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Otterbein and Columbus State Announce New Partnership

Otterbein and Columbus State Announce New Partnership


Under a new partnership between Otterbein University and Columbus State Community College (CSCC), Central Ohio students will be able to earn both an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree in four years for less than the cost of attending most of Ohio’s public four-year universities.

A cornerstone of this dual admission program is shared academic advising so that students are always aware of the progress they are making on both their two-year and four-year degrees. The program also connects student services on both campuses, as well as creating shared curricular and co-curricular opportunities.

“Students will have two campuses, but one unified student experience,” said Kathy Krendl, president of Otterbein University. The public-private partnership was announced at the 2017 Central Ohio Compact Summit by Krendl and CSCC President David Harrison.

For several years, Otterbein and CSCC have offered great transfer opportunities, and students transferring from CSCC to Otterbein have successful retention and graduation rates. Many 2+2 agreements are offered that align curriculum between different colleges, but don’t address the social and cultural issues related to transferring, nor do they do anything specifically about affordability.

“This program addresses the other issues, as well as simplifying the transfer process itself,” said Jefferson Blackburn Smith, vice president for enrollment at Otterbein. “Students in the program don’t need to apply to transfer to Otterbein once they earn their associate degree. They will already be Otterbein students.”

Otterbein is investing in students coming through the partnership by creating a special, reduced tuition rate for students who earn an associate degree and a 2.75 grade point average. The four-year cost of the program, based on current tuition costs, including books, is just $43,188. Neither CSCC nor Otterbein have raised tuition in at least the last four years.

“College affordability has become a limiting factor for many,” said Rebecca Butler, vice president of enrollment management and student services at CSCC. “This partnership offers a tremendous opportunity for students to earn two meaningful degrees without incurring deep loan debt.”

As part of a dual admission program, participants will not need to complete a transfer application to Otterbein if they initiate and complete the program at CSCC. The initial pilot covers five academic areas: Business, Communication, Education, Engineering and Health and Sport Sciences. The program will expand to include most other academic programs in future.

“This is all about access and affordability,” said Blackburn Smith. “It is student-centered one hundred percent. It’s designed to eliminate as many barriers to student success as possible.”

The program will be non-residential to help with overall costs. Students will live at home to reduce costs but have access to resources at both campuses, including faculty and advising.

Recruitment for the program will start this fall.