High school students across the Kansas City metropolitan area have a new, accelerated path to a bachelor’s degree.  Degree in 3 enables students from participating schools to earn a bachelor’s degree from an R1 research university in only three years. This new partnership potentially reduces students’ cost of earning a degree and accelerates their entrance into the Kansas City workforce or graduate school.  

Students earn college credits in high school, complete an associate’s degree one year after graduating and complete an Edwards Campus bachelor’s degree two years later. Degree in 3 also gives Missouri student’s access to KUEC’s MetroRate.

Degree is actually a three-year old program that has grown in the three years since its inception. With more partners, and awareness of the program, the partners gather recently to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize the program.

Degree in 3 partner institutions include:

Blue Valley CAPS

Kansas City Kansas Public Schools Diploma

Olathe 21st Century Academies

Shawnee Mission Signature Programs

Southland CAPS

Summit Technology Academy

Johnson County Community College

Kansas City Kansas Community College

Metropolitan Community College

KU Edwards Campus.

“This is the kind of initiative that gets the leaders from all of these institutions in one room to make something happen,” said KUEC Vice Chancellor David Cook at the MOU signing. “The reason why all of us do what we do is to better the student experience and provide access to education. Degree in 3 is a tremendous, collaborative effort that ultimately benefits the Kansas City community and workforce.”

Eric Fecteau, a 2017 Blue Valley West graduate, is furthest along in the Degree in 3 journey. He took concurrent Johnson County Community College courses during his senior year and will potentially graduate from KU with his bachelor’s degree in business administration in December 2019, which would actually make his time a “Degree in 2.5.” He works full-time, building his landscaping business, while taking classes.

With two older brothers, he saw the cost and time commitment that come with moving away for the traditional college experience.

“I realized there was a more cost-effective way to get the same degree in a shorter amount of time and keep doing what I’m doing,” Fecteau said. “I’m able to build my business and maintain my relationships close to home while pursuing my degree. I’m glad Degree in 3 was an option for me.”

The choice of degrees offered under the Degree in 3 program is limited and varies based on the high school/school district you attend.  Currently, there are a total of eight degrees offered under the program:  Bio Technology; Business Administration; Exercise Science; Information Technology; Law and Society; Literature, Language and writing; Bioscience; and Public Administration. 

 “The opportunity for students to be part of the KU Degree in 3 program will positively change the trajectory of students’ college and career path,” said Elaine Metcalf, principal of Summit Technology Academy. “Any time education institutions come together to figure out a plan that leads to degree completion and less college debt is a win-win situation.

Johnson County Community College President Joe Sopcich said he believes this innovative agreement will afford multiple benefits for students.

“By working together, in partnership with other education institutions, our students will continue to build upon a strong and resilient academic foundation and move quickly toward achieving their personal and professional goals,” Sopcich said. “This collaborative initiative is very rewarding because it provides impactful opportunities that will transform the lives of young adults and, in turn, strengthen our communities throughout the metro area.”

 Summit Technology Academy is glad to be named among the six K-12 schools in this outstanding partnership.”

See a Facebook Live recording of the event here.

 With more partners, awareness and the formalization of the program, its effect is widespread.

 Area school districts and community colleges joined the University of Kansas to formalize the Degree in 3 program during a signing event June 12 at the KU Edwards Campus.

Degree in 3 enables

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