With new pact, Dolphins now also Pirates


COA President Robert Wynegar and ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton sign a new co-admission agreement between the two institutions on June 5.


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Friday, July 6, 2018

Thanks to a co-admission agreement between College of The Albemarle and East Carolina University, some COA students will have the opportunity starting next fall to be both a Pirate and a Dolphin at the same time.

COA President Robert Wynegar and ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton signed the agreement June 5 that is designed to improve the student transfer process from community college to a university and a four-year degree.

Wynegar, who joined 14 other eastern North Carolina community college leaders at the signing ceremony, said he is excited to have support from a four-year institution that ultimately encourages students to complete their degrees at a community college, then have a relatively seamless transfer to ECU.

The agreement enables students to apply to COA and ECU simultaneously and commit to maintaining full-time status. Upon completing an associate degree, they will transition into degree-completion programs at ECU.

“Our most fundamental goal is to make college attendance a far less daunting endeavor for these students who might not think that going to college is within their reach,”  ECU Provost Ron Mitchelson said in a statement released by ECU. “In particular we want these students to understand that the community college/university pathway is very cost-effective and to ensure that the transfer from the community college to the university is relatively seamless.”

At COA Board of Trustees’ meeting on June 19, COA officials said the agreement allows students at the community college to enjoy some of the benefits of being an ECU student while taking two years of coursework at COA.

According to information provided by COA, benefits of the program for students include a cost-effective, seamless transfer process to a four-year university, access to ECU libraries, participation in programming through the ECU Office of Student Activities and other organizations, and eligibility to use the ECU One Card.

Students also will be able to receive joint financial aid counseling, micro-scholarship opportunities, joint academic advising and a waiver of the ECU transfer application fee, according to COA officials.

The new agreement supplements, but does not supplant, the existing articulation agreement between COA and ECU.

Mitchelson, citing a national report from the Educational Advisory Board, noted that completing the first two years of a four-year degree at a community college can save a student $43,000 in college costs.

“We want each of these students to feel like a Pirate as they complete their associate degree with the community college,” Mitchelson said.

Staton said that on average, students who transfer to ECU from community colleges after receiving an associate degree outperform traditional students.

“It’s very important that we provide those pathways … to come here and complete their education, and for those pathways to be easier and more accessible, where the barriers are taken away, in order for them to achieve that baccalaureate degree,” he said.

The co-admission program, he said, will be a boon to both ECU and the community colleges in producing the teachers, nurses, engineers, business leaders and health professionals that the region needs to meet its future workforce demands.

In addition to COA, other nearby community colleges that have entered into similar agreement with ECU include Martin Community College and Roanoke-Chowan Community College.