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Maine Community College System -- News Release

CHANCELLOR WESTPHAL AND PRESIDENT FITZSIMMONS SIGN GUARANTEED ADMISSION AGREEMENT

New "AdvantageU" Program Guarantees Transfer from Community College to University

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 16, 2005

CONTACT: Alice Kirkpatrick
Tel: (207) 767-0116, ext. 3
Email: akirkpatrick@mccs.me.edu

AUGUSTA, Me.— 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. (Click here for background information on the agreement)

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, go to www.AdvantageU.me.edu.

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