UMS Bulletins

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 16, 2005
CONTACT: Alice Kirkpatrick (MCCS) 207-767-0116 ext. 3 or Rita Sullivan (UMS) 207-973-3245

CHANCELLOR WESTPHAL AND PRESIDENT FITZSIMMONS
SIGN GUARANTEED ADMISSION AGREEMENT
New “AdvantageU” Program Guarantees Transfer from Community College to University

AUGUSTA - In a major act of collaboration, University of Maine System (UMS) Chancellor Joseph W. Westphal and Maine Community College System (MCCS) President John Fitzsimmons Wednesday signed a Guaranteed Admission Agreement that allows MCCS students, upon completion of an associate degree in Liberal Studies, guaranteed admission to any UMS institution. The two higher education leaders were joined at the State House by Governor John E. Baldacci and Maine Department of Education Commissioner Susan Gendron to make the announcement.

The agreement establishes AdvantageU: Maine's Community College to University Guaranteed Admission Program, a transfer program scheduled to be available for newly admitted MCCS students beginning in the fall semester of 2005. By enrolling in AdvantageU, MCCS students will receive the benefits of early advising, a streamlined application process, no application fee, and advanced course registration with continuing University students.

“This historic agreement between our University System and Community College System marks a milestone in Maine, and I commend the leaders of these two systems for coming together to streamline the transfer process and bring the promise of a baccalaureate degree to more Maine citizens,” said Governor Baldacci. "Our planning confirms that Maine's economic and cultural future depends on an educated workforce.”

“AdvantageU represents an unprecedented level of collaboration between the Community College System and University System,” said Chancellor Westphal. “Improving the ease with which students transfer from community college to university is a major milestone in making the attainment of a four-year degree a reality for more Maine students.”

“In the years ahead, thousands of Maine college students who got their start at a Community College will benefit from AdvantageU,” said MCCS President John Fitzsimmons. “This initiative will help us achieve our goal of increasing the number of Community College transfer students enrolled in our Universities from 1,700 to 3,000 within the next few years.”

As part of AdvantageU, an MCCS student who intends to transfer to the University System must enroll in the program prior to the completion of 45 credits at MCCS. Upon attainment of the Associate in Arts in Liberal Studies, the student is then guaranteed admission at junior standing to any institution of the University of Maine System. (Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA; a 2.5 GPA is required for guaranteed admission to the University of Maine; and University of Maine at Farmington is subject to an enrollment cap.)

The AdvantageU program was initiated and developed by the Maine Higher Education Partnership (MHEP), a group of University Presidents and Community College Presidents appointed by Chancellor Westphal and President Fitzsimmons in 2003 to increase collaboration and cooperation between the Systems. In an unprecedented effort to improve the ease and rate of two-year to four-year college transfers in Maine, the Presidents of MHEP negotiated the guaranteed admission agreement between all of Maine's 14 public community colleges and universities. The committee is chaired by Charles Lyons, President of the University of Maine at Augusta, and Barbara Woodlee, President of Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.

The two Systems will continue to rely on a matrix of more than 80 articulation agreements between Community Colleges and University of Maine System institutions. The MHEP Presidents recognized, however, that an overarching admission agreement like AdvantageU would further enhance the transfer opportunities for students and result in an overall increase in the number of postsecondary degrees granted in the state of Maine.

High college attainment rates significantly impact the State's economic and civic well-being. Holders of associate and baccalaureate degrees can expect to earn respectively 23 percent and 61 percent more per year than those with high school diplomas.

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System is the State's largest educational entity, with more than 34,300 students enrolled. It features seven universities-some with multiple campuses-located across the State, as well as 11 University College outreach centers and more than 100 interactive distance education sites.

The Maine Community College System is Maine's public, comprehensive two-year college system. The System is comprised of seven colleges and eight off-campus centers, and serves more than 11,000 credit students and 10,000 students in non-credit courses and contract training each year.

For more information about AdvantageU, please log on to: www.AdvantageU.me.edu

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Maine's Community College to University
Guaranteed Admission Program

Background

About AdvantageU
AdvantageU is a new guaranteed admission agreement offered through a partnership of the Maine Community College System (MCCS) and University of Maine System (UMS). Participating students who earn an Associate in Arts in Liberal Studies from a Maine Community College are guaranteed admission with junior standing at any Maine public University. Note: Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA; 2.5 is required for guaranteed admission to UMaine; UMF is subject to an enrollment cap.

Benefits include:
o Guaranteed admission, with junior standing, to any UMS institution
o Early advising toward the student's University major
o Advanced registration with continuing University students
o A streamlined transfer process
o No University application fee

How AdvantageU was created
AdvantageU is based on an agreement between the MCCS and UMS developed by the Maine Higher Education Partnership (MHEP), a joint UMS/MCCS committee comprised of presidents from each system. The MHEP was created by Chancellor Westphal and President Fitzsimmons in January 2003 to ensure that the two systems communicate and collaborate at a high level; to look at ways to improve efficiencies; and to strengthen transfer from two-year to four-year programs. The committee is chaired by UMA President Charles Lyons and KVCC President Barbara Woodlee. A cross-section of staff from each system has been working on the program's implementation.

About the Associate in Arts in Liberal Studies
AdvantageU covers Community College students entering the Associate in Arts in Liberal Studies. The AA in Liberal Studies was added in 1999, in partnership with UMS, and is now the largest program at Maine's Community Colleges, serving nearly 3,100 students, or 30 percent of all students. The Associate in Arts is designed to prepare students to transfer to an upper division baccalaureate program. The curriculum is built on a foundation in “general education” with considerable flexibility in selecting strands of electives to develop depth in the prerequisite knowledge required for further study at the baccalaureate level. The curriculum includes the following minimum requirements:

English/Communication 6 credit hours
Humanities 3 credit hours
Mathematics/Science 3 credit hours
Social Science 9 credit hours
Total core requirements 21 credit hours
Elective courses (General Education) 39 credit hours
Total credit hours 60

Note: The credential is limited to no more than 64 credit hours