Austin Community College

Joel Mason, Collin College student and president of the Texas Junior College Student Government Association, speaks to fellow community college students on the steps of the Capitol on Tuesday. Hundreds of students from community colleges around Texas rallied to talk about issues such as the rising price of education.
Photo Credit: Ellyn Snider | Daily Texan Staff

Freezing rain did not stop hundreds of Texas community college students, many of whom hope to transfer to four-year institutions like UT, from meeting outside of the Capitol to discuss their policy priorities for the 84th legislative session.

 Austin Community College students attended a rally Tuesday to tell legislators about the issues most important to them, especially the affordability of higher education. If approved, the proposed House and Senate budgets would cut funding for community colleges by about $80 million dollars.

 “What we are doing here is empowering you, ordinary community college students, with the understanding that we have the ability to make real positive changes for our society,” said Joel Mason, Collin College student and president of the Texas Junior College Student Government Association.

Daniel McFarlane, UT Transfer Student Association president, said while his transition from ACC to UT was difficult, going to community college first allowed him to save the money he needed to ultimately make the switch.

“A lot of people start off at community college for the sole reason of saving money,” McFarlane said. “That was definitely one of the big pros for me.”

 McFarlane said students who transfer from community colleges represent an important population on campus because of their dedicated attitude toward education.

 “A lot of the people coming in from community colleges are a lot more serious about their education — most of them want it really bad,” McFarlane said. “They worked very hard to get to a four-year university, so once we do transition in, education means that much more to us.“

 At the rally, state Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) said it is important to find innovative ways to solve legislative challenges regarding community colleges.

 “Only then can we be prepared to serve future students in an effective and affordable way,” Taylor said. “Keep looking for ways to improve your institution.”

  According to Daniel Chitty, president of ACC’s honor fraternity, many community college students — himself included — have to work their way through school, and higher tuition costs would set them back.“If we’re starting out already having a lot of debt in the first couple of years, it becomes a burden,” Chitty said. 

Chitty said he hopes to transfer to UT’s electrical engineering program pending acceptance.

 According to John Gizdich, ACC’s Student Government Assocation president, decreased state funding for community college could lead to increased tuition. Gizdich said he would like free community college to be widely available in Texas.

 “Some politicians will say increase minimum wage, but I believe we really need to make community college cheaper or even free,” Gizdich said.

 In a proposal last month, President Barack Obama said he is in favor of providing tuition-free community college and said he thinks students who work for their education and maintain a certain GPA should be provided with college options without financial constraints.

 Kevin Potter, ACC transfer student and biology sophomore, said he is concerned free community college would bring an increase in the number of students who do not care about school and, in turn, decrease the quality of education.

“I think it is a fantastic ideology that when faced with real life, would fail,” Potter said. “Community college isn’t that expensive as it is. It’s free for a lot of students as it is through scholarships and state-funded programs.”

 Community college students also advocated for other legislative priorities, such as program development, college readiness and common course numbering, at the rally.

“I think it’s important that legislators see what a force community college students really can be in the state, for the economy and in our communities,” Chitty said.


Students offered to participate in the Path to Admission through Co-Enrollment program in 2014 had a higher enrollment rate in the program than those offered to participate in the UT Coordinated Admission Program, according to enrollment figures from the University.

Like CAP, the PACE program, a partnership with Austin Community College, gives students who were originally denied admission to UT-Austin an alternative outlet for attending the University. In 2014, 24.9 percent of students accepted their offer to enroll in PACE, while 15.8 percent of students accepted the University’s offer to enroll in the CAP program at other UT System institutions. 

This is a change from 2013, the first year PACE began admitting students, when 18.6 percent of students accepted the CAP offer and 9.1 percent accepted PACE.

David Laude, senior vice provost for enrollment and graduation management, said PACE was developed as a way to admit students who were almost able to get into the University but were not accepted because of class space constraints. He said these students typically tend to be in the top-10 percent of their graduating class.

“We typically admit 7,200 freshmen [into UT-Austin] because that’s what we have capacity for,” Laude said. “But by developing this relationship with ACC, where we offer just one class to the PACE students and ACC offers the additional three or four, we were able to provide an additional collection of students with that foot in the door to get into UT-Austin.”

