By Justin Fenton
Enquirer staff writer
A plan to steer more students to Gateway Community and Technical College by granting them dual admission to Northern Kentucky University may bring Gateway more students than it can handle.
The "Bridge to Success" partnership, announced this week, guarantees NKU admission to Gateway juniors who meet certain standards yet to be established.
But the initiative comes at a difficult time for Gateway, which last month warned that it lacked sufficient funds to open its new Boone County campus and hire new faculty and staff. President and CEO Edward Hughes said the school may have to cap classes and delay student enrollment for the first time in its history.
"We hope that it's not a problem, and in some ways we hope it is a problem," said Charles Stebbins, vice president for planning for Gateway.
"It might cause folks to understand the importance of investing in Northern Kentucky as far as community and technical colleges are concerned."
Stebbins said Gateway's state appropriations have decreased significantly in recent years as enrollment has doubled.
Gateway has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students in 35 program areas on three Northern Kentucky campuses in Covington, Edgewood and Highland Heights.
Officials at both schools said the partnership will increase the chance for a student's success in achieving a four-year degree, ensure smooth transitions for students transferring from Gateway to NKU, create a cost-effective plan for delivering general education courses at Gateway, and make programs and resources available to students of both institutions.
"This collaborative effort is the model of how two institutions can partner for the benefit of the student," said NKU President James C. Votruba.
The dual admission guarantees the acceptance of Gateway students with junior standing into NKU once requirements are met. Students will have to explicitly enter into the program, but all who earn associates degrees in arts or sciences are eligible, Stebbins said.
The partnership takes effect in fall 2005, and comes as NKU prepares to increase its admissions standards to include minimum ACT scores and the completion of certain college-prep courses in high school.
NKU and Gateway have been working together for almost two years, Stebbins said, as part of Gateway's transition from a technical school to a community college.
"The transition team addressed a myriad of ways in which the technical college then - now community and technical - how we would best interface with NKU and take advantage of their strengths and take advantage of what we had to offer," Stebbins said.
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