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Students who graduate from Onondaga Community College will have new opportunities to continue their education, with scholarship support, through an innovative agreement between the college and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).
Under the terms of a transfer partnership agreement signed Tuesday (Sept. 30, 2008) by the presidents of both colleges, ESF will guarantee admission to qualified students and provide scholarships that cover the difference in tuition costs between the two institutions. Onondaga graduates receiving scholarships will be able to attend ESF while paying the same full-time tuition they paid at Onondaga.
ESF will also guarantee admission to students who graduate from Onondaga with a grade point average of at least 2.5, providing they complete certain transfer programs at Onondaga and enter a comparable bachelor’s degree program at ESF.
“ESF is very pleased to enhance our relationship with Onondaga Community College through this transfer partnership agreement,” said Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., Ph.D., ESF president. “The agreement will help keep our bright young people in Central New York, where they can contribute to the vibrancy of our community and advance our efforts to develop our region as a leader in the emerging green economy.”
"Access to high quality excellence in affordable education is core to Onondaga's mission. More than 60% of our students are enrolled in transfer programs, and they often look to SUNY to continue their education. Today's announcement, which further expands intra-SUNY transfer, makes a significant difference for students to be able to afford a high-quality bachelor's degree without leaving Central New York," said Debbie L. Sydow, Ph.D., president of Onondaga Community College.
Approximately 250 transfer students enter ESF each year, including 30 to 40 students who graduate from Onondaga. Full-time tuition at ESF is $4,350 for the 2008-09 academic year; tuition at Onondaga is $3,392.
The new agreement increases opportunities for Onondaga students who wish to continue their educations close to home and might otherwise not have been admitted to ESF. As admission to ESF has become more competitive in recent years, with a record freshman class enrolling this fall, standards for transfer students have risen, as well.
ESF Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing Robert C. French said only 41 percent of transfer applicants were admitted this fall. Guaranteeing admission to Onondaga graduates with a GPA of 2.5 will give those students an advantage over other transfer applicants.
“We know Onondaga Community College is a good place to start. We are becoming more selective so we may not be able to admit all the local students that we used to admit. This ensures there will continue to be a pathway for local students who enter the appropriate programs and do well in their studies at Onondaga,” French said. “A lot of local students start off at Onondaga because they might not be sure of the career they want to pursue or they are concerned about college costs. We know they receive an excellent education there and we want to maintain this partnership so they can continue their education and receive the proper transfer credit toward a four-year degree.”
While a transfer agreement has long existed between the two colleges for students in science and engineering programs, it has been expanded to include students who study architectural technology and environmental technology at Onondaga. Students in both Onondaga programs, which lead to the associate in applied science degree, will now have guidelines to follow so their coursework provides a smooth transition to continuing their studies toward a bachelor’s degree at ESF.
The agreement also paves the way for faculty at Onondaga and ESF to work together on the development of a new energy and the environment associate’s degree program at Onondaga to ensure that graduates of that program will be able to continue their educations as juniors in ESF’s renewable energy program.