Collaboration between institutions necessary to keep higher ed afloat
- A new partnership between Harper College, a Palatine, IL-based community college, and three Illinois universities (DePaul, Roosevelt, and Northern Illinois) will allow Harper's students to pursue bachelor’s degrees in six popular programs of study on the community college's campus, reports the Daily Herald.
- For students who cannot afford or do not desire to relocate, the new program eases a path to earning a bachelor's degree. University reps said more financial aid will be made available to students who complete the first two years on campus and want to continue on.
- Classes that go toward earning a bachelor's will be taught by professors from the both the community college and university partners. Student tuition funds will go to Harper College for the first two years and then to their chosen university for the final two.
Around the country, educators are finding that smart collaboration with other institutions, stakeholders and partners might be the key to survival for individual institutions. Maryland’s university system, for instance, has set up a central location where students can take classes and earn a degree from any of the partnering institutions in the state in one place, which may be more conveniently located, with tuition dollars going back to the institution of choice. And the Purdue-Kaplan model combines the academic strength of a notable institution with the administrative and marketing strengths of a for-profit giant. In the Atlanta University Center, several institutions located within close proximity, share a library, computer labs and other resources, cutting down on the cost of each institution maintaining them separately, while encouraging cross-registration at the other institutions to broaden the number of courses available to students.
But whether it is increased collaboration between community colleges and four-year institutions, nonprofit and for-profit, even like institutions combining for greater reach and capacity, there is a profound need for institutions to find ways to better work together to fulfill regional and national graduation goals, as well as strengthen the individual institutions. And, not only does such collaboration increase individual institutions' capacity to fulfill their education missions and save on costs, as seen in Dallas, it also boosts student learning and success. Traditionally, higher ed has operated in not just institutional silos, but departmental silos, which is detrimental to students — and public faith in higher ed — in the long run.
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