Haley Stevens, a music education major, plays piccolo in Marching Mizzou. She’s also a student at Moberly Area Community College.

Stevens is one of 175 students who have enrolled in MizzouMACC, a year-old partnership between MU and Moberly Area Community College that seeks to provide a seamless transition for community college transfers.

MizzouMACC started in fall 2017 with 17 students, according to Laura Mertens, director of site operations and student services at MACC. The program attracted students from Missouri, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado and Illinois.

The program has grown over the first year, and it can handle more students.

“There’s no maximum capacity right now,” Mertens said.

MizzouMACC students enroll in both MU and MACC. For the first two years, students take classes at both schools and earn an associate’s degree at MACC. In their third year, students become full-time MU students. Students who quickly fill their requirements could become full-time MU students earlier. Three students have already moved on to MU after one year, Mertens said. Four more started the program after they had already completed courses at MACC, and have also moved on to MU.

Students can live in MU dormitories from the beginning, which gives them a way to be a part of the MU community before becoming full-time students, Mertens said. MizzouMACC student Sean-Liam Roger Yockey said living in an MU dormitory helped him meet friends at the university.

New MizzouMACC students said in interviews that they were attracted by the program’s low cost, resources at MU and the small and attentive environment of MACC.

Laughlin McKinnon, a psychology major, said MU is fun and welcoming. He doesn’t feel a difference between himself and traditional MU students, he said.

Dylan Casteel, an art major with an emphasis in graphic design, said MACC’s tutoring services are more personalized and helpful than at MU.

Transfer students can tend to have a tough time finishing their studies, research from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows.

Of 852,439 students who entered U.S. community colleges in 2010, 13 percent earned a bachelor’s degree by 2016, according to the research.

One barrier for transfer students is difficulty adjusting to a new school with different rules or policies, said Cecilia Olivares, senior student services coordinator at MU.

School sizes and rules are different, so MizzouMACC has a co-advising system where students have advisers at both MU and MACC to solve issues raised in either school, Olivares said.

Cost is another barrier for transfer students. Because MizzouMACC students are considered degree-seeking MACC students for their beginning studies, they can only get financial aid from MACC. Once students move on to be degree-seeking MU students, they are eligible for MU financial aid.

MACC offers some financial aid specifically for MizzouMACC students to help cover the additional costs of taking classes at both schools.

The partnership isn’t totally seamless yet; going back and forth between schools has been challenging for some. MU and MACC are considering adding a shuttle service to take students between the two schools to help out, Olivares said.

Transportation is a concern, but MU and MACC are relatively close. Distance makes it tough to apply the MizzouMACC model to other community colleges. Online courses or advising support systems can help smooth the transition from other community colleges to MU, Olivares said.

Olivares said transfer students make MU more diverse in background, age, learning style and ways of engaging with other people.

“They just add the richness and diversity of our students with different experiences, having been exposed to different types of education,” she said.

Supervising editor is Brendan Crowley.

  • I am a Public Life advanced reporter at the Columbia Missourian, pursuing a master's degree at the Missouri School of Journalism. You can reach me at hkono@mail.missouri.edu.

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