Tyler Junior College students will now have the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree through a partnership with Texas A&M University-Commerce.
The three-year agreement, which officially starts today, will enable the college’s students, even those in technical programs, to smoothly transition to a four-year program, according to school officials.
The program is open to TJC students with at least 31 credit hours and no more than 90.
The degree options are a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science degree or a Bachelor of General Studies.
The program could be particularly appealing and beneficial to students in workforce programs that traditionally don’t transfer well to a bachelor’s degree.
Under this partnership, a student’s workforce courses would count toward their bachelor’s degree.
The courses they would take through TAMU-Commerce would be geared toward preparing them to be effective managers and leaders in their chosen field.
“We’re very pleased to enter this partnership with Tyler Junior College,” TAMU-Commerce President Dan R. Jones said during the announcement Thursday. “It’s all about opportunities. It’s all about laying out options for students, multiple options for completing (a) four-year baccalaureate degree.”
The university plans to have a full-time staff person working on the TJC main campus starting next fall.
TAMU-Commerce courses will be offered to TJC students online or through hybrid courses, which combine online and face-to-face classes.
In order to jump start the program, the university is offering scholarships to qualifying students.
They have $1,000 scholarships available for students who start the program in the spring and enroll in up to six hours. This is made possible through donations from TAMU-Commerce alumni in Smith County.
Students who enroll in 15 semester credit hours and meet certain criteria will be eligible for general transfer scholarships of up to $2,000 per year.
In addition, honors students also can apply for Phi Theta Kappa scholarships.
TJC President Dr. Mike Metke said through this program the college will expand its opportunities with degrees that normally haven’t been transferable.
He said the college has an articulation agreement with Stephen F. Austin State University that eases the transfer process for TJC students who choose to go there.
Metke said although The University of Texas at Tyler has the capacity to offer this degree, they had not worked out issues related to credit hour transfers. However, he said the university remains a primary partner for the college. A spokeswoman for UT Tyler said President Dr. Rod Mabry was unavailabe for comment Thursday.
Metke said this new partnership with TAMU-Commerce will allow the two schools to meet an unmet need.
“This creates a new pathway, and it’s a very clear pathway to a four-year degree,” he said.