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Merger FAQs


Merger FAQs

Q: Why are Crowley's Ridge Technical Institute and East Arkansas Community College merging?

A: Act 636 of the 2017 regular state legislative session specified certain aspects about the process for merging the two institutions, contingent upon the approval of both local boards and the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (AHECB). The boards of the institutions and the AHECB approved the combining of the two schools, effective on August 1, 2017. However, the merger is currently awaiting the approval of EACC’s accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which we hope to receive at the end of February 2018.

Q: When will the merger happen?

A: Merging the two institutions is a process rather than an event. Upon receiving the AHECB’s approval to merge on August 1, a review of each institution began in order to prepare for planning and implementation of the merger. We hope to receive final approval from our accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission, by the end of February.  After that, our students, faculty, and staff, as well as the community, will see more tangible signs of consolidation. 

In the Spring semester of 2018, we hope to complete the merging of the business and administrative functions, with changes to academic programs being implemented by Fall 2018, as applicable. A tentative timeline for consolidation is published on both websites and will be updated as we move forward.

Q: What are some benefits of consolidating the two schools?

A: Creating one merged institution will combine the best of both institutions, which are located contiguous to each other and ultimately serve students who graduated from the same area high schools or live in the same regional area.

Merging the two will lead to an expanded regional presence, more degree and course offerings, increased services for students, and will significantly enhance our economic impact on the area.  At the end of this process, we expect to provide students with an even stronger institution that will continue to focus on job-ready and college-ready educational opportunities that improve students’ lives and strengthen our community.

Consolidating the two institutions will create a larger institution providing students with access to additional degree programs and more options in terms of class times, locations, and exceptional instructors previously only available to one set of students. It will also allow access to more co-curricular services and activities such as food services, the Fine Arts Center, the Wynne Center, student transportation, the gym, the library, student organizations, participation in Skills USA, and many more.  For example, off campus centers will be able to offer more opportunities for technical/vocational education in the future. 

In the future, some programs that were previously restricted only to full-time students will accept part-time students. Some programs may convert from clock hours to credit hours. Some programs may be offered at additional locations or times.

Combining the two schools will provide the most effective institution, offering an expanded range of degrees, services, and opportunities for students, staff, faculty, and our service-area community.

In sum, we plan to offer the best of both schools.

Q: Will students' degree plans change?

A:  New students who enroll beginning in April for the 2018-2019 Academic Year will enroll in the newly combined institution, pending HLC approval. We hope everyone will be patient with us as we take the time to receive input from all constituents and plan for the most advantageous outcome for students.

Many programs will see little or no change. The planning process for deciding what changes need to be made is underway, and any recommended changes will not take effect until Fall 2018 for newly enrolled students, assuming we receive approval to merge from HLC. Most students who have already begun their degree programs will see no change as most current CRTI students will graduate before Fall 2018. If some students require a transition plan in order to matriculate to EACC, transfer of CRTI courses as well as Prior Learning Credit will be applied to help ensure that students earn their degree.

Q: Will students be able to complete their degrees in their current degree programs?

A. The top priority for all faculty and staff at both institutions is for our students to complete their degree programs by their intended graduation date. We will pursue all appropriate means necessary to help students graduate in a timely manner. The merger is not expected to affect current students’ projected graduation dates in the programs in which they are currently enrolled.

Q: Will students' education cost more because of the merger?

A: Students have control over the cost of their education based on which degree they choose to pursue. In some cases, a student’s costs may go down; in others, they may go up, based on the choices the student makes.  For example, some programs, such as nursing, cost more than others. As another example, a four-semester associate’s degree would cost more than a one-semester certificate. Students will choose which type of degree program they wish to pursue.  Tuition and fees are set annually by the EACC Board of Trustees, and they will continue to do so for the newly consolidated institution in as economical manner as possible.

Both institutions are proud to offer an outstanding education that is affordable and accessible and both will continue to do so.

 Q: Some students plan to continue their education at a four-year institution after graduation. How will the merger impact those plans?

A: The merger will not affect current EACC students’ ability to transfer. The articulation agreements currently existing will remain. Courses currently designated as part of the Arkansas Course Transfer System will continue to be a part of that system, and transfer equivalencies for individual courses at specific four-year institutions will remain in place. 

For CRTI students, new opportunities to take some classes that will transfer to a four-year college or university will be available; however, students who do not wish to pursue a transfer degree will not be required to do so. The mix of courses a student takes will depend upon his or her own needs and goals, with input from program advisory committees and local industry leaders.

Q: For high school students, will the concurrent credit program or secondary career center change because of the merger?

A: Currently enrolled high school students are not expected to be affected by the merger; however, in the future, opportunities for concurrent credit and secondary career center students are expected to grow.

Q: How will the merger affect student organizations and activities?

A: We will continue to support the growth of student organizations that enhance the educational experience for our students. Student activities at all locations are open to all students regardless of where they take their classes.

Student organizations and activities are important, and students in the new single institution will have access to the clubs they currently enjoy, as well as access to clubs and activities in which they were not previously able to participate.

Q: Where will students graduate from if they finish before the merger is complete?

A: The academic calendar for each institution for the 2017-2018 academic year will not change. If a student’s projected graduation date is on a current academic calendar, he or she will graduate as planned.

Q: Will the consolidation affect financial aid?

A: Students currently receiving financial aid this semester will not see changes to this semester’s aid. Beginning in Fall 2018, it is expected that students will have access to more financial aid opportunities due to a larger variety of programs, and via access to scholarships previously only open to students on one campus or the other. Students who have questions about financial aid, should contact Kevin Jumper, Financial Aid Director: kjumper@eacc.edu or 870-633-4480 ext. 225.

Q: Will any programs be discontinued?

A: No program is projected to close as a result of the merger in the next academic year. In fact, we expect students to have access to more degree and course options in the merged institution. However, in the future, as at all educational institutions, a comprehensive review of all academic programs is always ongoing as the institution seeks to develop the best menu of programs for students.

Q: When will information about registering for the Fall semester be available?

 A: Registration for Fall 2018 in the newly consolidated institution is expected to begin in April 2018, pending HLC approval. We anticipate publishing a new, single catalog by August 1, 2018. As soon as information becomes available for currently enrolled students, we will make it available online and disseminate it to students, faculty, staff, and the public.

Q: How can I know what is going on?

A: Check back here as we add more FAQs throughout the semester. Campus email will also be utilized as a communication strategy, as well as social media. Students, faculty, and staff will also serve on the committees that will make recommendations for many aspects of the merged institution.  Questions can be submitted throughout the consolidation process, and this Q&A will be updated accordingly. Vice Presidents Robert Summers and Michelle Wilson are designated as points of contact for the consolidation: rsummers@eacc.edu, 870-633-5411, and rwilson@eacc.edu, 870-633-4480 ext. 329. Please feel free to contact them with questions.

Q: How will planning for merging the two be done?

A: The President and her leadership team will provide direction to the overall planning and implementation effort, but the process will, and has, heavily involve(d) each campus. Standing committees will be utilized to provide a structured pathway for input from students, faculty, and staff from both institutions. Program advisory committees will be utilized to receive input from community members and economic leaders.

The majority of decisions will be made at the institutional level, except for those subject to final approval by the Board of Trustees, the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, or the Higher Learning Commission, and any other accrediting bodies.

 

East Arkansas Community College

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