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Westfield, HCC caps fees on many programs

Date: 1/30/2015

HOLYOKE – For Holyoke Community College students who are starting college this fall and who are pursuing one of a list of majors, the cost of their bachelor degree would be capped at $30,000.

An agreement between HCC and Westfield State University (WSU) called “The Presidents’ MassTransfer” program will allow a full-time student who completes degree work at HCC to transfer to WSU and continue his or her education was formally announced on Jan. 23.  

Interim WSU President Elizabeth Preston said a four-year degree program “roughly the cost of a car means a lot more return on investment.”

She added that everyone in higher education is aware of increasing costs.

“That’s on everyone’s minds,” she added.

HCC President William Messner noted hat HCC is a feeder school for WSU already, but the new program will “take that flow of students to the next level.”

Messner said the program was largely Preston’s initiative.

Preston said both schools hope to attract more students with this fixed price.

The $30,000 cap does not include books or housing costs. If a student changes a major when transferring to WSU the cap will remain if the new major is among the specified programs. WSU admission to the Presidents’ MassTransfer Program will be guaranteed to participating HCC students who earn an overall Quality Point Average of at least 2.50 at the time of admission, provided space is available in the major of choice. 

Those HCC degrees and programs that are part of the program include:
• A.S., Business MassTransfer Option linked to B.S., Business Management (excluding the Aviation Management concentration) Note: Students must follow the established articulation agreement to graduate WSU within 60 credits post-transfer.
• A.A., Communication linked to B.A., Communication; B.A., English; B.A., Theatre Arts
• A.A., Communication, Media, and Theatre linked to B.A., Communication; B.A., English; B.A., Theatre Arts
• AA, Creative Writing linked to B.A., Communication; B.A., English; B.A., Theatre Arts
• A.S., Criminal Justice linked to B.S., Criminal Justice
• A.A., Electronic Media linked to B.A., Communication
• A.A., Gender and Women's Studies linked to B.A., Ethnic and Gender Studies
• A.S., Human Services Program linked to B.A., Psychology; B.S.W., Social Work; B.A., Sociology
• A.A., Liberal Arts & Sciences Option linked to the following bachelor’s degree programs: B.A., Art; B.S., Business Management; B.A., Communication; B.S., Criminal Justice; B.A., Economics; B.A., English; B.A., Ethnic & Gender Studies; B.A., History; B.A., Political Science; B.A., Psychology; B.S., Regional Planning; B.S.W., Social Work; B.A., Sociology; B.A., Spanish; B.A. Theatre Arts 
• A.A., Psychology Option linked to B.A., Psychology
• A.A., Sociology Option linked to B.S.W., Social Work; B.A., Sociology
• A.S., Visual Arts linked to B.A., Art (Portfolio required)
• A.S., Visual Arts Graphics linked to B.A., Art (Portfolio required)

State Rep. Aaron Vega, who is a member of the House’s Committee on Higher Education, said the announcement is “huge.” 

He explained, “It is right in line with the kind of programs we’re trying to do.”

Vega said this program complements the existing one between HCC and the Elms College in social work and he predicted that more such agreements between community colleges and state colleges or universities are in the future.