Board of Trustees Meeting Agenda | May 18, 2023

May 2, 2023 Dr. Jim Wohlpart, President Central Washington University

400 E. University Way Ellensburg, WA 98926 Dear President Wohlpart and the Central Washington University Board of Trustees,

For decades, Washington’s community and technical colleges and public baccalaureate institutions have been nationally recognized for our strong, effective partnerships that create a smooth transfer process for students and make efficient use of public funding. CWU’s six University Centers located on community and technical college campuses across the state are one stellar example. It is with a sense of responsibility to this long-term partnership — and trust in the lines of communication between our two sectors — that we express our opposition to a plan by Central Washington University

to confer associate degrees. Our concerns are as follows:

Associate degrees are already readily available to students who have CWU credits — It is our understanding that CWU’s goal is to offer an associates level credential to students who leave the university prior to completing a bachelor's degree. This is unnecessary, as those students can easily apply those credits at any one of our 34 community or technical colleges to complete an associate transfer degree that places them at the junior level not just at CWU, but at any other public baccalaureate institution in Washington. Students “stop out” for a wide variety of reasons, including changes to their employment, family, and geographic situations. Providing these students with transfer degrees that are accepted statewide, rather than a general studies associates degree that applies only to CWU, provides the best opportunity for them to return and complete a bachelor’s level credential. Our institutions remain committed to collaboration with CWU and would welcome the opportunity to work with CWU staff to assure a seamless reverse transfer of credit and awarding of appropriate credential. This collaboration honors the longstanding agreements between our sectors that have a proven history of serving students well and ensuring that public funding is used efficiently, without duplication. Data does not substantiate the need — We are unaware of any data illustrating that CWU associate degrees are needed to fill a scarcity of associate degree opportunities in the region. In fact, higher education is facing significant declines in enrollments across sectors. Adding an associates level degree at CWU would duplicate services at a time when public higher education funding is already stretched thin and will only become scarcer during an upcoming budget crisis. To respond to both declining budgets and declining enrollments, we believe that our sectors should be collaborating to serve students, not competing. To respond proactively to any assertion that this proposal is no different than the expansion of our system to offering applied baccalaureate programs, the community and technical college applied baccalaureate programs must undergo a vigorous approval process, including legislatively mandated in RCW 28B.50.810. This process includes an extensive review of employer demand, official

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