Additional opportunities await

Education is a cornerstone of a happy, productive life.

Fortunately, we have a lot of options here in Eastern Ohio when it comes to obtaining a good education. And those opportunities are still expanding, especially for those who live and work in Jefferson County.

Last week, Eastern Gateway Community College announced a new partnership with Kent State University. This new arrangement now allows students to earn a four-year degree without leaving Jefferson County.

“We are breaking down barriers and increasing access for our students,” Eastern Gateway President Jimmie Bruce said. “This is enhancing opportunities for all of our students, traditional and non-traditional.”

Bruce joined Kent President Beverly J. Warren in signing the agreement that will allow students to take university-level classes at the community college.

“This is not just a photo-op, but an opportunity for these young students and not-so-young students,” Warren said.

The new program is still in developmental stages and will first offer classes in 2019. The initial programs available will include bachelor’s degrees in informational science and technical and applied studies. The technical and applied studies degree can be combined with a concentration in insurance studies, officials said.

Future opportunities will be determined based on student interest. With Kent State’s wide array of offerings, potential courses of study range from accounting to agribusiness to pre-medicine, business management, communications, computer engineering, dance, early childhood education and many more.

While we already have access to several associate and bachelor’s degree-granting institutions here in our region, this partnership only expands the possibilities for those who may not want — or be able — to leave home to complete their coursework for a bachelor’s degree. Institutions such as Ohio University Eastern, West Liberty University, Belmont College, West Virginia Northern Community College and Wheeling Jesuit already do a great job of making a good education available to local residents. Adding one more option to the mix can only being benefits to area students. Congratulations to EGCC and Kent.