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Ohio University President Duane Nellis (second from left) speaks during a Board of Trustees meeting in Walter Hall on March 23. (FILE)

OU's Strategic Transfer Education Plan aims to support transfer students

Ohio University’s new Strategic Transfer Education Plan, or STEP, aims to help facilitate better relations between the university and transfer students.

The STEP program was approved during the Oct. 18 meeting of the Board of Trustees. According to the meeting’s agenda, STEP is a wider part of OU’s 2019 efforts and planning for transfer and new students.

Specifically, the STEP program targets students from OU’s partner institutions.

“The Strategic Transfer Education Plan is designed to enhance the opportunities for students to obtain their degrees from (OU) by starting their careers at any of the more than 20 colleges in three states with which we have partnered,” Craig Cornell, senior vice provost for Strategic Enrollment Management, said in an email.

Rob Drapcho, director of Transfer, Online and International Initiatives, said states included in STEP are Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. According to the Board of Trustees agenda, some of these partner institutions include Columbus State Community College, Zane State College, and Ashland Community and Technical College.

STEP will consist of regular meetings between students and administrators at partner institutions. Drapcho said that STEP will also include support beyond the classroom.

“Students can declare their interest to enroll at (OU) after completing their enrollment at a partner community college, and (OU) staff then provides support through coordinating advising activities, social and cultural opportunities, and by putting together a plan for completing academic requirements at both the partner community college and (OU),” Drapcho said in an email.

There will also be STEP designated partnerships managers at each of the partner institutions to help students during the planning and transition process, Drapcho said.

The implementation of STEP also means that OU will expand pathway programs for students in obtaining higher level degrees. This includes both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

“OU has articulated more than 241 direct pathways from community college associate degree programs to (OU) bachelor’s degree programs,” Drapcho said in an email. “And STEP provides an additional layer of support in tailoring a student’s academic plan beyond these published pathways.” 

One of STEP’s provisions is the inclusion of transfer students in the OHIO Guarantee.

“Students enrolled in STEP will be placed in the OHIO Guarantee cohort appropriate to their academic history and progression toward a degree, locking in a tuition, housing, dining, and fee rate table, in many cases realizing cost savings by locking into the Guarantee cohort in advance of applying to (OU),” Drapcho said in an email. “Including students participating in STEP is one more example of OHIO’s commitment to access and diversity.”

The STEP program will come at no additional costs to students seeking to be part of the program, Drapcho said. To join STEP, students at one of OU’s partner institutions must maintain a good academic standing.

“STEP allows the University to package existing resources and opportunities that partner colleges and their students value at no additional cost,” Drapcho said in an email. “The implementation of the OHIO Guarantee into STEP comes at no immediate cost to the University, and the total investment in STEP will be dependent on final enrollment and year-over-year adjustment to the cohort rates for the OHIO Guarantee.” 


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