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MORRILTON -- Students at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton will enjoy some of the same benefits as those at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway under an agreement signed Monday by both schools' leaders.

Those benefits will include a free UCA identification card, free admission to regular-season UCA athletic events, admission to select events at UCA's Reynolds Performance Hall and access to UCA's Torreyson Library resources, both in person and online. UCA also will waive the transfer fee for the community college students under the program, called Bear Partners.

Larry Davis, chancellor of the community college, and UCA President Houston Davis announced the agreement at a news conference on the Morrilton campus, about 18 miles northwest of Conway.

UCA also will offer an annual scholarship covering tuition and mandatory fees to cover two years to one transfer student from the Morrilton college.

While some students attend the community college for its two-year, technical programs, others intend to transfer to a four-year university after they complete community college, the college's chancellor said. "A good many" of those plan to transfer to UCA, especially since "Almost 50 percent of our students come from Faulkner County," he said.

"I think this program is going to make a huge difference" to many students, he said.

The UCA president said he expects "many of our sister institutions" to look at the colleges' partnership as a new standard. Students will see that UCA and the community college in Morrilton are working together to guide them "until they get to the other side of the room," he said.

Neither educator knew of any previous partnerships between the two schools beyond the far more common transfer agreements that UCA already has with 35 colleges, including the Morrilton school, to ensure that transferring students do not lose credits. Nor did either president know of a similar agreement that either of the two schools has with other colleges.

UCA's undergraduate enrollment totaled 8,308 during the spring semester, UCA spokesman Fredricka Sharkey said.

The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton's spring enrollment totaled 1,675, said that college's spokesman, Mary Clark.

New transfers from the community college to UCA in the fall semester were 88, while transfers to UCA in the spring semester were 29, Sharkey said.

Under the partnership, UCA also will advise the Morrilton college of any students who complete their two-year associate degree program after transferring to UCA. That way, the community college can still award those students that degree, Houston Davis said.

Both administrators described the partnership as student-centered and told how the idea evolved after the two men met each other shortly after Houston Davis joined UCA in early 2017. Larry Davis has been at the community college eight years.

Larry Davis joked that the program's benefits, especially the athletic ones, are so great that he's "thinking about enrolling in one class."

Students wishing to enroll in the program can visit uca.edu/bearpartners/.

State Desk on 06/19/2018

Print Headline: UCA, Morrilton college ink deal

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