Internet partnership with community colleges makes MU more accessible

500 Missourians are currently taking advantage of Mizzou Online’s degree programs.

Community college graduates will now have Internet access to continue their education through the degree programs offered through Mizzou Online.

MU and the Missouri Community College Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding about this deal on Oct. 9.

The memorandum establishes a partnership between MU and the association to assist students continuing their education beyond an associate degree. The chancellors and presidents of the 12 community colleges unanimously agreed to give access to their graduates, and it begins immediately, said Jim Spain, vice provost for Undergraduate Studies and interim vice provost for eLearning.

“It’s good for the students,” Spain said. “Both community colleges and MU will see numbers increase, but the central focus is that it is good for providing access to students.”

MCCA Executive Director Zora Mulligan called the agreement a no-brainer.

“It strengthens an already positive relationship between MU and the MCCA and creates a helpful pathway for students,” Mulligan said.

While MU will provide the courses for students, the community colleges will provide students access to the already-existing computer labs at the colleges themselves.

Students are only eligible for this access if they earned their associate degree at a Missouri community college and then chose to continue their education through Mizzou Online.

This partnership also removes the barrier of students not having access to high-speed Internet, Spain said.

“It creates, for students who complete an associate degree through Missouri community colleges, access to computer labs so they can continue their education through Mizzou,” Spain said.

Spain said he was excited about this partnership because it creates more opportunities for MU, a land-grant university, to reach more students.

“It makes Mizzou more accessible and that’s accessible for students who can’t make it to Columbia,” he said.

Accessibility is an important part of MU’s mission as a land-grant university, and this partnership allows MU to fulfill that mission, Spain said.

Currently, more than 9,000 students from Missouri are obtaining their degree through Mizzou Online. Spain said he expects that number to increase in the spring semester because of this partnership and due to the development of new online degree programs.

Mizzou Online served more than 12,600 students last year and offers more than 90 MU undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates, according to Mizzou Online’s website.

MU and the other community colleges came to this understanding during a provost staff retreat at St. Louis Community College.

It was then presented to MCAA and endorsed by all community colleges in Missouri.

This partnership offers an incentive for students to finish the program since an associate degree from a Missouri community college earns that graduate access to the computer labs to continue their education.

“It’s an important step for our state to take,” Spain said.

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