RCC partners with MSU-Mankato

Riverland president Dr. Adenuga Atewologun and Minnesota State University-Mankato President Dr. Richard Davenport, were all smiles Friday as they signed a memorandum of understanding at Riverland Community College. Eric Johnson/photdoesk@austindailyherald.com

Riverland president Dr. Adenuga Atewologun and Minnesota State University-Mankato President Dr. Richard Davenport, were all smiles Friday as they signed a memorandum of understanding at Riverland Community College. Eric Johnson/photdoesk@austindailyherald.com

Students have another opportunity to cut costs and get a four-year bachelor’s degree at Riverland Community College.

Riverland has partnered with the Minnesota State University Mankato to offer degree-seeking students at Riverland enrollment in the Future Maverick Program, Transfer Pathway Agreement.

The program is designed to promote completing an associate’s degree and a seamless transfer for Riverland students to Minnesota State Mankato’s bachelor degree programs. Minnesota State University Mankato President Richard Davenport and Riverland Community College President Adenuga Atewologun made the announcement official by signing a memorandum of understanding at a ceremony in the Riverland Austin campus library Friday afternoon.

Dr. Mary Davenport announces a memorandum of understanding between Riverland Community College and Minnesota State University-Mankato Friday at Riverland Community College. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Dr. Mary Davenport announces a memorandum of understanding between Riverland Community College and Minnesota State University-Mankato Friday at Riverland Community College. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“When they start here and they are admitted here, they are equally admitted to the Minnesota State University Mankato,” Atewologun said. “So they get access to the advising, they get access to the student life opportunities, they get an opportunity to actually mingle both with students here at Riverland and students right there at the University of Mankato, so they’re getting the best of two worlds.”

Davenport was also excited about the partnership.

“What I think is thrilling and encouraging about that is we’re really reaching out to meet the students where they are,” Davenport said. “Riverland has such a good reputation that we know that if we bring our programs to Riverland, this will provide opportunities of access to a bachelor’s degree or maybe a master’s, or even a doctoral degree, the students might not have ever dreamt about.”

The program is mainly focused on business and accounting majors currently, but Atewologun hopes that in time it will be open to more majors. Full-time students in the program will get access to academic advising from both institutions to develop study plans that meet degree and course requirements for associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. Students will also have full access to student support services at both Riverland and Minnesota State Mankato, including financial aid, student activities, library services, computer labs, career services and more.

“The last thing we want to do is create a program where students fail, so we’re going to be 100 percent behind the students,” Davenport said. “Advisors on both campuses will be meeting with the students on a regular basis to ensure that success.”

Davenport noted the program is also designed to help students who are undecided in their major choose a path to follow, increasing the likelihood of graduation.

“I would think it’s students out there that maybe are undecided that are not quite sure what they want to do,” he said. “They’re not quite ready to go to a university campus, but they can stay home here within a 50 mile radius and get that degree.”

“We’re very committed as a university to reaching out, and this is what it’s all about,” he added.

Atewologun noted the program is designed specifically to help students get a degree in four years — two at Riverland and the following two at Minnesota State Mankato.

“That way they minimize the debt and they shorten their time rather than lingering around wondering what to do,” Atewologun said.

A guaranteed tuition scholarship plan will be designed to lock in the Minnesota State Mankato tuition rate that is in effect when Future Maverick Program, Transfer Pathway Agreement students begin their second year at Riverland and through their graduation from Minnesota State Mankato. Organizers hope to reach out to the community and alumnus to get donations to continue giving out scholarships.

“I hope the community really gets behind Riverland in order to provide the extra encouragement and help via scholarship so these students get through Riverland,” Davenport said.

The agreement is the third Future Mavericks agreement between Riverland and Minnesota State Mankato. The first, announced in June 2014, guarantees admission and Minnesota in-state tuition rates at Minnesota State Mankato for newly enrolled Riverland students from Iowa. The second, announced early March 2015, provides international students who enroll at Riverland a seamless transfer process to Minnesota State Mankato while also promoting English language acquisition.

Atewologun said some students have already expressed interest in the program, and he is excited to see where it will take them.

“Success starts here, and success continues when they transfer to Minnesota State Mankato,” Atewologun said.

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