Students who decide to enroll in PACE are required to take 24 hours of classes in residence at ACC, as well as at least six hours of classes at UT-Austin. After successfully completing the program, students are able to transfer directly to the University. Those who enroll in CAP are able to transfer to the University from another UT System school after having a 3.2 GPA after two semesters without having failed any classes.

Laude said this past year, 845 freshman University applicants were offered PACE under holistic review, a process used to identify students more likely to come to UT-Austin. This differs from CAP, in which everyone who is not accepted into the University has the opportunity to participate. 

“Overall, the caliber of PACE students is going to be generally higher because it’s not just open to everybody who is denied admission to UT-Austin,” Laude said. “So we’re somewhat more selective, and that would mean the kind of student [accepted into PACE] is more likely to meet the minimum requirements.”

Of the 845 students offered to participate in PACE, 203 of those freshman applicants enrolled in part-time, in-residence coursework on the UT-Austin campus, according to University data.

Meanwhile, 773 out of 1,673 CAP participants transferred to UT-Austin from another System institution in 2014. More than 60 percent of CAP transfers came from UT-San Antonio. 

Laude said UTSA is in the process of reducing the number of students it accepts through CAP, which was previously used to attract more students to all System campuses across the state.

“But what’s happened over the last decade or so is that those campuses have become increasingly attractive to students in their own right,” Laude said. “So there are now lots of students who want to go to UTSA, and that’s their first choice. As that number of students grows, what is happening is UTSA is put in this position where they’ve got kids there who aren’t really ‘Roadrunners.’”

Joe Izbrand, chief communications officer at UTSA, said approximately 70 percent of CAP students coming to UTSA leave after their first year, artificially deflating four- and six-year graduation rates and negatively impacting the first-year retention rate by 10 percent.

“Graduation rates are an important factor in seeking funding support for the University, and our advancement toward designation as a Tier One research institution,” Izbrand said in an email. “So our focus needs to be on admitting those students who are committed to starting and finishing their college career at UTSA, completing their studies on time and taking advantage of the exceptional research opportunities UTSA has to offer.”

Photo Credit: Kayla Galang | Daily Texan Staff

When Robbie Hinojosa checked his “My Status” page last spring, the first thing he saw was a rejected application to the University.

“At that point I had been checking my admission status pretty much every single day,” Hinojosa said. “I had a mental breakdown for five minutes, then I went back and read it.”

It wasn’t until he took a second look that Hinojosa realized he was among the first group of students to be offered admission to a new program called PACE, or the Path to Admission through Co-Enrollment program.

PACE is an initiative to give students an alternative outlet for admission. Students who accept the offer for PACE have a year to complete 24 hours of classes in residence at Austin Community College Rio Grande campus, as well as at least six hours of classes at UT. Originally from Vernon, Texas, Hinojosa was ready to move to a bigger city.


“I chose PACE over CAP because I wanted to live in Austin, I thought it would have been cool to go to UT, be on campus, see what it’s like,” Hinojosa said. “I had thought about doing CAP and going to UTSA instead, but I’m from a small town, and I was just clawing at the door to get out.”

After successfully completing PACE, students transition to attend UT full time, and are automatically accepted into the school of Undergraduate Studies. They can also choose to apply to the school of their choice.  

PACE began in spring 2013 as an idea between president Bill Powers and ACC president and CEO Dr. Richard Rhodes. In its first year, 92 students accepted admission into PACE. This year almost 200 students are in PACE.

“For UT, [PACE] helps us provide more paths for students to get into UT, and for ACC it acknowledges the fact that ACC helps prepare a lot of students for UT through transfer,” said Dr. Cassandre Alvarado, PACE program director.

In the pilot year, PACE students encountered plenty of obstacles. Students weren’t able to apply for on-campus housing, a decision Alvarado said was made on the lack of projections on how PACE would impact the UT campus. 

“I was somewhat disappointed at first because I wanted to be a part of UT but felt isolated,” said Sarah Brown, an undeclared PACE student. “If they had allowed me to live in the campus dorms, I believe that would have helped. I wasn’t involved on either campus and felt little sense of community.” While Abby Solomon, an undeclared PACE student, said commuting between the two campuses and her apartment was time consuming, she also said the smaller classes and her participation with a service sorority helped her feel more connected

Now in its second year, PACE has undergone changes that Alvarado said better reflects the needs of students. Participants can now apply for on campus housing and are offered a wider range of resources. PACE students must also now complete the program in one year, instead of completing 42 hours of core curriculum in two years. Tuition is calculated based on the number of hours each student is enrolled for and is paid to both schools.

