Developing Articulation Agreements with Educational Institutions

Instructor: Lucinda Stanley

Lucinda has taught business and information technology and has a PhD in Education.

In this lesson we'll investigate the articulation agreement as a pathway between two or more educational institutions, look at benefits to the stakeholders, and discuss the process for developing an articulation agreement.

A Pathway To Higher Education

Suzie wants to attend Bright University to study business but she knows she can't afford $20,000 a year for the four year program. She is looking for a way to cut costs but still get her bachelor's degree from Bright University. What can she do?

One idea is to look for less expensive colleges (such as community colleges) that have an articulation agreement with Bright University. An articulation agreement is a partnership between two or more educational institutions that guarantees that credit received at one institution will be accepted as credit for programs of study at another institution.

Articulation agreements can be made between high schools and community or four year colleges, or between community colleges and four year universities and colleges. Suzie should research similar terms such as transfer agreements, transfer guides, and transfer pathways.

In her research Suzie discovers that Bright University has an articulation agreement with Billoughby Community College. This means if Suzie attends Billoughby Community College and earns an associate's degree in their business management program, the articulation agreement allows her to apply those credits toward a bachelor's degree in Business at Bright University.

She can then enter Bright University as a junior having saved considerable money on her overall tuition. Suzie may also be eligible for additional scholarships or grants at Bright University because she has already proven that she can do what it takes to be successful.

Cool deal, right? It's one that more and more students wanting a bachelor's degree are taking advantage of.

Maryland Community College has articulation agreements with a number of four-year institutions
Articulation Agreement

Marketing Benefits of Articulation

So what's in it for the colleges? Surprisingly, articulation is an excellent marketing tool. Let's take a look at the three most obvious stakeholders in an articulation agreement and see what the benefits are to each of them.

  • Student: As we've seen with Suzie's example, articulation really simplifies a student's transition into higher education, providing a clear understanding of what courses are needed to prepare for transfer.
  • Sending institution: An articulation agreement benefits the community college by increasing the value of its program by having the endorsement of a larger university. Potential students will think more highly of the community college's programs.
  • Receiving institution: Students who have successfully completed a two year program at a community college are proven to be ready for college courses and will do better. This will make the four year university numbers, such as percent of enrolled students who graduate, look great to potential students. The four-year university will also be sharing the cost of recruiting with the sending institution.

Creating An Articulation Agreement

As you might surmise, there's a lot of thought that goes into the creation of an articulation agreement. Let's take a look at how Bright University and Billoughby Community College created their articulation agreement.

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