Charting a surer path from community college to UConn business school

Getting into the University of Connecticut’s highly competitive business school just got a lot easier for students at the state’s community colleges.

On Wednesday UConn president Michael J. Hogan and Marc S. Herzog, chancellor of the state’s 12 community colleges, announced an agreement guaranteeing admission for community college graduates with a 3.3 GPA who have completed certain courses.

“This eliminates any question of whether they’re going to get in and puts an exclamation point on their application,” said Steven Dunn, a UConn admissions officer.

About 2,000 community college students transfer to UConn’s various programs each year, and Mary Anne Cox, assistant chancellor for the community colleges, says this agreement makes sure it’s an easy transition to the business school.

“Students now are left negotiating what [credits] will and will not transfer. This has them starting UConn as juniors,” she said.

UConn’s undergraduate business school — which was ranked 28 in the nation by U.S. News & World report this year — has a highly competitive admission process, said Deborah Rice, assistant director of undergraduate admissions.

Before this agreement, it was anyone’s guess whose application would be accepted and what credits would transfer. Now, completion of a list of required courses and the minimum 3.3 GPA guarantees community college student admission to the program as a junior.

“There’s been a lot of interest out there for this,” said Rice.

A similar guaranteed admissions agreement was finalized in 2007 for UConn’s colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Agriculture and Natural Sciences, resulting in 62 students entering UConn seamlessly.

Cox and Rice said they expect the number to jump in the coming semesters as those who were freshman when the prerequisites were set near completing them.

The community colleges also announced this week a guaranteed admission agreement with St. Joseph’s College for their bachelor’s program in nursing.

Cox said with community colleges experiencing “tremendous” growth in enrollment, four-year institutions would be missing out if they failed to make such agreements.

“It’s helping make sure students don’t just stop at the associate’s degree,” she said.

Enrollment at all 12 community colleges this year increased by 10 percent. The colleges have seen enrollment rise year after year since 1997, the Community Colleges report. In the current semester, 55,030 students are enrolled, of which 30 percent are expected to move onto a 4-year university.

“Bottom line is applying for higher education is very complicated. So this just makes it that much easier,” she said.