Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 8, 2012

Class credits SWCC, BSC agreement welcomed


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— A unique agreement signed earlier this week between Southwest Virginia Community College and Bluefield State College is a win-win for students attending both institutions of higher education.

The agreement will allow graduates of some programs at SWCC in Richlands, Va., to use their class credits at BSC in Bluefield.

The Bluefield State College W. Paul Cole Jr. School of Business and the Southwest Virginia Community College Business, Engineering and Industrial Technology Division have completed four agreements for associate degree programs at SWCC, officials with both colleges announced earlier this week. For graduates of these programs, credits earned at SWCC will be accepted into the business administration baccalaureate program at Bluefield State.

The new agreement helps two-year students continue their education, according to BSC President Dr. Marsha Krotseng.

“And it’s really all about partnerships — and we have a wonderful partnership with Southwest Virginia Community College — and to be able to provide students the opportunity to take their two-year degrees here and seamlessly move into the four-year degree program at Bluefield State,” Krotseng said. “They can either do that in person or they can do it online so they don’t have to leave home. That’s the really exciting part of this.”

The agreement also will help to keep local students in the region, as correctly argued by  SWCC President Dr. Mark Estepp.

“Really, the community colleges are all about helping students go on, and get their four-year degree and above if that is what they would like to do” Estepp said. “We would like for our students to stay in the region, stay in the area. Bluefield State is not very far away from us and we’ve always had a good relationship with them, and we’re just adding to that.”

Several associate degree programs are included in the agreement signed last week. Graduates of the programs will qualify for reduction in normal out-of-state tuition.

In addition to the reduced tuition option and the ability to complete courses from home, students will be able to decrease the overall cost for completing a baccalaureate degree under the new plan, according to BSC.

The joint agreement between the two colleges is welcomed, and is a great example of the good things that can happen when area leaders work together on a regional level — and in this particular case even across the state line border — to help students in both southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia.

We applaud BSC, and SWCC, for reaching this unique and welcomed agreement. It will benefit students attending both colleges.