SCRANTON -- Colleges in our area are taking part in a new trend to make high education more affordable for students. Lackawanna College and the University of Scranton, both in Lackawanna County, are the latest to make agreements with other schools to share students.
Lackawanna College specializes in two-year associate's degrees. The agreement this week makes it easier for students there to transfer to the University of Scranton to complete a bachelor's degree.
Community colleges have been making more and more of these agreements with four-year colleges.
Lackawanna College on Vine Street is less than a mile from the University of Scranton's campus. Now after an agreement between the two schools, their students could be closer than ever.
Lackawanna College students who graduate with a two-year degree and maintain a 2.75 GPA will be able to transfer to "The U."
Lindsey Dippre of Scranton plans to be one of those students this fall.
"It was stressful senior year, obviously, it's stressful now, too, but knowing that there is a two and two and if you have above a certain GPA, like I know that I do, it's a lot less stressful to know that I don't have to worry about, 'oh, my gosh am I going to get in?' or all that kind of thing."
Ease and economics are the motivators behind the agreement. Transfer students will save money after completing two years at the less expensive community college. They will only pay two years of tuition at the University of Scranton.
But, the university will also offer a $10,000 scholarship to Lackawanna College grads with a 3.0 GPA or better.
"My plan now is to go to the University of Scranton, which I never thought possible before, because of the amount of money that it would cost me to go there. I just couldn't afford it before," said William Craven.
Marywood University has also announced a similar agreement. Students will be able to study social work at Northampton Community College in the Lehigh Valley and transfer there to finish a bachelor's degree.
Lackawanna College's president Mark Volk says higher education institutions need to find ways to keep college affordable in order to compete.
"It's economics," said Volk. "If nothing else, colleges are looking at those smaller markets and saying, 'how do we make it attractive? How do we overcome barriers to education for students?'"
Along with these latest agreements, Luzerne County Community College announced one last month, also with the University of Scranton.