While Hinojosa skipped the second year of the pilot program and transferred to UT as a computer science student. Solomon is completing the second year, and will apply to the College of Liberal Arts to study psychology when she transitions.

“Most people have transferred or are in the process, but I didn’t have a lot of credit yet,” Solomon said. “I’m glad they have this program because the transition to UT is a little startling at times and a little difficult.”

Immigrants’ rights organization University Leadership Initiative hosted a counsel session Saturday at Austin Community College-Eastview for undocumented students reapplying to a federal, deferred-action program that gives undocumented youth temporary lawful presence in the U.S.

In June 2012, the Obama administration announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which is a two-year program that permits work authorization and prevents the deportation of undocumented immigrants between the ages of 15 and 31 who meet certain requirements. According to the University Leadership Initiative, 400 undocumented students at the University could be eligible for deferred action.

For undocumented youth who received deferred action in 2012, the grant will expire this summer, meaning many will have to reapply. Radio-television-film junior Sheridan Lagunas has worked with the University Leadership Initiative and the teachers’ union Education Austin to provide three sessions this summer that will provide applicants with free attorney services. Lagunas said attorneys review the applications for mistakes or missing documents.

“It’s important to have those free attorney resources to check if everything is right because there’s no appeal process with this application,” Lagunas said. 

Lagunas said the University Leadership Initiative hopes to help 90 undocumented immigrants with the reapplication process through legal counsel sessions and another 90 people through information sessions throughout the summer.

Lagunas, who arrived in the U.S. at the age of one, will reapply for deferred action in July. He said receiving work authorization has made attending a university more accessible for him and other undocumented students.

“Undocumented students aren’t eligible for federal grants or federal loans,” Lagunas said. “But with DACA, I’m able to work and support myself, whereas I know people in the past have had more trouble with college.”

According to Lagunas, many of the applicants have been high school students, such as Jose Garibay, a senior at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. Garibay said he hopes to attend the University and graduate with a degree in biomedical engineering. After receiving deferred action his sophomore year of high school, Garibay said he thought he could aspire to have a professional career.

“Before I got DACA, I didn’t think about my future that much,” Garibay said. “I just wanted to get to college. But knowing that I can get a job thanks to DACA, I started finally thinking what I wanted my career to be.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security website, the deferred action program does not change a person’s status and does not provide a path to permanent residency or citizenship. Lourdes Diaz, an administrator at the Immigration Clinic, said the deferred action program is a temporary solution to a larger problem.

“Some people don’t qualify, and some people who have submitted the application do not end up getting DACA. Also, the Department of Homeland Security has the option to terminate or renew DACA whenever they would like,” Diaz said. “This program is patching a very large wound in immigration reform with a small Band-Aid.”

Kay McClenney, a College of Education professor and director of the Center, speaks about the downsides to hiring part-time faculty in community colleges, on Wednesday. Colleges are only tied to part-time faculty for the current academic year, providing less motivation for teachers to put in extra effort with students beyond required class time.   

Photo Credit: Claire Trammel | Daily Texan Staff

Community colleges’ increasing use of part-time faculty to teach courses may have a negative impact on students, according to a report published Monday by UT’s Center for Community College Student Engagement.

According to the report, to deal with declines in state funding while remaining affordable to students, community colleges have increasingly moved to hiring part-time faculty because the colleges have no fiscal obligation to them beyond the current academic term. The report said part-time faculty, often known as contingent faculty, typically have lower pay levels and fewer, if any, benefits than full-time faculty.

This low transactional relationship between institutions and part-time faculty creates few incentives for teachers to help students beyond their designated class times, according to Kay McClenney, a College of Education professor and director of the center. McClenney said contingent faculty also lack the resources or room space needed to hold office hours.

“Student-faculty interaction is extremely important to students,” McClenney said. “If [faculty] are marginalized in some ways, their students are going to be short-changed as well.”

Courtney Adkins, adjunct professor at Austin Community College and assistant director of the center, said one of the biggest challenges she has faced as a part-time faculty member has been limited accessibility to her students.

