Austin College and Grayson County College officials signed a partnership agreement February 15 that will facilitate the process for highly qualified Grayson County College students wishing to transfer to Austin College.
Dr. Marjorie Hass, Austin College president, and Dr. Alan Scheibmeir, Grayson County College president, formalized a pre-admission agreement during a signing ceremony at GCC.
“It is an honor that Grayson County College and Austin College can strengthen our partnership to provide our GCC students with the option to further their education locally and to the benefit of our community,” Scheibmeir said. “Those of us at Grayson County College appreciate the vitality Austin College brings to our community,” he said, adding that GCC students and faculty have the opportunity to benefit from a variety of programs and speakers hosted by Austin College.
More than 50 Grayson County College students and Austin College representatives gathered for the announcement. President Hass spoke directly to the GCC Honors Program participants at the event: “This is a partnership in every area: GCC and Austin College faculty members, administrators, and admission and financial aid counselors are working together in service to you—to your futures. We want to empower you to contribute to this community and this region, and that is dependent upon providing an excellent educational experience. You have many people supporting you at both institutions. We at Austin College are thrilled to be a part of this partnership.”
Initiated by Dr. Michael A. Imhoff, vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the faculty at Austin College, the collaboration is unique in that Grayson County College students who enter into the agreement are conjointly considered Austin College students with access to that institution’s academic advisors and other campus services. The students can better structure their Grayson class loads to take courses that accommodate Austin College degree requirements. Doing so enables them to complete courses inexpensively at the community college while preparing for the academic and financial obligations at the private college.
“The pre-admission program enables both colleges to identify and work with highly motivated students from their initial enrollment at Grayson until their successful transfer to Austin College,” Imhoff said. “This joint advising program will guide students in appropriate course selection and through the transfer admission, financial aid, and scholarship processes. Such a program will help reduce the time to earn a degree and better prepare students for a successful Austin College experience.”
Grayson County College students may declare their intent to transfer to Austin College by submitting an Austin College admission application at any point after enrollment at Grayson County College following high school graduation. GCC students wishing to transfer to Austin College will be required to meet the same admission requirements as other transfer students. Through the partnership, however, qualified students can benefit from Austin College academic advising that will assist them in course selection at GCC and in preparation of a four-year degree plan at the liberal arts college. The students also will have access to Austin College career services programs to discuss career planning preparation necessary to achieve their goals, as well as library and other select campus access.
Over the past 15 years, 247 Grayson County College students entered Austin College and 81 percent of them graduated. By making the transfer process to the four-year college more efficient and seamless for GCC students interested in a liberal arts education, Grayson and Austin College officials hope to increase the number of academically strong students matriculating to Austin College from the community college. With such an agreement in place, Grayson County College students are better prepared to successfully complete their education at Austin College.
“This agreement will help our best students—neither rich nor poor, but truly hard-working middle-class students—who cannot afford to pay for all four years at a private institution to get the kind of liberal arts education that Austin College provides,” said Dr. Jean Sorensen, GCC English professor and Honors College coordinator. “It is a fabulous opportunity for our students.
GCC students in the program must remain in good academic standing, maintain an agreed upon grade point average, and meet with the assigned Austin College faculty adviser and admission officer each semester. Students will less than 30 semester hours completed must maintain a minimum 2.75 GPA. Students with more than 30 hours must maintain a 3.0 GPA.
For more information about the program, contact Dr. Michael Imhoff, vice president for Academic Affairs, at 903.813.2226, or Dr. Jean Sorensen, Honors College coordinator at Grayson County College, at 903.463.8660.
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges that Change Lives.