FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Leaders from the University of Arkansas—Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas Community College signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on October 5 that will create a seamless pathway for NWACC students who hope to transfer to UAFS.

UAFS Chancellor Dr. Terisa Riley and members of the university’s leadership team sat down with newly appointed NWACC president Dr. Dennis C. Rittle and his staff to officially sign the agreement in the Windgate Conference room on the UAFS Campus. According to a press release, both Riley and Rittle are first-generation college graduates who “deeply understand the need for a higher education system that is accessible to all.”

The two institutions share a commitment to increasing student access to and success in higher education. As active educational partners, the creation of these partnerships enables each institution to “further its mission of making high-quality education both accessible and affordable for all Arkansans.”

“UAFS is committed to providing high-quality academic programs at a relatively low cost to all students in our region and our work with community college partners is an important part of that mission,” said Dr. Margaret Tanner, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs. “Education has the power to change lives and shape communities, and a seamless transfer process is an important mechanism in making it more accessible to all.”

The MOU forges clear pathways for students who have earned their associates degrees at NWACC to obtain bachelor’s degrees in parallel programs at UAFS including Business Administration, Elementary Education, Organizational Leadership, Criminal Justice, and Dental Hygiene at UAFS. 

“NWACC does an excellent job of preparing their students for the next step in their academic journey and we are proud to be able to partner with them to assist their students in achieving their personal academic goals,” Tanner continued.

“ The mission of NWACC is to prepare students for their successful transition into the workforce and for their successful transition onto our university partners,” said Rittle.  “UAFS is an outstanding university partner because of their commitment to forging seamless pathways that reduce the cost and time to completion. In short, students win. And when students win, we all win.”

UAFS currently offers similar transfer agreements with 25 community colleges in the state, spanning more than 60 degree programs.