“I think relationships are central to a community college student’s success,” Adkins said. “Because I normally only teach in the evenings, I don’t feel that I make as strong of a connection to students as I could if I were on campus more.”

Adkins said ACC has created a mentor program between newer adjuncts and long-term adjunct faculty to make it easier for part-time faculty to be aware of the resources the community college offers.

“There have been times over the years when I knew a student needed assistance out of the classroom, whether it be with tutoring services, financial aid services, advising services, etc., and I haven’t always known where to direct him or her,” Adkins said. “Having a name of someone I could contact to ask those sorts of questions is a great help.”

Nicholas Ward, a history senior who has attended both Lone Star Community College in Houston and ACC, said he did not need to attend office hours until coming to UT.

“At Lonestar, 90 percent of the classes were about the equivalent of a high school level class,” Ward said. “You could usually talk to [professors] after class if you had a question.”

According to McClenney, close to two-thirds of the the students who enter community colleges are not prepared to succeed academically. McClenney said institutions need to expect effective teaching practices from faculty to enable students to excel in college.

“Higher expectations need to be part of the job description,” McClenney said. “No one rises to low expectations.”

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Community college students undergo a fundamentally different experience from students who attend traditional universities; they are often older and must balance commitments to work and family. A study conducted by UT researchers investigates ways two-year institutions can better retain these students.

According to graduation statistics provided by Austin Community College, 4 percent of full-time students entering the college receive a certificate or degree by the end of four years. Earning an associate’s degree is expected to take two. According to UT, 52 percent of students entering the University graduate with a bachelor’s degree by the end of four years.

Kay McClenney, director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement, said that colleges can reverse this trend by actively engaging the students. McClenney refers to active engagement as the amount of time and effort that students give for purposeful educational activity.

The study found that a curriculum oriented toward active learning, collaboration and provision of supplemental education, along with mandatory attendance and advising, are found to improve student success.

“These types of educational practices need to be a typical practice instead of the experience of a fortunate few,” McClenney said. “The question isn’t funding; the question is, are colleges and universities going to insist that their faculty learn about these techniques and implement them more.” 

The center released its most recent study, “A Matter of Degrees,” which seeks to help community college administrators achieve their goals by assessing the impact of various practices. It is the second entry in a three-part series.

McClenney said her research is based on data collected from surveys and focus groups, then interpreted to provide constructive advice for more than 900 community colleges across the country.

McClenney said the center works particularly closely with ACC, which would like to increase the amount of students who transfer to UT after receiving their associate’s degrees.

“There are efforts they are taking under their own operations and also through a partnership with UT,” McClenney said.

ACC student Koji Kiuchi said he hopes to eventually transfer to UT and double major in English and Japanese. Kiuchi said he has a difficult time making ends meet while also going to school full-time.

“My plan is to eventually transfer to UT, and go through financial aid and use that money to study abroad in Japan,” Kiuchi said.

McClenney said college administrators are in a novel situation because of demographic shifts in America.

“The nature of college-going students is changing because the nature of America is changing,” McClenney said. “For example, you have part-time students paying tuition while working a job or two or three. The thing to know is that students are far more likely to be from diverse backgrounds, to be people of color, to be working, to have families and to be commuting to school every day.”

McClenney said administrators need to adapt their curriculum to suit these changes.

“A lot of community colleges are designed as though they could be traditional institutions for higher education, where students are going to school full-time, and will start immediately after high school, and will go straight through to graduate,” McClenney said. “In fact, one in six graduates fits that description.”

Kiuchi said he is posed with the competing obligations of work and school.

“Trying to deal with the high cost of living in Austin while making shit-pay at a part-time job and also taking classes at the same time and trying to do well is hard,” Kiuchi said.

In the inaugural year of a new co-enrollment program, 92 freshmen are simultaneously taking classes at UT and Austin Community College, with the goal of becoming full-time UT students over the course of the next two years.


The students are enrolled in the Path to Admission through Co-Enrollment program, also known as PACE, which will allow them to take four classes at ACC as well as a UT signature course. In coming semesters, the students will be allowed to take any UT class that counts toward a 42-hour state-mandated core curriculum. Upon completion of this curriculum, the students will be admitted full-time at UT.


