Select students of Broome Community College have a year to maintain a high GPA, while living in residence halls on Binghamton University campus, before receiving automatic acceptance to BU.
On March 15, at the SUNY Southern Tier Showcase — one of 10 similar showcases across the state emphasizing the most innovative programs at SUNY schools — BU President Harvey Stenger and BCC President Kevin Drumm signed a memorandum of intent to continue developing The Binghamton Advantage Program, a joint admission program that began in fall 2011.
The program offers select students a contingent admission to BU if they first complete at least a year of courses at BCC. The innovative part of the program, according to Terry Kelley-Wallace, director of the transfer students initiatives and services office at BU, allows students in the program to live on campus while they complete their studies at BCC.
“There are many examples of two and four-year schools having different types of dual-admission programs so that aspect of the program is not unique,” Kelley-Wallace wrote in an email to Pipe Dream. “What distinguishes this program from most other dual-admission programs is that students have the opportunity to live on the four-year campus (i.e. Binghamton) even before they transfer here.”
Students in the program need to meet certain academic benchmarks at BCC before they can transfer to BU. Students accepted into Binghamton Advantage receive guaranteed transfer admission to BU, Drumm said, but only if they first complete one to two years of courses at Broome Community College.
George Karounos, a freshman in the program planning to transfer after this semester, said that program students need to have a GPA higher than 3.2 to transfer after one year, and higher than a 3.0 to transfer after two years.
“Socially, it’s a huge advantage,” Karounos said. “The Binghamton Advantage Program is paramount to constructing my social life because I get to live on the campus I will eventually be studying on.”
University spokeswoman Gail Glover said The Binghamton Advantage Program is an example of BU demonstrating leadership on the SUNY-wide issue of transfer mobility — an emphasis of SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and her “The Power of SUNY” strategy plan.
Drumm said the program focuses on the top tier of students who are not initially accepted into BU to give them another avenue to get into the University.
“We worked with the University to begin to look at a tier of students who were pretty strong, but didn’t quite have the SAT and the GPA to get right into Binghamton University straight out, and to help those folks who just missed the cut,” Drumm said.
Drumm said the program was made to focus on a tier of students whose academic records fall just short of BU’s acceptance standards. The acceptance standards for this year’s freshman class, for example, were set at an average SAT score of 1305 and a high school average of 94.
Students in The Binghamton Advantage Program pay a program fee that, according to Kelley-Wallace, allows them access to most on-campus programs, services and activities.
Stenger said he hopes allowing Binghamton Advantage students to live on campus will help minimize the stress of transferring schools, ultimately making the students more successful.
“I think it will improve the retention,” Stenger said. “I think it will improve the grades that they have. And they’ll be able to select their majors with more knowledge.”
He added that the 30 to 35 students currently enrolled in Binghamton Advantage have been successful so far.
Zimpher said the program fits in with a broader campaign called “SUNY Advantage,” which preaches connectivity between campuses and emphasizes the support tools available for students transferring within or to SUNY colleges.
“I just really want to applaud the Binghamton Advantage,” Zimpher said.