Officials on Monday formally announced the launch of Shocker Pathway, a partnership between Wichita Area Technical College and Wichita State University that creates a joint associate of arts degree.
Students will benefit because the program lowers the cost of getting a degree and removes the hassle of transferring from one school to another, said Tony Kinkel, WATC president. The bottom line, he said, is it will be one of the most affordable associate of art degrees in the state.
Shocker Pathway classes begin June 1.
The announcement was held at the National Center for Aviation Training, on North Webb, where officials touted the program as an efficient, tax-saving way to boost education and the economy. Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell said the partnership between WATC and WSU brings value to the community because it will help the area’s work force compete “like none other” on a national and international level.
According to WATC, Shocker Pathway works like this: Students begin coursework at WATC and complete their associate degree or higher degree at WSU. A student gets to seamlessly transfer 50 hours of classes from WATC to WSU, then take 15 course hours at WSU to complete work for the associate degree. A student could continue through the Pathway program in pursuing a bachelor’s degree from WSU.
The program will save students roughly half of what they would pay in tuition to a four-year school for the first 50 hours of courses, said Kinkel, the WATC president.
Shocker Pathway also will save students the time and effort involved in transferring credits from one institution to another, he said.
As part of the Shocker Pathway launch announcement, officials introduced two of the program’s first students, Roxanna Gularte and Hasanul Khokon.
Gularte, 30, said she came to the United States from Guatemala, starting over “from zero” and seeking a better opportunity. She works as a restaurant manager. Her goal is to get a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, and Shocker Pathway will help her, she said.
“It’s just so simple … more affordable,” Gularte said.
Khokon, 20, said he dropped out of high school when he was 17 and completed his GED (general equivalency diploma) two weeks ago. He said he wants to keep the momentum going toward his further education. He saw something about Shocker Pathway online. Khokon’s goal: perhaps a degree in criminal justice, toward becoming a lawyer.
People can apply to Shocker Pathway at watc.edu or in person at WATC’s north campus, 4004 N. Webb, or at the south campus, 4501 E. 47th St. South, WATC said in a news release.
Pathway students will get academic coaching from WATC and dual advising from the WSU Office of Adult Learning, the release said.
Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or firstname.lastname@example.org.