PACE program coordinator Cassandre Alvarado said students in the program this year were in the top 10 percent of their high school class, but were not automatically admitted into UT. This year, only students in the top eight percent of their classes were automatically admitted.


Before PACE, students could use the Coordinated Admission Program, or more traditional transfer methods, but PACE is the first coordinated co-enrollment effort that has been offered at the university, Alvarado said.


Freshman Joseph Munoz, a participant in the co-enrollment program, said he enjoys being able to participate in small classes at ACC while still being a part of campus life at UT.


“I felt that it would be good for me to be on my own and figure everything out,” Munoz said. “It’s a good way to get your feet wet before you fully jump in.” 


Although students still pay full price for their UT class, the cost of taking four classes at ACC makes their tuition much less than full-time UT students.


“It’s an interesting combination because it makes living here more affordable,” Munoz said.


Students in the program also have opportunities to talk to their advisers in a seminar once a week to help navigate both campuses and to make sure they are getting the best experience possible, Alvarado said.


Freshman Jonathan Jopio said he plans to transfer into chemical engineering after he finishes his PACE requirements. He said he felt PACE was the right fit because it allowed him to seamlessly enter into the UT culture.


“I chose to do PACE rather than any other transfer program because I wanted to be in Austin,” Jopio said.


Alvarado said she was pleased the program allows students to ease into University life.


“I’m always thrilled for new opportunities to provide designated paths into UT,” Alvarado said. “We’ve created a system so that when students become full-time students, they are really set up for success.”

The partially abandoned Highland Mall property will now be converted into grounds for a new Austin Community College campus starting later this month, as part of a larger city initiative to transform Airport Boulevard into a more pedestrian-friendly corridor.

A resolution by the Austin City Council directs the City Manager’s office to find possible financial solutions for funding the renovation of Airport Boulevard, which could include adding sidewalks, improving roads and adding more residential and commercial properties in the area. One of the possible financial solutions that the city will be exploring is tax increment financing, or a TIF. 

The Highland Mall property, which was purchased in August 2012 by ACC, will start converting the space March 27. The first phase will renovate the area previously used as a J.C. Penney on the north side of the mall. The rest of the mall will remain in business during this first phase, which is projected to be completed in spring 2014.

Jorge Rousselin, urban design project manager for the city, said the city is looking over various options for both what it plans to do on Airport Boulevard and how to fund these options. Various plans will be presented to the council in May. 

“The direction was to explore financing options or potentially a TIF in the area,” Rousselin said. “We’re working with stakeholders in the area to kind of get the sense of what would be the transformative projects that would be under various financial structures.”

ACC spokeswoman Alexis Patterson said the first phase of the new campus will include classrooms, a library, a student union and a top-notch “math emporium.” This emporium will be an open lab to help students who need a refresher in developmental math skills and will be the largest in the nation of its kind, Patterson said.

“The whole idea is to become the premier community college in the nation,” Patterson said. “It’s going to be an innovative facility, and we believe it will be a pride point for the city and the area.”

David Hagan, history and liberal arts honors senior, said he fully supported the conversion of Highland Mall into a higher education space. Hagan said while the addition of walkable sidewalks and the improvement of roads would be positive, he still enjoys Airport Boulevard as it is.

“I like Airport Boulevard,” he said. “As long as they don’t touch the Popeyes, I’m okay. I feel like Austin is sort of progressively moving toward pedestrian-orientated city, which I am definitely in favor of.”

Published on March 8, 2013 as "ACC ready to transform old mall into new campus". 

A new arrangement between Austin Community College and UT-Austin will grant students meeting minimum eligibility requirements at ACC automatic admission to UT, starting fall 2013. The program, called the Path to Admission through Co-Enrollment (PACE), applies to Texas residents who are eligible for automatic admission to UT-Austin under the state’s Top Ten Percent Law but nevertheless cannot enroll because of admission caps. In 2012, that would have applied to students graduating high school in the 9th and 10th percentiles.

PACE will allow qualified, dedicated students to enjoy the UT education promised to them by the law and provide an opportunity to reside in Austin uninterruptedly, thus avoiding the often difficult transition that transfer students from other programs face. For qualifying students, PACE merely standardizes an existing tactic — enrolling at ACC with the intention to transfer to UT-Austin — which will help attract top students and make the University more competitive.

