UH, HCC Partner On Four-Year Degrees

The University of Houston is expanding its reach to community college students in the region. UH will join forces with Houston Community College to offer four-year degree programs at two HCC campuses.

The idea is to provide a sort of one-stop-shop for college students. The new university centers at HCC Northwest and HCC Northeast will provide a place where students can enroll in community college classes and then transition right into a four-year degree, all in the same location.

Marshall Schott is the vice president for university outreach at UH. He says this is one way to reduce the cost of a four-year degree for students.

"By partnering very closely with the HCC, students can complete their coursework at the community college and then transfer in with as many hours as allowable, and thus it reduces the total cost of pursuing a bachelor's degree. So it's of great benefit to taxpayers, it's a great benefit to students and again the real key is that we do very close academic planning with our community college partner."

Schott says the four-year and graduate courses will focus mostly on healthcare and energy, which are Houston's biggest industries.

"One of the things that we're doing right now in the process of planning with HCC, is to identify what are the major employers in the areas served by the proposed teaching centers, what are the career opportunities for graduates. And then to map that in to developing a portfolio of academic programs that align with both student demand as well as labor market demand."

The proposed centers still have to be approved by the state and likely won't open until late this year or early next year.

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Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...