UCA Partners With BRTC to Offer Students More Options

The University of Central Arkansas and Black River Technical College are working together to make baccalaureate degrees more attainable for students across northeast Arkansas through the 2+2 Program.  

The collaborative effort, which allows students to directly transfer from a two-year college to a four-year university, seeks to simplify the transition process and maximize the value of students' education investments.  

According to UCA, a 2+2 transfer outlines specific classes students can take as part of their associate coursework at a community college that will simultaneously apply toward the first two years of a baccalaureate degree. The agreements use the Arkansas Course Transfer System (ACTS) and rely on the approval of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.  

UCA has direct transfer agreements with 19 of 22 Arkansas community colleges. The goals of these streamlined partnerships include higher enrollment, retention and graduation rates, which have been rising steadily in the state over the past few years.  

"Historically, there has been a disconnect for transfer students from two-year to four-year environments," UCA Director of Transfer Services Brian Corbin said. As part of the 2+2 partnership, students at community colleges like BRTC are now provided graduation checklists that outline the requirements at individual four-year schools. UCA reviews more than 500 checklists per year to ensure listings are up-to-date.  

"We're building highways right now, so students will be able to drive on them in the future," Corbin said. "This is a commitment that we're making. The agreements are just the beginning."  

While BRTC offers 61 degrees at its Pocahontas and Paragould campuses, many are one-year technical programs designed for quick entry into the workforce. Donna Statler, the college's general studies dean, noted that the transfer agreements are an important, continual effort to improve degree options for BRTC's 2,020 enrolled students as well as overall college experience.  

"Students can often be afraid of going from a small, two-year school to a larger, four-year institution," Statler said. "This gives them a sense of confidence."

BRTC provides direct transfer options to 13 institutions, though a majority of agreements are with UCA. Eleven bachelor degree options have been added since June 19, four of which went in to effect during last week. This means that BRTC students who have obtained an associate's degree now have the capability to move into one of 39 different UCA bachelor programs.  

Statler said that a majority of transfer students at BRTC are interested in pursuing careers in allied health care or social work. But the biggest interest for UCA transfers is the Conway university's education college. 

"We want people to know that this opportunity is open for anyone," Statler said. "They could have already started their associate work or obtained their degree 10 years ago. If they're ready to take the next step towards a bachelor's, they can come back and finish a few courses on campus or online."