Students of North Central Kansas Technical College, both on the main campus in Beloit and the satellite campus in Hays, will have access to university activities and a clear path to an eventual four-year degree through a new partnership with Fort Hays State University.
Dr. Clark Coco, NCKTC president, and Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, joined with Regent Christine Downey-Schmidt in a news conference Friday morning on the FHSU campus to announce the new partnership, called the "Gateway Plan."
President Hammond explained that the Gateway Plan would create an easier transition for NCKTC students who wish to go on for a university degree, but in the meantime it will also give NCKTC students access to a wide variety of FHSU facilities and activities while they are still technical college students in Beloit and Hays. "They can even opt to live in FHSU residence halls while they are attending NCKTC's Hays campus," President Hammond said.
Downey-Schmidt, of Inman, was a senator in the Kansas Legislature before becoming a Regent. As a senator, she was a co-sponsor of SB 345, the legislation passed in 1999 that reorganized the Kansas Board of Regents and coordinated all the public institutions of higher education in the state of Kansas.
"We have such a diversity of needs in the state, and one of the Regents' goals is to ensure access to higher education," Downey-Schmidt said at the Friday morning news conference. "We are really pleased to see this cooperative effort between Fort Hays State and North Central Kansas Technical College. I sincerely believe it can be a model for other such partnerships."
President Coco said the Gateway Plan emerged from his original idea of giving technical college students access to FHSU intramurals, and possibly residence halls, for a fee.
"I had lunch with Dr. Hammond in December and together we discovered that the potential for such a partnership was much greater than I had originally imagined," President Coco continued. "He mentioned that about 400 prospective students failed to meet the Regents' qualified admissions standards each year, and we decided those students could be admitted to NCKTC immediately and then after earning their diplomas either go on to jobs or pursue degrees from FHSU."
He said many NCKTC students fail to meet university admissions requirements after high school, but typically they mature and become prepared to land good jobs or attend college two years later. "We literally have more job offers than we have graduates," he said. "Our graduates get jobs that start at $30,000 to $40,000 a year."
President Hammond said the Gateway Plan offers three paths for NCKTC students to transfer to FHSU. Students may take general education credit that transfers; they may earn a one- or two-year certificate and then transfer to FHSU; or they may earn an Associate of Applied Science degree before transferring.
"In addition to getting NCKTC students on the right path to complete a bachelor's degree, the Gateway Plan will give them full access to various FHSU events, programs and services through a Student Privilege Fee Program," President Hammond said. "They may choose to live on the FHSU campus in student housing, they can attend all FHSU athletic events for free, they will have complete access to the Student Health Center, the Kelly Center, the Wellness Center and Forsyth Library, and they can participate in student activities such as shows, intramurals and clubs."
The fees are $144 a semester for student activities, $7 a semester for parking if they live off campus and no fee if they live on campus, and $5 for a student ID card. If students wish to live on the FHSU campus, they will pay $35 for a housing application. Housing and meal plan costs vary.
NCKTC student who wish to participate in the Gateway Plan should call the NCKTC Admissions Office at (800) 658-4655 to make an appointment with an advisor. The advisor will help the student identify and enroll in a Gateway Plan path, select a student privilege fee package, and submit test scores and transcripts.