KU, Missouri-based community college strike deal to cooperate

The state line between Kansas and Missouri has been known to occasionally create a border war, but it shouldn’t hinder aspiring University of Kansas students, a pair of higher education leaders proclaimed Monday.

Leaders with KU and the Kansas City-based Metropolitan Community College announced an agreement that will allow graduates of MCC’s two-year Associate of Arts degree programs to have a streamlined path to receive a bachelor’s degree from KU.

“As costs continue to rise, we have to try to figure out as many different pathways as we can for students to achieve their goals,” KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said after a Monday announcement ceremony at KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park.

MCC has five campuses on the Missouri side of the Kansas City metro area, and had about 17,000 students enrolled in the fall semester. Monday’s agreement will allow KU to accept an associate degree from MCC as evidence that three of KU’s six core educational goals have been met. Those three are critical thinking and quantitative literacy; communication; and breadth of knowledge.

The end result should be that students wanting to attend KU after graduating from MCC should have a head start on completing their core requirements at KU, said MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty. She said advisers at MCC work to help students understand what classes they need to successfully transfer to KU and other institutions. But she said this agreement would add more certainty to the process.

“They shouldn’t have to go through a bumpy, jagged transition,” Beatty said. “It can be kind of like driving with a clutch, lots of starts and stops. They need a process that is more like an automatic transmission.”

Girod said the agreement is important to KU as part of the university’s role in being an active partner in improving life in the K.C. metro area. He also said it was important for KU to remain attuned to how it can attract more students from the Kansas City region.

“The metro region is growing, and that makes it an important region for us to pay attention to from a student-retention standpoint,” Girod said. “We want to make sure the best and brightest understand what KU has to offer.”

KU has similar agreements with Johnson County Community College and Kansas City Kansas Community College.