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Community College of Beaver County, Franklin University in Ohio join for 4-year bachelor's degrees

Debra Erdley
| Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

One year after a failed attempt to put a four-year degree program at its Center campus, the Community College of Beaver County is partnering with an Ohio university to bring a bachelor's degree program there.

The agreement adds CCBC to a growing list of community colleges that have partnered with colleges and universities to provide four-year degree programs at two-year schools. Franklin University, a private school in Columbus, plans to start a program in which students can earn up to 84 community college credits at CCBC toward bachelor's degrees in accounting, forensic accounting, business administration, management and leadership and allied health care management, and then take Franklin courses there to finish their degrees.

CCBC President Joe D. Forrester said Franklin, which has offered online courses to CCBC students for some years, approached the community college after Mountain State University, a now-defunct West Virginia school that had offered bachelor's degrees at CCBC for two years, lost its accreditation last summer.

A Franklin spokeswoman said the Ohio university, which is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, will start its bachelor's degree programs in business administration and management and leadership at CCBC this fall. It will continue to offer online courses toward degree completion to community college students as well.

Heather Tinklepaugh said the timing couldn't have been better for her.

The 25-year-old Rochester woman, who graduated from CCBC last spring with an associate's degree in accounting, works for a local accounting firm and was looking for a way to earn her bachelor's degree.

“I was looking at universities in the area, and it was hard to find one that would accept all of my transfer credits. This way I can take an extra year at CCBC at their tuition rate before I start taking Franklin courses,” she said.

At $115 per credit hour, CCBC's tuition is a major savings over Franklin's $444 per credit hour.

Enrolling more than 200,000 students, Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges are fertile ground for degree completion programs.

Several offer what they call 2+2 programs. Students take two years of community college courses for an associate's degree and then transfer 60 credits to an on-site college or university for their final course work.

Butler County Community College spokeswoman Susan Changnon said its students can finish specific bachelor's degree programs with the University of Pittsburgh, Youngstown State University, La Roche College and Edinboro and Clarion universities. The college also has partnerships with Franklin and Bellevue universities for business degree completion online.

“There are others (colleges) who are interested and talking to us now,” Changnon said, adding that a dozen BCCC students at the college's Lawrence County campus graduated with education degrees from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in May 2012.

Westmoreland County Community College has hosted a Penn State Bachelor of Science degree completion program for registered nurses for a decade now, said spokeswoman Pam Hollik.

A spokeswoman for the Community College of Allegheny County said CCAC hosts degree completion programs at several campuses, including a Bachelor of Science in nursing with California University of Pennsylvania at CCAC South, a Bachelor of Science in business through Indiana University of Pennsylvania at CCAC Boyce, and a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction through Gannon University at CCAC Boyce.

“As you might expect, the above collaborations have proven popular with students, given that they provide additional educational opportunities as well as access to more convenient locations,” said CCAC spokeswoman Elizabeth Johnston.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or

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