Partnership, scholarships support transfer students

CMU teams up with Lansing Community College, adds awards for online learners

| Author: ​Jeff Johnston

In the fall 2019 semester, 273 students enrolled in Central Michigan University from one place: Lansing Community College.

A new partnership between CMU and LCC could boost numbers like that even higher — and new scholarships will offer increased opportunities for all transfer students coming to CMU.

Scholarships for transfer students

Whether planning to take courses in person or online, students transferring to CMU from any college can find scholarships to meet their needs.

LCC already is one of CMU’s top transfer student partners. It’s just an hour away from Mount Pleasant and practically next door to CMU’s East Lansing Center, which in normal circumstances offers in-person and hybrid courses in addition to online undergraduate- and graduate-level programs.

“LCC for us is such a natural fit,” said Bob Garcia, CMU’s new director for community college relations and transfer initiatives. “This partnership will provide expanded opportunities for both institutions to benefit from each other’s talented students, expert faculty and staff, and cutting-edge learning environments.”

CMU now will join LCC’s University Center. Several Michigan community colleges have university centers to connect their students to opportunities at selected four-year institutions. CMU is part of university centers at Macomb Community College in Warren and Northwestern Community College in Traverse City and now becomes one of five universities with a presence at LCC.

“Transfer students bring a tremendous diversity of educational and life experiences to our university community, and we are always looking for ways to better serve them,” said CMU President Bob Davies. “Participating in LCC’s University Center will allow us to make the transition to CMU as simple as possible for our future students. We look forward to working and partnering with LCC to benefit and serve students and make a significant difference in the community.”

LCC’s University Center is open to current and former LCC students and community members.

“Lansing Community College is delighted to partner with Central Michigan University to offer our students the opportunity to complete their degrees nearby,” said LCC President Brent Knight. “At CMU, LCC students can continue their studies with a seamless transition into nationally recognized programs including science and technology, health, engineering, and business and communications.

“The addition of CMU to LCC’s University Center provides another high-quality opportunity for our students to successfully complete their academic goals.”

CMU plans to staff its University Center office with East Lansing Center global campus staff, an undergraduate admissions recruiter and a rotation of advisors.

“It’s not about just going in and setting up a table but building true connections,” Garcia said.

Ernie Bedford, CMU’s manager of Michigan programs in Enrollment and Student Services, spearheaded the partnership.

“To say we’re excited about it is an understatement,” he said, noting that the effort aligns with CMU’s ongoing strategic envisioning initiative launched by President Bob Davies.

Bedford is a co-convener of the CMU initiative’s Pathway 4 working group, one of five panels exploring ways to position CMU for success in 2030 and beyond. Pathway 4 focuses on “the dynamic nature of the college student — both current and future,” understanding a need to focus beyond high school graduates transitioning immediately into college.

Expanding scholarships

New scholarships extend that focus to all potential transfer students, including online-only students.

“We’ve had scholarships for main campus transfer students in the past,” Garcia said. Those transfer scholarships now are increasing in value by more than 40% and are open to online students. Garcia said this will directly benefit students at university centers who increasingly take online courses as part of their programs.

“This is really meant to provide access to more students who may be working full time or have other family responsibilities,” he said. “That’s an audience that we have long served through our global campus.

“All of these scholarships are now available to our global, online and on-campus students, as long as they meet the criteria.”

Another new scholarship is available to members of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges and academic programs. Members with at least a 3.5 cumulative college GPA and enrolling in CMU as at least half-time students are eligible.

“We’d like to see the number of students who join us from two-year institutions increase,” Garcia said. “These are students who bring a different perspective to our classrooms, and we value them.”

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