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Private Honors Program Spreads Presence in 2 Year and 4 Year Colleges

A program offered at several community colleges to help students succeed through the first two years of college said it has grown to 50 four-year institutions as transfer options since its launch in 2012. American Honors, run by Quad Learning, delivers an "honors" education to assist students in preparing for the rigor of a four-year school.

The program encompasses advisors, small class sizes and the use of "Quad," a proprietary social learning platform. Quad is intended to keep students on track in their college goals by helping them plan, monitor and assess their progress against course requirements. It also lets them have interactions with instructors, their advisors and their peers. Features include live virtual classes, study groups, a digital whiteboard, content sharing, lecture capture and viewing and a calendar with deadlines and reminders.

Students pay a premium to join American Honors. Tuition and fees are described as being "priced below the average four-year university tuition but above the community college tuition." It's intended for "highly motivated students who want to earn a bachelor's degree, but would like to save on student debt and stay close to their home community for the first two years of college."

Currently, American Honors exists at five community college systems, including Spokane, Ivy Tech in Indiana, Mercer County and Union County in New Jersey and Pierce College in California. Shortly, Navarro College in Texas and Jackson College in Michigan will join the list when their programs begin in fall 2015.

"Community colleges have a proud tradition of ensuring more students have access to affordable postsecondary education," said Thomas Snyder, president of Ivy Tech. "The American Honors program is an extension of our mission to prepare students for success, and allows us to provide even more opportunities for students to advance their goals."

The program runs a transfer network that lets four-year schools actively recruit its students as transfer students. Among the 50 institutions are Duke University, Ohio State and Georgia Institute of Technology. According to the company, in its inaugural year, eight out of 10 program graduates who applied to four-year schools were accepted into their top choices and received significant scholarships and financial aid.

"We're very aware that there are many talented community college students, including first-generation and low income students, that are ready to pursue a world-class education and succeed in the most rigorous and challenging academic environments," noted Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions at Duke. "Joining the American Honors Network provides us the chance to connect with a talented group of students who will no doubt add to our community and to many other college communities as well."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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