A: It has happened! We have combined and the resulting institution is better than ever.
Q: Were any programs discontinued?
A: All programs continue. No programs were discontinued! None. In fact, all programs are stronger than ever before and have experienced some type of improvement, from new equipment, to improved classroom and lab spaces, to additional faculty, and other additional supports.
Q: Why did Crowley's Ridge Technical Institute and East Arkansas Community College merge?
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. The merger was approved by EACC’s accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), on March 7, 2018.
Q: What are some benefits of consolidating the two schools?
A: Creating one merged institution has combined the best of both institutions, which are located contiguous to each other and ultimately served students who graduated from the same area high schools or live in the same regional area.
Merging the two has led to an expanded regional presence, more degree and course offerings, increased services for students, and will significantly enhance our economic impact on the area. We are now able to provide students with an even stronger institution that continues to provide job-ready and college-ready educational opportunities that improve students’ lives and strengthen our community.
Consolidating the two institutions has given students 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 has also allowed 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, student activities, participation in Skills USA, and many more.
Combining the two schools has created the most efficient and 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: Have students' degree plans change?
A: Most students who began their degree programs in August 2017 saw no change, as most current CRTI students were able to graduate in June 2018. EACC will help any remaining CRTI students matriculate to EACC by allowing transfer of applicable CRTI courses or by giving Prior Learning Credit to help ensure that students do not lose any time in earning their degrees. However, as stated before, most CRTI students were able to complete and graduate this summer.
Q: Will students be able to complete their degrees in their current degree programs?
A. The merger did not affect students’ projected graduation dates. The top priority for all faculty and staff is for our students to complete their chosen degree programs. We pursue all appropriate means necessary to help students graduate.
Q: Will students' education cost more because of the merger?
A: CRTI students’ tuition and fees were held steady for the Spring and Summer semesters. Students who were currently enrolled and graduated by June 2018 saw no increase in any cost. Most CRTI students graduated in June 2018.
There is no one answer to questions about cost because of the difference in the way the programs charged tuition and fees. For the future, every effort has been made to keep costs as low as possible. Some programs may have experienced an overall total increase, but those students will now be earning a Technical Certificate which they were not able to complete before at CRTI. Some programs may experience a decline in cost as a Technical Certificate is added that is fewer hours than the previous CRTI program.
In addition, some programs, such as nursing, cost more than others. As another example, a four-semester associate’s degree costs more than a one-semester certificate. Students choose which type of degree program they wish to pursue. We continue to be proud to offer an outstanding education that is affordable and accessible to all.
Q: Some students plan to continue their education at a four-year institution after graduation. How will the merger impact those plans?
A: Transfer of EACC courses and programs did not change. However, for CRTI students, there will be new opportunities to take some classes that will transfer to a four-year college or university; however, students will have choices. 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, for secondary career center students, we are able to expand our welding spots for the fall and plan to add a Certified Nursing Assistant program. These improvements result from the merger.
Q: How will the merger affect student organizations and activities?
A: All students have seen an increase in student activities, particularly the former CRTI students, who now have access to Career Pathways, Student Support Services, Minority Male Assistance Program, Women of Distinction, Baptist College Ministry, and more. In addition, EACC students are now able to participate in Skills USA, an annual program that recognizes excellence in vocational students.
All student organizations and activities are budgeted for in the next Academic Year. Students are not expected to earn money to fund their approved student activities as they did in the past. All students will be able to attend student activities or go on student trips even if their programs are not revenue-producing.
We 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 have access to the clubs they previously enjoyed, 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: Former CRTI students had commencement ceremonies as scheduled on their Academic Calendar that was published before the merger was announced. They were held at the Fine Arts Center in June.
Q: Will the consolidation affect financial aid?
A: Again, that is a question that truly varies from student to student. For example, pell grants are based both on the students income and the costs of the program. However, all students now enroll through EACC’s financial aid office, and in general, CRTI students have improved access to financial aid as they now have access to scholarships previously only open to students at EACC. Students who have questions about financial aid, should contact Kevin Jumper, Financial Aid Director: firstname.lastname@example.org or 870-633-4480 ext. 225.
Q: When will information about registering for the Fall semester be available?
A: Registration for Fall 2018 is happening now! Please choose one of our many excellent programs and enroll ASAP to ensure the best spot!
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: email@example.com, 870-633-5411, and firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.