Degrees awarded limited

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Students can earn only one A.A. and one A.S. degree from each of the Alamo Colleges.

By Wally Perez

Students will now be limited to one Associate of Arts and/or one Associate of Science degree from each of the Alamo Colleges, according to the summary of actions from a meeting Oct. 17 of presidents and vice chancellors.

According to the summary, to earn both an A.A. and an A.S. from one of the Alamo Colleges, the student must earn an additional 15 hours of transfer coursework that was not part of the initial degree.

For example, if a student earns an A.A. and wants to obtain an A.S. afterward, the student would need 15 additional hours of transfer courses not obtained in pursuit of the A.A. degree.

This means students who receive both degrees at one institution can no longer receive another at the same institution.

They could, however, opt to complete those 15 extra hours at their home college and take at least 30 hours at another college to earn a degree from a second college.

This is something they may not want.

Chancellor Bruce Leslie said the reason behind the action was a discussion that included the effort made to ensure students complete their degree goal.

Leslie said there has been criticism over some private-for-profit institutions, some of which have been fly-by-night.

Over the years they’ve been known as degree mills, where people send in a check and receive a degree in the mail, he said.

Dr. Jo Carol Fabianke, vice chancellor of academic success, said this decision was made in relation to the end of defined majors, which was implemented this semester for first-time students.

“We want to make sure every course you take here will go toward your degree,” Fabianke said.

Fabianke said she wasn’t concerned about students who might want multiple degrees.

“We’re not encouraging students to stick around here, it’s like what you would do for kids out of high school,” Fabianke said.

“We want you to go on and do something else — get a four-year degree.”

Fabianke said new students are now being asked what they plan to get a degree in, and if they plan to transfer to a four-year institution, they will be advised to take hours that will count to that specific degree.

“We want to make sure we’re managing this in a way that maintains the integrity of the Alamo Colleges degree and certificates so there isn’t a perception that a student can get four or five degrees without doing anything extra,” Leslie said.

In an email, President Robert Vela said, “The decision will help our students stay on track to fulfill the requirements for their intended pathway.”


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