaware County Community College and West Chester University also offer the Registered Nurse-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) pathway from Delaware County Community College to West Chester University. The two institutions’ revised RN-BSN Concurrent Enrollment Agreement, which was also enacted in 2018, provides another affordable pathway for qualified Associate of Science in Nursing degree students at Delaware County Community College to earn the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with only 30 additional credits.