August 26, 2013

Another View: Community college transfers deserve university credit

There is no real difference in content or rigor among state institutions of higher learning.


Thank you for your Aug. 11 editorial regarding the lack of ease in transferring community college credits to the University of Maine system ("Our View: For community college students, clock is ticking").

Any idea that community college courses are somehow less rigorous than four-year college courses is simply an old wives' tale. Many of our Southern Maine Community College business students transfer to complete their bachelor's degrees at many of the top universities in the country, such as Bentley University, Suffolk University, NYU and the University of Hawaii.

Not only do our SMCC students achieve their degrees, many flourish as top students in their programs! So, any thought that community college students are receiving a substandard education is simply absurd, and not borne out by the facts.

Many states demand that successfully completed community college credits be accepted by the state's college system without exception. Virginia mandates this transfer policy and they boast some of the most highly ranked colleges in the nation. The University of Virginia, The College of William & Mary and James Madison University are examples that seamlessly accept their state's community college credits. With all due respect to the University of Maine System (of which I am a proud graduate), if Virginia can find a way to make community college credits easily transferable, then so can Maine.

Excuses of "accreditation issues" or "substandard class rigors" standing in the way of immediate transferability of community college credits are an insult to our state's community college system and students, create roadblocks to higher education and are a disservice to all Maine taxpayers.

The state of Maine should mandate that ALL successfully completed community college credits transfer seamlessly into the University of Maine System (especially at the University of Southern Maine) and should do it now, rather than waiting until 2014 and beyond.

Stephen Strand of Yarmouth is chair of the Business Department at Southern Maine Community College.

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