OSU-Tulsa and Tulsa Community College announced a new partnership Tuesday to help students earn their two- and four-year degrees in downtown Tulsa.
OSU-Tulsa President Dr. Pamela Fry said College Park builds on the two schools’ LinkeDegree program, which shows students how to get from TCC enrollment to an OSU bachelor’s degree.
"This is the difference between having a map to show how to reach a destination and having a navigator in the front seat with you making sure you don’t take the wrong turn," Fry said.
TCC President Dr. Leigh Goodson said the goal is increasing local access to bachelor’s degrees.
"College Park is a direct response to calls for an affordable, public, four-year higher education option," Goodson said.
College Park groups students into cohorts that take all their classes on the OSU-Tulsa campus, a model research shows makes students more likely to graduate.
Bachelor’s degrees will be in business at first. Offerings will then expand to other options in demand with employers. Mayor G.T. Bynum said philanthropy and local investment have caught business leaders’ attention, but they’ve also told him educational achievement needs to improve.
"I think this is going to be viewed in the long run as a real turning point in the history of our city. You know, we’re in this really unique moment in Tulsa right now where you see people all across our city focused on building a world-class city for the next generation," Bynum said.
TCC regent Wes Mitchell said the new program is not just intended to help employers, but it’s also aimed at improving equity in education.
"National research shows African American and Hispanic students fall below their white and Asian peers in the categories of earning an associate’s degree, transferring to a four-year and completing a bachelor’s degree. We also know early data indicates the pandemic is widening these equity gaps," Mitchell said.
OSU-Tulsa has secured commitments for $500,000 to fund scholarships for College Park students. Applications for the program open May 3.