A partnership between the Education Consortium of the Upper Allegheny and Gannon University will offer two affordable associate degrees to residents of Warren County and northwestern Pennsylvania this fall.
ECUA President Duane Vicini said the program will offer liberal arts and business management degrees in Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Potter, Venango, and Warren counties. The $12,000 cost includes tuition, application fee and student fees.
"While there are a number of high quality educational providers in this region, the costs of associate degree programs at these schools range from $16,485 to $27,000 or more including tuition and fees," Vicini said. "The costs for these same associate degrees at community colleges elsewhere is Pennsylvania would typically be $10,000 to $15,000 including tuition and fees for out of county students. It is simply not fair that residents of Northwest and North Central Pennsylvania have to pay so much more for an associate degree than residents from other parts of the state."
Vicini said the programs will fill the void for affordable associate degree programming that has been a serious issue facing northern Pennsylvania for decades.
"One major factor contributing to our region's high cost of education is that there are no community colleges north of Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania," he said. "Community colleges offer a tremendous opportunity for residents to advance their educations at a reduced cost, allowing them to enter the workforce, pursue career advancement opportunities, or continue on at another college or university to earn their bachelors and or masters degree by transferring credits, upon graduation."
Gannon University has agreed to an open admissions policy, Vicini said, and students must have a high school diploma or a General Education Diploma. SAT or ACT scores are not required.
The associate degree programs will be offered through a combination of face-to-face instruction and interactive television at four primary sites: in Kane at a site that has yet to be determined, Coudersport/Port Allegany, Meadville and St. Marys/Brockway.
Vicini said the goal is to have 25 percent of each program offered live at the primary sites with interactive television locations available to reduce travel time for participants in other portions of the ECUA region.
"The course schedule is guaranteed, allowing students to know that if they register for coursework and follow the set schedule, they will earn their associate degree in two year," Vicini said. "ECUA also has a limited amount of funding to provide scholarships for students who demonstrate financial need."
To learn more about the programs, request a course schedule, start the registration process, inquire about scholarships, or express interest in being an interactive television site, call ECUA at 757-5731, or email Vicini at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ecuapa.org.