Four-year Degree for Less

With tuition prices at some Ohio colleges below $2,000 for a full-time semester, some students feel relieved and wish to continue to higher education.


By Kim Teodecki


Many Youngstown State University students are seeking four-year degrees after having acquired an Associate level degree for less than $2,000 per semester. John Crooks is president of the University Partnership program at Lorain County Community College.


“Our graduates are successful, according to grad tracking and outreach surveys. The community is impressed,” Crooks said.


Forty-three students graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from YSU through the University Partnership at LCCC in 2015, and three students acquired a Master’s degree. Gail Owens, a first year student at YSU through the UP at LCCC, said that if anyone would have told her three years ago that she would be working toward a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from YSU, she would have laughed because a college education is so overwhelmingly expensive.


The UP is enabling the same low cost efficiency for students who wish to obtain a Bachelor’s degree from any participating school in the program. YSU currently offers eight degree programs through the UP at LCCC, according to Crooks.


“We would like to strengthen liberal arts and sciences programs at all partnership universities,” Crooks said, “but I am very proud of the current social work program because it shows that we had a development over 10 years that led to a cohort of individuals looking to continue to the next step in higher education or in the job industry.”


Daniel Van Dussen, YSU coordinator in gerontology, stated that the University Partnership could be a bit more developed in the marketing end. He is not sure that everyone in Lorain County knows about the individual programs that are available.


However, since YSU began offering classes online and via Distance Learning software, 329 students have graduated with a Bachelor’s degree, and 17 students have obtained a Master’s degree, according to graduate tracking statistics conducted by the UP. Students who utilize this initiative obtain a two-year degree from LCCC equivalent to the completion of a sophomore year at universities such as YSU.


The two-year graduates then select appropriate degree programs and continue their education to obtain a four-year degree without the demand to attend physical classes on university campuses. Rather, they take online classes that are taught via Distance Learning software and televised lectures that give them an in-class experience.


“The software, in my opinion, seems to work well,” Van Dussen said. “The technical assistance we receive on both ends works well, and they are very fast in solving any difficulties that may arise.”


According to Crooks, the UP is all about helping students achieve their educational goals and reach their potential because they had the capability to do so with the help of LCCC. Every graduate is a new success.