Our campus’s location in the heart of Austin is a powerful attractive force for potential UT students that should not be underestimated. Logan Meyers, a freshman at ACC from Dallas, did not get into UT-Austin, his first-choice college, during his senior year of high school. Even though Meyers was given an opportunity to transfer to UT-Austin after a year at another university within the UT System as a part of the Coordinated Admissions Program, he chose not to take it. Instead, he enrolled at ACC, saying, “I just wanted to be in Austin. That’s pretty much what it came down to.”

Meyers, who hopes to transfer to UT-Austin, is the type of student the PACE program aims to attract. David Laude, senior vice provost for enrollment and graduation management, says that PACE will provide those students a UT-quality education, even if most of their first year is spent down the street at the ACC Rio Grande campus.

UT students, who fork over thousands more in tuition dollars than their counterparts at community colleges, may be unhappy to hear that. But ACC offers benefits in its introductory courses that UT cannot, most notably a lower student-to-professor ratio. Meyers echoes Laude’s sentiment in his praise of introductory courses at ACC thus far, emphasizing especially the benefits of small class size. “I haven’t ever been enrolled at UT,” Meyers says, “But I think that there’s definitely a possibility that the courses could be comparable [to those at UT-Austin].”

Another of PACE’s attractive qualities is the comparative affordability of ACC tuition. Speaking at a financial aid panel last Thursday, Laude expressed his hopes that the program will save students thousands of dollars when speaking at a financial aid panel last Thursday. Friday’s press release also touted PACE’s potential financial benefits for participating students. Because PACE students will not be required to pay ACC’s out-of-district fee, the total tuition payments for PACE students in their first semester is estimated to be nearly $2000 cheaper than their counterparts’ tuition at UT.

Many aspiring UT students, especially those from more competitive high schools, work diligently to secure a spot in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes. It is understandable but unfortunate that, despite state law, UT-Austin can’t offer every one of them immediate admission. We support PACE because it will provide those qualified students a cost-saving avenue to reach UT-Austin without the upheaval of having to change cities. PACE is a step in the right direction to make UT-Austin more attractive, affordable and competitive.

In January, UT and Austin Community College announced a partnership that would allow students who transfer from ACC to the University to earn an associate degree from their previous institution. 

Now, Texas lawmakers are considering legislation that would lower the number of credit hours necessary to receive an associate degree after students transfer. Currently, many students transfer from community colleges to universities without earning an associate degree.

State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo and Senate Higher Education Committee chairman, filed the Senate version of the bill and said he wants students who attend community college to receive the credentials they have earned, even if students earned that credential elsewhere.

“They’ve earned it. They’ve earned enough credits,” Seliger said. “They’ve moved on from the community college, which is a good thing, but we want them to make sure that they enjoy the full benefit of having attended community college so they get their associate’s degree after 60 hours.” 

Seliger’s bill would require universities to notify community colleges when transfer students earn 60 credit hours so colleges may award students associate degrees. Currently, students must earn 90 credit hours to be eligible.

A companion bill filed by Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, would require universities to notify community colleges when transfer students earn 66 credit hours.

In 2011, state higher education institutions awarded 104,817 bachelor’s degrees, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. That year, state institutions awarded 52,813 associate degrees.

“This isn’t necessarily a problem for students who get a [degree] from a four-year college, but transfer students are often left holding no credential if they drop out, even after earning 60 credits, sometimes many more,” Guillen told the Texas House Higher Education Committee on Wednesday.

Guillen said students who transfer without obtaining associate degrees detract from community colleges’ graduation rates, which his bill seeks to partially remedy.

Increasing the number of associate degrees awarded has been one of the state’s higher education priorities for more than a decade. 

In 2000, the state enacted a plan to increase the annual number of associate degrees awarded to 55,000 by 2015. Community colleges exculsively awarded 52,089 associate degrees in 2011, according to the coordinating board.

John Fitzpatrick, executive director of Educate Texas, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve K-12 education and college readiness, said enacting Guillen’s bill would help encourage students to earn associate degrees.

“We’re putting the power in the hands of the students … and it’s really the responsibility of both the community college and the four-year institution to ensure that the students get this credential,” Fitzpatrick said.

Published on March 1, 2013 as "Associate degrees may take less time".