A group of about 40 students who applied to Binghamton University this admissions season will instead start their college careers at Broome Community College this fall.
Those students, who applied to BU but were not granted admission for the fall 2011 semester, comprise the first group of a pilot program that is a joint effort between administrators at BU and BCC.
The program, called Binghamton Advantage, would guarantee the selected BCC students the option to transfer to BU after one or two years, depending on their academic record. The students would also be given the option to live in BU on-campus housing.
BCC President Kevin Drumm was the first to bring the proposal to BU administrators.
Brian Rose, vice president for student affairs at BU, said Drumm provided the initial idea but that it was further “developed between the two institutions.”
Drumm said he read news reports about similar partnerships at elite private schools across the country and he thought the same ideas could be carried over to BU and BCC, which is already BU’s largest single source of transfer students.
The primary goal, Drumm said, is “to help students gain access” to affordable quality education. He said BU was an ideal partner for BCC because of its “stature and its relatively inexpensive tuition.”
The BCC students admitted to the Binghamton Advantage program would be guaranteed later admittance to BU, provided that they fulfill the requirements of the program.
BCC students who complete general education requirements and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA by the end of their second year would receive their associate’s degree from BCC and would start their third year of schooling at BU.
Students would be permitted to transfer to BU after just one year if they had earned 24 credits — 18 of which would need to be GenEd credits — in addition to maintaining a GPA of at least 3.2.
Drumm said Monday that somewhere between 40 and 50 students are currently enrolled in the program, but this number could shift before the semester starts.
Binghamton Advantage is open to many more students than the programs from which Drumm drew his inspiration. According to Drumm, schools that offer similar programs often give the transfer option to fewer than 10 students.
But Drumm said if the program is deemed successful, he and BU would be looking to admit an even greater number of students to the program.
Binghamton Advantage students might face challenges in traveling from their on-campus BU residence to the BCC campus, which is about a seven-mile drive away, according to Drumm.
“Most community college students have personal transportation,” Drumm said. “But those who do not have access to a car of their own would likely have to take a bus to the University Downtown Center and catch a bus from there to BCC.”
It is “a bit convoluted,” Drumm explained. “[There are issues] we may have to address depending on the needs of this admitted class.”
A private shuttle could be one possible solution, but there are no current plans for a shuttle.
The BCC students would not be required to live on campus, but Rose said “we certainly encourage them” to do so.
“The more integrated they are into the community the easier that’s going to go,” he said.
But there would be at least one restriction on their involvement. The Binghamton Advantage students would not be permitted to represent BU in intercollegiate athletics, according to Rose. He said, however, that the Binghamton Advantage students would be allowed to participate in most other extracurricular activities.
Rose said the program was not influenced by any desire to fill rooms in the newly constructed student housing in Newing College.
“It wasn’t our motivation,” he said.