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IHL deliberating new juco policy

JACKSON — The process for community and junior college (CJC) students with an associate of arts to transfer to one of Mississippi’s eight public universities may get easier under a new policy being considered by the Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL).

Initially approved at the board meeting Feb. 18, the new policy clarifies the current articulation agreement to ensure that all IHL core curriculum courses with a grade “C” or better satisfy IHL core curriculum requirements at each institution.

For the policy to go into effect, the Board must approve it a second time at a future meeting.

“The Board and many other education stakeholders in Mississippi are very interested in increasing the degree production of our universities. Streamlining the transfer process is essential if we are to achieve that goal,” Board President Scott Ross said.

Creating a seamless credit transfer process between the CJCs and the public universities was one of the key recommendations released by a task force formed last year to study graduation rates at public two- and four-year institutions. Over the years, the Board has placed more emphasis on strengthening the relationship between post-secondary institutions. Several years ago an assistant commissioner was hired at IHL to serve as a liaison between the CJCs and the universities.

In fall 2009, about 4,500 students transferred for the first time from a CJC to one of Mississippi’s public four-year universities.

“This policy is a good first step toward ensuring that all transfer students who wish to further their education can do so without the hassle and expense of losing credit already earned,” Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Hank Bounds said.

At the meeting, the Board also:

• Voted unanimously to give final approval to a new policy aimed at reducing textbook costs for students and increasing transparency related to the price and availability of textbooks.

• Selected Robin Robinson of Laurel as the 2010 vice president. Robinson was appointed to the Board in 2004 by Gov. Haley Barbour. She is the director of organization development and corporate communication at Laurel-based Sanderson Farms Inc.

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