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A New Model of Higher Education: Montgomery College and

Dickinson College Partner to Lower Economic Hurdle to Four-Year Degree

Montgomery College and Dickinson College have developed a new partnership that will offer guaranteed admission and scholarship opportunities to qualified Montgomery College transfer students. The Community College Partnership Program merges the strengths of a community college and a private, national liberal arts college to create a new model of higher education that provides students with a direct path to a baccalaureate degree at a reasonable price.

Students who would have previously enrolled at four-year colleges are making Montgomery College their first choice, due in part to selective honors programs. In the United States, demographic changes over the next ten years forecast that community colleges will educate an increasing number of first generation, minority, and lower income students. These students will be less likely to enroll as first year students at a private, four-year college.

The Community College Partnership Program extends beyond the typical articulation agreements between community and four-year colleges. This new model takes an active, coordinated and structured approach that is distinctive in two key areas. First, by working together Montgomery College and Dickinson staff can provide identified students with the support, coaching and course work necessary for transfer and success. Second, Dickinson will provide scholarships and financial aid to the Montgomery College students to ensure that tuition is not an obstacle.

Through the Community College Partnership Program, Montgomery College students enrolled in the Montgomery Scholars honors program at Montgomery College, who meet Dickinson’s requirements, will receive academic scholarships of up to $15,000 toward the private college’s tuition, plus other grants and financial aid to meet their demonstrated need.

“Montgomery College has a long history of transferring accomplished students to Dickinson,” said William G. Durden, president of Dickinson College. “Montgomery students are attracted to Dickinson’s smaller classes, engaged professors, strong liberal-arts tradition and civic engagement, characteristics which it shares with Montgomery College. Dickinson’s leadership position in global education, international business and management appeals to Montgomery College’s diverse population and those students interested in a college education in a global context, a perspective which is vital in today’s world.”

“I applaud Dickinson College for developing the Community College Partnership Program because it overcomes the greatest barrier that our Montgomery College students face when trying to transfer to a four-year college—finances,” said Dr. Brian K. Johnson, president of Montgomery College. “Most importantly, this program will allow our successful honors students to attain their dreams of a bachelor’s degree.”

Dickinson has established relationships with Montgomery College, Howard Community College,—and Northampton Community College and Harrisburg Area Community College in Pennsylvania, with the goal of expanding it to 10 or 15; half in the Mid-Atlantic states and half in other areas of the country where Dickinson currently recruits first-year students. The program will launch with four or five honors program students from each of the four pilot community college partners. Potential transfer students must earn a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25 and graduate with an associate’s degree that allows them to matriculate with junior status and complete a bachelor of arts or sciences degree at Dickinson in two years.

Students will enter Dickinson as a group, a strategy that is similar to other cohort groups on the college’s campus. This will help students adjust and perform better because of the built-in support system and similar experience. While some transfers will take place this year, a distinctive feature of this program is the close working relationship of both institutions with select students. The full benefit of this approach will be realized in 2010.   Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study. For more information, visit Chartered in 1783, Dickinson is located in historic Carlisle, Pa. and is home to approximately 2,300 students from all over the nation and the world. Located less than two hours from Washington, D.C., the college’s cross-disciplinary approach has led to strengths in international education, the natural and mathematical sciences, environmental studies, the arts and pre-professional preparation.

The curriculum is further enriched by internships, community service and involvement and cooperative student-faculty research and publishing. Dickinson College is committed to its historic mission: to prepare young people, by means of a useful and progressive education in the liberal arts and sciences, for engaged lives of citizenship and leadership in the service of society.

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