On Thursday, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) signed a transfer agreement to guarantee admission of qualified CSM graduates to complete their four-year degrees at St. Mary’s College. The “Guaranteed Admission Agreement” was executed by St. Mary’s College Interim President Dr. Ian Newbould and CSM President Dr. Bradley Gottfried at the community college’s Leonardtown, Md., campus.
Both presidents praised the agreement for building on the relationship between the two institutions and enabling seamless transfer for community college students wanting to expand their opportunities for academic success.
“This agreement underscores a very important part of our mission of being accessible to all those who possess the desire and the capacity to meet the academic rigor of a St. Mary’s College education,” Newbould said. “Students enrolled at the College of Southern Maryland have already taken a critical step toward their future success and that is the pursuit of higher education. We welcome these students into our community of learners and look forward to advancing their quest for success.” Newbould also called the agreement “a tremendous opportunity for the two institutions and for the region.”
“Although our two institutions have not interactions much in the past, I am confident that these agreements will be the first step in a closer collaboration. It is because education is evolving, because the cost of education is increasing as dramatically as it is, that this agreement will really have some major implications for this region and have a major impact for students in Southern Maryland. This is a wonderful option for our students,” said Gottfried. Citing CSM’s transfer report that St. Mary’s College is among the top 10 institutions where CSM students transfer, Gottfried said, “Our students go to 125 different colleges in 36 states–so our students go everywhere. [With this agreement] we can encourage them to stay home. I believe this kind of agreement will encourage more students, and transfers to St. Mary’s College [of Maryland] will jump up dramatically.”
Two additional agreements also signed on Thursday included Dual Enrollment and Reverse Transfer. Under Dual Enrollment, CSM students who sign a letter of intent to continue their education at St. Mary’s College will be recognized as dually enrolled at the two institutions. The Reverse Transfer will enable CSM students who transfer prior to earning an associate degree the opportunity to transfer credits earned at St. Mary’s College back to apply toward completion with CSM.
“The articulation agreement between the College of Southern Maryland and St. Mary’s College will be an incredible advantage for students like me who want to stay close to home, have smaller class sizes with high teacher interaction and have a great transfer to a four-year institute,” said James “J.R.” Rhine Jr. who graduated with highest honors at CSM’s spring commencement. Transferring into St. Mary’s College this fall to major in music education, Rhine, of California, Md., has a goal to earn a master’s of arts in teaching, “to work in elementary schools and share the power of music with aspiring musicians and future chart toppers.”
As he thanked the presidents of both colleges, Rhine added, “This agreement will further help students afford college and not have to sweat over transferring college credits. To have this guaranteed partnership between these colleges makes this bridge seem more like a waterslide, because I feel that I am effortlessly gliding into yet another stupendous school.”
Also offering support for the agreements was Holly Gonzalez, an alumna of CSM, graduating in spring 2013. She is currently a senior at St. Mary’s College, majoring in sociology with a minor in Spanish. “I like the small class environment of both colleges, which made the transition a lot easier because at both schools, the teachers take the time to answer your questions and are a valuable resource,” Gonzalez said.
The “Guaranteed Admission Agreement” is designed to facilitate CSM students’ ease of transfer to St. Mary’s College. Eligible students may still apply and be considered for admission to St. Mary’s College for the fall 2014 semester.
St. Mary’s College is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and is one of only two public honors colleges in the nation. Dedicated to providing an affordable liberal arts education for a diverse student body, the college has the highest four-year graduation rate of any public college or university in the state. Within five years of graduation, 70% of its alumni pursue a graduate and/or professional degree. More than 1,800 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary’s River in Southern Maryland.
With more than 27,000 annual enrollments, CSM is an open-admission, comprehensive regional community college committed to fostering academic excellence and enhancing the lives of the residents of Southern Maryland. The college has campuses in La Plata, Leonardtown and Prince Frederick, the Center for Trades and Energy Training (CTET) and the Center for Transportation Training in Charles County (CTRA), accelerated learning options at the Waldorf Center for Higher Education, and numerous online learning options. Additionally, the college is planning for a Regional Campus in Hughesville that will initially house the CTET, and within the newest building at the Prince Frederick Campus is housed the Center for Nuclear Energy Training (CNET).