Students who have completed an associate degree at Ozarks Technical Community College, based in Springfield, will be able to transfer “seamlessly” this fall into a four-year, online degree program at Missouri Southern State University.
Officials with both schools made the announcement Wednesday when they signed a memorandum of understanding at OTC’s Springfield campus.
The new agreement, designed for OTC graduates who have earned a two-year associate of applied science or an associate of science degree, means their credits will be accepted into MSSU’s bachelor of applied science degree programs.
OTC has its main campuses in Springfield and Richwood Valley, between Ozark and Nixa, and “centers” in Branson, Lebanon and Waynesville.
“We are building a new one in Hollister,” said Steve Koehler, media coordinator at OTC. “It will replace the one in Branson. It will be a full campus.”
The school has 15,000 students at its five campuses and centers as well as online, 9,000 of whom attend classes on the Springfield campus.
“We are the third largest community college in the state and the fastest growing in the state,” Koehler said, noting an 8.8 percent increase in enrollment last year.
Tia Strait, dean of the School of Health Science, Public Safety and Technology at MSSU, and Richard Miller, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, approached OTC with the plan last year.
“This bachelor’s degree supports about 40 degree programs from OTC,” Strait said in a statement. “It will enhance students’ knowledge and skills to help them move into leadership roles, to be entrepreneurs and to have their own businesses.”
She said Southern officials also are working on agreements with other community colleges, and those will be announced when they are completed.
The agreement will go into effect immediately with the first class of transfer students this fall.
Ozarks Technical Community College students also will be eligible to apply for a number of transfer scholarships offered by Missouri Southern State University, including the Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship and the Board of Governor’s University Academic Transfer Scholarship.