(UVALDE, TX) - Sul Ross State University-Rio Grande College and Southwest Texas Junior College have entered into a cooperative agreement that will significantly reduce the cost of a four-year degree, and streamline the transition between institutions for students seeking bachelor's and master's degrees.
The memorandum of cooperation signed by the presidents of Sul Ross and Southwest Texas Junior College allows a student to earn a four-year degree for approximately $13,000 in tuition and fees. This cost assumes the student will attend SWTJC for the first two years and transfer to Sul Ross Rio Grande College for the final two years, while completing 15 hours of coursework per semester.
The agreement, which outlines six goals--from avoiding course content duplication to joint student recruitment efforts and degree tract guidance--is the most comprehensive agreement developed by colleges in the area.
"Our institutions are constantly striving to provide high-quality degree programs at a lower cost," said Texas State University System Chancellor Brian McCall. "This agreement sets a strong precedent for all higher education institutions in Texas to work together in order to provide more students with the opportunity to earn a college degree."
Dr. McCall said all eight institutions within the Texas State University System are working to identify opportunities to provide four-year degrees for $10,000 or less. In his 2011 State of the State Address, Gov. Rick Perry challenged public higher education institutions to offer more $10,000 degree programs.
"We are being directed at the state and national levels to do more with less. So this partnership stimulates a great opportunity to come closer together and utilize our dual resources--all of which makes college more accessible and affordable for our students," said Sul Ross State University President Ricardo Maestas.
Specific details related to the six goals will be worked out over the coming months and years. Faculty members and administrators will work together to devise ways to better align course credit transfers, financial aid packages, the articulation of course prerequisites, degree program and course completion data, registration schedules, and educational technology systems between the two institutions.
“As early as this fall, we might be ready to list all of our courses together, from freshman through graduate levels,” said J. Paul Sorrels, Sul Ross RGC’s associate provost/dean. “We’re looking at connections between RGC and the junior college that were not previously available for partnership action. For instance, we’re now both reliant upon educational technologies that were not even imaginable a few years back. It’s time to link up and move forward, together," he added.
Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College campuses are co-located with Southwest Texas Junior College campuses in Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and Uvalde.