Engineering students told to transfer

Even if engineering students can get a job with a two-year degree, they should take more time to earn a bachelor’s degree. That’s the advice Greenfield Community College in western Massachusetts is giving students, reports Inside Higher Ed.

Ten years ago, Greenfield phased out certificates in computer-aided design and surveying, and associate degrees in industrial technology and electronic engineering technology. Employers wanted more.

Now the progam focues on transferring community college students to the nearby University of Massachusetts at Amherst by offering “specialized upper-division electives in chemical, civil, environmental, electrical, computer, industrial, and mechanical engineering.”

Lisa McLoughlin, engineering professor and program co-chair, said though most students transfer to UMass – taking advantage of joint admission, tuition discounts or other benefits available to in-state students – the program also has comprehensive transfer agreements with engineering schools at Northeastern University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Western New England College.

Since it began focusing on transfers, Greenfield’s engineering enrollment has grown by nearly 50 percent. While earning a four-year degree is a financial challenge for students in the low-income, rural county, Greenfield professors think it’s a good long-term  investment for their students.