TRAVERSE CITY — Visual communication students at Northwestern Michigan College now have an easier track to a bachelors degree through an agreement with Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.
College instructors and officials saw a need for and sought out an agreement when, year after year, they found students graduating and transferring to four-year colleges to obtain a bachelor’s degree; something NMC can’t provide for visual communications students. The agreement was finalized on Dec. 18.
“They come to us and then transfer out,” said Caroline Schaefer-Hills, humanities instructor. “A lot of our students were transferring to SCAD and so I worked with them to make it easier. We can only offer an associate but through this agreement our students can get their bachelor’s.”
The agreement between the two colleges allows NMC students to transfer, if they are accepted, to SCAD ready for their junior year of college.
“Students can take their first two years here at NMC and transfer straight to Savannah to finish. They will still have to apply and get accepted into the school but, if they are accepted, its an even transfer,” Schaefer-Hills said.
The agreement will give NMC students 90 credits out of the 180 required for their bachelor’s degree at SCAD. Another attribute to the agreement that some students are taking advantage of are online classes. Brittany DeFilippo, a recent NMC graduate, is pursuing the new path.
“I’m starting out doing the online classes as baby steps,” she said. “The e-learning tuition is the same whether I do online classes or in person down in Georgia. I definitely see myself pursuing a study abroad through the college though.”
DeFilippo said the only reason she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree is because of the newly established agreement between the two schools.
“I never thought I would be able to get to this point in my education and it’s really exciting to have this opportunity,” she said.” “In addition to furthering my education I also got additional scholarships because I was an NMC student and just about all of my tuition is covered with scholarships at this point.”
NMC officials hope to strike similar future agreements with the College for Creative Studies in Detroit and Grand Valley State University.
“It’s about helping our students and if we can mainstream bachelor options for our students to save time and money then I think that’s great,” Schaefer-Hills said.