2018 Special Recognition: College Affordability at Springfield Technical Community College

Community College and Four-Year University Come Together to Offer Bachelor’s Degrees to Technical Students

To avoid the high costs of a four-year university, some high school graduates will decide to attend a local community college instead. Community colleges are more affordable than four-year universities, but often graduates with associate degrees earn lower salaries compared to graduates with bachelor’s degrees in the same field. Increasing access to higher education at affordable costs is difficult, but if community colleges and four-year universities cooperate they can offer diverse programs that offer bachelor’s degrees at lower costs to the student.

Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) has teamed up with Northeastern University to offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity for students in the Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program. Professors and administrators have redesigned the courses so that all 60 credits taken at STCC will transfer to Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies where students will take 60 additional credits in Advanced Manufacturing Systems (AVMS) and earn a Bachelor of Science degree.

Two highlights from this sequence are the low cost and the flexible schedule. The cost of all four years of education is about $40,000 – which rivals the cost of one year of tuition at some private universities. The flexibility of the program allows students to work while they take classes at Northeastern because the Professional Studies courses are offered at night. So, while students complete their degree, they can earn money and valuable work experience.

The STCC-Northeastern program is new, but expects to grow significantly in the future. Some employers have even offered to reimburse employees who graduate from the MET-AVMS program. Students who complete the B.S. program as opposed to the A.S. program can anticipate up to a 100% salary increase; MET associate degree holders earn between $40,000 and $50,000 while AVMS bachelor’s degree holders earn between $70,000 and $90,000.

STCC has also developed a similar program with Westfield State University and its Nursing Program and it hopes to partner with other universities to offer similar programs in areas like Electrical Engineering and Biotechnology.

Pioneer Institute congratulates Dr. Adrienne Y. Smith, Dean of the School of Engineering Technologies and Mathematics at Springfield Technical Community College, on her winning submission.

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