A new agreement between Columbia Basin College and Eastern Washington University aims to drive more of the college’s graduates interested in obtaining four-year degrees to attend the university’s Cheney campus.
The institutions announced the new program, called Destination Eastern, last week.
While there was already a relationship between CBC and EWU, this new one will create course alignments between CBC and EWU and take other steps to ease the transfer path to the university, such as EWU staff holding regular hours at the college’s Transfer Center.
While the college maintains close ties with a number of higher education institutions, CBC and EWU officials said the agreement expands the options for its students, particularly those looking for the traditional experience of moving away to attend a university on a budget.
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“There are a lot of young people who want to move away,” said Cathy Sleeth, the university’s admissions director. “They want that little bit of independence.”
The institutions began working on expanding their ties shortly after EWU President Mary Cullinan was appointed this past summer, said CBC President Rich Cummins.
In this case, the institutions looked at developing specific degrees targeted for those wanting to attend EWU to get a bachelor’s degree. That makes it easier for students to plan their education and keep up with changing course requirements.
“You’ll have the entire degree map right in front of you,” Cummins said.
There are a lot of young people who want to move away. They want that little bit of independence.
Cathy Sleeth, Eastern Washington University’s admissions director
CBC has a similar program with Washington State University Tri-Cities, where the bulk of the college’s students ultimately transfer. The college also has recently built up its ties with private nonprofit Heritage University in Toppenish, with Heritage teaching courses for some of its students on CBC’s Pasco campus and both institutions working on four-year degree pathways for students.
EWU’s array of majors, affordability, residential campus and reputation of paying particular attention to the needs of first-generation college students or those from minority populations were big drivers of the agreement, officials with the college said.
The university, which has about 13,000 students on its campus outside of Spokane, has the lowest tuition and fees for a public university in the state at $7,886 for the full academic year.
Tuition at WSU Pullman is about $12,000, and it’s just under $11,000 at WSU Tri-Cities. Central Washington University charges $8,688 per year in tuition and fees, but that’s expected to drop by about $1,000 in the 2016-17 school year.
Unlike transfer students who end up at WSU Tri-Cities or even Heritage, those from CBC who go to EWU likely wouldn’t have the option of living at home and saving on room and board expenses. Finding a place to live and covering a food budget can cost an estimated $10,000 a year, according to figures provided by EWU.
Eastern Washington University has the lowest tuition and fees for a public university in the state at $7,886 for the full academic year.
Cummins acknowledged that there would be a cost for many CBC students to live away from home. But the savings that come from going to Cheney, combined with the low cost of getting early courses out of the way at CBC, is the best option for many wanting to pursue anything from anthropology to philosophy.
“It’s not exactly a wash, but it’s affordable,” Cummins said.
And they’ll get to benefit from the typical college experience, from football games to a vibrant student life scene.
“It offers them a lot of other opportunities,” Sleeth said.