Students at NOVA Given Pathway with ADVANCE

A new partnership with George Mason University aims to help students graduate on time.

George Mason University (GMU) and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) launched a partnership this year that allows NOVA students to take advantage of GMU’s resources while taking classes at NOVA designed to facilitate easy transfer to GMU. While community college is the right choice for many students seeking to advance their education, some might feel like they are missing out on the traditional college experience by attending a two-year institution. The NOVA ADVANCE program caters to those students, and others planning on transferring to GMU from NOVA. 

According to GMU, “Almost 3,000 students transfer to Mason each year. ADVANCE aims to boost that number by giving those students the support they need to earn a bachelor’s degree within four years.” NOVA estimates that students can save a full year of tuition by participating in ADVANCE and completing on time. Although ADVANCE provides traditional academic supports such as access to advisors and financial aid, it also gives students access to GMU’s clubs, sporting events, and recreational facilities. Unlike other partnerships community colleges have with four year institutions, ADVANCE seeks to be a more immersive experience. 

The program was launched to increase graduation rates, save students money, and give students a clear path to transfer and pursue a bachelor’s degree. ADVANCE is open to all NOVA students with fewer than 30 credits who plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a select group of areas. The first cohort of students, starting at NOVA in the fall of 2018, will choose from academic programs within GMU’s schools of Engineering, Science, Business, and Humanities and Social Sciences; however, the program plans to add five academic programs to the partnership each year. 

Although 80 percent of community college students say they would like to earn a four-year degree, only 14 percent realize their goal within six years according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Both NOVA and GMU hope that the ADVANCE program will help more students graduate and find jobs in their fields of study.  

For more information about the ADVANCE partnership between NOVA and GMU, click here

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