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MSU Seamless Transfer Program Begins in Summer With NEMCC

Office of Public Affairs
News Bureau 662-325-3442
Contact: Leah Barbour
leah.barbour@msstate.edu
March 27, 2015

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University's new seamless transfer program will enable participating community and junior college graduates to transfer to MSU's distance education program without application paperwork or application fees.

While Northeast Mississippi Community College is the first to join, the director of the MSU's Center for Distance Education, Steve Taylor, said he expects several, if not all, of its sister institutions to follow in the future.

"Students at NEMCC who want to participate will go to their advisors, tell them they want to participate, meet the articulation-agreement requirements and complete an Associate of Arts degree," he explained.

Having given NEMCC permission to verify their degrees and forward their transcripts, the graduates would be contacted by MSU, Taylor said.

"They can enroll in any of our online programs for which they are qualified," he continued. "They would roll from being an NEMCC student to becoming a Bulldog without filling out the application, paying the application fee or going through the normal transfer process."

Four MSU bachelor's degree programs may be completed through online study: elementary education, with a concentration in elementary or middle school; geosciences, with a concentration in broadcast and operational meteorology; interdisciplinary studies; and technology teacher education.

Development of the seamless transfer program began in mid-2014. In addition to Taylor, others instrumental in making the new distance education option a reality were Phil Bonfonati, former executive director of enrollment, and MSU Registrar John Dickerson, also interim executive director of enrollment.

Taylor said Mike Rackley, the land-grant institution's long-serving chief information officer, also played a key role by helping to develop the necessary electronic infrastructure.

According to Taylor, NEMCC leaders were the first to sign up after he presented MSU's seamless transfer program idea to the Mississippi Community College Board and presidents of the 15 state community and junior colleges.

"We were excited about working with MSU on this seamless transfer option for our community college graduates," said Audra Love Kimble, MCCB's assistant executive director for eLearning and instructional technology. "We saw this as an opportunity not only to encourage our students to graduate with their A.A. degree, but also to make it easier for them to transition to a four-year university."

Research indicates students with associate degrees are more likely to graduate from four-year institutions than peers who transfer without completing it, she said.

While Mississippi State has a strong relationship with all the state community and junior colleges, Taylor said NEMCC is unique because it's the alma mater of President Mark E. Keenum and wife Rhonda Newman Keenum. Both then completed degrees at MSU.

Taylor said he expects seamless transfer to become a popular route for pursuing distance education, but he emphasized it is only one of several ways to complete online studies at MSU.

For prospective students who are employed and cannot relocate to the institution's Starkville or Meridian campus, distance education is an excellent option, he said. The seamless transfer program is another way to benefit students.

"The students win—they complete their A.A. degrees and continue living and working at home as they finish their bachelor's," Taylor said. "NEMCC wins because their students are completing their studies, and Mississippi State wins because those students become part of the Bulldog family."

Learn more about MSU's Center for Distance Education at http://distance.msstate.edu.

MSU, Mississippi's flagship research university, is available online at www.msstate.edu, meridian.msstate.edu, facebook.com/msstate, instagram.com/msstate, pinterest.com/msstate and twitter.com/msstate.